The Mistakes That are Killing Your First Impression

Originally posted 26 May 2017 By Lindsey Pollak

“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”

It’s one of the most clichéd pieces of advice. That’s because it’s true — especially if you are job hunting.

Research shows that recruiters typically only give your resume a six-second glance, and some people say the first seven seconds of meeting someone are the most important, so you don’t want to squander that initial chance to shine in person, on paper or online.

Here are some common ways job hunters undermine that crucial first impression — and how to avoid them:

Minimizing the Importance of Small Talk

“As you make your way to the interview space, the light conversation you exchange is a great opportunity to develop rapport. In an interview, there is no such thing as small talk. If the interviewer asks about upcoming weekend plans, talk about a hobby or personal interest of yours that you pursue in your free time. You might not have specific plans for those interests this weekend, but you don’t have to answer this question so literally. Don’t talk about errands to run, and certainly don’t say you have no plans! People want to work with people they like, and small talk is an opportunity to be sociable and therefore more likeable.” — Read more at

Dissing the Receptionist

“The person at the front desk may not be the hiring manager—but that doesn’t mean his or her impression of you doesn’t matter. In fact, some companies specifically ask their front desk attendants to report back on the demeanor of interviewees who come through the door. And that likely plays a role in the ultimate hiring decision—so it’s important to treat that person as well as you’ll treat your interviewer.”  — Read more at The Muse.

Not Paying Attention to Your Non-Verbal Communication

“Rob Riker, the founder of the Social Winner blog, says confident body language does more than make you look good — it helps you make a great first impression. To do this, Riker suggests suggests having a firm handshake, standing up straight, and maintaining eye contact both while listening and speaking.” — Read more at Business Insider.

Forgetting That the “Eyes” Have it

“It’s imperative to making a strong connection — but how much is too much? Here are three ways to perfect your gaze. Hold it. Eye contact during a conversation increases brain stimulation and, as a result, recall of the conversation. … But not for too long. Research shows that holding eye contact longer than three seconds without taking a break can be interpreted as aggressive, causing listeners to feel defensive and resistant to what you’re saying. And take breaks. Eye contact and word generation share cognitive resources, according to a 2016 study. That means maintaining too much eye contact can sap your brain and impact your ability to verbally respond.” — Read more at

Missing the Big Picture

“If I ask, for example, about your university telefund job, don’t bore me with mundane details like your donation numbers. Show me how it trained you to be the problem-solver you are today. Maybe you found yourself discouraged by the percentage of alums who hung up on you after 10 seconds, so you volunteered to revise the standard call script. In just a week or two, donations started ticking upward. Every employer wants to know they’re hiring someone who can absorb information, understand the details that matter, and can make smart decisions on their own.” — Read more at Fast

What are some first impression hits or misses you’ve seen? Let us know in the comments below.


More Career Advice Nobody Talks About: Everybody Bombs

Originally posted 9 May 2017 by Lindsey Pollak

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries – in March, it was  backup singers in 20 Feet from Stardom, and this month it’s stand-up comedians in Dying Laughing. (Please send me recommendations of what to stream next!) I love finding career advice in movies, and this doc did not disappoint.

The documentary features a who’s who of famous comics — Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Jerry Seinfeld, the late Garry Shandling, Sarah Silverman and many, many more – sharing raw tales of what it takes to succeed.

What I found most fascinating and impressive was that these entertainers who are at the very top of their field were so willing to talk openly about their failures. And while I certainly didn’t think it was easy, I had never fully appreciated the angst and pressure that goes into the career of a stand-up. Comedy is no laughing matter.

Here were some of my favorite career advice takeaways from the film.

Everyone pays their dues

Sure, everyone wants to be the unknown comic who dazzles their first audience and immediately ends up on SNL with no looking back, just as many young professionals yearn for a fast track to the CEO suite. But this rarely happens in any realm.

Garry Shandling tells a story in the film about a newbie comic approaching him to ask “the secret” to bypassing the years of telling mediocre jokes in crappy small town clubs. “I know there’s got to be one,” he says. Shandling shakes his head with a knowing smile and says simply, “There is no shortcut.”

No one is immune from a bad day

The stories the comedians told about bombing were the most powerful, even tear jerking. They talked about bad performances and bad audiences. Material that sounded awesome in front of their mirrors and painfully unfunny when it came out of their mouths onstage. Even Jerry Seinfeld explained how easy it can be to fail: “When you first go on, you start from a dead quiet room full of unhappy people.”

Their tales reminded me that absolutely no one is perfect, and no one is always winning: One day we have an audience or a client who loves us, and the next day we are smacked down. I get it because my experiences as a speaker have also run the gamut. I’ve gotten criticism from some audiences and standing ovations from others. When you first walk into a room, you don’t always know which way the night will end.

The bombs are when you grow

The comedians in Dying Laughing reinforced that bombing has some upside. Every time it happens to you, you get a little better at figuring out what caused the bomb and how to avoid it — or better deal with it — in the future.

The career equivalents of bombing (getting reprimanded, demoted or fired, for example) can occur at any and every stage of your career; what changes over time is how you react and how you recover. “If you come back from the worst bomb of your life, you’ll make it,” notes Keenen Ivory Wayans.

You need your tribe

One of the the film’s most powerful moments comes when comedian Royale Watkins tearfully tells the story of the worst night of his career (the short version of the story is that he bombed in front of basketball star Michael Jordan), and how it all turned around when the late Bernie Mac supported him through it.

A bad day yields the tendency to hide in our shell and eat ice cream, but this film is a good reminder that you should do the exact opposite and reach out to someone who knows your pain. No matter what your career field, it’s critical to have mentors, friends and colleagues. You can benefit from a friend’s tale of a similar woe or even just a listening ear and reminder that you’re not alone — even if your career involves standing by yourself on a stage in front of thousands of people.

Hearing these luminaries share their bombs underscored another truth: Sharing stories of the tough times becomes a strength; it makes you more approachable and authentic. So next time I bomb at a speaking gig, I think I’ll give Jerry Seinfeld a call…

What have been some takeaways you’ve had about bombing? Remember what I said about the importance of sharing with others, and let us all know in the comments below!

How to Lower Stress at Work

Originally posted by Lindsey Pollack 24 March 2017

What stresses out your employees? Deadlines? A never-ending to-do list? An overflowing inbox?

While the concept of work-life integration is designed to reduce workplace stress, sometimes it can have the opposite effect, as schedules become blurry and we try to cope with being “always on.”

And of course, stress isn’t limited to our schedules. Work itself can be a pressure cooker – a 2017 survey by the American Institute of Stress (yep, there is such a thing!) found that 80% of workers reported feeling stress on the job. And while the Institute is often asked to put together lists of the most and least stressful occupations, they note that everyone has a different take on what makes a job stressful: Some people thrive on deadlines and challenges; others just want to feel successful in their day-to-day environment.

Whether your team is dealing with stress brought on by the work environment or their personal lives or both, managers can take steps to help people cope. I hope the tips below will help you create an environment that generates less stress.

Learn to Recognize Stress in Your Workplace

“[I]f you’re an employer or a manager, you might recognize the variety of clues that excessive stress is present in your work environment: Employee productivity is sliding downward despite long hours logged in. Absenteeism is rising; your employees are taking more sick days than they used to. Tolerance for each others’ shortcomings is thinner and tempers are flaring more easily; humor is hard to muster in meetings.” — Read more at Monster.

Reduce Stress at Work by Giving Your Team as Much Autonomy as Possible

“Though it is not one of the most cited issues, feeling like every tiny movement is controlled and monitored is a quick way for employees to become burned out from stress. As the millennial generation becomes the biggest demographic in today’s workforce, it is important to understand how their minds work. One of the most important factors millennials consider when in search of a job is the workplace environment. They want to have at least some control over what they do, and how they do it.” — Read more at Entrepreneur.

Help Your Employees See Perspective

“When you’re bogged down with stress-inducing projects and deadlines, it can be difficult to see beyond them. Even long-term assignments end eventually, so you just need to keep going and remember that the challenges you’re facing now will seem small and insignificant when you’ve finally overcome them. ‘We can all recollect instances that we thought at the time were real deal-killers, only to have them turn out to be a small anthill,’ [John] Koeberer, [author of
‘Green-Lighting Your Future: How to Manifest the Perfect Life’], said. ‘Adopt the thought that this, too, shall pass.’” — Read more at Business News Daily.

Model Good Behavior to Help Your Employees Reduce Stress at Work

“In 2016, Kronos adopted an open paid-time-off policy. And while some ‘unlimited’ time-off policies have gotten negative attention because employees tend to take less time off, [Joyce] Maroney, [director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos], says that’s not the case at Kronos, because senior leaders take time off and the human resources department provides managers with guidance on how to take time off. That kind of role modeling and prioritization makes a difference, she says. ‘Ultimately, employees look to their managers to set the example. If a manager is sending emails on a regular basis after hours, employees will feel pressured to do so, too. Conversely, if a manager treats a day off truly as a day off by unplugging and trusting their coworkers to step up in their absence, their employee will be much more likely to do so, too,’ she says.” — Read more at Fast Company.

Do you think your employees are overly stressed? I’d love to hear the changes you’ve made to help everyone reduce stress at work.


The Most Important Career Advice Nobody Talks About

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak 14 March 2017

Have you seen the documentary 20 Feet from Stardom? I recently watched it (a little late, I know), and I was struck by several insights applicable to success in any industry. (Pro tip: You can “rent” it from Amazon for just 99 cents!)

The movie won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and it explores the world of backup singers, the entertainers who sing and dance just out of the spotlight. They are arguably some of the most talented singers in the world, yet they haven’t broken out to become household names like Sting, Sheryl Crow and Stevie Wonder, also interviewed in the film.

Some of them may still break out, and some never will. The movie spends a lot of time pondering the question of what makes some people superstars and not others. Clearly, it’s not just talent.

On that topic, Sting shared an observation near the end of the film that has really stuck with me:

“There’s this idea that you go on American Idol and become a star, but that means you’ve bypassed the spiritual work that you have to do to get here. If you bypass that, then your success will be wafer thin.”

In his opinion, sometimes it’s not solely your innate talent, but also the internal, personal development work (what he calls the “spiritual work”) that makes you not just successful but able to handle that success. I don’t think we talk enough about this — working on yourself and not just working on your work.


It’s a common refrain from younger professionals, “I’m good at my job, so why can’t I get promoted?”

You may want to be promoted after a few months of work. Are you capable of doing some or most of the work that bigger job will require? Maybe you are. But I believe that time has value in and of itself.

As you wait and learn and gather new skills and understandings and confidence and resilience, big changes happen that you might not even realize. And many of those changes aren’t directly related to your job IQ. You’re acquiring maturity and self-knowledge, gravitas and a comfort level that will give you more career success in the long run. You are building a solid foundation that will support you for the rest of your career.


There’s no question we live in an instant gratification society, and that certainly comes into play with the desire for an immediate promotion. But when I look at the people I most admire, I see they’ve amassed deep knowledge that only grows thanks to time and experience.

As a speaker, I’m often asked if I get nervous on stage. The truth is, I’m really not, and here’s why: I have studied my craft for almost two decades. I know my content deeply. I have been challenged on virtually all of my ideas and opinions. I have experienced a multitude of challenges, mistakes, criticisms, snafus and successes. And I can’t really point to one single moment or experience when I thought, “I’m not nervous!” It took a long time and evolved along with my business. For me, there has been no such thing as overnight success.

There’s a story I love in the book Art and Fear about quality vs. quantity. One group is given clay and told to make the best pot possible, while the second group is told to make as many pots as they can. In the end, the group that made the most pots ended up with the best ones as well.

I believe that a quantity of time working can matter just as much as the quality of your work.


So why do we all want to rocket straight to the top?

For the first 10 years of my career, no one was paying attention to my progression. They might have asked how it was going, and I’d give a pat answer, but I didn’t have the pressure of others checking my pace on LinkedIn and measuring my progress building clients and audiences. I’m sort of grateful I started my business before social media really took off.

These days, it’s harder to toil away and bide your time, because it seems like everyone’s watching.

Sure, there are those who become highly accomplished CEOs at age 28, and that’s great, but the vast majority of us don’t. And I believe, in retrospect, that those who spent the time developing themselves will agree that it was worth it.

The Supremes – and their back-up singers – know that “You Can’t Hurry Love.” I don’t think you can hurry career success either.

SOURCE: The Most Important Career Advice Nobody Talks About

CEM Faculty Spotlight on Eric Hoffend, CEM

Eric Hoffend, CEM, is Vice President, Business Development for Freeman, which supports the power of face-to-face marketing by providing full-service resources for expositions, corporate events, conventions and exhibit programs across North America. Based in Las Vegas since 1998, he has direct responsibility for developing new business opportunities nationally and manages the sales team in Nevada. Eric received his CEM designation in 2009 and continues to be actively involved with IAEE, PCMA and, locally, with LVHA in Las Vegas.

IAEE sat down with Eric Hoffend, CEM to discuss how the exhibitions and events industry impacted his life and how he is involved in IAEE’s CEM Learning Program.

How long have your been in the industry?

I have been in the industry for 25 years.

How did you become involved in the industry?

I was born into the industry, wrapped in banjo cloth as a child. My grandfather was in the stage and rigging business, and my father on the official contractor side.

What are your responsibilities in your current role?

I manage a team of 90 business professionals at Freeman in the Nevada & Northwest region of the U.S.

What drives your involvement with IAEE and the CEM Learning Program?

Being an IAEE (formerly NAEM and IAEM) member for 25 years has been the foundation of my successful career. This is the best way to give back to an incredible industry; by sharing life experiences with face-to-face engagement.

Are you ready to get started on your CEM? Click here for more info!

When did you become a member of the CEM faculty?

I joined the CEM Faculty in 2012.

What was your most memorable experience from teaching?

My most memorable experience from teaching is traveling to Seoul, South Korea, and managing the cultural differences while presenting to a group that probably only understood 70% of what I was saying.

What are a few of the benefits of teaching CEM?

Teaching CEM courses allows you to network, build your personal brand and improve your presentation skills.

How has the CEM designation helped you in your career?

The CEM designation has given me exposure outside my comfort zone at IAEE meetings. The CEM designation and the learning program help me understand and look at my customers’ challenges from a different perspective, making me a better resource for them.

CEM Salary Inforgraphic_Freeman

Do you have any advice for other CEMs who may want to start teaching?

I recommend reading the syllabus three times: 90 days, 60 days and 1 week out before teaching.  Practice presenting the material at least twice. Finally, have fun and make it original.

CEM Faculty Spotlight on Troy Love, CTA, CMP, CEM

Troy Love, CTA, CMP, CEM has 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including nine years at the helm of a casino organization. He holds a B.S. in Social Science and an M.S. in Tourism Management. He currently works as the Senior Sales Manager for Visit San Antonio.

IAEE recently spoke with Troy about how he entered into the exhibitions and events industry, as well as his involvement with the CEM Learning Program.

How did you become involved in the industry?

I have been in the hospitality industry since high school, but it wasn’t until I took a Tourism elective during my senior year in college that I got hooked on pursuing this industry professionally. Loving to travel and meeting new people greatly motivated me.

What are your responsibilities in your current role?

My responsibilities primarily include promoting San Antonio as a convention, meeting and incentive destination while securing definite commitments from associations and corporations to utilize hotel rooms and meeting facilities.

What drives your involvement with IAEE and the CEM Learning Program?

I’ve been involved with IAEE since my first Expo! Expo! in 2007. I’ve always had the desire to give back and help others in their professional careers.

Are you ready to get started on your CEM? Click here for more info!

When did you become a member of the CEM faculty?

I joined the CEM Faculty in October 2013.

What was your most memorable experience from teaching?

My most memorable experience is always seeing students that were in my class walk across the stage at IAEE Expo! Expo!.

What are a few of the benefits of teaching CEM?

  1. Being a part of something larger than yourself.
  2. Building new relationships.
  3. Learning from your students.

How has the CEM designation helped you in your career?

My CEM designation has kept me abreast of the changes in our industry, as well as provided me the new connections I needed to continue to learn and grow.

CEM Salary Inforgraphic_Freeman

Do you have any advice for other CEMs who may want to start teaching?

Do it! Teaching is a great feeling and it provides a wonderful connection to all the new CEMs.

Beyond the Humblebrag: How to Own Your Success Without Feeling Braggy

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak 15 November

“I have no place to put my new award! I’m running out of wall space in my office!”

“So don’t love my new haircut, but three people told me it makes me look younger. Are they lying?!”

We’ve all rolled our eyes at similar “humblebrags,” whether they’re comments made in meetings or posted on social media.

And yet, there is a genuine reason that professionals must promote themselves and their personal brands. It’s highly strategic to own your successes and to convey your value confidently — whether it’s in an email introduction, interview, keynote speech, cover letter, client pitch or performance review.

But many attendees of my speeches about personal branding ask me how to self-promote without sounding too braggy. (Or, as Peggy Klaus asks in one of my favorite book subtitles, how do you “toot your own horn without blowing it?”) If you feel like you’re bragging when you share your accomplishments, consider these off-putting phrases and learn how to correct them.

Instead of saying “I’m a creative, intelligent leader,” provide examples of your work.

When you’re touting your best traits, it’s best to use the “show, don’t tell” theory. In other words, instead of saying what a great communicator or strategic planner you are, show people how you used your creativity or organizational skills by telling a story that bolsters the claim.

Try using the proven formula of “problem, action, result.” For example, if you want to communicate that you can motivate a team, first describe the lack of morale you inherited in your department. Then share how you implemented team-building events and better communication to help create buy-in, and therefore retention improved under your watch.

Instead of saying “I accomplished this, and it was amazing,” include other people in your stories.

Speaking of stories, you’ll find that there’s more than one character in most stories. That’s why you should acknowledge those who helped you with your achievement (without unduly giving away too much of the credit). Talk about how you led a team and were really proud of the work they did: “We had to fix this problem ASAP so I worked with my team to find a solution that would allow us to stay within budget.”

By sharing the love, you prove that you’re confident enough to compliment others and authentic enough to realize that no one goes it alone.

Instead of saying “This sounds braggy, but…”, just share your good news.

You don’t have to apologize; just be genuine and share the great thing that happened. You could say “I’m proud to let you know I got a promotion,” or “I’m humbled and honored that my team nominated me for this award.” You could even say, “This is something I’ve really wanted and I am so happy I have done it.” People will respect you when you share good news with authenticity.

Don’t say “I did this. And that. And, come to think of it, this, too!”

Ultimately the level of your perceived bragginess will depend on your track record and how you typically position things. First cultivate the habit of paying it forward. If you’re never commenting or congratulating others on their news or “liking” and sharing their posts, they may be less eager to be supportive of you, especially if your “good news” seems to happen all.the.time.

Also, consider context. It’s one thing to post a picture with your medal when everyone knows you’ve been working hard to get healthy and tackle a marathon, and another when you’re already a fitness queen and you crow about losing a pound.

When you choose your moments and share news that is truly meaningful, other people will be happy for you. (P.S. If you’re a parent, these go for your kid posts, too. Just sayin’…)

How about you? I’d love to hear your strategies for sharing good news without being braggy. Please share in the comments!

CEM Faculty Spotlight on Steven Hacker, CAE, FASAE, CEM

Following a notable 40-year career as CEO of several non-profit associations, Steven Hacker, CAE, FASAE, CEM is now the Principal of Bravo Management Group, an organization that provides strategic leadership, governance, marketing and event planning expertise to associations and trade show organizers around the world.

IAEE sat down with Steven to discuss why he joined the exhibitions and events industry and how the CEM program has helped shape his future. Steven began his association management career in 1970 and became involved in the exhibitions industry when he was hired as IAEE’s CEO in 1991. Steven’s continued involvement with IAEE and the CEM Learning Program stems from his personal involvement at IAEE and overseeing the development of the CEM program as it operates today.

I stepped down as IAEE’s CEO in 2012 and began teaching CEM courses that same year.

The 2017 CEM Learning Program course schedule is now available!

What was your most memorable experience from teaching?

There is no one memorable experience. Instead, I find that every time I present a CEM module, either face-to-face or online, I enjoy creating new relationships with students. The diversity of students, their very different reasons for studying the CEM program, and their unique personalities are enriching and energizing. I have met some really remarkable people thanks to the CEM program.

Do you have any advice for other CEMs who may want to start teaching?

Overcome the common fear of failure. Students are hungry for teachers who are committed to the program and who are willing to help them through the program. Perfection is not an expectation of students of their teachers, only a sincere commitment to helping them master their CEM studies.

What are a few of the benefits of teaching CEM courses?

Teaching CEM courses means that you need to constantly review the source materials, bring in outside resources, and keep your presentation techniques fresh and unique. I find that I have to prepare for each class by devoting three or four hours of preparation for each hour of presentation. I don’t mind doing this because it keeps my own knowledge fresh and contemporary. Things are always changing and teaching CEM courses is a great way to stay on top of things.

How has the CEM designation helped you in your career?

Teaching the CEM program has given me a very intimate understanding of the challenges that students face. We need to remember that everyone in a class is employed in a demanding full-time career and many are also primary care givers, parents, and have additional obligations. Helping students understand how to keep up with their CEM work load is as important as providing the necessary motivation and information that teaching requires.

CEM Salary Inforgraphic_Freeman

Are you involved with any other committees or boards with IAEE or another industry association?

I am still a serial volunteer. I am currently involved with other IAEE members and staff in several committees and task forces. I believe we grow every time we contribute to the group.

Join Steven at Expo! Expo! in Anaheim for his campfire session on IAEE’s Certified Exhibition Program (12/07/16) and The Lawyers Are In: Hospitality Industry Attorneys Roundtable on Thursday (12/08/16).


Need a Break? Ideas for a Digital Detox

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak 4 November 2016

Feel like you’re sending even more email these days? You’re not just imagining it: Recent research from Adobe found that people report spending 17% more time checking email this year compared with last year.

In our “always-on” culture, we respond to emails after work, on weekends and on vacation. It’s not all bad — consider that you might be responding after hours because you dipped out to a lunchtime yoga class as part of the increased demand for work/life blend — but sometimes everyone can use a break. We all need uninterrupted time to read, relax or hang out with family and friends.

If you’re looking for new ways to establish boundaries at work, the following tips should help.

A Healthy Email Culture Has to Start at the Top

“The world has arrived at a place where instantaneous information and response is the norm, but is that the culture you want to embed in your workplace and team? How can managers continue to handle their administrative tasks at times that are convenient for them, and at the same time allow team members to unplug? One way is by writing emails when they provide you the work-life balance you want, then save them as a draft to be sent during work hours. Communicate with your team about your work style – and be equally clear of your expectations from the team. Reward a culture of balance, discuss time off activities, praise employees for being ‘unplugged,’ and respect the boundaries that you and your team set for an effective balance.” — Read more at SHRM.

Try an Email Break

“People are so plugged in that they are now taking frequent ‘email detoxes.’ Almost 45 percent reported attempting a self-imposed break from checking email. Tech workers were the most likely to report taking a detox: 66 percent versus 39 percent of non-tech industry respondents. The average email detox reportedly lasted 5.3 days, with the majority of people claiming a positive impact from the disconnect.” — Read more at The Business Journals.

Save Non-Urgent Messages for Later

“In terms of late-day emails, consider leaving them for the next day. Phone calls can go to voicemail, which you can check just to make sure that there’s nothing urgent. In those cases, you will respond accordingly. If the message is not urgent, resolve to take care of it the following day.” — Read more at SmartBrief.

Practice Spending Part of Your Day Tech-Free

“London-based life coach Carole Ann Rice believes that digital detoxes are something one needs to ease into. ‘In order to completely sever your dependency, it would be a good idea to first simply set small limits for each day. Be this during exercise time, your lunch break, or when out shopping, if you slowly eliminate technology from various parts of your day, your detox will be easier to stick at. Habitual rituals help us achieve our targets, but only if they are achievable themselves.’” — Read more at The Telegraph.

Set Your Own Boundaries, or No One Else Will

“Early on, [Tom Tierney, cofounder of Bridgespan, former CEO of the powerhouse global consulting firm Bain & Company, and author of the philanthropy guide Give Smart] understood that while he wanted to achieve financial and career success, his family came first. Based on this overarching value, and even while rising through the ranks at Bain to become its CEO, he did not work on weekends. Instead, he spent considerable time with his sons, coaching them both to the level of Eagle Scout. Eschewing work on the weekends…required discipline and an uncompromising ability to focus on what mattered most to him.” — Read more at Harvard Business Review.


CEM Faculty Spotlight on Michelle Monteferrante, CEM, CTA Regional Director of Business Planning & Event Execution, Freeman

Michelle Monteferrante, CEM, CTA is currently Director of Business Planning & Event Execution for Freeman, based at the Anaheim, California office. She received her B.S in Hospitality Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and began her career in the hotel field with a position at the Sheraton Corporation as a Corporate Trainee. This started a 10+ year career in various hotel locations and companies around the United States in sales management. After the hotel phase of her career, she moved back to Las Vegas to pursue a new career direction by working at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in event space sales. This position introduced her to the trade show industry when, a year later, she took a sales position at Freeman. Currently at Freeman, Michelle is part of a financial team that works on the top 250 accounts for our company. We focus on improving efficiencies and customer service.

IAEE recently spoke with Michelle about her experience in the exhibitions and events industry, as well as her involvement with the CEM Learning Program.

How long have you been in the industry and how did you become involved in it?
I have now been in the industry for more than 25 years. Both of my parents were in the hospitality industry, which led to my own involvement.

What drives your involvement with IAEE and the CEM Learning Program?
I strongly believe in our industry’s future and I want to give back to an industry that has given so much to me. This led to my desire to join the CEM Faculty a year ago. Michelle has served on the IAEE Southwest Chapter board for more than six years as director, treasurer, vice president, chairperson and now, past chairperson.

Are you ready to get started on your CEM? Click here for more info!

What was your most memorable experience from teaching?
Teaching 70 students in China who had a desire to learn was very memorable.

What are a few of the benefits of teaching CEM?
I truly enjoy meeting new people and hearing about other people’s different experiences. Being on the CEM Faculty also allows me to hone my public speaking skills, as well as share my experiences and what I have learned throughout the years with others.

How has the CEM designation helped you in your career?
I see the CEM designation as a symbol of commitment to our industry and to the craft.

CEM Salary Inforgraphic_Freeman

Do you have any advice for other CEMs who may want to start teaching?
It is very rewarding to teach and give back to our industry. If you have a passion for imparting your knowledge and experience to others, and feel comfortable speaking publicly, this is a great opportunity!