Members Spotlight

In this edition of our EXPO READY Newsletter we are showcasing two members about their CAEM experience. Anita Schachter has been a member of CAEM for over 20 years while Michelle Lovrics is new to CAEM this year! Read below what inspired them to become members, the value their membership brings to them, and their thoughts on the future of the exposition industry.

Anita Schachter
President and CEO | Canadian Gift Association

When and what made you decide to become a member of CAEM?

I joined CAEM in the mid-90s. At the time, I worked for a publishing company with a small trade show division. With only a handful of staff focused on the vertical shows we produced, my learning opportunities were limited. I joined CAEM for introduction and exposure to those who were experiencing challenges similar to the ones we were facing. I was immediately struck by the open, welcoming culture of our members. Under the umbrella of CAEM, competitors became collaborators.

I was asked to join the Board of Directors in 1999 and have remained connected in one form or another since then.

How has the industry changed or re-shaped from when you first became a member to today?

When I joined, we had b2b shows serving every possible industry, often with publications to support them. It was widely accepted that shows were a vital part of the marketing mix. They were strong, large, broad events with little competition for attention. Many of those large horizontal shows are gone now for a variety of reasons: casualties of serving an aging audience; failure to adapt and update communication strategies aimed at attracting the next generation of customers; or factors behind the shows’ control such as shifting consumer patterns and behaviours. The way in which shows were marketed has changed dramatically: 20 years ago, we embraced direct mail and magazine advertising. Today, the marketing mix is much more diverse and includes mediums and channels not available in the past.

Where do you see the future of the exposition industry?

Our industry may be smaller, more vertical then ever but it continues to be resilient and relevant and that will not change. The competition for the audience’s attention has grown at an unprecedented pace and this is our new normal. Never has the need for bold, fresh, creative thinking been more important and our industry needs to embrace change – the type of change that is uncomfortable presents the most lucrative opportunities.

Michelle Lovrics
Meeting Coordinator | Exhibition Place

When and what made you decide to be a member of CAEM?

I started working at Exhibition Place as a Meeting Coordinator in November 2017. I was given the opportunity to begin the process towards my CEM designation in January 2018 and became familiar with CAEM and ExpoCAN. After attending in Blue Mountain, I was hooked and knew that I was in the right place at the right time in my career! It felt as if all of my various work experiences in events had finally tied together, finding a place of familiarity and validation. I should also mention; I was welcomed with open arms by a fantastic group of people!

As a new member, what have you found most valuable up to this point?

The opportunity to meet with and learn from like-minded industry people has been incredible. Having conversations where we can share stories and get input about topics that are familiar across all types of events such as registration, load-ins and queuing techniques. All that event talk gets me excited! I also think it is important for us working within the industry to have the opportunity to attend events wearing the registration badge ourselves and not just be caught up behind the scenes planning!

Where do you see the future of the exposition industry?

The future is full of possibilities! With changing trends in technology and a societal desire to ‘go green’, the industry will also need to find ways to reinvent their purpose, their interactions with attendees and the value of on-site experiences. I think naturally there will always be a desire for face-to-face encounters, to feel connected, and avoid a fear of missing out on what’s new!

Want to be featured in the next Members Spotlight? Email Kaitlyn McGuirk at [email protected] to learn how!