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Make a Difference All Year

Marie Browne
IAEE Chairperson Marie Browne stresses the importance of participating in industry advocacy throughout the year.

Editorial Note: Originally published in the May 2024 issue of Trade Show Executive magazine.

With ECA Legislative Action Day taking place this month, industry leaders have a golden opportunity to play a crucial role in shaping our business environment through direct tête-à-têtes with our nation’s leaders. As we navigate unprecedented challenges, it is more important than ever to advocate for policies that foster growth, innovation and sustainability – and ECA Legislative Action Day is a powerful tool for accomplishing that.

However, it is not the only day to promote our industry. Advocacy is a process that takes time and requires an influx of support. Even if you cannot be on Capitol Hill on May 30, you can be a vital contributor to our industry’s advancement by participating in ongoing calls to action to our government officials throughout the year.

Advocacy is your opportunity to influence outcomes that can determine business regulations, policies and funding opportunities within the industry. Not only does being involved in our industry’s legislative activity allow you to collaborate with like-minded professionals, but it also helps build strong networks that amplify our collective voice to create a positive overall impact.

As you read the ECA Legislative Action Day Preview in this issue, it is important to note that the concerns being addressed with U.S. officials directly impact the future of how we work which is, essentially, our livelihood.

Some of these issues – such as reinstating communicable disease coverage in event cancellation insurance, for example – come from the hard lessons dealt to us by the pandemic. This coverage provides peace of mind to event organizers and bolsters the industry’s survival in the face of unforeseen circumstances.

Calling for increased transparency in music licensing creates a fair and competitive marketplace that benefits both artists and show organizers. Addressing anti-competitive behavior by music rights holders ensures reasonable access to music for exhibitions and events, allowing us to nurture creativity and entertainment while furthering the growth of our industry.

Restoring visa operations to pre-pandemic levels is critical to enabling business travel and facilitating global commerce. Modernizing and streamlining the visa processing system will not only fuel economic growth, but also enhance cultural exchange and collaboration.

State and local anti-growth taxation policies can hinder the success of our industry, thereby undermining our ability to contribute to local economies. Since state and local efforts to restrict the continuity and freedom of operations for business events can be detrimental, we must advocate for policies that protect the rights of show organizers to operate seamlessly.As I discussed in last month’s issue, supporting industry-led efforts to reduce carbon footprints and adopt sustainable practices allows us to preserve our environment in addition to the long-term viability of our industry.

Last, but not least, aiding our workforce development is crucial to our industry’s future. Government-backed financial support for attracting and retaining our next generation of workers via internships, trade school programs, higher learning and/or professional development opportunities through the various channels available to current and future industry professionals serves to build and reinforce a skilled, diverse talent pool.

One way you can help our nation’s leaders understand the value of their commitment to the success of the trade show industry is by contacting your representatives and urging them to support these initiatives. Learn how to get more involved in legislative advocacy on the ECA website at

Each of us can make a difference in helping our industry flourish and contribute to economic growth, cultural exchange and environmental sustainability. Regardless of whether you are attending this year’s ECA Legislative Action Day, I invite you to contribute to our continuing story by supporting industry-wide advocacy efforts throughout the year.

Marie Browne
2024 IAEE Chairperson
Group Vice President

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