Chapter Leaders Council Spotlight… An Interview with Sue McCart, President, HFI Event Services

Sue McCart is President of HFI Event Services and a member of IAEE’s Chapter Leaders Council. Sue has been an IAEE member for 34 years. She recently shared with IAEE her perspective on the importance of leadership within one’s local chapter and why she has stayed true to IAEE over three decades.

How did you get involved in leadership within your chapter?

I just jumped in to the chapter’s leadership opportunities so I could learn and give back.

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

I am currently the Immediate Past Chair of the Southeastern Chapter and the 2017 IAEE Chapter Leaders Chair. Formerly, I served as the 2016 IAEESE Chapter Chair and have been on the IAEESE Board for several years. Locally, I have participated in the Website Committee, the Education Committee, and the Awards Committee. Additionally, I have been a member of the IAEE Chapter Leaders Committee and the 2013-2015 CEIR Fundraising Council.

What have you gotten out of volunteering for your chapter?

IAEE is MY organization. I do not belong to any other industry associations. Getting involved at the chapter level and the international level has been wonderful for networking, learning, and giving back to the industry that has fed my passion – and my living – for close to 40 years.

What is your favorite chapter activity?

I get jazzed when we have an awesome educational program and the members leave talking about it. We try to make our luncheon programs informative, interactive and fun. Of course, I would put our annual Summer Classic at the top of the list!

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.

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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; 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!

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!
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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.

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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!
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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.

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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.

Show Floor, Education and Networking: An All-Inclusive Tale of Expo! Expo!

By Jessica Finnerty, CEM; Manager, Meetings and Events, Auto Care Association

Last week, I wrapped up my annual expo. A year’s worth of work culminated in just a few short days. While the work was exhausting and strenuous, I would do this all over again in a heartbeat.  Fresh with ideas I am inspired to learn how to make improvements and create a better Auto Care Association expo for next year. What better way to learn cutting edge trends than by attending Expo! Expo! in Anaheim, California?

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This will be my third year attending Expo! Expo! and let me tell you what you can expect – the best and the brightest; the new and exciting; the tried and true. From event technology to attendee acquisition and so much more, the expo floor is chock full of everything that an event planner could need to help make his/her show a success. Already, I have received meeting requests from industry leaders about products and services spanning the entirety of the industry. In addition to the meetings already on my agenda, I am excited to walk the show floor and discover new innovations that could be beneficial to me and my organization.

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However, the show floor is only part of the Expo! Expo! value. The 2016 educational offerings address topics for all aspects of planner life. These sessions are critical, particularly to me, because unlike so many other sessions for event planners, these sessions focus primarily on the exhibition side rather than the meetings. I find more relevant content in these few days than I do throughout the rest of the year. Of particular interest this year is the MATSO agenda. The challenges for large-show organizers are different compared to organizers of smaller shows and it’s great to have the opportunity to collaborate with others who are in the same boat.

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Of course, what is a conference without the networking? After all, isn’t the power of face-to-face interaction what we are selling? Getting the chance to meet and connect with so many industry professionals has been instrumental to my career because I can talk shop with other planners, or hear tales from the other side of the aisle. From the familiar faces at my local chapter event to the friendships that have yet to be made, I am looking forward to all of the interactions in just a few weeks.

Check out the 2016 Expo! Expo! Feature Networking Events!

My show is in the automotive sector and our tagline is “Ahead of the Curve” (see what we did there?). This is not only our mission statement, but our promise to both attendees and exhibitors alike – attend AAPEX to keep your business ahead.

Thanks to Expo! Expo!, I can keep MY business ahead of the curve, the competition and the expectations.

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Expo! Expo!

Originally published by Trade Show Executive, November 2016 Edition

We are only a few weeks away from Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Anaheim, California and I could not be more pleased with the program we have in store for attendees. With more than 70 education sessions on and off the show floor, great networking opportunities and social events, this year’s meeting is all about the experience of sharing information with colleagues and keeping our industry thriving.

This year’s show focuses on five key strategies that provide an “inside out” approach to the Expo! Expo! experience. We will offer show organizers inspiration and solutions that they can apply to their own events, which includes providing product/service providers the appropriate platform to educate on their unique offerings. Here is just a taste of what to expect at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in December.

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Interaction and Engagement

There is no denying the power of conducting business in a face-to-face setting. The connections made at exhibitions and events are all potential investments – at the end of the day, this is serious business! At the same time, we are not robots (at least not yet) and the ability to connect on a personal level with current and potential associates is an essential part of doing business. With this in mind, Expo! Expo! has integrated various tools of interaction and engagement such as mobile app beacon programs, crowd sourced content, a general session backstage tour, IAEE chapter meet-ups, networking events for young professionals and LGBTQ meet-ups.

Check out these Expo! Expo! Featured Networking Events

Innovation

Whether you are a technophile or technophobe, Expo! Expo! has something for you, even beyond knowing what is available or what is new. What is your technology need? Are you interested in collecting big data? Tracking attendee behavior? Maximizing your marketing efforts?  Or, perhaps, your goal is to have attendees walk into your show and simply say, “oh wow!” The innovation is out there; quite often the challenge lies in deciphering the best approach to meet your objectives. That is when you take full advantage of Expo! Expo!’s Tech Center Showcase, Tech Start Up Pavilion, Beacons, New Product Showcase and Show Tech Partner Highlights.

Giving Back: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

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There is much information regarding the economic impact our industry has on its destinations. In fact, we are quite proud of the local revenue that exhibitions and events deliver. It is only natural to extend this positive corporate effect and contribute in a social sense to the local communities that host our meetings. For many years, Expo! Expo!’s Gift of Service has exercised local volunteerism and this year is no different. This year, we are working with the Orange County Family Justice Center. In addition, proceeds from the eighth annual Humanity Rocks: A Celebration with a Cause will be donated to the organization. Last year, we launched the IAEE Chapter Challenge that extended our CSR to a national level, with each chapter contributing to their local communities through various activities. They will be reporting their results in Anaheim.

Encouraging a Global Spirit and Community

By now you already know that the “I” in IAEE is not just a letter – it is a call to action. Expo! Expo!’s International Reception celebrates attendees who understand and embrace just how globally connected our industry is, and who are ready to take the power of face-to-face meetings to the next level. Our gracious host Visit Anaheim has welcoming programs in store, and Expo! Expo!’s concierge programs are ready to serve attendees at every turn.

Learning: Plan, Perform and Lead

As I mentioned in my September column, we have taken a very thorough approach to our education programs at Expo! Expo! We have meshed cutting-edge principles of neuroscience with good, old-fashioned industry experience to create an innovative array of learning opportunities for all levels of job experience and functions.

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Expo! Expo! is a great opportunity to surround yourself with the best of the best in the exhibitions and events industry, and I look forward to seeing you in Anaheim at the “show for shows”!

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

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.

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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).

 

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.

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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!

Making the Most of Your Expo! Expo! Experience: An Interview with Benjamin Rabe, CEM

With more than 70 education sessions on and off the show floor, over 265 exhibitors, and networking sessions primed for idea sharing,  Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition offers attendees a wealth of information they can take straight to their own exhibitions and events. Although there is no such thing as too much information, how do show organizers decide which new technologies and innovative solutions to apply when organizing their own unique experiences? Here, IAEE speaks with Benjamin Rabe, CEM, Events Director at SmithBucklin, who shares how he makes the most of the valuable information he takes away from Expo! Expo! each year.

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IAEE: Why do you attend Expo! Expo!?

I have been an IAEE member for over 10 years now, and I have attended probably eight Expo! Expo! meetings so far. My number one reason for attending is the networking. It’s good to hear a bit of what people outside of SmithBucklin are doing with their events. Also, I enjoy the education sessions and just learning about new trends and topics that are being done by people other than my colleagues here.

Check out Expo! Expo! Featured Networking Opportunities

IAEE: Tell us a little about the shows you manage.

I manage four different teams here at SmithBucklin, and some of them organize multiple shows. For example, KeHE Distributors is a corporate client of ours who puts on three shows a year: the KeHE Summer Selling Show, KeHE Holiday Show and KeHE Natural Show. I oversee the team for the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction in March as well as its Annual Conference in July. Then, I work on the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) Show as its exhibit director. The NAFEM Show is held every two years, and it is a large Top 100 trade show in terms of square footage. I also manage another smaller show.

IAEE: Given your experience, the sessions that caught your attention at last year’s Expo! Expo! were Innovative Floor Plans to Drive Engagement; When Data Met Strategy: A Love Story; and Beacon Gamification and Matchmaking. Were you able to extract key takeaways from each and apply them at your different events?

Yes! The innovative floor plan session definitely opened my eyes to new approaches to floor plan design. The facilitator covered over half a dozen different ways to approach floor plan design. I knew of a couple of them because we were already doing them, but it did help me to have an official name to some of the things we were doing so that I could use the right terms and technology when discussing how to innovate a redesign of a floor plan for the clients that I work with.

For example, with KeHE Distributors, they always had one pavilion toward the center of the show floor, which is what you would call the “central hub approach.” Next year, we are going to have five different “neighborhoods” throughout the show floor instead: a KeHE Kitchen, a Power Up Pavilion, an Entre Pavilion, a Fresh Pavilion – which we have never done before – and a Flavors of New Orleans Pavilion.

We are also working on how we are going to drive traffic and map out the attendee’s journey. We want attendees to visit all those different spots on the show floor, which was a strategy covered in that session. The concept of the “attendee journey” is hot and trendy right now.

Learn more about Expo! Expo! Education Sessions!

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IAEE: With regards to the “attendee journey,” did you find that technology is going to play a huge role on how you create that journey? For example, will you be using iBeacons on your floor? If so, did you learn a lot from the Beacon Gamification and Matchmaking session to help integrate those two strategies – the floor plan design and beacons?

As a matter of fact, yes! We are going to be starting with one beacon in our registration area and are definitely exploring the idea for a couple of other events. I am applying this with both KeHE and NAFEM, so I am working with Marketing to incorporate it.

With KeHE, for example, we have done a lot of traditional marketing pieces such as the invitations to attend and the brochures, etc. But now, it’s really about working with how to connect everything. We must connect the dots from the invitation to branding the show at the hotel check-in, to moving it through the curb of the convention center all the way to the front door of the trade show floor, to the entire map of the show floor experience and, finally, the five places that we want every attendee to visit. Basically, we want attendees to connect when they go to each of those areas – not only to the show, but also to our brand – so that they want to come to our event next year. It’s an effective way of making our event more “sticky” so that it becomes a “can’t miss” event in the attendee’s mind.

For NAFEM, it is really important that what they see before the show – all the pre-show marketing and what’s popping up in attendees’ Facebook feeds and all the other social media – is also tying into the “wow” factor that we are planning to have in the lobby and leading all the way to the convention center. As soon as attendees get off the curb, the concept we want to convey is that this show is like no other show on earth. So while walking up the steps, attendees will feel they are coming up to this world that ties into all the marketing and pre-show promotion they’ve received. We want to portray this virtual world made out of food service equipment – an entire city or village that is all those pieces put together – that is our show brand.

IAEE: That is quite the concept!

Yes! You have to check out www.thenafemshow.org to see what I am talking about for this virtual world, but the marketing piece looks like the front of the Orange County Convention Center is made out of food service equipment. And, I want to stress that this is a much higher and more elevated thought process than “oh well, let’s design a pretty sign” and then not have it connect to that registration brochure. We have truly integrated what we want attendees to feel, think and do, after they get a message from us or hear from us.

I would say, from the perspective of having attended the sessions at Expo! Expo!, that the information I took away really helped my team to engage in the dialogue needed with our counterparts in the marketing and advertising departments to realize our design vision, and successfully integrate all the components.

IAEE: One of today’s big trends is augmented reality and virtual reality. And, from a best practice and show manager’s perspective, how it will change the exhibition floor. Questions arise as to what the show floor will look like 5, 10 and 15 years down the road, and whether there will still be a need for a physical experience on the trade show floor. Is this a topic of discussion at SmithBucklin?

It is, but I think it all does come back to the power of face-to-face interaction and the networking. In our marketing messaging to attendees, we focus on the education and the new products/solutions that they are coming to see and touch. We also talk about the networking but attendees need those two things first, because that’s what they will use to convince their boss or supervisor that the company should support their coming to the event. Networking will also play into the equation, because it still is one of the top three reasons cited in research as to why people attend events. Still, you can’t state that as your number one reason when you go to your boss’ office.

IAEE: Another hot trend is data analytics – whether a show is collecting the right data and how to use it. If you do get the right data, how do you analyze it? Organizations with smaller staff may not have the resources to devote to data analysis, so how does SmithBucklin use data to drive attendee experiences?

With some of our trend pavilions, for example, we look at not only the results from the survey data, but also the badge scanning in those pavilions to see who checked in and who clicked through the mobile app to look something up. We then look at it how many tips we are getting and how they relate to survey results. We look at qualitative and quantitative feedback to decide if this is something that we should continue to do, tweak or change. We bring all this to the debriefing of the strategic review meeting because sometimes we see that ‘Wow, we spent all this time and energy on this one pavilion, but only 10% of the people went there.’ and sometimes, we’re thrilled that our ideas and hard work paid off just as we planned.

The When Data Met Strategy: A Love Story session really helped me understand how to create a data road map, and evaluate all the different spots you get your data from. Then, you must think your way through this process to decide what end result you want to get to. In my case, I have used that entire “road map thought process” to map out a new process for us to collect all our internal data for our meeting statistics and then get all our buying power.

We had a lot of different sources until I started to put everything together on a piece of paper. I realized we didn’t have a central place to collect it all, so this past year I worked with our IT department to create our own proprietary system to collect all the data from all of our different show leads and event leads, and then to collect all the data post-event or to capture and report all the business that we are doing. This is definitely something that we need to do in order to collect the data, analyze it, and formulate dashboards so that we are able to report it quarterly to our senior leadership. We are doing this with all our clients.

IAEE: It sounds like last year’s Expo! Expo! led to quite a few breakthrough ideas and practices that have taken you down some interesting new roads this year. Will you be attending this year’s meeting in Anaheim?

Absolutely; I’ve already got my eye on sessions that I plan to attend and look forward to hearing what others are doing. I will definitely be in Anaheim!

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What It Takes to Make a Great Event (My Expo Expo Experience)

By Michael Doane, Marketing Manager with CadmiumCD

The two years prior to 2015, I had been fairly active with my IAEE membership online, chatting with other members through the IAEE MemberLink forum and taking advantage of all the great resources IAEE has to offer through the member portal. But I never had the opportunity to attendee Expo! Expo!.

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In 2015, Expo! Expo! was hosted by my hometown, Baltimore, MD, and I HAD to go. I remember walking through the exhibit hall and seeing old friends everywhere, plus meeting colleagues face-to-face for the first time that I knew from online industry events like the weekly Twitter group, #Expochat. It felt like a reunion.

Let’s talk about education for a minute. The quality of education surrounding the CEM Learning Program and industry knowledge is fantastic. I walked away from every Expo! Expo! session with a better understanding of clients’ pain points and responsibilities. This is why Expo! Expo! exemplifies what it takes to make any event great: they facilitate the opportunity to make great connections face-to-face, and the chance to receive a quality education.

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I’m excited to return to Expo! Expo! this year in Anaheim for the same reasons, but I have the added bonus of being involved with the conference on another level. This year I won’t just be an exhibitor and attendee, I will also be a speaker. I’ll be giving a presentation on Thursday, 8 December with Brittany Doyle from SPI called “Driving Attendee Engagement with Event Tech.” CadmiumCD’s co-founder, Michelle Wyatt, will also be talking about sponsorship with our good friend from Sponsorship Boost, Jennifer Kehrin.

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This is what I love most about IAEE and Expo! Expo!. It feels like every year that you’re involved with the organization, the opportunity to contribute to the industry increases. I hope to see you this December in Anaheim!

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