Megan TanelAEM's Megan Tanel has joined the board of the newly formed Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance (ECA), an advocacy group comprised of eight associations that will work to champion the common interests of U.S. exhibitions and conferences with legislators.

The ECA will work to promote the impact of exhibitions and conferences, drive general industry awareness, facilitate legislation on behalf of business events, and work with partners globally as needed to maintain a favorable operating environment across the country.

“AEM is committed to continuing its efforts to support initiatives advocating for the importance of in-person exhibitions and conferences,” said Tanel who serves as AEM’s senior vice president, construction and utility sector. “Whatever form they come in – trade shows, dealer meetings, industry networking opportunities – face-to-face exhibitions and conferences are critical to the long-term success of our economy, our industries, and the customers they serve.”

Tanel has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality and trade show industries. Prior to moving to her current role with AEM, Tanel was responsible for overseeing Association trade shows and show partnerships, in the U.S. and globally, and event education/meeting programs. In addition, she served as co-chair of, and helped launch, the first-ever Exhibitions Day on the Hill in 2014.

Joining Tanel on the ECA’s board is:

  • Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, CEM, CEO, Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)
  • Melissa Cherry, COO, Destinations International
  • Jim Wurm, executive director, Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association (EACA)
  • Chris Griffin, CEO of Crew XP, representing Experiential Designers + Producers Association (EDPA)
  • Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman, representing Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA)
  • Clifford “Rip” Rippitoe, CVE, CEO of San Diego Convention Center, representing International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM)
  • Douglas Emslie, CEO of Tarsus Group
  • Hervé Sedky, CEO of EmeraldX
  • Nancy Walsh, president, Americas of Informa Markets
  • Yancy Weinrich CGO, Americas of Reed Exhibitions, representing Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO)

Existing advocacy initiatives Go LIVE Together and Exhibitions Mean Business will continue under ECA and carry out their respective missions— Go LIVE Together in advocating for federal COVID-19 recovery funding and Exhibitions Mean Business in promoting the value of face-to-face networking and the economic impact of exhibitions at the local, state and national levels.

In addition, ECA’s organizational structure will also allow for the development of new advocacy campaigns as specific needs arise in the future.

“Through lessons learned with Go LIVE Together, Exhibitions Mean Business, and other efforts, we know that advocacy is an ongoing process, and not one that can be easily impacted by jumping in only when there is a crisis,” said David Audrain, CEM, executive director of the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and co-president of ECA. “ECA will enable us to develop and maintain a long-term strategy to raise our industry’s profile among policymakers, ultimately helping to move us forward.”

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