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The Women of Natural Products Expo West

2019 Women's Leadership Committee Chair, Ann Olson, CEM shares her admiration for the female team behind Natural Products Expo West.

By: Ann Olson, CEM, Vice President of Client Relations, GES

When the team is all women, it comes together…Naturally

As the sun starts to rise on International Women’s Day, the plaza at the Anaheim Convention Center is already bustling with activity.  Welcome to Day Three of Natural Products Expo West, the largest trade show and conference for the Natural Products and Food industry. More than 3,600 exhibiting companies and 86,000 attendees, come together in four facilities to create this expo. It’s a show unlike others; as much an event as a trade show, teeming with activities, bands, yoga on the plaza, sampling of thousands of different foods and products and massive business deals. And at the helm of this annual adventure are some really amazing women.

Meet Lacey Gautier, Show Director; Kim Shaw, Show Manager; and Suzanne Gregory, Group Operations Manager. These three women lead Informa’s largest U.S. event; and make it look easy. It takes a large team to run the show, and these three women make sure all of the teams are in sync, and ready for the show.

Natural Products Expo West 2
Suzanne Gregory, Kim Shaw, and Lacey Gautier

Lacey Gautier recently took over the head position on the event, when the former lead, and her mentor, took another role in Informa; moving to Amsterdam. Lacey was quickly promoted to the position and hasn’t missed a step.  She oversees the future vision of the show, the full P&L; and Informa internal guidelines. It has been a busy 12 months for Informa with the recent acquisition of UBM and all of the work that goes with such a large integration of the two largest show management companies in the world.  Her calm, competent demeanor is the leadership the team needs to navigate the full event; whether working with the city, the facility, the vendors and within her own company. And all of this she does before going home to her family and one-year old son. In fact, Lacey’s parents come to the show to take care of him, as both his parents are involved with the show. Balance is important to Lacey, and she is very understanding with her team when it comes to family first.

Kim Shaw recently was promoted to fill the role of Show Manager when Lacey changed roles. Kim has been with Informa for several years, first in Operations and now in her current role.  This has been an exciting change for Kim, and she finds herself focused on different aspects of the show, which allow her to continue growing and learning. With her Operations background (she was in the lead Operations role on Natural Products Expo East prior to this), Kim is able to provide a great balance for making good strategic decisions and understanding the impact of those decisions; allowing all of the key teams on the show to do their jobs in the best way to make the show a success. When Kim leaves the show, she is looking forward to spending time with her husband and exploring the great outdoor areas of Colorado.

Suzanne Gregory is the heart and soul of Natural Products Expo West. She is dedicated to providing a cutting-edge event, continually questioning the status quo, and challenging all of those around her to think differently each year, and not to accept things that could be improved. Her happy laughter can be heard wherever she is, and her leadership is filled with a graciousness for others. Every conversation ends with a “thank you for what you do.” Her passion extends beyond from just creating an exciting show floor, to taking the true spirit of the industry and impacting those around her.  She can be found working tirelessly on sustainability aspects of the show, as well as ensuring any left-over foods get to the proper food banks. With her bright colors, she brings a smile to all of those around her.

All three of these women are also great proponents to other women. Their teams are virtually all women in all roles on the show.  They hire, mentor and promote those around them. And they work to let each of them find their own path in their jobs.  The work environment in their Boulder, CO office is professional, yet comfortable; focused, yet caring and individual growth focused, with a true team approach. Congratulations to these women, and all of their teams for embodying what women helping women can do!

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