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ISES Leads Event Industry Toward Future

THE INTERNATIONAL SPECIAL EVENTS Society set new goals and shared ideas before a record attendance of 380 at its annual Conference for Professional Development, Aug. 7-10 in Washington, D.C. The CPD was a time to recap the year's growth and announce the outlook for the future.

Incoming ISES president Don Saytar addressed members and explained the organization's governing structure. As president, he serves on the ISES Executive Committee, which includes Robert Sivek, CSEP; Lena Malouf, CSEP; Lee J. Howard; and Carol McKibben, CSEP.

During his address, Saytar painted his vision for the future of ISES and named three short-term goals-increasing its financial stability, improving the efficiency of its headquarters and making its Web site easier for visitors to use.

In an interview with Special Events Magazine, Saytar says that the executive committee is the strategic body of ISES. "By virtue of our travel to chapters and continuing dialogue with our members, we are keenly aware of member issues, chapter concerns and general matters. We take those into consideration when we craft any vision or draft any policy statement." Saytar adds that the elected ISES Board of Governors, not the Executive Committee, decides whether a policy is enacted.

The committees under the Board of Governors are Communications, Marketing, Membership, Education, Ethics, Certification and Esprit Awards. Saytar appoints committee chairs to one-year terms; they in turn assemble their committees. He says they work with the Executive Committee to plan ways ISES can elevate the profession.

Of his first goal, Saytar says, "In my opinion, long-term financial stability is the key to developing new initiatives and expanding the benefits of ISES membership." He praises immediate past-president McKibben, who developed non-dues revenue sources during her term. "We've come a long way over the last two or three years," Saytar says. "Our reserve fund is starting to grow. In our adolescent years, we have to operate more like a business servicing our customers, rather than a smaller fraternity. We can't please everybody in every instance, and that's where the business paradigm is going to take over."

Saytar says he feels positive about improving the efficiency of ISES headquarters. "We have committed to a capable new team of six full-time staff members. ISES has never had such a staff strength before. We're going to work on our levels of customer service in the next year."

The Web site needs improved graphics and interactivity, according to Saytar. "It should be a virtual spokesperson for our industry and what our members do."

He also reveals a few visionary concepts, including a suggestion from Tony Timms, president of the ISES United Kingdom chapter. Timms has suggested that a standardized ISES contract be used worldwide. "In essence, the buying public will be able to go to Canada, Japan, the United States, and there will be a common contract-no surprises," Saytar says.

Timms has also suggested that every ISES contract have a performance guarantee, Saytar says, whereby an ISES member in certain cases would fulfill a contract for another ISES member at no cost to the client.

For complete coverage of the ISES Conference for Professional Development, please turn to page 18a for a special eight-page insert of eventworld.

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