EnventU: Cultivating the Next Generation of Live Event and Expo Professionals




How did you land your first job in the events industry? If you’re like me and many of my colleagues, you may have “fallen” into the profession. But how different might your career have been if you had access to a purposeful pathway to help you discover, explore and pursue your interests in events and expos earlier — perhaps even in high school? EnventU, a non-profit education initiative that I launched two years ago, serves exactly that purpose.

EnventU provides opportunities where traditionally there have been few for both young people and event professionals.

Through EnventU, public high school students from underserved communities get an up close and hands-on look at the events industry. Business leaders and technical professionals guide students as they produce a real event for a local client. Students learn about and make decisions regarding catering and decor, audio and visual needs, lighting, graphic design and more over ten weeks. Since the inaugural session in 2015, participating sophomores and juniors have created and/or staffed corporate holiday events, trade shows and expos, professional conferences, and even a 3,500-attendee rock concert.

It has been said that the best way to cultivate leadership is to expose learners to great leaders. EnventU makes it easy for industry veterans to inspire the next generation of event professionals as guest speakers and mentors or as guides through the inner-workings of their businesses during vendor field trips. Some of

the initiative’s partners have even created unique opportunities for learning for some of the most promising participants.




In April, EnventU partnered with InfoComm International® to provide students from Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC) in Washington, D.C. with hands-on in-classroom presentations, a virtual audiovisual learning opportunity and the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to Orlando, FL to attend the 2017 InfoComm Annual Convention June 14-16, 2017.

Fifty CHEC students received a crash course on the A/V industry, its businesses, career opportunities, and innovative technologies. Three students who participated in the classroom presentations, completed the 10-hour, self-paced virtual course and wrote an essay to demonstrate their understanding of A/V’s critical role in creating a successful event were chosen to receive the all-expenses-paid trip to Orlando. Summit Event Productions, a boutique lighting design and production firm, and DAL Productions sponsored the student’s travel.

As we develop the curriculum for EnventU’s third fall season, we invite more event and exhibit producers, buyers, sellers and industry vendors to join us in providing enriching learning experiences for students who might not otherwise receive such opportunities.

For more information about EnventU, visit http://www.enventU.org or follow us on Twitter @EnventUOrg.


Latoya Lewis


Latoya Lewis

Chief Executive Officer


Go & Be – Counted


Julie Sullivan, CEM, CMP
Manager, Exhibition Sales
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)

This winter, I had the fortunate opportunity to attend Expo! Expo! on a scholarship courtesy of the Washington, DC Chapter of IAEE. As you can imagine, this news and opportunity added an extra element of excitement and anticipation for me and made the event seem all the more rewarding and memorable.

When I applied for the scholarship, I had several key goals in mind. Since it had been nearly five years since my last brief fly-in, take a CEM class, visit the exhibit hall, and fly back out ten hours later, I hoped to make this trip a total emersion experience. I wanted to begin networking and supporting IAEE on a national level, bond with my local IAEE DC Chapter community, hear about new trends in the industry, gain some new insights on multi-generational communication, and last but certainly not least, experience a new city. Like everyone, I suppose, I had pre-conceived ideas about what my experiences there would be like and what the City of Los Angeles might hold as well. In reality, my expectations were completely dashed to the rocks. My time there was everything I had hoped it would be and more. In fact, from an attendee’s perspective, I thought Expo! Expo! 2014 was the proverbial grand slam.

I went to Los Angeles to “Go & Be” many things: original, innovative, creative, and strategic as IAEE’s Expo! Expo! encouraged us to be. Upon returning home, I felt genuinely surprised and inspired by the vitality and adaptability of our industry and impressed with the thriving, rejuvenated Downtown LA area. It was a perfect pairing of meeting to destination.

As the seed of an idea from months earlier suddenly took root and began to materialize, my only remaining dilemma was deciding on what to do out of the countless options available to me during the meeting. Sticking to my initial goals, I settled on an agenda including a city-wide tour, learning how to building better relationships in our technology driven era, networking on a national and local chapter level, applauding all 257 CEM graduates, and visiting suppliers and industry friends alike on the trade show floor.

My experiences at Expo! Expo! re-confirmed for me that I’m in one of the most exciting and successful career paths. The industry is doing very well, has been doing well during the recession, and will surely continue to do so because it adjusts effectively through the ages. The proof of its strength was in the numbers announced at this year’s meeting. Not only did Expo! Expo! 2014 experience record attendance and had a record number of CMP graduates investing in its future, but the industry is producing big numbers where many others simply are not.

Making the decision to go to Expo! Expo! 2014 was a great one for many reasons. It was an opportunity for me to support the exhibitions and events industry at the national level, it stood as a testament to my level of commitment and support to our close-knit Washington, DC community, and was proof positive to that I wanted to officially stand-up and be counted. As the saying goes, “the community that stays together, thrives together” proved very true last year and I’m thankful for its support.

“Go & Be” HOPEFUL should be added to the Expo! Expo! 2014 meeting theme. The future looks very bright indeed for exhibitions and events.

Volunteer of the Quarter!

IAEEDC is excited to name Jessie Wolfe from National Trade Productions the first 2015 Volunteer of the Quarter! Jessie has worked exceptionally hard on converting the chapter newsletter, ShowBuzz from a print to digital format. Additionally, Jessie has been working for the Communities and Outreach Committee, creating a Showbuzz Newsletter Archive and assisting with the new blog!

We are so grateful for all of the hard work Jessie has put in, and continues to do for the chapter! The chapter can’t accomplish anything without volunteers, so thanks to your hard work, Jessie, look at how much we’re achieving!


Name: Jessie Wolfe

Title: Marketing Coordinator

Company / Current Role: National Trade Productions, Inc.

IAEEDC Involvement (Committees, etc): I helped convert the IAEEDC chapter bi-monthly newsletter from print to digital version.  I am also a member of the Communities and Outreach Committee helping update the website and blog.

What drives your involvement with IAEE DC? My desire to learn about the industry drives my involvement.  I am still new to the industry so I want to meet, network and learn from people who have been in the industry much longer than me.  I also just simply enjoy digital media and web design, so I am fine volunteering my skills to the chapter.

Best IAEE DC Experience: Doing Karaoke at one of my first IAEEDC events.  I signed up to sing a Destiny’s Child Song, it was terribly embarrassing…and I don’t think it will be a memory that I forget for a long time.

JCP_3173 JCP_2977

How did you get involved in the industry: It was just by chance.  I attended trades shows as an exhibitor in my last job, but never knew that I would be on the other end of planning.

IAEE HQ involvement (KLI, 20 under 30, committees): I haven’t had any IAEE HQ involvement yet, but I am to get involved.  I am still in my first year in the industry and am still learning the ropes.

What is your favorite to spend a weekend? I really enjoy spending my weekends outside.  I love the springs in the DC area there are so many outdoor concerts and festivals to go to.  Not to mention all the VA wineries that make for perfect weekend getaways.

Living or dead, who would you most like to have dinner with and why? I would love to have dinner with Betty White! She is a really funny and strong women.  She was definitely ahead of her time in comedy and continues to be edgy in her 90’s.  I hope to be as vivacious and lively as her when I am in my Golden Years!

What book are you currently reading?  Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

What are your thoughts on winning volunteer of the quarter? I am really honored to have been recognized by IAEEDC.  I am hoping to get more and more involved with the chapter for the years to come!

Interested in getting more involved? Fill out the IAEEDC Chapter Volunteer Form and a member of the board will get back to you!

IAEE HQ Announcement


Helen Brett Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted 1 March – 1 June for the 2015/2016 School Year

The Helen Brett Scholarship was established by Robert Kolinek, CEM, CMP, and named for his grandmother, Helen Brett, who was a pioneer in the trade show industry. The purpose of the scholarship is to assist individuals who are enrolled in a four-year degree program with a focus on the study of exhibition and event management. The scholarship serves to promote the exhibitions and events industry by attracting college level students into the field of study and encouraging their pursuit with financial support. Scholarships are awarded competitively based upon pursuit of a degreed major focusing on exhibition and/or event management. If within a hospitality program, the focus of study should be the exhibitions and events industry as determined by the review of the submitted official transcripts. Please pass on this link to those who may be interested in applying for the scholarship.  http://www.ceir.org/foundation/helen-brett-scholarship.

IAEE HQ Announcement

The IAEE Woman of Achievement Award recognizes a woman who has led the way in the advancement of women in the exhibitions and events industry, exhibited outstanding leadership, and made significant contributions to the industry and her community.

Show support by nominating someone by 6 March 2015 – SUBMIT A NOMINATION.