What’s on the Mind of a Kroger Meeting Planner?

Twelve years ago, Angela Buller, CMP, made a spur-of-the-moment decision. On a whim, she applied for (and landed) a meetings internship position with the Cincinnati-based Kroger Company, a 133-year-old Fortune 100 publicly traded corporation with thousands of stores, a couple dozen brands in 35 states and hundreds of thousands of employees. Today as a senior meeting planner on a team of 10, Buller plans and executes more than 300 meetings per year for more than 100 internal clients.


“Our microsites link attendees to Concur, our online travel booking technology. All our brands are mandated to use it, as well as the preferred travel vendors.”


“We recognize the importance of introducing healthier options at food functions, and we pay close attention to attendees’ requests for low-fat, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and low-salt selections. This is particularly important because we are a very large food company.”


“We recently developed our own meeting management app with DoubleDutch that’s tailored to our needs. We can build websites for specific meetings in addition to getting out information about events.”


“We might add a guided nature walk to the agenda to get everyone out of the meeting room and moving around outdoors. One of our brands recently incorporated a Walk the City component to a meeting, focused on performing acts of kindness in the host destination.”


“Their expectations are different from attendees in the past. They like to gather in places other than typical meeting rooms—like the hotel lobby or on a patio. Their use of social media drives a lot of their choices, including what sessions they might attend. Of course, only a segment of our attendees fall into this category. Our senior-level executives have very different expectations and requirements in every aspect of the meeting.”