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GMID and the Importance of Industry Associations

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Events and brand experience: Real results, real impact, all around the world

With Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) coming up next week, our industry is afforded the opportunity to celebrate its impact on people, business, and communities. On April 12, event professionals from across the global meetings and events industry will come together to participate in an international day of advocacy. Last year, in fact, GMID inspired more than 120 events across six continents.     

Ahead of GMID, we reflected on the power and importance of industry advocacy with some of our Freeman employees who hold leadership or committee roles within our industry associations.


To start, we asked these leaders about the purpose of industry associations. Common themes emerged around advocacy, education, and networking. As Lisa VanRosendale explains, “industry associations are a primary resource for connecting like-minded people together, propelling knowledge in the marketplace, and sharing thought leadership.”

In some cases, the role of associations is to “be the voice of the industry” as Julie Krueger puts it. Skip Cox adds that some also “provide unbiased quantification of the value of exhibitions and data to help industry constituents maximize their effectiveness and results.”

Next, we talked about why it’s important to be involved in industry associations. Overwhelmingly, there was a sense of obligation — “industry leadership is an obligation and an honor. To be a leader, you must first SERVE,” says Jim Russell.

There was also a sense of paying it forward to the next generation of professionals. “I think it’s important to pass along knowledge, ideas, and constructive council,” suggests Daniel McKinnon.

Participation in industry associations can also be great for building careers. Brent Linkin explains that it’s key to building a personal and professional network, keeping your organization at the forefront of our industry, and connecting with potential and current customers. Bill Kubiak agrees, stating, “In my view, it is the difference between a job and a career.”

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This group had a lot to say about the value of associations and how they help to elevate and advocate for the industry. “Simply stated, there is strength in numbers. Joining together with other like-minded individuals creates a symbiotic relationship. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” says Kubiak.

One of the results of that strength in numbers is the ability to create change. According to Van Rosendale, “There has been a great change in the industry because of associations. Processes, protocols, and standards are an integral output from associations. Pulling key influencers together and going to show organizers and others increases the potential to adopt change.”

While these leaders have committed countless hours dedicated to a variety of industry associations, they all agree that they’ve gotten out as much — if not more — as they’ve put into them.

McKinnon cites great personal and professional satisfaction, because he has the opportunity to share his passion around the world. Cox credits industry associations with affording him deeper insights that he can apply to his work along with key relationships — both personal and business — that would not have developed without his involvement in industry associations.

Krueger describes her international experience, explaining that through her work with industry associations, she is able to bring the worldcloser together. 

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A World Without

What would our industry look like without these associations? Our leaders weigh in!

Russell states that it would be a “disconnected and voiceless group of individuals vs. an incredibly relevant multibillion-dollar industry that drives the global economy.”

Cox says that without them, the industry would lack the professionalism, foundation, and value that can be accredited to the work of associations.

Krueger adds that without industry associations, you would not have “an effective way to exchange knowledge, connect with others, share and create experiences, align regulations, and speak with one voice to move the industry forward.”

Final Thoughts

Joining together for events such as GMID elevates our industry by showcasing the value of the meetings and events industry to those that can help us advance. – Jim Russell

If you’re not involved in an industry organization — why not? Go get in the game! – Bill Kubiak

So what are you waiting for? There’s no better time than around GMID to get involved with an industry association. Your participation will help advocate for and promote our industry for years to come!  

Freeman would like to thank everyone across the industry who serves on a committee or in a leadership role.

Your work is invaluable to the industry we all love. We’d also like to acknowledge the many Freeman employees who are currently serving in industry association leadership or committee roles:

  • Beth Martin: IAEE Hosted Buyer Task Force
  • Bill Kubiak: CSEP, MPI Foundation U.S. council member
  • Brent Linkin: IAEE Midwestern Chapter Chair
  • Carrie Freeman Parsons: PCMA Foundation Visionary Awards — Lifetime achievement
  • Chris Metzger: HCEA Board of Directors
  • Chris Schimek: President-Elect, ESCA
  • Cory Clayton: ESCA Official Contractor Member of the Board of Directors; ESCA Scholarship Program Committee Co-Chair
  • Daniel McKinnon: IAEE Chair; CEIR Immediate Past-Chair
  • Dawn Archambault-Perry: IAEE Women’s Leadership Committee; Industry Partners Committee
  • Deb Ferbrache: IAEE Southeast Chapter Chair
  • Frankie Mason: MPI Atlantic Canada President-Elect
  • Heidi Welker: PCMA board of Trustee for the Foundation; Chair of Meetings Mean Business Canada; CANSPEP advisory council, Human Trafficking Committee
  • Ian Sequeira: Chair of CEIR Research Council
  • Jeff Chase: Immediate Past Chair, EIC Sustainability Committee
  • Jim Russell: MPI Foundation Chair
  • Julie Krueger: MPI Foundation EMEA Chair
  • Larry Luteran: US Travel Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition
  • Lisa VanRosendale: CEMA Board of Directors
  • Madeleine Bart: President, PCMA Canada East
  • Marty Cymbal: Labor & Management Committee Co-Chair
  • Peter Abraham: IAEE New England Board of Directors
  • Skip Cox: IAEE Past Chairpersons Advisory Board; IAEE Guidelines for Display Rules and Regulations Task Force; IAEE Legend of the Industry
  • Wendi Sabo: IAEE Education Committee
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