By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager

When Dan Traver, CEM, Business Development Vice President at Freeman, became Chairperson of the IAEE Midwest Chapter, he infused a shift in mentality that made the Board more willing to take chances, invest in new ways to approach programming and, in a lot of other very subtle ways, brought the Board together to meet and exceed goals. His gentle demeanor, sense of humor and intelligence enabled him to change mindsets and get some buy-in on ideas that had never been tried. Dan’s leadership earned him the IAEE Merit Award, 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, Dan discusses the benefits of chapter involvement and building strong relationships within the exhibitions and events industry.

View the IAEE Chapter Map

You have been credited for being an “outside the box” thinker during your term as Chairperson of the IAEE Midwestern Chapter. What were some of the new initiatives you pursued during your term and what inspired them?

It was my passion to get the Young Professionals program started in our chapter. Freeman sponsored YPs at several chapter programs and events. I reorganized the thought process of leadership in the chapter. The Executive Committee was more unified in making decisions and being responsible for their roles. I allocated funds to paid speakers, instead of relying on free and local people for our educational sessions.

Your chapter colleagues praised your ability to convince others to move outside of their comfort zone. How do you approach presenting new ideas that you know may need some convincing?

  1. More of a focus on the committee members, and making each of them accountable for what they signed up for.
  2. Keeping our meetings focused and not allowing us to drift off in a direction that wouldn’t benefit the chapter.
  3. Promoted active involvement in the charity events and led participation. Lead by example.

As someone who is very involved with your local chapter, how do you balance your extracurricular commitments with your regular schedule? What would you say to someone who wants to be involved in their local chapter but may be concerned that they don’t have the time?

This can be a challenge based on the industry we live in. However, you must put the events on your calendar well in advance and try and block those dates off.  Local chapter participation is as important as anything we do with our career. The industry in this region needs to continue and get closer and with a must-attend attitude will increase the local involvement and help continue to grow this great chapter.

View the IAEE Chapter Calendar of Events

What have you found most beneficial from your chapter involvement and how has it enhanced your overall experience in IAEE and/or the industry as a whole?

Relationships. This business is all about face-to-face and IAEE gives us the platform to interact with people from all sectors of the industry.

You have been an IAEE member for nearly 10 years. What advice would you give a new member for making the most of their IAEE experience?

Try and attend as many meetings as possible. Apply to be on a committee. Be a face and not just a name.

The 2016 Call for Nominations for the IAEE Awards is now open! Visit 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.

Posted by Elizabeth McQuade

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