2015 SISO Leadership Conference Will Focus on Millennials, Climbing CEO Ladder, Building Attendance

July 8, 2015

The 2015 Society of Independent Show Organizers’ Leadership Conference will not only take a look at what the Millennials really want, but also what it takes to be a CEO and how the SXSW grew into the massive festival it is today, among a host of other topics.

“This Leadership program is the most comprehensive we have ever had for younger professionals taking on more responsibility,” said SISO Executive Director Lew Shomer.

He added, “Our emphasis is to teach by example with major industry leaders such as Don Pazour, Chris Brown, Charles McCurdy and Carina Bauer. The emphasis is certainly top down and innovative. It’s a great chance for the next-in-line management to be up close and personal with the people in the positions to which they aspire”.

This year’s conference takes place Aug. 3-5 in Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center, with the opening party kicking off at Gilley’s, known for two-stepping and movies like “Urban Cowboy”.

The conference starts off with Hugh Forrest, director of the SXSW Interactive Festival, telling the audience how SXSW grew from 700 participants in 1987 to 28,000 today, as well as how technology and social media play a role in keeping everyone engaged.

Forrest also will let SISO attendees know what they look for in bringing people in to SXSW, training them and knowing when to give someone greater responsibility.

After a short presentation on a Millennials’ study conducted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research presented by Brian Casey, CEO of CEIR, a panel, “The Millennial Mystery Machine: What they really want as employees, attendees and exhibitors” will take the stage.

By 2020, millennials will make up 40 percent of the workforce, according to David Urban, Dean of the Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University. 

"Consequently, it is vital that business leaders understand the special characteristics of millennials, how they are shaping companies, and how they are driving entrepreneurship and innovation." 

As a result, developing business and community environments where young adults want to succeed is crucial for organizations that want to remain relevant in the future. 

Moderator Lawrence Dvorchik, senior vice president of Events, AIQ, Inc., along with panelists Amber Aziza, founder and chief millennial officer, The Aziza Group and Katie Brewer, CFP, financial coach, Your Richest Life, will talk about what it takes to attract this generation and what makes them happy.

Afternoon sessions include “Building attendance in a digitally focused world” and “Partnering with your Contractors to create great events, improve the customer experience and save money?”

That night is another reception and dinner that promises to be an “evening of fun and frolic at a unique Dallas experience.”

After breakfast the next morning, the 3rd Annual SISO Event Innovation Battlefield will take the stage with companies showing off their technologies that are meant to transform the event experience.

Next up is an illustrious group of trade show industry CEOs on a panel about their paths up the corporate ladder.

The panel will be moderated by Don Pazour, CEO, Access Intelligence, and includes IMEX CEO Carina Bauer, 5Net4 Board of Directors Member Charles McCurdy and Rick McConnell, who is president, Informa Exhibition U.S. Construction & Real Estate, Inc., and president of Informa Canada , Informa Exhibition U.S. Construction & Real Estate, Inc.

Other sessions include “Driving International Attendance in a Global Economy”, in which attendees will learn from experienced international professionals what works and what doesn’t and how you can overcome the mundane challenges such as visas and regulatory issues in other countries.

The last session of the conference will be “Recession-Proof Thinking: Lock Down Space and Sponsorship Sales”, moderated by Chris Brown, executive vice president, National Association of Broadcasters.

This session will explore successful case studies from industry leaders demonstrating how they are growing their events through increased exhibitor space sales, while identifying and configuring innovative sponsorships to insure revenues for the future.

For more information, or to register go HERE.

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