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IAEE Spotlight on 2022 IAEE Bob Dallmeyer Educator of the Year Award Winner Dr. Kristin Malek, CMP, CED, DES, CHE

Kristin Malek fuels her passion for teaching others about exhibitions and events through her own boundless curiosity and love of learning. Read on to see how last year’s IAEE Bob Dallmeyer Educator of the Year stays on top of the industry’s latest developments.

By Mary Tucker, Sr. Communications & Content Manager

Dr. Kristin Malek, CMP, CED, DES, CHE has impressed her fellow IAEE members with her energy and drive for innovation, serving as a role model for both her students and colleagues. In addition to teaching full time at the university level, she has also taught an education session for IAEE focused on event design and strategy.

Kristin’s extensive involvement and excellence within teaching and training encompasses nine peer-reviewed innovative presentations she has shared regionally, nationally, and internationally; 14 invited conference-related presentations specific to teaching excellence; eight invited workshops, training sessions and presentations specific to classroom design and innovation; and two professional articles published related to teaching. She is a sought-after educator as reflected by her 69 invited presentations, workshops and trainings over the last five years. Within her university she has co-chaired both the learning innovation and remote learning committees.

In addition, Kristin has chaired the IAEE Faculty Advisory Committee, bringing excellent ideas that have shaped IAEE programming and helped members at large. She is a valued member of the IAEE family and advocates for quality education to advance our industry. Kristin’s accomplishments include various awards including the Excellence in Extension award and a statewide Impact award for excellence in her community-facing workshops, trainings and classes. Moreover, she has received dozens of glowing reviews from students about her classes.

Kristin’s passion for providing quality education earned her the IAEE Bob Dallmeyer Educator of the Year Award last year, for which she was recognized this past December during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Louisville, KY (watch Kristin’s acceptance speech here).

2022 IAEE Awards Chairperson Daniel McKinnon, CEM (left) and IAEE President & CEO David DuBois, CMP-F, CAE, FASAE, CTA (right) present the IAEE Bob Dallmeyer Educator of the Year Award to Dr. Kristin Malek, CMP, CED, DES, CHE (middle) during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2022 in Louisville, KY.

Here, Kristin shares with IAEE how beneficial it is to learn about the many sides to exhibitions and events, and how her approach to education has evolved into a broader endeavor with longer lasting results.

What drew you to the exhibitions and events industry, and what has driven you to focus on advancing your efforts within this industry?

Growing up, I could never decide what I wanted to do because I wanted to do everything! Now, I know the term for that is multi-potentialite/polymath. I was drawn to events because events are truly everything – design, contracts, legal, food and beverage, marketing, logistics, etc. Since the industry truly is new and different every single day and my superpower is curiosity, I am never bored which has driven me to continually advance!

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

I would say the largest difference has been the mindset shift from “college educated” to “lifelong learning.” While college may set a person up to enter the workforce with a framework and strategy on how to think, the importance on lifelong learning has become the real focus. I no longer try to “squeeze in” every last detail in my limited timeframe or have a mindset that I am giving students everything they need to know for the future. I set up scaffolded approaches, focus on how to ask better questions related to the topic at hand, and to provide a list of resources for where learners can find additional information around the topic.

You have been praised for your innovative approach to presenting valuable information. How do you find inspiration for your upcoming research and teachings, and how do you keep your process fresh?

My real gift is in learning a lot about a lot, and recognizing the overlaps and impacts of different industries on each other. While some may go to events conferences to learn all of their curated information, I go to a wide variety of industry conferences all over the world to include content and marketing, experience design, psychology, neuroscience, leadership, and education. Learning about the innovation in all of these fields and recognizing their impacts on the events industry helps me to lead the way in event education.

Your nomination included several testimonials from your students commending you for your mentorship. Why do you believe mentoring others is so important and what do you enjoy most about it?

I believe strongly in mentoring. I have several mentors in different areas of the industry and education that I can turn to who will give me direct and honest feedback that is not always easy to hear. I know they have a vested interest in my future and can see my progress as an external observer. I value their interesting viewpoints that I may not have considered. Many of my students over the last 10 years have become trusted mentees and even one that has become a coach of mine in several aspects. The thing that I enjoy the most is the opportunity to build true deep and meaningful connections that are beyond the surface level.

As someone who stays on the pulse of the industry, where do you see it headed?

This is such a great question! I see a lot of impacts to the events industry to include the increased knowledge of neuroscience and how our brains perceive and interpret information, the focus on a life-centered economy, and of course, the continued push for events that have measurable transformation. I see more organizations and associations diversifying their event strategy and offerings to have their typical “wow” event that brings in entry and mid-level expertise professionals; then many are adding exclusive events for specific customer personas and with more advanced content. The regionalization of events will continue and organizations will emphasize a much broader event strategy including online, in-person, and hybrid touchpoints.

The Call for Nominations for this year’s IAEE Awards is now open! Check out all of the award categories here and be sure to submit your nominations by 31 August!

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