EXPO! EXPO! read all about it.

It was with great anticipation that I attended my first International Association of Exhibitions and Events conference. As a new member of IAEE (www.iaee.com) I was not disappointed. I enjoyed four days in New Orleans immersing myself in the event production industry. I met a fun and facinating assortment of show organizers, tradeshow managers, consumer show producers and industry experts willing to share their knowledge and experience and welcome me into the fold. I had a great time exploring the tradeshow floor, attending educational sessions and eating my way into oblivion cajun style. I met Roy Turner a bigwig at GLM, the largest producer/marketer of consumer product shows in North America. If you want to see attend a crazy cool show check out their Surf Expo at http://www.surfexpo.com. it’s like the X-Games on steroids with 2000 exhibits and 15,000 attendees looking at products from surf gear to snow boards. I also met Denise Medved, CEO of the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining show. http://www.MetroCooking.com. Her shows feature 300 exhibitors and celebrities like Paula Deen, Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay, how fun is that! I went to the event by myself, not knowing anyone there and want to thank Isabella Wai, Director of Convention Events for the Ontario Hospital Association for taking the time to visit with me and tell me about her roll in this industry. The team from Shepard Exposition Services were especially friendly throughout the four days. I have a four inch stack of business card to follow up with from service providers, potential companies that could hire me as a speaker and contacts that I can do business with as I expand my Women Entrepreneurs’ Small Business Boot Camp. I left the conference encouraged by the positive news that the industry is on the uptick. Not by much, but there is evidence of an overall increase in show attendees, number of exhibitors and net square footage at shows. We must continue to promote, support and defend the face to face marketplace because there is no better way to meet thousands of potential customers in an atmosphere more conducive to doing business than a tradeshow or consumer event.

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