Helicopter Parents in the Workplace: It Happens and It Needs to Stop

Originally published July 26, 2017 By Lindsey Pollak

The concept of helicopter parents buzzing around the workplace, just like they hovered and swooped on the elementary school soccer field, sounds like a joke.

No doubt you’ve heard of this phenomenon — parents sitting in on interviews or calling to re-negotiate a child’s compensation package. NBA recruit Lonzo Ball has recently received a ton of attention for his dad’s, um, involvement, in the draft process. Some of the stories are so egregious that you may wonder if these incidents are bizarre outliers, blown out of proportion by the media.

Let me assure you: They are not.

My clients tell me that parents calling to discuss their child’s needs, performance or compensation has become a common occurrence in HR departments. Let’s take a look at why it is happening, and more importantly, what we should do about it.

The Roots Of Helicopter Parents

First, I want to emphasize that helicopter parenting is usually (but not always) a middle class/upper-middle class phenomenon, and by no means applies to every member of the millennial generation. However, due to several different reasons, parenting norms in the 1980s and 1990s, when millennials were growing up, leaned toward closer involvement with one’s children. Parents became more involved with virtually every aspect of their children’s lives, from education to friendships to extracurriculars and more. More than half of millennials consider a parent to be their best friend.

As these parents’ kids grew, it’s easy to see how their parenting progressed from calling the kindergarten teacher or soccer coach, to emailing the high school teacher, and then contacting the college admissions office, and now corresponding with recruiters and employers.

When Is Parental Involvement Okay?

Some companies view parental interest as a boon and welcome employees’ parents as their “secret weapon,” inviting them to employee orientations or encouraging them to sign up for the company newsletter. Every November, LinkedIn hosts a “Bring In Your Parents Day,” a concept embraced by many other companies with younger workforces.

The reason organizations are catering to parents is to build loyalty from their youngest employees: Millennials and their parents are still tightly connected, and a parent’s opinion of an employer could sway a young employee to stay with that organization. Recent studies show that 1/3 of millennials still live with their parents, the top living arrangement among this age group. A parent who likes an employer can help a child retain a positive perspective through the daily ups and downs of work.

Land the Helicopter

Of course, behind-the-scenes support and attending social events is one thing; active outreach is another. Parents should not directly contact a child’s employer. It is uncomfortable for the employer and often works against the employee rather than helping him or her. Here’s what to do if this situation does, however, occur…

If you’re a manager

The good news is that most parent calls will likely go directly to HR — the equivalent of a parent calling the principal rather than a teacher.

But there will occasionally be times a parent will reach out. And while a mom or dad’s call might annoy you, don’t automatically let it diminish your respect for an employee. In fact, don’t always assume the son or daughter knows. It’s quite possible they would be horrified to find out. Instead, politely but firmly inform the parent that you’re not at liberty to discuss your employee’s salary, review, etc.

It might even help keep you out of hot water, says Jaime Klein, founder and president of Inspire Human Resources. While sharing with a parent is not in violation of a specific law, it is unprofessional and definitely goes against an employee’s expectation of privacy, she says.

“What the parent is contacting the employer about — whether it’s benefits, performance or salary — is likely confidential, and without knowing if the employee has authorized the call or the sharing of information, it’s in the best interest of employers to say nothing,” she says.

On the other hand, it’s perfectly fine to let parents know that you’re interested in them as part of your employee’s “work/life integration.” So perhaps create a FAQ that describes your company or department or invite them to a company picnic. As discussed above, recruiting them as allies can be a powerful asset to your retention efforts.

If you’re a millennial

Even if your parents used to intercede with a teacher when you got a poor grade or argued with a coach for more playing time, having them try to finesse a less-than-stellar performance review will backfire on you and make you appear immature.

In my book Getting from College to Career, I mentioned that while it’s fantastic to have your parents as career advocates, it’s critical that they be in the background rather than interfacing with your clients, boss or HR. If you want advice from your mom on how to handle a client visit, definitely call her and role play some Q&A, but don’t do it on speakerphone during a ride-along with your boss, as one manager told me a millennial employee recently did.

If you’re a parent

Just. Don’t. Call. Cheer all you want, but please, stay on the sidelines rather than running onto the field. A call to an employer will likely do more harm than good. It’s time to land the helicopter.


Millennials Manage Differently, and That’s a Good Thing

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak 17 January 2017

I’ve shared before that I think it’s time to stop shaming millennials. One of the reasons: They’re no longer all young 20-somethings just starting their careers. More millennials are stepping into management and leadership roles every day. In fact, The Hartford’s 2015 Millennial Leadership Survey found that 80 percent of millennials currently define themselves as leaders.

And, in my opinion, their ascent is going to be highly beneficial to the workplace — today and in the future. They bring different experiences, skills and mindsets to the workplace that are well suited to current business challenges and opportunities. Here are four ways that millennials differ as leaders, and my take on how millennial leadership will shape workplace dynamics for the better.

More feedback

Buh-bye, annual review…and good riddance. Millennials are embracing the need to provide ongoing, constant feedback to employees of all generations. As leaders they provide more feedback because it’s what they’ve said they want as employees — one survey found that almost half of millennials crave weekly feedback.

Expect to see more on-the-spot coaching, especially in the form of apps that provide instant feedback. By moving the focus from backward-looking reviews to up-to-the-minute improvements, millennial managers will help their teams make micro-adjustments to enhance performance and results.

More movement

Much has been made of the Deloitte survey that revealed two-thirds of millennials expect to leave their current job by 2020, but it is has significant implications for millennials as leaders. Accustomed to change, they are likely to be more adaptable to shifting team members, and will find it easier to manage employees who work remotely or those who join the team to perform one specific strategic task on a contract basis and then move on.

Millennial leaders are likely to move too, contributing to the concept of a professional trajectory as a lattice rather than a ladder. As they move from one company or department to another, they will bring with them their best practices and fresh ideas, shaking up the status quo that can occasionally plague companies with long-tenured employees.

More work/life integration

In a 2015 EY study, 35 percent of millennial leaders said that managing work-life balance is more challenging in their current role. But that doesn’t mean that they’re shrugging their shoulders and giving in — they’re doing something about it, and that is contributing to the rise of better work/life blend for all.

Since technology infuses nearly everything millennials do, tech is a driving force in their hunt for better work/life integration. They book reservations online at work and answer work email from the comfort of their couch at night. I expect that millennial managers will increasingly jettison the concept of “face time” to focus exclusively on output. This will benefit all generations of workers.

More focus on mission

People and profits will continue as a critical theme in how millennials manage. A whopping 90 percent of millennials say they want to use their skills for good, and 77 percent say culture is as important as salary or benefits, according to a survey by Virgin Pulse.

Fortunately, a culture of purpose and one of profits are not mutually exclusive. A Deloitte survey found that 91 percent of respondents who said their company had a strong sense of purpose had a history of strong financial performance as well.

Millennials will be focused not only on doing good work, but doing good, period, and that will impact the company’s overall culture and goals, while still driving performance.

The best news about these shifts? In my opinion, millennials are taking action on outdated workplace issues that have begged to be addressed for decades. They are starting the ball rolling — and all generations will score.

How have you noticed millennials managing differently? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

SOURCE: Millennials Manage Differently, and That’s a Good Thing

Take My Advice – Attend Expo! Expo!

As I write this I’m 29 years old.  I’ve been working in the world of meetings and trade shows since GES hired me right out of college. In 7 years and three positions, I’ve managed to carve out an actual “grown up” career where people seek my advice, and (most of the time) trust in what I tell them.

I’m lucky enough to work for the number one meetings destination in the galaxy. The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority  (LVCVA) endlessly supports my personal and professional growth and provides limitless opportunities to get involved and help others get engaged in this industry. To say I’m happy is an understatement.  What really jump started my career at the LVCVA was my involvement in IAEE’s 20 Under 30 program in 2014, when my current organization invited me to a focus group as a (then) client.

Learn more about the 20 Under 30 program then submit your nomination!

2016-expo-expo-20-under-30-buttons-nominate-yourself 2016-expo-expo-20-under-30-buttons-nominate-yp
Selected honorees will receive one full, complimentary registration to Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Anaheim, CA 6-8 December 2016, and lodging for three nights (over $1,400.00 value).
Deadline to submit is Friday, 7 October.

To put it bluntly, IAEE is to thank for most of the advancement I’ve made as a young professional in a “grown-up” industry.  It has led to countless work-turned-real life friendships and life lessons that I’m lucky to lean on every day. Expo! Expo! is the focal point of it all.

Go for the education.

Go for the networking.

Go so you can see the Mount Rushmore of industry heavyweights partying at a hotel bar.

Just go.

It’s an incredible investment in your career and you’ll see dividends immediately.


Use the Justification Toolkit to get your manager’s approval to attend!

justification-toolkitI currently chair the Young Professionals committee for IAEE and want everyone to be involved and see the benefits as I do.  While these kind of events can often be intimidating for young professionals, once you arrive, you’ll instantly regret not coming sooner. The warm welcome you’ll receive is one of the most rewarding feelings you’ll have. If you have questions or trepidation about attending Expo! Expo! or even chapter events PLEASE don’t hesitate to call or email me. Hoping you see you in Anaheim!


Alex Land, CEM
Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority
2016 Chairperson
IAEE Young Professional Committee


Why Do We Study Generations?

Originally posted by Lindsey Pollak 26 July 2016

How can you take 75 million people and say they have anything in common? In other words, how can you take one “generation,” with each person having individual likes and dislikes, quirks, history and background, and treat them as one big, uniform group?

You know where I’m going with this: I’m talking about millennials. In my work, I identify characteristics about generations that can help groups of people work more effectively and collaboratively. But some people disagree with the very concept of generations.

Is It All Baloney?

Believe me, I hear the criticism of “generational theory.”

I have read Farhad Manjoo’s New York Times article that questioned why the media insists on promoting “gleefully broad generalizations and criticisms of millennials.” And there’s the essay in Aeon magazine called “Against Generations” that defines generational theory as “a simplistic way of thinking about the relationship between individuals, society, and history.” These writers, and others, make valid points.

But here’s why I continue to think that there is value in discussing large cohorts of workers. Recently I was preparing to give a presentation and was greeted by an investment banker who said, “I’m looking forward to your speech, but I think this whole concept of generations is baloney.” This didn’t bother me because I have heard that criticism before, and I’m always eager to follow up with the naysayers after I talk. After my presentation, his reaction shifted like many I’ve heard before: “I still think it’s baloney, but it’s remarkably accurate baloney.” Indeed.

Did We Grow Up Watching the Same TV Shows?

All Americans are not the same. But, certainly we can say there are similarities among people who live in the United States. And among women. And among those of us raised in Connecticut. We are not all the same, but we tend to share some common experiences that are valuable to note. And those common experiences can offer clues to how we might prefer to communicate, what challenges or opportunities we might face in the workplace, and much more.

Plus, generational commonalities can provide an opportunity for bonding. After all, don’t many of us enjoy those listicles and memes like “29 Things That ID You as Gen X”? When we read these lists, we usually laugh. Not because we still think about Pony Boy, but because we remember the reference as a cultural touchpoint that binds us together.

Why Generational Theory Matters

While the time period when someone was born is not the be all and end all that defines our personalities and life choices (gender, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, birth order, country of origin and many other factors all play a role), I do believe it is instructive to look at the impact of the times in which various groups of people have grown up. When I describe the different generations, I tend to look at the technology they grew up with, the geopolitics and economic ups and downs they witnessed, the parenting norms and educational philosophies that dominated during their childhoods, and the media and advertising messages they saw and heard. All of this impacts our expectations of the workplace we enter as adults.

Birth year isn’t the only thing that defines you, but elements of a generation bind us together. Click To Tweet

Categorizing someone based on their generation can be one more clue that provides a road map to help you communicate, interact and engage productively in the workplace.

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.


What Does Work-Life Balance Mean in 2016?

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak June 21, 2016

Work-life balance (a.k.a. work-life integration, work-life fit, work-life blend) has been a hot workplace topic for, oh, the past three decades or so. But in today’s constantly connected, mobile-enabled, global, 24/7/365 world, the concept seems more complicated and debated than ever. Here’s why.

“Work” Doesn’t End at 5 … and “Life” Doesn’t Begin at 5

Expecting to turn off your phone at 5 p.m. is an antiquated view of work. Now, everyone — and millennials in particular — realize it’s not realistic in most professional careers to expect work will be complete at 5 p.m. (Or 6 p.m. … or 7 p.m. …)

I often hear from professionals — millennials in particular — that they don’t turn off any part of themselves, ever. That means they will spend a few minutes during the work day shopping online or reserving a bike for SoulCycle, but they’re also not the least bit bothered by their boss calling them at 8 p.m. or having to answer some emails on a Sunday morning. In fact, in one survey, more than 80 percent of people said they check their work email on weekends and 55 percent do so after 11 p.m. (I probably would be part of that 55 percent if I could ever stay up that late…)

This overlap of work and personal life has only become possible in the past 15 years or so. When I first started my career, if I wanted to work on the weekend, I had to trudge into the office to have access to my documents. One attorney recently told me she remembers weekends early in her career of faxing several-hundred-page contracts and having to watch each page to make sure it didn’t get stuck in the fax machine. Now? She attaches a PDF from her phone wherever she happens to be.

Always On = No Down Time = Stress!

But if today’s reality is always being “on” personally and professionally, it also means we’re never off. And that’s not always healthy. Constant access to email is associated with higher levels of stress, according to one report from the London-based Future Work Centre. In fact, researchers identified  checking emails early in the morning and late at night as one of the most stressful habits. Another study conducted by the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that workers who were expected to be available outside of work displayed an elevated stress response.

Research shows that constant access to email is associated with higher levels of stress. Click To Tweet

What Companies Can Do

Despite the lip service offered to work-life balance from many employers today, workers aren’t always seeing it: Just half say their employer values work-life balance, and a little less than half say their employer offers programs and policies that allow for flexibility, according to a survey from the American Psychological Association.

Your organization’s policies have to be based on your culture and business realities – a call center or retail establishment, for example, can’t allow employees to choose their own hours – but many companies are moving in the right direction to allow flexibility where they can. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Discourage weekend work. JP Morgan is just the latest of many banks to create a policy to eliminate or limit work on the weekends. Checking email now and then is fine and expected, but avoid making major assignments that have to be completed by Monday morning.
  • Remember that work-life balance is not just for parents. Many millennials tell me they have had managers or colleagues who would cut out early to attend a school play or child’s doctor’s appointment, while leaving non-parents in the office. Remember that people without kids have just as many places they want to be.
  • Don’t limit flexibility by seniority. In the past, workers had to earn flexible hours, but now it’s expected even by entry-level workers. I regularly hear from college freshmen who are looking for careers that will offer that balance from Day One. Now that we can work from anywhere, is it really a “perk” to be able to work from home on occasion?

What Employees Can Do

Work-life flexibility is a two-way street, and employees have a part to play along with their employers. The short advice: Think ahead and be a team player.

Most companies will probably be pretty understanding if you provide advance notice of when you’d like time off; for example, if your parents are going to be in town or you’re headed to a destination wedding.

Choose your times judiciously if you have some flexibility for a vacation. Don’t bail the last week of the month if that’s particularly busy, or in early April if your work is tax-related.

Work-life balance is a complicated issue with a lot of factors at play: family commitments, personal health and well-being, and business goals. In my opinion, we should all have the flexibility to be the best man in our friend’s wedding or hit the gym when we need to or rest when we are sick. As one young professional said to me recently: “I don’t like the term ‘work-life balance.’ Isn’t it all just life?”

What is your organization doing to promote work-life integration? How do you yourself manage? Share your best practices or challenges in the comments below!


Plant a Promotional Seed With Millennials

Originally published by 4imprint

As the farm-to-table trend heats up at restaurants around the nation, so too, has the trend for people to grow their own food. Food gardens are popping up in front yards, back yards and community gardens. Even people living in small spaces are learning how to plant container gardens filled with fresh herbs and vegetables. The great garden comeback is well underway!

A Trend of the Fast-growing Variety

According to the National Gardening Association, roughly 1 in 3 households grow their own food, with the number of home gardens significantly increasing from 4 million in 2008 to 37 million in 2013! So, who is growing all this food? Millennials. Researchers say the generation born between 1982 and 2000 has the fastest growing interest in gardening.

Personalized Seed Packets

If you want to reach this growing market, try garden-themed giveaways at your next trade show or event. Here are a few ideas:

This Standard Series Seed Packet has something for everyone. The series includes nearly 30 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Standard Series Seed Packet l 105863 l Promotional Products from 4imprint

The seeds are stored in packets made of recycled paper. The back of the envelope has space for your organization’s logo and contact information.

Promotional Bookmarks with a Garden-ready Bonus

If you’d like a personalized seed packet with a dual purpose, try Plant-a-Shapes. This promotional product is both a bookmark and seed packet. This herb garden bookmark, for example, showcases a seed paper heart your customers can plant. And, when the plant bears fruit, you’ll be on their minds with each delicious bite.

Plant a Shape l 100142 l Promotional Products from 4imprint

Personalized Seed Packets with Flair

If you’re looking for the perfect thank you gift, consider the Say It With Seeds Packet. A packet of seeds is tucked into a personalized card, with your full-color imprint, giving you the opportunity to provide a message with this thoughtful gift.

Say It With Seeds Packet l 132113 l Promotional Products from 4imprint

These beautiful packets come with flowers or herb seeds and are sure to please all through the growing season.

Grow Your Own Cocktail Garden

For an all-in-one gift, consider the Grow Your Own Cocktail Garden. This promotional product includes seeds, starter soil and wooden stakes, all packaged in a 6-count egg carton.

Grow Your Own Cocktail Garden l 128345 l Promotional Products from 4imprint

Your recipients can grow mint, lavender and thyme, and the wooden stakes will make it easy for them to label the plantings. Even those without a back yard can share the joy of gardening by planting these herbs indoors.

All of these garden-ready products can be paired with bird feeders, rain gauges and other gardening favorites for a gift that recipients won’t soon forget!


PS – Keep in mind regulations governing the import and transport of seeds if you are planning a promotion outside the U.S. If you are looking for promotional products in Canada, please see our garden-themed products available to you.

Source: Plant a Promotional Seed

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Cassie Thompson: 2015 Young Professional of the Year Award Recipient

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Cassie Thompson has garnered significant accomplishments at SmithBucklin as Manager, Event Services as well as through her IAEE volunteerism and dedication to the industry. In only two years she was promoted twice and began pursuit of her CEM designation, all while serving on the IAEE Midwestern Chapter Board of Directors. Her ideas for leveraging social media, new networking events and member acquisition programs has contributed to the growth of the chapter. As chair of the chapter’s Young Professionals Committee, she developed new programs/ideas to attract and retain YPs to IAEE. A great example is the creation of a justification tool kit to help young professionals obtain approval to attend IAEE events. As part of her regular duties with SmithBucklin, she oversees five shows in a variety of industries. Her leadership and innovation has allowed her shows to grow and achieve outstanding results for her clients. She has demonstrated a thirst for knowledge, new ideas and sharing of those ideas that will help her become a future IAEE leader for years to come, which earned her the 2015 Young Professional of the Year Award. Here, Cassie shares her perspective as a young professional and how she plans to impact the industry in the future.

As a young professional, what interests you most about the exhibitions and events industry?

It sounds corny, but one of my favorite things about the exhibitions and events industry is the fact that we help create lifetime memories for our conference participants. I find it fascinating that there is literally an association for everything. A few years ago, I was frustrated at work and I remember saying to my supervisor “Why do we even do this? It seems so pointless; all this work just for it to be over so quickly.” His response was that we may not be curing cancer, but by collaborating at the medical conference we’re planning, our attendees could find a cure. That’s always stuck with me.

You are very involved in the IAEE Midwestern Chapter and were highly commended for your initiative in forming the chapter’s YP Committee. Why do you feel it is important for YPs to be involved in their local chapter?

Being involved in your local chapter helps you understand the industry more holistically and therefore, makes your work more fulfilling. Attending chapter meetings keeps you up-to-date on industry trends and issues. It also helps you build a great network of people you can learn from and share best practices with. Just recently, I was tasked with helping to update the event crisis management plan template within my department at SmithBucklin. Through the connections I made by being involved as a Young Professional with IAEE, I was able to reach out to people outside of SmithBucklin to learn about how they manage their crisis communication plans and gather insights I wouldn’t have otherwise learned.

Of course, there’s a social aspect to it as well. Many of the YPs I’ve met through IAEE, I now consider my friends. Just recently, two of our chapter’s YPs found themselves at the same hotel in Phoenix for different events. They walked right past each other at first, not aware they were in the same place. After they exchanged some texts about each other’s “doppelganger” being at the hotel, they realized that they were in fact at the same hotel and ended up meeting for a drink. If it wasn’t for being involved with IAEE, they would have never known each other.

What is your best networking resource and how do you use it?

I’m a naturally introverted person, so attending industry events with people I already know and making new introductions through them is what I’ve found most successful. Once I’ve made the initial introduction, I’m a big fan of connecting on LinkedIn to keep in touch and in some cases, even Facebook. I have a large network of vendor partners, clients, and past and present colleagues, many of whom I keep up with via social media. It’s great to be able to see that someone changed jobs or that one of their kids just had a birthday, as it gives you something to talk about the next time you see them.

What advice would you offer someone entering the industry?

My biggest piece of advice to people just entering the industry is to step outside of your comfort zone. If you don’t know anyone, education and networking events can be very intimidating at first, but they are worth it. Accept the fact that it’s going to be awkward, and just put yourself out there to meet people. Trust me, it gets better. And find a mentor or two. I met many of the people I know today through people who mentored me when I was just starting out. The people who invited me to IAEE Midwestern Chapter events and let me tag along as they introduced me to people they knew – I can’t thank them enough. By the time I was able to attend my first IAEE Expo! Expo!, I felt like I already had a small network, which made navigating the conference much easier.

What motivates you to give your best to the industry? Do you have any specific goals you would like to achieve in the near future?

As I was beginning my career, I always said that whatever I ended up doing, I wanted to make a difference in the field I was in. One of the goals on my list was to write articles about what I was doing, and now I’m answering these questions, so I suppose that’s a start! My long-term career goal is to get experience in as many different aspects of the business as I can, and culminate my career as the event director for a really large event. Short-term, I’m working to obtain my CEM designation through IAEE, which I’ll be completing this year.

The one thing that ultimately motivates me to give my best to the industry is putting on outstanding events for my clients. This can come in many forms – exceeding sales and registration budgets, successfully implementing new ideas, and delivering an experience for participants that keeps them coming back year over year.

The 2016 Call for Nominations for the IAEE Awards is now open! Visit www.iaee.com/awards 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.

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 www.iaee.com/wlf.

References 101: The Secret to Winning the Job

Originally published by Lindsey Pollack 22 April 2016

Are your ears burning? I know why: An HR person or recruiter is calling your references. Maybe you applied for a new job, or maybe someone’s got an eye on you and he or she is calling around doing intel.

References are a very important step in the job-search process. Most companies do a deep dive into a candidate’s background before making an offer. And that’s a good thing: If you have awesome references, there’s no better way to vault to the top of the candidate list. The key is choosing wisely and then helping your references help you.

Here are a few tips to help you choose and prep your references.

Give Your References a Cheat Sheet

“Make sure each reference always has a copy of your most current resume, knows your key accomplishments and skills, and is aware of the jobs/positions you are seeking. Again, the best references are the ones who know who you are, what you can accomplish, and what you want to do.” —  Read more at QuintCareers.

Tell Them About the Position You’re Seeking

“It’s important to give each of your references descriptions of the jobs you’re applying for, including job specifications, what they are looking for in a job candidate and information about the company. That way, your references can tailor their responses to speak to your strengths that apply to the particular position and company you’re applying for, rather than giving generic responses.” —  Read more at Fastweb.

Make Sure Your Reference is Truly In Your Corner

“According to Carlie Smith, senior talent manager at OpenView Venture Partners, a venture capitalist firm in Boston, conducting a reference call provides an opportunity for recruiters to ask questions about a red flag or concern that has arisen during the hiring process. If your reference gives you a bad recommendation, this could impact your chances, which is why Foss advises you to always touch base with your references before having a potential employer contact them. ‘Candidates should specifically ask their reference, ‘Can I count on you to give me a favorable reference?’ If there’s any hesitation, pick someone else,’ she says.” —  Read more at Fast Company.

Think Beyond Your Boss

“Peers or clients, or one of each. Think back to any project where you did a stellar job, and suggest an interviewer contact the other people involved who can ‘personally attest to your skills and expertise,’ says [Jeff] Shane [head of reference-checking service Allison & Taylor]. These folks have the advantage of knowing some details of your performance that your boss may not even be aware of, which can make their remarks that much more convincing.”

—  Read more at Fortune.

Act Fast To Get a Reference Lined Up

“It’s a good idea to get a reference letter from your manager as soon after leaving a position as possible. Getting a reference letter right away makes it easier for your manager to recall specific contributions you made to the team. Even if you don’t end up needing a reference right away, having the reference letter provides you with something to fall back on in the event you are unable to contact your former manager at a later time. Plus, if you decide to go back to the manager a year or more later to ask them to provide a phone reference, you can remind them about the reference letter they wrote for you.” —  Read more at LiveCareer.