Educating the Next Class of Organizers

Originally published in Trade Show Executive, Feb 2015 Issue

I strongly believe in the value of the exhibitions and events industry —it has supported my family and has provided me with a rewarding career. I wish I would have known at an early age the opportunities the industry provides.

It’s rare to go one day without reading an article regarding millennials and young professionals. We have a collective need to educate the youth of today on the exhibitions and events industry being a career of choice rather than happenstance; a career that provides many opportunities and the ability to move around in different roles and positions.

At IAEE, our strategic plan is short and concise with two pillars – advocacy and education. In addition to advocating the value of our industry on generating commerce and its impact on economies, we are also advocating the industry as a career. We have made strides by outlining a career path for students exploring a career in the exhibitions and events industry. We now have the foundation necessary to better assist students and young professionals understand what a career may look like and the competencies and skills needed.

We expanded our faculty and student initiatives over the past two years, and have been successful in adding student chapters. IAEE’s great chapters and young professionals are working together to bring more awareness to colleges and universities. Our collective efforts will support the newest graduating classes and working young professionals. Additionally, the CEM program, a cornerstone of our career path initiative, provides the next step in continuing professional development for young professionals.

Mentoring is important to preparing our workforce of tomorrow. Think back to when you were new in this industry, or young AND new. Some of us were lucky enough to have a mentor; however, I am guessing most were not. Either way, we learned some valuable lessons along the way. IAEE receives requests for mentors from young professionals, and we want to expand our ability to provide mentors to students who are studying and will be looking for a job. We are developing a more formalized mentor program and we hope you will join us by volunteering to be a mentor. If interested, please contact Lisa Buchanan at lbuchanan@iaee.com.

As industry professionals, we owe it to ourselves, our exhibitors and our attendees to make sure the next generation of industry professionals is ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow. I hope you will agree that we can no longer find it acceptable for students and young professionals to “fall into this industry.”

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President and CEO
IAEE

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