Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Signage/Décor

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Signage/Décor category evaluates printed and/or digital signage and décor used throughout the show. Judging criteria includes: overall presentation, visual appeal and creativity; usefulness of the signage and its content; how the signage/décor contributes to the overall “theme” of the event; and effectiveness of signage placement and décor throughout the show.

In today’s IAEE Blog, we highlight the winners of last year’s Signage/Décor category:

Under 75,000 nsf
FreemanXP – Tom Yurkin/Nora Summers
Oracle Modern Marketing Conference 2016

Leaders in customer service convened at Oracle Modern Marketing Conferences 2016 to participate in hands-on workshops, product demonstrations, and network during interactive breakouts that showcased best practices to help turn the attendee’s customers into brand advocates. For the signage and décor, multiple shows blended into one encompassing event that is attendee and message focused and environmentally conscious. Bold iconography and color palette were used to divide the space and direct attendees between the marketing, sales, commerce and service areas.

The goals and objectives for the signage and décor involved creating a clean, impactful, and reconfigurable suite of signage and registration elements that could be reused over multiple years and scalable for use within an array of venues. A cohesive look was created that reinforced Oracle’s modern brand. Sustainability was essential while incorporating Freeman rental elements like SmartPanels and Smart Counters. This also included using generic branded graphics that could be reused from year to year. In addition to the registration area and expo area, the look and feel was extended throughout the show experience.

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
GES
WVC 88th Annual Conference

Since 1928, the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) has provided comprehensive, progressive and practical continuing education opportunities to veterinary professionals from all over the world. The WVC Annual Conference brings together the best and brightest veterinary professionals for five days, who learn from expert instructors and gain knowledge that they can return to their practice and put to use immediately. With more than 1,000 hours of CE available, the conference is an opportunity to earn all required CE in one place. Offered in a world-class destination that is also cost effective for travel and accommodation, 97% of last year’s attendees said they would recommend attending the conference to a colleague.

The offerings are delivered by WVC use state-of-the-art facilities, methods and technologies. GES partnered with WVC early in the event development cycle to leverage WVC’s existing brand, as well as expand upon it to reflect WVC’s advances in its core areas. Graphics were inspired by design elements found in touchscreen user interfaces, in combination with lifestyle and workplace images that reflected the broad range and scope of the products and services offered by WVC. The images and graphics selected were designed to appeal not only to longtime members of WVC, but also to capture the imagination of younger members who expect data products to be accessible and hands-on resources to reflect the cutting edge in the industry.

The Registration Area was innovative and inviting. The architecture consisted of sleek, kiosk style registration stations staffed by the WVC team. This innovative design challenged the more transactional “over the counter” approach used in most exhibition environments and resulted in a more engaging experience for attendees. Functionality was priority number one since the WVC Annual Conference is a large event. When the doors of the registration area swing open, a crush of eager attendees descends upon the area. Therefore, several functional requirements must be met in the WVC registration area. GES worked closely with WVC to understand its workflow and spent the time necessary in the discovery phase to ensure the designs addressed the show’s true requirements.

The entrance design drew guests in to the central hall area of the WVC booth and functioned as the “grand hallway.” The Online Learning “Genius Bar” became a gathering place where participants charged their devices,and networked with one another. . The Online Learning zone was designed to be inviting and to provide an area for guests to demo WVC’s online platform. The TV Session Area was also a gathering place where participants networked and viewed WVC sessions. Comfortable seating and a custom bar with charging stations encouraged participants to linger. The new design throughout the conference was embraced by the WVC and those attending the 88th Annual Conference.

First impressions are important. Upon entering the Registration, the Online Learning “Genius Bar” or the TV Session Area, guests were greeted with a cohesive, vibrant and informative environment. The architecture and graphics elegantly delivered the WVC message. Guest after guest expressed their delight with the registration area and so did WVC. But first impressions are not everything. If first impressions are important, functionality is essential. GES designed the registration navigation scheme by considering timing of each “event” (e.g. logging a visitor) down to the second in order to ensure a smooth traffic flow and easy navigation for participants. Broad, open navigation lanes were used and WVC concierges directed participants to the next available help desk rather than employing queues at each desk. The planning and collaboration between WVC and GES paid off and the registration process was seamless with thousands of guest moving through the area quickly.

Over 200,001 nsf
InfoComm International & Freeman
InfoComm 2016

InfoComm is the largest, most exciting event in the United States focused on the pro-AV industry, with nearly 1,000 exhibitors, thousands of products, and 40,000 attendees from 110+ countries. InfoComm offers attendees a once-a-year opportunity to see the latest audiovisual technology, learn the skills that will advance their careers, and grow their professional network.

The “look and feel” for InfoComm 2016 was based on the concept of “play,” prominently featuring the triangle-shaped “play” button found on a variety of products in the audiovisual industry, like video cameras, DVD players, iPods, stereos, etc. The playful use of primary colors for the branding palette reinforced the “play” concept and also reflected the vibrancy of the audiovisual industry.

The goal for the décor and signage was to thoroughly integrate and reinforce the “play” concept throughout the show without being repetitive. The “play” triangle and abstract graphic shapes were configured into a variety of ways, in different scales (from an aisle banner to a meter board), and different colors were mixed and matched to add visual interest (for multiple entrance units).

From the impressively massive IC16 “play” button in the registration area to the small yellow “play” buttons on information carts, the brand concept was seen throughout the event and created a harmonious environment from the show floor, to the shuttle bus pickup area, to the convention center lobby. The abstract shapes could be configured in an exponential number of possible layouts, while still looking like they were in the “same family” and remaining within the confines of consistency.

The “play” concept was designed by another agency for use in 2D print and online, but Freeman elevated the visual impact of the design to a new level by creating 3D graphic elements at the entrance units and having a stand-alone “IC16” play button built for selfie opportunities. As is true with many trade shows, attendees often complain about a lack of seating. Freeman took this challenge and turned it into an opportunity to further the brand “look and feel” onsite. Instead of renting generic furniture, they built custom seating units comprised of the abstract graphic shapes, solving both the attendee demand and furthering the visual impact of the “play” branding onsite.

The 2017 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now underway – you have until 31 August 2017 to submit your entries! You can also view all of last year’s winners and honorable mentions here.

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Feathr: 2016 Outstanding Achievement in Innovation in Business Solutions Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager

In 2016, Feathr presented its Event Marketing Cloud business solution for consideration in the IAEE Individual Awards Program. Feathr’s Event Marketing Cloud encompasses marketing strategies addressing: analytics and segmentation; retargeting automation; cross promotion; email mapping; lookalike audiences; referral marketing; and sponsored retargeting.

One innovative quality that stood out about Event Marketing Cloud is the way in which it gathers the various marketing tools available into a single, user-friendly source. Furthermore, the strong presence Feathr has created within the exhibitions and events industry in a relatively short amount of time is impressive. As such, Feathr garnered the IAEE Outstanding Achievement in Innovation in Business Solutions Award for Event Marketing Cloud in 2016.

Co-Founder & CEO of Feathr, Aleksander Levental, shares with IAEE how the idea for Feathr came about, how he and Co-Founder Aidan Augustin approach their marketing solution concepts, and where he sees the future of the exhibitions and events industry moving in terms of technology.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Awards presentation during the Networking Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 in Anaheim, CA. From left to right: Representing the IAEE Awards Committee, Randy Bauler, CEM; Aleksander Levental; and IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA.

IAEE: As co-founders of Feathr, what inspired you and Aidan Augustin to create your digital marketing solution for the exhibitions and events industry?

ALEKSANDER: Aidan and I found ourselves in the event industry five years ago almost entirely by accident (which seems to be quite common in the industry). The dorm room startup that was Feathr morphed into a company that made mobile apps for events (think: DoubleDutch, Crowd Compass, Guidebook, etc.). And for two years while we tried to build that product and company, we started learning about how events run their business: how attendee acquisition and retention worked; the opportunities sponsors had to engage with attendees; and the sources of revenue that organizers have, etc. What we discovered was that there was an underlying problem causing these concerns inside our customers – and that underlying problem started to sound like an opportunity the more we looked into it.

Attendee acquisition, engagement with sponsors, matchmaking, content suggestion – effective execution of all of those activities – starts with storing and utilizing data. Data captured on the event website, marketing activity, registration process, surveys, mobile app, etc. That realization was the original inspiration for Feathr becoming a “digital marketing solution for the exhibitions and events industry.” But, really, digital marketing is just a piece of what we want to do. Ultimately, what we care about is helping organizers build high-growth, high-satisfaction and competitive events. Digital marketing was the first step.

IAEE: What are the marketing elements that you think all shows – big or small – absolutely cannot go without?

ALEKSANDER: Post-registration, pre-venue engagement. It is without a doubt the most important step of the marketing funnel and, unfortunately, the least developed one. As an industry, we talk about acquisition a lot: attendee acquisition, exhibitor acquisition, etc. While that is all well and good, customer acquisition at the expense of customer retention is ultimately a losing proposition. It’s critically important to take time and build tailored marketing activities designed to increase and maximize engagement with the show after someone has registered.

One of the primary drivers of this wave of tech and software revolution has been the understanding that recurring revenue and low churn can produce very valuable business very quickly. One of the main tools an organization has available to produce high retention, high NPS, satisfied customers, and reliable recurring revenue is personalized post-sale marketing and engagement. In the software world, this is referred to as “Customer Success.” If we spent all of our time and effort only focusing on new customer acquisition, the last two to three years for Feathr would have been much different. Unfortunately, we see our customers wanting to make that gamble all the time. We’re trying to coax ourselves, our customers, and the industry into focusing on post-registration marketing and engagement, so that we can get out of the cycle of having to dig out of an attendee acquisition hole every year.

IAEE: Feathr tailored its digital marketing tools specifically to the needs of event organizers. What feedback do you receive from organizers as being their biggest challenge?

ALEKSANDER: Time, resources, and the anxiety of choice. Across the entire spectrum of our customers – from the largest independent organizers to a small staff association – everyone we deal with is wearing multiple hats with many responsibilities. Combine that with organizational pressures to grow, launch new shows, create and sell new products, and incorporate new technology, and you end up with people (and companies) that are stretched too thin. Instead of investing time into foundational and long-term innovation, companies are forced to run 100 small experiments in parallel and make decisions without the clarity of thoughtful analysis

The most precious gift that an executive can give someone on their team isn’t budget, it’s room to focus.

IAEE: Given the rapid pace of technology, what advice would you offer those who may be intimidated by the task of staying current and/or investing in an effective solution for their needs?

ALEKSANDER: This is going to sound incredibly self-serving but it’s an idea that’s very near and dear to me: Make an organizational change in the philosophy of the business, and find people and partners that will help grow institutional knowledge and value within your organization. The answer isn’t any one specific piece of technology or service, it’s in embracing a process that’s built around growing, learning from mistakes and failures, and starting to be adaptive.

Resisting the urge to view this process as a series of unrelated decisions about software of technology is key. Even in our relatively short time in the industry, we’ve seen it so often. The entire organization gets stressed over the pressure to pick the correct ____ tool. There are months of research and deliberation that build up to what feels like a tremendously significant choice – then the company relaxes and waits for the next fire, only to find themselves in exactly the same position, with the same issues, now just looking to the next piece of software or technology to magically solve their problems.

 IAEE: Being on the cutting edge of technology is your business. What new digital trends do you foresee for the exhibitions and events industry in particular?

ALEKSANDER: Over the next five years? Connecting data to the experience of the event itself. Where you go, what you see, and who you talk to will be driven by the data and analysis that organizers create well before the people show up at the venue. In retail they refer to this as “clienteling,” we’re going to need a clever name for our industry.

Beyond that? Augmented Reality is going to change everything about the world, events won’t be any different.

IAEE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Outstanding Achievement in Business Solutions Award! Click here to learn more about the IAEE Individual Awards and submit your nominations today!

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Dennis Slater: 2016 Pinnacle Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Dennis Slater, President of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), embodies the significance of the IAEE Pinnacle Award with more than 30 years of experience in the industry and membership with IAEE. He is well-known as a generous mentor, and in fact many of today’s top industry leaders credit him with greatly impacting their careers and contributing significantly to their professional development.

Dennis has served in various leadership roles and made an indelible mark on IAEE’s success, both domestically and abroad. Dennis continues to regularly share insights and best practices with colleagues as a speaker and panelist at numerous industry events. His service and dedication have earned him vast recognition as a visionary and leader, which garnered him the IAEE Pinnacle Award in 2016.

Here, Dennis shares with IAEE his views on what drew him to a career in the industry, why mentorship is important and where he sees the future of exhibitions and events headed.

PHOTO CAPTION: IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA (left) presents Dennis Slater (right) with the IAEE Pinnacle Award during the Networking Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 in Anaheim, California.

IAEE: During your acceptance speech at Expo! Expo! 2016 you mentioned that like many people, you didn’t know much about the industry when you entered into it 30 years ago. What came as the biggest surprise to you about the exhibitions and events industry?

DENNIS: The biggest surprise for me was the energy and positive “can do” attitude of everyone in the trade show business. Everyone was (and still are today) just so confident in the success of trade shows, their own events and their career paths. I knew right away from my first IAEE event that I wanted to be in the trade show business.

IAEE: Along those same lines, what do you think people entering the industry today should know as they start their career?

DENNIS: People starting their careers in the trade show business today need to know that the opportunities for success and a great career are right before them. You will have to work hard, challenge yourself to be creative and innovative, and really care more than others think is rational. But, if you do that, you will succeed and have an interesting, challenging and rewarding career in a wonderful industry.

IAEE: Your nomination included letters and testimonials from several industry leaders expressing gratitude for the mentorship they received from you as they developed their careers. What compels you to mentor others?

DENNIS: Mentoring others needs to come naturally. You need to recognize that many people helped you along the way to be successful. People gave you opportunities, they took a chance on you, they saw something in you. Your journey to success is made possible by the mentoring of others. So you remember that and do the same for the next set of leaders. You will find that it’s equally rewarding to help guide others to reach their potential.

IAEE: Did you have mentors and, if so, what was the best advice you received?

DENNIS: I had many mentors and at all stages of my career, including today. The best advice I ever received was to do something for a career that you truly are passionate about and enjoy. If you do that, you will be successful. Equally important, was to play well with others. Have empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of others, particularly when managing people or negotiating an agreement.

IAEE: What do you consider the most significant advance in the industry that you have seen over the course of your career?

DENNIS: I’ve been in this business for a long time, so the significant advances are too numerous to mention them all. Today, I would say the use of data to better understand the interests of customers – both exhibitors and attendees – in order to make their experience worthwhile and keeping trade shows relevant.

IAEE: How would you like to see the industry change in the next decade?

DENNIS: I am optimistic about the future of trade shows. There will always be a place in business to meet face-to-face to do business. In the next decade, I would like to see the trade show industry focus on the ROI for their customers. Let’s make it easier to attend our events. Let’s bring more activities and value to our events. If we focus on doing that instead of the bottom line, the customers will come, and the bottom line will be there.

IAEE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Pinnacle Award! Click here to learn more about the IAEE Individual Awards and submit your nominations today!

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Dana Kirkhart, CEM: 2016 Merit Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Dana Kirkhart, CEM, Director of Client Solutions Manager for Freeman, was nominated by the IAEE Central Texas Chapter for her many years of leadership, encouragement and assistance to chapter members. She began her chapter leadership in 2009, serving for three years as Chair of the Summer Social Committee. Dana was elected to Director-at-Large in 2011, then as Secretary in 2013. She became the chapter’s Chair-Elect in 2014, served as Chairperson in 2015 and Immediate Past Chairperson in 2016. Dana’s leadership is reflected in her vast willingness to assist in various chapter projects, and her outstanding dedication was recognized in 2016 with the IAEE Merit Award.

IAEE: You have been actively involved in your chapter’s leadership for nearly 10 years. What keeps you coming back and why do you feel it is important for IAEE members to dive in at the local level?

DANA: The education and the people are what have kept me coming back for the past 10 years. I consider the education opportunities offered one of the best ways to gain knowledge in our industry. It is a great way for me keep up with what other industry professionals are implementing in their events.

IAEE: What is your favorite part about organizing chapter events, such as the Southwest Showcase?

DANA: Being a part of planning any IAEE event has always taught me something new! When I had the opportunity to serve on the Leadership Committee for Southwest Showcase, it was fulfilling to be able to work alongside a team with so much experience and support such an impactful event for Texas.

IAEE: What are some of the chapter initiatives you are most proud of?

DANA: I really love how committed our chapter is to providing quality education to its members and to staying in constant communication with our members.

IAEE: You’ve served in all the positions available within the chapter leadership. Do you have a favorite and, if so, why?

DANA: I really enjoyed serving as Chapter Chairperson. It challenged me to work beyond the borders of my comfort zone and helped me grow professionally. It is also a position where you have to be very engaged, and I enjoyed always knowing what was happening in our chapter.

IAEE: What advice would you give to someone considering joining his or her local chapter, and/or considering taking a step into chapter leadership?

DANA: If you are on the fence about joining, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by joining. You can’t put a value on the experience, education and connections you will make while being a member of IAEE.

IAEE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Merit Award! Click here to learn more about the IAEE Individual Awards and submit your nominations today!

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Alex Land, CEM: 2016 Young Professional of the Year Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Alex Land, CEM serves as Sales Executive for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. He has advocated for IAEE on local and national levels by serving on IAEE’s Young Professionals Committee as the Chairperson, as well as chairing the Washington, D.C. Chapter Young Professional Committee. Alex has also served on the IAEE Education Committee and the IAEE Future Trends Task Force.

In addition to his service to IAEE, he was a 20 Under 30 honoree in 2014, attended the IAEE Krakoff Leadership Institute in 2015 and achieved his CEM designation in October 2015. His initiative, motivation and dedication to IAEE earned him the 2016 IAEE Young Professional of the Year Award. Here, Alex shares with IAEE how he continues to learn the most he can about the industry, the value of great mentorship and why our YPs would conquer any “Battle of the Young Professionals” competition.

PHOTO CAPTION: Awards presentation during the Networking Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 in Anaheim, CA. From left to right: Representing the IAEE Awards Committee, Randy Bauler, CEM; Alex Land, CEM; and IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA.

IAEE: How did you become involved in the exhibitions and events industry, and what has surprised you the most about a career in this field?

ALEX: Three experiences growing up led to my interest in the industry.

First, I was a pretty nerdy kid growing up. I remember being so excited for the June/July editions of GamePro Magazine, where they’d talk about all the wild new announcements at E3. I’ve still never seen the show but it’s a major bucket list expo for me. Every time I read about the show I get that same nostalgia of rushing home from school to read about the show back in the 90s.

Secondly, in high school I had a friend who worked at a surf shop in Florida. He attended Surf Expo every year on behalf of his shop. I tagged along one year and we had an absolute blast. That was the first time I fell in love with the concept of trade shows as a place where people around the world get together to do business and celebrate their niche, whatever it is.

Third, I went to college for Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida. During my junior and senior years, I interned at a DMC (destination management company) that handled transportation programs for pharma clients. Essentially, I worked at a company that manages the drivers who stand at airports with your name on a sign. It was an incredible opportunity to travel the country as a student and learn about the importance of business travel and meetings. I remember a particular trip when we worked the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) convention in Chicago. My boss got me a badge and told me to take the day to walk the floor. ASCO was basically the exact opposite of Surf Expo – people in suits vs. people in flip flops but the commonality of people there to conquer their world was so striking.

The thing I’m continuously surprised by in our industry is the respect you’re given as a young person. In my experience, successful people in our world look for inspiration from everyone. I’ve been to industry meetings where I’m half the age of everyone else in the room.  These men and women, who have built incredible organizations and events over their careers, are all focused on seeking new ideas and disrupting the successful models they’ve built over decades.  It’s awe inspiring and something I know my generation will continue to build on.

IAEE: What IAEE program(s) have you found most beneficial to you as a young professional, and what impressed you about it?

ALEX: I wouldn’t be here at Las Vegas if I wasn’t selected to be a part of IAEE’s 20 Under 30. It is my de facto favorite program that IAEE runs. It’s a wonderful opportunity for young people to attend Expo! Expo! who may not be able to budget for it otherwise. It is hard for your organization to refuse to buy the plane ticket when IAEE is fronting the registration cost.

I don’t think you can really be an IAEE advocate until you go to Expo! Expo! – it’s the industry’s Super Bowl! After attending Expo! Expo! as both a client and a vendor, it’s one of those events you have to experience to believe.

I haven’t attended the Krakoff Leadership Institute in its current form; but the former version, split out between KLI and Advanced, was awesome. It was a powerful experience to listen to Megan Tanel, CEM interview Lawson Hockman at the Dinner with a Legend. The cross-pollination of industry powerhouses with an impressive collection of aspiring future leaders gave me something to eagerly anticipate as I progress in my career.

IAEE: What is the best asset you think YPs bring to the table?

ALEX: Young professionals bring new ideas and a ton of work ethic. Young people, especially on the sales/vendor side, are always up for that dinner or drinks after an event and, honestly, that’s where industry bonds are forged. Let your younger salespeople do their thing, and help them feel confident in themselves and what they are selling.

Regarding work ethic, organizations really should be empowering YPs as hard-working, relatively cheap assets. I’m only 30 but I’ve been working in this industry for nine years now. It’s pretty incredible to watch the people I’ve grown with in this world go out and do amazing things within the framework of their jobs. Look at Bill McGlade, CEM; I call him “Trade Show Steve Jobs” now and it’s because he’s worked for an extraordinary set of people who let him spread his wings.

IAEE: Imagine you are in a “Battle of the YPs” across various industries. Do you think exhibitions and events YPs would take the win, and if so, how?

ALEX: Remember the battle royale from Anchorman? Look, all I’m saying is if we can get the GES and Freemans of the world to bridge the gap there’s no way we lose. Our industry partners work with blunt objects all day! Plus, I’ve seen Brooke Pierson ”irritated”; no way some CPA is taking her in a fistfight.

IAEE: What is the best advice you have received so far from industry veterans?

ALEX: There are four pieces of personal/professional advice that have guided me in my career. Scott Crawford taught me to ask questions the right way. Ryan Brown taught me to say ‘no’ without saying ‘no.’ Dan Cole taught me to create and embrace moments of serendipity. Andy Ortale taught me how to make an impact without getting lost in the weeds. There is always something valuable to learn from leaders before you. Spending five minutes in a room with the incredible leadership I have in in Vegas drives home how much I need to learn in business and as a person to get to the level of a Chris Meyer who has impacted so many people and even served as IAEE chair. The advice I’ve received along the way guides me constantly.

IAEE: What advice would you offer to someone considering entering this industry?

ALEX: Jump in with a winning team. Young people are expected to move around before they find their home, career wise. Find your winning team and don’t settle for less. The best organizations will see your potential and build you up to be an asset to their entire mission, not just someone who audits floorplans or takes care of menial tasks. Do not settle. Find your mentor, find your winning team. I was always told

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Al Lomas, CMP, CMM, CFE, CEM: 2016 Bob Dallmeyer Educator of the Year Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Al Lomas, CMP, CMM, CFE, CEM with Certified Consulting Service has a longstanding relationship with IAEE’s CEM Learning Program, which has benefitted greatly from his contributions over the years. He serves as an outstanding international ambassador to the CEM Learning Program, with a very strong presence abroad. Al’s dedication to enhancing IAEE’s international presence is well-known among industry members and CEM students alike, with many CEM graduates praising him for his commitment to the program.

Al is also a regular contributor to the CEM Faculty Training program at Expo! Expo! and, of course, teaches various courses throughout the U.S. on a regular basis. He has also contributed his expertise for updates to the CEM course materials. Al’s dedication and commitment to furthering IAEE’s education objectives earned him the IAEE Bob Dallmeyer Educator of the Year Award in 2016. Here, he talks with IAEE about teaching domestically versus abroad and his approach to facilitating the IAEE CEM Learning Program.

2017.03.22 Award Spotlight_Lomas
Awards presentation during the Networking Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 in Anaheim, CA. From left to right: Representing the IAEE Awards Committee, Randy Bauler, CEM; Al Lomas, CMP, CMM, CFE, CEM; and IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA.

IAEE: You have facilitated IAEE’s CEM Learning Program in Azerbaijan, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Korea and the U.S. What do you enjoy most about teaching classes across various borders?

AL: It is important to recognize that when teaching in the USA or in another country, one has a responsibility to three different entities; the CEM candidate, the licensee and IAEE. IAEE has placed its confidence in me to present the course while the licensee has paid thousands of dollars for my airfare, meals and lodging. Failure to communicate the content and the concept of the body of knowledge is not an option. In preparation for my new assignments, I spend weeks in preparation. The majority of the preparation for an international assignment begins with the research for a better understanding of how expositions are produced in those countries.

To me, preparing for the class is the most enjoyable part of any course. I prepare by researching the licensee, the top five expo centers, the class roster and reading about the top 10 shows in that country. The execution of the class is also fun – and the most exhausting portion of the course – as it is being taught in the student’s second language.

Another fun challenge is learning the customs of the culture; from business card etiquette, bowing when introduced and never making a student feel uncomfortable by asking a student a direct question to which they may not know the answer.

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IAEE: These are all very different regions with very different cultures. What similarities do you come across in your students and what differences really stand out to you from region to region?

AL: The students around the world are similar to the U.S. audience in the respect that they are all are adult learners, and hungry for education and the knowledge of best practices. All students want to succeed, advance their careers and be more valuable to their sponsoring organizations. The fear or apprehension of the unknown and being tested regardless of borders is the same from country to country. In other countries, especially in Asia, the students are very focused. They read the modules in advance of the class and study during their breaks and lunch.

The challenge for me is that, in international classes, the mix of students may include a significant number of educators (professors and Ph.D.s) from colleges or universities where the majority of their exhibition industry experience is more in theory than in practical experience. The questions, understanding and thought process of educators is very different from those students working events on a daily basis. The common mix of an international class will include educators, venue suppliers, organizers and hotel managers, but mostly project managers with substantial experience.

And, though all speak English, not all are fluent as it is their second language. I must choose my words wisely, talk slowly and completely forget using metaphors. It is sometimes difficult to understand verbal responses from the table group representative when reporting their conclusions of a case study.

Another major difference is that in the U.S., we teach utilizing more experiential methods while abroad the lecture method is more acceptable with a smaller amount of experiential teaching.

IAEE: You’ve been teaching CEM courses for over a decade. How would you compare your teaching experience now to when you began?

AL: Years ago, the accepted process of teaching CEM courses was to provide lectures mirroring the PowerPoint and the content of the module. Approximately six years ago, a decision by the CEM Commission and IAEE education staff was made to make our classes more student-centered than teacher-centered, and to begin using proven alternate methods of adult instruction based on experiential teaching methods. Though this was nothing new to the teaching world, it was different to the CEM Learning Program. After some serious faculty training, we tested it and the instructors adopted the new method of training. Each instructor is given the latitude of deciding how much experiential teaching (learning from each other vs. learning from the teacher) to use.

I continue using a mix of lecture and experiential teaching with no specific formula. Each of my class presentations is tailored to the subject, the country, the audience mix, the job titles, the experience in the room and strategically decide how to proceed for that one day.

Many will say I am “old school” and responsible for killing many trees, but my many handouts and quizzes are essential to my method of instruction. I teach by reinforcement: you read the term in the module, you hear the term verbally, you see the term on the screen, the term appears on the quiz and then someone verbally answers the question. Repeat, repeat, repeat and then you put the terms into practice in a group exercise, but only after the concept has been explained and understood. Anyone can explain a term, but not everyone’s explanation can be understood.

Success is measured by the evaluations at the end of the day and I am only as good as my last student evaluation.

CEM Course

Check out the list of upcoming CEM Courses here

IAEE: What is your favorite CEM module to teach and why?

AL: Security, Risk and Crisis Management is my favorite module to teach. In teaching this module my 32 years of venue, concert, special event, meeting, sports and exhibition experience become part of the class experience. I share my experiences after the students have shared theirs.

My intention is to make sure the student knows that it is the responsibility of each employee of the organization to be involved with attendee safety, the threat of crime and loss of property. We think about crisis, threat analysis, mitigation and decision-making all day from start to finish. I realize that all the terminology associated with contracts and insurance in the module can be very boring, so I spice it up with role playing, quizzes, crossword puzzles and multiple real-life crisis incidents. Time really flies by when you’re having fun!

IAEE: You are known among your students as a very colorful, high energy instructor. What approach do you take in keeping teaching fresh and interesting for you as the facilitator of the course?

AL: I never teach two classes the same, even when it is the same topic and the same module I taught last month. I enjoy teaching and preparing for each course by rereading the materials, tweaking the PPT, and developing new and fresh scenarios for the table groups to work on during the day.

Learning should be fun and should relate to real practical experiences of the people in the room. I play music before class, the tables are laced with canisters of Play Doh and pipe cleaners for the purpose of creating the “Art of the Show” for the day. The atmosphere is relaxed, yet structured, for optimum learning by allowing the candidates to feel my passion for the CEM Learning Program.

The most important piece of information of my class is not the module or PPT, but the class roster. I study the roster, compare job categories (organizer vs. supplier), years of experience and the number of candidates from the same companies. The candidates are strategically placed at different table groups specifically for the purpose of interaction. The dynamics of the class is hampered if I have five people from the same organization and they all sit at the same table. I observe eye contact, body language and attempt to engage those who may be distracted by phone calls, business emergencies or family concerns. Most of all, I solicit early morning feedback (formative evaluations) to make sure the audience agrees with my agenda.

The adult learners in the room usually walk in with three objectives: 1) they want to pass the exam at the end of the day; 2) understand the concept of the topic; and 3) have takeaways they can put into practice the first day they get back to work. It is my responsibility to meet those objectives and to make it a pleasant experience for the CEM candidate. At the start if each class, I make a mental note of how I felt when I was sitting in my first CEM class and proceed with that thought throughout the day, and try to keep things loose.

As I see it and mentioned before, I am only as good as my last evaluation. The CEM candidate or their employer paid several hundred dollars for the course, travel and lodging, and deserve the best IAEE can offer so I attempt to provide a solid performance while making it a pleasant experience for the student.

IAEE: What advice would you give someone considering earning their CEM designation?

AL: The most important decision regarding earning your CEM is the decision to seek the designation. Some people enjoy the online course study, while others will only do face-to-face CEM classes. In face-to-face classes you have interaction with the other candidates; networking opportunities; and, at the end of the day, your course is finished. Plan your CEM Day or CEM Week so that you can devote your time to the task at hand and not having to leave the room every 15 minutes to answer calls from work.

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Register for CEM Week LA on 17-21 April here!

You will benefit from earning this premier designation by increasing your confidence, becoming more valuable at work and wind up possessing one more desirable trait than your competition, should you decide to seek new employment in the future.

IAEE: When you won this award, you mentioned how moved you were to receive an award bearing Bob Dallmeyer’s name. How did Bob impact your experience in the industry and what makes this award so special to you?

AL: Bob Dallmeyer was the consummate professional, mentor to many, an icon in the exhibitions industry and generous with his time to others.  He was respected for his understanding of the exhibitions industry worldwide. He was known as a man of high integrity, leadership, honesty and character. As an educator, he was known as a great presenter and teacher of the CEM Learning Program. All any of us in this industry can do is to follow his example. When Bob walked into a room most knew who he was and, if not, soon wanted to meet him. In his presence when talking with you, he made you feel you were the most important person in the room. I miss him; and as an individual, he was just one great guy!

IAEE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Bob Dallmeyer Educator of the Year Award! Click here to learn more about the IAEE Individual Awards and submit your nominations today!

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Mindy Abel: 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Mindy Abel, CMP, CTA, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Development of Visit Anaheim has been described as a positive and energetic leader, whose hard work is reflected in the palpable success of the events to which she contributes. In 2016, she advocated tirelessly on behalf of IAEE with significant contributions to the Women’s Leadership Forum Task Force as well as to the Expo! Expo! Host City Committee’s planning process for last year’s event in Anaheim.

Mindy’s outstanding dedication to her commitments garnered her multiple testimonials as an exemplary member of IAEE, earning her the IAEE Volunteer of the Year Award in 2016. Here, Mindy shares with IAEE her thoughts in volunteering and her perspective of the industry from the CVB point of view.

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Awards presentation during the Networking Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 in Anaheim, CA. From left to right: Representing the IAEE Awards Committee, Randy Bauler, CEM; Mindy Abel, CMP, CTA; and IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA.

IAEE: You have attended the IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum each year, then took your participation a step further with serving on its task force. Why do you consider the WLF to be of such value, and what have you taken away from your involvement with it?

MINDY: The WLF has grown in attendance with each year, selling out last year. This shows the success of the format, content and opportunity to interact with one another. The day resonates with, and energizes, everyone in our own unique way. The demands of our working and personal lives blend and overlap in our industry, and the WLF brings together inspiring speakers that shed light on the direction and path we are on – I always leave with new ideas and focus. Each year you see friends and meet new ones. A very level playing field makes this conference something I always look forward to attending.

IAEE: What do you like most about serving on IAEE committees/task forces?

MINDY: The committees I have served on have included a combination of individuals with different industry perspectives and backgrounds, and with various years of experience. The groups drive content and direction, showing that those active with IAEE are creating member-driven content that makes experiences relevant. I have to add that without the IAEE team, none of the ideas would come to life with successful engagement and results.

IAEE: What do you find to be most challenging about volunteering, and how do you combat those challenges?

MINDY: The challenge lies in the responsibilities of your role – ever changing, expanding and growing.  What I have found is that through volunteering, new ideas and concepts are sparked that can translate to things I do in my job each day.  I’ve also found that being involved outside of my organization allows others to grow in their roles, filling in and exposing them to other responsibilities they may not interact with.

IAEE: As someone who views the industry from the CVB perspective, where do you see exhibitions and events headed in the next few years? Is there anything in particular you would like to see enter the scene or develop further?

MINDY: Collaboration is key. We can’t live in a supplier versus buyer world; working together to achieve goals and initiatives, understanding strategies, values and aligning to compliment growth will help to sustain and enrich events and experiences.

IAEE: You also served on last year’s Expo! Expo! Host City Committee, helping execute a very successful meeting in Anaheim. What accomplishment are you most proud of regarding last year’s meeting – whether it be your own, the committee’s or Visit Anaheim’s?

MINDY: The excitement felt within our community as we hosted IAEE as one team! We got to share what we are proud of in our destination. Many have been to Anaheim as a visitor or attended an event – it’s always good to come for the first time or back to share new experiences. (And the educational content was excellent!)

IAEE: What advice would you offer an IAEE member considering volunteering in his or her local chapter, or to an IAEE committee/task force?

MINDY: Take the time to challenge yourself and get involved. It doesn’t require a lot of time – you can manage it – and the support you receive on behalf of IAEE makes it a delight. The more you put into something the more you get out of it… not a new concept. Don’t fear it, get going!

IAEE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award! Click here to learn more about the IAEE Individual Awards and submit your nominations today!

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Jacqueline Russo: 2016 Woman of Achievement Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Jacqueline Russo, Vice President of Kuehne + Nagel, Inc., has been a dynamic leader within IAEE with more than 25 years of consistent service and heavy involvement across many capacities. She has served as a mentor to other women as they entered the industry, and is well known both nationally and internationally as an asset to the exhibitions and events community.

In 2016, she was recognized for her contributions to the advancement of women in the exhibitions and events industry as the recipient of IAEE’s Woman of Achievement Award. Here, Jackie shares with IAEE her perspective about what she has learned over the years, being actively involved in IAEE’s chapters and committees, and the rewarding experiences that come from getting to know your colleagues.

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Awards presentation during the Networking Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 in Anaheim, CA. From left to right: Representing the IAEE Awards Committee, Randy Bauler, CEM; Jackie Russo; and IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA.

IAEE: How did you get your start in the exhibitions and events industry, and at what point did you realize you were “in it to stay”?

JACKIE: Like many in the exhibition industry, I fell into it by working for a company that was scheduled to be an exhibitor in Fire Asia, Singapore.  A fire/safety show, it was my task to ensure all of our materials were sent to the show and would be on site and ready to use when our team arrived. I was terrified and called the official logistics company to assist with my transport and delivery. I spent countless hours working on the paperwork and even went to the logistics company’s office to check the goods. After the show was a success, logistics company offered me a job.  My goal was to do international business and see the world.  The exhibition industry offered me the chance to do both.

 IAEE: How have you seen the role of women in the exhibitions and events industry evolve over the course of your career, and are there developments you would still like to see?

 JACKIE: The most exciting growth has been women in management roles. We have many female business owners of all sized companies. Additionally, many traditionally male jobs are now also female roles.  I would like to see more young women recruited to begin a career path within exhibition organizers and suppliers. If we codify the opportunity and provide a path, we will allow women to shine.

 IAEE: You have been recognized as a generous mentor within the industry. What do you most enjoy about sharing your knowledge and experience with those new to the industry?

 JACKIE: That is large question. I have open arms and open mouth to anyone who is interested to listen. It is not just young persons; but all career people need an ear and an unbiased opinion/advice regarding their careers. Hearing the facts and discussing strategy allows individuals to seek those roles or solve those problems which are most important to them. It also allows people to see opportunities they may not believe are available for them.

 IAEE: You have served on various IAEE committees and task forces. Why is volunteerism important to you, and what tips do you have for those considering serving on a committee/task force?

 JACKIE: Volunteering in IAEE has been the best decision of my career. We often discuss team in the description of our careers. There is no better team than a committee or task force whether on the local or national level of IAEE. The other volunteers are extremely professional and bring knowledge, points of view and a willing spirit to the group. It is possible to grow and individual and as a business person. My closest friends and even close competitors are all colleagues when we work together on a committee or task force. When choosing the type of volunteering, it is important to choose those opportunities about which you have an interest, expertise or concern. Even if you do not know anything about the topic, it is a way to learn and grow while contributing. Volunteering takes time. It is imperative that you do not make a commitment that you are unable to fulfill. The other members are counting on you and your help. Make a lifelong friend!

 IAEE: From a woman’s point of view, what do you find most challenging about a career in the exhibitions and events industry? What do you find most rewarding? (whether from a woman’s view or overall)

 JACKIE: My challenges have been less gender related and more career related. We all talk about balance. Balance is tough and sacrifices have to be made if the goal is to reach pre-chosen targets or titles. In this current environment “we have an app for that” means there is a lot more clerical work; we do our own proposals and presentations and travel and carry them in our bags and go through security and wait and wait. This is the tough part for all career persons.

Most rewarding, everything else. We have a sense of accomplishment daily. We work on high-performing teams that meet at 5 a.m. and leave each other at 10 p.m. mostly with a smile. I help non-U.S. individuals make their way through the U.S. system of exhibitions. We share a laugh even when we don’t speak the same language. It is human. I share a department with people who know the value of a good job and a strong employer. Friends.

IAEE: You have been a member of IAEE for more than 25 years. What is your favorite part of being an IAEE member and what advice would you give someone who has just joined the organization?

JACKIE: My favorite parts of IAEE are the members, the local chapters and the experiences. If you have an open mind, it is possible to take yourself and your career to the next level. Participation may take you out of your comfort zone. It took me out many times and this was just what I needed to grow. It is good to be uncomfortable with yourself sometimes. After all of the hand-wringing, you are stronger and ready to take on the next challenge.

IAEE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Woman of Achievement Award! Click here to learn more about the IAEE Individual Awards and submit your nominations today!

The Importance of Industry Recognition

Originally published in Trade Show Executive, June 2016 Edition

The exhibitions and events industry is fortunate to have incredibly talented professionals. I have said this many times and will continue to repeat it because I am extremely proud of the dedication and commitment that I see from colleagues all across the globe to promoting and lifting our industry. There is a very clear understanding among us that we cannot be successful without each other’s support. And while I consider this industry to be one of the most collaborative business environments that exists, I believe it is important to recognize the people who truly go above and beyond the call of duty, and who stand out in this very hardworking group of individuals.

Industry recognition is an integral part of our growth and continued development. By acknowledging the outstanding accomplishments of our fellow colleagues, we elevate the standard by which we do business in general. Industry recognition provides a constant self-reflection and self-evaluation process that keeps us on our toes, and in perpetual forward motion. The majority benefits from those particularly driven individuals who push for the innovative approaches, who break through barriers and pave the path for the rest of us, who pass the torch of their knowledge through mentorship, and who share their gift through volunteerism. This is no easy undertaking, which is why it behooves us to applaud their extraordinary efforts.

Ever thought about becoming a mentor or mentee? Sign up for IAEE’s Mentor Match Program

IAEE has been a strong proponent of industry recognition for nearly four decades. Its awards program celebrates the accomplishments of industry members at various stages of their career and across many platforms of achievement.  For example, our longest-standing award – the Pinnacle Award – recognizes an entire individual career’s body of work typically spanning decades. This award praises those who have dedicated a lifetime to the industry, its recipients having made an indelible mark that often serves as the foundation upon which we continue to grow the industry.

Considerable thought is put into keeping the award categories relevant and timely, and new categories are periodically added. A few years ago, we added the International Excellence Award to address the global presence and initiatives that we are integrating into all that we do. We also added the Woman of Achievement Award as part of our commitment to recognizing the very important role the women of our industry play as well as their remarkable contributions. And, of course, all industries are aware of the impact that the millennials are having on the business world. The Young Professional of the Year Award embraces the refreshing energy the younger generation is infusing into exhibitions and events. We have watched past recipients of this award continue to impress with their contributions – it’s exciting to know the future of our industry is in such capable hands!

IAEE is devoted to making sure we give credit where credit is due because solidarity is one of our industry’s strongest attributes. This is a business where strong relationships are forged and colleagues become true friends. As someone who is approaching his fourth decade in this industry, I am eternally grateful for the fact that many of my closest friends started off as associates.

We are nearing the halfway mark for 2016, and I am positive you have sent your fair share of emails to the effect of “thank you for all you do” and “what would I do without you?” – I know I certainly have. I invite you to take it a step further and translate your gratitude into a nomination for the IAEE individual awards program – it’s easy! Visit www.iaee.com/awards and make your contribution to this year’s industry recognition.

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO
IAEE

 

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Janet Sperstad, CMP: 2015 Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Janet Sperstad, CMP, Program Director at Madison College has extensive practical and academic experience in the exhibitions and events industry. She created the United States’ first Associate Degree in Meeting and Event Management at Madison College in Madison, Wisconsin and was instrumental in the development of a graduate program in meeting management through the Copenhagen Business School. Additionally, Janet has worked extensively with Canadian government and international cohorts to develop job standards and certification frameworks that have advanced the profession of global meeting and event management.

She represented the events and exhibition profession to the U.S. Department of Labor, resulting in the establishment of the industry as its own business sector. This volunteer work produced the Hospitality, Tourism, and Events Industry Model, an occupational standard identifying key competencies for those working in meetings, events and exhibitions. Notably, her college was selected as an “Industry Champion” for this model due to contribution and forward-thinking actions. She currently chairs the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Governance Commission and serves as Immediate Past Chairperson of the IAEE Faculty Task Force. She also co-authored IAEE’s Art of the Show Instructor’s Resource Guide, and serves on the Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors. She has been a valued member of IAEE, MPI, and PCMA for many years.

Janet’s commitment to the industry earned her the Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership Award in 2015, which recognizes an individual(s) who has made an extraordinary personal or professional commitment that materially contributes to the advancement of the exhibitions and events industry. This recognition demonstrates how voluntary leadership can enhance or change the industry.

You created the first U.S. Associate Degree in Meeting and Event Management. What are your thoughts on how the industry has developed academically, and is there anything you would like to change or see develop further?

It’s great to see more and more meeting and event management degrees offered. This means that academic institutions not only see the business opportunity in offering them but that our field is a viable, career sustaining field. Academia is not as nimble as people would like, and yet when it moves it does not go back. Investing in the infrastructure to develop degrees is very costly. It is more than promotion and offering courses.

For the future, my hope is that degrees are offered in the School of Business and align to marketing, business, project management and leadership. Many of our degrees are currently entwined with hospitality, and having it connected at this point shifts the lens to a commodity-based product rather than a business-result product. Events are not produced to bring business to hospitality companies; they are produced to create business for the hosting company. Viewing events through the School of Business lens shifts the core competencies of curriculum, student demographics and career pathing.

You have passionately advocated for recognition of the industry as its own sector by the U.S. Department of Labor. What inspired you to pursue this endeavor and how will this recognition benefit members of the industry?

The truth – exhaustion, frustration and IAEE Vice President of Learning Experiences Marsha Flanagan, M. Ed. As a veteran in our industry I am exhausted explaining just what event professionals do. All of my career – from Seminar Coordination to Director of Education to Program Director for our Degree – I get, and I’m sure many of you have also, the crazy look on people’s faces when you say you are in the event management field. If not insult to injury is enough, they ask, “that’s a job?” If I was Lewis Black, I would answer with a few precious words that I would not be able to write here. As we know, event and exhibition management is not only a job but a career with sustainable, living wages. Back in the early 2000s I was working with Marsha on a project called “Career Pathway” that benchmarked event management competencies, skills and titles. Before the completion of the project, the plug got pulled and it went silent.

Zoom to 2014 and I got a call from the U.S. Department of Labor to help out on the Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management Workplace Competency Model. After jumping for joy and saying yes, I called Marsha and we set once again our goal to define the competencies of event and exhibition management, and set our industry apart as its own sector – and we did. Having the event management field called out as its own sector with defined competencies gives backbone to our profession. HR professionals, governments and organizations use the U.S. Department of Labor model to identify professionals and the work they do. This benchmarking lays the foundation for professionals to be categorized correctly in their companies, promotions, job classifications and – while it may sound silly – not have to scan industry trade magazines to help HR write their own job description and benchmark what they do.

Where do you think the evolution of the industry will take it next? If you had complete control over the “next big thing” in the industry, how would you shape it?

Complete control?! Not sure I want that but if I had a magic wand, I would put more of the people who are doing the work of event management in CEO and senior leadership positions. Our industry is built on the backs of many, many women who have been doing amazing work as business owners, event and exhibitions owners, and event and exhibition professionals and that voice is very small in leadership for our industry. Bringing in the female voice and perspective will allow young women to see what is possible and change the life of the next generation of female event professionals.

You recently completed your Executive Masters in Neuroleadership. How do you plan on applying neuroscience to your work in the industry? Do you have any tips to offer members of the industry interested in using neuroscience in their exhibitions and events?

Neuroscience is a field that has so many applications; I’m seeing it applied to marketing, politics and economics, to name a few. Here’s the deal: everyone walks into a meeting with a brain, right? That brain that is brought in is a social brain. It responds to stimuli in context of social settings. Data is just that – data of history, what’s happened. To project into the future takes more cognitive areas than just using (our brain’s) data center. Data either confirms or rejects our hunches and ideas. Our emotions, and biases, influence our decisions more than data. We look for data to confirm those ideas. I believe what this means for live events and exhibitions, is that we have the most potent tool available to influence and shape people’s decision making and beliefs. No other medium has the power to persuade like live events – because of our brain. Our brain can compute information faster than any computer. Bringing people together is a powerful moment to shape the future, drive innovation and create solutions to big problems.

You have been widely recognized throughout the industry as an innovator, leader and undeniable champion for exhibitions, events and meetings. Where will your next adventure take you?

My next adventure? I’m not sure; but what I am sure about is that I will keep doing what I’ve always done – challenge myself and our industry to define event management as a design discipline requiring skills in the social sciences, executive leadership, and cognitive sciences. I know that the professionals within our field have the power to unleash human capacity to contribute to a better tomorrow.

The 2016 Call for Nominations for the IAEE Awards is now open! Visit www.iaee.com/awards for more information about the various award categories and their corresponding criteria as well as submit your nominations for deserving colleagues whose outstanding efforts merit recognition.