By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Elizabeth George, CEM has built a reputation among her peers as an innovator and motivator in the exhibitions and events industry. Serving on the IAEE DFW Chapter Board of Directors since 2016, she has helped attract young professionals and students preparing to enter the industry through volunteering opportunities at chapter events. She has planned and executed several successful YP meet-ups and networking events for the chapter. She also established the committee that helped to award the inaugural IAEE DFW Young Professional Scholarship in 2019, where she was instrumental in marketing the scholarship and recognizing the winner who received complimentary registration and travel for Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition.

On the national level, Elizabeth has worked to further the cause of young professionals in the industry by participating in various IAEE initiatives including speaking at Expo! Expo! as part of the YP learning track. She also spoke at the IAEE’s Fall 2022 YP Meet-up on helping YPs find their voice in the industry. Elizabeth’s enthusiasm and commitment to advocating for YPs, IAEE and the industry earned her the IAEE Young Professional of the Year Award last year, for which she was recognized this past December during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Louisville, KY (watch Elizabeth’s acceptance speech here).

2022 IAEE Awards Chairperson Daniel McKinnon, CEM (left) and IAEE President & CEO David DuBois, CMP-F, CAE, FASAE, CTA (right) present the Young Professional of the Year Award to Elizabeth George, CEM (middle) during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2022 in Louisville, KY.

Here, Elizabeth shares with IAEE how she stays current on industry and technology trends, where she draws inspiration for keeping her work fresh, and the effect collaborating with colleagues has had on her professional development.

IAEE: How did you enter the exhibitions and events industry, and did you expect at that time to build such a successful career in this field? Likewise, what do you tell young professionals or those considering entering this industry to expect?

Elizabeth: I’m one of those people who “fell” into the industry. A friend from my journalism program in college encouraged me to check out a job at Hanley Wood (now Informa Markets) and the rest was history! While I was familiar with trade shows and exhibitions, I didn’t realize how encompassing the industry is. There’s just something about creating a trade show from the floor up and witnessing the connections and inspiration that comes from meeting face-to-face. There is also room for a lot of different skill sets to make an event successful. Although I studied journalism, writing, communication and creative skills have served me well in the last nine years.

IAEE: You have an impressive list of skills that include marketing and tech-driven specialties. How do you stay current in such a fast-paced environment and what is your advice for those wanting to be more tech-savvy?

Elizabeth: Stay curious! The biggest way to stay ahead of trends, especially tech, is to experience it and understand how it works as a consumer/user. Currently, I’m fascinated about the dialogue around ChatGPT and how we can use AI and Chatbots to create content. If a whole solution is not practical for your brand or job, how can the essence of it be leveraged?

I also love to find inspiration from outside industries and consumer facing brands. There’s a lot to learn and observe in how professional sports leagues, musicians and community-centric brands use different strategies and tactics to connect and create a community for their audiences.

IAEE: Congratulations on achieving your CEM designation as well! How have you most benefited from it and what would you tell someone who’s thinking about adding the CEM designation to their name?

Elizabeth: The CEM designation is a great opportunity to gain the foundational knowledge across all facets of the events industry. There were some parts of the industry that I did not have much exposure to and the CEM helped fill in those gaps. If you’re on the fence about it, take a course or two! I especially enjoyed learning through the firsthand experiences from my classmates and increasing my professional network.

IAEE: Your nomination included several compelling statements by colleagues from various companies across the industry applauding your willingness to help others achieve their goals and advance their careers. What do you find most satisfying about supporting others in their pursuits?

Elizabeth: I wholeheartedly believe that when one of us wins, we all win. I can recognize the benefits I’ve had from mentors and advocates in my career and without them I wouldn’t be here. In turn, I now have the responsibility to help others how I have been helped. It doesn’t take much – make yourself available to offer guidance, review resumes or talk with students who are interested in learning about what you do and why you love it.

IAEE: In your award acceptance speech, you encouraged YPs to keep sharing their ideas and have presented on the subject as well. This can be intimidating to any professional, but especially to those who are less experienced and/or simply shy or unsure of how their input will be received. Do you have tips for overcoming these hurdles and why do you feel it’s important for YPs to speak up?

Elizabeth: It can be intimidating to offer input or new ideas. Start small! Find a small project or initiative that you can present to your manager or team. It can be as simple as a small social media campaign or a way to optimize an onsite event experience. Your viewpoint as a young professional and/or new person to the industry is valuable! There is always room for innovation and optimization in our industry.

If you can’t find that opportunity at work, there are other places to share your ideas! Consider volunteering on a chapter committee and helping with a new idea there. In addition to volunteering your time, you can often learn new skills and experiences outside your normal day-to-day job duties.

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!

Posted by Editorial Staff

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