Originally published in Trade Show Executive, Aug 2014 Issue
We have all heard the famous quote from Aristotle, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” and while this may be true in some instances, I can confirm that as an association, IAEE reveres its 16 chapters who are connections to the more than 8,000 members who count on us for their professional and strategic development. Each chapter is a community through which members congregate to share ideas, network, create best practices and salute a common cause. They are the grassroots hubs and information centers for everyone at any stage of their career – from those who are new to the industry to those who are leading the way – serving as the networking conduits which drive the professional relationships on which we depend for our progress.
IAEE’s first chapters were officially recognized in 1974 when Chicago (now the Midwest Chapter), Washington D.C. and New York reorganized and granted their charters. Since that time, we have seen chapters form, grow and prosper. A few chapters have disbanded over the years due to geography, but those instances are the exception, not the norm. Chapter administration and activities are driven by the volunteers who have their own “day jobs” in addition to their leadership roles within the chapter. IAEE recognizes and applauds the many talents and efforts of these men and women who donate their time and support their IAEE chapter and its development.
In addition to the frequent face-to-face meetings and events, IAEE’s chapters connect virtually via IAEE’s MemberLink. Through this online portal, chapters can maintain their own chapter communities and provide a way to share ideas, tool kits, polls, presentations, email updates, meeting announcements and more. With real-time updates, chapter members are immediately updated on changes and news as it happens. We encourage the chapters to share their successes regularly to not only engage their own communities but also to inform the greater membership of the new and successful initiatives underway.
Throughout the year, I visit most chapters to understand members’ key priorities and have an open discussion about the trends they are seeing. Whether it’s the impact the economy is having on the attendance of their own events or their discussions with city officials and union leaders about new events or new facilities that are being built, I always am delighted by the fervor and dedication that our members have for the issues that impact our industry. In the instance of the recently-held Women’s Leadership Forum and Exhibitions Day events in Washington D.C., I was impressed by the peer-to-peer support and encouragement of others to attend by our D.C chapter. Likewise, when we hosted CultureCreation in Chicago, the Midwest Chapter was involved from the beginning and part of the planning process. As we turned our focus to CEM Week in Austin, were pleased that the entire week sold out more than a month prior, and I know that the Central Texas Chapter was integral in promoting the opportunity on a local basis. As we prepare for Expo! Expo! in December, we are already working with the Southwest Chapter to ensure that the local organizers and suppliers are part of the planning process and are able to make their contributions for the event in Los Angeles.
IAEE’s chapters’ constant dedication does not go unnoticed or unrewarded. There is no doubt that our chapters are the lifeline to our members, and we celebrate their successes with them. Whether it is a golf tournament to raise funds for a scholarship, the integration of a new student chapter, or an awards ceremony for a member who has achieved unchartered success, we are our chapters’ biggest advocate. They are top of mind.
David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President and CEO