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CEO Update LIVE webinar: Somehow, meetings must go on

Veteran leaders say member interests come before association financial needs; virtual will complement but won't replace in-person events

Webinar CEOs
From left, Scott Solombrino, Barbara Lopez Kunz and Dennis Slater.

May 8, 2020
By William Ehart

Urgency and a can-do spirit were on view April 30 during CEO Update LIVE: The Evolution of Meetings webinar featuring three event-savvy association CEOs.

For the Global Business Travel Association and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, the return of face-to-face exhibitions is a matter of life and death: The pandemic has caused an epidemic of contingency planning.

“There aren’t a lot of alternatives for what we do,” said panelist Scott Solombrino, GBTA CEO. “(Virtual meetings are) never going to monetize enough to help pay the bills to keep our advocacy side moving.”

Panelist Dennis Slater, CEO of AEM, said groups may need new business models until things return to relative normalcy—perhaps with smaller events rather than none at all.