Meet Our Member: O-Town’s Terry L.

Meet Our Member

Written by Cara O'Neill

Cara O’Neill is a Project Manager at GCG Event Partners where she has happily set up shop for over 15 years. Her professional background may be in the meeting & event industry; however, she enjoys the multi-tasking involved in her day-to-day operations contributing to marketing GCG and the many services it provides.

May 18, 2018

Terry-Matthews-LombardoMeet Terry, an onsite professional who hails from the sunshine state of Florida. Always the consummate professional, yet as her picture depicts, Terry’s charm lies in the fact that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. An active member of our network dating back to the spring of 2005, Terry is an enthusiastic CMP who brings to the table a wide range of knowledge from within the meeting and event industry. Many of our clients are quick to request Terry’s services for their Orlando meetings because they know, as do we, that the meetings Terry is assigned to will be handled with precision and executed flawlessly with great attention to detail. What more could anyone ask for?

I had an opportunity to ask Terry some questions about her thriving career and she generously offered insight and pearls of wisdom based on her years of experience providing onsite management services for us.

What would you say are your favorite things about working in the meetings and events industry?
I’d say it’s the variety of things we get to do, places we see, and most of all the unique clients we work on behalf of.  You never know who the next client will be or where that adventure will take you. Even when I’m working in my own community, I’m always amazed at the new venues I’m exposed when managing GCG assignments, which is saying a lot since I’ve worked in the Orlando market for many [many!] years now!

As an experienced On-Site Meeting Professional, what pieces of advice can you share with new members of our network?
1] Always arrive to the assignment early 2] in advance of showing up at the venue, be sure to understand and know who the end-client is and what their overall goal for the event will be [hint: the end-client is not always your main contact person/company affiliation, and end goal is not always what you think it might be]   3] arrive onsite prepared with copies of  GCG instructions/contact information and a small tool kit with basic goodies like packing tape, extra pens, scissors, box cutter, sticky notes, etc. My tool kit has grown over the years and I find I use it at every event, big or small.

Are there any funny stories you can share about your experiences working onsite?
You mean like the time I went to the wrong Holiday Inn [in my defense, we have ‘ just a few’ of them here in Orlando, and my bad for assuming it was ‘that’  one. . .] OR the medical dinner program I  managed where ZERO attendees showed up but it was a national simulcast meeting so the broadcast continued for both myself and the AV guy until we finally received permission from the end-client to leave? Or, maybe you’d like to hear details about the national convention that lasted several days at the same venue. I happened to be working with different clients each day and when I would show up at the venue, Id’ have to explain myself repeatedly to the exhibit hall manager who didn’t want to let me in without first getting my badge printed with new client information. I think he actually thought I was getting fired each day and then rehired by another exhibitor. Yeah, that was a fun challenge for sure! Let’s just say when you’ve been working in this industry for as long as I have, you’re bound to have emassed some great stories!

Spring is typically a really busy season for meetings and events. Do you find that to be true in Orlando?
Yes.  Super. Crazy.  Busy.  But, I’m not complaining!  Just counting the days until ‘ normal’  schedules are on the calendar, whatever that might be!  It’s actually not uncommon for planners in our area to see multiple opportunities to work at the same national convention [usually a medical program or large exhibit show] on multiple days with completely different GCG assignments, and we sure are grateful for that!

When assigned as a Lead On-Site Professional, how do you best prepare for managing an event?
Being a GCG lead means that I accept responsibility for all the other GCG staff that has been hired for the event. I take responsibility for ensuring they arrive on time, know their parking instructions and job positions, as well as any number of other things pertinent to that job.  GCG provides me with a complete contact list ahead of time which affords me the opportunity to reach out to everyone to introduce myself and confirm their arrival reporting location. Being assigned in the lead role also means serving as the main liaison with the client so that all other staff knows you are their main point of contact and to check in/out with you on daily assignments. I’m always honored to accept lead positions so that I can demonstrate the value of my service to each client as well as the GCG team that’s working on-site with me.

And demonstrate her value is something Terry does each and every time she manages an event for us! Thank you, Terry!

When she’s not busy planning meetings and working for GCG network clients, Terry is working on her encore career as a writer and has numerous travel stories and industry articles printed in major publications along with maintaining an industry/lifestyle/travel blog which you can find at She is also a frequent blog contributor to our GCG blog and you can check out while visiting our blog post archives.

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