How SGMP Changed My Career

Robin Pollack, CMP comes to us from the SGMP Sacramento Chapter.  She is also the past President there in 2010-2011  We were so inspired by Robin's gratitude for SGMP, we wanted to shine the spotlight on her so you can hear her story.  We hope you find the same inspiration.  If you want to reach to Robin and find out more about her and her experience, we encourage you to email her at
Lately, I have reflected on my meeting planning career and how SGMP helped it evolve.  In 1991, I was planning campus meetings and happened to meet a hotel supplier who invited me to a local chapter meeting.  After attending just one event, I was hooked and joined right away.  I learned so much about how to structure government meetings and enjoyed developing relationships in the industry.
In 1999, I attended the National Education Conference in San Diego, specifically attending a 2-day workshop on Looking for Leaders with none other than, Dale Henry. After graduating from his class, I went on to establish the Academic Resources Conference (ARC) with 20 people representing 12 California State University (CSU) campuses. I am still the meeting planner for this conference which now has over 400 attendees representing all 23 campuses, 20 concurrent breakout sessions and many guest speakers. I find most of my professional speakers by attending NEC. 
As ARC grew and developed, I took ideas right from the SGMP playbook. At first it was creating breakout sessions, intermixed with opening and closing keynotes.  I also started using various forms and adapting processes commonly used by the Chapter. This past year, scholarships were added for staff who wanted to attend the conference but couldn't due to budget constraints.  Watching how SGMP awarded their scholarships gave me the impetus to create our own. In fact, I used the SGMP scholarship application and score sheets as our starting point. Like SGMP did when bosses were reluctant to send staff to NEC, I used Return on Investment (ROI) verbiage to show them the benefits of sending their staff to ARC. This verbiage really helped staff justify attending our conference.   
Going into our 17th year of ARC, I reflected that had it not been for SGMP, this CSU systemwide conference would not exist. Without its existence, the staff at the CSU campuses may never have had a forum to share their best practices and attend a professional development conference geared solely to them. Similar to NEC, networking with staff who do similar work makes for an excellent conference. 
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is true, SGMP should feel very flattered. I copied everything I could to create an educational conference that is still going strong today. 
Had it not been for SGMP, I would have never dreamed of creating a staff conference and my career would not be what it is today. Although I am now retired from the CSU, I now have my own business which allows me to continue doing what I love – planning meetings.  Thank you, SGMP, for all that you have done for my career.
Robin Pollock, CMP
Sacramento Chapter