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Keynote speakers inspire ECEF audience to innovate

Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), keynoter of the 10th Annual Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum (ECEF), shared innovation strategies to improve the competitiveness of United States exhibitions and conventions.


Shapiro’s insights were amplified by closing keynoter Adam Hartung, managing partner of Spark Partners, who stated that only by disrupting the status quo will events stay relevant in the future. Hartung recommended the audience pay greater attention to what’s happening at the fringe of your market than to what your customers are telling you to ensure the health of their events.

“Both ECEF keynoters inspired us with their message that innovation is crucial to the future of exhibitions and conventions,” said ECEF producer Sam Lippman. “Shapiro explained how his team creates at least three new benefits for each CES which helps ensure the continued support of exhibitors and attendees. And Hartung explained that our strategic planned be based on forecasting what events will be like ten years from now and working backward to ensure your event evolves into this future model.”

ECEF’s one-day program featured other experts to address issues of innovation, growth and the value of face-to-face events, including Hal Vandiver, executive consultant of Material Handling Industry of America; Mary Pat Heftman, executive vice president of Convention for the National Restaurant Association; Amy Nichols, CEO of Dogtopia; Wayne Jacobs, president of Jacobs, Jenner & Kent Marketing Research; Tammy Blosil, vice president of online learning for ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership; C.B. Wismar, vice president of events for the AARP; Helen Marano, director for the Office of Travel & Tourism Industries, US Department of Commerce; and Bridger McGaw, director office of private sector for the Department of Homeland Security.

The number of verified executives at ECEF increased from 184 last year to 192 this year. The number of sponsors also increased, from 26 to 28 in 2011. 

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