Organizers of the 2014 IAEE Expo! Expo! event in Los Angeles had plenty to be happy about, ranging from the large number of attendees to the high quality of the presentations.

The event, held annually by the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, took place Dec. 9–11 at the Los Angeles Convention Center this year. It attracted 2,104 attendees, a 23 percent increase from 2013, and saw a 30 percent increase in event organizers.

Robert Safian, editor and managing director of Fast Company, delivered the first keynote address, and focused on the importance of embracing the rapid changes in the workplace. The other keynote speaker was Seth Mattison, founder and chief movement officer for FutureSight Labs. Mattison gave a highly engaging talk about ways to build better relationships in physical and virtual space. He contrasted the traditional, hierarchical work structure with the interconnected, constantly changing network preferred by younger generations.

Many of the educational sessions also were very memorable, including the following:

  • Attorney Barbara Dunn delivered an interesting presentation about the increasing number of legal questions that are popping up as the Internet continues to evolve–and the ways to address them or seek help.
  • Two professors from Johnson and Wales University–Brenda Eckler and Drew Fraser—spoke about facilitating future event and exhibition leaders. They talked about, among other things, the important role that mentors can play, and differences between generation groups that sometimes make mentoring a challenge–but also a potentially fruitful learning experience for both mentor and mentee.
  • In his presentation, “Leveraging Digital Technology to Pitch to Targeted, New and Younger Professionals,” Rajiv Jain, the CEO of a2z, Inc., provided valuable tips and techniques to engage socially minded, tech-savvy younger audiences. He also discussed ways to combine face-to-face events with digital technology.
  • Eric Rozenberg (CMM, CMP, HOEM, FONSAT), the president of Swantegy, gave a very informative and entertaining talk, "Planning Globally–How to Deal With Cultural Differences in the Workplace." He offered humorous examples of people not understanding cultural differences, while emphasizing the importance of avoiding cultural faux pas.

A lot was happening outside the convention center, too. The opening reception featured plenty of food, music and conversation at an outdoor area of LA Live, which is a fairly recent addition to the downtown area. And a late-night event, “Humanity Rocks: A Celebration With a Cause,” at the Conga Room, entertained Expo participants as they contributed to a good cause: Proceeds were given to A Place Called Home, which helps at-risk youth in south Los Angeles.