Justine McVaney, Senior Vice President of Event Operations & Planning at National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) sat down with IAEE to talk about her career as a Major American Trade Show Organizer and her member experience with IAEE. She is responsible for all event planning, logistical operations, and customer service programs of NAB’s events and conventions. Justine is the chair of the IAEE Executive Leadership Task Force and also serves on the MATSO Council. She has been an IAEE member since 1997!
How did you get your start in the exhibitions industry?
It is a long story, but essentially I thought I wanted to be in politics. However, in each of my early jobs of writing boring legislative briefs I ended up doing some meeting planning work, since there was no one else to do it. I finally had a boss who told me I was really good at meeting planning and asked if I had considered a career in it. I don’t know if she really thought I was good at or whether my briefs were just not that great, but either way I decided she was right and started pursuing a career in this industry.
What advice would you give a new IAEE member or person joining the exhibitions community?
Take advantage of all the education and networking opportunities available. And volunteer! It is a great way to expand your knowledge and network.
What is the biggest challenge in running your show?
Keeping it fresh, keeping it growing, being able to pivot and respond quickly to change.
Tell us a fun fact or story that most people would not know about you.
Golly, a tough one. I think that most people don’t know I went into labor while at work 10 days before my scheduled due date. My husband was at a luncheon when I called him so he let the phone go to voice mail and apparently joked with his colleagues that maybe I was calling to say I was in labor. It was literally four hours from when I went into labor to when my son was born, so thankfully he wisely called me back as soon as he paid the check!
What do you think is the biggest benefit of being an IAEE member?
IAEE is the one place where someone who is in the trade show business can go to learn, grow, and succeed. No other organization addresses the challenges and provides leadership for the trade show industry like IAEE does. It is obviously a great place to go when you are just getting started, but even as someone who has been in the industry for many years, I still find IAEE to be a tremendous resource for me and my organization. No doubt, IAEE has helped me become the successful professional that I am today.