With more than 50 learning opportunities on and off the show floor, over 265 exhibitors, and networking sessions primed for idea sharing, Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition offers attendees a wealth of information they can take straight to their own exhibitions and events. Inclusive to all, Expo! Expo! is a valuable opportunity to those in varying career levels. From a young professional perspective, Expo! Expo! offers tools and resources for career growth in the exhibitions and events industry.
Here, IAEE speaks with Cassie Palacios, CEM, Events Manager at SmithBucklin, who shares her experience at Expo! Expo! and the importance of attending events like this.
IAEE: What do you do at SmithBucklin?
I serve as the lead event planner for two of SmithBucklin’s technology clients. My role includes project management, budget management, future site selection and logistics. One client has a high-profile conference, which co-locates every year and draws about 20,000 attendees. The other organization has two annual events – one in the spring and one in the summer. Each of those events has 1,100 attendees.
IAEE: How do you feel about SmithBucklin investing in their young professionals by helping them attend Expo! Expo!?
Continuing my education in a professional setting is very important to me, so I really appreciate that SmithBucklin encourages me and my colleagues to go to Expo! Expo!. At SmithBucklin, there’s an internal scholarship program, which can help pay for the expenses for us to attend events like Expo! Expo! or enroll in other continuing education opportunities, such as the CEM program.
SmithBucklin also highly values what we learn at Expo! Expo! — which is great. We are encouraged to come back and present our key takeaways or new ideas to the larger Events Services team.
IAEE: In the interview with your colleague Benjamin Rabe, he mentioned that SmithBucklin sends a small delegation to Expo! Expo! each year. One of the takeaways from Expo! Expo! was that SmithBucklin incorporated a more robust exhibitor retention standard after attending an education session.
Benjamin and I attended that education session on exhibitor retention together about three years ago. Within our department, we have semi-regular trade show manager meetings, where all of the trade show leads get together. When we brought back the idea of the exhibitor retention plan, it became a key focus over the next year to ensure that all of our shows have a standard on exhibitor retention.
IAEE: Why is it important to you to attend Expo! Expo!?
For me, networking and education are the two main reasons I attend. The one in Anaheim in 2016 was my fourth Expo! Expo!. It’s been really great to meet people one year and then reconnect with them again the following year. You may chat with them throughout the year, but meeting them in person at the next Expo! Expo! is just better. Plus, you get to meet new people each year. So, I would say networking is number one with education as a close second.
IAEE: What education sessions caught your attention at Expo! Expo! 2016? Did you have any takeaways from the sessions that turned into action once you returned to SmithBucklin?
One session that I really liked was Sponsorships That Succeed 3.0, which was presented by GES. This session in particular talked about new sponsorship ideas and the best way to measure and report sponsorship ROI. Attending education sessions like this has given me the opportunity to bring new ideas back to SmithBucklin and ultimately to improve the experience we provide our client organizations.
In terms of presentation style, I really appreciated the campfire sessions in the exhibit hall. These short 15-minute presentations with quick, bite-sized information are different from the traditional, longer sessions. It’s nice to switch it up!
IAEE: What would you say is your biggest takeaway from Expo! Expo! 2016?
When I attended Expo! Expo! in 2016, I was working on updating our crisis management plan template, which our Event Services team does periodically to ensure our policies are current and relevant. I attended the education session on safety and security called Active Shooters in the Workplace – Are You Prepared?. Although that session was specifically about the workplace, there were some interesting takeaways that I thought we could implement for crisis management on site at an event.
IAEE: What’s your favorite part about Expo! Expo!?
Aside from the networking opportunities and the education sessions, another thing I really enjoy about Expo! Expo! is the CEM classes. As a young professional or anyone who is working toward his or her CEM, it is a great way to get a couple classes done in a short amount of time.
IAEE’s evening receptions, such as the Closing Party and Humanity Rocks, are also my favorites. They’re a great way to network with colleagues outside of the trade show floor and education sessions.
IAEE: What would you say to young professionals who have not been to Expo! Expo! and want to attend?
First, I would encourage young professionals to get involved at the local level within their chapter. It’s a great way to learn more about IAEE and make connections with people early on.
Then, I would also highly encourage them to apply for the 20 Under 30 program as a way to attend. It’s how I attended my first Expo! Expo!. SmithBucklin always encourages at least two people on our team to apply each year.
Once they get to Expo! Expo!, I would encourage them to attend the Young Professional Party and keep an eye out for other young professional meet-ups throughout the week. IAEE does a great job of focusing on various activities for young professionals and finding ways to keep them involved.
Register for Expo! Expo! in San Antonio, TX on 28-30 November!