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Expo! Expo! Speaker Spotlight on Courtney Lohmann, CMP

Courtney Lohmann discusses the takeaways attendees will gain at the session she will be presenting during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2023 on 5-7 December in Dallas, Texas.

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Senior Communications and Content Manager

Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2023 features a three-day educational journey covering seven diverse content tracks, including this innovative session led by Courtney Lohmann, CMP titled Sustainability Today: A Holistic Approach to Maximize Impact. In today’s world, we hear daily about the implications of climate change, impacts on biodiversity, loss of the natural environment and social issues facing many. And through it all, we are told we must change events in order for our industry to thrive and survive.

Courtney will take all the noise and break it down into digestible parts for immediate understanding and implementation. She will give attendees the tools they need to rethink their planning process and implement sustainability with ease. Participants will walk away with a new approach and new way to track their impact for measurable and reportable results.

Here, Courtney shares a preview of how participants will benefit from the information presented at Sustainability Today: A Holistic Approach to Maximize Impact.

In this session, you will define the specific areas of sustainability that pertain to exhibitions and events, and how to apply solutions to participants’ process. What have you found to be the biggest hurdle industry professionals face when starting this process?

Courtney: The biggest hurdle seems to be the mass of it all. Meaning, when considering the footprint of an exhibition, there are many areas of sustainability to tackle. When planners try to tackle it all at once, they fail. And, they run up against increased costs by approaching it this way. By strategically assessing the event or show, you can align with the appropriate sustainability areas to implement and do it in a systematic way that allows for appropriate budgeting and good ROI (return on investment).

You will also teach participants how to implement solutions that provide the most impact on measurable goals. Why is it so important to track the performance of these initiatives?

Courtney: Tracking metrics is the only way we can see where we are succeeding and where we are failing. A solid sustainability program is one that is building on itself each year. We have to see how we are making strides, which stakeholders are participating and why, and then how to increase on those strides for ultimate success. Often times, we start a sustainability initiative without knowing what our baseline is. And then when we don’t track, we never know if it’s working. By tracking and reporting, you are holding yourself and your stakeholders accountable and continue to create positive change for positive ROI.

In addition, you will help attendees activate a new planning approach that makes sustainability feel holistic instead of something separate on their to-do list. What can attendees look forward to as they move toward this goal?

Courtney: Yes! This is the most crucial step. My approach is one that forces the planner/organizer to step back, assess, align and then design in the right sustainability efforts for their event. By using my method, you will implement an integrated vision and mission for sustainability. One that allows you to implement change with ease and start to see results quicker. It also allows you to track goals and metrics with more ease.  And ultimately, it helps you plan spend. We all know budgets are a constant issue. Sustainability isn’t always more expensive. This method will help you see where you need to spend and where you can save. 

What fuels your passion for this subject, and why is this information so relevant in today’s business environment?

Courtney: I have an adventurous spirit and it’s taken me all over the globe into many cultures and countries and environments. It’s influenced how I see the world and why I want to see the world thrive. Early in my career, I was saddened by the waste our industry produced. This was far before any conversations around waste reduction had started. I would often stand next to the dumpster and wonder how we could change what we were doing. Not limit the experience of the event, but change some of our dirty outcomes. As my career evolved, my passion to blend my love of the outdoors and cultures finally collided with what we see today as sustainable planning. I was so happy to find the movement of sustainable planners in 2014 and couldn’t believe I had not joined them sooner. From that moment forward, I never approached this business the same. I was inspired and motivated to never stop finding solutions for us all to remove the dirty side of events. We’ve come a long way!  And we still have so many opportunities for improvement. I enjoy sharing what I have learned to help all of the planners in our industry who strive forward with the same passion I have. 

Expo! Expo! is THE PLACE TO BE to learn about the latest industry trends and technology, as well as network with professional peers. Find more information here including how to take advantage of special promos for IAEE members.

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