Chapter Leaders Council Spotlight… An Interview with Mary Ellen Chapdelaine, CEM, Vice President of Sales, Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services

Mary Ellen Chapdelaine, CEM, is Vice President of Sales at Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services and a member of IAEE’s Chapter Leaders Council. Mary Ellen has been an IAEE member for 20 years. She recently shared with IAEE her perspective on the importance of connecting with her peers and the benefits she gains from her chapter leadership activities.

How did you get involved in leadership within your chapter?

I was recruited by Anna Roa in 1997 to serve on a committee for the Northern California Chapter. She was the Chapter Chair and encouraged me to get involved. Anna was my mentor, inspiration and became a dear friend. She passed away in December after a 31-year career with the Santa Clara CVB. I have been on a committee and/or the Board of Directors since that first volunteer committee position.

Connect with your IAEE Chapter

What chapter committees do you serve on currently and/or have served on in the past?

I have served on Program and Membership Committees and am currently Chair of the Northern California Chapter.

What have you gotten out of volunteering for your chapter?

I have made many great friends, enjoyed networking opportunities and valuable education. I am passionate about making connections. Connecting people together who will benefit from meeting  – that’s what I love to do.

How are you fostering future volunteer leaders?

We have recently made new connections with professors from San Jose University and University of San Francisco. We are working on connecting their students with show organizers to create volunteer opportunities as well as a chance to see a trade show and/or event in progress. We anticipate this will increase their interest levels towards pursuing careers in our industry and foster a new group of future leaders.

What do you find most satisfying about having stepped into a leadership role within your chapter?

Bringing people together – working with our Board of Directors and outreach to our membership. We are committed to providing relevant education and networking opportunities.

What is your favorite chapter activity?

Hosting CEM Learning Program courses. Our chapter has hosted a CEM course in San Francisco since 2011. We felt that bringing a CEM course to San Francisco would provide an opportunity for local members who may not be attending Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition to experience the value of this program and continue towards their certification.

Chapter Leaders Council Spotlight… An Interview with Brad Hobson, CEM, Business Development Manager, Freeman

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Brad Hobson, CEM is Business Development Manager for Freeman and a member of IAEE’s Chapter Leaders Council. Brad has been an IAEE member for 7 years and, in 2015, received the IAEE Merit Award for his contributions to the DFW chapter. He recently shared with IAEE how he became involved in a leadership role within the his chapter, and why he finds it fulfilling.

How did you get involved in leadership within your chapter?

My counterpart, Heather Chapman, and colleague Bob Berry are previous chapter chairs and they encouraged me to get involved in an organization. At the time I was working on my CEM and CMP, and IAEE seemed like a great fit. Through the years my passion and desire to help grow the Chapter have gotten deeper, and many encouraging leaders assisting me to make leadership a possibility and success. I have made lifelong friends and colleagues through my involvement with IAEE.

CEM Course

Check out the list of upcoming CEM Courses here

What chapter committees do you serve on currently and/or have served on in the past?

I serve on the Young Professionals and Member Engagement committees.


What have you gotten out of volunteering for your chapter?

Career-wise, I have learned leadership and management skills as well as working to lead and create a team passionate about something they are donating their time to! I have learned the importance of a career-oriented group of friends. It is important to network with those who share similar goals and are able to help you reach yours.

How are you fostering future volunteer leaders?

Our Chapter has a hard focus on continually recruiting people to help our committees and boards. We also encourage a free flow of ideas and let everyone have ownership in the Board. We have a very encouraging group!

What do you find most satisfying about having stepped into a leadership role within your chapter?

The most satisfying is the moment the event/lunch/education session ends and you know that the attendees have left with a new friend, and learned something new. I know at that point we have done our job.

What is your favorite chapter activity?

My favorite chapter event is our annual volleyball tournament.

dfw chapter volleyball

For a list of upcoming DFW Chapter events, click here. 


Expo! Expo! Follow Up and Resolutions for 2016

Originally published in Trade Show Executive, January 2016 Edition

For many of us, January marks a time of reflection and assessment. At IAEE Headquarters this is particularly true, as we celebrate another highly successful Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition, held this past December in Baltimore, Maryland. The feedback we have received from attendees has been phenomenal; it is very fulfilling to know IAEE delivered the great experience we set out to accomplish.

The focus of Expo! Expo! centered around providing the utmost value to attendees, exhibitors and IAEE members. The education sessions were as diverse as their intended audiences, addressing the gamut of experience levels and job functions. However varied those may be, a common thread among them is the role that technology plays in all facets of how we do business. Staying on top of tech trends is very much a shared objective across the board, as we saw with the popularity of the TechCenter Showcase on the show floor. The Expo! Expo! mobile app proved invaluable to attendees, as it allowed for on-the-spot networking and up-to-the-moment notifications of event activities.

There were so many incredible moments during the event – and in the whole of 2015 for that matter – that I highly encourage you to see them for yourself at The Exhibitions Channel, produced by Convention News Television. CNTV has wrapped up a year’s worth of industry achievement at and it is a perfect way to warm up for the goals and objectives we have lined up in 2016, because yes, we are ready to make it another banner year in the exhibitions and events industry!

Exhibitions Channel

The IAEE Board of Directors is reviewing and updating our strategic plan, which encompasses three years of initiatives and goals. I can already tell you that among them is the continuation of the progress we have made in our advocacy and education efforts through the Exhibitions Mean Business Campaign. We will debut Global Exhibitions Week in June as part of IAEE’s third annual Exhibitions Day activities in Washington, D.C. Global Exhibitions Week will serve to expand on the message that is making headway among our government as to the value proposition of our industry and impact we have on the overall economy – not only in the U.S., but around the globe.


Continuing with the theme of grassroots efforts, we are anticipating a great response from IAEE members to the Chapter Challenge set forth by Visit Anaheim President and CEO Jay Burress during Expo! Expo!’s Annual Networking and Awards Luncheon on 3 December. The challenge extends to IAEE chapter members to partner with organizations within the cities of their corresponding exhibitions and events, and to give back to the local community as part of their event activities. It is a true representation of the Golden Rule, and an acknowledgement of how the industry and local communities hold a genuinely reciprocating relationship. IAEE Chapters will connect quarterly to share the stories, successes and impacts that each chapter has made. This presents an opportunity unlike any other to engage in hands-on advocacy for our industry.

Become active in your IAEE chapter!
View the IAEE Chapter Event’s Calendar

2016 is going to be another milestone year for the exhibitions and events industry, and IAEE has hit the ground running. I invite you to join us in promoting and advancing this powerful industry of ours, which as noted by both 2015 IAEE Chairperson Megan Tanel, CEM and 2016 IAEE Chairperson Julie Smith, CTA, CEM during Expo! Expo!, is now recognized as its own career path by the U.S. Department of Labor (yet another breakthrough for the industry in 2015). We are off to a great start and, true to form, moving at full speed ahead. Happy New Year!

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

2016 Expo Expo Banner 740x200

40 Years of Progress – The Importance of Chapters

Originally published in Trade Show Executive, Aug 2014 Issue

We have all heard the famous quote from Aristotle, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” and while this may be true in some instances, I can confirm that as an association, IAEE reveres its 16 chapters who are connections to the more than 8,000 members who count on us for their professional and strategic development. Each chapter is a community through which members congregate to share ideas, network, create best practices and salute a common cause. They are the grassroots hubs and information centers for everyone at any stage of their career – from those who are new to the industry to those who are leading the way – serving as the networking conduits which drive the professional relationships on which we depend for our progress.

IAEE’s first chapters were officially recognized in 1974 when Chicago (now the Midwest Chapter), Washington D.C. and New York reorganized and granted their charters. Since that time, we have seen chapters form, grow and prosper. A few chapters have disbanded over the years due to geography, but those instances are the exception, not the norm. Chapter administration and activities are driven by the volunteers who have their own “day jobs” in addition to their leadership roles within the chapter. IAEE recognizes and applauds the many talents and efforts of these men and women who donate their time and support their IAEE chapter and its development.

In addition to the frequent face-to-face meetings and events, IAEE’s chapters connect virtually via IAEE’s MemberLink. Through this online portal, chapters can maintain their own chapter communities and provide a way to share ideas, tool kits, polls, presentations, email updates, meeting announcements and more.  With real-time updates, chapter members are immediately updated on changes and news as it happens. We encourage the chapters to share their successes regularly to not only engage their own communities but also to inform the greater membership of the new and successful initiatives underway.

Throughout the year, I visit most chapters to understand members’ key priorities and have an open discussion about the trends they are seeing. Whether it’s the impact the economy is having on the attendance of their own events or their discussions with city officials and union leaders about new events or new facilities that are being built, I always am delighted by the fervor and dedication that our members have for the issues that impact our industry. In the instance of the recently-held Women’s Leadership Forum and Exhibitions Day events in Washington D.C., I was impressed by the peer-to-peer support and encouragement of others to attend by our D.C chapter. Likewise, when we hosted CultureCreation in Chicago, the Midwest Chapter was involved from the beginning and part of the planning process. As we turned our focus to CEM Week in Austin, were pleased that the entire week sold out more than a month prior, and I know that the Central Texas Chapter was integral in promoting the opportunity on a local basis. As we prepare for Expo! Expo! in December, we are already working with the Southwest Chapter to ensure that the local organizers and suppliers are part of the planning process and are able to make their contributions for the event in Los Angeles.

IAEE’s chapters’ constant dedication does not go unnoticed or unrewarded. There is no doubt that our chapters are the lifeline to our members, and we celebrate their successes with them. Whether it is a golf tournament to raise funds for a scholarship, the integration of a new student chapter, or an awards ceremony for a member who has achieved unchartered success, we are our chapters’ biggest advocate. They are top of mind.

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President and CEO