2021 IAEE Woman of Achievement Award Winner
By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager
Rachel Wimberly, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Tarsus U.S., has built an exemplary career and presence in the industry, garnering great respect and admiration among her colleagues. In her position as an editor at TSNN, she would spotlight female business leaders and give them a platform to talk about their successes and challenges in the trade show industry.
After growing TSNN to the top online news source for the trade show industry with more than 150,000 readers, she was promoted to hold one of the highest titles in an international company and now focuses on M&A for Tarsus’ fast-growing U.S. portfolio, as well as organic growth initiatives and business development.
Rachel has also skillfully applied her leadership qualities during the pandemic, using her role with Tarsus to serve as an invaluable information resource. Her active presence on social media has offered real-time updates as the crisis played out. Additionally, she also helped support Wednesday afternoon “Expochat” sessions, which provided an opportunity for thought sharing and a much-needed sense of community while industry members grappled with the immense changes and loss.
In addition, Rachel has built a reputation as a strong advocate for the exhibitions and events industry and its initiatives. She is a highly respected leader and role model for women professionals as well as a strong supporter of women in the industry, often serving as a presenter, and/or a panelist, moderator or facilitator for thought leader discussions relevant to women.
Rachel’s impact on the industry earned her the IAEE Woman of Achievement Award last year, for which she was recognized this past December during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pa. (watch Rachel’s acceptance speech here).
IAEE President & CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA (left) presents the Woman of Achievement Award to Rachel Wimberly (right) during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2021 in Philadelphia, PA.
Here, Rachel shares with IAEE the importance of reaching out and connecting with industry peers, as well as supporting industry advocacy.
IAEE: The Woman of Achievement Award recognizes a woman who, among other accomplishments, has led the way for women in exhibitions and events. What stands out to you about developing your career in this industry from the female perspective?
Rachel: I have had the incredibly good fortune to have so many amazing examples of knowing women in the industry who I deeply admire and have blazed a trail for the rest of us to follow. I am grateful to all of them (honestly, too many to name!). In addition, at Tarsus, I am fortunate to work with a senior executive team, including CEO Douglas Emslie, who have supported my career path.
IAEE: You obviously excel as an effective communicator. What are your three top pieces of advice for those seeking to improve their communication skills?
Rachel: Most important – please be authentic. I deeply care about our industry and with anything I post, I try to the best of my ability to make sure I am supporting our industry in a positive light. I am not ignoring the negative, we all know what that is already, just choosing to spotlight ways we are moving forward. I also believe consistency is key – keep on posting! And make sure to engage with people, not just post and walk away every time.
IAEE: You have been applauded for your advocacy work on behalf of the industry. What advice can you offer on the process of building your network and establishing yourself as a prominent member within the industry?
Rachel: Honestly, like I said above, make sure to truly engage and make connections with people – online or – even better – in person. Offer to help out without being asked also is key. The more voices we have lifting our industry up, the better, and there is so much that can be done!
IAEE: You have also been very involved in the industry at the grassroots level. Why do you feel it’s important to be an active participant with your local chapter? And, what is your favorite part about it?
Rachel: Our IAEE Mid-South Chapter is so fulfilling to be a part of. The leadership the past few years since we became a chapter has been inspiring, and it’s been great to see our chapter grow. My favorite part is meeting chapter members in person at events like our recent chapter reception at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition.
IAEE: In your experience, in what ways have you seen women advance within the industry and what would you like to see more of?
Rachel: From when I started in the industry more than 16 years ago, there definitely are more women In senior leadership positions. However, I think there is room for many, many more – especially in C-level positions. I plan to continue reaching for the stars and help other women as well rise to the top.
The Call for Nominations for this year’s IAEE Awards is now open! The deadline to submit nominations for this year’s Woman of Achievement Award is 11 February. You can also check out the other award categories here.