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Conference Planner

The Cato Institute, a non-profit public policy research foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C., is seeking a Conference Planner to plan and manage operations and administrative responsibilities for off-site meetings and ensure the quality of the events align with the standards of the organization. The Planner will have responsibilities for a variety of 15+ seminars, conferences, luncheons, receptions, galas and other events. 

About Cato 
The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization—a think tank—dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues.

Founded in 1977, Cato owes its name to Cato’s Letters, a series of essays published in 18th- century England that presented a vision of society free from excessive government power. Those essays inspired the architects of the American Revolution. And the simple, timeless principles of that revolution — individual liberty, limited government, and free markets – turn out to be even more powerful in today’s world of global markets and unprecedented access to information than Jefferson or Madison could have imagined. Social and economic freedom is not just the best policy for a free people, it is the indispensable framework for the future. 

Cato Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

  • Draft each event’s timeline, complete tasks on time and monitor the progress of tasks assigned to other colleagues.
  • Draft each event’s budget, closely monitor and document expenses and plan events within budget.
  • Create and submit specifications for logistics to applicable vendors (including but not limited to hotels, caterers, av suppliers, shipping vendors, printers, etc.) and ensure accurate conversion of event details into the vendor’s documents and forms. Serve as the primary contact for vendors, building and maintaining relationships to achieve optimal results. 
  • Execute onsite implementation of logistics.
  • Oversee registration aspects of assigned events and ensure accuracy of data. 
  • Coordinate staff, speaker and VIP housing for assigned meetings.
  • Compile registration reports and distribute on an alternate days basis and maintain reports to track post event data for registration, catering, housing and other data sets as needed.
  • Compile and collect printed materials (including but not limited to badges, rosters, signage, publications, marketing materials, etc.) and ensure its accuracy.
  • Negotiate vendor contracts for the internal approval process.
  • Provide assistance on additional Cato events when needed.

  • A Bachelor’s degree with 3 years of meeting planning experience and proven work history of managing multiple events at one time. 
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Capable of effectively working in a fast-paced environment and meets deadlines; manages time without constant supervision. 
  • Exceptional attention to detail, quality and accuracy.
  • Strong customer service mentality with a positive “can-do” attitude.
  • Positive and professional demeanor at all times while working with staff, vendors, and attendees.
  • Ability to problem solve, manage crisis situations effectively and maintain a professional composure while working under pressure.
  • Proactive and stays informed regarding upcoming tasks; easily adapts if project changes scope.
  • Position requires 25% of travel throughout the year and may increase. 
  • Knowledge of EMS, Social Tables, and Swoogo is a plus.