No one understands you the way your fellow exhibitions and events colleagues do. 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 the Expo! Expo! Advisory Committee Chairperson, Patricia Giannini Henry, CAE, CMP, CEM. As the Director of Events for APCO International, Patricia shared her takeaways from attending Expo! Expo! and how it has helped her in producing better shows.
Tell us a little about yourself. What are your current responsibilities?
As the Director of Events for APCO International, I oversee all of APCO events including our Annual Conference & Expo with 5,000+ attendees. My role is to ensure that APCO’s events are well planned and executed and that they continue to meet the changing and growing needs of our 32,000+ members. I’m directly responsible for our department’s budget, which includes strategic analysis of past events, budget review and contract negotiations. I’m also in charge of developing a conference marketing plan, year-round marketing campaigns and social media outreach and contests.
Why do you attend Expo! Expo!?
Last year was my first Expo! Expo! experience. I’m looking forward to attending this year’s Expo! Expo! to meet up with friends, industry partners and to learn about new technology and solutions to enhance our events.
How do show organizers like yourself benefit from attending Expo! Expo!?
It is an opportunity for me to step away from the day-to-day and recharge with new ideas and fresh perspectives. It is so valuable to learn how others may have addressed a similar problem and then you are able to take that back to your organization. When you work in an association, you often wear many hats. Every year there is new technology that can help make our jobs easier and the best place to see them all at once is at Expo! Expo!.
As the Chairperson of the Expo! Expo! Advisory Committee, what should attendees expect at this year’s Expo! Expo!?
The team at IAEE really does amazing work with the number of offerings they provide to attendees. There is so much detail given to every moment. At Expo! Expo!, there is something for everyone, whether you’re a First Timer or a seasoned Expo! Expo! attendee. You should expect to be surprised at every turn.
Last year, you attended the education sessions: Transforming Teams: Tips for Improving Collaboration and Building Trust and Inclusive XP: Designing Incredibly Welcoming Experiences. What takeaways did you have from those sessions?
From the session on creating welcoming experiences, I have lots of notes but overall it was looking at your show from someone else’s perspective and asking what could be changed to help them feel more welcome. That includes looking at your speakers, food options, events dates and marketing, just to name a few. The session on transforming teams, we talked about the DISC assessment, how to build trustful relationships in a collaborative environment, appreciating differences and looking at intentions behind actions. Since I lead a team of two internally and a much larger team externally to produce our conference, these tips were very helpful.
Were there any insights from Expo! Expo! that you implemented in your organization? If so, what were they?
I loved the idea of a quiet room that was shared from an attendee in one session and will be considering it for next year. This room can be used for prayer, meditation or simply quiet time. There were several sponsorship ideas, including portable mobile chargers, meeting pods and sponsored sessions, that would work at our show that we are considering next year. And I always take photos of the signage and the micro-session areas for a fresh take on what we are currently implementing.
How do you approach your time spent at Expo! Expo!?
First, I see if any one I know is going through my own social channels and if they are, I try to set up a time to connect with them whether for coffee, dinner or on the trade show floor. Then, I check out all the sessions and search for companies that I know I want to talk to about possible solutions to challenges I am trying to address.
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?
Plan out the sessions and exhibitors you want to see in advance but leave room in your schedule to make adjustments or for impromptu meetings onsite. You will also need some downtime to give yourself a breather and don’t forget those workout clothes to help keep you mentally focused.
What is one event or program that attendees cannot miss at Expo! Expo!?
The receptions are a great way to meet up with friends or industry partners.
Will you be attending this year’s Expo! Expo! in Las Vegas? If so, what programming are you looking forward to experiencing?
Yes. I look forward to the educational component the most, whether that is the campfire sessions, tech bar or the general sessions. I am also looking to see what new event technology is available so I will be reviewing the list of exhibitors in advance and planning out my time to meet with them. And I love to see how IAEE is going to incorporate the host city into the event experiences.
Trade show floor, education and networking…all in one place. Attend the “show for shows” in Las Vegas this year. Register by Monday, 21 October to receive early bird savings.