Exhibition World Issue 3 – 2021 | Page 23

Women in exhibitions
I went on to be Polish Commercial Consul in the USA , in Chicago . Women accounted for almost half of our consulate staff there .
When I returned to Poland , Expomedia Group was taking its first steps on the Polish market and my mentor and first bosses there were Roger and Mark Shashoua , who made a bold investment in Warsaw with the construction of the EXPO XXI exhibition centre .
There I was promoted to president of the Board and was listened to on an equal footing with my colleagues and I always could confidently present my ideas on the development of the company . All that mattered was competence , although I admit I was initially rather irritated by the favouritism of British Expomedia employees sent to Poland , in relation to Polish employees who were sometimes much better . However , after several years of co-operation these inequalities disappeared as well .
I now run my own consulting company , In2Win , as well as working with one of the largest event agencies on the market , BERM Creative Group , where I have been offered the role of managing director .
I have also been active in industry associations , such as IAEE , UFI and the Polish Association of the Event Industry , where for the last six years I have been a Board member . I have also been a member of the Association of Conferences and Congresses in Poland and the Warsaw Tourist Organisation . I am a licensed lecturer of the CEM programme , and have never felt the gender weakness in our industry .
Keen to find out what other women in our part of the world think , I asked a few colleagues in Poland , Russia and Croatia for their take on things .
According to Elżbieta Roeske , vicepresident of the MTP Group : “ It is said that business has no gender , but the business we run needs both genders to the same extent , as they bring different experiences , perspectives and skills . In our company , women work in virtually all positions ( including the Board ), and they make up almost 40 % of directors .”
Dina Tomsic , CEO at Zagreb Fair ( Croatia ) says : “ Equality boosts quality ” and sees a more equal inclusion of women in leadership
Above : Żaneta Berus at IEIA congress in 2018
positions as a process . “ At the same time , it is impossible to separate the topic of career and the role of women in the structure of family life , primarily women as parent caregivers ,” she says .
Dagmara Chmielewska , president of Poland ’ s Event Industry Association , says that the EIA does not have precise statistics on the number of women to men in the event sector , a result she believes stems from the industry still being a poorly recognised branch of the economy . However , she says women tend to occupy managerial positions most often in event agencies , managing a team , but still tend to avoid technical departments . She notes the previous EIA board was all female , and the current board has three women and one man .
Ewa Woch , the president of EXPO KRAKÓW , also offers some empirical observations . “ We should probably separate PCO / DMC or event companies from exhibition companies . The former are usually small companies based on a dynamic owner , a field where women are as active as men and , it seems to me , their individual skills determine both the development of their companies and their individual earnings ”.
Tradefair companies , being usually larger and belonging to local authorities , tend to be have more ‘ patriarchal ’ relations . Practically all of them have a male chairman . However , in recent years management boards there too are tilting towards having more women .
Twenty five years ago Ewa Woch , together with some friends , decided to create an event organising company . “ The beginnings were extremely difficult ,” she says . “ We had no money , but we had enthusiasm .” From those beginnings , Grażyna Grabowska and Ewa Woch now head the Board .
It should be remembered that the position of women 25 years ago in Poland was very different . Today , says Woch , Targi w Krakowie is one
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