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SISO Update


11 Feb 2022

SISO Update

As February gets underway and the Omicron variant recedes, indoor mask mandates have been dropped in many states, like California, New York and Nevada — to name a few. Beyond the U.S., the world continues to reopen for trade shows with countries like Australia, Malaysia and New Zealand opening their borders for the first time since the pandemic. International travel continues to get easier as more and more countries loosen testing and quarantine restrictions. It's already been a busy Q1 for U.S. trade shows. In recent weeks, safe and successful events — such as the PGA Show, Outdoor Retailer and TISE — have been held across the U.S. Earlier this week, leading industry trade shows such as KBIS, the Winter Fancy Food Show and NYNow were held in Orlando, Las Vegas and New York respectively.

SISO Activities

CEO Summit

Plans are nearly complete for the SISO CEO Summit, which will be held March 21-24, at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg, FL. View the updated program schedule. Here are a few highlights you won't want to miss:

On Monday, March 21, the SISO Executive Women's Forum and Small Business Roundtable will offer a half-day of education and networking. At the SISO Executive Women's Forum, internationally acclaimed speaker Leigh Weinraub, Founder of Mind in Motion, will deliver the keynote. Participants will learn to regulate emotions, master their thinking, influence effectively and improve problem-solving abilities. Attendees will also learn what it means to develop a passion for practice and become the kind of person that embraces the power of rituals with unwavering focus.

On Tuesday, March 22, the opening general session, What is the New Normal?, will feature a discussion with MJBiz's Cassandra Farrington, Informa Markets CEO Charlie McCurdy, RX President Fernando Fischer and Emerald CEO Hervé Sedky. As Q1 comes to close, industry leaders will offer insight into the current state of the industry and share their expectations for exhibitions and their companies for Q2 and the rest of 2022. Which Covid changes will take hold and which ones are fading fast? CEOs from the major organizations will discuss how topical issues — like health and safety, changing regulations, The Great Resignation, international and corporate travel restrictions and supply chain disruptions — are impacting exhibitions. Find out what's working and what opportunities are coming to the surface as exhibitors and attendees return to live experiences.

Back by popular demand, Economist Dr. Anirban Basu will offer an updated outlook and forecast on Tues., March 22. Will 2022 usher forth a return to normalcy, or will it represent a continuation of the life-altering circumstances that characterized 2020 and 2021?  This presentation will provide in-depth analysis of the economy's shifts during the pandemic, including supplying industry and household-level detail.  It will then turn toward a forecast for the year to come.

On Wednesday, March 23, the M&A Update will feature a discussion with Tarsus Group's Chief Executive Douglas Emslie, Clarion Events Group Managing Director Lisa Hannant, Emerald CFO David Doft and ARC's Group CEO Simon Foster. The M&A market remained subdued in 2021, but activity is picking up again. Where are buyers investing? Which industry sectors and regional markets are the hottest acquisition targets? What are current valuations and multiples? Industry insiders share what they know about current conditions for M&A. Always one of the most riveting panels at SISO CEO Summit!

See who is already registered.

If you haven't received your code for registration, please contact 
Anna Osnower. We recommend you make your hotel reservations as soon as possible. There are a limited number of rooms in the hotel block, and an overflow hotel will be added.

Case Studies 

Earlier this week, SISO produced a video case study on the PGA Show, produced by SISO member RX. The 69th PGA Show reunited the global golf industry in person for the first time in two years, Jan. 25-28, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Nearly 15,000 PGA Professionals, golf leaders, industry executives and retailers sourced new products from more than 600 participating brands, attended high-level industry presentations, learned timely business solutions and connected in person with peers and golf leaders to drive forward participation and the business of the sport.
Watch the video.

As you return to live events, we encourage you to check out the recent
SISO White Papers on how SISO members have successfully produced events during the pandemic.

Board Elections

The volunteer board of directors and officers are essential to the success of SISO. Last month, SISO members voted on the new slate of nominees, and SISO is pleased to announce its new board and officers, effective March 21.

The 2022/2023 Officers and Executive Committee will be:

  • Chair: Cassandra Farrington, Chair of the Board, MJBiz
  • Vice-Chair: Mary Larkin, President, Diversified Communications
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Lisa Hannant, Group Managing Director, Clarion Events
  • Immediate Past Chair: Hervé Sedky, President & CEO, Emerald

New Secretary-Treasurer / Executive Committee / Nominating Committee:

  • Lisa Hannant, Group Managing Director, Clarion Events

New Board Members to Serve their First Term on the Board:

  • Steve Corrick, CEO, North America, Comexposium
  • Liz Irving, EVP- Head of Marketing, Technology & Customer Experience, Clarion Events North America
  • Rachel Wimberly, EVP Business Development, Tarsus Group

Current Board Members to Serve a Second Term on the Board:

  • David Adler, Chairman, BizBash Media
  • Damion Angus, Group Managing Director, Montgomery Group
  • Mark Temple-Smith, COO, Informa Markets

Current Directors continuing to serve their unexpired terms:

  • Martha Donato, President, MAD Event Management
  • Stephanie Everett, COO & Partner, Exposition Development Company Inc.
  • Heather Farley, COO, Access Intelligence
  • Fernando Fischer, President, RX Americas
  • Tom Kemp, Chairman & CEO, Northstar Travel Media, LLC
  • Phil McKay, President & CEO, nGage Events, LLC
  • Michelle Metter, Partner, Fast Forward Events
  • Paul Miller, CEO, Questex
  • Nancy Walsh, President, North America, Informa Markets
  • Toby Walters, CEO, Elite Exhibitions Limited

Leaving the Current Board of Directors when their terms end in March:

  • Douglas Emslie, Group CEO, Tarsus Group plc
  • Courtney Muller,  Chief Corporate Development Officer, Connectiv, and President, Manifest

Thank you to Doug Emslie and Courtney Muller for volunteering their time, energy and expertise to the SISO board.

Special Interest Groups

Small Business

In 2022, the SISO Small Business SIG will continue to hold open monthly roundtable discussions, which will take place at 11 a.m. ET on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Please email with any questions. Mark your calendars for these upcoming roundtables:

  • 11 a.m. ET on Tues., Feb. 22
  • 1-5 p.m. ET on Mon., March 21, which will be held in-person at the SISO CEO Summit. A separate registration fee of $49, which includes lunch prior to the program, is required.


On Feb. 17, the SISO Marketing SIG will host a webinar titled Closed Door Conversation: Marketing Tech Stack, Partners and Learnings. This session will be a closed door session for SISO Member organizers to talk about the good, the bad and the opportunities that our marketing technology partners bring to our events. Participants will discuss vendor solutions, learnings they've had, and what new technology is popping up that organizers are starting to explore. Be ready to share feedback on marketing automation, matchmaking, lead generation platforms, audience acquisition and more. Please note this session will not be recorded so we can allow for open discussion and sharing. Come ready to discuss your technology stack, share and learn. The webinar will be held at 11 a.m. ET on Thurs., Feb. 17. Registration is free, but you must register to attend. Click here to register.

If you missed the January webinar titled Creating Your Data Journey: What you need to consider, watch the video or view the presentation. The one-hour session provided insights on audience acquisition, outreach to known audiences and a peek into what is coming with cookies and privacy changes.

Consumer Show 

On Jan. 19, the SISO Consumer Show SIG hosted a webinar titled Reports from the Frontlines: Three B2C organizers share insights about producing public events during the pandemic. Executives from ReedPop, Fast Forward Events and MAD Event Management discussed what worked and what didn't when producing safe and successful B2C events in recent months. Get a behind-the-scenes view from leaders who have been there and done that for NYComicCon, San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival and Side Hustles & Opportunities Conference (SHO). Watch the video.

Human Resources 

On Jan. 26, the SISO HR SIG hosted a webinar with OneTen, an initiative to hire 1 million Black individuals over 10 years into family-sustaining American jobs. Does your company have diversity goals? Are you looking for programs to help achieve those goals? OneTen discussed how a committed group of CEOs — from companies like Delta, AT&T and American Express — who are willing to change the human capital paradigm in the U.S. and to be accountable for their ongoing retention, development and advancement. Watch the video.

Summer Conference

Mark your calendar and plan to attend the SISO Summer Conference, scheduled for Aug 9-11 at the Oklahoma City Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

Asia CEO Summit

Mark your calendar and plan to attend the Asia CEO Summit, which will be held Oct. 4-6 at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore.

SISO Column in Exhibition World

Danica Tormohlen, SISO content director, publisher and editor-in-chief, finds out how the largest independents are enhancing and maximizing tech in 2002. Read the SISO column on page 15 in the February/March issue of Exhibition World.

Advocacy Alliances

Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA)

Progress continues on some of the industry's top policy priorities on Capitol Hill and beyond. Here's the latest:

Music Under Severe Income Crisis (MUSIC) Act/Small business relief efforts

Work continues in the U.S. Senate to craft a bipartisan package of financial relief measures for small businesses in industries still disproportionally impacted by the ongoing pandemic. This legislation includes qualifying convention and trade show organizers via the ECA-supported MUSIC Act. At this time, Senators are still working to attach this small business relief package to forthcoming government-funding legislation, which is now due to be passed no later than March 11. ECA continues to work closely with our Senate champions to secure bipartisan co-sponsors for both the MUSIC Act and the larger relief legislation, as well as enhanced language that would expand access to additional industry small businesses and further clarify eligibility criteria.

ECA Small Business Advocacy Week

In support of our MUSIC Act and small business relief package advocacy, ECA successfully held its first ECA Small Business Advocacy Week, a pop-up virtual Capitol Hill fly-in held Feb. 7-10 for small business owners and industry advocates to share their stories and ask their elected officials to take action. ECA invited nearly 70 industry stakeholders to take part in more than 20 meetings with Senate Small Business Committee members, Senate leadership and other key legislators to push for new MUSIC Act co-sponsors and broader package commitments. ECA would like to thank all SISO members who took part in these important advocacy meetings!

Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA)

ECA continues to work on securing bipartisan co-sponsors for PRIA, legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would help bring back communicable disease coverage to event cancellation insurance. Later this month, Republicans on the Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over PRIA, will be hosting a roundtable discussion on future pandemic risk that ECA will contribute to. NJ Sen. Robert Menendez, the Banking Committee's subcommittee chair of jurisdiction, has begun work on his own pandemic risk legislation, which should be formally introduced this spring. ECA is working with its partners in the Business Continuity Coalition, of which SISO and ECA are members, to help secure bipartisan support for this nascent effort.

Advocacy matters: ECA was featured in MarketWatch on Feb. 5. Read Going live: Event planners are shouldering big financial risks as Corporate America looks to schmooze again this spring.

Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)

CEIR released the first two reports of six in the Omnichannel Marketing Insight Series. Report One summarizes overall findings from the exhibitor perspective. Results indicate the outlook for the B2B exhibition industry is strong among exhibiting companies that have used the channel pre-Covid. Report Two assesses the extent by which participants will return to B2B exhibitions, and whether needs and preferences will shift in any way and summarizes overall findings from the attendee perspective.

Good news: 87% of attendees surveyed said they plan to return to events in 2022. SISO members can download a free copy of the reports here

U.S. Travel

On Feb. 2, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow delivered an assessment and vision for the U.S. travel industry at the association's annual State of the Travel Industry address, delivered via webcast from the National Press Club. “We have a robust policy agenda and a clear strategy to revive America's travel industry, but Congress and the Biden administration must continue to work closely with the travel sector to help the industry bounce back quickly,” said Dow. Read the full release.

Moving Forward Updates

According to the CDC's data, as of Feb. 6, a total of 212.7 million Americans, or 64.1% of the U.S. population, had been fully vaccinated. In total, 250.9 million Americans have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, or 75.6% of the U.S. population. Worldwide, 10.2 billion doses have been administered across 184 countries, as of Feb. 6, according to Bloomberg. In addition to the encouraging news on vaccine rollout and boosters, we're happy to share a few links of recent news and positive moves for our industry.



  • “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