SearchWide Global Assists the International Association of Exhibitions and Events with CEO Search

January 3, 2024 – Executive recruitment firm SearchWide Global has assisted in the recruitment of Marsha Flanagan as the new president and CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE). She succeeds David DuBois, who left the association to take the role of president and CEO of Exhibitor Group last October. Executive vice president Mark Gnatovic led the assignment.  “Under Marsha’s leadership, IAEE will continue to serve as the leading trade association for the global exhibitions and events industry,” said Dennis Smith, chairperson of the IAEE board of directors. “Her vision and strategic approach will ensure that IAEE remains a trusted partner for our members by engaging in industry collaborations and delivering valuable resources, advocacy and learning opportunities to drive success in the exhibitions and events ecosystem.”

Ms. Flanagan brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously served as the senior vice president of learning experience at IAEE, where she was responsible for all events and learning initiatives, including the Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM), Certified in Exhibition Management – Advanced Professional (CEM-AP) and CEM Fellow (CEM-Fellow) designations. Prior to joining IAEE, Ms. Flanagan served as the director of content strategy and development at Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), where she was responsible for creating strategies and helped to develop and deliver PPAI’s professional development and editorial initiatives.

“IAEE plays a vital role in advancing the global exhibitions and events industry, and I am honored to take on the position of president and CEO,” said Ms. Flanagan. “I am excited to work closely with the IAEE board of directors, staff, our members and other stakeholders to drive community engagement and growth for the organization.”

Related: SearchWide Global Recruits Chief Diversity Officer for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority

Established in 1928, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events is the largest association of the exhibitions and events industry in the world, with a membership of show organizers, exhibitors, and exhibition suppliers. Organizers of more than 20,000 exhibitions and buyer-seller events around the world are members of IAEE, and the organization advocates and promotes the awareness of face-to-face exhibitions and events as the primary medium for business development and growth.

Respected Recruiters

SearchWide Global, based in St. Paul, MN, is a full-service executive recruitment firm primarily for companies in the travel, tourism, hospitality, convention, trade association, venue management, and experiential marketing industries. The firm specializes in C-level and director-level executive searches for companies ranging in size from Fortune 500 corporations to mid-sized public and private companies and associations.

SearchWide Global Recruits Chief Sales Officer for VisitPittsburgh
Following a nationwide search that began in May, executive recruitment firm SearchWide Global has placed Andrew Ortale as the new chief sales officer for VisitPittsburgh, the tourism promotion agency for Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County. Senior vice president Kellie Henderson led the assignment. Mr. Ortale’s appointment marks a return to Pittsburgh for the seasoned industry veteran, who previously served as the national sales director for VisitPittsburgh from 2000 to 2003 before taking on a senior sales position with Visit Orlando.

Mr. Gnatovic leads SearchWide Global’s venue search practice (convention centers, stadiums, arenas, fairs, and PAF facilities). He also manages the firm’s convention, tradeshow, and experiential event marketing segments, in addition to his work with DMOs, associations, and sports. Mr. Gnatovic served six years as a board trustee with the IAVM Foundation before joining IAVM’s board as an executive committee member and their leadership task force committee. Prior to SearchWide Global, he spent over 15 years in the convention industry.

Past Assignment

SearchWide Global has assisted in the recruitment of Herschel Herndon as chief diversity officer for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) in Boston. Executive recruiter Donna Thornton led the assignment. “We are thrilled to welcome Herschel and have him join the leadership team at the MCCA,” said David Gibbons, executive director of the MCCA. “After a comprehensive search process, it was clear that Herschel’s leadership capabilities, experience, and knowledge of the DEI landscape makes him the perfect person to lead our efforts in truly making the MCCA an employer of choice.”

SearchWide was looking for candidates with a demonstrated ability to create and execute effective organizational strategies and transformations, as well as prior service building a diversity function and strategizing for organizations with diversity initiatives. Mr. Herndon fit the bill. He is a well-respected diversity and inclusion thought leader with over 20 years of experience in a number of different industries. Mr. Herschel most recently served as chief diversity officer for Thrivent, a Fortune 500 not-for-profit financial services organization, and since 2012 has led a consulting firm offering strategic guidance focused on global diversity and inclusion, market development, and community engagement.

Related: SearchWide Global Recruits Chief Diversity Officer for Destinations International

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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