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Event Professionals

The Power of Participation: Your Local IAEE and PCMA Chapters Await 

Daria Knupp Avatar Daria Knupp April 18, 2024
Table of Contents
5 min read

For event professionals seeking to thrive in a dynamic and competitive industry, association participation can unlock many opportunities. Beyond the national and international horizons, our local IAEE (International Association of Exhibitions and Events) and PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) chapters serve as bustling hubs for networking, professional development, and community strengthening. This local involvement might just be the secret ingredient to your professional ascent.  

In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits awaiting you at your local IAEE and PCMA chapters and provide a roadmap for making the most of your participation. 

Goldmines for Networking: Local Chapters 

Local chapters provide a unique and valuable perspective that complements the offerings of national organizations. When you engage with your local chapter, you become an integral part of a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to enhancing the events industry within your region. This setting also offers a more intimate networking environment where you are recognized as a peer among local leaders and influencers, fostering meaningful connections and collaborations within your city or town. 

Imagine entering a room where every discussion may result in a new friendship, opportunity, or piece of knowledge in your line of work. That’s the vibe that the local PCMA and IAEE chapters produce. They provide unmatched networking opportunities, enabling you to connect with colleagues, mentors, and prominent figures in the events world who comprehend your obstacles and share your goals. Relationships are made here, frequently resulting in collaborations, recommendations, and even job offers. 

Gaining Professional Experience with Local Knowledge  

Local chapters also serve as incubators for professional development, harnessing the expertise of industry veterans and offering platforms for newcomers to gain valuable experience. Workshops, roundtables, and mentorship programs facilitated by local chapters are tailored to the issues and trends that are most relevant in your immediate work environment, offering a more hands-on educational experience. Volunteering for local events and committees further enriches your skill set, providing practical knowledge in areas from logistics and marketing to speaker coordination and audience engagement. 

IAEE chapters strongly emphasize professional growth while deepening their awareness of the regionally particular business environment. You have access to a multitude of information specific to the community you work in. Meanwhile, you can demonstrate your event-organizing prowess to potential employers or clients by participating in community service projects and local event initiatives through PCMA chapters. 

A Stronger Industry Presence 

Being part of a group amplifies the impact of your voice compared to acting alone. Connecting with industry peers allows for collective problem-solving and the sharing of insights to tackle challenges effectively. By actively engaging with the local organization and advocating for the profession, you have the opportunity to shape industry standards and make a meaningful impact on the events sector. Your involvement not only increases the visibility of the industry but also ensures that your perspectives and issues are heard and addressed. 

Moreover, organizations like IAEE’s “Young Professionals” group and PCMA’s “Emerging Leaders” group provide platforms for young professionals to collaborate, grow as leaders, and contribute to the industry’s future. These groups offer networking opportunities, mentorship, and resources tailored to support emerging talent in the events industry. Joining these specialized groups can enhance your professional development, foster mentorship relationships, and empower you to become a leader within the industry while giving back to the community that has nurtured your growth. 

How To Get Involved 

Step 1: Reach Out 

The first step is the most monumental — to make the decision to participate. This involves reaching out to the local chapter, attending orientation sessions, and getting a lay of the land. Go to the IAEE and PCMA chapter websites, find the chapter closest to you, and explore what each chapter offers. Reach out to the listed chapter administrator with your desire to get involved. 

Step 2: Attend Events 

Try to attend as many events as your local chapter hosts. Attend and engage fully in all events, whether they are community projects, networking mixers, or educational seminars. 

Nic Kreger, CEM and an account manager at Tradeshow Logic, recently started getting more involved with his local chapter and says the best way to start is to “jump in!”  

“Start signing up for events, luncheons, and other outreach programs that interest you,” he explains. “Put yourself out there. In my experience, this is one of the best (and quickest) ways to get yourself involved.” 

Step 3: Volunteer 

April, recognized as National Volunteer Month, serves as a poignant reminder of the multitude of volunteer opportunities within the IAEE and PCMA chapters. This month presents an ideal occasion to explore and engage in various volunteering roles that contribute to the growth and vibrancy of these industry organizations. Every chapter relies on dedicated volunteers to thrive and succeed. 

From organizing events to spearheading membership campaigns, there are diverse tasks where your assistance can make a significant impact. Volunteering not only allows you to give back to the industry but also offers a valuable pathway to establish meaningful relationships within the professional community while showcasing your commitment to the field. 

In alignment with National Volunteer Month’s spirit, IAEE invites individuals to share their unique volunteer experiences within the organization through video submissions. This initiative not only celebrates the contributions of volunteers but also highlights the importance of active participation and engagement within the IAEE community. It’s an excellent opportunity to showcase how volunteering has enriched your professional journey and inspired others to get involved. 

Step 4: Take Leadership Roles 

Don’t be afraid to assume bigger responsibilities later in the chapter once you’re comfortable doing so. Participate in committee work or seek a board seat. In addition to enhancing your professional portfolio, these positions increase your impact in the regional and national event industry communities. 

Wrapping Up 

Participating in the local chapters of IAEE and PCMA is not just about expanding your professional network—it’s about engaging with a community that can accelerate your career growth through education, hands-on experience, and shared leadership. The local perspective these chapters provide is invaluable in fostering a well-rounded understanding of the events industry, while the opportunities for involvement are endless. 

To the industry newcomer hesitant to dip their toes, to the seasoned event prof pondering their next move, and to all those in between, the local IAEE and PCMA chapters beckon: a community rich with potential, waiting to be unlocked. Take the advice of those who have found success with them and immerse yourself. You’ll find that the more you give, the more you’ll receive, in experiences, connections, knowledge, and an enhanced professional standing within the heart of the events world—your own local community.