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IAEE Awards Spotlight on Mindy Abel: 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Mindy Abel, CMP, CTA, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Development of Visit Anaheim has been described as a positive and energetic leader, whose hard work is reflected in the palpable success of the events to which she contributes. In 2016, she advocated tirelessly on behalf of IAEE with significant contributions to the Women’s Leadership Forum Task Force as well as to the Expo! Expo! Host City Committee’s planning process for last year’s event in Anaheim.

Mindy’s outstanding dedication to her commitments garnered her multiple testimonials as an exemplary member of IAEE, earning her the IAEE Volunteer of the Year Award in 2016. Here, Mindy shares with IAEE her thoughts in volunteering and her perspective of the industry from the CVB point of view.

Awards presentation during the Networking Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 in Anaheim, CA. From left to right: Representing the IAEE Awards Committee, Randy Bauler, CEM; Mindy Abel, CMP, CTA; and IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA.

IAEE: You have attended the IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum each year, then took your participation a step further with serving on its task force. Why do you consider the WLF to be of such value, and what have you taken away from your involvement with it?

MINDY: The WLF has grown in attendance with each year, selling out last year. This shows the success of the format, content and opportunity to interact with one another. The day resonates with, and energizes, everyone in our own unique way. The demands of our working and personal lives blend and overlap in our industry, and the WLF brings together inspiring speakers that shed light on the direction and path we are on – I always leave with new ideas and focus. Each year you see friends and meet new ones. A very level playing field makes this conference something I always look forward to attending.

IAEE: What do you like most about serving on IAEE committees/task forces?

MINDY: The committees I have served on have included a combination of individuals with different industry perspectives and backgrounds, and with various years of experience. The groups drive content and direction, showing that those active with IAEE are creating member-driven content that makes experiences relevant. I have to add that without the IAEE team, none of the ideas would come to life with successful engagement and results.

IAEE: What do you find to be most challenging about volunteering, and how do you combat those challenges?

MINDY: The challenge lies in the responsibilities of your role – ever changing, expanding and growing.  What I have found is that through volunteering, new ideas and concepts are sparked that can translate to things I do in my job each day.  I’ve also found that being involved outside of my organization allows others to grow in their roles, filling in and exposing them to other responsibilities they may not interact with.

IAEE: As someone who views the industry from the CVB perspective, where do you see exhibitions and events headed in the next few years? Is there anything in particular you would like to see enter the scene or develop further?

MINDY: Collaboration is key. We can’t live in a supplier versus buyer world; working together to achieve goals and initiatives, understanding strategies, values and aligning to compliment growth will help to sustain and enrich events and experiences.

IAEE: You also served on last year’s Expo! Expo! Host City Committee, helping execute a very successful meeting in Anaheim. What accomplishment are you most proud of regarding last year’s meeting – whether it be your own, the committee’s or Visit Anaheim’s?

MINDY: The excitement felt within our community as we hosted IAEE as one team! We got to share what we are proud of in our destination. Many have been to Anaheim as a visitor or attended an event – it’s always good to come for the first time or back to share new experiences. (And the educational content was excellent!)

IAEE: What advice would you offer an IAEE member considering volunteering in his or her local chapter, or to an IAEE committee/task force?

MINDY: Take the time to challenge yourself and get involved. It doesn’t require a lot of time – you can manage it – and the support you receive on behalf of IAEE makes it a delight. The more you put into something the more you get out of it… not a new concept. Don’t fear it, get going!

IAEE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award! Click here to learn more about the IAEE Individual Awards and submit your nominations today!

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