Two industry leaders continue to unify and inspire

March is women’s history month and the dynamic duo of Renee Black and Lesley Brandt are representing! The pair founded planit inc. and have continued to be successful for over 25 years due to their passion for the events and meetings industry. As two women with a marketing education, friendship and a dream, the founded planit inc. To honor women in the month of Smart Meetings’ iconic Smart Woman issue as well as Women’s History Month, Smart Meetings interviewed Black about the collaboration with her partner Brandt, the benefits of working with others and mentorship.

Q: What made you interested in the meetings and events industry?

A: So I think our story is pretty cool. When Leslie Brandt and I graduated from college we both took marketing type positions. Meetings, events and conferences were woven into those positions and we ended up liking that part of our jobs the most. We were in our 20s, we were passionate about it and we both quit our jobs and started planit inc. Now we have been going 25 years strong.

Read More: Empowered Women Take Center Stage

Q: How has your collaboration with your business partner improved your business?

A: We started off with the whole friendship thing. We both absolutely loved the meeting and events industry and we thought it would be great. We were also very passionate about being a woman led and woman run company.

Q: Your company roots are described as “proudly located in the Midwest” yet it has locations all across the nation. Does the geographical location have an effect on the demands of your clients?

A: I think there is some universal language for all meetings and events. I think there is a skill set. What we do in Orlando, we can do in San Diego. What we do in San Diego, we can repeat in Chicago, Dallas and Omaha. What’s wonderful is the breadth and depth of our experience.

“I think there is some universal language for all meetings and events. I think there is a skill set.”

–  Renee Black

Q: Planit Inc. is “client-centric.” What are some of the ways in which you demonstrate that mentality?

A: I think we have built a really strong bond with our clients. We have earned their trust. Part of our goals are being on time and being on budget. We are obsessed with execution and obsessed with being on deadline.

 Q: How important is mentorship to planit inc. and what advice would you give to young professionals starting out in the meetings and events industry?

A: Mentorship is huge. In some regards, it might be my number one most important thing I concentrate on. I can’t be everywhere, I can’t be in every account and I can’t be at every event. Putting the right people on the team and people that I trust is so important.

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This article appears in the March 2024 issue as “Collaboration and Sorority.” You can subscribe to the magazine here.