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Senior Meeting Manager

Optica is looking for a Senior Meeting Manager.

Optica, as a not-for-profit Society, is at the forefront of technologies that continue to make dramatic differences in our community’s daily lives. Covering a wide range of applications, including high-speed data and telecommunications, life-saving cancer detection and treatment, surgical procedures, environmental monitoring, and self-driving vehicles – all of these technologies are supported by the science of light. Optica is at the center of that critical research and industrial applications. Optica manages internationally recognized conferences and exhibitions, and is looking for ambitious individuals to play a key role in helping companies bring their products to market.

Primary Responsibilities

The Sr. Meeting Manager is a key member of Optica's Meetings team, ultimately responsible for the innovation, planning, and execution of Optica's FiO + LS Conference, VIP Leadership Conference and other assigned self-contained meetings serving 300 to 1,100 attendees. The Sr. Manager oversees and supports all operational and logistical activities for assigned meeting and event-related activities, and may liaise with a third-party vendor as appropriate. Additionally, this role is responsible for creating and managing annual planning budgets. The Sr. Manager works closely with affiliate counterparts to develop a unified approach to meeting and events management, both domestically and internationally, that reflects Optica's global presence and commitment to excellence. Key strengths include exceptional communication skills and a keen eye for detail, the ability to thrive in fast-paced environment, manage competing priorities with ease, manage valuable internal and external relationships, and take ownership of projects.


(not in priority order):

  1. Project Management for Assigned Meetings
    1. Serves as primary contact with senior management, internal stakeholders, facility, vendors and committee members
    2. Serves as on-site staff lead to ensure event is executed appropriately, troubleshoot issues, manage staff/vendors, maintain budget adherence and act as primary emergency/crisis contact
    3. Serves as primary organizer for all event functions, with Meeting Operations, Exhibit Sales/Sponsorships, Exhibit Operations, Registration, Marketing, Technical Programs, Outreach/Diversity, Foundation and Science Advisor teams
    4. Facilitates regular team meetings and communicates team decisions, action items, and interim and final reporting (accurate, thorough, meaningful)
    5. Develops and maintains detailed project plan
    6. Works with leadership to ensure long-term viability and health of the event(s) as part of the overall portfolio


  1. Budget Management for Assigned Meetings
    1. Effectively plans and develops accurate budgets
    2. Works to ensure expenses remain within budget limits and revenue goals are met
    3. Coordinates with Registration Team to provide timely and consistent reporting on registration revenue pre-event, onsite and post-event
    4. Reconciles event bills and vendor invoices
    5. Provides interim budget updates and variance statement reports


  1. Vendor/Site Selection for Assigned Meetings
    1. Analyzes proposals, issues recommendations to supervisor for vendor selection, and negotiates terms
    2. Serves as liaison with vendors and venues and manages their performance and delivery of services/products, with the Exhibits Director when appropriate
    3. Ensures successful fulfillment of contract specifications
    4. Reviews hotel/venue terms during negotiation process
    5. Conducts site selection visits and planning trips, when appropriate


  1. Meeting Logistics for Assigned Meetings
    1. Manages execution of plenary/general session(s)
    2. Manages VIP and speaker rooming lists and concession usage
    3. Approves specs and signs off on BEOs

d.  Be onsite during events in support of overall event management (registration desk, speaker support, hotel/venue management, shipping, production support, etc.)


  1. Collaborates with Deputy Senior Director, Meetings, and departmental senior staff to effectively manage department resources
    1. Ensures consistent processes and policies for all programs are followed
    2. Identifies potential efficiencies
    3. Coordinates distribution of IT equipment and signage inventory
    4. Provides training and oversight of coordinators of assigned meetings.

Education and Experience

  • Four-year college degree required
  • CMP or like certification preferred
  • Five or more years of event planning experience preferred
  • Association experience preferred
  • Contract & vendor management experience required

Skills and Abilities

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively with scientific minded volunteers and members
  • Superior analytical abilities
  • Ability to meet multiple deadlines, coordinate details, and work independently
  • Excellent ability to establish and build relationships
  • Ability to travel, no more than 20% of time
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office software and database applications
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Excellent project management skills

About Optica

Located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC, Optica offers a competitive salary and benefits. Please send your resume and cover letter with salary requirements to

Optica is an equal employment opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, age, sex, national origin, disability, religion, maritial status, veteran's status, personal appearance, political affiliation, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, or any other basis prohibited by law.

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