6 Tips for a Newcomer at EXPO! EXPO!

By: Maxx Lebiecki, Account Executive, Association of Equipment Manufacturers

We’ve all been there before – a friend or coworker invites us somewhere on short notice.  Although not really interested, we decide to tag along to be nice, but wind up having a wonderful time. Or the flip side – we choose to miss out on an event that turns out to be the talk of the town.

The situation reminds me of hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzke’s insightful statement, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

Technically speaking, it is impossible to miss a shot you don’t take. That being said, your “shot,” translated to networking and meeting people, could mean the difference between an open or closed door in the future.

One thing that I left Expo! Expo! 2016 in Anaheim excited about was the opportunity for more involvement. I made a conscious decision to put myself out there, meet new people and connect/network constantly. Those decisions led to opportunities beyond what I could have imagined. In just a few short months, I found myself joining committees, gaining a YP Spotlight feature, being interviewed by Exhibitions Mean Business on where I see our industry headed and most recently being recognized as an industry trendsetter.

In 2016, I was proud to be recognized at Expo! Expo! as one of the top 20 under 30 in the industry. Anaheim was my first Expo! Expo!, and I look forward to attending many more to come. I would like to share 6 key takeaways that enriched my experience in hopes that they will be useful for you as well:

1. Go to Everything (Practice your ‘FOMO’)

While it is impossible to be in two places at once, look at scheduled events beforehand and really scope out what you think will benefit you most. Connect with others pre-show and onsite, listen and look for after hour events, meet and mingle with every person you can and do a solid vetting of what education classes will benefit you as an individual. Trust me when I say that the hardest part will be showing up. After that, it’s all easy-going…not to mention the food is usually delicious.

2. Try to get involved

Make note of those you connect with while at events or education sessions. Are they in a leadership position? Are they well connected? Be sure to take notice of these things. Let other professionals know that you are interested in becoming involved. Everyone is looking for help in one way or another. A connection today could lead to an opportunity months, or even years down the road.

3. Connect with Everyone

This should go without saying, but bring a stack of business cards with you. Bring them to your classes, bring them on the show floor and most importantly bring them to all networking events. Add your connections on LinkedIn after, and add a message that will make people remember you. It could be as simple as “It was great meeting you at Wednesday’s IAEE networking event.” After all, that’s what these events are for!

4. Be Nice to Everyone – Attitude is Everything

Sounds simple, right? It can be more difficult than you think. Sometimes after long workdays, travelling and missing our loved ones, we can become distracted and appear to be standoff-ish.  “Dressing the part” and the way you carry yourself can (in some cases, not all) be just as important as how well you may know the industry, or how much you feel like you can offer. Dress for the job you want. Even if you don’t feel like it, think of every experience as though this is the greatest thing you have ever attended. Your body language will follow. No one wants to work with someone who is difficult to talk to or won’t give him or her the time of day.

5. Ask for help/intros

As a sales person, I would compare this to cold calling vs. word of mouth. In my experience, people are more inclined to trust you and get to know you when someone else that they know (and trust) introduces you. In addition, it can help with any awkwardness that you may encounter when meeting someone new. There can be a fine line to the etiquette of asking, but don’t be afraid to politely ask someone to make an introduction for you. The worst that can happen is that they say no.

6. Create Your Path

Last, but certainly not least, be sure to create your own path. Your path, or end goal is something that should be in the back of your mind throughout your stay. Think beforehand what you want to accomplish. Write it down. Remember it. Whether your end goal is to join a committee, meet 15 new people or make a sale – in the end YOU are in charge of your own path to success.

Networking is not always easy, but taking these things into account at events, such as Expo! Expo! can really help you take a step in the right direction. I look forward to meeting you in San Antonio!

Need a start with a connection? Add me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maxxlebiecki/




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.

IAEE Spotlight on Bill McGlade, CEM, Director, Account Management, a2z, Inc.

IAEE is pleased to bring you this member spotlight on Bill McGlade, CEM, Director, Account Management with a2z, Inc. Bill has been an IAEE member for nine years. Bill currently is the Chair of the IAEE Washington DC Chapter Board, the Immediate past Chair of the Young Professionals Committee, and has served on the CEIR Research Committee, Education Committee, Midyear Meeting Education Task Force and Chapter Leaders Council.

How did you start your career in the industry?

A recruiter was able to get me an interview with National Trade Productions (NTP) many moons ago. It was there that I learned a lot about the different facets of the industry and was able to be introduced and network with a ton of individuals from the exhibitions and events industry. I guess you can say, like many others in this industry, I stumbled into it and absolutely love it.

How has IAEE shaped your career?

IAEE has been one of the most important factors in helping me to achieve my professional goals. It has helped me by introducing me to the best mentors any young professional and aspiring leader could ask for. In a way, I owe many thanks to IAEE, and of course my mentors, for helping me to achieve all that I have so far.

IAEE has been one of the most important factors in helping me to achieve my professional goals.

What advice would you give to a new member?

Get involved and find mentors! In a business that is all about face-to-face, it is extremely important to make sure you are meeting and networking face-to-face. Being involved in IAEE and its local chapters is the single best way to help advance your career.

Click here for more information on the IAEE Mentor and Mentee Program

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

Some know this, but many do not. I am actually a published author. It’s a fictional novel about an anti-hero who comes to terms with human emotions and has to eventually save America. I guess you can say he is trying to “Make America Great.” Ha-ha!

What do you like most about your chapter?

Besides being the Chair? I like the camaraderie that is formed in the local IAEE chapters. The DC chapter holds a ton of events throughout the year and gives all of its members some great educational opportunities and fantastic networking opportunities. I really enjoy the fact that these are all set up to help me grow in my career and learn new and exciting happenings in the industry (well, when I am not on the board!).

What community service projects to you like to be involved in?

To be honest, any project. Anything that can make even the slightest difference to someone is what makes me feel good. In the end, it’s not about me. It’s about what helps that individual or community.

What would you say is the #1 IAEE member benefit?

Besides the cool 3-letter CEM designation after my name, I would say the membership to the local chapters. The local chapters are what really help to foster the year-found engagement in the industry and IAEE.

Are you ready to apply for the CEM Learning Program?

What do you like most about Expo! Expo!?

Everything! It is one of the very few trips of the year that I look forward to and is a must for me. Not only do I get to see friends from the industry that I may not have seen in awhile, but I get to learn new trends, new techniques, and can come back to the office with ideas on how to grow.

Copy of IAEE has been one of the most important factors in helping me to achieve my professional goals.

How do you use CEIR research?

CEIR is very important to me. We need an entity that is out there collecting the data that is important to our industry, but also one that presents it in a way that everyone can understand. I think they do a fantastic job of this. The key factors and data points for me are not just the events driven data but the industry specific data, because if you work on the supplier side and have multiple clients it’s important to see what trends may be occurring and which industries may soon be suffering or blossoming.

What new technology on the market can you just not live without?

Working for a technology company within the events industry makes me a bit biased. With that aside, I would say I have not yet found a piece of technology that I cannot live without – specifically focused around this industry. Obviously it would be hard for me to live without my phone. I’ll keep waiting and hopefully there will come that one new piece of technology that will make me hold on for dear life and never let go of it.

How do you currently use social media for your events?

On our side we definitely try to promote as many of our client’s events as possible. Taking PPC ads aside, it’s tough to sell anything on social media, but it is a great tool to build social awareness, engagement, and event-help to create an emotional connection to your event. I always like to push that last piece because in this day and age where an attendee/exhibitor has so many options to choose from, it’s important to give them a true reason to attend your event. That means combining ROI and engagement through planned activities and engagement, creating an emotional connection.


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.


IAEE Member Spotlight on Tara Allen, CEM, Global Experience Specialists (GES)

Tara Allen, CEM is a Sales Manager with Global Experience Specialists (GES). Tara’s home town is Palm Harbor, FL, and she attended the UCF, Rosen College of Hospitality Management. Tara has been an IAEE member for four years. We sat down with Tara to discuss her start in the exhibitions and events industry and to get her perspective on being an IAEE member.

How did you start your career in the industry?
It all started when Rosen College created the Event Management degree. I knew that was the path I needed to take. From there I was lucky enough to meet Scott Crawford and Alex Land at a career fair that Rosen was hosting. GES and Scott took a chance with me and I was chosen among many applicants to go through their sales manager training program. The training program allowed me the opportunity to work in every facet of GES including the warehouse, graphics department, account management, exhibitor services, etc. I truly believe those experiences molded me into the successful sales manager I am today.

How has IAEE shaped your career?
IAEE has helped shape my career in many ways. First, it has allowed me to continue my education of this amazing industry. Going through the CEM program gave me a wealth of knowledge and lifelong relationships. I have been lucky enough to attend every Expo! Expo! since I started with GES (except one because I got snowed in!). At my very first Expo! Expo! I met some wonderful young professionals who were extremely welcoming and really took me under their wing by introducing me to other YPs as well as IAEE members, again creating lifelong relationships. I served on the IAEE Young Professionals Committee, and now serve on the IAEE DFW Chapter Board. I could not be happier to be involved. Being a part of IAEE has sincerely enriched my professional and personal life.

What advice would you give to a new member?
Get involved! IAEE gives back what you put into it, if not more. Go to a meet-up, an educational event, or reach out to a board member and let them know that you want to be involved. IAEE is such a kind, welcoming association who wants to get to know you and wants you to be involved. Get out there!

Check out these upcoming chapter events!

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I have 6 brothers!

What do you like most about your chapter?
My fellow DFW members are downright incredible. They are just lovely and such a pleasure to be around.

What community service projects do you like to be involved in?
I really enjoy Habitat for Humanity – taking a day to help build a home for someone in need is very rewarding to me. Home is my favorite place and I think it is so important for everyone to have a place to call their own.

What would you say is the #1 IAEE member benefit?
I would say networking, but I feel like that word is overused and not an accurate depiction. It’s actually the feeling that you are part of a group – you are part of something way bigger than yourself or even your company. You are one of the thousands that create and execute a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s an incredible feeling to know you are one of the select, and that you are part of an association that celebrates and values how much you contribute to this industry.

Your Industry – Your Voice! Learn more about IAEE advocacy initiatives that support the entire exhibitions and events industry!

What do you like most about Expo! Expo!?
Spending time with fellow YPs!

Without using a specific company name, what new technology on the market can you just not live without?
Apps are everything!

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

What I’ve Learned from 6 Months of Simplifying

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak 24 May 2016

At this point, most of us have heard of Marie Kondo and her best-selling manifesto, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She suggests decluttering by asking yourself about every single thing you own: Does this spark joy?

I love this question, but the truth is my decluttering bar is set a little lower: I don’t always need what I have to bring me joy. I just need it to not bring me angst. That’s been my key takeaway so far from my word for the year: Simplify.

For me, simplifying has been about decluttering my belongings and commitments, taking away those little things – the little buzzing gnats – that tended to make me feel bad on a regular basis.

Here’s a peek into how my simplifying is going, in case you’re looking for inspiration to do a bit of spring cleaning of your own.

I did a closet clean out.

I’m a big believer in having a “uniform” to make dressing easier, so my closet is relatively manageable. However, there was one piece of clothing that had become my nemesis. I had a favorite pair of red pants that just didn’t fit me anymore. Every morning when I flicked through my hangers, they would taunt me: “You really should lose a couple of pounds.” When I saw them,

I felt bad. Who needs to start their day that way? So I said goodbye to the red pants. I actually enjoy knowing that someone else is probably wearing them today and feeling fantastic.

I added some breathing room to my schedule.

Some days, my calendar looked like a big solid wall of phone calls and meetings. While I felt productive on those days, I also felt something else: frazzled. I found myself rushing to get to the next call without any down time to catch my breath. It sounds simple, but I realized that I could eliminate a lot of stress by deliberately not scheduling meetings too close together.

I know not everyone has control over their calendar but if you do, try adding in a little buffer time. Another trick is to look at your week (or even month) holistically. If you have travel on the horizon, try to avoid scheduling evening meetings leading up to it so you can spend some time at home. And, consider blocking your own “me” time on your calendar and use it for concentrated work or just to reflect and plan.

Here’s another trick I’ve learned. Before you say yes to something, ask yourself: If this event were taking place tomorrow, would I say yes? We commit to obligations that are three months out thinking maybe we’ll be more interested in doing them when the time rolls around, but the truth is if you don’t want to do it now, you probably won’t want to do it in three months.

I ditched old files that were cluttering up my screen and mind.

Call me a digital hoarder, but I have tons of files on my computer that are just not relevant anymore. So, during one long plane ride I decided to get rid of files I no longer actively use. As I read through some proposals for projects I didn’t get, I asked myself why those were hanging around. I am happy with how my business is going and the challenging work I currently have. Why would I want to be reminded of a the clients and gigs I didn’t win? By deleting or archiving them, I can now scroll through my current clients and feel energized about the work I am doing rather than feeling bad about the ones that got away.

I deleted apps.

Take a quick look at your phone homepage. Is it cluttered with a bunch of random icons? It makes you feel frenzied and anxious looking at them, doesn’t it? That’s why I decided to delete all but a few apps that I use on a regular basis. There was just something overwhelming about seeing so many icons every time I glanced at my phone. And there’s no downside – anything you end up missing you can add back in about 10 seconds.

I highly advise getting rid of that visual clutter. Now, when I look at my phone, there’s not an app for that, and I love it.


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.

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Sarah Bopp: 2015 Rookie of the Year Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Sarah Bopp, Associate Manager Booth Sales & Operations for the American Pet Products Association (APPA) has risen through the ranks quickly by taking on every challenge presented to her. Even while juggling heavy work-loads, she aided in the development of a program to offer networking and educational opportunities to young professionals in the pet industry, and volunteered to serve as one of the founding members of a similar group for the IAEE New York Area Chapter. She participates in managing both groups in addition to her regular job responsibilities, is a regular attendee at NYIAEE chapter events and at Expo Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition, and is currently pursuing her CEM certification. This drive and dedication earned her the IAEE Rookie of the Year Award in 2015, which recognizes excellent professional performance by an individual with three or less years of full-time exhibitions and events industry experience. Here, Sarah discusses what it means to her to active in her chapter and how she plans to continue making a difference in the industry.

What attracted you to the exhibitions and events industry?

This industry is very intriguing to me because exhibitions and events allow people with common interests from all around the globe to connect in one place. Since joining the industry, I have discovered that there is a trade show for just about anything from pet products to stamps, helicopters and even amusement parks. The fascinating part is finding commonalities between trade shows for different sectors and I am eager to learn about them all.

From a show management standpoint, watching the magic of everything come together onsite –from move-in to the doors opening to the show – is pretty amazing. Beyond planning our trade show, I have also had the opportunity to travel to new cities through which I gain valuable knowledge with networking and education from each place I visit. Traveling inspires me and takes me out of my comfort zone, which is important in my professional development.

You received high praise for your creation of a young professional network at APPA. What is your approach in recruiting other YPs to the industry?

The APPA Young Professionals officially launched at Global Pet Expo this year and we have received great feedback thus far. We plan to grow a strong network of those already within the pet industry. Our key resource has been APPA members and industry professionals within our qualified attendee database. Understanding that there may only be one key contact receiving correspondence, we ask that the information is shared for recruitment of all young professionals within each respective company. The important message to be understood is that through investing in the young professionals and getting them involved now, we can create an environment which will encourage retention of future leaders.

The APPA Young Professionals’ aim is to make people feel as though they belong in the pet industry and have support while following their career paths. With this approach, we believe creating an attractive atmosphere for young professionals to thrive in will lead to new prospects eager to join the pet industry

You organized a food drive for the IAEE New York Area Chapter. Why do you think it is important for organizations such as IAEE to give back to the local community?

Working together to support a cause creates the feeling of importance; knowing that you are making an impact. In a world that isn’t so perfect, I like to think that the little wins through giving back locally are great accomplishments. Helping bring smiles to others’ faces makes it all worthwhile. I was born and raised a New Yorker so the local community holds a special place in my heart. With the help of professionals within the IAEE New York Area Chapter, we have a network of people who can come together and make a difference.

What are your favorite networking channels and for what reasons?

Ideally, I prefer to network in person. I enjoy having the chance for others to experience my full personality through meeting face-to-face. Our local chapter events and the IAEE industry events are a great way to meet and engage with others. Social media is useful for organizing or becoming involved in specific events, but it is not my preferred method of networking.

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?

I am the type of person who commits myself wholeheartedly to my interests, which fortunately happens to include this industry. I want the future of the exhibitions and events industry to be bright so I am willing to be involved in the efforts to make sure the industry continues to thrive. Regarding specific goals in the near future, I would like to complete my CEM certification.

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.