In Celebration of International Women’s Day, we are profiling inspiring women in the meetings industry. This article, on Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, is the second in a five-part series:
Having graduated from Oxford University, UK, in politics, philosophy, and economics in 1998, Carina Bauer began her career in retail and catering, in the newly established GoodBean Coffee, a family-owned chain of coffee shops located throughout the South of England. As managing director, she was in charge of the running of the business, which grew to 13 stores in three years and was sold to a publicly listed company in December 2001.
An avid skier, Bauer enjoyed a short break working in a ski resort in Italy, before entering the meetings industry in 2002 as the marketing and operations director for IMEX in Frankfurt as part of the original launch team for the exhibition.
Following the expansion of the IMEX brand into America in 2009, Carina Bauer was appointed CEO of the IMEX Group. In this role, Carina is responsible for all aspects of the business.
Bauer lives on the south coast of the UK, near to the IMEX Group office in Brighton, called “London-by-the-Sea” for its cosmopolitan nature and youth culture. She enjoys spending time with her family (she’s a mother to two boys), and is a keen climber and skier, hitting the slopes with friends and family when she can.
Meet Carina Bauer
Andrea Doyle (AD): You are an exception to this, but do you feel the glass ceiling, the invisible barrier that blocks women from top jobs in this industry, still exists?
Carina Bauer (CB): I don’t think that there is a deliberate barrier stopping women from getting the top jobs, but like many industries, we suffer from a traditional lack of diversity in leadership positions (in a broad sense) and so a lack of role models. I do believe that the business events industry is incredibly open and welcoming to all, so the key will be ensuring that the opportunities are readily available for women, that unconscious bias is avoided and that initiatives like AWE, or mentoring initiatives are made readily available to women who aspire to the top jobs.
(AD): Is there anyone who mentored you early in your career, or helped you become the type of leader you are today?
(CB): My father, Ray Bloom.
(AD): What is your proudest accomplishment?
(CB): The launch of both IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America.
(AD) What are the challenges that keep you up at night?
(Carina Bauer): Anything that is out of our control. As long as we can find a solution to a challenge, then I don’t worry as I know we will always do our very best to solve it.
(AD): What attributes and/or qualities have you developed that have helped you become successful?
(CB): Learning to have perspective and put issues into context; learning from mistakes and learning to listen more and ‘take a pause’ before reacting.
(AD): How do you define success?
(CB): Delivering an outstanding experience and ROI for our clients, as well as building a happy and purposeful working environment for our team.
(AD): What is the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
(CB): That I don’t need to be in charge all the time – sometimes I’m really happy to take a back seat!
(AD): How did you get started in this industry?
(CB): Really, I grew up in this industry – attending tradeshows and business events during my holidays. Formally though, I started because there was a need for some extra help in the launch phase of IMEX in Frankfurt, and I just never left.
(AD): Is this what you envisioned yourself doing?
(CB): No – I thought I’d either be a ski-bum or working for the UN.
(AD): What does the future hold?