2018 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition Breaks Attendance Records in Chicago

August 23, 2018

A grand total of 6,092 association professionals and industry partners converged Aug. 18-21 in Chicago for the 2018 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition, the highest attendance the annual industry event has attracted. 

“This is our largest meeting ever!,” ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV told a packed room of journalists earlier this week.

He added, “Probably the only place we could have a larger meeting was to have it in D.C, but that hasn’t happened in 25 years.”

The 2007 event also was in Chicago when it scored its second highest attendance.

Graham said the economic impact to the city of Chicago was estimated to be $20 million, a amount that helped offset the $3.8 million spent by the city to host ASAE.

He added that 20 percent of the ASAE attendees would return and book their event in the host city as well.

In all, there were 3,534 association executives, 2,017 suppliers an17 guests, as well as 723 booths in McCormick Place’s West Building.

ASAE participants had the chance to hear speeches from keynotes Kickstarter Co-founder Yancey Strickler and World Champion triathlete Siri Lindley, take part in more than 110 education sessions, experience five game changers and explore a packed expo hall filled with destinations, venues and event tech company suppliers, to name a few.

The event also reported a strong ratio of 63 percent buyers (association staff) to 37 percent sellers (industry partners).

“Throughout the conference, our attendees heard from two fantastic keynotes, five Game Changers, engaged in 115 learning labs, and networked with industry partners in the expo hall,” Graham said. “Participants found new ideas, strategies and solutions they could take back to their organization.”

Strickler kicked off the conference as the opening keynote, providing insights on how he started Kickstarter and ensured it was designed to reflect trust, value and culture of the organization.

Stressing how financial maximization isn’t permanent, he emphasized how critical it is for organizations to focus and articulate other values including community, knowledge, human capital and security.

ASAE presented five game changers, including Gabby Rivera, author of “Juliet Takes a Breath” and Marvel Comic Series America; Rich Karlgaard, Forbes publisher and columnist and author of “The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success”; Seth Mattison, Luminate Labs co-founder and chief movement officer and co-author of “The War at Work”; Tina Tchen, partner at Buckley Sandler and former assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, and Manjit Minhas, co-founder of Minhas Brewery & Distillery Dragon, CBC Dragons’ Den.

In addition, ASAE raised $71,000 for The Greater Chicago Food Depository and Little Brothers: Friends of the Elderly. The total weight of the food donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository Food Drive amounted to 6,687 lbs., translating to 8,693 meals for those in need.

To wrap up the event, closing keynote Lindley told the inspirational story of her journey to become a triathlete champion. She stressed the importance of being willing to fail, letting go of fear and finding the gift in the struggle that comes with reaching our goals because it allows us to learn valuable lessons about ourselves in the process. 

The 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting is set for Aug. 10-13 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Don’t miss any event news! Sign up for any (or all) of our e-newsletters HERE & engage with us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn & Instagram!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
  MGM Resorts is renowned for its exceptional service and diverse venue options across Las Vegas, Detroit, Springfield, National Harbor, Biloxi, and Atlantic City, providing flexible spaces for meetings of any size. Beyond these offerings, MGM Resorts distinguishes itself through a strong commitment to social responsibility and sustainability, making it an ideal choice for your next meeting.  At the core of MGM Resorts' company values is its platform, "Focused on What Matters," dedicated to meeting customer needs while advancing socially responsible practices. This commitment is evident in several key areas:  Protecting Natural Resources  MGM Resorts is home to industry-leading recycling, renewable electricity and water conservation programs. Some highlights include a cogeneration power plant at ARIA, producing ultra-efficient electricity; one of America’s largest contiguous rooftop solar arrays atop the convention center at Mandalay Bay; and onsite wells that provide water for the celebrated Fountains of Bellagio, avoiding reliance on precious Colorado River water. These efforts and many more save on natural resources while boosting attendee satisfaction.  Committed to Community  Always striving to be good neighbors, MGM Resorts works to avoid food waste and combat food insecurity with the Feeding Forward program. In partnership with local food banks, they safely divert unserved food to food insecure members of the community. Since 2016, over 5 million meals have been provided, highlighting MGM Resorts' commitment to minimizing food waste and addressing community needs.  MGM Resorts supports clients in their responsible-meetings efforts, not only with efficient venues but also waste-reducing décor and signage; sustainable food and beverage options; and outreach to help planners communicate sustainability efforts to attendees. What’s more, they offer a Mindful Meetings series that puts attendee wellness first—through fitness and mindfulness activities, and in give-back events with local charity organizations.   Fostering Diversity & Inclusion  To MGM Resorts, a diverse and talented workforce is essential to success. By cultivating innovative strategies that consider multiple perspectives and viewpoints, the company creates an inclusive workplace culture that benefits its employees and community. MGM Resorts takes pride in being a welcoming home for veterans, individuals with disabilities, people from diverse backgrounds, LGBTQ+ community members, and more. This commitment to inclusion is reflected in the company's recruitment and hiring practices and its social responsibility initiatives. From the workplace to the community, MGM Resorts' commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion remains unwavering, and its efforts continue to create a more equitable and sustainable world for all.  MGM Resorts offers unparalleled service and venue options while standing out for its proactive approach to sustainability and community engagement. Choosing MGM Resorts for your next meeting means aligning with a company that values social responsibility, efficiency, and attendee satisfaction, ensuring a meaningful and impactful event experience.