Bob Priest-Heck

Chief Executive Officer & Board Member

Bob is known as a visionary leader of people and events. His extensive experience across industries, technologies, and geographies brings a forward-thinking view to people development, business strategy, and the industry at large.

Under his leadership, Forbes recognized Freeman as #4 in the Best Employers for Women and also as a Best Large Employer, AdAge listed Freeman as the world’s largest global event marketing company in their World’s 50 Largest Agency Companies list, and Chief Marketer named Freeman to its Top Marketing Agencies of 2022.

An advocate of design thinking, Bob inspires by demonstrating innovation, made possible in a diverse and risk-tolerant environment. He encourages and motivates employees to integrate and optimize new technologies, championing Freeman’s vision to transform the world of live engagements.

Bob has always worked at the forefront of innovation in the events industry.  In the emergence of digital technology, he managed and created specialized trade events for early internet developers. He was a contributor when the first user-friendly web browser, Mosaic, was relaunched as Netscape Navigator. He moved to Japan to unveil the first major tech event produced outside of the U.S., NetWorld+Interop, and built a market for disruptive technology events. He helped host the first JavaOne conference for developers while working with Sun Microsystems, acted as an executive coach to Google leadership, consulted UBM (now Informa) on key acquisitions, and helped Dwell magazine expand its media platform into the new world of brand experiences.

Bob continues in the spirit of transformation and is respected for his progressive efforts in technology, advocacy, sustainability, and safety. He is optimistic about the future of the events industry and its evolution as the world’s markets change. At the forefront of the pandemic, Bob brought together over 80 industry leaders to form Go LIVE Together, facilitating legislative action to support the industry. This effort lives on as the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA), for which Bob serves as a board member. He also collaborated with John Cordier, CEO of Epistemix, on the creation of EnVision, a conference that brings together top health officials, scientific experts, and industry executives.

Most recently, Bob was part of the CEO advisory group that launched the Net Zero Carbon Events pledge at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26. Additionally, he has been honored among BizBash’s 2021 Most Influential Event Management & Consulting Professionals, received the 2021 Catalyst Award from Smart Meetings as an agent of change in the meetings industry, and was named by Meetings Today as one of the top twenty 2020 Meetings Trendsetters, recognizing those who stepped up when the industry needed them most.

Through Bob’s leadership, Freeman continues to transform live events, working as a team to reshape experiences — virtual, in-person, or integrated — that unite people for the moments that matter, no matter the format or timeframe.

Bob’s Blog:

Photo of Bob Priest-Heck
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