"I live and breathe in the meeting world," says Jen Ruthig, CMP, a senior strategic event planner at Land O’Lakes and MPI Minnesota Chapter’s president-elect.
Though her educational background and early professional experience were in marketing, Ruthig discovered her penchant for meetings and events after being hired at The Mosaic Company in Plymouth, where she would remain for 11 years. As the company grew, so did its need for meetings and events, and Ruthig carved out a niche for herself.
From planning a formal reception for the CEO level at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris to a showcase of Canadian culture with regional food and a Cirque du Soleil performance in Montréal, Québec, Ruthig’s time at Mosaic taught her to articulate her clients’ visions and to go above and beyond business-as-usual events. “It’s having it all come to fruition and then having that attendee going, ‘Wow. That was truly a great experience. I feel lucky that I was here,’” she says.
But after a decade-plus at Mosaic, Ruthig began to fear stagnation. “I was a party of one,” she says. “I was always wanting to join a full team of planners or a meetings and events team.” She heard about the position at Land O’Lakes and took the leap in August 2016.
Through it all, the MPI Minnesota Chapter has been a touchstone for Ruthig, a place to meet like-minded people and ask questions. She started out on the Finance Committee, which has since evolved into the Strategic Alliances Committee. Over the years, she served as both the director and vice-president of strategic alliances. Along with Nicole French, Ruthig co-chaired the June Event two years in a row, pivoting it away from the traditional golf tournament and transforming it into an Amazing Race hybrid event. “You’re trying to think of ways that can add some great sponsorship and opportunities for the chapter but also it’s a fun way to end the MPI year with your MPI colleagues,” she says.
In 2016, Ruthig was nominated for the MPI MN’s presidency. She will take office on July 1. Her goals for that position include listening to members to ensure MPI provides the proper education and networking that they want while keeping the organization fiscally sound. Increasing volunteerism is also high on her priority list. “Nothing happens in a bubble,” she says. “The only way that everybody can really learn from each other and grow with each other is that participation.”