SITE Southeast USA member, Laura Miller, CMP, CSR-P is Firmwide Events and Sustainability Manager for McKenna Long and Aldridge LLP, an international law firm in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. She has been with the company since 1993 and works under the direction of the Chief Operating Officer and firm Chair, planning timely and impactful meetings for the firm’s clients, attorneys and staff. Because of her passion for sustainability and corporate social responsibility, in 2011 Laura took over the Sustainability Initiative at MLA, in addition to her Event Manager role. She has a degree in Hospitality Administration from Georgia State University, has earned both CMP and Certified Sustainability Practitioner (CSR-P) credentials and serves on the advisory boards of many hotel and event companies.
SITE: What/who motivated you to become a member of SITE?
Laura: I would never have considered becoming a member of SITE without the encouragement of Kathi Kelly who understands my firm and the types of unique events I manage. She invited me to attend a SITE Southeast Chapter event and I was impressed with the organization and the quality of the members and leaders including Kathi, Carol Owens and Pam Shepherd. I have participated in other industry associations but after attending a couple of SITE events I felt like this is where I belonged. SITE members are so professional and genuine and, as a corporate planner, I don’t feel like I am going to be sold to every time I attend an event.
SITE: What do you feel are the greatest personal and professional benefits of being a SITE member?
Laura: I have been a SITE member for three years and feel that it has been a valuable investment. The education is always relevant and provides me with fresh and creative ideas that I can immediately apply in my job. I am responsible for 20-25 events a year, the largest being our Partnership Retreat that brings together 300 partners from 15 cities. This is a very high-end motivational event and I pride myself on the fact that we have excellent attendance because of the quality of the destinations, venues and activities. Many law firms are challenged with getting Partners to attend their events but our Partners look forward to attending every year. Fortunately, our CEO strongly believes in the importance of face-to-face events and, even during the economic downturn, we did not cancel our event.
Sustainability and “give-back” is a passion of mine and I am always seeking creative ways to incorporate sustainable practices and social responsibility into my events. I choose to be involved with organizations that share the same passion. With SITE, I feel like their commitment to “give-back” is genuine.
SITE: What do you think SITE should do to demonstrate greater value to current and prospective corporate members?
SITE should proactively reach out to corporate planners and invite them to events so that they can experience the quality of the organization, its members and education. As I mentioned before, I would not have ever considered becoming a member if I had not been encouraged by Kathi Kelly to attend a SITE event. It is also important to ensure that the education is relevant and practical for corporate planners.