Getting Unhooked from Our Smartphones

Posted on July 27, 2017 by: Ryan Estis

How many times will you stop reading this blog post to check e-mail, text messages or social media?

The heaviest smartphone users click, tap or swipe on their phone 5,427 times a day, according to the research platform dscout. The rest of us still touch the addictive things 2,617 times a day on average. That level of connection is wreaking havoc on our ability to focus on tasks that require more concentration than it takes to post a status update.

Adam Alter, author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” warns that many of us — youngsters, teenagers, adults — are addicted to modern digital products. Not figuratively, but literally addicted.

In a New York Times interview, he explains:

In the past, we thought of addiction as mostly related to chemical substances: heroin, cocaine, nicotine. Today, we have this phenomenon of behavioral addictions where, one tech industry leader told me, people are spending nearly three hours a day tethered to their cellphones. Where teenage boys sometimes spend weeks alone in their rooms playing video games. Where Snapchat will boast that its youthful users open their app more than 18 times a day.
Behavioral addictions are really widespread now. A 2011 study suggested that 41 percent of us have at least one. That number is sure to have risen with the adoption of newer more addictive social networking platforms, tablets and smartphones.

We increasingly struggle to look away from our screens.


Mine was. The frightening thing about the addiction was that I didn’t realize the impact it was having on me until I went into “detox.” During the first few days of my initial digital detox, I desperately wanted to check my phone. I felt low-grade anxiety and was completely out of my comfort zone. Ironically, eight days later when I got my phone back, I left it off for a few hours to fully absorb my transformation. In that moment I was much more aware of the impact technology was having on my ability to be fully present.

Yes, the internet has fundamentally transformed the way we connect and communicate. It’s launched a whole new economy where anyone with an idea and an internet connection can start a company and connect with a global marketplace full of opportunity.

For that very reason, we’re living in the golden age of entrepreneurship! However, letting technology intrude into nearly every waking moment isn’t healthy and the time to create a little more discipline around it is now.

On a recent road trip with Seth Mattison, we discussed how to be more intentional in our relationship with technology and how we know when it’s time to unplug. Case in point, notice the irony of our full immersion into tech while talking about the benefits of a digital detox in this video!

VIDEO: On the Road with Seth Mattison

The key is to get off of autopilot and become a bit more aware and intentional in managing our technology so it isn’t managing us. Give the digital detox a try this weekend and DM me on Monday to let me know how it went!

Ryan Estis helps companies and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance. Each live event blends original research with compelling stories that move participants to take action. Ryan has 20 years of business experience working with the world’s best brands to initiate change, inspire innovation and deliver growth. Learn more about Ryan Estis.

Source: Getting Unhooked from Our Smartphones

Four Easy Steps To Make Your Registration Data Work For You

Originally posted on June 7, 2017 from TSNN Blog

By: JD Hawley

Throughout the registration process of an event, show management has the opportunity to collect an incredible amount of data about their show’s attendees. This data – registration and attendance patterns, demographics, region and registration classification – is a rich source of information.

Taking data and making it work for you is about more than just capturing information. Data needs to be analyzed and used to produce a successful event.

With so much data available, making decisions about what to do with it can be a daunting challenge. Where do you begin?

Image result for data shutterstock

Before you can create and implement a data strategy, partner with a registration company that goes beyond data collection. A great partner provides advice, offers data analysis tools, and provides user-friendly reports that help you with the following steps:

1.  Determine your event goals 

Deciding what you want to do with the data is the first step in developing a solid data strategy. Before diving too deep into the mechanics of data collection, decide what event problems you want to solve or enhanced value you are looking to create. Are your goals to create new sessions, develop new content or increase traffic in your expo hall? With this information, decisions can be made on the category and timeframe of data needed to fulfill these event goals.

2.  Identify and consolidate your data and its sources

Identify all the pieces of data you need and where each data element lives, typically in membership or CRM systems, registration company databases or with housing vendors. Evaluate each system for its potential reporting, analytics and marketing capabilities, and then consolidate the data for easier analysis. By integrating and consolidating data, you will see and understand attendees and their behavior.

3.  Analyze your data

Having a flexible analytics tool is necessary in order to interpret your consolidated data. Analyzing broad-based attendee behavior provides more than just a marketing benefit. The information can also be used for your event planning decisions and to provide a rich event experience for your attendees. Data analytics can help identify your next venue, evaluate sessions and conferences to draw more attendees, assist with exhibitor sales and attendee marketing, and find sponsorship opportunities.

4.  Personalize your marketing campaigns 

Personalization helps create a deeper connection with your target audience and is the foundation of a successful event. Identify attendee attributes and habits such as attendance history, purchasing power, location and educational objectives. Then, design targeted marketing campaigns around those specific interests. For example, from your data, you learn that a segment of attendees with high purchasing power registered for a particular session. Use this information to create a targeted campaign to upsell a related session to that segment.

Creating a comprehensive data strategy allows you to use the information collected to create strategies and achieve your event goals. Most important, a comprehensive data strategy and effective analysis help you evaluate ways to increase attendance and exhibitor ROI through an enhanced event experience.

The Most Important Career Advice Nobody Talks About

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak 14 March 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE: The Most Important Career Advice Nobody Talks About

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.

2016 Expo Expo Banner 740x200

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


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)


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.


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”!


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

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.


Your Favorite Productivity Trick Is Actually Slowing You Down

Originally Published by Lindsey Pollack, 18 March 2016

I bet I know what you’re doing right now. You’re reading this post, singing along to the “Hamilton” soundtrack and composing a text on your phone. If you’re a level 5 multitasker, you may also be chopping up a salad for dinner or running on the treadmill, too. You’re a productivity ninja, right?

Here’s the thing: Even if we think we’re more productive when we’re multitasking, we’re actually not. (Why is there so much olive oil in the salad? Oh, right. Mismeasured while posting an Instagram pic.) This is especially problematic at work. Responding to texts while you’re on a conference call means your mind is working twice as hard — and actually slowing down — as you flip back and forth.

I rounded up some of the latest research on why multitasking is a productivity myth and tips on how to still get all your work done, one task at a time.

Surprise! Only Computers Are Supposed to Multitask

“According to Gary Keller, author of the #1 Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling book, ‘The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results,’ ‘multitasking’ first appeared in the 1960s to describe computers, not people. Computers were becoming so ‘fast’ that a whole new word was needed to describe a computer’s ability to quickly perform many tasks. Originally the term ‘multitasking’ referred to multiple tasks alternately sharing one resource (the CPU). However, the interpretation of multitasking has shifted to mean multiple tasks being done simultaneously by one resource (a person).” —  Read more at HR Cloud.

Can You Hear Me Now? Not If You’re Not Paying Attention

“We’re not being the most productive when we’re half listening to someone while checking our phone, Facebook, and LinkedIn all at once (also, it’s just plain rude).To be a better listener (and get the info you need the first time), face the speaker and look him/her right in the eye, and stay present with the conversation. Who cares if you have 12 unread emails? This person deserves your attention.” —  Read more at Greatist.

Addicted to Multitasking? It’s All in Your Head — Literally

“Serious media multitasking is beginning to be recognized as a neural addiction. Multitasking increases production of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Increased amounts of these hormones overstimulate the brain, causing fuzzy thinking. In addition, the prefrontal cortex prefers external stimulation and rewards reading every post, Internet search or message with a burst of endogenous opioids [an opiate-like substance — like an endorphin — released by the body]. Essentially, this feedback loop rewards the brain for losing focus.” —  Read more at Computerworld.

Multitasking Actually Takes More Time Than Single Tasking

“Think you’re saving yourself more time by working on multiple tasks at once? Not the case! Every time you stop what you’re doing to work on another task, you lose seconds, or even minutes. This may not seem like much, but in reality, it is estimated that multitasking can lead to up to a 40% loss of your productivity per day.” — Read more at Lifehack.

Old-Fashioned To Do Lists Can Keep You on Task, One Task at a Time

“For people like myself, it’s important to take a step back every now and then and think about how slowing down can help you to be better at your job. A good way to manage your work is by creating an old-fashioned to-do list, with all of your tasks organized in order of importance. Sometimes simply writing down a list of all of your goals helps to structure your day, so you can tackle the big stuff before focusing on menial tasks. You can even integrate your to-do list into your calendar app and set reminders to keep yourself on track.” —  Read more at The VAR Guy.

Are you a die-hard multitasker? Persuaded to try single-tasking? I’d love to hear the productivity hacks that work for you. Please share in the comments!


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.

Trends in Education

Originally published in Trade Show Executive, October 2015 Edition

Last month I talked about the things that keep me up at night, one of the most prominent being our offerings at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition and how to provide the best experience to attendees. Thankfully, I am not alone in this task. IAEE staff and members of the Expo! Expo! Education Committee share in our mission of being at the forefront of today’s education trends. It’s a process that is in constant motion, however, at this year’s Expo! Expo! we have honed in on three emerging approaches to education: solutions based learning, attendee engagement and the holistic approach.

Solutions Based Learning. As someone who has spent many years in the sales portion of this industry, I appreciate a nicely put together sales pitch. However, once the facts have been presented, attendees are more interested in how a product or service applies to their needs. At the end of the day, we all have our own bottom lines to fulfill and the phrase “work smarter, not harder” has become a commonplace mantra. Attendee feedback we’ve received indicates that learning experiences need to be applicable – attendees want solutions, not just presentations.


So at Expo! Expo!, we’ve taken this input seriously to develop solutions based learning opportunities that allow exhibitors to address attendees’ specific concerns and needs. For example, the TechCenter Showcase will allow attendees to learn exactly how the products and services they are exploring will apply to them on a more one-on-one level. It’s all about finding solutions so that we may all “work smarter.”

It’s All About Solutions at Expo! Expo!

Attendee Engagement. We have entered an era of experiential learning at exhibitions. Attendees want to walk away from an event having felt that their time and expense invested in the show was well worth it. As with solutions based learning, it is not good enough to simply “talk at” attendees – attendees want to be immersed in the overall process. As such, learning opportunities will abound on the Expo! Expo! show floor in the form of Campfire Sessions and the Tech SwimUp Bar.


Off the floor, this translates to providing attendees with the networking opportunities they need to feel that they are experiencing an event, rather than simply “going to a show.” By creating platforms in which attendees can connect and share each others’ perspectives, knowledge and experience, show organizers are able to genuinely engage attendees into a valuable proposition with a win-win ROI all across the board.

70+ learning opportunities both ON and OFF the show floor

The Holistic Approach. The business world is coming around to the realization that having happy, healthy members on your team is good for business – as in, “the whole is more than just the sum of its parts.” In the exhibitions and events industry, we face unique challenges in this area. For example, so far this year I’ve spent 125 days on the road as part of my job. It’s a simple fact that our industry can be demanding in this regard, so at Expo! Expo! we’ve put considerable thought into providing our attendees with great information as to how to take a holistic approach to meeting their personal and professional goals. Education sessions developed by the Women’s Leadership Forum Task Force are open to all attendees, offering ways to incorporate “work smarter, not harder” solutions that lead to more efficient and successful outcomes. The Wellness Lounge will offer multiple sessions addressing physical and mental challenges our industry faces and effective tactics to combat these challenges.

One of my favorite things about our industry is that there is never a dull moment. Education is a major component of Expo! Expo! and I am very eager to experience it with you this December in Baltimore.


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


Decision Time

Special contribution by Dana Freker Doody, VP Corporate Communications, The Expo Group

My car was old. It needed work. Expensive work. I knew it. I’d known for months. But I loved my car. I didn’t want to make a change.

But now I’m driving a new car.

And I love it. It has all those little features I’d heard about on television commercials and never experienced for myself. Yes, it has Bluetooth, imagine! It has four doors, which better suits my growing middle-schooler and his friends, all suddenly surpassing the 5-foot mark.

It was a tough decision. The change was forced upon me, I felt, wailing why.

In any business, the same can occur. We can get caught flat-footed with competitors surpassing us. That’s why I recommend IAEE Expo! Expo! as a place to get educated. It’s a proactive step event and exhibition planners and suppliers can take to prepare themselves for what’s coming.

There are, I’ve read, three ways people react to the decision-making process surrounding change.

  1. Sit & Wait – If you pretend everything is fine, there’s no need to change, right? Sounds good. Let’s hold the status quo! But then one day you realize 2% decline versus annual attendee growth is sending your convention on a course to destruction. This is where I sat in my car, joyful in its convertible top, ignoring growing maintenance needs.
  1. Jerky Knees – Luckily I had time for research. It wasn’t as if my car had just halted on the freeway as road-ragers passed me at 70 mph. Decisions, though hard work, are often avoided, until they can’t be anymore. Exhibitor complaints, poor service, undelivered promises, it all can add up until one day the proverbial straw breaks the camel’s back and you have to react fast.
  1. Proactive Steps – Thinking strategically about the future, envisioning where to position your association or company, is a proactive step you can take to make change easier. It allows you to see the rewards that will come from the change. Pounding the car lot pavements and investigating ad nauseam online are not always exciting prospects for someone happy-go-luckily cruising in a working automobile, but they are necessary. Focus on desirable outcomes — like increased sponsorship dollars, stronger attendance, easier working relationships — to overcome the fear of change.

Change can be scary and taking those Proactive Steps rather than Sitting & Waiting or Having a Knee-Jerk Reaction is hard. Experts wax poetic about change being inevitable, being constant, but it’s true. As I tell that recent 5-footer of mine, the only thing you can control is your reaction to it.

So consider heading to Baltimore for Expo! Expo! I don’t think there will be any car salesmen there, but if you come find me, I’ll show you a picture of my new wheels.