Executive Director David Audrain introduces the Society of Independent Show Organisers, who will be weighing in on a range of industry-related topics in future issues.
SISO is known by many in the global exhibition industry, but many others do not know the true scope of what the organisation entails. SISO is an organisation for ‘independent’ show organising companies, with ‘independent’ being a euphemism for ‘For-Profit’.
SISO member companies must be in the business of organising events for a profit and pay taxes on those profits. This was specifically designed to exclude non-profit associations from membership. While this also means that our venue and services partners are not able to join SISO, we do work closely with them through relationships with their organisations around the world and through the many wonderful sponsors of the SISO Conferences each year.
SISO is managed from the USA (Atlanta, Georgia to be specific), but it is not an ‘American’ organisation. SISO has a truly global membership, including the vast majority of the major global exhibition organisers from around the world.
What SISO is most known for is the SISO CEO Summit. This is the largest and most important annual gathering of C-Level executives from around the world each year, and the next edition will be held in Miami, Florida, 24-27 March, 2019.
The content of the CEO Summit is developed by a Planning Committee made up of a group of C-Level executives from the SISO membership and is led each year by the in-coming SISO Chair, which for 2019 is Greg Topalian, CEO of Clarion UX in the USA.
The SISO CEO Summit will have more than 330 senior executives in attendance, and the programme content is considered to be the most thought-provoking in the industry. Many attendees of course come to the CEO Summit just because of the connections they are able to make, as this is a group that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.
In recent years SISO has expanded its efforts in several areas with Special Interest Groups (SIGs) serving them. One of the first was for businesses with less than US$10m in annual revenues, and a ‘Small Business Roundtable’ half-day programme is held immediately prior to the SISO CEO Summit.
Another SIG was formed two years ago for the Women leaders which delivers a half-day ‘SISO Women’s Executive Forum’ in conjunction with the SISO CEO Summit, and a one-and-a-half-day programme immediately prior to the SISO Leadership Conference.