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SISO Update


19 Aug 2022

SISO Update

While the exhibition industry tends to move at a more relaxed pace during the dog days of summer, trade shows and events are still happening throughout the country and business deals are getting done – and SISO activities are no exception!

We are pleased to announce that Vinnie Polito and his firm, VP International, will be taking over the SISO management contract, effective Jan. 1, 2023. We know SISO will be in good hands under Vinnie and his team! To learn more about this exciting development, check out the official announcement here.

SISO Activities

2022 Society of Independent Show Organizer Industry Positions Compensation Survey

In collaboration with Mercer, SISO is producing the 2022 Society of Independent Show Organizer Industry Positions Compensation Survey. This survey will collect market data from industry organizations, including:

•  Base pay rates
•  Sales incentives
•  Benefits offerings
•  STI and LTI information

Survey results will be available to participants at no cost and will contain data and information that will allow you to effectively navigate compensation during this rapidly changing market. All data collected will be kept strictly confidential and no organization's data will be identifiable in the survey results. Please know that results will only be available to those who participate in the survey.

An email invitation from Mercer with the link to participate in the survey has been sent to all primary contacts of SISO and HR SIG members. Be sure to 'whitelist' these email addresses: and Please contact your SISO team or the Mercer team or with any questions or if you have not received your link to participate.

Thank you in advance for your participation in this important survey!

Summer Conference recap

SISO's Summer Conference, held Aug. 9-11, in Oklahoma City, OK, gathered 160 trade show organizer and supplier attendees. The annual SISO Women's Leadership Forum (WLF) and Small Business Roundtable were held on Aug. 9, ahead of the conference.

WLF's Chair Rachel Wimberly worked with her committee to produce an interesting and varied day-long event. The WLF kick-off reception was held at the First National Center, a restored art deco mixed-use skyscraper. Karen Z. Gifford of Gifford Management Group began with an interactive half-day session on Mental Fitness for Leaders and Teams using Positive Intelligence©, a system for rewiring the brain and developing healthier habits in work and life.

Following lunch, the 70 WLF attendees moved into tactical sessions, including an Entrepreneurial Talk by SISO small business owners sharing tips and tricks for starting events, followed by Trade Show Gigging, a panel discussion focused on advice for hiring and working with consultants. The day concluded with a power panel of leaders: Hervé Sedky, Emerald; Francisco Fischer, RX Americas; Janice Rogers, Diversified Communications (subbing in for Cassandra Farrington, Co-Founder MJBiz and SISO Chair); and Moderator Mary Larkin, Diversified Communications on Being Heard at the Table. This frank discussion on how women can increase their voices in business led into a Communications Workshop on doing just that.

The Small Business Roundtable attracted entrepreneurs for discussions on problems and solutions on a variety of subjects, including inflation, the energy crisis and reduced workforce issues.

The Summer Conference itself began with a dinner reception at the First Americans Museum, where delegates were entertained by and educated about some of the 39 native American tribes and their cultures still in Oklahoma today.

Conference co-chairs Michelle Metter, Partner, Fast Forward Events, Jess Tyler, SVP Events & Sales, MJBiz, a division of Emerald, and their committee included many SISO first-timers on stage, starting Wednesday, Aug. 10. The opening general session theme, Becoming a Must-Attend Event: The Rise of Quality Over Quantity was echoed throughout subsequent programming, including the post-lunch breakout Marketing, Operations and Business Development tracks.

Suggestions from that session concentrated on communicating the value of face-to-face to audiences and attracting new ones (exhibitors, sponsors and attendees). They included: continuous (year-round) engagement using data, seeking out and developing new niches, providing less on-site traditional content (educational sessions) and more experiential areas on the exhibit floor, and helping their exhibitors connect with the buyers they most want to see.

Other panels delved into Workforce Recruitment & Retention, a very hot topic, especially in today's hybrid working environments, and Sustainability: What it Means to Go Green. SISO and 13 other organizers, suppliers and associations are releasing the results of a two-year study this September with 33 actions the exhibition industry can take to be greener and more sustainable.

The last day of the Conference brought everyone back together to the main stage. The former Events Innovation Battlefield morphed into Tech Innovations From the Inside and featured many tips, tricks, Apps and system-wide adaptations for all different sized companies. Liz Irving, CMO, Clarion Events North America, shared the online platform THNKS, a way corporations can send coffees, Ubers, DoorDash deliveries and more to celebrate milestones and recognize or say thanks to employees and customers for going above and beyond.

Beyond the Policy Statement: Implementing Meaningful DE&I Initiatives at Your Event provided a spotlight on this important topic. During the session, panelists offered some relatively easy and practical ways to further the process: during registration, allow exhibitors to self-select if they are woman- or minority-owned businesses, because buyers are interested in purchasing from them, and organizers can then track and use these statistics in show marketing. They also suggest to add a pronoun field for they/them on badges.

The final two panels, Build vs Buy: Navigating Growth Opportunities and Working Smarter, Not Harder: Increasing Profitability in the New Normal shared even more ideas to increase profits post-COVID.

Michelle Metter summed up, “Jess, our committee – particularly Rachel Wimberly and Liz Irving – and I made a concerted effort to bring in new faces, topics and ideas for this year's Summer Conference to ignite conversations, giving attendees actionable takeaways they can start using in their offices and on their shows tomorrow.”

View the photo gallery from the 2022 Summer Conference here.

Couldn't make the SISO Summer Conference? Hear what our attendees had to say about it!  


Asia CEO Summit

Mark your calendar and plan to attend the inaugural Asia CEO Summit, set for Oct. 5-7 at the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore.

Organized jointly by AEO - Association of Event OrganisersSACEOS, SISO - Society of Independent Show OrganisersUFI,The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry and supported by Singapore Tourism Board, the Asia CEO Summit will set the stage for the revival and reimagination of the exhibitions industry in the region.

This invite-only event is for the CEOs of invited business event organizers, based all over the world, with an interest in Asia and the regional market. With the mantra “Pathways for Growth,” the collective knowledge is huge, and the need to forge new and deeper relationships across all corners of the globe has never been more important. 

Find out more about the Asia CEO Summit here. Interested in being part of event? Reach out to

2023 CEO Summit

It's not too early to mark your calendar for the 2023 SISO CEO Summit, taking place March 20-23 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. Go here to register your interest.

2023 Summer Conference

Next year, you can look forward to attending the SISO Summer Conference, taking place Aug. 22-24 in Salt Lake City, UT. You won't want to miss this incredibly valuable SISO event!

Special Interest Groups

Small Business SIG

The Small Business SIG will host its next Small Business Roundtable on Sept. 26 at 11 a.m. ET. More information to follow – stay tuned!


Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA)

Prior to its summer August recess, Congress passed two large legislative packages:

  • On June 27, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a $750 billion tax, health care and climate bill (formerly known last year as the Build Back Better plan). The bill passed the Senate on Aug. 7 and the House on Aug. 12, and was signed by President Joe Biden on Aug. 16.
  • On Aug. 9, President Biden signed into law The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which allocates $53 billion in federal funding to bolster U.S. manufacturing and semiconductor production.

Unfortunately, neither of these pieces of legislation contains provisions relevant to the relief and the recovery of the face-to-face business events industry.

ECA continues to anticipate two key windows for potential legislative action on our policy priorities between now and the end of the year:

  • Mid-to-late September (before government funding expires Sept. 30)
  • Mid-November through December (the post-election “lame duck” period)

Friends of McCormick Place Coalition update

As part of the industry's monitoring of the ongoing Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority's (MPEA) venue management bid process for Chicago's McCormick Place, a new Friends of McCormick Place (FOMP) coalition of industry stakeholders will be launching soon.

The goal of FOMP is to ensure that the MPEA does not allow the next McCormick Place management company to adopt anti-customer practices including organizing their own potentially competing conferences and trade shows and making more exhibitor and customer services exclusively in-house services

?????So far, 12 show organizers, service contractors and industry associations have already signed up to be part of FOMP. Interested in joining this important coalition? Contact ECA Vice President Tommy Goodwin.

Support for the ECA

So far this year, several companies have once again provided underwriting to fund SISO's annual $250,000 commitment to the ECA. They have helped us raise $160,000 but we need a broader level of funding to underwrite the SISO commitment. Please consider lending your financial support to this incredibly important organization and the vital work it does to advocate for the face-to-face business events industry!

We'd like to thank the following companies for their ECA support:

  • Access Intelligence
  • Clarion Events
  • Diversified Communications
  • Emerald
  • IMEX
  • Informa Markets
  • Map Your Show
  • Northstar Travel Media
  • Questex
  • Reed Exhibitions
  • Tarsus Group 

Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) recently released its 2022 CEIR Index Report: 2021 Exhibition Industry and Future Outlook. An established and trusted tool for exhibition industry professionals, the annual report is designed to represent the entire universe of B2B exhibitions in North America and includes geometrical averaging of the four component values (NSF, Exhibitor, Attendance and Revenue), predictions through 2024 and data tables providing actual numbers for each metric in each sector.

Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc. (GECA) provided the data analysis for the Index.

Events Industry Council

In June, the Events Industry Council (EIC) launched the data collection phase of its landmark Economic Significance Study, in collaboration with Oxford Economics. As a valued partner of the EIC, SISO is asking for your support in spreading awareness about the survey through social media and in direct emails to your members and partners.

To assist with this, EIC has created a template email and some suggested social media posts and assets, which can be downloaded here. So that EIC can track completion rates, EIC has created a personalised survey link for SISO members.

In addition to SISO, the Economic Significance Study is supported by AHLA, ASAE, Freeman, IACC, IAEE, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, Maritz Global Events, Meetings Mean Business, MGM Resorts International, MPI, Northstar Meetings Group, NYC and Co, PCMA, RCMA and USTA.

In late June, EIC also launched an enhanced version of its Sustainable Event Standards, a set of eight specific standards that assess events and industry suppliers on a wide range of sustainability criteria in support of environmental and social responsibility. To learn more, go here.

U.S. Travel

U.S. Travel has opened registration for its signature “Future of Travel Mobility” conference, set for Sept. 20 at the historic Union Station in Washington, DC. To learn more and to register for this future-shaping event, go here.


Moving Forward Updates

All signs are pointing to the exhibitions industry continuing its steady journey toward recovery! Check out some of the latest news below, including promising industry insights, new show launches and established events that have recently executed successful face-to-face editions over the past few weeks!


Join your community online via SISO's social media channels on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Have a question about SISO or want to get more involved? Email


Thank you to the SISO members who attended the Summer Conference. We are grateful for the support of our Hosts and all our sponsors.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay strong. Stay connected!




  • “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