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Our Staff - 800-958-8875

Spend some time getting to know the professionals who are devoted to making your meeting a success.


Barbara L. Louis, CMP – CEO & CFO, Meeting Manager

LEADERSHIP: Barbara Louis, Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), has worked as a professional and a volunteer in the meetings and association management industry for over 30 years. 

ENTREPRENEURSHIP: In 1989 she formed the company, Creative Meetings Inc. with a partner, and their first contract was for the National Association of Women Business Owners, Minnesota Chapter’s (NAWBO-MN) Conference.  In 1996 Barb became sole owner of Best Meetings Inc.  Best Meetings Inc. provides comprehensive services to associations, corporations and government agencies in the areas of association management and meeting, event, convention and trade show planning.

MEETING PLANNING AND ASSOCIATION EXPERTISE: Barb served as program coordinator for the Upper Midwest Health Conference managed by the Minnesota Hospital Association from 1980 to 1984. The conference had 9,000+ registrants, 290 exhibits and 135 educational programs. Barb coordinated and developed all education programs with volunteers from five states and the Province of Manitoba.  She was responsible for marketing, meeting planning and the development of computerized registration. 

Barb served as director of education, convention and membership services for Care Providers of Minnesota from 1984-1989.  In this position, Barb administered a budget of over $325,000.00; developed the content for all educational offerings; negotiated with speakers, properties and vendors; worked with the board of directors and committees; developed and implemented the marketing of all education and convention activities.  As director of membership services, Barb supervised the association’s communications, weekly mailings, quarterly magazine, corporate name change and new look. 

In 1994, the Minnesota Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care (MN-DONA) contracted with Creative Meetings to manage their annual conference.  In 1996, MN-DONA extended that relationship with the newly formed Best Meetings Inc. and engaged in a contract to provide comprehensive association management services.  Best Meetings Inc. was instrumental in MN-DONA’s 40% increase in membership.  Best Meetings helped move them to the ‘next level’:  This was accomplished by increasing the benefits to members, developing a web site, computerizing their bookkeeping, developing the budget, setting up a membership renewal process and providing easy access to the organization through a central location.

In 2003, the Pharmaceutical Management Science Association contracted with Best Meetings Inc. for association management services.  Best Meetings Inc. assisted in the development of their vendor showcase and increased vendor participation.  Best Meetings Inc. developed a system for the Call for Abstracts and experienced an increase in the number of papers submitted.  Best Meetings Inc. identified how they could benefit from new revenue streams that previously had gone to the contracted meeting planner.
In 2006, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Minnesota Chapter and the Minnesota Legal Administrators Association contracted with Best Meetings Inc. for association management services.  Barb is AAML MN’s Executive Director.

In 2010, the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology Minnesota Chapter and Conflict Resolution Minnesota contracted with Best Meetings Inc. for association management services.

In 2011, the International Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, USA Chapter, contracted with Best Meetings Inc. for association management services.  Barb is IAML USA’s Executive Director.

All of the above mentioned organizations along with many continuing clients have contributed to the success of Best Meetings Inc.

RECOGNITION:  In 2011, Barb was selected to receive the Minnesota Meetings and Events Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  In 1992, Barb was given a "Volunteer Award - Finance Committee" presented by Meeting Planners International, Minnesota Chapter.  In 1991 Barb was awarded the "Planner of the Year" presented by Meeting Planners International, Minnesota Chapter.  In 1987 Barb received an “Excellence in Education Certificate" presented by the American Society of Association Executives. Barb received her Certified Meetings Professional (CMP) designation in 1991.

AFFILIATIONS: Barb served as President of Meeting Professionals International, Minnesota Chapter and held a variety of Board positions from 1989 to 1995.  Since 2001 she has served on the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Resident Care Committee and Board Development Committee, for Jones-Harrison Residence, Minneapolis, a not-for-profit long term care and assisted living facility, and is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors.  In 1989, she chaired the Community Partnership Advisory Committee for the Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce.  Barb chaired the Government Advocacy Committee for Meeting Professionals International, Minnesota Chapter.  Barb was recently asked to be on the Meeting Professional International’s Business Research Panel.

COLLABORATION & TEACHING:  During the 1990’s Barb helped her professional association develop a Certified Meeting Professional Study Group, developed training courses in meeting management that were presented through Anoka Technical College. In addition, Barb has served as an instructor for several Certified Meeting Professional Review Courses.

James Louis – MS, CMP, CAE – President & CIO, Specializing in Association Management

James Louis is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), and the Chief Information Officer for Best Meetings Inc. Jim recently graduated with a Master’s of Science in Organizational Psychology and Non-Profit Management.  While pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree, Jim started an online business selling various specialty products – combining his computer skills and expertise with his entrepreneurial interests.  Jim received his B.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and his first Master’s Program focused on multi-disciplinary studies in human relations. 

Jim’s professional background includes experience as an operations manager, retail store manager and salesperson for several large organizations.  Jim works with our clients to develop on-line registration programs, as well as the development and maintenance of their web sites.  He negotiates contracts and is a meeting planner.  In 2006 Jim was a founding member of the Meetings Community (MeCo), a listserv with over 3400 meeting professional members internationally. 

Jim joined the Shakopee Jaycees in January 2010.  For 2011 Jim was the Shakopee Chapter’s Membership Development Director. In 2012 Jim took on the State Conventions and ONTO Program Manager positions.

RECOGNITION:  In May 2011, Jim was selected the “Planner of the Year” by the Minnesota Chapter of Meeting Professionals International Minnesota Chapter (membership 475).  In January 2011, Jim received the “Minnesota Jaycee of the Year” Award.  In February 2009, Minnesota Meetings and Events Magazine gave Jim the Editor’s Choice Award for Best On-line Forum.  This award is in recognition of his work on the Meetings Community (MeCo) listserv.    


Cathy Olsen is the database manager and customer service representative.  Cathy processes registrations, credit card payments and maintains membership databases for Best Meetings Inc.’s clients.  Cathy has worked for Best Meetings Inc. since we opened our doors in 1996.

Deanna Merdink is our office manager and on-site registration representative.  Leila provides bookkeeping services to a number of our clients and works with our accountant on our accounts payable and receivable.  She is responsible for issuing client invoices and coordinating payroll.  On-site she coordinates registration services for a variety of clients.

Susanne Becker is our newest member. She brings a variety of skills from customer services to writing. 

Why Consider Best Meetings Inc.? - 800-958-8875

Find out what sets Best Meetings Inc. above the rest.

Best Meetings Inc. provides a comprehensive array of meeting planning and association management services.  Incorporated in 1996 with a vision to become the ‘best’ in the meeting industry: the best in service, the best in value and the best in quality, our vision today has grown to also include the best in association management services. 

At Best Meetings Inc. it’s more than just a meeting – it’s about your business and making it a success!

The ‘Best’ in Service:

  • Integrity:  We deliver what we promise.
  • Your success is our success: Our creative and talented staff members are proactive and service-oriented.
  • Response:  At Best Meetings Inc. our clients always receive a quick response and fast turnaround time. 

The ‘Best’ in Value:

  • Fiscal Responsibility:  We know that the viability of any organization is based upon keeping a keen eye on the bottom line.  At Best Meetings Inc. we assist clients in the development and implementation of their budgets and effectively negotiate with vendors and service providers.
  • Freedom:  We manage the details allowing our clients the freedom to concentrate on projects, goals and future direction.
  • Cost-Effective:  Exceptional service at a reasonable price.

The ‘Best’ in Quality: 

  • Recognized Leadership in the Meeting Management Profession: Our CEO is a Certified Meeting Professional, an award recipient and participant at the board level in professional and business associations.
  • Stability: All employees of Best Meetings have a proven track record, with over 80 years of combined industry experience in the meeting planning and association administrative fields.
  • Meeting Management Experience:  Best Meetings Inc. works with their clients to plan, manage and carry out over 50 meetings/conferences a year.
  • Association Management Experience:  Best Meetings Inc. works with associations to manage their business from the level of Executive Director through clerical support.

Professional Memberships / Affiliations

Our resources help us go further to make your event the Best.

Best Meetings Inc. Professional Memberships & Affiliations

  • AMC Institute
  • Meeting Professionals International
  • Professional Convention Management Association
  • Saint Paul Convention & Visitors Authority
  • Meetings Community (MeCo List Serve for Meeting Professionals)
  • Shakopee Jaycees


  • 2626 E. 82nd St. Ste. 270 Bloomington, MN 55425
  • (800) 958-8875
  • (952) 858-8875



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