What is the key driver of event growth? Design, according to keynote speaker Michela O’Connor Abrams, who will kick off the Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum, May 29 at the JW Marriott Washington, D.C.

Abrams, president of San Francisco–based Dwell Media, will demonstrate how design has played a key role in the rapid growth of Dwell on Design, the event she founded in 2005, and how unimaginative design can diminish an event’s value. “Good event design promotes one-to-one connection—the be-all, end-all reason to exhibit or attend,” says Abrams.

Now in its 12th year, ECEF is an invitation-only event organized by Sam Lippman, president and founder of Lippman Connects, for independent and association executives who manage trade shows and exhibitions.

Closing keynoter Cal Newport, assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown University, will talk about the millennial generation’s “passion problem,” and what it means for events. He’ll explain why the phrase, “follow your passion” is bad advice for engaging millennials.

Also planned is a session on how to create a hosted-buyer and/or VIP buyer program. Speaker Terry Arth, vice president, member programs, at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, will talk about how to develop small, standalone hosted-buyer programs as well as those that are part of a large convention or exhibition.

Hal Vandiver, executive consultant, Material Handling Industry of America, will lead a session on how to use business cycles to plan and budget for events. And a session called “Our Attendees Speak,” will feature a panel of corporate buyers who will explain why producers must change their events to keep attracting attendees.

Finally, ECEF will conduct audience polling for instant results on industry hot topics as well as share major findings from Lippman’s Large Show, Attendee Acquisition, and Exhibit Sales Roundtables.  

To attend, apply at www.LippmanConnects.com.