To tackle an imbalance of leadership that skews heavily toward men in the association, the Society of Independent Show Organizers has formed a committee that will work to remedy the gender disparity. Called SISO Women, the 17-person committee will explore ways to elevate skills and opportunities for women to close the gap among its leadership ranks. “We are about empowering women to reach their full leadership potential,” committee chairwoman Courtney Muller told Trade Show Executive. “It’s about giving women more skills in the workplace that men traditionally have.”
To that end, SISO Women has partnered with The Negotiation Institute, a think tank that researches gender imbalance issues. Together they are designing a survey that will attempt to delve deeper into facts and perceptions surrounding women in the trade show industry. The committee will wait for the results of the survey before devising a plan. “We need to have facts before proceeding with this initiative and determining what we’d like to talk about at the CEO Summit next year,” Muller said. Committee members are also allowing for the possibility that the perception of gender equality is exaggerated from reality. “Maybe when we look at it, it’s not going to be as disproportionate as we think,” she said. The survey’s findings will be released at the SISO CEO Summit in Florida next March.