Expo! Expo! is called the “show for shows” for a reason! With over 265 exhibitors across 60+ product categories, Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition provides attendees with a diverse marketplace to view and assess the tools needed to plan and manage successful trade shows and events for years to come. IAEE sat down with Lisa Goecke Malikow, Vice President, Meetings and Tradeshows for the National Restaurant Association, who shares the importance of making connections on the trade show floor.

Tell us a little about yourself. What are your current responsibilities?

As the Vice President, Meetings and Tradeshows for the National Restaurant Association Show, I oversee the strategic operations of the activities taking place on our exhibit floor, meeting space and special events.

Why do you attend Expo! Expo!? And how many years have you attended

I have been attending Expo! Expo! since the early to mid-2000s and try not to miss a year when possible. Expo! Expo! is valuable to me on a variety of levels (education, networking, etc.), but what really drives my attendance is the Expo floor and the opportunity to meet with the suppliers that are exhibiting. As someone who believes in the power of the exhibitions industry, it is important to me to stay on top of the latest trends and resources available to keep our show at the top of its game.

Expo Expo Blog Quote - Lisa Goecke Malikow.png

How do show organizers like yourself benefit from attending Expo! Expo!?

I think show organizers have an obligation to educate themselves on the latest trends in the industry.

What education sessions caught your attention at Expo! Expo! in the past? Did you have any takeaways from those sessions?

I’ve gone to a number of great education sessions over the years, but a recent one that sticks out in my mind was a session I attended last year titled, Can You Escape from this Session? It was all about problem solving and fashioned after the popular “escape rooms.” As producers of live events, we will always be faced with unplanned issues. How you work together to escape them or move forward from them in a positive way is key.


How do you approach your time spent at Expo! Expo!?

I always use the mobile app to plan my schedule and then I consult with my teammates, who also attend, to coordinate who is going to which session. We really look at it as if we are dividing and conquering, so that we can bring the most information back to team members not in attendance.

Why is it important to be involved with one’s local chapter?

As a former board chair for the Midwestern Chapter, I cannot stress enough the importance of being involved at a local level with your chapter. Not only are the education offerings throughout the year valuable, but the comradery and the networking add value to your day-to-day jobs that you wouldn’t always expect. Through the chapter, I’ve gotten to know other show managers and been able to use those connections to discuss industry issues, new ideas and other topics relevant to my work. Without those connections I made at the Chapter level, I’m not sure I would have the same opportunity to discuss and vet through topics.

Expo! Expo!

If you were talking to someone who had not attended Expo! Expo! and was considering going, what would you say to him/her?

I would tell them that I think Expo! Expo! should be on the list for anyone in the exhibitions and event industry to attend annually to keep themselves and their organization abreast of the trends and technologies available. Our industry is far more fast-paced than people think and to stay competitive, you need to stay informed.

What tip would you give to a first-time attendee that you wish someone had told you when you attended Expo! Expo! for the first time?

Do your research and plan your days out – which is honestly the same advice I’d give someone attending my show for the first time, too. To get the most out of your experience, you need to do your due diligence.

What is one event or program that attendees cannot miss at Expo! Expo! that you thoroughly enjoy?

You cannot miss the expo floor! It is called Expo! Expo! for a reason and IAEE has the most robust show floor/vendor mix out of all the industry events (in my opinion).

2017 Crowded Show Floor

Will you be attending this year’s Expo! Expo! in New Orleans? If so, what programming are you looking forward to experiencing?

Unfortunately, I will not be attending this year because I’ll be on maternity leave, but we have a great team of people coming in from the National Restaurant Association Show who will be attending many of the programs including YP events, MATSO programming, CEIR programming and more. I can’t wait to catch up with all of them on their experience when I return to the office after the first of the year!


Trade show floor, education and networking…all in one place. Attend the “show for shows” in vibrant New Orleans this year. Register by 26 October to receive early bird savings.


Posted by Jannat Choudhury

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