I have been attending GRAPHEXPO since my junior year in highschool; which was 2006 – now you know my age! That’s okay – I’m a smart cookie that reached out to the GASC /NPES team a few years with the opportunity to use social media on the showroom floor to increase interaction between attendees & exhibitors. Few years later, I am still the rising star behind the Twitter & Facebook account to bring the latest information on what is happening with GRAPHEXPO.


My Arrival

I linked up an early train to ride into Chicago from Detroit. I wanted the opportunity to sit, relax and work on connecting finals dots during this times. I’m arriving a day early to meet with my team from the expo. I am most excited how dressed the McCormick will be in #GRAPHEXPO print advertisements – some of the banners are billboard size! I love print! Snap some pix, tweet a bit and make moves.

A few tips to make the most optimal experience when attending #GRAPHEXPO –

If this is your first time attending the show, it could become overwhelming on day 1. Your eyes will grow wide with excitement over the technology on the showfloor. You will learn a lot about different printing styles and make a lot of connections. Have your business cards handy! Check out the seminars that are offered, grab a bite to eat with a new friend that you met working an exhibit and make the most of your time. Sometimes there may be good give aways — posters, jumpdrives – it’s nice to have those options available.

The key is networking. Many of these exhibitors are multi-million dollar companies with the most advanced technology. Eat it up, learn about it – ask for a demonstration. It doesnt hurt to put yourself out there – just make the most of it while you can. Besides, you won’t see them in person unti next year 😉

Trade business cards with eachother so you can add on LinkedIn and send a follow up email on how you met etc. Make it personable. Personally, when I met a new connection during the show – I will take a photo, tag the person / business, hashtag reference #graphexpo in real time. If they don’t remember you from the face to face – they will certainly remember the tweet 😉

Hello Chicago!

Enjoy the city. Chicago is full of opportunity & adventure – if you have some time to take a quick tour to an art gallery or skyscaper, I highly suggest. The Navy Pier, Willis Tower, Aquarium are just to name a few. I will be guest blogging for different entertainment venues. I reached out to a few of my favorites to request a disclosure to write about the cocktail lounge, after hours nightclub or skyscraper venue.

I will be going to Howl, Aqua, The Violet Room, Ribbons and a few other adventurous places in the city. I am even going to a WHITE SOX game … shhhh don’t tell my Detroit Tigers (although they are having a rough season, thanks Brad Ausmus).

Take an uber! It is MUCH cheaper than taxi. Save money, spend it on drinks or souvenoirs. You wont regret it– Uber is not hurting the taxi business, the taxi business is hurting my pockets. I want to travel with freedom and not have to pinch my pennies.

New interactive ideas that I will be bringing to GraphExpo

As a social media marketer in a trending space – it is crucial to stay ahead of the game. I reach out to many individuals and companies in advance to say hello! TIP: Make the connection online, ahead of time – so they put two and two together when you meet in person.

Live StreamingI will be live streaming my experience during GRAPHEXPO. This means everything from traveling to the city > to attending the show > and the after evening parties.. it means all of it.

For live streaming, I plan on using Periscope & Blab.im – I enjoy the video feed that I can later save and wrap up in a blog post.

Blogging I’ll include daily blog post on my experience during the conference. Young professionals will get the first look on how what to expect & how to make an impression. I take a lot of photos / videos and all that good jazz to make you feel like you are there when you are reading my blogs.

Education You may not realize or maybe you do – but the next generation in the print industry will replace our jobs. Today’s young minds are tech savvy with website, social media and marketing. These skills are natural to them which could become a revivalry. DOn’t make it one. Mentor these students / young professionals – Train them, talk to them, educate them. They could work for you one day.

I think education is one of the most important periods of your life. Going to school is a huge commitment. Attending university in an every changing industry can be the biggest challenge.

When I first started at Ferris State University in 2009, I was in the printing program running pre presses, utilizing pagination software and color management. During 2013, the program transitioned into a more marketing type program which removed that print interaction. I’m blessed & cursed to have the best of both worlds – but I rely on GraphExpo to show me what is coming up next.

I’m more than excited for this year’s show – to see the advancements in technology, fight with traffic during the Packers/Bears game tomorrow 😉 and run around a bit during my downtown. Everyone knows I am a city woman!