Judy Payne’s career didn’t start out focused on meetings. “I did HR and marketing with meetings on the side,” Payne says. “I really loved meeting planning, so I made that my career.”
For the past 11 years, Payne, a CMP, has been the Grapevine-based director of meetings and travel at GameStop, the largest video game retailer in the world, with more than 7,500 stores in 14 countries.
Payne’s responsibilities at GameStop include overseeing 50 events a year as part of the company’s strategic meeting management program, in addition to managing the travel program and policies for the Fortune 300 Company.
Payne also plans an annual conference and expo in both the U.S. and Canada. The five-day event at The Venetian in Las Vegas for the company’s U.S. audience draws about 5,000 company attendees and 4,000 consumers, and has a 250,000-square-foot exposition. Payne successfully lobbied to open the expo to GameStop Power Up reward members “to let consumers have a first look at all the games and play all the games before they are ever released,” she says.
She’s also introducing a hackathon at this year’s event, one of the five tweaks her team makes to every gathering. It’s one of the many ways Payne keeps the roughly 12,000 multigenerational GameStop event attendees engaged each year. From gamification to socialization, she makes sure events are fun and exciting—on a shoestring budget. “I’m not a hardcore gamer, but I’m a geek at heart,” Payne says.
When she’s not pitching company executives on her next big meeting idea, Payne is spending time with her family, a 7-year-old son and 11-year-old stepdaughter. She keeps stats for her son’s flag football team, and does a bit of planning of a different kind: family vacations. “We love to travel together,” she says.