Lauren Chelf

Director of Meetings & Expositions at AOAC International

Lauren Chelf, the dynamic Director of Meetings & Expositions at AOAC International in Rockville, MD, brings over a decade of dedicated service to the association. Her expertise shines in managing both the Midyear and Annual Meetings, as well as pivotal events that draw a global audience of analytical chemists and microbiologists. Residing in Rockville with her husband Brett and their two children, Erin and Ethan, Lauren balances her professional life with her passion for fitness, often spending her leisure time at the gym. Notably, she holds the unique experience of throwing the first pitch at Camden Yards, adding an interesting twist to her accomplished profile.

Check out our interview with Lauren below…

What do you like most about your role? What do you like the least?

While not always knowing “what I wanted to be when I grew up”, I always knew that I wanted to be a professional. I love that every day is different! On the flip side, while loving my profession, I don’t always like the amount of travel that comes with it, knowing that I will need to be away from my family.

What is your glass ceiling or ultimate career goal?

I’m never done searching and reaching but I really feel that my current career is absolutely perfect for me. I love the association, my colleagues, our members, and the industry within which I work. But, if you told me that I could no longer be a meeting professional, then I would become a personal trainer – if Oprah is calling, I’m answering!

How do you create work/life balance and what do you do for me time?

Still striving for the balance….I’m awful about putting my phone away and not working in the evenings/weekends. My “me” time is any time that I get to spend with my kids. I know that they will be off at college soon so I’m trying to catch any time w/them before they go. I also make sure that I get some sort of work-out in every day. It really helps keep stress at bay.

How do you make your marriage a priority while balancing your career, home, and kids?

Both Brett and I put in full days at our jobs but we try to have dinner as a family whenever we can. Not always easy with 2 teenagers that are involved, in what seems like a million activities! Sometimes dinner is at 9pm but that’s OK…it works for us.

Tips & Advice

What Interview tips would you give to new professionals entering the workforce to help them land their ideal job?

Be truthful. Employers do not expect you to know everything – don’t pretend that you do. It will come back to bite you. And have fun with it. Almost everyone is nervous, but if you can control the nerves, smile, and enjoy the experience, it will be so worthwhile.

Put in your dues. No one is going from admin asst to CEO in 1 yr. It takes time but along the way you will learn so much. Go to any training session/seminar, etc that is offered to you and get involved in an association that caters to your profession. You will meet so many ppl that will be able to help you on your journey.

No matter what level you are in your career, you can always learn something new. It helps to keep things fresh and clear out the cobwebs. Check out a webinar on a topic that is challenging to you or get the certification that you always told yourself you would.

Love what you do! We spend lots of hours doing what we do, we should have fun while we are doing it. Remember to smile and never take yourself too seriously.