The Time For Talk About Digital Transformation Is Over

Event Tech Brief

The Time For Talk About Digital Transformation Is Over



By Michelle Bruno and Allie Gardner

The editorial team of Event Tech Brief was invited to work behind the scenes at Transform USA to provide input on the individuals and organizations leveraging data, analytics and digital to grow and reinvent their exhibitions and conferences. Before you register (the conference is limited to senior-level event organizers and sponsors) for the 2018 event, it may be helpful for you to know a couple of things.

First, the basics
Transform USA is a one-day conference for C-level executives, as well as presidents, vice-presidents and directors of event organizations and venues. The event encourages participants to engage in deeper conversations about what is and isn’t working in data and digital, what trends and tools will work to their advantage and how to begin implementation. This year’s Transform USA takes place at the Newseum in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, July 18th.  

Keeping what works in a conference format
There will be moderated, multi-person idea-sharing presentations (some people call them panels). Love them or hate them, they’re still a very effective way to introduce diverse perspectives on specific topics in a short amount of time. Food and beverage is a constant at conferences, so Transform won’t reinvent the wheel there. There will be morning coffee, lunch and a post-event cocktail hour (what’s a conference without networking?).

And, as with other conferences that cater to decision-makers, Transform will feature decision-makers. Executives from Clarion/UX, ReedPOP, National Kitchen and Bath Association, Reed Exhibitions, North American Veterinary Community and others will talk about how they’re leveraging data and digital technologies and building a data-focused, digitally engaged organization. A few of the highlights include:

  • Bill Darcy, Jr., CEO of the National Kitchen and Bath Association will describe how his organization added and monetized a B2C component to its Kitchen and Bath Industry Show website.
  • Tom Bohn, CEO, North American Veterinary Community will explain what happened when he “layered” individual digital technologies within the group’s Veterinary Meeting & Expo.
  • Jamie Notter, co-founder and consultant at Human Workplaces and co-author of When Millennials Take Over, Preparing for the Ridiculously Optmistic Future of Business will outline a formula for transforming management as the new generation of technology- and data-savvy employees enters the workforce.
  • Michael Schaiman, senior vice-president, digital experience at Helios Interactive, a Freeman Company, will talk about using virtual reality to enhance attendee experiences and earn new sponsorship revenue.  
  • Ailis McKernan, head of digital at AMR International will walk attendees through the impact of blockchain technology on the exhibition industry.
  • Deborah Sexton, former president and CEO of PCMA will talk about future business modeling and how to grow events that respond to an evolving, increasingly digital business environment.

Doing a few things differently
The team behind Transform USA, AMR International, is intentional about differentiating this conference from others addressing a similar audience. For example:

  • It’s no accident that the organizers selected the Newseum as the venue for Transform USA. It’s high-tech, futuristic and provides a different type of experience than a hotel ballroom or a conference center. Transform hopes that when attendees walk through the door, their preconceived notions about managing events and organizations in the digital age are put aside for the day.
  • The morning presentations are designed to provide the contours of the discussion and stimulate questions so that in the afternoon attendees can sit with the same presenters in small groups to go deeper into the topics, ask how-to questions and share their own experiences. Transform isn’t a buffet (getting a little of everything) or a spaghetti dinner (getting a lot of one thing). It’s more like a five-course meal where you get to talk to the chef about each dish.
  • Digital transformation requires trying new processes and technologies. Transform USA selected Event Tech Tribe, a federation of pre-integrated technology providers, as one of the principal technology providers for this year’s conference to practice what it teaches. The Tribe is an alternative to either all-in-one event management platforms or multiple software providers (with multiple points of contact). As a hybrid of the two models, Event Tech Tribe allows organizers to work with a single point of contact while getting the benefits and features of best-in-craft technology companies.
  • Transform USA programming is focused exclusively on data, analytics and digital: how results are achieved, what benchmarks and KPIs are required, what technologies are changing the industry and what organizations must do to manage change.

It really is time to stop talking and start doing
One of the morning sessions at Transform USA is titled, “Stop Talking—We Did It—Come Listen!” It could be the tagline for the entire conference. Digital transformation, particularly within the exhibition industry, has been slow compared to other industries and the time for talk is done. This conference has taken on the responsibility of educating industry leaders on how to grow an event or an event business in a dynamic, digital environment. Every year, it will expose attendees to the collective experiences, methodologies, and innovation of data, digital and analytics in events. If you’re interested in the next steps or have a story to tell, join the Transform USA community.

For more information on Transform USA, updates on the schedule and registration, visit  For information about participating in the event as a sponsor, contact Gillian Campbell at



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