By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager
Julie Pazina, CEM-AP, National Director of Sales at Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services has made a name for herself in the industry as an enthusiastic advocate for exhibitions and events. She started her career at Edlen in 2006 overseeing sales in the Las Vegas market, as well as regional and national sales efforts. An IAEE member since 2006, she has made her mark on various committees and task forces through her hard work and dedication.
Julie’s nomination included support from long-time IAEE members and industry veterans who commended her for her industry involvement, including a very active history with her local chapter. She is also well-known among young professionals as a welcoming force who is generous with her knowledge and experience. Notably, she was one of two recipients of the IAEE Young Professional Award when the category was created in 2011.
Julie also served on the Board of the Las Vegas Hospitality Association for six years, including her tenure as President in 2013. She is a member of the Junior League of Las Vegas and an active community volunteer. Julie also currently serves on the International Association of Venue Managers Convention Center and Industry Affairs Committees.
In 2018, she ran for a seat in the Nevada State Legislature. Although new to politics, Julie gave the incumbent quite the challenge and lost by a small margin. All this in addition to working full time, staying on top of her commitments to IAEE and volunteering within her community. In September 2019, she was appointed by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak to serve as a member of Nevada’s Commission on Tourism.
Julie has demonstrated her support of women’s issues and acts as a mentor to young female professionals. Her bountiful energy and tenacity exemplify the professional qualities the IAEE Woman of Achievement Award intends to recognize, thus earning her the award in 2019. This award is presented during the IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum each year.
Julie was also recognized this past December during the Annual Networking Luncheon and Awards Presentation at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada (pictured below with IAEE Awards Committee Member Charlotte Pearson, CEM and IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA).
Here, Julie shares with IAEE her thoughts on why she loves the industry, her approach to achieving work/life balance, and how she hopes to continue inspiring women to pursue more leadership roles both within and outside of exhibitions and events.
IAEE: Your Woman of Achievement Award is preceded by the inaugural Young Professional of the Year Award nearly a decade ago. Did you expect to be as involved in the industry as you are when you entered it, and what drives your passion for making a difference?
Julie: Great question! I love this industry and hope to still be a part of the events and tourism industry far in to the future. It is easy to be passionate about what you love and I have been fortunate to have mentors and colleagues that inspire me every day.
IAEE: You have been applauded for your ability to make others feel welcomed to the industry and your willingness to share your knowledge. What do you emphasize the most to those you mentor?
Julie: I feel incredibly fortunate to have met so many outstanding and driven young professionals new to the industry. My advice is to always focus on learning and engaging in the industry. I have made some of my closest friends through volunteering on committees and engaging in continuing education. It is never too early or too late to learn!
IAEE: You are among the very first graduates of the CEM – Advanced Professional (CEM-AP) program. What made you decide to take this next step in your IAEE certification journey and how do you feel it influences your career?
Julie: Education has always been incredibly important to me and I was excited to see what lay beyond the traditional CEM course study. I really enjoyed the smaller, more intimate class size of the CEM-AP program and Dr. Sam Potolicchio was engaging, inspiring and really connected with our class. I left the training feeling more motivated and ready to face any professional and personal challenges, and armed with communication and leadership techniques that were immediately applicable in my life.
IAEE: As a woman in the industry, what advances have you seen for/by women and what would you like to see more of?
Julie: There were fewer females in leadership roles when I joined the industry and it has been exciting seeing the number of women in leadership positions really grow in the past decade. It has been wonderful to see an increased emphasis on education aimed at women maximizing their communication and leadership potential. I would like to see more women in leadership positions throughout the events industry and beyond. It is important for students and young women joining the industry to see successful professionals who look like them, and to feel that their career trajectory is limitless.
IAEE: In 2018, you made a bid for a seat in the Nevada State Legislature. What inspired you to make such a bold move and what were your biggest takeaways from that experience?
Julie: Running for office was one of the scariest experiences of my life, but also one of the most fulfilling. Nevada is the first state in the country with a female majority legislature and I was a part of moving towards that achievement. Deciding to run for office was a very personal decision because running as a female opens candidates up to a number of very personal attacks that men don’t often face. I felt strongly that the trade show and hospitality industry should be represented in Nevada’s legislature and that I could bring the voice of Nevadans involved in the industry to Carson City. I met so many young girls during the campaign who never thought they could run for office. Having those conversations with future leaders was inspiring and the best part of the experience.
IAEE: A recurring theme among your colleagues is their admiration for your high energy! What are some of your favorite strategies for balancing your activity and deterring burnout?
Julie: Like so many IAEE members, I am passionate about the events industry, and find myself volunteering and engaging within industry associations and throughout the community. The challenge for me with balance is learning where to engage and when to say ‘no’ to additional responsibilities. It is always a juggling act and the time spent with my husband, friends and two golden retrievers is my best remedy for burnout.
The deadline to submit nominations for the 2020 IAEE Woman of Achievement Award is 28 February! You can also check out the other IAEE award categories and nominate deserving IAEE members for these awards by 31 August!