IAEE’s Women’s Leadership Initiative provides a holistic approach to developing leadership skills for women in the exhibitions and events industry regardless of age, individual situation or current position.

Message from IAEE Women’s Leadership Committee Chairperson

Ann Olson, CEM | Vice President of Client Relations | GES

I am so excited to share the experience we had at the Signature Women’s Leadership Forum in Leesburg, VA last month. It was an amazing experience, shared by so many great women in the industry. I want to thank the committee members who worked so hard to ensure this event was better than ever. It would not have been possible without you!

The group of over 220 attendees included 100 first-timers who heard about the impact of this event experience from past attendees. Everyone was eager to meet others, hear from our speakers and share in the networking and camaraderie. They were not disappointed!

The event was held at the beautiful Lansdowne Resort and Spa in Leesburg, surrounded by rolling green hills and some of the first real glimpses of Spring. Monday evening brought a fun networking event followed by an enjoyable reception. Tuesday was a jam-packed day, with four wonderful speakers. Our emcee for the event Janet Sperstad, CMP, spoke about the scientific basis for how women think and lead. Risha Grant joined the group and shared many ideas on inclusion and diversity. Amber Rae shared her experiences with releasing worry to make room for wonder in our lives. After lunch, we brought all of our speakers together for a panel to discuss current issues facing women. Jess Ekstrom finished the day with her story of perseverance, encouraging us to not let failure stop us and reinforcing that failure is a much better alternative than regret. I know my head was filled with new ideas and ways to address challenging areas in our lives. Like always, this was a day that left me feeling recharged and energetic.

I can’t believe the next Regional Women’s Leadership Forum in Chicago, IL is just a few weeks away, on 16 July in Schaumburg. I hope, whether you were or were not able to attend the Leesburg event, that you will consider attending in July. It promises to provide new ideas and great new connections with women in the industry.

Thank you all for attending and sharing this experience. And for those of you who weren’t able to come, I hope you will be able to attend in the future.

Pay Equity in the Exhibitions and Events Industry

Despite the fact that the exhibitions and events industry employs more female professionals than male, women earned 60% of what men earned in 2018, according to a new survey on Compensation Trends by Trade Show Executive (TSE) and the International Asso­ciation of Exhibitions & Events® (IAEE). In fact, female exhibition/event professionals earn an average base salary of $92,400 annually, compared with their male counterparts who earned $154,703.

The pay gap in the exhibitions industry is wider than other industries. On average, a woman earns 80.5 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to data from the US Census Bureau. In 2018, about 57% of women are part of the workforce, compared to 69% of men, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. IAEE reports 58% of members are female.

It’s worth noting that a 2018 compensation study conducted by Mercer for the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) reveals gender pay gaps on the for-profit side, but not as large. For Show/Event Managers, women average a base salary of $75,166, compared with their male counterparts who earn $84,468 — a dif­ference of 12%. The gap increases as the level gets higher. For Show Directors, women average a base salary of $98,997, compared with males who earn $121,382 — a gap of 23%.


Base Salary by Gender

Did You Know…

Individuals with the CEM designation make up to 30% more? 

The Certified in Exhibition Management® (CEM) is a globally recognized designation that demonstrates the highest professional standard throughout the exhibition and event management arena. It was first created in 1975 to raise professional standards in the event industry and it continues to be the premier mark of professional achievement.

The CEM designation accommodates short and long-term career goals with education that can be tailored to meet specific needs and interests. The designation is obtained by completion of nine courses offered in classroom and on-line formats. The CEM Learning Program is offered in a variety of countries, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, India, Korea, Mexico, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, and Thailand.  For more information, contact Jennifer Potter at jpotter@iaee.com to get started.

Active CEMS Around the World

59% of Our Female Members are Under 40?

The IAEE Young Professionals group was created to fill an important niche in the exhibitions and events community. If you are 35 or under and are looking for a network with core life objectives including career advancement, becoming financially secure and being involved in a special interest group while maintaining a social life, then IAEE Young Professionals is right for you. Contact Jannat Choudhury for more information.