Cookie Smoak, President, ATL Airport District CVB
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
University of Education: Clayton State College
How long have you been an IAEE member? 11 years
IAEE Chapter: IAEE Southeastern Chapter
How did you start your career in this industry?
My career in this industry started with my employment with Delta Air Lines, Inc. many years back. I was introduced into the Tradeshow/Convention Business during my role in Delta Meeting Network which is where I first started attending IAEE which was NAEM back in 1991.
How has IAEE shaped your career?
The interaction and relationships it provided for me early on, with Tradeshow Management were invaluable to my career. We all know this business is very much about relationships and those formed through IAEE have been invaluable. This combined with the educational component gave me a well-rounded understanding of the industry from all sides and relationships that I could draw upon in my quest for knowledge and understanding.
What advice would you give to a new member?
On the supplier side, don’t just go for the tradeshow…..attend the educational seminars. Get in the trenches and soak up all the information you can! Listen to what the Tradeshow Managers are concerned with, know their industry inside and out, know their challenges and understand their solutions. Be involved and active and engage with as many members as you possibly can.
Fun fact about you – What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
The fun fact that most people don’t know about me is my real name is Beverly! But my father worked for Nabisco and nicknamed me “Cookie” at birth. It stuck and no one knows who Beverly is!
What do you like most about your chapter?
The camaraderie among everyone. There is no one that won’t step up and offer to help you if you ask! It’s an amazing group of people.
What community service projects do you like to be involved in? Why?
Any and all. I’ve already participated in one we did at the Food Bank. It’s so rewarding to be able to give back, especially during these times, as I always say, we get what we give. I’m willing to always give!
What would you say is the #1 IAEE member benefit?
For me it is all about the relationships. Forging those relationships with people that you can learn from and share ideas with.
What do you like most about Expo! Expo!?
I love the interaction in person with customers and colleagues! You cannot see eye to eye if you don’t meet face to face and that is what I enjoy best!
Without using a specific company name, what new technology on the market can you just not live without? Why?
We specifically track cell phone data to understand our visitor’s movements, length of stay, top POI’s, Restaurants visited, and average spend. Where these attendees are originating so that we can direct our marketing efforts into these areas.
How do you currently use social media for your events?
We use social media always for any of our events. We work with a company that handles this for us and works very closely with our marketing team. From Facebook, to Twitter, Instagram and Linked-In we ensure any of our events are promoted on these platforms.