IAEE 2013 Year in Review: A Conversation with President and CEO David DuBois

December 17, 2013

Fifteen months ago, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events appointed a new president and CEO, David DuBois, who jumped into his new role with enthusiasm and hit the ground running.

More than a year later, not only has DuBois racked up some serious airline miles with 48 trips, 10 of those international, under his belt, but he also launched several new initiatives and partnerships at IAEE.

DuBois said he was fortunate to step into an organization last year that already had a strong foundation.

“I took over from Steven Hacker, who, between he and Cathy Breden, had the organization in great shape,” he added. “I didn’t have to make a lot of changes.”

DuBois said one of his immediate challenges, though, was in the search process for his current role he sold himself as a “sales and marketing guy” and now he needed to live up to that promise.

One way he’s done that is to grow the overall membership of the organization, particularly its international base. In the past year, there has been a 50-percent increase in international organizations signing on as members, as well as a 23-percent uptick in new organizations worldwide becoming IAEE members as well.

In addition, there has been 18-percent overall growth in individual memberships, 81-percent retention of existing members year-over-year and 6-percent growth in membership revenues.

“We always want to grow more,” DuBois said.

Also this year, the IAEE Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan with two main pillars of advocacy and education.

Part of that advocacy push, according to DuBois, is to continue to promote the “Click Here First” PR campaign that emphasizes the value of the face-to-face industry.

He added that they were happy with the way the campaign was going so far, but hoped to gain even more international media attention in the coming year.

DuBois also said Skip Cox, who was just named the new chair of IAEE for 2014, also would be appointing an advocacy task force that was set to be formed in the near future.

As far as education, he added, “I think we knocked it out of the park at IAEE.” DuBois said the feedback was positive about the different types of educational sessions at this year’s annual meeting, and 25 percent of the speakers were new.

Year-long education at IAEE is being revamped somewhat with the IAEE Midyear Meeting going away, and regional events taking place instead, where DuBois said they could reach a lot more members.  He added they also are looking at expanding their webinar programs and online education.

Dubois said his goal in the coming year was to not take as many trips, but also conceded he wouldn’t be sitting in his office either.

“My promise to my staff, family and board is I’ll make (fewer trips) in the future, but when leading an organization, I don’t need to be an administrator sitting behind a desk,” he added. “That’s why I took 48 trips and look at our new membership numbers. Personally, it’s been awesome.”

Here are the highlights on the past year for IAEE:

January 2013

Among the more than 25 industry collaborations that were created or renewed this year, IAEE renewed its agreement with SACEOS in Singapore and its hosted buyer partnership with IMEX to offer global opportunities for buyers and sellers. IAEE partnered with the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) to co-host the ninth annual CEFCO Summit in Chongqing, China. Additionally, IAEE launches its mobile app, IAEE Direct which allows industry professionals to stay connected to IAEE and each other with convenient features and continual updates.

February 2013

IAEE launched its first IAEE Collective with the all new Women’s Leadership Forum and continues the CEM Certification and Learning Program, Marketing Academy and Sales Academy. The Women’s Leadership Forum is held in May and receives rave reviews and is immediately slated for a follow-up session at Expo! Expo! in December and planned for May 2014 in Washington, D.C.

March 2013
IAEE announces Strategic Partnership with AIBTM  and hosts education sessions in the show’s Learning Theatre at McCormick Place, highlighting its lengthy expertise and best practices for the meetings, exhibitions and events industry.

April 2013

The first IAEE chapter in Mexico is announced as a result of a long and fruitful relationship with the Mexican exhibitions and events industry. With the rapid growth in Mexico, it was agreed that to further the networking and educational opportunities afforded to its members on a global scale, a Mexico chapter would be formed to provide new member benefits,  leadership opportunities and direct access to multiple tools and research available only as an IAEE chapter.

IAEE announced an alliance with The International Association of Venue Managers and as part of the alliance, the two organizations cross-market educational programs and networking events and other products developed for their memberships. The alliance will allow for cross-participation at live programs and access to digital resources from both associations. Additionally, both organizations will endorse the certifications offered to their memberships: IAVM offers a Certified Facilities Executive designation (CFE) and IAEE offers a Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) designation. Later in December, IAEE and IAVM announced a new task force to jointly examine convention center lease agreements and work toward creating best practices that will benefit all parties involved through clearer, more standardized contractual language.

June 2013

IAEE launched IAEE-TV newscasts series with CNTV. IAEE-TV newscasts are designed to bring members' exhibitions to life. Students and young professionals searching for real-world content about the exhibitions and events industry will be able to see and hear the attendees, exhibitors and organizers express their expectations, challenges and successes directly from the show floor. This is another valuable feature that IAEE offers and aligns with the strategic plan of leadership in promoting the industry and educating members.

Additional collaborative efforts were evident when IAEE partnered with the Canadian Association of Exposition Management (CAEM) to present education sessions in Niagra Falls, Canada.

July 2013

IAEE announced a new strategic partnership with the China Incentive, Business, Travel, Meetings (CIBTM) Exhibition which was a hosted buyer program and education offering that aimed to attract organizers planning events in Asia.

August 2013

The IAEE Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan with two main pillars of Advocacy and Education. IAEE will advocate and promote awareness of face-to-face exhibitions and events as the primary marketing medium for business development and growth. All the education that IAEE provides will be relevant, timely and innovative. These two pillars support the Vision of the organization to promote and lead the exhibitions and events industry through innovation, thought leadership and education, as well as the Mission of providing stakeholders of the global exhibitions and events industry with information and resources that will advance the industry’s success, including serving the critical needs of members and providing information to constituencies that demonstrates the value of exhibitions and events.

September 2013

IAEE and BizBash announced a collaborative new program, #BoothLove, showcases most creative booths and exhibits for trade show industry professionals. In collaboration with several industry organizations including B2B Communications, Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), Freeman, Global Experience Specialists (GES), the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA), Hargrove, Inc., Society for Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry. This social media program was created to showcase the best booths and exhibit stands from around the world – providing a global "peek over the fence" to inspire trade show and exhibition professionals with new ideas, while spotlighting the best exhibits.

IAEE proudly partnered with ICOMEX and collaborated with the organizing committee to develop a strong program focused on developing international partnerships. A dedicated CEM program was offered and an agreement was signed to promote tourism in Mexico.

October 2013

After two years of preparation, the Fourth Edition of The Art of the Show textbook was released. Written by exhibition industry professionals for the industry and students, this publication is the most comprehensive textbook on exhibitions. Education is one of two pillars of IAEE’s strategic plan, so training current and future professionals in the industry is essential. In January 2014, the textbook will become suggested reading for those persons going through the CEM Learning Program.

IAEE further extended the reach of the CEM Learning Program in Brazil, as Reed Exhibitions of Brazil hosted several CEM classes and sent a contingent of organizers through the certification program.

December 2013

IAEE signed a charter for its newest student chapter at DePaul University in Chicago, Ill. Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2013 in Houston, Texas. With education as one of two strategic plan pillars having DePaul University join IAEE’s student chapter network is an outstanding example of its commitment to helping educate young professionals who will work in the exhibitions and events industry in the future.

IAEE announced a three-city partnership special three-city partnership between future host cities of Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition: Baltimore, Anaheim and San Antonio. The partnership aims to provide a seamless, multi-year Expo! Expo! experience for attendees who are analyzing their return on investment from attending the annual meetings. Through their sequential-year hosting agreement of Expo! Expo!, these cities are making a significant contribution above and beyond their host city agreements and are supporting many other IAEE programs throughout the upcoming year.

IAEE released a white paper that examines Future Trends in the exhibitions and events industry. In 2013, IAEE created the Future Trends Task Force to identify and address major trends it felt will impact the exhibitions and events industry and as a result, 13 future trends were identified that will impact and shape the exhibitions and events industry. The white paper is complimentary to all members and the general public on www.iaee.com.

The Major American Trade Show Organization (MATSO) became a council of IAEE to meet the needs of large show organizers and reinforces the value that IAEE offers to organizations operating major trade shows and helps these organizations operate more efficiently through a unified voice in the exhibitions and events industry. The MATSO Council is comprised of not-for-profit association and for-profit exhibition organizers whose shows are at least 200,000 nsf of exhibition space, and it will work to develop best practices unique to large-scale events and release position statements on issues that impact large-scale events and exhibitions overall in support of face-to-face meetings overall. MATSO members who were also members of IAEE will no longer have to pay separate dues to MATSO.

IAEE extended its CEM Learning Program by announcing an agreement to license the program with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) .for administration of Program in Taiwan, and currently, there are 26 individuals who have earned the designation in Taiwan.

As part of the industry’s public relations campaign, Click Here First, a new video debuted at Expo! Expo!The video reflects on the industry’s successes and its impact on business and commerce. Available in multiple lengths, members and industry professionals are encouraged to use it on their own sites and presentations.

IAEE board approved amendments to IAEE Bylaws based on the recommendation of the IAEE Governance Task Force to approve Faculty Members as voting members of IAEE. Faculty Membership is for individuals employed as faculty in post-secondary academic programs, whose main employment, remuneration, direction, and efforts must be in a recognized academic institution and they must be considered an employee with their institution. Given the importance of education in long-term work-force development in the exhibitions and events industry, this approval signifies the importance of post-secondary academic programs in educating college students for the exhibitions and events industry of the future.

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