The O interview: Kate Schmitt, Editor in Chief of CIM

Katrin “Kate” Schmitt is the new Editor-in-Chief of CIM – Conference & Incentive Management. She returned to CIM after seven years break, in which she gained experience in digital as a Social Media Strategist. Her Masters’ Degree “Leadership in Digital Communication” currently enhances her knowledge in digital transformation, design thinking and agile management methods, among other topics. Kate is #inLovewiththeMeetingsIndustry for 16 years, fascinated by congress centres and the close to 360-degrees know-how of #EventProfs.


Describe yourself in 3 words.

Curious, altruistic and ambitious.


What is your professional background?

I started in our industry with my first job at CIM – Conference & Incentive Management, after having graduated with a BA in European Business Management at Cardiff Uni. At CIM, I spent almost nine years and have returned only this year as Editor-in-Chief. In between, I worked for a short period as an Event Manager at Business & Nature in Munich, but I missed the communication-tasks within the job. After that, I only worked in digital as a Social Media Strategy Manager for the biggest Swiss retail company Migros, the advertising agency webguerillas or the national tourism organisation Switzerland Tourism. For the latter, I built their global Social Media marketing from scratch. Today I am pursuing my Masters’ degree “Leadership in Digital Communication” and am so glad to be back in our industry, to integrate print and digital, and to fill the channels with the interesting stories that happen daily.


What do you find most challenging about our industry?

It is a dynamic, heterogenic industry, with many relevant big topics to cover and deal with, such as security, sustainability, law, compliance (which puts pressure especially on Incentives), recruiting, digitalisation or other transformational topics in general. From a journalistic point of view, it feels that we are sometimes spoilt for choice, but are always challenged to work profoundly on the most relevant topics for our readers in the most interesting angle.


What is the best thing about working for CIM – Conference & Incentive Management?

The best “thing”: being part of a great team working in and for a highly dynamic, always interesting and changing industry. CIM is now 30 years old and a well-established brand, with an active community of readers and partners. A great base to build on with the motivated old and new CIM team (we have a new home and publishing house since May 2017). For me personally, the respected CIM-brand facilitates and creates the opportunities to be curious, ask many questions, receive answers from interesting people inside and outside the industry, learn every day, share knowledge, and: to act as a multiplier and an influencer.


Did you have any mentors or people who deeply influenced your career?

For every topic I am working on, I am lucky to find people who mentor me and share their expertise with me, which I am grateful for. I will never forget the conversation Dirk Elzinga in 2001, who was my first interview partner as an intern at CIM. We talked about careers in our industry. He definitely influenced my career, as he took the time to anticipate my first nervous steps – I fell #inLovewiththeMeetingsIndustry instantly. Kerstin Wünsch, the long-term Editor-in-Chief of CIM, was a great mentor as well, as we worked together for almost nine years. Another important mentor for many years and today is Geoff Donaghy from AEG Odgen.


Proudest moments in your career to date?

Tough to say. Maybe the grand finale of my CIM-internship: was talking in front of 160 ICCA colleagues in Cancun 2001. Definitely: every CIM-issue that comes out of print. Maybe: the launch of the global hashtag campaign #inlovewithswitzerland for Switzerland Tourism, which is still running. Surely: the moment I have taken on the opportunity to be the CIM-teams’ Editor-in-Chief this year!


Professionals that you admire and why?

I admire people who are committed, anticipate and drive change, who share their knowledge, who cares. Our industry is full of these professionals. I am impressed by the talent of Paulo Coelho, the intelligence and endurance of Stephen Hawking, and the lateral, courageous thinking of Elon Musk – for example.


Favorite destinations?

Honestly: I haven’t been to a destination that I favourited over others… I am fascinated by each one and am curious to see many many more. Maybe there’s a favourite coming up?


Favourite colours?

Petrol green and plum violet.


Favourite animals?

I love animals in general… maybe cats, dogs and horses a little more than spiders and snakes ;)


Favourite brand(s)?

I don’t have any. But I’d prefer Apple over Microsoft, and Audi over BMW.


Favorite Bands/ Group or artists?

Currently, I love to listen to James Arthur. Such a great, passionate voice. I do like Nick Murphy’s creativity in music too.




Thank you for your time, Kate. We wish you all the best!

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