2021 IAEE Chapter Merit Award Winner
By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager
Paul Treanor is Senior Manager, Content & Community for Informa Markets Limited and serves on the IAEE Southwest Chapter Board of Directors. IAEESW Chapter members applaud his contributions as an exceptional collaborator and strategist, noting that he always pushes the envelope for excellence. He serves on several chapter committees where he is recognized as an extraordinary contributor, spearheading marketing efforts and tirelessly promoting chapter events so they achieve maximum visibility.
Paul is relentless in his efforts to bolster support for chapter events and always makes sure attendees understand the full benefits of participating in mixers, education sessions and the annual charity golf tournament, its largest fundraiser. He also leads a small group of volunteers that keeps the chapter’s social media, website, surveys and educational sessions running smoothly and timely. Paul retooled the chapter website, including the move to a new platform, and introduced additional helpful apps and services such as new email marketing software.
In addition to his chapter activities, Paul currently serves as chairperson of IAEE’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Committee, among others. His dedication and enthusiasm earned him the IAEE Chapter Merit Award last year, for which he was recognized this past December during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Philadelphia, PA (watch Paul’s acceptance speech here).
Here, Paul shares with IAEE the advantages of taking leadership roles within the chapter and national levels, tips for staying on top of the industry’s tech trends and how he keeps his cool under pressure.
IAEE: You are incredibly active on both the chapter and national levels. What makes you so passionate about the exhibitions and events industry, and how do you see your role within it?
Paul: Everything for me are the actual show days of the events I work on. Witnessing the months of planning come to life and enjoyed by the end users is a blast. Walking the show floor and seeing deals made, connections created, and new ideas sparked never gets old. The anguish and stress that inevitably happen each show cycle is sloughed away but even that can make fond memories. For me, I love big projects and coming up with creative strategies to tackle challenges, and the exhibitions and events industry offers that non-stop.
IAEE: In your nomination, you were literally described as a “MacGyver” type who everyone loves working with, especially given your zen-like demeanor and energetic spirit! Please share with readers how you’ve achieved this amazing balance, and, do you have any tips for when the going gets rough?
Paul: That zen thing is creator gifted and has always been there. I tend to never want to burden anyone with my internal feelings or challenges so my zen demeanor is also a curse. My suggestion for what to do when the going gets rough is analyze the situation, act on the things you can change and avoid being distracted by what you cannot. If there are multiple issues at hand, apply triage to the situation and move on the most dire situation. Also, ask for help from trusted friends and colleagues though I’m a bit hypocritical for saying that.
IAEE: You have been commended for enhancing DE&I efforts of the chapter and now chair IAEE’s national DE&I Committee. What DE&I advancements would you like to see happen within the industry?
Paul: This topic is coming up a lot which I appreciate. A lot of focus is on diversity and inclusion, but these are only two of the three letters of DE&I. The missing piece “Equity” being just as important but rarely discussed or actions taken to solve. There is a pay gap between men and women, for skin color, and massive disparity from the C-suite to front line workers. The opportunity for wealth generation needs to be offered to everyone. The IAEE DE&I Committee is working on a scholarship for high school seniors in underserved communities to enter a college hospitality or trade show program, be mentored by an industry leader, and guided as they enter the workforce. My goal this year is to help get this scholarship funded and all the enhancements needed to develop our workforce and transform lives.
IAEE: You are obviously very tech-savvy and in tune with the latest tech trends, which can seem daunting to those who may be intimated by it. What advice can you offer for staying up-to-date on fast-changing technologies, and what are some of your favorite apps these days?
Paul: Tech these days is the proverbial drinking from the fire hose. Most people who encounter cool, new technology love to share the experience so all it takes is asking. A great resource is reading industry articles and discovering what tech other events are embracing to apply to your own. I am still enamored with Twine (https://try.twine.nyc) having experienced it at WebSummit – the system can make connections using an algorithm with people you have a shared interest or connection with and is a lot of fun in virtual events. Imagine applying this in advance of an in-person show so people can make connections, then meet at the show. GAME CHANGING! I am dying to experience a metaverse event (someone please give me the hook up) and I am going down a rabbit hole figuring out a way to bring NFT, non-fungible tokens, to the show I work on.
IAEE: Your chapter has obviously benefited from having you on board, and is very vocal about it! How have you benefited from your chapter involvement and what would you tell someone wanting to get more involved in chapter leadership?
Paul: Serving on the SWIAEE board has changed my life, and I don’t take that statement lightly. All the people I work alongside have had a transformative effect on my ambitions and capabilities. There are preconceived notions of volunteer boards and reasons not to join from time waste, to lack of time, to not having benefit and all I can say from my experience is that none of this matches the reality. I wish I had become involved sooner and actively encourage people to get started by helping out on a committee – it can be as easy and fast as working a registration desk at a golf tournament or creating a few graphic elements for an email. The connections to be made and the friendships created will far exceed the time and energy you share.
The Call for Nominations for this year’s IAEE Awards is now open! Check out all of the award categories here and be sure to submit your nominations by 31 August!