Exhibition World Issue 3 – 2021 | Page 25

Women in exhibitions
“ Cherish our old core
competence – socialisation
and live interaction ;
develop an agile mindset ;
empower feminine
leadership and provide a
resilient platform through
collaboration to sustain
the synergy of members
with the aim of acquiring
new blood .”
so many women in the event and exhibition industry decide to pursue a career and start a family rather late or , unfortunately , not at all . It is a demanding industry , not structured in terms of hours , and it requires round-the-clock dedication .
At UFI the outgoing president and incoming president are women , but with only 15 % of women on the UFI Board there is still work to be done . This is probably a result of the fact that only people at the highest levels of companies are allowed to be candidates . Unfortunately , in the exhibition industry in the West , CEOs are still dominated by men , so if we don ’ t change the system of admitting women from levels other than CEO , we will still have a predominance of men on the Board . UFI should be the driving force behind such changes .
Ewa Woch says that with exhibition companies experiencing a crisis unknown in their previous history , only those that are creative and able to adapt to the new reality will survive . “ Those that survive will have employees able to make up for the losses of the last year and a half with hard , systematic and creative work .”
When it comes to such systematic , hard and creative work , there are no better employees than women .
The role of women is emphasised by Ela Roeske , who notes that digitalisation of the industry and
the development of new business units have given women a good opportunity because it is important to be patient and to keep in touch with customers left alone in the absence of tradefairs . “ To make sure they don ’ t forget about us , you have to react in real time ,” she emphasises .
Now is the time to rethink the business , to take a different look .
Dina Tomsic believes that the tradefair business model is rapidly changing in the direction of building long-term resilience and reinvention . The post-pandemic new reality has accelerated the evolutionary and digital transformation of the industry .
The new key competence thus becomes the ability to deliver high value-added capacity to participants in both a real and virtual dimension , with an emphasis on an innovative interactive user experience and inclusion .
The virtual dimension of business entails the involvement of e-stakeholders , which is a radical change for corporate governance . There will also be a vital role for sociology experts to advise the HR departments as we see changing competences needed in this new normality coming .
Ewa Woch believes women are the engine of new changes and are expert at running webinars , keeping in touch with clients and preparing for the restart of events . They sense moods much better and can look after lost customers faster and more effectively .
It is good that we can openly discuss the role of women in the exhibition sector , and there is still a lot to do in terms of opportunities for women ’ s advancement and admittance to the real job and salary matrix .
International organisations like UFI or IAEE or IEIA in India should be drivers for change . It is good that UFI has launched the Female Leadership Special Interest Group , focusing on empowering women and helping them to shape their career paths .
Olga Budnaya
Dagmara Chmielewska
Żaneta Berus
Inclusivity is not only about meeting the immediate economic needs of women , but is about laying out a longterm strategy for creating stronger systems and companies that reflect the experiences and contributions of women in the workforce and in society .
It is important not only to change the foundations of the lower levels , but also the upper levels of business management , where there is still a patriarchy in the tradefair business that should not exist . This is not about any feminist type movement , but about normal changes in response to changing economic needs .
Women have more than once proved that they are ready for such changes and many of them even inspire and introduce them themselves . Dina Tomsic mentions embracing high-tech tools as a new core competence in order to become aligned with the reality of digitally native generations . She advocates : “ Cherish our old core competence – socialisation and live interaction ; develop an agile mindset ; empower feminine leadership and provide a resilient platform through collaboration to sustain the synergy of members with the aim of acquiring new blood .”
According to Polish business publication Puls Biznesu contributor Paweł Janiewski , “ Successful women have one important feature in common - they do not focus on differences but on similarities Where others see an obstacle , they see new opportunities . The fact that men and women are different should , above all , be an opportunity for all of us , not a barrier . After all , it is only through differences and different visions that we can complement each other , exchange insights , learn something new and broaden our horizons .”
Żaneta Berus is owner of In2Win Business Consulting www . in2win . pl
www . exhibitionworld . co . uk Issue 3 2021 25