March 2, 2021

Jill Garcia | The Business of Meetings Podcast

Today we are thrilled to be speaking with the poster-child of entrepreneurship, Jill Garcia. Jill is the President and Owner of The Hutton Group. She bought the company just before the pandemic and is optimistically looking to the future.

Jill has been in the industry for the last thirty years, and she has a fabulously inspiring story to share with us today. We know that you will enjoy listening to Jill’s story of resilience!

Jill Garcia’s bio:

Jill Garcia is the President and Owner of The Hutton Group – Inspired Meetings & Events, a twenty-five-year-old, woman-owned-and-operated full-service meeting planning company headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. From large-scale events to focused incentive programs, she has planned meetings for groups ranging from 10 to 10,000 attendees. Her meeting planning expertise encompasses all major markets globally to include association, corporate, and SMERF clientele. She can provide solutions as diverse as the clients and industries she serves. With over thirty years of experience in the hospitality industry, Jill has worked for hotels, theme parks, destination management companies, and as a long-time independent meeting planner. Most recently, as a Senior Director of Global Accounts for HelmsBriscoe. In that role, Jill was a top producer. She was earning the President’s Club Award for eleven years running.

Jill holds a degree in Communications from Central Connecticut State University. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband John, a teacher, and her children, both human and furry.

Jill Garcia shares her journey

Jill Carcia moved to Orlando, Florida, with high hopes of meeting some famous people by joining the hospitality industry. She started her career working as an assistant at a hotel and then worked her way up in the convention department. After leaving there, she moved to Universal Studios in Florida, where she was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to run into Steven Spielberg.

After taking some time off to have her children, Jill decided to get into meeting planning and started working with some independent planners around the country. She had some cool experiences doing some independent planning and got an opportunity to join HelmsBriscoe, the largest global site selection company, and work with them for almost fourteen years.

Getting approached to purchase a company

In December of 2019, Jill got approached by a woman she knew who wanted her to purchase her planning company. Jill loved the idea of being able to go out to lunch, entertain clients, and be at client events, so, in February of 2020, Jill committed to buying her company. Then, in March, the pandemic happened.

An event with Steven Spielberg

While working a VIP event in the VP lounge at Universal Studios, Jill got a call saying that a VIP needed to come up to wait for his car. It was Steven Spielberg – the one person in the world that Jill wanted to meet!


Jill believes in fate and not in coincidences. She believes she was fated to meet Shirley Hutton, who sold her the Hutton Group.

Jill Garcia’s love of Pittsburgh

Jill Garcia loves Pittsburgh. She believes it is a fabulous city to hold meetings. She wants to hold meetings there and promote the city.

The right time and the right opportunity

Owning her own company was an evolution in Jill’s life. She had never before imagined that she would have her own company, and when the opportunity came her way, she felt like it was the right time and the right opportunity. She feels a little fearful and also very excited about where things are going for her.

A year from now

Jill believes that a year from now, we will be back to somewhat of a normal state.


If you believe in something and you believe in yourself and your abilities, you can achieve it, no matter what it is.

President’s Club

Jill has been a member of the President’s Club for twelve years. That is an honor you receive for selling a million dollars or more in your business.


Jill believes that sales are about building partnerships. She has been building firm connections throughout her career.

Jill Garcia’s persistence and resilience

Jill Garcia finds it prevalent right now that people are working together to build each other up. It is vital for business owners and people in sales to be persistent and resilient.

Running smoothly

Things are running smoothly for Jill, and being back in a hotel felt fabulous! They held their first hybrid meeting three weeks ago, and it went smashingly!

Trying to get the word out

Times are tough for people right now. Jill and her staff are having a hard time knowing what is appropriate in terms of their next meeting. They are trying to introduce themselves and get the word out, but they don’t want to be insensitive.

Tough times make tough people

Jill knows that tough times make tough people. She understands that from her personal experiences. Tough times push you and show you how strong you are.


Jill is putting a DMC (destination management company) out in the city within the next couple of months. She does not doubt that it will be a huge success.


Jill’s motivation has been coming from so many people losing their jobs, and associations will be needing help. Jill thinks that the floodgates are going to open and they are going to be there at the right time. That will help them bring in some skilled people interested in doing something to keep busy.


The people working for Jill have inspired her. She changed the name of the company to The Hutton Group Inspired Meetings and Events because she feels inspired by what they do. She also wants her employees and her clients to feel inspired by what they do.

Connect with Jill

On Website

On LinkedIn

Connect with Eric: On LinkedIn | On Facebook | On Instagram | Website

If you’d rather watch the video of this interview, subscribe on YouTube

About the author 

Eric Rozenberg

For two decades, Eric Rozenberg has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and produced conferences in more than 50 countries across diverse industries. His focus is creating meetings that are not only breathtakingly memorable but which bring corporate strategies to life and amplify team motivation/performance.

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