• Exhibition Industry Urges Governor Pence to Modify Religious Freedom Restoration Act

    Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has received criticism from numerous individuals around the country, causing many companies and organizations to rethink hosting exhibitions and events in the state. The newly signed bill prohibits the government from substantially burdening a citizen from practicing his or her religion, but critics say it openly allows for religion to be used as an excuse for discrimination.

    Recently, the executive committee of IAEE recently wrote an open letter to Governor Pence of Indiana urging them to clarify that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act would not allow discrimination. The letter, signed by Chairperson Megan Tanel and President David DuBois, states that IAEE cannot support any legislation or actions that could lead to discrimination at any level.

    “It has already become very apparent that many businesses, meetings, conventions and exhibitions have either already done so, or are considering, boycotting Indiana for current and future engagements. Such boycotts negatively impact Indiana employees who work in the hospitality, exhibitions and events industry,” wrote Tanel and DuBois.

    IAEE joins the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Visit Indy and a number of other exhibition and events industry organizations that are expressing concern about the recent passing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana.

    The entire letter can be viewed below:

    31 March 2015

    Dear Governor Pence:

    The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) is a Dallas-based association with over 9,000 members in 51 countries. Our members own and/or manage over 14,000 exhibitions and events in the United States. The direct spend of the exhibitions and events conducted in this country totals $69 billion. Exhibitions support thousands of jobs across our country, generate millions of dollars in incremental taxes (for and in both cities and states) and help to create educational opportunities for thousands on an annual basis. In fact, many products are introduced into the marketplace as a result of exhibitions. Your businesses across Indiana are the frequent recipients of our industry’s important work and economic impact.

    With that in mind, we respectfully request that your office work with the Indiana General Assembly to adopt corrective language to Senate Bill 101, The “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” clarifying that the law does not allow discrimination of any kind against any segment of the population. It has already become very apparent that many businesses, meetings, conventions and exhibitions have either already done so, or are considering, boycotting Indiana for current and future engagements. Such boycotts negatively impact Indiana employees who work in the hospitality, exhibitions and events industry.

    The “Hoosier State” has a decades-long reputation for delivering world-class hospitality and service to ALL visitors and attendees. IAEE and our members cannot support any legislation or actions that could lead to discrimination at any level. Nor can we support the boycotting of exhibitions, meetings and events as a weapon in this debate.

    Thank you for your immediate attention to this important matter.

     

    Regards,

    Megan Tanel, CEM

    Chairperson of IAEE

    And

    Vice President of Exhibitions and Events

    Association of Equipment Manufacturers

    David DuBois, CAE, CMP, FASAE, CTA

    President and CEO

    International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE)

     cc: President Pro Tempore of the Senate David C. Long, Senate Majority Leader Brandt Hershman, Senate Minority Leader Timothy Lanane, Speaker of the House Brian C. Bosma, House Majority Leader Judson McMillin, House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, Visit Indy President and CEO, Leonard Hoops

    Additional commentary on the position taken by IAEE, ASAE and many others from the exhibitions and events space can be found at:

    http://www.tsnn.com/news-blogs/trade-show-industry-rebukes-indianas-passing-religious-freedom-restoration-act

    http://www.tradeshowexecutive.com/archive/industry-news/indiana-moves-quell-uproar-over-religious-rights-law

  • EXHIBITOR SPOTLIGHT: Taylor Miller, Owner of Hazen Jewelry

    Taylor Miller is not your ordinary 21-year old. A recent graduate of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, she is not actively seeking an entry-level job like the vast majority of her peers. Instead, Miller has just launched the eCommerce site for her popular jewelry line, which she founded in elementary school.

    As a child, Miller became obsessed with creating jewelry pieces on strings of dental floss with her grandmother’s broken costume jewelry. What began as a hobby quickly turned into an opportunity, and Hazen Jewelry was born. The company has grown 30 percent annually for the past five years and recently launched its first website with purchasing capabilities. So far, her business has sold a combined 25,000 pieces of jewelry to domestic and international buyers at $40 to $500 a piece.

    For Miller, exhibitions and events were, and continue to be a big portion of how she markets her products to both consumers and retail buyers. Exhibitions Mean Business sat down with the young entrepreneur and asked her a few questions about how the exhibitions and events industry has helped Hazen Jewelry flourish.

    —————————

    Taylor_Miller_HazenJewelry2EMB: How long have you been involved in the exhibitions and events industry?

    Miller: I have been involved in the exhibitions and events industry for 10 years. I started showing at the Atlanta Market in 2005 and have since grown to work the High Point, North Carolina and Dallas Markets.

    EMB: Why did you choose exhibitions and events as a way to market your company?

    Miller: Exhibitions and events provide access to volumes of professionals in the industry that would not otherwise be gathered in one place at one time. At said exhibitions and events, I am able to convey my company’s message and goal to purposeful buyers in a condensed period of time.

    EMB: What keeps you coming back?

    Miller: Exhibitions and events are not only a great opportunity to network and communicate with customers but are also very profitable and vital to a wholesale business model like mine.

    EMB: Tell us about a moment, experience, connection made at an exhibition or event that reminded you why you love what you do.

    Miller: I first met the founder of Vera Bradley, Barbara Baekgaard, while attending my first Atlanta market at the age of 12. She was not only kind and encouraging, but supported my business pursuits by purchasing multiple pieces of my jewelry. For the past 10 years, Barbara has visited me at market each year to share words of encouragement. Barbara is a woman I greatly admire for not only her business sense, creativity, and entrepreneurship, but also for her genuine kindness. I would never have had the privilege of meeting Barbara and many other inspiring individuals and mentors had I not had the privilege of attending events such as market.

    EMB: If you were recruiting new talent to this space, give us your sales pitch in 50 words or less:

    Miller: Creativity and ingenuity run deep and wide. Everyone has a story to tell and something to learn. Create, teach and learn in one place. Welcome to the world of exhibitions & events.

    EMB: Finish this sentence – Without exhibitions and events _______.

    Miller: Without exhibitions and events, it would be much more difficult to do business and grow a business.

     

    If you have an interesting story about how the exhibitions and events industry has benefited you or your company, please head over to our Get Involved page and submit your answers to our questions.

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