Timothy Coulson Berry is Vice President of Programming for IABC Boston and Chapter Liaison for the Heritage Region. He is an Event Coordinator at CBI, a company that produces educational conferences for the pharmaceutical, medical device, and life sciences industries.
How did you become involved in IABC?
I was a Communications student, and my dean at Ithaca College asked if some of her students would rejuvenate the local IABC Student Chapter. I was a sophomore, and it was exciting to meet local professionals. We held meetings, looked at case studies and theories, invited communications business people to speak and built the Chapter. As the VP of the Chapter, I attended two regional conferences – Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.
What benefits did you find as a student IABC member?
The connections I made through IABC as a student were better than alumni connections. Being a member opened doors to people and gave me access to a website full of resources and knowledge.
So, the move to IABC after college was natural?
Yes, I transferred my college membership to a full membership. At the Bentley University student panel this year, I met Boston IABC members. They learned about my experience as a student chapter leader and asked if I would consider being on the Board here. Shortly after, Heritage members asked me to volunteer.
Are you involved with the Heritage Region Conference?
Yes, was in Providence, which was great for our members. There were some great sessions – secrets from CEOs, social media, crisis communications (from the Boston Marathon bombing), and more as well as live polling and twitter updates. But, I think one of the benefits was the opportunity to meet communications professionals from around the world.
What do you do professionally?
I work at CBI, a small company that produces educational conferences for the pharmaceutical, medical device, and life sciences industries. My role is to coordinate logistics for meetings. This may include contracts with hotels, travel, and on-site execution.
How did you become involved in event planning?
I was young. I was in Middle School, and I started working at a restaurant during the summer. I helped with outdoor catering. It was in the hot sun, but I loved it. In college I started as a business major, and I worked for the college as an event planner: the youngest student ever hired as an event manager.
I changed majors in order to learn everything about event planning. I was managing 18 other college planners, and we would organize everything from five-person luncheons to 2,000-person conferences.
What role does communications play in event planning?
The communications should be seamless from marketing beforehand to keeping people informed during the event to crisis communications, if needed, and follow-up communications.
Why is it important to you to volunteer for IABC?
Being behind the scenes gives you an appreciation of everything that goes into running a Chapter. We have one of the largest IABC Chapters in the country, and we need dedicated people to keep it going. Even if people only volunteer small chunks of time, it helps. A volunteer gains good chances to network, and skills that can be learned to help in your job or interests.
What do you do outside of work?
I do some freelance work as a graphic and web designer for family, friends or referrals. I travel a lot for work, but I love exercising and staying fit. I guess you could call me a foodie; I love tapas and special dishes. But what makes me the happiest is a good cup of coffee, and I’ll drive to new places and new towns to try one.