This Just In

2nd Annual IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum a Sell-Out


Dallas, TX – Launched just one year ago, the second annual Women’s Leadership Forum hosted by the InternationaI Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) was a sell-out that drew 100+industry women to Washington, DC May 13-14 to explore viable ways to advance their careers. The program focused on helping participants identify their personal brands and learn how to build on those brands in business.

This year, the forum added a Woman of Achievement Award in order to give annual recognition to someone in the industry who has been an advocate for women’s advancement, exhibited outstanding leadership, made significant contributions to the industry and her community, and worked for one or more IAEE member companies for at least eight years.

The first award went to Julia Smith, CEM, CTA, senior vice president of national sales at Global Experience Specialists (GES) and a 25-year industry veteran. Smith is a current member of the IAEE Board of Directors and was one of the first to earn the CEM designation. “I’m extremely honored to be recognized for my role in the industry that has been my home for most of my career,” Smith said.

This year’s program included keynote speakers Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins, authors of Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence, who coached attendees about how to develop a personal brand that can be carried forward in their lives.

Other sessions included:

  • Leading and Negotiating Effectively Across Cultures,
  • Business Dress —Your Appearance,
  • Preparing for Your Next Role … Are You Ready?,
  • Navigating Today’s Job Market at an Executive Level, and
  • Speaking in Soundbites, presented by Carrie Ferenac, president of Convention News Television.


IAEE Chief Operating Officer Cathy Breden told Trade Show Executive that the feedback from the two-day program was “overwhelmingly positive.”

Mindy Abel, senior vice president, strategy & development at the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau, was particularly impressed with the opening session. “I found it inspirational and thought-provoking,” she said.

Abel, who attended the event as part of Anaheim’s Three-City Partnership with Baltimore and San Antonio, added, “The net take-away for me was creating a signature voice for yourself in various situations, to be distinct and authentic in your actions, (and) being mindful of your communication style.”

Breden said IAEE is exploring the possibility of staging this event in different locations around the country, but in 2015, she said the program will be held again at the Washington Marriott Marquis on April 8, with CEM sessions on April 6 and 7.

Reach Cathy Breden at (972) 458-8002 or; Mindy Abel at (714) 765-8846 or