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Ep 041 – GO LIVE TOGETHER – How industry leaders are trying to save jobs and economic impact

Go Live Together is a critical and growing initiative which has the potential of over $1 Trillion in Economic Impact, plus positively impacting literally millions of jobs around the world who are part of what they are calling the Live Events Ecosystem.

Honored to have these 3 leaders as my guests today:

Cathy Breden – CEO, Center for Exhibition Industry Research Foundation (CEIR) – Exec Vice Pres/Chief Operating Officer at International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE)

  • In her work over the past 12 plus years with CEIR, she has been leading the primary research studies that prove the effectiveness and efficiency of exhibitions as a marketing medium. She and her team then incorporate those findings to promote the image, value and growth of exhibitions.

Sue Sung – Senior Vice President of Strategy at Freeman, a global brand and leader in the live events industry. If you have any experience at all in planning exhibits for any period of time, you most likely have worked with Freeman in some aspect.

  • In her role, Sue works with senior executives to set the strategic direction for the company. She partners with business leaders to identify, develop, and execute programs that drive performance in support of Freeman’s overall goals. Sue has extensive experience in strategy consulting across a broad range of industries, and is making a difference in the trade show and live events industry.

David DuBois is the President and CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events® (IAEE).

  • As IAEE’s president, DuBois is responsible advocating for the industry and the organization’s members, providing organizational leadership and strategic counsel to the board. Also, he serves as the association’s representative with industry coalitions, partner organizations and strategic alliances. In other words, he’s going out every day sticking up for all of us in the industry! In 2019, DuBois was inducted into the Events Industry Council’s “Hall of Leaders,” one of the industry’s most prestigious honors.


  • How did the idea of Go Live Together come about?
  • We knew we had a responsibility to the live events industry (and to the economy at large) as we navigated the unprecedented impact of COVID-19. We wanted to do what we could to prepare for and accelerate recovery post-pandemic, and knew that our collective impact and message would be greater than individual ones. From there, we formed the coalition and have seen an outpouring of support across the industry. 
  • Why is this initiative so important for the industry?
  • Go LIVE Together has assembled leaders from across the diverse and vibrant live events ecosystem to drive local, state, and federal legislative actions that will not only be critical to our ability to put millions of people back to work, but also for our country’s economic recovery.
  • The beauty of the coalition is that it is not anchored to any one company, but truly represents our collective industry. 
  • How did you get such key industry associations and partners to get involved?
  • We engaged with leaders across the events industry, and word spread quickly across social media as well. People believed in our message and goals and were eager to get involved. 
  • Go LIVE Together now has over 1,500 organizations representing tens of thousands of companies and millions of jobs, and over 2,500 members. 
  • What are the main goals of Go Live Together?
  • Go LIVE Together focuses on safety, impact and legislation and have developed task forces for each. 
  • Safety- We understand that ensuring exhibitors and attendees feel safe returning to events will be a critical first step in our ability to get back to work. Several of our partners are actively working on this issue and have created recommendations to serve our industry. We are focusing on areas including personal safety, enhanced cleaning, social density at events, entrance controls, and on-site services and management. 
  • Impact- The live events industry contributes over $1 trillion to the U.S. economy, impacts 6.6 million jobs, and contributes $130 billion to federal, state and local taxes. It’s clear that the return of the events industry will be critical in accelerating our nation’s economic recovery and putting millions of people back to work. We have created a range of materials that industry professionals can share to highlight the impact of the events industry. 
  • Legislation- Legislation will be key in supporting the recovery of events. We have to tell our story and get legislators to listen, and we have developed specific asks that will help our industry. These include categorizing business events as “controlled gatherings” instead of mass gatherings, as they are prepared to safely reopen in accordance with expert guidance from the CDC and health officials. We also know that attendees and exhibitors need incentives to return. And finally, our business will need protection in the form of expanded insurance coverage, safe harbor from frivolous legislation and offsets for added safety enhancement expenses, in order to reopen. 

How can people and businesses get involved? How should they contact you?

About the author, Jim

Jim Cermak has over 30 years of exhibiting, planning and working trade shows. As a Professional Trainer, he helps companies transform their results at trade shows, expos, events and conferences.

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