Who are your mentors?
Diana Simmons, COO of Hargrove, was influential during my early career. I saw her grow as a leader and set a great example. She helped me focus and gave me confidence by giving me opportunities and empowering me to solve issues. I keep in touch with her to this day, and love to connect with her.
What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced
during a trade show and how did you overcome them?
Construction in the venues has been a recurring challenge over the years. As soon as I hear there is even a possibility that a construction project could potentially impact an event, even when it is years out, I keep it as a frontline topic with my contacts at the venue. When the situation arises and there is an impact on an event, you need to stay in constant contact with the venue and get as much information as you can as it becomes available. Coming up with creative solutions and workarounds is key when the space you thought you were getting gets disrupted.
How has the advent of technological advances affected
We’ve gone from reports to dashboards that have enhanced how we as organizers market to attendees, analyze data, sell booth space and so much more. I find that organizers are using the data collected in smarter ways as reviewing and analyzing it has become easier and more effective.
Technology has also enabled us to engage more effectively with all of our audiences. From mobile apps, gamification, matchmaking, audience polling, social media, streaming and other technologies, communications between our attendees, exhibitors and show management have really developed. It has enabled us to market our events more efficiently and cost-effectively.
The not-so-great side is that you have to understand how to leverage technology to enhance your goals and event. There are many opportunities out there; you don’t want to confuse your audience, and you need to ensure the audience is ready for the technology you are deploying. Another challenge is getting all of the technologies to work together seamlessly and having multiple dashboards for each instead of one view into everything.