Name: Tami Maynard-Griffin
Title: Partner/Director of Events
Organization: Griffin Event Management Service
Location: Lithonia, Georgia
Branell College — diploma in business administration and management
Atlanta Area Technical School — diploma in business administration and management
• Educational Testing Service (1987-98)
• Council on Occupational Education (1999-2022)
• Griffin Event Management Service (July 2022-present)
Meeting planners who have a no-nonsense, get-stuff-done approach are the essential workers of the event management space, and Tami Maynard-Griffin of Griffin Event Management Service is one of them.
Maynard-Griffin has been based in her hometown of Atlanta her entire career.
“My first job was with the department of transportation, where I learned the administrative skills that built my career,” said Maynard-Griffin. “I started working for E.T.S. [Educational Testing Service] in 1989 and stayed with them for 12 years — that’s when I really got into meeting planning.”
Another aspect of her job became attending conferences and tradeshows to demonstrate career guidance software and working as a sales representative marketing those educational tools and managing and supporting those accounts.
“I started getting more involved with the software, which was a career guidance program to help students get directed on a career path,” said Maynard-Griffin. “After a job demonstrating all the features of the program and how to use it, I moved on to working at the Council on Occupational Education [COE] in 1999.”
In the beginning, Maynard-Griffin’s role was largely administrative, but only a few months into her new gig, the person who had been planning meetings stepped down, and Maynard-Griffin was able to step in, navigating the learning curve head-on. Before the transition, Maynard-Griffin was only able to attend one event: the company’s annual meeting, where she shadowed her predecessor.
“I had to figure out what and how to do everything, so I initially worked with a third party to get my feet wet and learn more about the meetings industry,” she said. “By the second year, my skills had sharpened, and I took the initiative and began working with suppliers myself.”
Over the next 23 years, Maynard-Griffin planned COE meetings and events that involved board members and committees, organizing everything from staff retreats to training workshops to larger conferences of up to 700 people. But her role wasn’t limited to that. It also involved traveling for site inspections, negotiating contracts, supervising registration and on-site activities.
“I learned how to negotiate and make relationships with vendors who could help me attain the vision I had for the event,” said Maynard-Griffin. “A lot of times I had to step on some toes, think out of the box and guide the client through the process.”
In June 2022, Maynard-Griffin stepped down from her role at COE to form her own company, Griffin Event Management Service, with her sister. While launching a brand has been challenging, she’s still getting calls from people she’s had relationships with over the years.
“I’m still traveling; I’m still making connections; I’m still keeping current and letting people know what I’m doing and what my services are,” said Maynard-Griffin.
After 30 years in the meeting and event planning business, Tami Maynard-Griffin is off to a great start in her new endeavor.
Tips from Tami Maynard-Griffin
• Utilize all available resources from the industry to learn, develop, understand, connect, experience and adapt to situations.
• Be willing to step out of your comfort zone to take on challenges.
• Know your worth in what you have to offer and assist others along the way by setting an example.