IAEE Announces 2020 Board of Directors, Led by Robert (Bob) McLean

December 10, 2019

Last week, International Association for Exhibitions and Events announced the results of the election determining its 2020 Board of Directors at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting and Exhibition in Las Vegas.

The 2020 board will be led by Robert (Bob) McLean, executive vice president of Promotional Products Association International. He’s worked at the association since 2008 and has served in his current role since fall 2011. As chairperson, he will focus on the continuation of IAEE’s advocacy efforts, including its work with the Exhibitions Mean Business campaign.

“The business-to-business connections forged from IAEE’s worldwide membership resonate throughout the exhibitions and events industry,” said McLean. “My goal as incoming chairperson is to advance IAEE’s global growth initiatives. As our members and industry become more international, I want to ensure that IAEE is the first place professionals turn to for connections, knowledge and advocacy.”

He continued, “Also, having just served as CEIR’s chairperson, I want to increase the visibility and usage of the valuable research that CEIR produces.”

Each year, the board is elected by votes from the official voting member of each IAEE member company. All officers serve a one-year term except for the secretary/treasurer, who may hold the office for two years, and directors serve three years in staggered terms to ensure continuity in governance.

The newest members to the 2020 IAEE Board of Directors include:

  • Christopher Harar, President of NTP Events, National Trade Productions
  • Jennifer Heinold, Senior Vice President of Events, Access Intelligence
  • KV Nagendra Prasad, Hyderabad International Trade Exhibition Centre
  • Brian Scott, Chief Information Officer, Experient, a Maritz Global Events Company.

Continuing Board of Directors members include:

  • Chairperson-Elect Carrie Ferenac, President, CNTV
  • Secretary/Treasurer Yulita Osuba, Deputy Director, Orange County Convention Center
  • Immediate Past Chairperson Tom Cindric, Jr., President, Winsight Exhibitions, Winsight Media
  • Director Marie Browne, Group Vice President, LaunchPad, Reed Exhibitions
  • Director Chuck Grouzard, Executive Vice President of Exhibition Sales, GES
  • Director Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes, President and Chief Account Strategist, mdg
  • Director Buffy Levy, Director of Event Services, SmithBucklin Corporation
  • Director Tim McGuinness, Staff Vice President of Global Expositions, International Council of Shopping Centers
  • Director Justine McVaney, Senior Vice President of Event Planning and Operations, National Association of Broadcasters
  • Director Dennis Smith, Consultant in Event Strategy, Elevate Event Strategies
  • Director Janet Sperstad, Program Director, Meeting and Event Management, Madison College

Ex-officio Directors are:

  • Xuebin Gu, Founder and CEO, WeMeet, representing the IAEE Asia Council
  • Jean Heis, Director of Meetings and Exhibits, Institute of Food Technologists, representing the Chapter Leaders Council
  • Mark Bogdansky, Vice President of Meetings and Events, Auto Care Association, representing the IAEE MATSO Council
  • Jonathan “Skip” Cox, President, Freeman, representing the Past Chairpersons’ Advisory Group
  • Michelle Metter, Partner, Fast Forward Event Productions, representing the IAEE Consumer Events Council

To learn more about IAEE, go here.


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.