Tough Year for Events but With Every Dark Cloud Comes a Silver Lining

Monday, July 13, 2020

Employee Spotlight Profile
Allison Kline Miller, Event Manager
Gardner Business Media, Inc.

Allison Kline Miller, Event Manager, Gardner Business Media, Inc.

Allison Kline Miller’s professional silver lining this year has been Amerimold Connects, groundbreaking as one of the first virtual events in our industry. No playbook for how to take an event virtual, and many decisions made with little information. Its success springboards decisions with IMTS Spark and our other events this fall.

When Maralah reached out to me for this employee spotlight profile, I have to say I laughed a teensy bit – I’ve worked at Gardner for 20 years (just celebrated my 20 year anniversary on June 15th), and arguably, for my whole life. However, the timing of this request was perfect, as I’ve recently been part of a project that took me by surprise with how privileged I felt to be a part of it, and I wanted to share why.

It goes without saying that this has been a tough year for events. To date, we’ve cancelled eight events in 2020, and there are five more events this fall that remain questionable. We had a budgeted revenue for 2020 of nearly $4.2 million dollars – and that is without having PMTS this year! It’s a tough pill to swallow when as an organization we have worked so hard to build our robust event portfolio.

But, with every dark cloud, there is silver lining – and my professional silver lining this year has been Amerimold Connects. Amerimold 2020 was forced to cancel on April 4th, when we made the decision to pivot towards a virtual event. It was a daunting task – there was no playbook for how to take an event virtual, and many of the decisions that needed to be made were made with very little information.

At the time of cancellation, we had more than 150 companies that were exhibiting with us, and all of them needed answers about what options were available for money they had paid us. In a very tight time frame, Gardner’s sales team rallied together to walk each of our customers through their options and introduce the idea of Amerimold Connects.

While we were trying to promote this new concept, we were simultaneously building it. There are so many virtual event platforms out there, and many of them were also trying to reorganize and redevelop while we were evaluating various products. Once we figured out what we wanted, the real work began. The Events Team, along with some amazing support from Map Your Show, worked tirelessly behind the scenes to pull this event together.

Ryan Delahanty, as the Publisher of Mold Making Technology, was actively involved in our overall strategy, and I know I speak for both of us when I tell you how proud we are of what this team accomplished. He continually reminded us that “Leaders Rise” – and we watched while this group rose to the many challenges presented . . . and just figured it out. Jacquie, Michelle, Dan, Tarah, Austin, Anne . . . thank you for the long days and tireless efforts.

There’s one more person that I would be remiss if I didn’t call out. Christina Fuges. Amerimold has always been Christina’s baby – and she is the glue, the glitter and the heart of this event. None of that changed when we decided to launch Amerimold Connects. She was on almost every exhibitor call, practice session, pre-recoded session, team meetings . . . you name it – she was there. I honestly don’t know how she did it and I feel honored to have gotten to work so closely with her. She is passionate, smart, ambitious . . . and as it turned out, pretty darn good in front of a camera, too. If you haven’t taken time to view any of live sessions – they are available to view on demand on our home page: Ryan and Christina were fabulous co-hosts and it’s worth seeing them in action!

Amerimold Connects was not a huge event – however it was groundbreaking as one of the first virtual events in our industry. Its success has led to other conversations for Map Your Show and will also help inform our decisions as we move forward with IMTS Spark and our other events this fall.

Speaking of events this fall . . . what’s coming up?

With the cancellation of IMTS, we also had to cancel the three events we had co-located with IMTS – The Top Shops Conference, The Additive Manufacturing Conference, and the Parts Cleaning Conference. We are in the process of figuring out specific details on those, but we will be holding some virtual workshops or presentations throughout the Spark product (it will be open August 15 – March 15, so we have plenty of time to help fill).

Meximold 2020 Extrusion 2020 Top Shops Executive Summit Molding 2020 Carbon Fiber Composites World 2020

Beyond that, we still have 5 events that are currently scheduled to go on as in person events. Until there is a reason that we CAN’T have the events, we will proceed as if we are hosting them in person.

Obviously, there are challenges, and the landscape is changing daily.

We will keep everyone as informed as possible as we get more information.

Every state has a different set of circumstances related to the pandemic, and as such, all have different policies and “phases” that impact our ability to hold in person events. So, while we are planning for the events like we normally would, we are also looking at back-up plans and hybrid approaches.

As we continue to navigate what our new normal looks like as people and as a company, I think it’s safe to say that all of us have learned things we didn’t know before, and have been surprised in our ability to adapt. While we don’t know what the future will hold, we do know that we can look for the silver linings and find ways to evolve, adapt and embrace whatever lies in front of us.

Fun fact: Allison was the first female pole vaulter in the State of Ohio. Just don’t ask how high the bar was placed😊.

Need more information?
Allison Kline Miller
Event Manager
Gardner Business Media, Inc.

About the Author

Allison Kline Miller, Event Manager, Gardner Business Media, Inc.

Allison Kline Miller

Allison officially joined GBM in June of 2000, after graduating from Oho University with a degree in Organizational Communications and Spanish. The Organizational Communications was to help in her desire to be a part of Gardner; and the Spanish was simply part of a desire to study abroad to Alicante, Spain and Merida, Mexico. She started as the Tradeshow Manager, traveling to various industry events on behalf of Gardner, setting up, tearing down, and managing Gardner’s booth needs. From there she moved into the Marketing Department, handling the marketing for PM and PF – where she ultimately relaunched the Electroless Nickel Conference and fell in love with event management. In 2010, she became the Director of Events at Gardner, and has since worked with her team and countless others to create a robust and profitable event’s department.