Industry News

Event Leadership Institute to Host Inaugural Business, Design & Strategy Summit

Virtual Event Will Tackle Issues such as Health Passes, Destination Boycotts, and Diversity & Inclusion

The Event Leadership Institute is hosting its inaugural Business, Design & Strategy Summit on June 3, 2021, a virtual event to prepare meeting and event professionals for a new landscape as we move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Summit is designed to provide relevant insights and timely takeaways across the evolving virtual, hybrid and in-person event landscape, including thought-provoking keynotes, tactical sessions, and impactful peer-to-peer networking.

“With in-person events starting to return, the event industry is at a critical inflection point. We designed the content of this Summit to address the critical strategic questions everyone is facing about how to position their events, teams, and organizations for success as we emerge into this new landscape,” said Howard Givner, founder and chief executive officer of the Event Leadership Institute. “Over the past few months, we’ve conducted dozens of focus groups and interviews with leaders of event teams from every sector of the industry to gauge their challenges, learn how they’ve realigned their events and teams, and identify what insights they’re looking for. One overwhelming sentiment was the lack of high-quality strategic and business content, which is the thrust of our conference.”

An impressive list of speakers hails from top event companies such as Freeman, Informa, Maritz Global Events, and Empire Entertainment, and top event minds from Microsoft, the American Cancer Society, and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

Juliette Kayyem, CNN National Security Analyst and Former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security in the Obama administration, will deliver the keynote address on building institutional resilience in events, teams, and organizations.

Session Highlights:

  • State of the Industry: The Summit’s opening session will set the tone with a “State of the Industry” report that uses data to show where we stand with regard to the return of in-person events. Featured speakers are Jessica Malaty Rivera, an infectious disease epidemiologist and the science communication lead for the COVID Tracking Project; Ken Holsinger, Freeman’s SVP Strategy – Data Solutions; Gus Vonderheide, Vice President of Global Sales – Americas for Hyatt Hotels; and Rose Horcher, Vice President, Client Services at Choose Chicago.
  • Health Passes: Opportunities, Logistics & Legalities: One of the hottest issues facing the industry now is whether to require a health pass that certifies a person’s vaccine status or a negative test result for the virus. Featured speakers are Steve Adelman of the Adelman Law Group and Vice President of the Event Safety Alliance; Daniel Richards, Founder & CEO of Global Rescue; and Lee Brian Schrager, SVP, Communications & CSR, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, and Founder & Director, South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF®) & NYCWFF.
  • The Boycott Dilemma: What’s at Stake for Event Organizers? When Major League Baseball moved this summer’s All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in response to Georgia’s restrictive new voting law, it potentially set a precedent for other major events in the state. To what extent should meeting and event organizers respond to boycott pressures? Featured speakers are Michael Gordon, Principal at the Gordon Group and Former Spokesperson for Attorney General Janet Reno; Jack Johnson, Chief Advocacy Officer at Destinations International; and Michael Skolnik, CEO of The Soze Agency.

“Our aim was to bring senior-level perspectives, and over half of our 30 speakers are C-Suite leaders of their organizations,” Givner said. “We also feel it’s important to bring in unique voices from outside the events industry. We’re excited to have a former Homeland Security Assistant Secretary, a documentary filmmaker, an epidemiologist, an event safety attorney, and the heads of a medical advisory and a public affairs communications firms.”

Other speakers include:

Rob Adams, President & CEO, Bishop McCann

Bob Bejan, Corporate Vice President: Global Events, Production Studios and Marketing Community, Microsoft

Bob Bierman, Head of Programming and Product, G100/World 50

Lindsay Carroll, Managing Director, Events & Production, Robin Hood Foundation

Lawrence Coburn, CEO and Co-Founder, twine

Aoife Delaney, Director of Marketing and Sales, The DMC Network, and President, Society of Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE)

Kathryn Frankson, Director of Event Marketing, Informa

Howard Givner, Founder & CEO, Event Leadership Institute

Lee Kite, Strategic Director, Distinguished Events, American Cancer Society

Bonnie Knight, Vice President, Membership & Events, American Telemed Association (ATA)

Brandt Krueger, Instructor, Event Leadership Institute

Sam Lippman, President, Lippman Connects, and Producer & Facilitator, Exhibition & Convention Executives Forum

Paul Mears III, President, Hello! Destination Management & Kapow! Events Management

J.B. Miller, CEO, Empire Entertainment

Suzanne Neufang, CEO, Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)

Steve O’Malley, Enterprise Vice President, Maritz Global Events

Jennifer Savica, Vice President, Head of Corporate Events, New York Life Insurance Company

Ryan Simonetti, CEO, Convene

Antwone Stigall, Senior Strategic Meetings & Events Professional

Kim Vinciguerra, CEO, International Carwash Association

Kevin White, Instructor, Event Leadership Institute, and CEO, XPL Agency

techsytalk is the Summit’s event management partner, providing technical production and operational support. Sponsors include Swapcard, Twine, Unbridled, McVeigh Global Meetings and Events, and Cadence. Smart Meetings is the Summit’s media partner.

See the full Summit agenda and stay up-to-date with the latest announcements by following us across social media @eventleaders.