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The Importance of Local Chapter Memberships

The local level is where collaboration and empowerment happen to further our industry and make it thrive. Read Betsy Jacoby-Greenleaf's take on the importance of becoming an active IAEE chapter member.

By: Betsy Jacoby-Greenleaf, Owner, Jacoby Expo

It’s no secret that I champion the benefits that come from being a member of a local IAEE chapter. For those of you who don’t know about where I stand on the subject you can read a more thorough review of it here (hint: it glows)

Being a member of IAEE is invaluable but I have experienced – as have many of my colleagues – that getting involved at the local level is where the greatest discoveries are unearthed.

When you become involved at a local level you get connected with people who know and understand what is happening at a grassroots level in your area. They are the cornerstone of the foundation that makes up IAEE.

It’s at the local level where collaboration and empowerment happen – think of it as a little trade show magic.


I know how I feel about being a member of local IAEE chapter but I was curious to hear what others were saying about their experiences at the local level. So, I reached out to a few of my fellow trade show colleagues to get their feedback on what their experience has been like.

Would they give their experiences a glowing review too?

To put it succinctly…YES.

In Their Words

Everyone I asked said they would highly recommend getting involved with a local chapter.  For them, it’s more than just a meeting, it’s a place to find common ground and exchange ideas.

Wendy Holliday, Executive Director for PLM World, said that attending local meetings are a great way to “renew and energize our professional lives.”

A common sentiment was that being part of a local group made a profound impact on their professional associations.

It’s the integral relationships made during meet-ups that have helped to spur them to do more and be more.

Attending a meeting isn’t a sedentary act, it will motivate you to make changes and rise to new heights.

The Networking Factor

Those of us in the trade show industry do a lot of networking so events geared toward meeting new people and swapping information are commonplace.

Which is both good and bad.  It can be difficult to determine which ones will leave you empty-handed and which ones will be worth your time.

Let me tell you, the networking opportunities through your local IAEE chapter are unique and set apart from all the rest.

It’s not just another networking group and I’m not unique in saying this.


President of TSNN, Rachel Wimberly noted that the networking through her local IAEE “can’t be found elsewhere at this level of connection.”

And the praise keeps coming…

“There are no other groups in our industry that does this type of networking.  Others focus only on traditional education, but what I love about this one is that it’s a mix – education and social events,” replied Wendy Holliday, when asked what she would tell others about the networking opportunities through IAEE.

My friend and fellow MidSouth chapter member Ben Dunlap, Regional Vice President at Map Your Show, described the networking opportunities as an “excellent place for getting together to discuss topics in the industry.”

I couldn’t agree more.

The Heavy-Hitters

We might not voice it out loud, but deep down we all want to know if our memberships will give us access to some of the biggest names in the industry.

There no shame in wanting to rub shoulders with the best of the best and for many people deciding whether or not to join their local IAEE chapter, this can be a big deciding factor.

Heavy hitters are attractive to people who are thinking about joining because “it demonstrates that if it’s important enough for heavy hitters, then it must be worth it,” says Sandy Chapin, Show Director of SEMICON West, “I think it’s important.”

The value you receive can’t always be measured.  For Wendy Holliday, it’s about connecting with others who are in a similar position, “If I am seated at a local event next to someone who does the exact same thing I do, only at a different association or company, the conversation can be immensely helpful both personally and professionally.”

Well spoken, my friends. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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