Leadership / 01.11.22
INTIX 2022: President & CEO Maureen Andersen on What to Expect
All systems are go for INTIX 2022, which will be live and in-person in Orlando, Florida, from Jan. 18-21. The times usually shape this annual conference and exhibition. Never has then been truer than this year, as the ticketing and live events industry continues to deal with a global pandemic that just won’t go away.
No one has worked harder on this year’s show than INTIX President and CEO Maureen Andersen. “This year’s INTIX will be a show of strength,” she says. “It’s a time where so many are tired. I think many are coming to INTIX to reinforce how strong they are, to get feedback on their own resiliency and to authentically talk about what they’ve been through. A lot of this year’s programming is centered on that theme of resiliency. More importantly, there will be discussions about ‘Where are we going from here?’, and ‘What have we learned?’ That puts us all on the same playing field, whether it’s your first time attending or your 25th.”
While the stakes are high and the panels and workshops will be serious in nature, Andersen is still looking forward to INTIX 2022 being an extremely fun event. The fun factor? “The community will take care of that on their own, to a certain degree, because that’s who they are,” she says. “They’re hungry to be with one another, to talk to each other, to see each other in person and know that we’re all OK. That’s why they are coming. We are as stable as we are because there is that commitment to being with each other. When we’re together, there is such a feeling of camaraderie and community. There will also be a certain degree of celebration. We’ve come this far, and we have surmounted a hell of a lot of mountains to get here!”
The venue will provide a lot of the fun, too. Rosen Shingle Creek is more than a resort. It has become a convention destination hub, and one INTIX was fortunate to book years before the COVID-19 crisis hit. The property features over 1,500 guestrooms and suites and more than a dozen on-site restaurants.
Andersen says, “My crystal ball must have been working six years ago when we booked this hotel. It has so much outdoor activity. It sits on the head waters of the Everglades. It has a huge, 18-hole, championship-level golf course. There are so many outdoor spaces — outdoor bars, outdoor restaurants, outdoor everything — that capitalizes on the lovely weather of Florida. It has served us well for what we need to do to give us big spaces, lots of room, and being outside for lots of our activities. The hotel is very well-run and managed, and they are very cognizant of safety, cleaning, masking and doing everything they need to do. Their business hinges on this, too.”
Andersen is especially excited for those members attending their first INTIX conference. Her advice? “Bring your business cards and put yourself out there. It’s a friendly, wonderful group. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Everyone is very welcoming, generous and open. There will be so many opportunities. You can sit at a table of people you don’t know; engage in conversation; and, before you know it, you’ll have colleagues and resources that you’ll be able to use and call on. In some cases, you’ll even make lifelong friends.”
There will also be plenty of excitement and value for those members who have attended multiple INTIX conferences in the past. “There is strength in numbers,” Andersen says. “INTIX has always been a place where you’ve figured out you weren’t alone. This year, you really aren’t alone! We all have had the same common experience that we’ve had to live through. We’ve all had to reopen and do it in myriad ways. But the commonality is, ‘We’re still standing tall, here’s what we’ve learned, and here’s what we’re going to do in the future. Here’s what we are taking with us, and here is what we’re getting rid of that didn’t work then and doesn’t work now.’”
She continues, “For me, I look forward to looking into everyone’s eyes and knowing that they’re OK. I’ve seen them on Zoom for two years. I’ve talked to them on the phone. I’ve been emailing and texting and having conversations with our community since last we were together in New York. It will so wonderful seeing them, feeling their energy, and really and truly knowing they are OK and even thriving. Walking on the stage for the first time and seeing everybody in one room, that’s going to be a tearful moment. That’s going to be joyful.”
That being said, putting together INTIX 2022 has certainly had its share of challenges. Last year’s show was all-virtual, so it’s been two years since Andersen and her colleagues have put one of these together. Pandemic-era features will include making wider aisles, larger spaces to mingle in and the addition of COVID-19 testing on-site.
“We had to figure out what we used to do, and then we had to reinvent, as well,” she says. “We had to be nimbler and more flexible than ever before. And, of course, adding as many health and safety features as possible and being open and transparent as we had added layers along the way. I’ve had good teachers. The people who are coming to INTIX have taught us how to do this. They’re doing it every day. They’ve shared what works for them, and those are the things we put into this conference.”
Overall, Andersen concludes, putting together INTIX 2022 has been one of the more rewarding experiences in her time as president and CEO. She credits the people around her for their energy, commitment and creativity. “It’s been rewarding watching people dig into the creation of a program,” she says, “and seeing them have a common theme that I didn’t have to drive. It came from them and through them. We did a curation, and we did our call for presentations. Those who submitted programming didn’t make it about COVID-19. They made it about the successes. It’s not a program about surviving a pandemic. That’s a through line, most certainly. But it’s really a program that is geared to a collective future. It’s about hope and success. No matter what, we’re getting through this, and we will emerge with a stronger, better and brighter future for all of us.”
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Tags: Leadership , INTIX 2022