Sarah Griffin, CEM, Account Manager-Events of Czarnowsk
Hometown: Lafayette, IN
How long have you been an IAEE member? 6.5 years
IAEE Chapter: Rocky Mountain Chapter
How did you start your career in this industry?
To be honest, I was born into it. When I was a kid, my single mom was a fundraiser for a not for profit. Which meant my weekends were spent helping at volleyball tournaments, fun runs, and benefits. And my summers were spent stuffing envelopes and typing addresses on solicitation letters.
Then in early 2007, and I was in a bad place. I was young, had no idea what I wanted to do with my degree in Psychology, and had recently moved to the increasingly expensive city of Phoenix. I interviewed with GES and lo and behold, they took a shot with me. Minimal tradeshow experience but plenty of customer service experience, and of course my upbringing. During my first show, a union guy walked up to the service desk and said, “You’re green”, which of course I was! And he imparted a piece of information I have never forgotten. He said to me, “This is a tough industry. But… if you make it a year, you’ll be in it for life.” Considering I’ve been in the industry for 15 years now, he certainly was right in my case!
What advice would you give to a new member?
Network and never burn bridges. Find people to connect with so you can ask questions, you’ll have them. This industry is huge, but very very small! Most likely, you’ll move jobs, you’ll change roles, you’ll go to a different company, and you’ll want and need to have contacts within the industry to support you. We all rely on vendors and other companies to get our jobs done, and you need allies!
Fun fact about you – What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I’ve owned and run 5 different businesses!
What do you like most about your chapter?
The Rocky Mountain Chapter is amazing! We are small but mighty, spread out, but close knit. As a member of the board, I may be a bit biased, but we have big ideas and hard workers who constantly work for what is best for our members and community.
What do you like most about Expo! Expo!?
I LOVE everything about attending Expo! Expo! My favorite year so far was held in New Orleans. It was an amazing experience for me, first, I got to walk the stage for earning my CEM that year. I was so excited for that experience but also the learning and networking opportunities I had were fantastic! On top of all of that, every city that hosts Expo! Expo! does an AMAZING job showing off the best of their area, and as you can imagine, New Orleans had a LOT to show off! One of the receptions was held in the warehouse where the Mardi Gras floats are constructed and housed, so cool! We were led to another reception by a Second Line parade, which was a once in a lifetime experience! Everything together makes for unforgettable memories.