In Conversation With Yancy Weinrich, President North America, CloserStill Media

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Yancy Weinrich CloserStill Media's newly appointed President of North America

ES. Please give a brief overview of your background and your role in the company.

Yancy Weinrich. I started at Reed exhibitions 18 years ago in sales on the jewelry portfolio, and prior to joining Reed, I was actually an Exhibitor at one of the RX jewelry shows. During my time at Reed, I rose up through the company to take on more shows including the golf portfolio, then the optical portfolio, and from there I was promoted to Chief Growth Officer where I oversaw all 40 b2b U.S. events (pre-pandemic). I was ultimately responsible for the strategy, structure, delivery, sales, marketing, and digital, to get us through the pandemic . . .so much fun and what a learning experience!

I was appointed President, North America for CloserStill in May of this year, and my role is to grow the North American business through organic growth, launches and acquisitions over the next 24-36 months. I see CloserStill as an organizer with a huge opportunity for growth in the US Market, and I was up for a new challenge. I really related well with the founders and CEO. There is a very nice balance of traditional event fundamentals with a vision for the future to become the leading events for the communities that we serve.

ES. What were the past experiences, achievement or lessons that shaped your journey as a successful leader in this industry?

Yancy Weinrich. Before coming to the trade show side, I worked for a non-profit in the jewelry industry, in which we were an exhibitor at many trade shows around the world. I like to think that I am able to put myself in the customers’ shoes and understand their pain points, as I have ‘been on that side of the aisle’. This helps me with developing strategy, and also I have learned that if you just listen to your customers, for the most part, they will give you the roadmap forward to solve for their needs.

ES. The Exhibition industry, like the rest of the world, has seen a lot of change in a short period of time. What are the most significant changes you’ve witnessed during your time in the industry?

Yancy Weinrich. Well, if we ever had doubts that face to face was going away, and could be replaced by digital, the pandemic firmly secured in our minds that face to face is here to stay. For the small to medium sized businesses that participate in trade shows, many of them invest the majority of their marketing dollars with us in the tradeshow industry. Our face to face events have proven to be a critical part of the selling strategy for our customers.

ES. What kind of an overall impact do your shows make on their respective industries?

Yancy Weinrich. Our shows at CloserStill have an intentional design and format – to maximize our customers time through shorter date patterns (2-3 days), while providing content at an affordable price. We are making a difference in our industries through knowing our customers and understanding what they want as we come out of the pandemic. People have re-prioritized their work and lives, and while traveling to a show is very important for their business, they may not want to spend a week away from home any longer. We are very good at understanding the niche’s and exploiting them in our communities that we serve.

ES. What are your upcoming plans in regards to your shows in 2022 and ahead? What are some major events organised by CloserStill Media?

Yancy Weinrich. Our portfolio includes some of the fastest growing, and often award winning, events including the London Vet Show, loud Expo Europe, Data Centre World, DevLearn, The Pharmacy Show, Learning Technologies and the Dentistry Show. We are very specialized and deliberate in our verticals of healthcare (human and animal), tech and learning.

ES. Could you please share your experience from your recent shows with us?

Yancy Weinrich. We, like many organizers, have seen our shows come back very strong. Buyers with serious interest, people that want to meet face to face with their suppliers, and the networking and experiential elements of the show have been very successful. While our attendance is not at 2019 levels (we are at about 75-80%), we have seen that those that are visiting our shows are serious about being there, and our exhibitors are having very good shows.

ES. What are the top three major challenges surrounding the industry?

Yancy Weinrich. Talent acquisition and retention, recession proofing our businesses, and inflation and how that is affecting travel costs and policies for our customers.

ES. What is your leadership style? What according to you are your strong points?

Yancy Weinrich. I am fair, honest, yet firm. I layer that with, what I believe are even more important qualities, and that is empathy and building trust. Culture is very important to me, and I believe in creating a culture where our people can show up as their authentic selves, and feel like they are at a place to work where others ‘look like them’.

ES. On another note, what do you enjoy the most about your work?

Yancy Weinrich. Our industry also has a strong element of fun, and to see our new folks attend their first event and their eyes light up, and their confidence build, as they have seen what they worked on so hard for months, come to life, gives me a real sense of pride. I am also an entrepreneur at heart, so I thrive on helping our customers build their businesses, and like to believe our shows serve a real purpose in helping them achieve their goals and objectives.

ES. Please share your hobbies, what keeps you busy when you are away from work?

Yancy Weinrich. I love to play golf and tennis. I am into yoga, reading and anything that keeps me busy and moving – I can’t sit still. I have a young adult daughter who lives in Hawaii, so visiting and spending time with her is a real treat as well!

ES. What would be your message to the industry?ES. What would be your message to the industry?

Yancy Weinrich. We have grown and become stronger, we have pivoted faster than we ever thought we could as we faced the pandemic. We experimented, we learned, we failed, and we confirmed how important face to face is for our customers and communities that we serve. I believe we are in a better position to take on whatever comes our way next!