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2016: Year in Review

Originally published by Trade Show Executive, December 2016 Edition

As is typical with most of us around this time of year, I would like to take a moment to reflect on what I believe to have been another great year for the exhibitions and events industry. This year, I have traveled more than 150,000 miles to meet and speak with IAEE members and industry leaders across the world. I can attest to the solidarity of our industry, and it brings me great confidence in the direction our industry is headed when I hear of the future plans our global community holds for exhibitions and events.

IAEE is first and foremost a trade association, whose primary concern and function is to serve our members. In fact, you could say our members are our raison d’être. This year, IAEE achieved an incredible milestone by being able to serve more than 10,000 members in 52 countries. I am very proud of this accomplishment because, as you’ve heard me say many times, the “I” in IAEE is not just a letter. The global reach of IAEE members is in a constant state of growth, which means our industry in a constant state of growth – and that is always a good thing.

For many years now, one of IAEE’s crowning achievements has been its CEM Learning Program, and this year is no different. As 2016 closes, we have welcomed more than 300 new CEM graduates! The CEM Learning Program is now offered in 28 nations, reflecting yet again that continuing education and common ground in terms of best practices serve as ties that bind the power of our industry across the globe.

Speaking of the power of the face-to-face industry, this year’s Exhibitions Day and first-ever Global Exhibitions Day strengthened awareness about the economic impact of the meetings industry and drove home the message that Exhibitions Mean Business. IAEE and 20 supporting organizations were successful in bringing together more than 100 exhibitions and events professionals to Capitol Hill to educate members of Congress about the industry that contributes $80 billion to the U.S. economy. In addition, social media channels were profoundly effective in spreading the message of how our industry contributes to local, national and global economies.

Another powerful voice of the industry is that of our female professionals, aptly reflected in IAEE’s wildly successful Women’s Leadership Forum. This event sold out yet again in 2016, drawing more than 200 attendees interested in advancing and collaborating on topics of interest to the women who contribute to our industry’s success.

And, of course, Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Anaheim caps off the year’s success with incredible education and networking opportunities that serve to not only close the current year with the sense of accomplishment and camaraderie so familiar to those of us in this industry, but also to inspire and motivate us for the year ahead. Speaking of which, we have some great things in store for 2017 – such as a new Certified Exhibitions Program and Women’s Leadership Initiative. But I will tell you more about those initiatives next month!

I would like to close this year’s column by sharing with you my deep gratitude and appreciation for the members of our industry. I make no bones about my respect for the great people whose hard work and personal contributions make our industry one in which I am proud to be a part of. From the industry veterans who have laid the solid foundation upon which we continue to build our upward successes, to the impressive young professionals who bring their enthusiasm and innovative ideas to the table – we have cause to celebrate! And while I know many of us are already rocket launching ourselves into the coming year (that’s just how we roll), I encourage you to take the time to congratulate yourselves on an incredible 2016.

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

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