Originally published in Trade Show Executive, Sep 2014 Issues

We’ve all heard the saying “there’s no I in team.” This phrase has been used to motivate and foster teamwork across many segments, from sports teams to corporations. Even in school, many of us heard our teachers saying it when working on a team project.

At IAEE, we’ve been thinking a lot about our organization and the phrase “there’s no I in team” has really become our motto for 2014. Realizing that it takes a team to extend the reach of and promote the value of the exhibitions and events industry, our organization has placed special emphasis on partnerships this year. In pursuing these strategic partnerships, we are focused on helping our members succeed and grow in this global marketplace.

These partnerships are just one step in the continued education process we are taking on to ensure others in the community know how in-person interaction forges relationships and improves business outcomes. Our recently announced strategic partnership with the International Trade Administration (ITA) reinforces how these efforts continue to find success reaching across borders.

Focusing on small and medium-sized businesses, IAEE is working with ITA to educate these enterprises on the tools and resources both organizations provide. Exhibitions and events help companies expand business through relationship development and by encouraging cross-border engagements. By some estimates, nearly 95 percent of potential new customers live outside the U.S. This agreement will help companies enter new markets that weren’t possible before. Working with ITA, we will educate exporters on how exhibitions and events can connect U.S. organizations with international buyers.

In addition to education, this alliance will work to build awareness of the benefits of exporting and provide online resource support as well as federal export assistance. The ITA partnership is a crucial step as we place greater focus on international efforts this year and engage organizers, exhibitors and attendees to minimize barriers to success for our members. The exhibitions and events industry is growing and this effort will help sustain that economic growth, giving members new tools to expand globally.

This is just one of the many strategic partnerships IAEE has undertaken this year, bringing new resources to the industry and advocating the value to key audiences. In February, IAEE announced a new strategic agreement with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Chengdu Sub-council that encourages participation in exhibitions and events in Chengdu and fosters continued goodwill throughout China. We are working together to organize exhibitions, conferences and seminars, and providing assistance with country-specific issues for members of both organizations.

Earlier this year, we also launched the next phase of “Exhibitions Mean Business,” our communications campaign that builds awareness for face-to-face events. Targeted advocacy efforts were activated to drive education and awareness for policymakers and stakeholders.

Partnering with several industry organizations, we hosted “Exhibitions Day,” an industry-wide effort to engage policymakers on Capitol Hill and help them understand the impact of select regulatory decisions, including visa regulations and government travel restrictions on our industry. The campaign resulted in another 12 members of Congress signing on to support the JOLT (Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel) Act.

In June, IAEE announced a collaboration with the National Association of Consumer Shows (NACS) to create education opportunities for organizers of business-to-consumer exhibitions and events. The Work Force Ready Boot Camp is tailored to organizers new to the consumer events sector and the Consumer Events CEM Module is designed for more advanced consumer event organizers. These programs are being offered at each organization’s annual meeting.

As I look back on all the progress our team has made thus far, I can’t help but be excited about what else the future holds for us. Our industry isn’t tied to one market or area, and part of our responsibility as the advocate for this sector is to ensure we are helping members gain access to opportunities that will foster their growth and success. Since 2008, the industry has reported 15 consecutive quarters of growth thanks to the hard work of the professionals in this space and the tools and resources provided by partners and team members. IAEE is focused on maintaining this positive momentum and making 2014 a standout year domestically and aboard.

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President and CEO

Posted by Mary Tucker at IAEE

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