What Are Your New Year’s Resolutions? Trade Show Industry Leaders Share Their Hopes and Goals for 2022

January 12, 2022

It goes without saying that many of us in the exhibition industry are looking toward 2022 with cautious optimism. Will this be the year that trade shows and business events truly bounce back, or will 2022 be yet another bumpy, unpredictable extension of 2021? While none of us have a crystal ball to refer to, we asked a range of industry experts what they’re hoping for and setting their sights on – both professionally and personally – in the New Year.

Bob Priest-Heck, CEO, Freeman:

This past year has brought on so many learnings, innovation and things we can strive for in 2022. From a professional standpoint, my New Year’s resolution is to continue to be more empathic. For over 90 years, in good times and bad, the culture at Freeman has been grounded in a conviction that we can trust people who embrace integrity, enthusiasm, empathy, performance excellence, collaboration and innovation as core values. Regardless of whether we all meet in a conference hall, connect via streaming digital or interact using a new hybrid platform, we need to approach people with empathy and authenticity. 

Personally, I will strive to always be kind, keep trying to inspire the people around me and take care of myself mentally and physically! I’ve just started taking part with the team in Freeman’s BrainHealthy Workplace program where we can be resilient, creative problem solvers charting a new path for our future.

Michelle Mason, CEO, ASAE:

I always think of a new calendar year as a chance to both reflect on what we’ve accomplished and to scan for opportunities to try something that is maybe outside-the-box. My New Year’s resolution is to continue to analyze and be responsive to trends in innovation and the future of work and how those impact ASAE’s business philosophy and responsiveness to its broad and diverse membership.

Doug Emslie, CEO, Tarsus Group: 

As we enter 2022 on the back of an incredibly challenging period for the events industry, I am feeling optimistic about the year ahead. We have seen a determination to run live events again in a safe and secure way, we have seen our customers return in significant numbers and also proven the crucial role of B2B events. The events industry has always worked well together but during the pandemic we have seen unprecedented levels of collaboration and support across the industry, I hope this will continue throughout the recovery and beyond.

At Tarsus Group, we will be focused on growth in 2022, and in spite of the short term COVID headwinds we are seeing at the moment we will continue to invest where we are seeing market growth over the medium and longer term.

On a personal note, I have resolved to undertake another running challenge. In 2022, I’ll be running the iconic trail run from Glasgow to Fort William – 96 miles of the West Highland Way. The major catch is I have to complete it in under 30 hours!

Megan Tanel, President, AEM:

I’m in a new role, so I’m looking to build trust and confidence around my team professionally and personally, the same. My daughters have high expectations for me in my new role as president!

Craig Davis, President & CEO, VisitDallas:

Professionally, I resolve to help create a new convention center master plan for introduction in 2027, and personally, I resolve to find my way back into the gym.

Amy Calvert, CEO, Events Industry Council:

Professionally, I am setting my intentions around several things including gratitude, collaboration, partnership, the celebration of small wins towards big goals, wellbeing, communication and supporting our workforce.  

The Events Industry Council is committed to supporting the global events industry as it embarks on its post-pandemic journey and its renewed focus on people, planet and purpose. We want our sector to grow and accelerate meaningful change, to foster ambition and collaboration around EIC’s core values and key priorities including the Equity Acceleration Plan, which is in alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

And personally, I hope to visit my family and friends more, particularly my two children, Ally and Andrew. I’ll take more walks with my dogs Scooby and Ash, read more books, discover new music, visit more museums, travel to new destinations, practice gratitude and reduce the amount of time I spend on social media. However, my coffee and red wine consumption quite possibly will remain the same.

Karen Totaro, general manager, Huntington Place (formerly TCF Center): 

Professionally, I want to get more involved with a local non-profit board in my community, as I am new to the city and find giving back in any community is so enriching, and personally, I want to take an art welding class, as I love old rusty metal! 

Gregg Caren, President and CEO, Philadelphia CVB:

Professionally, I am resolved to try and shake off the Depression Era-mentality that put us all in survival mode these past 20 months. We will remain focused on our mission, and ensure that every dollar or man-hour expended is in pursuit of that mission. 

Personally, my resolution is to enjoy my new career path on the DMO side – a role that, since the start of the pandemic, presented a different set of challenges than anticipated. Time to get back to strategy and leadership of both a destination I truly believe in, and a team I have full confidence in!

David DuBois, president and CEO, IAEE:

I look forward to continuing working with the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliances (ECA) on our advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C. IAEE will continue to offer as many resources as we can to industry professionals interested in staying at the top of their game through our webinars and educational offerings throughout the year. We will also continue to push for improved DE&I within our industry. And, although this is a standard yet equally important resolution each year, IAEE is dedicated to advancing the overall industry through its strategic pillars: Advocacy, Communities and Learning, and Marketplaces. 

Personally, I plan to persevere and stay positive, and enjoy the exciting journey into 2022. 

Casandra Matej, President & CEO, Visit Orlando:

We recently launched a new three-year strategic plan for 2022–2024 with the goal of reaching 80 million annual visitors and 40 million room nights sold, and we’ll be working towards accomplishing those goals by the end of 2024. Ultimately, in 2022, we will be laser-focused on our core of sales and marketing initiatives to positively impact the local community.

For me personally, my goal is to continue to focus on four areas: recovery of the industry; discovery of the community; partnerships to drive results; and making Visit Orlando a top place to work. Still being new to Orlando, I hope – through my leadership ­– to make a difference in the community that I now call home.

Vaibhav Jain, CEO, Hubilo: 

Professionally, I intend to be at the forefront of innovation and take a proactive approach to how this space should move forward, whereas personally, I plan to invest more time in reading and complete one book a week. 

Nancy Walsh, President of North America, Informa Markets:

Professionally, my resolution is to be open to learning and experimenting. Experimenting and taking risks can be uncomfortable, and they don’t always work out, but I think it’s critical for us to try things that have the potential to deliver greater value to our communities. That’s going to be a key commitment of mine in the new year.  

Both personally and professionally, re-engaging with people face-to-face is something I’m really excited about. I plan on bringing my team together quarterly for face-to-face collaboration, and am eager to get back to traveling to shows and offices on a regular basis to meet colleagues and re-connect with industry peers and friends face-to-face.  

Personally, I want to get outside and get moving more often, go see live music as often as possible, and spend more time with friends, family and my dog, Stewie!


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