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.
Carrie Abernathy CMP, CEM, CSEP
Director of Education & Events
“Go and Be”. The theme of IAEE’s Expo! Expo! 2014, “Go and Be”, really resonated with me as a meeting planner. I have attended several planner-centric conferences over the years and I was really excited about the innovation that IAEE brought to the table for planners at their 2014 conference. In December I was lucky enough to be provided a scholarship to attend Expo!Expo! by the DC Chapter of IAEE to “Go and Be” an attendee of the conference in Los Angeles. I really took on the challenge of trying to immerse myself in as many of the conference “new offerings” and engagement activities as possible. To me, the idea of Go and Be and the execution really engaged planners in a new way. Not only were planners provided with exceptional breakout educational sessions and a fantastically diverse tradeshow floor, but we were able to get in “bite-sized” education and gain hands-on experience by visiting the ‘Go and Be’ areas. For me, the areas created a safe haven to network and build relationships while learning valuable tips in different topics such as ‘Trends and Directions’ and ‘International Business’. I was equally impressed that Expo! Expo! tackled conversations around influence, potential, and motivation. I was expecting new technology to be at the forefront of the conference, and while it was, Expo! Expo! tackled these important topics as well as part of a truly diverse agenda.
I believe one of the most appealing traits of Expo! Expo! was the conference’s ability to customize the learning and engagement experience to any attendee at any level of their career. Having multiple types of engagement opportunities at any given time for adult learners is an excellent strategy (and one that I plan to use in my own conference as well!). With sessions to fit learning styles of all types (visual, hands-on, lectures, panels), I felt as though attendees of all backgrounds could make the conference experience valuable and relevant to their professional. As well, with sessions for young professionals, women, students, and C-suite level learners, the conference did a really great job of making everyone feel as though they had something to learn and something valuable to contribute to the conference conversations. As a director-level event professional with over ten years of experience in the meetings business, I often am concerned that the education will be geared to beginners or senior level executives, or that I will become uninterested in the topics that I tend to see at most every planner conference. However, I felt as though at Expo!Expo! truly engaged attendees in a way that held our interest and sparked creativity. I know that I personally was able to bring back new ideas on technology and engagement to try at my conference. I always appreciate that Expo!Expo! “test-drives” new features for planners so that we have an idea if they will be successful in action at our own events. IAEE certainly has their work cut out for them to top the 2015 conference, so I am truly looking forward to what IAEE’s Expo!Expo! has in store for us this December!
2015 Expo! Expo! Call for Presentations Process Now Open
It’s All About Constructivism | DEADLINE 20 MARCH
Constructivism is a learning concept that generates knowledge and meaning from interaction between experiences and ideas. Are you a subject matter expert or have knowledge that could make a difference in our industry? Will your knowledge teach and inspire others to build and create better and more engaging events? Be a part of Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting and Exhibition by leading active and social learning environments.
-It’s All About delivering education that provides immediate ideas that can be implemented within one’s professional or personal life.
-It’s All About providing a blended learning experience that will activate learners with different levels of knowledge and experience.
-It’s All About creating a peer to peer social learning experience that creates lifelong connections outside the classroom.
IAEE calls on you to share knowledge and business expertise through a unique and valuable speaking opportunity. You are invited to submit an education session proposalfor presentation at the 2015 Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting and Exhibition from 1-3 December in Baltimore, MD.
We are pleased to announce that our 2015 Call for Presentations is now open! We encourage you to submit a proposal (or multiple) for consideration by our Education Committee.
To submit a proposal, please follow the link below and create an account.
Submission Deadline: 20 March 2015