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Meet the Industry Vet Taking Over IAEE’s Events

Photo of Jason Ware at the Tony Awards.
Headshot of Jason Ware.
Jason Ware

When the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) went looking for a new vice president of events and experiences, it tapped a 30-year meetings and events veteran with a list of contacts stretching through the industry and whose resume boasts a diverse set of MICE organizations.

Jason Ware assumed the role March 1 and is charged with developing new marketplace opportunities for IAEE’s entire portfolio of events, including its annual meeting and exhibition, Expo! Expo!, annual Women’s Leadership Forum and educational programs such as webinars. IAEE represents organizers of more than 20,000 exhibitions and buyer/seller events throughout the world.

Ware will also work with the association’s sales, marketing and membership teams and on its attendee acquisition and fundraising strategies.

“With both events and education, coupled with fundraising, this just sounded like the perfect fit for me, and the next step for me and my career,” Ware said. “I just feel like everything in my career has kind of culminated to this moment of where I’m at with IAEE.”

Ware's boss, IAEE President & CEO Marsha Flanagan, echoes her new hire's enthusiasm.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jason to our team," Flanagan said. "He brings extensive experience on both the organizer and client services side of our industry. With a proven track record of orchestrating memorable and seamless events, Jason is poised to elevate our event experiences to new heights. His meticulous attention to detail, passion, unique perspective, creative vision and dedication to exceeding expectations make him an invaluable asset to IAEE. We are excited for the innovative events he will bring to life and the positive impact he will make on our overall IAEE community.”

[Related: IAEE Names Marsha Flanagan President and CEO]

A Diverse Background

Ware brings three decades of MICE experience to the role, having most recently served as vice president of convention housing operations and contracting/sourcing for marketing, events and engagement company MCI USA, and in director of meetings roles for the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.

Dallas-based Ware also worked in a variety of positions for MPI earlier in his career, rising to the position of senior manager of membership marketing.

It’s this wide-ranging experience and long list of contacts that made Ware the perfect fit for IAEE.

“I think it was my diverse background of having worked at an association, having been a show organizer, and then also on the supplier side,” he said. “That combination is certainly going to help propel me in the right direction with this next step with IAEE, and obviously, my vast industry network of contacts.”

Photo of IAEE Expo! Expo! show floor.
 IAEE Expo! Expo! show floor. Credit: IAEE.

[Related: Jason Ware Joins IAEE as Vice President of Events and Experiences]

Post-Pandemic Ponderings

As someone who has seen many cycles in the meetings and events industry, Ware recognizes the pandemic era as the most turbulent, disruptive force that’s ever impacted it.

“Coming out of the pandemic, the lessons learned have been for us to ask questions and to think differently,” he offered. “The way we used to do business may not have been the best way to do business, and it’s forced us to really look at and examine our pricing models, what we offer to attendees. Covid, obviously, changed us dramatically. It’s taught us that while we did go through the pandemic, we were able to realize the virtual space in order for us to meet. But maybe the basics are always going to be the same; you’re getting people together to exchange ideas.

“On the planning side, obviously, we’re still dealing with a little bit of labor shortage in some cities and costly room rates,” he added.

Advice for Those Entering the Industry

An unabashed fan of musical theater—the background on Ware’s Zoom setup is a mishmash of classic Broadway show playbills—Ware shares one passion with many of his colleagues in that he loves a good show, whether in the audience or helping to produce one.

For those just stepping into the spotlight, Ware—who like many in the industry found a career in it by accident after graduating from college with a degree in graphic design—offers the following snippets of advice:

  • There’s no such thing as a dumb question.
  • Ask all the hard questions up front; it helps you avoid surprises in the end.
  • Lean on your network: If there’s something you’re unfamiliar with, align yourself with people in the industry that you can lean on and get advice from.
  • Take advantage of opportunities.
  • Gain as much education as you can via resources such as webinars.

“You know, it is really just such a nice industry that has welcomed me,” Ware said. “I think, for someone starting out, they’re pretty darn lucky to be in an industry like this with so many friendly people.”

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About the author
Tyler Davidson | Editor, Vice President & Chief Content Director

Tyler Davidson has covered the travel trade for nearly 30 years. In his current role with Meetings Today, Tyler leads the editorial team on its mission to provide the best meetings content in the industry.