Melissa Swakow

Melissa Friedman

Consultant, Meeting Manager

The mighty meeting maven.

Melissa is one of NHS Global Events longest tenured employees, starting as an intern in 2009. She now manages conferences for our largest clients with tremendous success. Utilizing laser-like focus on her ever-growing to-do list, she delivers results. From contracting, travel management, hotel logistics and on-site coordination (just to name a few), Melissa is known as a force to be reckoned with. Internally, she works to ensure her colleagues have the tools and skills to succeed in their roles.

Her activity within the industry has never been limited to the office. She is an active member of Meeting Professionals International – Chicago Area Chapter (MPI-CAC) where she was named one of Tomorrow’s Leaders and given the Service Committee of the Year award for Sponsorship. Melissa also served three years on the chapter’s Board of Directors. In recognition for her work on behalf of the industry, Connect Corporate recognized Melissa as one of the “40 under 40” in 2019.

Melissa caught the travel bug early with family trips to places like Hawaii and London. This love of travel manifests itself in an ongoing goal; to receive a new passport stamp every year. When she’s not on the road, she loves living in Chicago, exploring the neighborhoods and sampling local brews. She has an adorable pup named Penny, but you should only ask about her if you’re prepared to spend a long time looking through photos.

What's your favorite past-time?

For the most part, it depends entirely on the season. In summer, I love taking weekend trips to my family’s lake house in central Wisconsin. In fall, I love watching football and participating in multiple fantasy football leagues. In winter, nothing is better than cozying up on the couch with friends and a spiked coffee or a great vanilla porter. My favorite year round past-time is visiting brew-pubs and tap rooms of craft breweries both in and outside of Chicago.

Favorite city?

Domestic – Chicago truly is my kind of town. International – It’s a tie between Istanbul and Rome

Why do you love working in the events industry?

The tremendous opportunities. Since I love to experience new places, I cannot ignore how much I love and appreciate the travel that comes with the job. I also love that my job can change from one day to the next depending on the project or program. This keeps me sharp as well as strengthens so many different skill sets. As I grow as a meeting planner, I am excited for the various directions my career can take me. This is not a cookie cutter industry and I wouldn’t change that for anything!