Mary Ellen Chapdelaine, CEM, is Vice President of Sales at Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services and a member of IAEE’s Chapter Leaders Council. Mary Ellen has been an IAEE member for 20 years. She recently shared with IAEE her perspective on the importance of connecting with her peers and the benefits she gains from her chapter leadership activities.
How did you get involved in leadership within your chapter?
I was recruited by Anna Roa in 1997 to serve on a committee for the Northern California Chapter. She was the Chapter Chair and encouraged me to get involved. Anna was my mentor, inspiration and became a dear friend. She passed away in December after a 31-year career with the Santa Clara CVB. I have been on a committee and/or the Board of Directors since that first volunteer committee position.
What chapter committees do you serve on currently and/or have served on in the past?
I have served on Program and Membership Committees and am currently Chair of the Northern California Chapter.
What have you gotten out of volunteering for your chapter?
I have made many great friends, enjoyed networking opportunities and valuable education. I am passionate about making connections. Connecting people together who will benefit from meeting – that’s what I love to do.
How are you fostering future volunteer leaders?
We have recently made new connections with professors from San Jose University and University of San Francisco. We are working on connecting their students with show organizers to create volunteer opportunities as well as a chance to see a trade show and/or event in progress. We anticipate this will increase their interest levels towards pursuing careers in our industry and foster a new group of future leaders.
What do you find most satisfying about having stepped into a leadership role within your chapter?
Bringing people together – working with our Board of Directors and outreach to our membership. We are committed to providing relevant education and networking opportunities.
What is your favorite chapter activity?
Hosting CEM Learning Program courses. Our chapter has hosted a CEM course in San Francisco since 2011. We felt that bringing a CEM course to San Francisco would provide an opportunity for local members who may not be attending Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition to experience the value of this program and continue towards their certification.