Written by: Amy Drum, CAE, CMP, CEM

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I am very honored to have been selected as a recipient of the IAEE 2017 Bob Dallmeyer Education Fund. My primary goal in applying for this prestigious fund was to help contribute financially to the final few courses required for  earning my CEM certification. As a sole proprietor, I self-fund all of my continuing education, which included the entire CEM program-registration fees for all courses as well as expenses for onsite courses.

My goal in obtaining the CEM was multifold:

  • Learn current standards and information in the industry;
  • Expand the possibilities of my career path within the tradeshow and event industry,
  • Expand connections and collaboration with other industry colleagues from around the globe.

The CEM program appealed to me for several reasons. The program’s unique structure differentiates itself from other certification courses and is incredibly flexible in structure. The curriculum allowed me to focus on the course topics where I needed to close some educational gaps as well as expand my knowledge base in areas I had already worked. It also offered me the opportunity to learn about new market segments of particular interest, where I have not worked. This ability to self-select course topics was highly appealing. Being able to learn new topics/ fields (i.e. consumer shows, finance) provides value to me in the role of show/event manager, who ultimately encompasses all facets of a show/event. Further, it allows me to adapt to the ever changing demands of the workplace with confidence.

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In addition, having a choice between online or onsite course formats – depending on travel, business and personal schedule needs – and instructors are other great features of the CEM. Regardless of the format selected for the courses, both options provided built-in networking opportunities beyond the standard opportunities within IAEE!!  

With the online courses, I particularly enjoyed the weekly step-by-step materials, quizzes and the (sometimes) intensive required reading documents. Also, the Blackboard discussions and communication with other students who had a wide array of show/event experiences was insightful. Sometimes, these online discussions delved into specific topics and issues.

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CEM Courses are available – online and on-site!

This pace was helpful as it allowed time to reflect and consider the issues at hand. It is much easier to do this when one is not “ on the show floor” in the middle of a show and also helps to know that other colleagues have been in similar situations or can relate to the same matter at hand!

With the onsite courses, I enjoyed the face-to-face interaction, the intensive focused discussions, small group exercises and the on-location proximity to event venues.

Overall, learning some new terminology and reviewing show scenarios were particularly memorable and helpful. Further, I enjoyed the ability to apply previously reviewed course material as topics and scenarios provided natural overlapping concepts. The instructor’s thoughtful and pointed participation and comments were informative and helpful.

Having these shared interactions and communication both online and in-person CEM courses provided me with a greater appreciation, perspective and understanding of the industry.  The depth and variety of the instructors’ area of expertise and experiences were also a vital component of the learning process over the last year.


Earning the CEM helps me demonstrate my professional commitment to the industry and showcases that I am current in my skill set. It will help me improve my job performance and onsite skills! It demonstrates my commitment to the industry, self-discipline, and time management, ability to focus, prioritize demands and complete the program.  Ultimately, it should advance my career as I continue in this amazing industry. For me, it is another way I can contribute back to the industry as I have come to recognize the added value of the CEM, and how if fits with the nuances of our industry in a fast moving society and how to meet and exceed constant challenges.

With the CEM, I am ultimately better positioned to serve my clients, customers and the profession.

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Apply for the Bob Dallmeyer Education Fund by 1 September.

Posted by Jannat Choudhury

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