Elizabeth Glau, CMP, 38, works in Portland, Oregon, as attendee experience manager at International Society for Technology in Education. As a 2017 40 Under 40 honoree, Glau discusses her passion for the events industry.
*Connect with Glau on Twitter and Instagram. What I do: My job is to look for ways to improve our annual conference experience for 20,000 attendees. I am also responsible for managing our conference mobile app, our tool to engage attendees with ISTE, the content of the program and each other. The volunteer program and everything related to helping attendees navigate the conference are also under my care. Working with internal stakeholders, I help them achieve their goals for the conference through session engagement, traffic to their physical space at the conference, and cohesion with ISTE and each other. How I got here: After eight years in hospitality and meeting planning, I launched Building Blocks Social Media. I project-managed social media, mobile apps and other interactive technologies for groups that were ahead of the curve. I spent a good portion of 2011 to 2014 learning about attendee experiences and event designs that are more engaging for participants. Through speaking at events and on webinars and podcasts, I was gratified to be able to share my knowledge with the meetings industry by joining ISTE. My greatest career accomplishment: I authored most of the marketing chapter of the Convention Industry Council Certified Meeting Professional Manual, ninth edition. I still remember aspiring to earn my CMP, and now others who have the same aspirations study this manual when they are preparing to take their exam. Impressive moves: In 2016, I created a GoPro/Animoto video about how to take the train from the airport; produced and starred in a professionally shot/edited conference tour video; added a scent machine and a Mash Machine (hands-on music creator) to stimulate the five senses when attendees walked into the convention center; implemented an online feedback form so attendees could reach us during the event; and led the development of a digital tote bag connected to our website and mobile app where attendees could store handouts from presenters and exhibitors. A specific improvement I’ve made: We have Volunteer Champions who receive extra training (preconference and on-site), work eight hours and get a registration refund. The intention is that our “Ask Me” station volunteers are more knowledgeable than regular volunteers who may only get five minutes of training. Working with our internal stakeholders, I’ve expanded the Champion program to assist other areas of the conference: answering questions via social media, working in our bookstore and membership kiosk, and helping our program team. During the application process, I select volunteers who are comfortable with multiple devices so they can help attendees navigate the conference using the mobile app. In 2016, we downsized the printed program to a pocket guide so our attendees are reliant on either our mobile optimized website or mobile app on-site. What I’m working on: I’m helping each of our internal departments evaluate its goals for the conference and connecting it to attendee objectives. We’re creating a more cohesive and compelling value proposition for why attendees would want to participate in our community outside of the conference. What I do outside of work: I recently moved to Portland and am still exploring the city. My husband and I particularly enjoy finding awesome brunch, which seems to be Portland’s specialty.