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2023 SISO Official Ballot Nominees Bio's


2023 Nominees

Jessica Blue, Executive Vice President - Emerald

Jessica Blue

Jessica joined Emerald in August 2019 as Executive Vice President and is responsible for four event and media portfolios - Food, Industrial, Technology, and Action Sports. She has over 25 years of experience in the B2B trade show and media industries, including 15 years in the UK, with UBM plc (now Informa plc) and Advanstar Communications. Jessica relocated to the United States with Advanstar in early 2013 to grow the Global Licensing Group, launching internationally and expanding the domestic portfolio. She currently serves on the SISO Women Special Interest Group board and holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Sussex.


Walter Charnizon, President - Continental Exhibitions

Walter Charnizon

Walter owns and operates Continental Exhibitions, an independent tradeshow and conference management company in New York City.

He has been a part of the tradeshow industry for nearly 40 years.  In that time, he has produced events throughout the United States and London and has served a number of different markets, including electrical construction and maintenance, supermarket non-food products, DIY hardware, workplace health and safety, and technology.  

He owns and produces TechDay and the TechDay Founders Summit, a series of annual tradeshows and stand-alone conferences serving the needs of early-stage technology startup founders.

He has been a member of SISO essentially since its inception (when opening day introductions took less than a minute).

He received his AB in Psychology from Vassar College.

He currently lives in New York's Westchester County; however, with all three of his children grown and (essentially, anyway) no longer living there, visions of returning to his one and only true home, New York City, have begun to dance in his head.


Geoff Dickinson, CEO - dmg::events

Geoff Dickinson

Geoff graduated from the University of Birmingham with an LLB Law honours degree, before starting his career in publishing. He moved in to the events industry holding numerous senior roles including being the Global Managing Director of IIR Exhibitions. Geoff set up and created two events businesses which he went on to sell to Messe Frankfurt and Clarion respectively. In 2010 he returned to the corporate world by joining dmg events and currently operates as the CEO using his entrepreneurial experience to foster a culture of launch and innovation.


Simon Foster, Group CEO - Arc

Simon Foster

Simon Foster is a business leader in the exhibition and media industry.  

He is the Group CEO of Arc, global events, data, and information group that aims to create the future of networking by connecting communities wherever, whenever, and however people need to come together to meet, network, learn, and grow their businesses.

Before establishing Arc, Simon was CEO of Comexposium, where he led the transformation of a historically French business to become the world’s third-largest pure-play events organizer and delivered a highly successful PE sale.  Simon also spent 19 years with UBM, now Informa, notably as CEO of UBM EMEA and UBM Americas. During his time at UBM, he had a strong track record of driving organic and acquisition-driven growth, launched products globally, cultivated and built partnerships, opened and grew in-region business infrastructures, and delivered strong profits.

For nearly 30 years, Simon has focused on bringing businesses to life through connections and people coming together to meet and develop opportunities. Simon has led the rapid growth of his businesses through his expertise in international development, acquiring and integrating businesses, building leadership teams, and implementing enterprise-wide strategic focus. He continuously seeks to build teams and processes that thrive from disruption and propel the business and industry forward.

Simon is Chair of the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) International Working Group and a member of the Independent Organisers Network (ION). He is also a Non-Executive Director of Rego and a Board Trustee of Dreams Come True children’s charity.


Jeff Pressman, President and CEO - ConvExx, LLC

Jeff Pressman

Jeff Pressman, CEM, is President & CEO of ConvExx, LLC, which produces events on behalf of association clients and events it owns and develops.  ConvExx serves a variety of industry segments, including producing events in the shooting sports, confectionery and snack, and automotive industries.  ConvExx currently produces two TSE Gold 100 events, the SHOT Show and the Sweets & Snacks Expo.  Jeff began his career in the trade show industry in 2006, when he joined ConvExx as its Chief Operating Officer and was show manager for the SEMA Show.  Shortly thereafter, Jeff became its President & CEO, responsible for overseeing the company but also specifically responsible for the management of its largest show since 2014, the SHOT Show.  Before joining the trade show industry, Jeff was a lawyer at Management Plus Enterprises and Premier Sports Management, sports agencies representing athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal and Lisa Leslie, and numerous NFL players and coaches.  


Yancy Weinrich, President, North America - CloserStill Media

Yancy Weinrich

Yancy Weinrich is the President of North America for CloserStill Media.  CloserStill Media is one of the fastest-growing global events businesses, and her role will be to lead the growth in North America through the acquisition, launch, and organic growth of existing events over the next 2-3 years. 

She is a 17+ year award-winning industry veteran, formerly at RX (formerly Reed Exhibitions), where she served as the Chief Growth Officer since 2019 where she led the organization in growth strategy, marketing, content, digital, and activations for 25+ B2B events across a multitude of sectors. Before 2019, Weinrich had been in senior leadership roles, being recognized for growth with the Rock Star award for Fastest Growing Show in 2018, by Trade Show Executive, amongst many jewelry industry honors, including the American Gem Society’s Triple Zero Award, a top award for leadership in that industry. She is actively involved in the events industry as a new SISO Board Member and currently serving on the Exhibitions and Conference Alliance (ECA), in addition to her continued commitment to serving in the nonprofit sector as treasurer for the Diamonds Do Good Organization which is a 501(c)3 organization. 



  • “Without a doubt the most valuable three days of the year for networking, learning, and meeting colleagues.”
    Tony Calanca, Calanca & Associates LLC
  • “Two of the best acquisitions Access Intelligence had executed came directly from contacts and discussions held at the SISO CEO Summit. Beyond that important networking for transactions, I learn best practices from the best in the industry. The ROI for membership is immeasurable.”
    Don Pazour, CEO, Access Intelligence
  • “The impact of SISO is so much bigger than its size. It feels more like a global council of important tribes than a traditional trade association.”
    David Adler, CEO & Founder, Bizbash Media
  • “Our industry thrives on the personal relationships that face-to-face builds, and the CEO Summit is the ultimate place to build YOUR network!”
    Tom Mitchell, President, Messe Dusseldorf North America
  • “As busy, independent, for-profit organizer, SISO keeps our company connected to all the key players working in this industry and allows great relationships and ongoing learning of best practices from the best in the business. All invaluable assets to help move our business forward."
    Howard Hauben, CEO, H2 Events
  • “The SISO membership represents the entire for-profit tradeshow community and the annual SISO conferences are must-attend events for their educational and networking value.”
    Joel A. Davis, Founder & CEO, JD Events
  • Being a member of SISO has allowed me to navigate the dynamic landscape of our industry in the most effective way possible. Personally, it’s been a journey of continuous learning, networking, and collaboration that fosters deep relationships with industry leaders. Professionally, the insights I’ve gained, the resources I have accessed, and the collaborative initiatives and advocacy work have helped to take my organization to new heights. SISO, to me, is an indispensable asset for my career and business.
    Liz Irving, President, Clarion Events