By: Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager
Mary Ellen Chapdelaine, CEM joined Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services as National Director of Sales in 2004 and was promoted to Vice President of Sales in 2008. She is responsible for overseeing Edlen’s national sales team as well as marketing Edlen’s services to show organizers, general service contractors and facilities nationwide.
Mary Ellen began her hospitality/trade show career with Sheraton Hotels & Resorts in Minneapolis, MN and Hyatt Corporation in San Jose, CA. She worked for GES Exposition Services for seven years and served as Director of Sales in its San Francisco, CA office until joining Edlen.
Mary Ellen is an active IAEE member, serving as an officer and board member of the Northern California Chapter since 1999. She also participates in the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Northern California Chapter, having served as a committee chair in 2005 and 2006, and was honored with MPI’s “Tomorrow’s Leader” Award in 2006. She was a member of the MPI Board of Directors in 2007-2008, focusing her efforts in creating sponsorship opportunities.
Here, Mary Ellen shares with IAEE her vision for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) within the exhibitions and events industry.
IAEE: What inspired you to serve on the IAEE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee?
Mary Ellen: The IAEE staff and Board of Directors charged this committee with recommending initiatives and programming with the goal of elevating underrepresented persons into leadership roles within their organizations. Another goal was to provide guidance to the IAEE Board on programs designed to embrace diversity both within our membership and leadership positions in IAEE.
IAEE: What has been your experience/observations with how the industry addresses DE&I?
Mary Ellen: During my 30+ years in the trade show and events industry, I have seen the progression of equity policies in the workplace. Our committee will share information to assist our members in formulating policies as well as for those seeking further education for their teams.
IAEE: What overall advances would you like to see in the industry regarding DE&I?
Mary Ellen: I would like to see continued collaboration among our industry associations to promote awareness and advancement of DE&I initiatives. Conversations and collaborations are ongoing within our industry and I hope the momentum continues after business returns to pre‐COVID levels.
IAEE: How do you think that companies can help advance DE&I?
Mary Ellen: Organizations can help advance DE&I by establishing and continually updating their DE&I policies. Ongoing efforts to raise awareness will increase productivity by creating a harmonious and equitable work environment.
IAEE: What suggestions do you have for individuals who would like to learn more about and/or help increase awareness and advances in DE&I within the industry?
Mary Ellen: Follow IAEE for information and educational opportunities about DE&I. By looking inwardly, we can strive for advancements that will benefit the trade show and events industry.
IAEE’s goal is to engage as many members as possible who are willing share their experience to our community on the importance of DE&I. If you have a story to tell, please email Karen Gonzales, CMP, and we will spotlight your experience.