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Our Exhibitors Changed, So We Changed

Samantha Vogel, CMP, earned her spot on the 2018 Changemaker list with creative innovations for her company’s Canadian Expo.

MeetingsNet’s annual Changemaker list recognizes 20 outstanding meetings professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways. Find all the profiles here.

Samantha Vogel, CMP
Senior Manager, Meetings and Travel

For reinvigorating GameStop’s Canadian Expo by delivering new ideas that drive ROI for vendors and great experiences for attendees

Making Change
With changing technology and the rise of digital in the gaming industry, our exhibitors are changing their long-term strategy and measuring ROI differently. Seeing this shift in exhibitors for our annual Canadian Expo, we realized we needed to breathe new life into our show. We developed three new ideas for helping vendors connect with attendees in a more meaningful way and reduce costs.  We launched a “Walkabout” for smaller vendors, giving them a “booth-in-a-box” exhibit space and an exclusive time set aside for attendees to visit that part of the show.  We completely changed our gamification, creating a “tournament” on the exhibit floor, with expanded show hours just for the event. And lastly, we added a Vendor Pub Crawl, allowing exhibitors to sponsor evening events at restaurants near the meeting venue. Our Millennial attendees loved moving between the multiple events at their leisure and the restaurants selected provide built-in ambiance, engagement, and networking. (For more on the changes Vogel made tot he show, click here.)

Next Up
Our U.S. Expo is next! Some of the changes we implemented at our much smaller Canadian Expo are almost impossible to scale, but since our U.S. exhibitors are also changing the way they measure ROI, we’ll expand our outside-the-box thinking and come up with new ideas to reinvent our U.S. event.

Managing Change 
Get your internal and external stakeholders on board in a way that excites and unites them.  Rely on your partners, like your general service contractor, to help you navigate the challenges you’ll face along the way. And be OK with the possibility that the change you implement might fail; failure helps refine the next move along the way. 

Best Business Advice
When you have the chance to be right or be kind, be kind.  I’m very type A, so sometimes I can be quite direct, and I pretty much always want to be right.  But it’s more important to build great working relationships. Often, when we try something new and it doesn’t pan out, we tell ourselves that we should have known better.  But change is risky and sometimes that requires failure.  So be kind to yourself instead of insisting you get it right the first time. 

Thinking Differently
I’ve always thought critically.  I know my strengths and my weakness and one thing I learned along the way is to look at things through the lens of my strengths and see what I can change or improve. The hard part has been learning how to present ideas to stakeholders in a way that excites them. My current boss, Judy Payne, is an expert in that! She taught me how to position visions to get others on board. 

Who’s Your Role Model?
My Dad.  He’s a partner at a top 10 international accounting firm, but he started his career at the bottom and took a lot of calculated risks, including starting his own company at 27. He instilled in my siblings and me not only a vigorous work ethic, but an inclination to take chances in business and in life.  He made sure we knew how important presentation and articulation skills are, and he demanded that we use our success to lift others up and give back.  He’s definitely my sounding board.




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