By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager
Molly Hamill, CMP, CEM, Associate Director of Global Sales for IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, has been commended for her actions as a role model for young professionals (YP) and other industry professionals alike. She honorably served on the IAEE Young Professionals Committee for three years, culminating in her leadership as chairperson of the committee, in addition to volunteering on various other IAEE committees. She continuously seeks to incorporate and promote the events profession to other young individuals in and outside the industry through her efforts at IAAPA, as well as capitalize on leadership opportunities.
Molly is a life-long learner who seeks to better herself with education, adoption of technology, usage of social media, and local and national involvement in moving the industry forward. Her personality, attitude and work ethic create excitement around the exhibitions and events industry, as she drives interest from potential YPs and motivates others to achieve more.
Molly’s contributions to the industry earned her the IAEE Young Professional of the Year Award last year, for which she was recognized this past December during virtual Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition (watch the awards presentation and Molly’s acceptance speech here).
Here, Molly shares with IAEE her passion for events, her philosophies on learning and her observations on how YPs contribute to the industry.
Your colleagues applaud your enthusiasm and energy for the industry. What drew you to the exhibitions and events business, and what about it appeals to you the most?
Molly: At university I knew I wanted to work in events, but at the time didn’t know the world of trade shows until my final year. Once I was introduced and saw the whole production, I was hooked. Seeing each piece of the puzzle come together into one large beautiful masterpiece was fascinating. The people are what gives me enthusiasm with what I do each day. Whether it’s within IAEE or the members of the attractions industry, I feed off the energy.
You have been commended for your eagerness to learn and have your CEM designation to prove it! What have been the greatest advantages for you in having earned your CEM, and what words of wisdom would you give someone considering doing the same?
Molly: The greatest advantage I’ve earned is a larger network of other trade show managers to bounce ideas from. I would suggest to anyone considering becoming a CEM to not hesitate, jump in and do it. I would also suggest reaching out to fellow classmates. It does not matter if they’re in a different industry than you, you could learn a solution you have not thought of and bring it back your job
You are very involved with IAEE and have volunteered on multiple committees. What inspires you to serve in the diverse capacities you’ve served and how do you feel it has benefited you?
Molly: I’m a firm believer of the amount of energy you put into something, you will receive the same amount of energy back. I do not want to be the type of member that isn’t active in a community I am passionate about. I want to be able to volunteer my time and knowledge on topics that interest me. I am inspired by other members of IAEE to get involved for the betterment of membership.
You have presented on the subject of attracting YPs to the industry. What do you consider to be the most appealing aspects about this industry for YPs? On the flip side, based on the feedback you’ve received from fellow YPs, in what areas could the industry improve?
Molly: YPs can use their knowledge in what resources are out there to make things easier. Whether that be technology for attendees to easily navigate the conference or expo, or a simple excel formula that saves two days of work. I think an area that the industry can improve on is accepting change. We might not have as lengthy years of service as others, but we are passionate about improving and embracing change within the industries we work and within the exhibitions and events industry.
You are a very successful networker! What advice do you have for those who would like to boost their networking skills?
Molly: I can talk to anyone, but sometimes it’s nerve-racking to make the first interaction. If you see someone else by themselves, take the initiative to walk up to them and introduce yourself. They are probably feeling just as nervous as you are. When I get nervous about approaching someone, I take a deep breath, remind myself they’re here to network too, and strike up a conversation. Anyone can approach me and ask me how my dog is doing, but beware, I might be talking longer than you planned me to be.