Earning the CEM designation is a game changer! IAEE interviewed graduate Douglas Lugo, CEM of Informa Exhibitions. Read his journey on earning the CEM designation and why he became CEM game changer!
University of Education: Fashion Institute of Technology
How has the CEM designation helped in your career?
The CEM designation has helped my career in that it provided me with more in-depth knowledge of my trade and has also provided more validation for my standing within the trade show professionals community.
Why is it important to maintain the CEM designation?
The CEM designation is very important to maintain to ensure that you are up to date with industry trends, and applying these new procedures and standards into your respective job.
What made you want to obtain your CEM designation?
I felt the CEM designation was a true symbol of a respective IAEE member’s dedication to their trade. It symbolizes a level of dedication that I wanted to attain and be recognized for.
What advice would you give to an aspiring individual who wants to apply for the CEM program?
The advice I would give to an aspiring individual applying for the CEM program is that if they decide to embark on this journey, you need to dedicate and discipline yourself. The course work is challenging, but extremely rewarding. A person pursuing their CEM designation needs to give 100% to the program to ensure they are getting the most out of it. Also, align yourself with a company that supports this initiative. There is a financial commitment and I am lucky to work for a great management team from the Informa Dallas office who value the program and believe in the benefits it provides its employees.
How did you start your career in this industry?
I started in the industry in 2000 when I was sent to a trade show as a temp worker for inventory control. I had never been to a trade show before so watching this rather strange event go from this total chaotic scene during set up to this majestic atmosphere once the show opened had me mesmerized. I knew from that point trade shows were what I wanted to do moving forward in my young career. The ability to take your work and execute it on site in different cities and different countries was what had me hooked when I started.
How have you made a difference with your show or with working with a client by applying the knowledge you gained by obtaining your CEM designation?
The Security & Risk Management course was one where I felt I really gained the most insight out of all the courses. This allowed me to look at my show through a completely different pair of lenses in ensuring that every exhibitor and attendee who comes to my show is in a safe environment. This has been the most immediate impact from the CEM program.
What was it that you did or implemented right after obtaining your CEM?
I immediately has discussions with my team members to gauge who was interested in obtaining their CEM so they could be put on the path as well. I believe the knowledge received from the CEM program helps every individual grow within their job, and there is nothing more I’d love to see than the folks on my team have the same opportunity.
What did you like most about the CEM Learning Program?
I loved learning and hearing from my peers about the challenges they have operating in their respective positions. It was great to network and meet other industry professionals.
Fun fact about you – What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
The recruiter who called me for the original temp position couldn’t get through because back then I was using AOL dial up which tied up the phone line. After I had been hired full time close to a year later he had told me that he discarded my number because of the constant busy signal and had moved on to the next candidate. He accidentally dialed my number again but since it rang, he just continued the conversation with me. A close call that would have changed the trajectory of my career path had he not accidentally called me back.