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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Event planner for the former president kicks off 2012 SMM Conference

Laura Schwartz

As director of events for the Clinton administration, Laura Schwartz planned more than 1,000 events, including 12 state arrival ceremonies and dinners, America’s Millenium Celebration and NATO’s 50th anniversary.

Through it all, while juggling the minutiae and details, the Wisconsin native noticed a thread that ran through every event she planned: No matter how social the event seemed, it was always about business.

The value of social events and networking is a message she will share with meeting planners at the kick-off for the third annual Small Market Meetings Conference Oct. 28-30 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Early in her own experience, Schwartz learned the importance of making the most of the connections and opportunities that were presented to her.

As a 19-year-old college student, she volunteered at the White House and through her work ethic and her networking skills she moved from answering phones to serving as Midwest press secretary and director of television before becoming director of events.

After Clinton left office, Schwartz continued to work with him and his foundation. In 2004, she worked for John Kerry’s presidential campaign.

In 2001, she started her own firm, White House Strategies, an event, media, political and message consultancy based in Chicago.

By talking about her work in the White House, she has helped corporate, nonprofits, small businesses and educational institutions better understand how successful events can improve their business or their cause.

Schwartz also has written “Eat, Drink and Succeed: Climb Your Way to the Top Using the Networking Power of Social Events,” which draws upon her experiences at the White House and beyond.

In her speeches, Schwartz weaves anecdotes from her White House days into messages that cover networking, hosting powerful events, planning conventions and branding events.