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Focus Magazine | Fall 2009

Focus on Alumni

Focus on Alumni

Fall 2009

Nov 13, 2009

Anna Anderson realized she needed a new career. A flexible degree program at FVTC helped her find it.


In the late 1990s, Anna Anderson and her husband, Lars, both professionals in the manufacturing industry, could foresee changes in the marketplace. They decided that one or both needed to change careers. Anna investigated many state colleges, and after weighing the options, she enrolled in Fox Valley Technical College’s Hospitality and Tourism program (now known as Hotel and Restaurant Management).

After graduating in 2001, Anna landed a position at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel as an event meeting manager. She then advanced to corporate travel manager, responsible for new growth and maintaining existing clients in transient and group corporate business. We asked her to tell us about what she does and to share her experience at FVTC.

How did you decide on the hospitality industry?

I discovered it was the largest and fastest-growing industry, and that it offered opportunities to travel the world or remain in your hometown. To determine which segment of the industry best fit my goals, I interviewed hospitality professionals in multiple areas and determined hotel corporate sales encompassed all my strengths.

What do you do in a typical day?

Every day is unique and fast-paced. I work with clients face-to-face, via the telephone or Internet, selling and arranging conferences, special events and seminars, and providing cost estimates. Interaction, accessibility, and exceeding their expectations are key to helping create a successful client event.

What does the CMP behind your name stand for?

Certified Meeting Professional. It is an internationally recognized designation for meeting professionals. The requirements for certification are based on years of professional experience and a written exam. Approximately 12,000 CMPs are certified in the world. The Radisson Paper Valley has more CMPs on staff than any other hospitality property in Wisconsin.

What was your FVTC experience like?

Being a nontraditional student, the college’s class flexibility was very important to me. By taking classes on campus or via the Internet, it enabled me to work full-time, have time for my family, and pursue a new career. Everyone made me feel comfortable there. That’s why I volunteer at the college. I want to help new students feel the same way I did.

You’ve served on the advisory committee for FVTC’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality program. What else have you been involved with?

I was involved with the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Advisory Committee when I was a student and am now the industry chair. An advisory committee offers advice and a perspective on educational issues and provides a link between the college and business sectors. I am also on the Meeting and Event Management Advisory Committee, which is a newer program. I, along with others, helped launch this offering. I also offer my time for class tours and job shadowing.