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Women Leaders Who Take Charge

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) wrapped up a sold out Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) on April 8 at the Washington, D.C. Marriott Marquis. The one-day program hosted more than 150 attendees and featured education sessions for women at all stages of their career.

IAEE recognized and responded to a need within the exhibitions and events community with a women-only conference, sponsored by 16 organizations representing most facets of the exhibition industry ecosystem.

“We understood the need for this type of program when we created it in 2013,” said IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA. “Nonetheless, the feedback we are receiving from attendees is really amazing, and we are very satisfied with the direction this program has taken.”

Highlights from the 2015 April event included leadership facilitator Valorie Burton, bestselling author, speaker and life coach, who addressed resiliency and finding a happy balance and place in life. Claire Shipman, a regular contributor to “Good Morning America” and other national broadcasts for ABC News, spoke to attendees on confidence.

During lunch, the 2015 IAEE Woman of Achievement Award was presented to Karen Chupka, senior vice president of International CES and corporate business strategy for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), chosen by the Awards committee based on submitted nominations.

Lunch attendees were treated to an interview facilitated by Destination Marketing Association International Senior Vice President of Membership & Operations Karen Gonzales, CMP, with Capricia Penavic Marshall, who serves as ambassador-in-residence at the Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C.

The day ended with a power panel moderated by IAEE Executive Vice President and COO Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP; and panelists Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group; Casandra Matej, executive director of San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Megan Tanel, CEM, vice president of exhibitions & events for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and 2015 IAEE Chairperson of the Board. The panel covered several topics including how to achieve a healthy work/life balance, career advice and how to realize each woman’s goals.

IAEE’s Young Professionals (YP) Committee welcomed 87 new members at this year’s conference. Making up 30 percent of the attendees, membership has reached over 700 young professionals.

“Even though the room was full of outgoing, dynamic women who were mostly seasoned executives, the forum also experienced a mass influx of a younger demographic,” stated ShowNets Marketing and Sales Consultant Hala Bowen, who will help start the Houston, Texas YP chapter.

Chaired by Kiki Janssens, sales manager at Core-apps, the YP Committee’s objectives are to provide a social and professional support network for this segment of IAEE members by developing programs and benefits especially valuable to those in career ascendance.

“My mission is to connect these vibrant and creative young women with the strong female leaders in this industry,” commented Anne Marie Newman, vice president of marketing, ShowNets. “Not only can the older generation become vital mentors for these newcomers, but also the YPs have a lot to contribute with their fresh perspective and progressive ideas. I thank IAEE for investing in these women with enriching events such as WLF!”

Due to the continued success of this program, IAEE is currently exploring new regions to expand this initiative. Plans are underway for the 2016 program.

For more information, visit iaee.com/WLF

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