Why I Attend Expo! Expo!: An Interview with Amy Durkin, CEM, CMP

November 21, 2019

Every journey at Expo! Expo! is uniquely different, but what brings it all together is the continued drive to learn from one another and our passion to keep our shows flourishing. Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition provides attendees with a diverse marketplace to view and assess the tools needed to plan and manage successful trade shows and events for years to come. Here, IAEE spoke with Amy Durkin, CEM, CMP who shared the importance of connections made at Expo! Expo!.

Tell us a little about yourself. What are your current responsibilities?

My name is Amy Durkin and I am the Director of Events for the National Catholic Educational Association. We host about four to five meetings a year. The largest being the convention and expo, the largest private-education event in the world.

Why do you attend Expo! Expo!? And how many years have you attended Expo! Expo!?

I have actually lost count! I think 2004 was my first year (it was in San Diego). I attend Expo! Expo! because of the larger event community. Attending IAEE is always good for my soul! I remember feeling so scared at my first Expo! Expo! because I did not know anybody, but I just took the risk and went up to a couple of people who took pity on me!

How do you benefit from attending Expo! Expo!?

In addition to the great professional development sessions and time spent on the trade show floor, it really is about the connections and friendships you make before, during and after sessions. Some of my closest friends are a result of IAEE.

What education sessions caught your attention at Expo! Expo! in the past? Did you have any takeaways from those sessions?

Recently, it has been the education sessions on crisis planning and Visa issues, but there have also been sessions on working with your general service contractor and understanding AV speak that have been helpful as well.

Were there any insights from Expo! Expo! that you implemented in your organization? If so, what were they?

Yes. As a result of attending Expo! Expo! a couple of years ago, I came back with the tools I needed to create a crisis management plan. At an event last week was the first time I had to implement part of the crisis plan.

How do you approach your time spent at Expo! Expo!?  

I look at the mobile app and plan my professional development sessions as well as the exhibitors I would like to meet on the show floor. Make a plan and try to stick to it!  It is also important to drink plenty of water!

Why is it important to be involved with one’s local chapter?

I owe my entire career to IAEE and my involvement in the D.C. Chapter.  I would not be where I am today without IAEE!

Name an unforgettable moment that has happened to you at Expo! Expo!.

Those stories can only be shared at the bar!

If you were talking to someone who had not attended Expo! Expo! and was considering going, what would you say to him/her?

The annual meeting really is the time to continue your professional growth in the exhibitions and events industry and to be around people who can mentor you.

What tip would you give to a first-time attendee that you wish someone had told you when you attended Expo! Expo! for the first time?

Don’t be afraid to talk to people. Everybody was new to Expo! Expo! at one time. Get involved in your chapter!

What is one event or program that attendees cannot miss at Expo! Expo! that you thoroughly enjoy?

The keynote/general sessions are always great.

Will you be attending this year’s Expo! Expo! in Las Vegas?

I will be there. If you are new to Expo! Expo!, reach out to me. Tweet me at @AmyDurkin9

First published by IAEE HERE.

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