By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager
Brad Hobson, CEM made a name for himself in the IAEE Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter by continually going above and beyond the call of duty. He has served on the chapter’s Board of Directors as a Director, Treasurer and currently, Chairperson. Brad also serves on the Collin College Hospitality Curriculum Board and spends countless hours working with the college and speaking face-to-face with students, in addition to serving on the chapter’s Young Professionals Committee and the national IAEE YP Committee.
His hard work and dedication earned him an IAEE Merit Award in 2015, which recognizes individuals whose ideas and/or work have benefited IAEE as an organization in some special way, and is generally reserved for those who have stepped forward at the chapter and/or local level. Here, Brad shares his thoughts about being a chapter leader and the YP point of view.
You have been very prolific on the IAEE Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter Board of Directors, serving in various officer positions. What challenge has each office held for you and what was your approach to meeting these challenges?
The biggest challenge I can think of is time management. During the first year, as I became more involved in the various projects and tasks, I realized just how many opportunities there were for my time. I quickly learned there was a delicate balance between my personal life, full time job and professional volunteerism. It has been a learning experience to balance all of them.
The most influential part of time management with Board activities was the team I have worked with. Lucky for me, our Board of Directors event schedule varies a little, so when one of us was planning or executing an event with our full time job others were able to step in and take up the slack.
The second most important item for managing time is supportive management. My leadership has been very understanding with the time dedication for Board related tasks and open to some odd work hours. Resources have been offered for me to attend events such as happy hour networking events, Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition, and education sessions for the Board through Freeman. This has truly been amazing. This type of support from inside and outside the Board of Directors makes taking on the additional work worthwhile.
Your leadership to the IAEE DFW Chapter has culminated in your serving as this year’s chairperson. What will you focus on during your term?
I am very honored with the support and mentorship I have received to get where I am in my career. Every good leader has a great support system behind them and mentors that have helped them reach their potential.
I have had two main goals since joining the chapter. My first is chapter involvement and succession planning. The Board has historically been a smaller one, with 5-7 members at a time. Going into 2016, we are well on our way to growing to a full 8- 10 active Board members and additional support on committees. The more Board members that we have “around the table,” the more we can get done as a team. I am truly excited to see what the next year has in store as we grow and plan for the future.
My second goal has been growing involvement with young professionals and college students. The DFW Chapter has historically had a relationship only with Richland College, but we have grown to become involved with Collin College. Our next move is to work with University of North Texas. YPs make up at least half the Board this year. As I exit my YP years I hope to show those younger than me the advantages of membership and the value of growing your professional network. I am enjoying passing along the investments others have made in my career.
You are very involved with advancing IAEE’s initiatives for young professionals on both the local and national level. What would you consider one of the main concerns that YPs express with regards to their future in the exhibitions and events industry? Conversely, what do YPs find most appealing about the industry?
On a personal level, I always saw the industry full of “older” senior leadership. When I started in the industry, I was not able to make a network of “peers” that shared common interests and similar work challenges. I reached out and became involved in the local chamber events and broader focused groups. I even got my real estate license to fill some of my spare time.
There was little “membership” in our industry, as I saw it. In the recent years I have seen a shift in membership and the type of members. Many organizations are now bringing together YPs and college students for networking. They are also creating opportunities for the more seasoned generations to mentor the YP generation. This has made this industry more appealing to me, and I know for the next generation joining the ranks.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far as an exhibitions and events professional? When you look into the distant future, where would you like to see yourself?
I have had many opportunities with Freeman and have been allowed the freedom to take just about any adventure set before me. My management team has been completely supportive of my involvement in these extracurricular activities. Along the way, I have made several friends across the nation and in all parts of the industry. I have built a network of mentors that are always willing to lend a hand or talk me through a challenge. I would say my network would be my greatest accomplishment.
The 2016 Call for Nominations for the IAEE Awards is now open! Visit www.iaee.com/awards for more information about the various award categories and their corresponding criteria as well as submit your nominations for deserving colleagues whose outstanding efforts merit recognition.