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David DuBois, International Association of Exhibitions and Events

Been there

RS     You joined the IAEE nearly seven years ago now, did you have a tough act to follow?

DdB   My predecessor, Steven Hacker, was IAEE’s President and CEO for 21 years. He did an outstanding job of overseeing IAEE and left the association in very sound fiscal and organizational condition.

RS     What is your greatest concern at the moment?

DdB   The global exhibitions and events industry is, and always will be, subject to worldwide political and economic conditions. One of our many goals is to aggressively advocate about the positive impacts that our industry has on the global economy. We also always support the growth of international trade, educational enhancements, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and cultural exchanges that take place at thousands of exhibitions and events around the world. Thus, as we identify negative activities and policies that hurt our industry, we coalesce our members’ responses and initiatives in order to protect and grow our industry.  

RS     As CEO and President, which of all your duties brings the greatest satisfaction?

DdB  IAEE has many strategic goals and we will always focus on advocacy, networking, education and enhanced economic trade. We have more than 12,000 individual members who work for over 1,300 organizations in 50 plus countries. Satisfaction is achieved when we see our members positively grow their businesses and their own personal professional excellence.

RS     You have worked in almost every conceivable segment of the meetings business…

DdB   I have been very fortunate to have had many great jobs along my career path. Hotel sales and marketing, meeting management, destination marketing/convention and visitors’ bureau, association management and now the exhibitions industry. Each job has added many great experiences and job skills to my background. Financial management, human relations, skills development, global business acumen and overall business management capabilities have been my focus and I am indeed lucky to be in the wonderful hospitality, association, exhibitions and events industry.

RS     Early on, you looked set to be a hotels man. What made you join the PCMA, the Professional Convention Management Association?

DdB   After my 13 years in hotel sales and marketing, I had the opportunity to bring my skills to the association management field and work for PCMA. I never really looked back as I have enjoyed my time at PCMA, MPI, Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau and now IAEE. My entire career focus has been on meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE). What a great way to make a living and help to grow the very important and vital global MICE industry!

RS     And what did the PCMA do for you?

DdB   Every job that I have had has provided a great set of opportunities, challenges and personal growth. They have all allowed me to enjoy a 37-year marriage with my wife Nancy and provide a comfortable living for our three children (now all happily married and doing well).

RS     Then you decided to add destination management to your skills set.

DdB Selling and marketing a great city like Fort Worth-Texas, provided me with a new learning experience of working with a mayor, city council, chambers of commerce and many other destination entities. I will always cherish the six years that I spent there and we certainly do miss living in that great and vibrant city.

RS     Have you had to regularly relocate spouse and family in following your profession?

DdB My wife and I have either rented or owned many homes. We are very hopeful that our current residence will be one of the last that we own. Moving so many times was hard on my family but I love and appreciate the support that they provided me along the way.

RS     Is the IAEE of more interest to exhibition than congress organizers would you say?

DdB Exhibitions continue to be very relevant and important to congress organizers. Many congresses have the need and desire to support exhibition components within their events. Exhibitions can be very profitable, allowing congresses to provide enhanced educational and networking opportunities that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

RS     Are there too many meetings associations do you think?

DdB Association gatherings that are no longer needed nor relevant eventually cease to exist. As association management professionals, my team and I focus on providing enhanced educational and networking opportunities to our members. It is our goal and obligation to make it an easy decision for our members to attend our events and renew their membership dues.

RS     What are you aiming for at IAEE?

DdB  My main target is to help provide our staff and members with great support to enable them to succeed in their personal and professional lives. As they enhance their skills and abilities and successes in life, they will always achieve and/or surpass their desired goals at work or home.

RS     What advice would you give a new recruit to the meetings business?

DdB Make sure that you develop a personal and professional set of goals and work, every day, to achieve them. In school, we were encouraged to develop draft career goals and plans. In work, manage your career path as you had to manage your school curriculum. Set goals, work to achieve and surpass them, and always be prepared to make changes and adjustments on the way. As we move along our career path, as in life, we should always anticipate challenges and opportunities.