By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager
Angi Van Berg, CEM is Vice President of Trade Show Sales for Louisville Tourism. An IAEE member since 2001, she has served on various IAEE committees and task forces. In 2017 IAEE welcomed its newest chapter, the IAEE Mid-South Chapter, which credits Angi greatly with its very existence. She was instrumental in organizing and driving the initiative that led to the chapter’s formation. The IAEE Mid-South Chapter now boasts over 300 members (and growing!) thanks to her efforts.
Although it may be one of IAEE’s newer chapters, the Mid-South Chapter hit the ground running! It has held several great gatherings, including social giving events such as volunteering at a food bank in Cleveland and the Ronald McDonald House in Indianapolis, to name a few. This dynamic young chapter hailed its fearless leader by nominating her for the IAEE Chapter Merit Award in 2018, which she was awarded for her service and dedication.
Here, Angi shares with IAEE her thoughts on leadership, relationship building and what the future holds for the IAEE Mid-South Chapter.
IAEE: What inspired you to take the initiative in organizing the IAEE Mid-South Chapter?
Angi: My mentors in the industry really inspired me. When I started at the Louisville Convention Bureau in 1996, we had an IAEE Chapter called the Ohio Valley Chapter. After it folded, I missed having a network of IAEE members in our region and many of the original leaders from the Ohio Valley Chapter were instrumental in the launch of the new chapter. I really shouldn’t get credit… they should: Mike Cox with Fern; Warren Sellers with Sellers Expositions; and many others have worked hard to build the chapter.
IAEE: What part did you like best about the process? What was most challenging? Were there any surprises?
Angi: I am a relationship-driven person and a connector by nature, so I have enjoyed learning what strengths each board member can bring to the table and working together toward a common goal. The challenges have really been minimal because of the great support from Lisa Buchanan at IAEE’s national office. No surprises… YET!
IAEE: As the current chapter chairperson, what are your most pressing goals for this young chapter and what do you consider your best strategies for accomplishing them?
Angi: Our board had a strategic meeting to discuss the 2019-2020 calendar of events. We decided that we would focus our efforts on one signature, annual face-to-face event and fill in the rest of the year with regional meet ups. That signature event has been scheduled for 15-16 July at Belterra Casino which is in Indiana, but borders Kentucky and Ohio (perfect location for our chapter!). We have some great educational content being developed, including golf/spa options and a CPR training session for attendees to keep in the forefront of all our minds the life-saving CPR given to long-time IAEE member Terrence Donnelly by a hotel GM.
IAEE: You obviously appreciate the benefits of being involved in your local chapter. What would you tell someone interested in becoming more involved with their local chapter, and perhaps even taking on a leadership role?
Angi: We need your ideas and energy! Starting from the ground up gives us a lot of flexibility to create a chapter that has a unique brand and culture.
IAEE: Speaking of leadership, you clearly do not shy away from stepping up to the plate. Where do you find your information/motivation/inspiration for taking on the role of a leader?
Angi: Leadership comes in many forms and the style that seems to fit my personality is more along the lines of a coach. I like working within a team rather than independently. I like pulling out or highlighting others’ strengths and am quite comfortable laughing at my shortcomings. I enjoy working with people that work hard but also like to celebrate the results of hard work.
IAEE: As the driving force behind its formation, what is your vision for the long-term future of the IAEE Mid-South Chapter?
Angi: This chapter has the potential to double in size in the next five years. We represent four states that have an untapped grassroots desire to connect with other IAEE members. The first two years we really were working hard on establishing the board, the events, and the communication tools and finances. The next two years we can really focus on growing the membership. If you live in Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana and want to learn more, please reach out! firstname.lastname@example.org (Shameless Plug! 😊)
Here’s what Angi had to say when accepting the Chapter Merit Award this past December at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2018 in New Orleans, La.