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!

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. 


The Millennial Retention Idea You Need to Borrow Right Now

Originally published by Lindsey Pollack 29 June 2016

Ask any manager what their No. 1 talent issue is, and I can almost guarantee they will offer some variable of “attract and retain millennials.” That’s why I was so happy to meet Whitney Proffitt, manager of campus recruiting at investment consulting company Cambridge Associates, and hear about a millennial council the firm has developed.

One of my simple tips to find out what millennials want: Ask a millennial. That’s why developing a millennial council like Cambridge Associates’ Associate Project is such a savvy move. It draws on many best practices to attract and retain millennials by inviting a select group of young employees to weigh in on issues that are important to them, giving firm leadership firsthand information about what millennials are looking for.

Interested in starting your own millennial retention project? I spoke with Whitney recently about the Associate Project and wanted to share some of the lessons she’s learned.

If you want to know what millennials want, ask a millennial. Click To Tweet

What issues are you tackling with your millennial council?

We want to remain an employer of choice for millennials, so our preliminary goal was to assess our associate compensation structure. But as we dug in, it quickly became clear that we could accomplish so much more, which is how our focus expanded.

We wanted to learn more about what initially drew millennials to the firm and then identify ways to best support and engage them once they join. Our conversations confirmed that they came here for two specific reasons: the culture of the firm and the ability to do meaningful work. (The majority of Cambridge Associates’ clients are nonprofits, such as college and university endowments, foundations and hospitals.) Our goal is to ensure that the experience of working here aligns with the messaging and expectations set throughout the recruitment process.

Then we started to tackle issues that will help improve the overall associate experience, such as compensation and non-monetary incentives, flexibility and career trajectory.

How do you choose participants for the Associate Project?

We ask managers to identify leaders on their teams and then we make sure that they have a willingness and interest in contributing to improving the associate experience. Since 40 percent of our firm is at the associate level, their input is critical. But since we want to make sure that the suggestions they offer are in line with senior management, we also include executive sponsors.

More than 70 associates and 50 directors across the firm have been involved since we kicked off the council in 2015, in addition to members of firm-wide management and human resources.

What are some of the surprising things you learned about millennial employees?

We found out that while compensation might lure someone to the job initially, it’s not enough to keep them there. Associates place significant emphasis on non-monetary incentives, such as recognition, opportunities for career progression, educational support, training and mentorship. In short, they want their efforts to be recognized and to be part of an environment where they can thrive over time.

What changes have you implemented as a result of the project?

Our first step was to clearly define career progression and promotion points in each role. We’ve made two changes that are very on trend with what millennials desire in their career progression.

First, since we know that they want to move up faster, we’ve created a direct path from investment associate to the director role. We’re also advising managers across all departments to educate themselves on internal transfers and encourage their employees to explore these opportunities within the firm for both lattice and ladder progression. As we know, millennials like to job hop and one great way to keep them at a firm is to show them all the opportunities they can have without ever leaving.

To increase recognition of top performers, we now have a promotion system that’s merit-based, rather than tenure-based. We also have expanded our “bonus bands,” so that our top performers are able to earn more. The bonuses used to be defined by title, as in this position could earn up to a 5 percent bonus, etc., but now there is more flexibility to reward top performers by giving a few percentage points more regardless of their title.

To support professional development, we cover the cost of the CFA [Chartered Financial Analyst®] exam and now offer three days of paid study leave prior to the exam.

To address career development, we are going to be adding more robust training and continuing education programs, as well as improving our mentor programs.

We’ve seen that these changes are having an impact: Over the course of the last year, our offer acceptance rate increased by nearly 20%. We think it’s because our efforts have really resonated with millennials during the recruitment process; they are excited to learn the firm is committed to providing a top-notch experience for its employees. I think it provides a bit of a competitive advantage as it’s not something they are hearing from every potential employer.

And while our retention has always been strong, we’ve seen an increase in internal transfers and more promotions from the associate role into director positions.

What advice would you give to other firms that may want to do something similar?

To your earlier point, if you want to know what millennials want, you have to ask them. But the effort won’t work if you’re not identifying and engaging both the right junior leaders and those within the executive ranks.

Share your results with employees throughout the organization. And, talk about your program throughout your recruiting process by adding messaging about your culture, mission and opportunities for development and advancement.

Initiatives like this are definitely worth pursuing. Every employer would be wise to keep a finger on the pulse of the engagement levels within their millennial populations.


Top 3 reasons this month’s MATSO meeting is going to be Epic

By Angela Harar, CEM, Senior Director of Trade Shows, The Vision Council

Change happens when change makers get together to share, debate, and challenge the status quo.

1 – Participants aren’t being talked to, they’re driving the conversation.  The agenda has been carefully developed to ensure we listen to each other and enjoy one on one and group discussions, plus get time to walk the Restaurant Show together and continue the mind meld.

2 – We have a mission.  MATSO leaders are walking away from this meeting with a clear direction on how MATSO will focus on one challenge to create a solution for a major challenge that impacts major shows.  Our plan is to be hyper focused so we can set clear goals.

3 – I’m just going to name drop here – who’s in (2 seats left for last minute takers).

Adam Andersen, Managing Director, Penton

Raymond Bianchi, Senior Director Expositions & Events, IDEAg Group LLC

Thomas Carbott, Senior VP of Exhibitions, Material Handling Industry

Sacha Carey, Director Exhibition Sales & Operations, Water Environment Federation

John Catalano, Group Show Manager, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)

Jessica Curtis, CMP, Senior Director, Meetings & Show Services, National Association of Broadcasters

Christine Flanagan, Vice President of Operations, Reed Exhibitions

Nancy Gavin, Operations Director, National Safety Council

Kelly Glasgow, Event Coordinator, William T Glasgow Inc

Lenay Gore, Senior Director – Meetings & Tradeshows, American Public Transportation Association

Anne Halal, CEM, VP Expositions, Education and Member Services, North American Meat Institute

Tiffany Hale, Event Manager – Expo, National FFA Organization (Future Farmers of America)

Angela Harar, CEM, Senior Director of Tradeshows, The Vision Council

Christopher Harar, President, Events, National Trade Productions Inc

Robert Hoffmann, Event Technology Manager, Association of Equipment Manufacturers

Kelly Kilga, CEM, Director of Operations, Graphic Arts Show Company Inc

Christopher McCabe, Executive Vice President, Emerald Expositions

Justine McVaney, SVP Event Planning & Operations, National Association of Broadcasters

Kevin Murphy, Senior Manager, CES Operations, Consumer Technology Association/CES

Chris Nemchek, Sr V.P., Business Development , Specialty Food Association Inc

Andrew Ortale, VP of Industry & Member Services, American Gaming Association

Michelle Sanford, CEM, Director, Event Operations, Association of Equipment Manufacturers

Camille Stern, SVP of Strategic Account Management, SPARGO Inc

Sheryl Strain, Trade Show Manager, National Safety Council

Ryan Strowger, CEM, SVP Exhibitions, Conferences & Sales, International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions

Megan Tanel, CEM, Senior Vice President of Exhibitions, Association of Equipment Manufacturers

Patricia Whitaker, Exhibits Manager, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Still don’t know MATSO?  The IAEE MATSO community is comprised of not-for-profit association and independent organizers whose shows are at least 200,000 NSF of exhibition space. The focus of MATSO is on all functional aspects of major show production: marketing and sales, legislation, labor, international challenges, and operations.  You’re automatically a member (no cost) if you’re an IAEE member with over 200K nsf.

Central to the MATSO Council culture is ensuring a wide-open exchange of ideas to foster discovering solutions, networking with other senior-level show professionals, guiding new strategies and policies, sharing ideas and making a difference
Who am I?  Right now I’m lucky to be the chairman of the MATSO Council joined by these fine people who are ready to make change.

Women’s Leadership Forum Recap

We just wrapped up another highly successful and sold out IAEE’s Women’s Leadership Forum on Tuesday, 26 April. “This year’s attendance reflects the overwhelming interest in programming addressing topics specific to female professionals,” said 2016 IAEE Chairperson Julie Smith, CEM, CTA. “We have received very positive feedback about the forum and look forward to creating another outstanding program for next year.” Women at all stages of their career were in attendance to be a part of educational sessions specifically catered to women in the exhibitions and events industry! This year our speakers focused on the five Vs of leadership: Veneer, Value, Views, Vantage and Voice.

During the opening segment we took a moment to recognize Jacqueline Russo, Vice President of Kuehne + Nagel, Inc., as the 2016 Woman of Achievement Award recipient.


Our leadership facilitator for 2016 was Sue Hershkowitz-Coore, CSP. Sue is an internationally recognized communications researcher and sales trainer and she addressed how to create a professional VENEER that exudes confidence, authentic leadership and communication..

Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, Inc. and creator of the Women’s Leadership Coaching® system, discussed tools to help show one’s importance, worth and VALUE.

Christine Hassler, former Hollywood agent and achievement addict turned best-selling author, speaker, retreat facilitator and consultant, spoke to attendees about understanding particular ways of considering or regarding attitudes and VIEWS.

The program ended with an insightful interview by 2016 IAEE Chairperson Julie Smith, CEM, CTA with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who shared stories that motivated and inspired the group to find their advocate VOICE in all they do.

Some of our favorite tweets from the day:

This year the IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum Task Force selected Dress for Success as their designated charity of choice and the focus of the forum’s social giving. Thank you to everyone who participated!

And a big shout-out and thank you to our amazing sponsors. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Want more? You can also watch IAEE’s Women’s Leadership Forum Must See Moments.

See you next year!

Want to learn more about IAEE’s Women’s Leadership Forum? Visit

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Kristin Barranger, CEM: 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Kristin Barranger, CEM, Manager of Expositions and Communications at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has been an active member of IAEE since 2006, and has significantly contributed to both the national and chapter levels. She has been highly commended for serving in every officer’s position of her IAEE Southeastern Chapter as well as chairing the Chapter Sponsorship and Educational Conference committees. She has also served on the national level as an IAEE Board of Directors member and Chapter Leaders Council Chairperson. She organized and facilitated the Chapter Leaders Forum held at the Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting 2014 as well as the Chapter Leaders Retreat in 2015. It was during her time as chapter chair that Kristin began focusing on young professional engagement within the chapter, serving as the first Young Professional (YP) board member. She made it such a positive and active position, that the chapter decided to make it a permanent seat on its board. In addition, she led the charge in securing sponsorships to host “IAEE 20 Under 30” professionals at every chapter luncheon. During her tenure, attendance at the educational luncheons was robust and participant feedback on programming was at an all-time high.

She strengthened the chapter’s industry relations by partnering with the Georgia Chapter of MPI to participate in its inaugural conference in April 2014. In December 2014, the chapter partnered with the PCMA Southeastern Chapter to co-locate their respective annual holiday luncheons which resulted in over 150 attendees. She has also initiated various chapter philanthropic activities including the selection of the Special Olympics as the chapter charity for 2014. In addition, she spearheaded the chapter’s support for IAEE’s Exhibitions Day to secure a proclamation from the City of Atlanta declaring 9 June 2015 Exhibitions Day in Atlanta, for the first time in the chapter’s history.

During the course of her career Kristin has been a mentor and a colleague to many, always making a positive impact whenever and however possible. It is this impact that earned her the IAEE Volunteer of the Year Award in 2015, which recognizes an IAEE member who has dedicated his/her time to the progress and fulfilling the charge of a committee or task force on which he/she serves. Here, Kristin discusses her dedication to making a difference in the industry.

During your service to IAEE, you’ve initiated several programs focusing on attracting young professionals to the industry. What do you think is the greatest strength YPs have to offer and what can the industry learn from their perspective?

During my term as Chairperson for the IAEE Southeastern Chapter, I was a strong advocate for bringing a YP onto our Board team.  With the support of the Board, we brought a young, energetic professional to the table to assist with the initiative of bringing young people to our quarterly educational luncheons and our annual Classic.

The greatest strength of young professionals is newness. I am referring to the ability to bring a new and unique perspective to everything.  From changing the marketing, to reach those that engage in social media, to making digital media an integral part of marketing, to simply changing the way we present the Chapter and engage our members – these young professionals will be the leaders of tomorrow and it is our responsibility (those of us not considered young professionals anymore J) to allow them to fly, to help/encourage them to fly and the secure the net if they fall.  What we learn from them is that change is not always a bad thing and to change ‘what we have always done’ to ‘what can we now do?’.

You have also reached out to other exhibitions and events industry organizations to collaborate on several events with the IAEE Southeastern Chapter. Why do you feel it is important to strengthen industry relations and what is your approach to working with other groups?

Our Board discussed what partnerships we could nourish in our area, and we surveyed our members to learn with which industry organizations they also participate and/or are involved. After doing so, we reached out to several of those organizations seeking partnerships for activities and events. We were successful with co-locating our Holiday Party with PCMA and surpassing expectations on attendance. As several members are also PCMA members, the co-located event was perfect for networking and sharing our successes. It is important to strengthen our industry relations so that we can keep the lines of communication open as we continue to service our members.

The approach to working with other groups is simple. Reach out to their leadership and invite them to join our events as guests, then see if they would like to partner on educational opportunities and networking events. Keep asking and reaching out.

You are a strong supporter of IAEE Exhibitions Day and were instrumental in securing a proclamation from the City of Atlanta to declare 9 June 2015 as Exhibitions Day in Atlanta. What understanding did you want the local government to have about the exhibitions and events industry?

It was important for each chapter to reach out to local government to seek support for Exhibitions Day. For the City of Atlanta the key was to have them see the number of exhibitions and events in the city, and bring those to the top of their minds. When making decisions for the City, it is valuable for the officials to think about what makes Atlanta a popular destination for the events industry, which in turn provides jobs and brings in revenue.

You have been praised for your mentoring skills. What do you like to focus on as a mentor and what do you find most enjoyable about the mentoring process?

I have had the opportunity to serve as a mentor a few times and have found that the most enjoyable aspect of mentoring is watching the mentee get excited about their choices. I like focusing on prepping for interviews and having them think outside the box. It is not as important to graduate and enter right into the management position of their dreams.  Yes, that would be ideal, but I believe and help them to understand that sometimes it is better to work your way up.  Then, as a manager, you know all the parts of the job and can lead with confidence. I enjoy hearing back from them after they have accepted jobs and worked for a while – and they are still excited about the industry!

As an exhibitions and events professional who has earned the Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) designation, what has been the most beneficial aspect of completing the program? What advice would you give someone starting on their CEM journey?

The most beneficial aspect of completing the program is the knowledge that you have tools for success.  So many times, I am in a situation where I refer back to my CEM books to my notes – often referencing someone else’s experience in the same situation and how they handled it and/or mentioned they would have done it differently “if”.  The brainstorming in the classes or online about real-life circumstances helps in discovering different approaches to resolving an issue, making something you are doing easier or just how to do something correctly.

I would tell the CEM student to ask questions, share experiences, make friends and turn off your phone/iPad, computer or other electronic distraction and just listen.

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

A New Look at Leadership

Originally published in Trade Show Executive, March 2016 Edition

“Leadership” is an interesting word to me, because for such a commonly understood concept it can take on avenues uncommonly related to it. The most obvious demonstration of leadership is one that typically comes with a position title. For example, the C-suite and upper management job titles typically reflect a level of commitment and responsibility that go with that “leadership” position. There is a general understanding of the sacrifices versus rewards involved, and it’s a leadership model that has been around long enough to not require much examination. What I would like to consider, are the opportunities that may not immediately come to mind under the “leadership” umbrella.

Continuing Education

I am fortunate to have spent much time with colleagues whose leadership skills I greatly admire, and one thing I have noticed is that learning and developing skills is a non-stop process. A key element to leadership is being able to keep up with the fast-paced industry we are in. Continuing education opportunities abound, and the mark of effective leadership is the willingness to invest in one’s own development and to recognize that you never stop learning. Embrace each and every opportunity to “work smarter, not harder” and expand your professional network. Whether you increase your involvement in your local IAEE chapter, obtain your Certification in Exhibition Management (CEM) designation, apply to the IAEE Krakoff Leadership Institute or take advantage of the abundance of learning opportunities at Expo! Expo!, knowledge is power – and, an undeniable imprint of outstanding leadership.

2016 KLI Web Banner 793x140


Have you ever considered yourself a mentor? Have you had the luxury of drawing on a wealth of great decisions and great mistakes; lessons learned from allies and adversaries; 20/20 hindsight; and a wide array of wisdom and experience only time can bestow? Perhaps you were fortunate enough to have someone give you an upper hand early in your learning process by mentoring you. If you are really lucky, you had a great mentor and/or several mentors that significantly influenced your development. Or perhaps that option was not available to you, and you had to learn what you know through the “school of hard knocks.” Either way, you have very valuable information. Finding a protégé to mentor is a great show of leadership, but some may not know where to start. Ask us about the mentoring opportunities available through IAEE or visit the recently unveiled “Ask a Professional” forum for young professionals housed under Resources on the IAEE site.

Diversity in the Workplace

2016 IAEE Chairperson Julie Smith, CEM, CTA talked about the importance of diversity in the workplace during the Annual Business Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Baltimore this past December. One of the best attributes of a great leader is the ability to draw from the greatness of those around him or her. Julie discussed the need for our industry to appeal to new talent and create more awareness about the exhibitions and events industry through channels such as the Exhibitions Mean Business campaign. Between the programs IAEE has created for groups with specific needs and wants, such as the Young Professionals programs and Women’s Leadership Forum, we are looking ahead to ensure that our future remains strong and optimistic, and that we are grooming great leaders to embrace it.


The opportunities are endless when you think outside the typical “leadership box.” In fact, when you really think about it, anyone who chooses to be a variable in the leadership equation may do so. How are YOU factoring into your leadership equation?

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

Women of Achievement, Unite!

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

What does it mean to be a Woman of Achievement? Is it reaching the top of the executive ladder? Shattering the glass ceiling? Being great at what you do, regardless of where you’re at in the corporate structure? Doing what you love for a living? Having enough time for your personal life while maintaining a successful career? Having just the right combination of it all?

Can we have it all?

“Achievement” is defined by the person you ask, whether male or female. We each have our own dreams and aspirations, goals and idea of what “achieving success” means. Where it gets interesting for women is how being female affects our pursuit of these ambitions. And that runs the gamut as well.

One element that is consistent is that strength lies in numbers. Number of networking connections, number of years of experience, number of lessons learned, number of education/development opportunities available… As a woman in the pursuit of achievement, how do you get in on those numbers? Well, there are a number of ways (sorry, I’m a sucker for puns) but one really viable option is to attend the 2016 IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum on April 26 in Washington, D.C.


Entering its fourth year, the forum has been structured around addressing areas of interest for all women in the industry, including where they diverge and where they overlap. Those new to the industry benefit from the knowledge and experience of women who have walked in their shoes. There is only one way to get that under your belt, right? And industry veterans benefit from the eye-opening perspectives that always accompany a new, fresh view on a familiar subject. When you look at the level of information sharing that takes place across such a focused – yet diverse – group of women, you then understand that you are genuinely among friends and colleagues.

When you combine that aspect with the level of expertise brought in by the presenters at the Women’s Leadership Forum, you have a great opportunity on your hands. The presenters are all women who have reached the top of the ladder, and/or “kung fu’d” the glass ceiling, and/or created their own business entities with their own set of rules, and/or generally defined and delivered what “achievement” means to them. And they’re not done! They’re more than willing to share what they know and help others on their way to their own success story. The kicker: it’s all rolled into a nice, two-day package.


Karen Chupka is Senior Vice President, CES and Corporate Business Strategy for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ – formerly the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. She received IAEE’s Woman of Achievement Award in 2015 and is no stranger to the IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum. IAEE asked Karen to share her thoughts on leadership, finding the appropriate work/life balance and what it means to her to be a Woman of Achievement.

IAEE: You’ve been with CTA for more than 25 years and held numerous impressive roles including Vice President of Business Development, Director of Industry Relations and Education, and Director of Marketing. What advice do you have for other women interested in reaching the top of the corporate ladder?

Karen: There are a couple pieces of advice I give: 1) Don’t be afraid to speak up 2) Try new roles or take on new projects 3) Make yourself visible by sharing information with others in your organization.

IAEE: What have you enjoyed the most about your career so far?

Karen: I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to always learn something new. Our business gives us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves every year!

IAEE: Do you feel there are advantages to being a woman in your field, and if so, what are they and how do they best serve you?

Karen: Yes. I always felt comfortable asking questions and was given more thoughtful answers.  That often gave me an edge on figuring out how to approach something.

IAEE: What is the best career advice you’ve received, who offered it, and how did you apply it?

Karen: The best career advice is something that I learned over the years. I know the things that I’m not good at doing and am comfortable letting others lead in those areas.

IAEE: What are some of the differences in how you approach professional goals and/or challenges at this stage in your career versus when you were first starting out?

Karen: I am more realistic in my goals and more comfortable in saying “no” to something that is going to put too much stress on us.

IAEE: What strategies do you use in your pursuit of the ideal work/life balance?

Karen: CTA has a flexible work environment. We get to telecommute one day a week. I also knock off some of my errands before I get to the office so that I don’t have to spend the day trying to figure out when they are going to get done!


The deadline is 15 February 2016. Click here to get started.

Spotlight on Megan Tanel, CEM & 2015 Chairperson of the IAEE Board of Directors

IAEE sat down with Megan Tanel, CEM and 2015 Chairperson of the IAEE Board of Directors for a chat about her involvement with the organization and her journey in the exhibitions industry. Megan is the Vice President of Exhibitions and Events for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and is in charge of CONEXPO-CON/AGG, ICUEE, World of Asphalt, IFPE, CONEXPO Latin America, Bauma CONEXPO Africa, Bauma CONEXPO India shows. Basically, she’s a busy lady!

Megan first joined IAEE in 1996 and left for a few years and has been with the organization since 2009. As Chairperson of the Board, Megan is an ex-officio member on all IAEE committees. As she succinctly puts it…“Let’s say I’m all in.”

Just recently, Megan sat on a “power panel” at the highly successful Women’s Leadership Forum in April 2015 in Washington, D.C. Megan, along with fellow panelists Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX, Sandra Matej, Executive Director of the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau and IAEE’s EVP and COO Cathy Breden to discuss the leadership role that women do and should play in the exhibitions and events industry and how they achieve a work life balance. View the recap of the event here.

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How did you get your start in the exhibitions industry?

I truly “stumbled” into it. I was dating a guy whose Dad played baseball with who was then the Show Manager of CONEXPO-CON/AGG – Dennis Slater. Dennis offered me an internship during my last summer of college and then hired me upon graduation. The rest is history. And thank goodness I didn’t marry that boyfriend…he’d served his usefulness with the introduction.

What advice would you give a new IAEE member or person joining the exhibitions community?

General advice is tough because we all come with different perspectives and experiences. My three mantras are:

  • Always ask the question – you never know what the answer will truly be unless you ask.
  • There’s no crying in trade shows. Things can get tough and frustrating but no reason to let them see you cry (tears or whining).
  • You can’t talk logic to crazy. I think this is self-explanatory.


What is the biggest challenge in running your show?

Our timing makes it challenging. We are big and make an impression but being every three years makes us the show that some love to hate. We also have to keep our brand alive since we’re not an annual show. Extending the show brand year round is key to attendee acquisition and retention.

Tell us a fun fact or story that most people would not know about you.

I like quoting Will Farrell movies. I also like finding a song that goes with any and all situations.


Any final thoughts to leave readers with?

Like most things, you get out of it what you put into it. If you expect change you need to affect change and being an active member of IAEE is key in driving change. I’ve seen growth personally and professionally from myself as well as my team that is involved in IAEE. We have all made connections with industry folks and utilize the relationships to find solutions to problems or support for common objectives. I especially like where IAEE is headed with its focus on strategic planning, advocacy and utilizing data, specifically through the CEIR relationship. I see major forces working together toward a common goal and I enjoy being along for the ride. “What a long strange trip it’s been…”


From the MATSO Perspective…An Interview with Camille Stern, SVP Strategic Account Management with SPARGO

IAEE sat down with Camille Stern, Senior Vice President, Strategic Account Management with SPARGO, Inc. to hear more about her exhibition industry journey and her perspective from the MATSO (Major American Trade Show Organizer) front. Camille is in charge of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Academy of Clinical Chemistry shows. Camille has been a member of IAEE for eleven years. Camille is currently a member of the IAEE MATSO Council and has attended Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition for several years.

How did you get your start in the exhibitions industry?

I obtained a Degree in Hospitality Management from Johnson & Wales University. My first job out of college was at the Travel Industry Association (now the US Travel Association) in the Meetings Department.

What advice would you give a new IAEE member or person joining the exhibitions community?

Never burn bridges…ever.


What is the biggest challenge in running your shows?

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT. In most cases, we are in charge of exhibit/sponsorship sales, registration and/or housing (sometimes all of them!) However, the associations usually keep attendee promotion and acquisition internally. This can often lead to a disconnect in the types of attendees the exhibitors want to see. The education program an association produces needs to draw the attendees that the exhibitors want to see and who will go to the show floor.

Additionally, associations need to expand upon the traditional “draw the member to the meeting” model. I also believe that memberships in associations need to change. The typical model of “listing the benefits” is outdated and needs to be updated to engage the millennial generation. Millennials want to know what the “outcome” of being a member will be? How will I benefit from being a member – what is the ROI? Not simply a list of benefits. They need to know that becoming a member, and attending the annual meeting means they will gain value from business contacts, interactions and opportunities that will build their business, as well as them personally.

Tell us a fun fact or story that most people would not know about you.

I wanted to be Julie McCoy on the Love Boat, and getting a degree in Hospitality Management was as close as I could get.

Actress Julie McCoy as Lauren Tewes on the Love Boat

We asked Camille what most resonates with her for being an IAEE member…

Whether you are new to the industry, or a veteran, being an IAEE member affords you the opportunity to network, collaborate, as well as participate. IAEE is committed to supporting our mission of bringing the best possible events to our members and clients.

To learn more about the MATSO Council, visit