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SISO Update


30 Jul 2021

SISO Update

As July comes to a close, the exhibition industry continues to ramp up around the globe. In recent weeks, safe and successful events — such as Sweets & Snacks Expo, Mobile World Congress, Nightclub & Bar Show and Coverings — have been held across the U.S. and Europe. While vaccination efforts continue, the Delta variant has led to some revised CDC guidance, but industry stakeholders continue to be committed to following the guidance of public health authorities to produce safe events. A number of major trade shows are planned for August, including FDIC International 2021, a Clarion show that will be held Aug. 2-7 in Indianapolis, and NY NOW, an Emerald event that will take place Aug. 8-11 at Javits Center in New York. NY NOW will be the first trade show since the pandemic to be held at Javits. Stay tuned for a white paper from SISO and UFI on these two events.

SISO Activities


SISO is partnering with Freeman and mdg to produce an Executive Roundtable at NY NOW, which is produced by SISO member Emerald. The roundtable is scheduled for 1-4:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 9. For more information, contact

Case Studies 

Earlier this month, SISO and UFI published a Case Study: Las Vegas Market. The white paper takes a deeper dive into how International Market Centers produced the Las Vegas Market, the first event at its new Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas and the first major trade show in Las Vegas in more than one year.

As you to return to live events, we encourage you to check out the recent SISO/UFI White Papers on how SISO members have successfully produced events during the pandemic. Since last October, SISO has published seven case studies for members to use as a playbook for the return to live events.

To accompany the white papers, SISO and UFI have produced video case studies on the return of live events. Watch the Deeper Dive into World of Concrete, with Dan Assor and Danica Tormohlen.

Events Industry Commentator and Consultant Dan Assor produced a broadcast with Danica Tormohlen from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Here's a link to coverage from the show.

Assor hosts topical discussions with event, exhibition and business professionals on The Dan Assor Podcast, In Conversation With, which is sponsored by SISO. Members can subscribe to The Dan Assor Podcast from any of these channels: YouTubeFacebookLinkedInSpotifyApple and Twitter.

In addition, here's a link to SISO's video coverage from Mobile World Congress, as well as video content from World of Concrete and Jewelers International Showcase.

Special Interest Groups

Human Resources

SISO held a Roundtable Discussion on Back to Business and Return to Office Protocols on June 10. The session, moderated by SISO CEO David Audrain, featured Janice Rogers, Corporate VP of Human resources at Diversified Communications, Janine Lester Bavaso, Executive VP of Human Resources at Northstar Travel Group, and Macy Fecto, Chief People Officer at Access Intelligence.

During the discussion, several speakers highlighted the need to focus on the balance between safety and collaboration as they transition their offices back to the face-to-face model. They mentioned ideas like offering a hybrid model where employees would be expected to come in two to three days per week. “We feel that it is very important that we maintain our culture and our working relationships that have really been solidified to a large extent by being face-to-face,” Rogers said.

Potential safety protocols were another focal topic of discussion. Some speakers said their companies would be requiring proof of vaccination for returning to office and travel while others said their companies leaned more towards strongly encouraging vaccinations or requiring masks for unvaccinated individuals.

A main concern for employers looking to transition their workforce back to the office is maintaining or restoring workplace culture. Speakers expressed the concern that some employees transitioning back to face-to-face full time while others remained remote could create a negative environment. Fecto said she hopes that the transitioning hybrid model will demonstrate the positive aspect of the collaborative, in-person environment and entice employees to want to come back to the office.

Watch the full recording on demand here. Be sure to catch up on all of SISO's roundtable discussion sessions here.

Small Business

The SISO Small Business SIG continues to hold monthly roundtable discussions, which take place at 11 a.m. ET on the second Tuesday of the month. Mark your calendar and plan to join the next session 1-5 p.m. ET, Tuesday, August 24. The session will be live and in-person at the SISO Summer Conference in Louisville, KY. The registration fee is $49 to attend and includes lunch. Please email with any questions. Mark your calendars for these upcoming roundtables:

  • 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Sept. 14
  • 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 12
  • 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 9

Summer Conference

We are pleased to have Louisville, “Gateway to Bourbon Country,” as our host city and Louisville Tourism as the host for the 2021 SISO Summer Conference, which will be held Aug. 24-26.

SISO is once again offering an extended SISO Women's Leadership Forum, which will run 2–6 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 23, and will continue from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 24. The SISO Women's Leadership Forum will end just prior to the Opening Night of the SISO Summer Conference.

The SISO Women's Leadership Forum will feature keynote speaker, Dr. Megan Bloomer, Owner & Founder, Shattering Ceilings. Join her session 3:30-4:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 23, to learn how to embrace empathy and lean into authentic leadership to deliver powerful results in this new and constantly changing environment. She will share strategies on showing up for yourself and your organization.

Dr. Bloomer was named one of Fortune's Innovative Leaders of the Year under the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work rankings. This year, she was recognized as one of the Top 50 CSR professionals by DiversityFIRST. As a TEDx speaker and a facilitator for consent-based workshops for TED, she specializes in helping corporations adapt their corporate culture to be more inclusive while also creating defined safe spaces for all employees.

Along with Dr. Bloomer, the SISO Summer Conference will feature several female leaders, including Mary Larkin, President, Diversified Communications, Jasmine Smith, Entrepreneur, Founder and Producer, SmithCo, Rachel Wimberly, EVP Business Development and M&A in the U.S., Tarsus US, and Courtney Muller, Chief Corporate Development & Strategy Officer, Clarion Events North America.

For the second year, SISO is implementing our ‘1-FREE' program, so that you and your colleagues may attend. Each member company has been given a unique code, which enables the first person to register from your company at “NO CHARGE.” That's right ... one free registration for each member company to send a representative to attend.

If you have not received a code or need additional registration information, contact

CEO Summit

Couldn't make the SISO CEO Summit in 2021? See the video wrap-up and hear what our attendees had to say. Mark your calendar and plan to attend the SISO CEO Summit, scheduled for March 21-24, 2022, at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg, FL.

SISO Member Spotlight

SISO has launched a new video series produced by Dan Assor with member spotlights each month. Learn more about the industry's leading independent show organizers and find out what issues and solutions are top of mind for your colleagues. This month's SISO Member Spotlight features President of Diversified Communications USA & UFI Immediate Past President Mary Larkin. Watch the full interview on demand here.

SISO Video Update

SISO has launched a monthly SISO News roundup video with Dan Assor. The July Update includes clips from interviews with SISO CEO David Audrain, Diversified Communications USA President & UFI Immediate Past President Mary Larkin, Doug Emslie's Event Industry Backyard Challenge, SISO/UFI World of Concrete deep dive case study with Danica Tormohlen and updates from Danica Tormohlen at Mobile World Congress Barcelona, including interviews with GSMA CEO John Hoffman, GSMA CMO Stephanie Lynch-Habib and a round up with Dan Assor. View the July Update here.



In recent weeks, the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) has been active in Washington, DC, and beyond advocating in support of the industry's broader efforts to get back to business and get people back to work.

Hospitality & Commerce Job Recovery Act (HCJRA)

The HCJRA has 100 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. ECA continues to highlight the importance of including the bill's three-year trade show ‘restart' tax credit in one of the forthcoming infrastructure bills that Congress will consider in the weeks and months ahead. According to Tourism Economics, the tax credit would bring back nearly 570,000 jobs, contribute $227 billion to GDP, and generate $16 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue.

Pandemic risk insurance

Last week, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on Examining Frameworks to Address Future Pandemic Risk. The Business Continuity Coalition, which includes ECA, testified at the hearing on the importance of ensuring that restoring communicable disease coverage to event cancellation insurance is part of any proposed public-private solution. ECA is working with the American Society of Association Executives and others on follow-up Senate lobbying efforts.

International travel and visa processing

ECA continues to call on the Biden Administration to immediately lift current inbound entry restrictions for international travelers and accelerate visa processing for international visitors. Last month, ECA, SISO and more than 30 organizations signed A Framework to Safely Lift Entry Restrictions and Restart International Travel, which lays out principles and short-term opportunities to safely reopen international travel to visitors from low-to-moderate risk countries.

State and local mask requirements

ECA is also working with state and local policymakers as event masking requirements evolve in some states and municipalities. Earlier this year, ECA partnered with Epistemix on modeling research concluding that large-scale events can be safely delivered with a near 0% risk of Covid transmission. Additionally, SISO and leading show organizers were instrumental in the development of the All Secure Guidelines for enhanced health and safety measures at shows.


Earlier this summer, the Events Industry Council (EIC) released a risk management guidebook for event industry professionals looking to reopen in-person events. The resource offers information on assessing risks that may threaten attendees, the event itself, the organizer or suppliers, and applying the appropriate measures to manage the probability and consequences of such risks. Read the full press release.

Member Benefits and Discounts

Global Industry Performance Review 2021 

JWC has released the Global Industry Performance Review 2021 (GIPR 2021) that features content and an analysis on how companies and venues adapted and performed during the pandemic and how they plan to readjust as organizers move back into holding in-person events in the future. SISO members will receive a 10% discount and can order a copy of the GIPR 2021 here. Please use code SISOGIPR10.


SISO is a supporting association partner of VSef, which has created a universal data format that enables events to consume consistent data regardless of which platforms they are working with. The dedicated VSef website offers the standards and user guides for platforms, and organizers will be available to download from here. Find out more in this press release about the launch of VSef.

Virtual Events Institute Certification

SISO partners with Virtual Events Institute to offer discounted training. VEI will provide a 50% discount to SISO members for its online education platform dealing with all aspects relating to the production, promotion and monetization of online and hybrid events. To receive the special SISO discount for these online education sessions, please register using this link. For additional information, contact Peter Orford.

Moving Forward Updates

According to the CDC's data, as of July 29, a total of 163.9 million Americans, or 49.4% of the U.S. population, had been fully vaccinated. In total, 189.9 million Americans have received at least one dose of the of the Covid vaccine, or 57.2% of the U.S. population. Worldwide, 3.98 billion doses have been administered across 180 countries, as of July 28. In addition to the encouraging news on vaccine rollout, we're happy to share a few links of recent news and positive moves for our industry.

Coalition Updates

U.S. Travel

U.S. Travel Association (USTA) Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes released a statement on July 26 reacting to the Biden Administration's decision to keep U.S. borders closed to international travelers.

“Covid variants are of concern, but closed borders have not prevented the Delta variant from entering the U.S. while vaccinations are proving incredibly durable to the virus' evolution,” Barnes said. “We respectfully urge the Biden administration to revisit its decision in the very near term and begin reopening international travel to vaccinated individuals, starting with air corridors between the U.S. and nations with similar vaccination rates.” Read the full press release.

Days later, on July 28, USTA President and CEO Roger Dow commented on President Biden's statement regarding new CDC guidance.

“From the onset, we have said our...



  • “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