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IAEE Spotlight on 2023 Young Professional of the Year Award Winner Lauren Miller, CMP, CEM

Lauren Miller
Lauren Miller consistently shows that she is in it to win it by stepping up to the plate in her job role, contributing to her local chapter’s success and frequently lending a hand to fellow YPs in their own pursuits. In this interview, learn how the Young Professional of the Year Award winner applies her passion for the industry to leading by example.

By Mary Tucker | Sr. Communications & Content Manager | IAEE

animated graphic of 2023 IAEE Young Professional of the Year Award Winner Lauren Miller

Lauren Miller, CMP, CEM has impressed colleagues with her outstanding dedication, commitment, and contribution to the events and exhibitions industry. Lauren consistently demonstrates a strong passion for promoting and attracting young individuals to the industry using collaboration as her hallmark approach. As an active member of the Midwestern Chapter, she serves as a co-chair for the Programming Committee, where she contributes innovative ideas and strategies for upcoming networking events. Her creativity resonates with young professionals, ensuring their continued interest and active participation.

Lauren also goes above and beyond by encouraging colleagues to pursue the Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) designation. This mentoring and educational role speaks volumes about her commitment to the growth of young professionals, providing guidance on the CEM process and even coordinating joint attendance at CEM Week.

Lauren’s exceptional talent and dedication earned her the IAEE Young Professional of the Year Award last year, for which she was recognized this past December during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Dallas, Texas (watch Lauren’s acceptance speech here).

Here, Lauren shares with IAEE her approach to advancing her skills as an exhibitions and events professional and what resonates with today’s young professionals.

fun facts about Lauren Miller

Your peers commend your enthusiasm for the industry as demonstrated by the energy and creativity you bring to the table. What led you to working in exhibitions and events, and what do you enjoy most about this field?

Lauren: I earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications with a minor in business from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After college, I worked for a stand-alone association in my hometown of Barrington, IL. The experience I gained in that role helped to solidify my passion for events and served as a stepping stone to my current position as Event Manager at Smithbucklin. I work on both the trade show and convention sides of events for five association clients, and we are always at a different point in the planning cycle for each show. I really enjoy working with multiple teams on a variety of events, and I appreciate that every day is different.

In your experience, what are the factors that matter most to YPs entering this industry and what do you think executive leaders interested in attracting motivated YPs to their organization should take into account?

Lauren: I have found young professionals to be motivated by roles with sufficient training, career development opportunities and welcoming teams. Young professionals also prioritize work-life balance and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) more than ever. Although many companies are hybrid or fully remote, that has not changed the prioritization of an inclusive company culture.

You are a big proponent of continuing education, having earned your CMP and CEM designations while encouraging others to do the same. How have these helped you in your professional growth and what advice do you have for someone considering earning their CEM designation?

Lauren: My biggest piece of advice is to make the commitment to furthering your education and keep going. Look into the certifications or courses that apply to your role, find a time that works best for your schedule, and sign up. If you have a friend in the industry or colleague who is also going through the process at the same time, sign up for classes or schedule time to study together. I also recommend asking your employer about their scholarship program or continuing education policy. I’ve met so many wonderful people and made valuable connections throughout the CEM process, especially at CEM Week in Chicago and at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Dallas.

Where do you see your career going in the near future, and what achievements are in your line of sight for 2024?

Lauren: As an Event Manager, I look forward to continuing to build upon my trade show and convention knowledge to further my expertise, all while mentoring and supporting my team members. I continue to serve as co-chair of the Programming Committee for the IAEE Midwestern Chapter, and we are planning impactful events this year. I look forward to what’s to come in 2024!

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 30 August!

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