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IAEE Announces Marsha Flanagan as President and CEO; First Female CEO in 95-Year History

Marsha Flanagan

DALLAS — The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) announced Marsha Flanagan, M.Ed., CEM will be the new President and CEO of the association. 

In the role of President and CEO, Flanagan will provide executive and organizational leadership, and serve as IAEE’s representative in industry coalitions, partnerships and alliances. She will also provide strategic counsel to the Board of Directors and further IAEE’s mission to promote the value of the exhibitions and events industry globally. 

“It means the world to me to have the support of the IAEE board and staff as I enter my new role,” Flanagan said. “I have spent my career as an educator and events professional and my passion for the exhibitions and events industry knows no bounds. I am looking forward to elevating IAEE to new heights and growth in the coming years.” 

Flanagan said she is excited to support IAEE’s growth plan and will continue to implement its digital strategy and cultivate a staff culture that focuses on customer value and revenue. She also looks forward to inclusive leadership opportunities, forming new alliances and attracting the next generation of industry professionals. 

Flanagan is no stranger to IAEE, as she has served as the Senior Vice President of Events & Learning Experiences at the association since 2012. In the role, Flanagan was responsible for all events and educational initiatives and certification programs, including CEM, CEM-AP and CEM-Fellow. 

Under her leadership, IAEE’s Expo! Expo! has ranked in the Trade Show Executive (TSE) Fastest 50 two times, in show years 2014 and 2018, and the 2022 edition ranked in the TSE Next 50 for net square feet (19.5% growth) and exhibiting companies (23.9% growth). Showing strong resolve as the industry came out of COVID, the 2022 show was a resounding success with 233 exhibiting companies, more than 1,400 attendees and spanning 30,6000 net square feet.  

An industry advocate and professional of 30 years, she has also worked as Director, Content Strategy and Development at PPAI — Promotional Products Association International and Vice President of Professional Development at Meeting Professionals International. 

“The IAEE Board of Directors is beyond pleased with the appointment of Marsha Flanagan as the next IAEE President and CEO,” said 2023 IAEE Chairperson and Vice President of Business Development at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association Dennis Smith. “This position not only leads the organization, but also plays an integral role in shaping the evolution of the exhibitions and events industry. We recognize that we owed IAEE members and the entire industry a decision that will have a lasting and positive impact on the future of exhibitions worldwide. Marsha fills this role with passion, integrity and grit.” 

IAEE has been searching for a new President and CEO since April. The IAEE Board of Directors retained SearchWide Global for the search for the association’s new President and CEO, following the announcement of David DuBois’ departure from the association earlier in 2023.  

“This is the first permanent female CEO of the association in its 95 years. The IAEE Board of Directors has complete confidence in Marsha to keep the needs of IAEE members front and center while advocating for the industry at the federal level and through alliances and collaborations,” Smith said. 

Stay tuned to TSE for future coverage on Marsha Flanagan. 

Reach Marsha Flanagan at; Dennis Smith at 

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