Employee Spotlight: Lauren Bauer, Director of Sales, Western Region

Based in Shepard’s Las Vegas branch since 2010, Lauren Bauer is Shepard’s Director of Sales for the Western Region.  

How she got her start:  

Lauren’s passion for the events industry was instilled in her from childhood having grown up shadowing her late Aunt, who was the former Director of Planned Giving, Protocol and Special Events at Loyola University Chicago. 

“I grew up visiting Chicago and Loyola as a kid helping with special events, graduations and galas,” says Bauer, who would commute to the city from Jackson, Michigan, spending her summers assisting her aunt with various events for the University. Naturally, she attended Loyola, and that is when her experience turned her collegiate career into a full-time working opportunity. During college, her cousin, Deborah Ross, CEO, (formerly Director of Meetings) at the National Commission on Correctional Health Care offered her a part-time internship that led to much more. “Deb knew my experience first-hand and in college gave me the opportunity to dip into the association world to gain exposure as a prospective career. That’s when I learned of their exhibition potential and took over selling the expo, sponsorship, and advertising. I was terrible at the clerical work but would call up any PhRMA company and convince them of the value of our meetings. I essentially built my own role there and went to work full-time building relationships with vendors and industry suppliers who I now call friends some 20 years later,” she explains. “I was writing college papers and doing my schoolwork from the road and on-site visits!”  

She spent a decade working at the association, and after being selected for IAEE  (International Association of Exhibitions and Events) the Krakoff Leadership Institute (KLI) she found herself itching to move to Las Vegas and immerse herself in its bustling event and trade show industry. Soon after arriving, she met executives from Shepard — and the rest is history. 

Why she loves working at Shepard: 

Lauren is drawn to the passion and family culture instilled by Shepard executive chairman Carl Mitchell, which she notes is evident in the company’s ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) structure, giving employees the opportunity to be shared owners.  

“We have a unique mix of resources and culture along with the integrity that Carl sets as an example for us all to follow, and we all really care about our internal and external customers,” she explains. “It’s such a unique experience. When you come here, you stay here for a long time – and our clients do the same. I love Shepard because we’re the right fit and the right size for the right group of people, we have all the resources to plan any size event, but we take the time to get to know you and help you exceed your goals.” 

Lauren also appreciates the “anything is possible” attitude at Shepard. “We don’t put the elements of creating a trade show in a box. We’re solution architects. If you come to us and need pipe, drape, and labor. Sure, we have that. But really, we’re looking at the ‘why’ behind your need,” she explains. “We’re dedicated to the process and always asking, ’How can we make this experience different? How do we take their needs and get creative?’” 

Why she loves events: 

“l love that we can take an empty space and recreate or enhance the environment to be something different, engaging, and sponsorable, while affording people the opportunity to connect in a meaningful way,” Lauren says. “Creating the environment is so important and then it’s about seeing the business opportunities that come through it and the relationships that are formed from designing meaningful participant journeys.” 

Lauren also appreciates the messier moments that come with working at events. “We’re all adrenaline junkies! We work in this industry for a reason. We like to fix things and put the wheels back on the bus.”  

Favorite career moment: 

Lauren gets a bit emotional recalling the work Shepard has with longtime Shepard clients at the Oncology Nursing Society. “The ONS nurses come to this meeting to get motivated, to get inspired, and to refocus, because they’re working in a really hard environment every day, and we were able to help the society rethink their show every year to make it memorable and engaging,” she remembers, reflecting on a series of meaningful art installations the team built to engage attendees on the show floor. “To see how a trade show can create more of an experience and help rejuvenate those who spend their days giving back – to me, that’s the best.” 

Where she finds inspiration: 

Lauren gets motivated by observing design trends at local Las Vegas venues like immersive entertainment venue AREA15 and the casinos on the Strip. “I look at everything from an aesthetic standpoint, and I love to break that down and figure out how we can emulate that for our clients, to incorporate new technologies or materials to make something that’s never been done before.”  

She’s also a natural salesperson and gets inspired by the challenge of finding new customers. “I just look at all the potential clients that we could help, and all the exhibitors that we could service,” she says. “Maybe there’s something that Shepard could bring them that they’re not thinking of and with the help of our talented team, we can ideate and inspire them.” 

How she spends her free time: 

In addition to traveling and spending time with her Basset Hound rescue dog, Georgie, whom she lovingly calls “the love of my life”, Bauer is passionate about philanthropy and giving back to the industry through the Las Vegas Hospitality Association (LVHA); she’s dedicated a decade to sitting on the Board of Directors, serving as President in 2019 and Chair in 2020.  

A particular point of pride? Working with the LVHA and the local Las Vegas community to expand the “Fill a Bag With Cheer” program, a year-long philanthropic initiative that ensures local children receive shoes, coats, toys, etc. during the holidays. “At Shepard, we have ShepardGO – Giving Outwardly – an annual mission of giving back to the communities we live and work in. Fill A Bag and LVHA have become part of an extension of our branch in Las Vegas. We love our LVHA members who come through our doors and connect to make a huge impact on the community. There is so much good in Las Vegas and the hospitality community and it inspires us year round.” 

The advice she’d give her younger self:  

Lauren admits she struggled with imposter syndrome when she was coming up in the industry. “I’d tell myself to trust that I had the right vision and motivation, and to just continue doing what I was doing, without the fear of being rejected, and confidently ask for a seat at the table.” She notes, “The industry has changed for the better, we are more diverse than ever, and the pandemic brought us closer together, which I believe is a beautiful thing now for the next generation who will take us into the future.” 

Shepard is a full-service event production company. We design, develop and manage trade shows, corporate and other events throughout the U.S.