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Meet the 2020 Speakers

Lori Anderson
President & CEO
International Sign Association

Lori Anderson is President & CEO for the International Sign Association (ISA), which serves the sign, graphics and visual communications industry. ISA’s programs include conferences, advocacy, technology, research and ISA International Sign Expo®, which attracts some 20,000 professionals annually.

Lori is experienced at leading the association through significant change. During her tenure, ISA has undergone a reorganization to realign its membership structure and expanded its international reach. She has guided the organization through several iterations of strategic planning, designed to capitalize on new opportunities and technological changes that impact its members. She has worked to build an industry association that benefits everyone, from small two-person shops to multi-national companies. She has developed and grown programs that bring young people and women into manufacturing. Her experience and skills have made her a highly sought-after speaker and presenter.

She is a past chair of the NAM Council of Manufacturing Associations Board of Directors and was recognized in 2013 by the NAM with its Leadership Award. She has served as a member of the Boards of Directors of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the European Sign Federation, and the American Sign Museum. She also is a member of the US Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. In 2003, she obtained the ASAE Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation, and in 2018 was selected as an ASAE Fellow.

Prior to joining ISA in 2004, Lori was with the Society of the Plastics Industry (now called the Plastics Industry Association) in Washington, DC, where she was responsible for a number of programs, including government affairs, statistics, international trade policy and strategic planning. She also was a legislative aide on Capitol Hill and a public school educator.

Aaron Bludworth
President & CEO

Aaron Bludworth is the CEO of Fern, a top-three exhibition official services provider in the United States. Fern has operations throughout the U. S. and services nearly 1500 exhibitions annually as well as thousands of other events. Aaron’s career in the industry began in 1992, and Before joining Fern in 2008, Aaron held executive positions at Modern Exposition Services and GES.

Aaron has been extensively engaged in industry leadership throughout his career. Aaron is a past president of the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA), past chair of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), past board member of the International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE) and a former board member of several other industry organizations. Aaron was the inaugural recipient of IAEE’s Humanitarian Award.

Aaron is an officer and appointed board member of Tri-ED an economic development agency in the Cincinnati region. Aaron is a board member of the Next Generation Freedom Fund an organization focused on reducing inter-generational poverty. Aaron advises and fundraises for poverty relief organizations in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, and Utah.

Alex Chausovsky

Alex Chausovsky
Economic Advisor, Market Research and Future Trends Analyst
ITR Economics

Alex Chausovsky is an accomplished Speaker and the Director of Speaking Services at ITR Economics. He is a highly experienced market researcher and analyst with more than a decade of expertise in subjects that include macroeconomics, industrial manufacturing, automation, and advanced technology trends. He has consulted and advised companies throughout the U.S., Europe, Brazil, China and Japan for the last fifteen years and has been featured on NPR, the BBC, and in the Wall Street Journal.

Nancy Drapeau

Nancy Drapeau, PRC
Vice President of Research

A 27-year market research veteran with over 18 years in the business-to-business exhibitions sector. As CEIR’s VP of Research, Ms. Drapeau conducts industry wide studies and reports on current trends in the exhibition industry. She holds a BA in Government from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Advanced European and International Studies from l’Institut Européen des Hautes Études Internationales. She is an AC Nielsen Burke Institute trained focus group moderator. She is a well-respected industry speaker and an active member of the Insights Association (formerly the Marketing Research Association) as well as a past participant of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) Future Trends Task Force and member of the Event Industry Council’s (EIC) Research Committee.

John Gerzema
Harris Insights & Analytics/The Harris Poll

John Gerzema is CEO of Harris Insights & Analytics/The Harris Poll, a leading public opinion, market research, corporate, brand and reputation strategy firm. John is a pioneer in the use of data to identify social change and help leaders and organizations anticipate and adapt to new trends and demands. An author, strategist, speaker and consultant, his books are on the bestseller and critics ‘best of’ lists of The New York Times, WSJ, Washington Post, Bloomberg and Fast Co and his writing and interviews have appeared in NYT, FT, Economist, NPR, Forbes, Quartz, McKinsey, HBR, WIRED among others. An expert in leadership and social change, John was named among the “Top Management Articles of the Decade” by Strategy & Business and his TED talks are widely viewed.

As a Distinguished Fellow with The Athena Center for Leadership at Barnard, he is an advocate for Women and Girls and serves as board advisor to The U.N Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, University of The People and The National Kidney Foundation. John is among “The Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business” and “Must-Follow Marketing Minds on Twitter” by Forbes. He presented gender inequality findings in the media and workplace at The World Economic Forum in Davos and designed an analytic model with The Wharton School for U.S. News & World Report “Best Countries” rankings.

In 2015, John was named to The Medill Hall of Achievement at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. His latest book with Pulitzer-Prize winner Michael D’Antonio explores the rise of feminine values in leadership, policy and innovation. Tom Peters says, “The Athena Doctrine is a powerful book. Extraordinary research. Great storytelling. A message both timely and of monumental importance.”

John previously served as Global Chief Insights Officer at Young & Rubicam and CEO of WPP’s BAV Consulting.

Gregory O’Dell
President & CEO
Events DC

Gregory A. O’Dell currently serves as the president and chief executive officer of Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia. Events DC owns and/or operates some of the national capital’s most iconic venues, including the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium & Campus, the non-military functions of the DC Armory, the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square and the Gateway DC events pavilion in the city’s Congress Heights neighborhood. The organization also built and serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States and home of the current World Series Champion, Washington Nationals.

As president and CEO, Mr. O’Dell oversees Events DC’s three lines of business: Conventions & Meetings, Sports & Entertainment, and Creative Services. His primary responsibilities include overseeing the hosting, promotion and production of convention, sports and entertainment events that generate economic and community benefits for the residents and businesses of District of Columbia. He also manages Events DC’s development portfolio, most recently completing the construction of the recently opened, Entertainment & Sports Arena – a new multipurpose entertainment and sports arena that houses the exclusive training facility for the Washington Wizards and a 4,200-seat arena that features diverse programming as well as serving as the home of the WNBA Champion Washington Mystics.

As the convention and sports authority for the District, Events DC was created in 2009 through the merger of two former, independent quasi-governmental agencies – the Washington Convention Center Authority and the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission. Mr. O’Dell has the unique experience of having led both organizations as part of his public service in the District of Columbia.

Prior to the merger, Mr. O’Dell served as chief executive officer and general manager of the Washington Convention Center Authority, where he was responsible for the operations of the 2.3-million-square-foot Convention Center, an award-winning facility that sees approximately one million visitors each year and has generated more than $5 billion in direct delegate spending since opening in 2003. Mr. O’Dell was also responsible for the Authority’s development efforts, having led negotiations with the selected private developer and provided oversight throughout the project lifecycle of a $520 million public-private partnership for the 1,175-room, 37-suite Marriott Marquis Washington, DC hotel that opened in May 2014.

Before joining the Washington Convention Center Authority, Mr. O’Dell was the president and chief executive officer of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, where he led the project team that completed the $611 million, 41,546-seat and Silver LEED-certified Nationals Park. During his tenure at the Commission, Mr. O’Dell was also responsible for the operations and maintenance of the RFK stadium and campus, inclusive of hosting various events including Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer play, marketing and sales activities, and the contract and services management related to the hosting of events at RFK. Before heading up the Commission, he was the chief development officer for the Government of the District of Columbia, where he was responsible for stimulating and promoting economic development within the District.

Preceding his move to District government, Mr. O’Dell worked for the former management and IT consulting firm BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting). While there, Mr. O’Dell advanced to senior manager and practice lead for Construction Advisory Services, responsible for construction and development services to both public and private clients. After leaving BearingPoint, he served as a principal and owner of the Clemens Consulting Group, where he continued to provide consulting services to clients throughout the lifecycle of their development projects.

Additionally, Mr. O’Dell serves on several boards, having recently served as the Chairman of PCMA – one of the leading convention industry associations in the world; he currently serves as Vice Chair of the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC). He also serves on the Board of Trustees for Wofford College, Children’s National Hospital and the National Foundation for Affordable Housing Solutions.

Vincent T. Polito
Managing Director

With more than 20 years in senior leadership positions in the industry, Vincent is generally recognized as a content development and execution specialist. During his career, he’s had two international postings, launched events on five continents and developed highly specialized conferences in technology, life sciences and healthcare. Vinnie is also the past Chairman of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), the leading organization in the conference and trade show industry.

Sam Potolicchio, Ph.D.
President, Preparing Global Leaders Forum
Distinguished Professor/Vice Dean , Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

Dr. Sam Potolicchio was named one of “America’s Best Professors” by the Princeton Review, the Future Leader of American Higher Education by the Association of Colleges and Universities, and winner of the OZY Educator Award as one of the six outstanding American educators. He was also profiled in a cover story on his leadership curriculum by Newsweek Japan as the “Best Professor in America.” Potolicchio is President of the Preparing Global Leaders Forum and Distinguished University Professor, Department Chairman and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Political Science at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. He teaches in the EMBA programs at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown and at the Mannheim Business School (Germany). He is a visiting lecturer at University of Bologna (Italy). He is a columnist for Newsweek Japan, a Distinguished Global Scholar at the Canterbury School of Fort Myers, and the lecturer on Leadership at the Library of Congress for OWLC, an international leadership program of the United States Congress. Potolicchio is an adviser to prominent business, non-profit and government leaders. He created and designed the first undergraduate degree in Global Governance and Leadership in English in the Russian Federation where he serves as Academic Director.

From 2015-2019 Potolicchio served as the Director of Global and Custom Education at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, has been a visiting professor at New York University, and joined Senator Richard Lugar as tag team senior lecturers at UIndy’s Semester in Washington. Potolicchio has delivered lectures in over 85 countries, from Oxford, LSE, Cambridge and Yale to Iraq’s Komar University and Donetsk State University. As a middle-school basketball coach he led his Little Hoyas to 6 league titles and previously served as a 5th grade Latin teacher, public high school teacher of Law and History and secondary school admissions officer.

Yancy Weinrich
Chief Operating Officer
Reed Exhibitions

Yancy Weinrich currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Reed Exhibitions, overseeing growth and strategy for 25+ B2B shows and events covering multiple sectors, including leading shows in their industries – JCK, PGA, Vision Expo, Interphex, and ISC. Yancy is a member of the senior leadership team for Reed Exhibitions North America. The beginnings of her career path began in finance, and after 16 years at RX North America, is a well-rounded trade show executive.

She is an International past President of the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA), and a sought-after presenter/speaker in the industry. She currently serves on the Board of the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF), and has won numerous awards in the industry as well as specifically in the jewelry industry, where she started her career in events.

In her personal time, she likes to golf, ski, take yoga and spin classes, read, and spend time with her family and friends.