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Do You Walk the Walk?

Originally published by Trade Show Executive, February 2018 Edition

Do you “walk the walk and talk the talk”? We are now firmly into 2018 and morale is high for this year. Each day we choose how to “show up” in life. As an association leader, I make sure that I “walk the walk” every day when it comes to delivering on my promises to IAEE’s stakeholders.

My daily responsibilities include meeting the expectations of IAEE’s 11,000+ members; the IAEE team of 24 staff associates; the more than 2,000 attendees of Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition as well as the attendees of all other IAEE events and educational offerings; our leadership groups, sponsors, and exhibitors.

How do you choose to “show up”?

My utmost priority is making sure we are listening to our members and what they need from IAEE. One of IAEE’s greatest resources is the communication it maintains with its membership. We are regularly surveying our members in one way or another, whether through formal questionnaires or informal conversations. I find it crucial to really listen to what our members have to say, as their feedback serves as the basis of our planning and vision.

You cannot “square peg/round hole” your offerings and expect members to stay happy. By adapting – and quickly! – to your member feedback, you build on the reciprocating relationship that trade associations are meant to offer.

This continuous communication and feedback extends throughout the organization. I count on the IAEE staff to keep the organization running like a well-oiled machine. Having a team you can rely upon is crucial, and ongoing communication is key to making that happen. The IAEE mission and vision is executed through the work of 39 chapter boards, councils, committees and task forces collectively devoted to successfully executing the many moving parts of the IAEE strategic plan.

It is no secret that companies are very closely scrutinizing their investments across the board, including: What professional memberships should we maintain? What employees do we send to events and how much time should they be away from the office? In what shows should we exhibit and how much space should we invest in? What return on investment will we receive as a sponsor?

So again, I ask you, how do you “show up” each day to make sure your stakeholders are being taken care of? Each day, I strive to provide the best leadership and tools to the team that ensure we are meeting all of our goals.

I have my own set of expectations to fulfill as a proud member of our community. Safety and security have become of paramount importance to the exhibitions and events industry. I feel strongly about raising awareness for the safety and security of our venues because no one wants to see tragedy serve as the impetus for action. Which is why I am committed to advocating the Exhibitions and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI), along with other like-minded organization leaders. I also personally and professionally invest in other advocacy efforts such as Exhibitions Day and Global Exhibitions Day, to hold myself accountable for giving back to the industry that has given me so much.

I will leave you with my one piece of advice for “walking the walk.” Every day, you have the responsibility to be mindful of your stakeholders and the promises you make. Actively make the effort to show up! and deliver on these promises with integrity, focus and determination.

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO

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