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IAEE Awards Spotlight on Bruce Lemmon, CEM: 2017 Educator of the Year Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Bruce Lemmon, CEM, Owner of GEM Global Events Management LLC, earned his CEM designation in 1993 and began teaching CEM courses in 2005. He was one of the first instructors to teach in China when IAEE extended its CEM Learning Program to that region. In addition to teaching, he has served as the CEM Commission Chairperson and on the CEM Exam Writing Task Force. Outside of the CEM Learning Program, Bruce also helped edit the fourth edition of The Art of the Show textbook.

Bruce’s contributions as a CEM course instructor extend to China, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. At Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition each year, he is a regular instructor and participant in the CEM Faculty Training Program as well as the Annual CEM Faculty Dinner. Bruce’s teaching abilities and talents are recognized and appreciated throughout the industry, and he has built a reputation as an impeccably prepared instructor who genuinely cares about his students.

Bruce’s love of the industry and joy for teaching earned him the 2017 IAEE Educator of the Year Award. He was honored for his achievements during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2017 this past November in San Antonio, Texas. Here, Bruce shares with IAEE readers his approach to teaching and how he is inspired by his students.

PHOTO CAPTION: IAEE President & CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA (left) congratulates Bruce Lemmon, CEM (right) at the Annual Networking Luncheon & Awards Presentation during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition held 28-30 November 2017 in San Antonio, Texas.

IAEE: One of your nominators for this award was last year’s recipient, Al Lomas. In his nomination he noted that when he earned his CEM in 2007, you inspired him to teach and to serve on the CEM Commission with the hope of serving as Committee Chairperson as you had. How does it feel to know that you are inspiring others to walk in your footsteps?

Bruce: I so appreciate people like Al, who when they join an organization they sign on to serve. I’m not sure he needed much encouragement or inspiration, but if I helped play a role in fostering Al’s enthusiasm for the CEM program, it’s an honor to take some credit. Whenever I talk about CEM, I try to convey a sense of how critically important it’s been in continually taking my career to the next level.

IAEE: Your commitment to the program reflects that you see significant value in the CEM designation. What do you consider the most beneficial aspects of earning and maintaining your CEM?

Bruce: I came into exhibitions and events management a complete novice, so working toward my designation in the early ′90s was truly “the education of Bruce Lemmon.” I am convinced, especially as an international facilitator, that it is critical that we all “speak the same language;” the program teaches the lexicon of our industry, which is vital to successful communication with our fellow professionals regardless of where in the world they are based. Best practices may not change all that much, but they do evolve. In maintaining one’s CEM, even seasoned class participants benefit from the interaction, creative brainstorming, personal testimonials, and broad array of new ideas that would be impossible to get anywhere in the work-a-day world.

IAEE: In your experience as a CEM and as faculty, what tactics have you seen applied that seem to yield the best results in terms of getting the most out of the CEM Learning Program?

Bruce: Breaking into groups for class exercises. We learn completely differently as adults than we did when we were children. Engaging the class in giving thoughtful, creative feedback and presenting it to the room seems to me to profoundly enhance the experience of spending a day learning together.

IAEE: What is your favorite aspect about serving on the CEM Faculty?

Bruce: On a purely selfish level, I never cease to be amazed at the new ideas I get (and subsequently benefit from) from each class I teach. This is an industry brimming with smart people using all kinds of approaches to get the job done. As for the future of our business, I am so excited by seeing so many young planners, managers, marketers, and salespeople already making their mark. Their energy is infectious.

IAEE: What would you say is the biggest evolution in your approach to teaching from when you started versus how you teach today?

Bruce: Much less lecture and “teaching to the test” and much more small-group interaction throughout the day. I also appreciate IAEE’s insistence on expecting class members to have read the curriculum. Several years ago, IAEE presented a faculty training session based on the book Teaching from the Back of the Room by Sharon Bowman, and it completely changed my approach. Subsequent faculty training continues to underscore how different we learn as adults, and these tools help me refine and freshen my approach every time I teach.

IAEE: When you won this award, you commented that you are honored by the fact that it is named after Bob Dallmeyer and, like many in this industry, his legacy means a lot to you. What do you consider to be the greatest lesson that Bob taught you?

Bruce: Bob was like no one I had ever met, the best of industry mentors. He never let me forget the reasons why one needs to give back to a business that has given you so much. He had energy, humor, and above all, enthusiasm. To the extent that I may have encouraged others to get involved in leadership roles in the CEM program, I owe that to Bob’s legacy.

IAEE is now accepting nominations for the 2018 IAEE Awards! Get complete details, including award criteria and deadline information here!

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