For the special Exhibitions Day edition of our #HeresWhy sessions, we interviewed Julie Smith, Senior Vice President of Exhibition Sales at GES:
Why did you attend Exhibitions Day this year?
This is the fourth time I have participated in Exhibitions Day. As a past chair of IAEE and immediate past president of ESCA, I am keenly aware of the importance of leveraging our power as an industry to bring focus to issues that impact our ability to serve our audiences and grow our businesses.
Why is advocacy important for GES? For the industry as a whole?
If we do not participate in advocacy, we lose our voice. It’s vital that we work together to educate our representatives on issues that impact our organizations and our industry as a whole.
Which topic(s) from this year’s event were you particularly passionate about?
The online booking scams issue is one example. GES is a major player in the event accommodations space through our onPeak division, and we are passionate about ensuring that attendees and exhibitors have a great experience when they travel to an event. Housing poachers can impact the city and event experience for many. The industry has made great progress in addressing the issue, with bills introduced in both the Senate and House in the past year.
As a global company with clients around the world, we care about issues that impact international travel to the U.S., and the experience of international exhibitors and attendees (like airport infrastructure).
What would you say to someone thinking about going to Exhibitions Day next year?
Do it! You will get to see how government works and to feel empowered to enact change. Don’t be intimidated – the IAEE staff and its partners ensure that you are well prepared for the day, and repeat participants are great mentors.