Columbus Rolls Out the Red Carpet for ASAE’s Annual Meeting
Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, was home to the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exhibition last week, Aug. 10-13. More than 5,400 association professionals and industry partners convened to participate in 110 education sessions, explore 710 expo hall booths and hear powerful keynotes.
“The theme for this year’s event of learn and play with purpose resonated in every aspect of the meeting,” said Susan Robertson, interim president and CEO of ASAE. “From the design of the main stage and convention center to the content covered by our speakers, attendees were compelled to consider new and inventive ways to do business within their own associations.
A total of 445 companies exhibited in the expo hall this year, and the ratio of buyers to sellers at the meeting was 58-42, making it a favorable environment for both sides.
On Saturday, Aug. 10, things kicked things off bright and early with the ASAE Foundation Annual Golf Tournament. Preconference master classes were also held that afternoon, as were Columbus Experiences. The latter provided eight exciting ways for attendees to explore the city, such as a guided tour of Ohio Stadium (home to The Ohio State Buckeyes), a stroll through German Village, and a tour and tasting at Watershed Distillery and Brothers Drake Meadery.
That evening, the opening reception—a giant festival filled with samplings of local food, drinks, art and performers—was held at COSI, a hands-on, riverside science center with beautiful views.
“The city of Columbus delivered an outstanding experience for our attendees,” said Robertson. “Our members [were] treated to a unique experience that has left a lasting, positive impression of exactly what Columbus offers for meetings and events.”
Jeremy Heimans, co-founder and CEO of Purpose, and Henry Timms, president and CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, gave a rousing keynote titled, “The Future of New Power” on Sunday morning. Throughout the conference, attendees had the chance to hear from other powerful speakers in sessions called Game Changers. One such speaker was Columbus native Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream empire.
On Monday evening, area native John Legend headlined an incredible concert at ASAE Foundations’ The Classic at Nationwide Arena, which was a sold-out event and marked the highest attendance in the 13-year history of The Classic. His performance was tough to beat, but Columbus pulled out all the stops for the closing celebration at the indoor-outdoor venue Express Live!, which featured a live concert by country entertainer Brad Paisley.
ASAE will hold its 2020 annual meeting at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Aug. 8-11. There’s no doubt Las Vegas CVA will help make it an incredible event, but they certainly have big shoes to fill.
Photo credit: Nick Hagen Photography