1. What is your current role at your organization? Vice President – Shows.
2. How long have you been with your current employer? 4 years
3. What did you do before this job? I was Marketing & Operations Manager at Master Promotions for 12 years and an Account Executive with Stronco for 4 years. Prior to “falling into” the show business I was a high school teacher in Saint John, NB. I was unable to secure a full time contract teaching so I began looking at other options. I answered an ad in the local paper for a part time Marketing Manager at Master Promotions and the rest as they say is history!
4. We are excited to acknowledge that you are the incoming President of CAEM. What goals do you have planned for your new role leading the Association forward? My number one priority for CAEM is to regain financial sustainability. What has become abundantly clear in the last year is that the status quo is not going to achieve that goal. To that end, we, as a Board will be examining where we are as an Association, where we need to be as an Association and how we get there. We are embracing our financial situation as a fantastic opportunity to really focus on making impactful change that will ensure CAEM has a very strong future.
5. When and how did you first get involved in CAEM as a member? I became a member of CAEM in 2001. I attended the 2000 Annual Conference held in Whistler as a non-member and was so impressed by the education I received and the myriad of people I met. I remember I went to the Registration Desk on the last day to talk to our Executive Director at the time, Carol Ann Burrell about how I could get more involved.
6. What was your first volunteer role within CAEM? My first volunteer role was on the 2001 Conference Education Sub Committee. Then in 2002 I was a Co Chair of the Annual Conference that took place in Charlottetown.
7. Do you have any thoughts that you would like to share with members? Please tell us what CAEM means to you. Wow, what CAEM means to me…where to start? I used an analogy several years ago when asked this same question for a Communique profile and I will use it again because it still rings true. In my life as a teacher, the staff lounge at Saint John High School was essential to my growth not only as a teacher but as a person. It was a safe and welcoming place where I sought advice (not all of it good), vented my frustrations and listened intently while others vented theirs. From the first day I started teaching I was welcomed and my fellow teachers genuinely wanted to help me succeed. When I left the profession and leaped to the trade show business I really missed that staff lounge with its comradery and support. I found the equivalent of that SJHS staff lounge when I joined CAEM and became more involved. The generosity of our members with their time, talent and expertise is astounding. CAEM is a very special community and I am very proud and grateful to be a part of it.
8. Share a Best show moment with us? Beyond a shadow of a doubt, opening the doors of the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show this past March to a fantastic line up of visitors on Opening Day…and every day that followed!
9. Share a worst show moment with us? I don’t like to think in terms of “worst”, instead let me share with you my most challenging show moment which was really a series of things that happened during one show. That show was the 2013 Toronto Sportsmen’s Show. On the Friday of the show we had one of the largest snowfalls in recent history which as I am sure you can appreciate had a huge impact on attendance. On Saturday evening there was an incident at the nightclub on the grounds which meant one of the entrances to Exhibition Place was blocked off and one of the parking lots was closed for the follow up investigation on Sunday. At this point I was thinking, what else can happen? Bad question. At 1:30pm in the afternoon the fire alarm sounded and quickly went to second stage which meant the show needed to be evacuated. Fortunately the issue was not serious but the show was closed for 30 minutes. As challenging and unexpected as this situation was it has had the positive impact of our organization and others closely examining and updating their emergency response procedures.
10. Biggest influence in your career? And why? My father, Jim Allaby is the biggest influence in my career. He has led by example for me my entire life. My father was a life-long civil servant with the CRA, retiring in 2003 as a high ranking director. He did not fit the mold of the “typical” civil servant, he was in the office every day shortly after 7am and did not leave until well after 5pm any given evening and it was not unusual for him to spend a few hours in the office on the weekend. He instilled in me the importance of a strong work ethic and that if you committed to do something you saw it through, no ifs, ands, or buts. My father also instilled the importance of volunteerism and “giving back”. Only a handful of people know he was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 for his contribution to his community through his volunteer work in minor sports – in particular hockey. My father is still heavily involved as a volunteer in Hockey New Brunswick even though he has not had a child in minor hockey for nearly 30 years. My father taught me to work hard, to always be honest and fair, to protect and foster your integrity, and that a dry wit is a valuable asset. He continues to lead by example in his volunteerism always preferring to be “behind the scenes” and never seeks recognition or the limelight. His sage guidance, his leading by example and his wicked dry wit have been essential to my success.