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IAEE Spotlight sobre la ganadora del Premio al Mérito del Capítulo IAEE 2022 Ronika Nash, CEM

Ronika “Nika” Nash es un testimonio de cómo involucrarse más a nivel local no sólo puede cambiar el curso de la carrera de uno, sino también su gratificación personal. Desde maestra hasta modelo a seguir en exposiciones y eventos, Nika es un rayo de sol lista para difundir positividad y productividad dondequiera que vaya.

Por Mary Tucker, gerente sénior de comunicaciones y contenido

Ronika Nash, CEM has been active in the Central Texas Chapter for over five years, where she quickly became a key member of its Board of Directors. She most recently served as Treasurer and was commended for the fantastic job she did at keeping the chapter on budget. She has also exemplified leadership when working with chapter members to navigate through COVID, in addition to filling the chapter’s young professional role and engaging with the chapter’s YP members.

Ronika’s contributions earned her the Premio al Mérito del Capítulo IAEE el año pasado, por lo que fue reconocida el pasado mes de diciembre durante ¡Exposición! ¡Exposición! Reunión y exposición anual de la IAEE in Louisville, KY (watch Ronika’s acceptance speech aquí).

Here, Ronika shares with IAEE how she takes full advantage of chapter activities to expand her network, the power of positivity and why young professionals benefit from getting more involved in IAEE on both the local and national levels.

How did you find your way to working in exhibitions and events, and what do you find most fulfilling about your career in this industry?

I often hear others talk about their “fall in” story, and that was certainly the case for me… I fell into this amazing career, and it has been life changing for me! Before beginning my career in this industry, I was a lead teacher for an association-based pre-school. My responsibilities included caring for small children, of course, but also planning and organizing school events and parent engagement activities. An opening became available in another department within my organization, and I was encouraged by colleagues to put my name in the hat. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that I got the job as a Convention Assistant, who would be processing exhibitor contracts.

It didn’t take long for me to be fully submersed in this incredible journey and take on much more, earning promotion after promotion, which led to my ultimately overseeing all exhibits, sponsorships, and convention operations in just a few short years. I was introduced to a wonderful lady, who goes by the name of Jan, who really helped me spread my wings! Jan quickly became a friend in the industry for me and encouraged me to get involved with the local chapter as a young professional. Before I knew it, I was on the Board for more than 6 years, in different committees and have participated in IAEE in multiple aspects.

The most fulfilling thing about my career is fostering connections to help drive business, professional and personal development. I thrive each day by making meaningful connections and contributing to helping others to feel a sense of belonging and personal success!

What benefits do you think are important for IAEE members to experience at the local level and what inspired you to serve in a leadership position within your chapter?

This one is easy! Getting involved with the local level chapters is equivalent to “finding your tribe.” You make unforgettable connections with other professionals who do what you do, who can offer another point of view, who can quite literally carry you when you are in need! I truly believe I would not be where I am professionally, but also personally, without my IAEE-CTC tribe. I have grown SO MUCH in the past several years. I have met some of the most kind-hearted, smart, giving, and all-around fun people by being a part of this industry and this association. Getting involved was a no-brainer. I wanted to be a part of the “why” and I wanted to be the support for someone else that so many others have been for me!

You have been commended by fellow chapter members for helping others navigate through the difficulties of COVID. How did you maintain your positive outlook and what advice can you offer on dealing with really difficult situations in a productive way?

A lot of my positivity really has to do with my personality. I am extremely optimistic, sometimes obnoxiously optimistic. I tend to operate life with a “everything’s fine” mentality and thankfully, it seems to be working well for me! My advice to anyone who is dealing with a difficult situation is to just get through it… that’s really all you can do! Try to see the positive side of things (there is always at least one – find it and hold on to it), keep the negative thoughts to yourself (or don’t… it’s okay to “shhh” yourself sometimes), push through the hard stuff and get it done! Also, always give grace to others! In a world where everyone is experiencing life differently and facing their own trials, kindness goes such a long way!

You were also applauded for representing and working with YPs in the chapter. What do you think is the most significant contribution YPs offer and, alternately, in what ways do you find YPs benefit the most from their chapter involvement?

The most significant contribution YPs offer is perspective. Many young professionals are well into their careers at this point and seem to have shaken up the traditions of many organizations. Our wants and needs are different than generations before ours, and that really opens the door for more conversations within organizations on processes, policies, work/life balance and so much more. Young professionals can offer fresh, new ideas and new skills.

YPs can benefit from being involved in IAEE local chapters by creating those relationships and enhancing their network. YPs can also learn constantly from others when we get involved… we grow professionally (and personally, for me). Before getting involved in the chapter, there was absolutely no way I would be comfortable enough to attend an event by myself and talk to people… no way! I have become a much more confident professional because of my involvement with the chapter. Now, it is my full-time job to get out there and talk to people… and guess what, I LOVE IT! It is so important to get out, attend the events, talk to the people and volunteer to get involved! The growth is immeasurable!

You have also taken the time to earn your CEM designation – congratulations! How has your CEM best served you, and what advice would you offer someone considering starting their CEM journey?

Thank you! Earning my CEM was a huge accomplishment for me. I learned so much through each course that I was able to immediately use in my day-to-day job duties. I tell anyone who is considering starting their CEM journey that I would highly recommend the program. The material is timely and relevant, and the people you will meet along the way make it all worth it! If you want to see your career take off, getting your CEM is a great start… spread your wings and fly!

¡La convocatoria de nominaciones para los premios IAEE de este año ya está abierta! Consulta aquí todas las categorías de premios ¡Y asegúrese de enviar sus nominaciones antes del 31 de agosto!

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