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07 Oct 2019

SISO Leadership Conference Draws Record Number of Attendees to Detroit

August 13-15, 2019 — COBO Center, Centerplate, and the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, hosted the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) more than 200 independent trade show executives and industry suppliers to their vibrant and revitalized city, during the SISO Leadership Conference.


The week began with a day and a half devoted to the SISO Women’s Leadership Forum aimed at continued professional development, work-life balance, and how to manage it all for more than 75 registered Women Professionals in the for-profit trade show industry. The group concluded the first day with a tour and networking reception dinner at the Motown Museum – Hitsville USA.


The SISO Leadership Conference opened with a keynote presented by Tom Lewand, CEO, Shinola who spoke about The Evolution of a Brand and closed with a keynote presented by Mark S. Fernandes, CEO of Capitalism 2.0, Inc. who spoke about Humanizing Business: Changing the Way We Live and Work for the Better.


Dana Teague, Vice President Design Group, Informa Markets, was this year’s planning committee chair who led the planning committee and developed the content for the day-and-a-half program. SISO introduced afternoon breakout sessions for those with interest in marketing, revenue, operations, and sustainability, as well as a small business breakout for those who work for a SISO Member small business, and introduced SISO Short Talks, 20-minute presentations on a variety of topics such as human resources, career advancement, and marketing. The program included educational topics and content focusing on trends, marketing, and innovative solutions.

Event Innovation Battlefield was another highlight of the day and a half program, featuring five tech companies with some of the latest innovations in technology for the event organizers. "The Event Innovation Battlefield is a great opportunity to see innovation, ideas, talent, and products which are leading-edge," said David Audrain, Executive Director of SISO. "It gives our members the ability to see what's on the drawing boards now that will drive our industry in the future. We can also help incubate, develop, and assist in the delivery of products and services to the market. It's a win-win-win that will advance the event industry."

SISO was pleased to present the grand prize to Resiada as this year’s most innovative technology company and the winner of the 2019 Event Innovation Battlefield. Resiada has redefined the event housing management experience using integrated software that streamlines the event creation process by providing useful and actionable data to help event planners make informed decisions and to help generate additional revenue.


The evening networking events were hosted by COBO Center, Centerplate and the DMCVB, with an opening party at the Whiskey Factory. Tours of the distillery and a walking tour of local art in the nearby neighborhoods were offered, while others networked, dined, and were able to experience the distillery’s beverages. The closing event was held at the Punch Bowl Social where guests were able to bowl, play pool, tables games, and more.

The next SISO event will be the SISO CEO Summit, which will be held March 30 – April 2, 2020, at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Dallas, TX.


About SISO

SISO members include companies, corporations, and other for-profit entities that own, produce or provide full-service management of “face to face” trade shows, consumer shows, expositions, conferences, and events. SISO membership is a combination of large corporations and small entrepreneurial enterprises that do business around the world.


SISO’s almost 200-member companies produce thousands of events around the world. SISO’s Mission is to meet the common needs of our members, by providing peer networking opportunities, education, industry information, streamlined business processes, and best practices in the industry.


For more information on SISO, the SISO CEO Summit, the SISO Leadership Conference, and the SISO Women’s Leadership Forum, please visit, or contact David Audrain, SISO Executive Director, at 404-334-4585 or




  • “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