Karen Miller, CEM
What is your role at NSBA?
Miller: I like to think “Expo Queen” but that title hasn’t caught on yet, so for now, I will say I’m responsible for the sales, marketing, operations, logistics and fulfillment of NSBA’s annual conference’s exposition and year-round sponsorship opportunities.
What industry organizations do you belong to?
Miller: IAEE and PCMA.
Something fun about you that most people in the industry probably don’t know?
Miller: This is probably the hardest question as I’m pretty much an open book, so I had to take an informal survey of people who know me best.
Here are a few:
- I’m deathly afraid of clowns—I once knocked all the silverware and dishes off a table at a restaurant trying to get away from one during “kid’s night” at a local restaurant (and this was before I had kids!)
- About 2 years ago a friend at work “recruited” me to do my first 5k with a bunch of other NSBA’ers. I wound up being one of the only ones to not only train for it but I’ve continued to run and now actually enjoy it. Of course, I didn’t realize the 5k was a zombie one and there were zombies chasing me…that was incentive!
- I prefer to be in high heels and friends say I can do almost anything in them—I need to do that high heel run obviously to prove that theory!
Cats or dogs?
Miller: Both, but more on the cat side (lower maintenance).
How can people reach you?
Miller: Social media!
Pinterest: @k-mill (thank Greg McCormick for that handle!)
What are some of the cool things you are doing at your Show?
Miller: Every year, we do something (more than just one actually) new. This year we are going to have the Les Paul Big Sound Exhibit as a feature on the floor. It would have been Les Paul’s 100th bd so the Les Paul Foundation is bringing a full size tractor trailer to various festivals and shows around the country. It showcases how Les Paul used creativity and technology in his inventions and the importance of those elements in schools and curriculum. It’s interactive and I think will be a very different and fun draw to the show floor. We are one of the only education shows to have this exhibit so it’s quite an honor.
How do you use technology to help you through your show cycle?
Miller: Obviously, a2z is invaluable from the start to finish. We use many features including designing the floor, the online booth space application (we actually went paperless this year for our 2016 onsite booth selection process and exhibitors loved it!), financials, priority points/history, program book info, etc. It makes for a lot less manual work on our ends and we use that time to give even more customized and personal service to our exhibitors. We also work with other vendors for our mobile app for all of our larger events (including those without an expo component) and to manage conference logistics and speaker/proposal management as well as pulling info for the program book. My colleagues and I really like learning about and trying new ways to streamline our processes and create a better experience for our attendees and exhibitors.
What is the coolest thing you have seen at any show?
Miller: I had the opportunity to attend TCT where there were 3d printers creating hearts. I’m blown away by the whole 3D printing technology. In general, I like going to shows outside of my industry to get inspired and figure out new aspects I can bring to our event.