Wendy Parker Barsell CEM, APR, Executive Director of Florida Swimming Pool Association
Hometown: Hobe Sound, Florida
University of Education: Florida Southern College
How long have you been an IAEE member? 18 years
IAEE Chapter: Southeast Chapter
How did you start your career in this industry?
In 2001 I was hired as communications manager for the Florida Swimming Pool Association. About a year later the trade show manager left. I had a background in events so stepping in to manage the trade show seemed logical. When I took over it was a tabletop event at a hotel; in the 18 years in which I’ve managed it we’ve grown to 36,000 NSF at the Orange County Convention Center.
How has IAEE shaped your career?
Going to the Expo! Expo! and IAEE classes gave me access to a network of professionals who had tips and solutions. I knew early on that earning the CEM would be an opportunity to make trade shows the core of my career. Attending classes on various topics provided insight on previously unknown strategies and opportunities. The annual trade show is my favorite part of the job!
What advice would you give to a new member?
Take advantage of the numerous opportunities which IAEE offers for learning – be it webinars, discussion groups, chapter meetings and Expo! Expo! Building a network of industry peers makes it more rewarding and will make you a more successful individual.
Fun fact about you – What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
In high school I dressed up as a fish to promote water safety to children at preschools and community events.
What do you like most about your chapter?
The Southeast Chapter does a great job with programming and communications.
What community service projects do you like to be involved in? Why?
I tend to favor community service projects which are youth oriented. For five years I’ve been a Girl Scout leader for my daughter’s troop, but was also a leader and volunteer for several years right after college.
What would you say is the #1 IAEE member benefit?
What do you like most about Expo! Expo!?
Attending Expo! Expo! give you access to a network of professionals who have tips and solutions for almost any issue you may be facing. Getting to know people in-person in a somewhat relaxed setting makes it that much easier to become friends and call on them for guidance after returning to the office and for years ahead.
How do you use CEIR research, and what reports have you downloaded?
I download all reports which are provided and utilize them as a resource for comparison of our event. Having industry research legitimizes reports and proposals to our board.
Without using a specific company name, what new technology on the market can you just not live without? Why?
An association community mobile app which allows us to have member engagement on our events and association activities throughout the year.
How do you currently use social media for your events?
Our digital team develops comprehensive plans for each platform to engage members and build association brand awareness.