By Maria Jasminez

WinDoor really is the industry event. This is the time and place to network, to hunt down that coveted prospect and put a face to an endless trail of emails and unreturned phone calls. In this technology age, we are all guilty of connecting at our convenience. At WinDoor, you can break down those barriers and make that important connection the old-fashioned way — with a handshake and a smile and face-to-face conversation.

I remember my first crude introduction to WinDoor all too well. It was the November 2010 show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Even though I had been in the industry for 13 years prior to this particular show, my roles never included trade-show participation.

My first day on the job with that particular door company was on Monday, November 1, 2010, and my first task was our exhibit in the No. 1 door and window trade show in North America, which happened to be in 15 days. WinDoor was scheduled for November 16-18 that year.

There I was, desperately trying to keep it positive and energetic. I remember thinking …”Great! Let’s do this!” Two minutes later, I was staring at a dusty, broken crate that was 2 feet wide and 15 feet long. I can remember the heart palpitations, the sweaty palms, the visions of failure on a grand pedestal in front of all my peers, and I thought, “this is do or die, and dying is not an option.”

Fast-forward to the morning of November 15th. It’s move-in and set-up day, and everything is going wrong. I vividly remember grabbing a cab and racing down to the only Home Depot within a 5-kilometer radius to frantically pick up emergency repair items. Double-sided tape became a staple in my bag. At the end of the show, we pulled it off without too many catastrophes, and as I was reflecting and nursing my swollen feet, I vowed “never again.” By January, I was in full planning mode for the 2011 show.

Looking back, it was like most life lessons — you live and learn, and learn we did. Three years of experience, charity poker events, live bands and continuous improvements later, the 2013 WinDoor show was a resounding success as we won the coveted James Parker Best Booth Award.

This year marks my 20th year in the industry. I’ve since moved on to another supplier, and I actively participate as an exhibitor. Over the years, I have found that the key to a great exhibit is to engage your audience and always bring new innovation to the table. Change can be good.

It’s always great to see the old friendly familiar faces and even the new energetic participants. Witnessing the dynamics of this industry and to see first-hand the evolution of the show itself and the exhibits is… well, you don’t have to hear it from me! You have to see it to believe it. Come visit us, November 28-30!

Maria Jasminez is director of customer relations with AquaSurTech OEM.

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