When State & Local Laws Impact Your Events: Addressing Boycotts, Advocacy, Social Offsets & Other Responses

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State & local laws continue to be passed that impact reproductive, voting, and LGBTQ+ rights, amongst others, putting immense pressure on organizations, their event strategists and destinations. Companies are increasingly mindful of their values-driven constituents: A whopping 60% of employees now expect their CEOs to speak out publicly on issues that align with their values, while 62% of consumers say they will choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on their stance on societal issues. So what’s the solution? You’ll hear from industry leaders on how to advocate for what’s best for member audiences, organizational values, ways to respond and initiate change on human rights issues and understand different perspectives impacted by decisions to – or not to – boycott destinations.

Learning Objectives:

• Analyze data on values-driven employees and customers, and their expectations of organizations they work for and patronize, and their leaders.
• Evaluate different potential responses to state and local laws that run counter to an organizations’ values and those of their constituents.
• Identify ways to advocate on issues of importance to the events industry.
• Learn about the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance’s lobbying efforts.

Course Information

CMP Credit Hours:

Course Domains:

Beth Surmont

Beth Surmont is obsessed with events. With on-the-ground experience spanning more than 20 years in corporate and non-profit events and trade shows; and as the current Vice President of Event Strategy & Design at 360 Live Media; Beth is an influential designer in shaping what the next era of events will be. Her approach of audience-centered design combined with purposeful intention is the secret to creating meaningful and impactful events that advance the organization and accelerate the industry it serves. It’s Beth’s job to be a project manager, experience designer, content curator, storyteller, motivator, leader, behind-the-scenes cheerleader, logistics director, contract negotiator, researcher, trend analyzer, innovator, visionary, partner, builder, thinker, problem-solver, entrepreneur, and customer service specialist, sometimes all within the space of a single day. Beth was recently listed as one of BizBash’s 500 Most Influential People in Events for 2021.

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Tommy Goodwin

Thomas F. (Tommy) Goodwin is Vice President for the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA), a newly-formed association dedicated to the advancement of the business events industry. In this role, he leads ECA’s advocacy and member engagement work on behalf the interconnected ecosystem of exhibitors, show and event organizers, suppliers, venues, and destinations that comprise the global business events landscape. 
Prior to joining ECA, Tommy spent more than 20 years leading a wide range of social impact, public affairs, and international engagement efforts for several globally-recognized associations and corporations, including Oracle, AARP, and the Project Management Institute (PMI). Additionally, he was a research fellow at Harvard Business School focused on the international political and legal environment in which businesses and social enterprises operate. 
Tommy has a B.B.A. from The George Washington University, an M.B.A. from Auburn University, and a Postgraduate Diploma in European Union Law from King’s College London. He also holds a Certified Association Executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), where he was elected as a Fellow in 2022, and a Project Management Professional certification from PMI. 
Recognized by The Hill in its 2020, 2021, and 2022 list of association “Top Lobbyists,” Tommy is a past president of the National Institute of Lobbying & Ethics and a past chair of ASAE’s Government Relations and Advocacy Professionals Advisory Council. He is a frequent author and speaker on a wide range of government relations, public policy, and international association management topics. 

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