Interview with Brad Mayne, IAVM President and CEO

Mid-January marked Brad Mayne’s six-month anniversary as President and CEO of IAVM. Appointed to succeed Vicki Hawarden after a nationwide search last spring, Mayne also serves as President and CEO of the IAVM Foundation. Prior to the appointment, he held the position of Dean of the association’s Venue Management School, and has served on the school’s Board of Regents since 1997. Mayne’s first CEO position was back in 1998 when he was hired to oversee the design, construction, operations and marketing of the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Following that role, he held the position of President and CEO of MetLife Stadium from September 2012 through April 2016. An industry veteran of several decades, Mayne was honored with the Charles A. McElravy Award in 2009 and the Legacy Award from the IAVM Foundation in 2011.

How did you first become involved in IAVM?

I became a member in 1987. Membership had been restricted to the top executive in the venue, but they changed that and admitted the second in command as well. I’d always wanted to be a member, but I was not in one of those positions until 1987 when I became the Assistant GM of the Salt Palace Center. I registered to go to the Venue Management School at Oglebay, where I ended up becoming an instructor. I also became chair of their Awards Review Committee. So that was my first involvement from a volunteer standpoint.

What have been the most rewarding aspects thus far of your tenure as President and CEO?

One is learning the association industry. For example, I didn’t realize that we could create alliances with other associations that would benefit us. But more rewarding than that is the fact that I get to interact with our members on a daily basis, whether it’s the various board members or committee members and chairs. I interact with them every day because there are approximately 20 management committees that I’m responsible for. It’s been fantastic meeting a lot of these folks. There are many passionate individuals who give IAVM their time and expertise.

You mentioned alliances with other associations. Is IAVM developing any new partnerships?

The first and biggest one that we put together is the Exhibition and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI), a partnership between IAVM and the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA) and the Department of Homeland Security. It’s diverse, with people from the three associations sitting around a table talking about safety and security and what part they will play in it. The initiative has to be industry wide to be successful; it can’t be restricted to any one of the organizations and their members only. In addition, [Destination Marketing Association International President & CEO] Don Welsh and I are putting together a partnership between the CVBs and the convention centers with the goal of standardizing financial reporting. Because what’s happening in many communities now is that the CVB will give their report and then the convention center will give their report, and they’re not using the same criteria to determine what their economic impact is. And that creates challenges for their shareholders, who are getting conflicting information. Having sat on the Board of Directors for Anaheim, Dallas and Cedar Rapids, I could see that the CVBs were reporting different data than the buildings were. So Don and I are putting together a task force to use DMAI’s Event Impact Calculator to standardize the financial reporting.

IAVM membership has been trending upward, with a 10 percent increase last year. Can you elaborate on that trend and the drivers behind it?

Three to four years ago we were hovering around 2,500 members. Membership had been somewhat exclusive, open only to the top two positions in the venues, and then the committee opened it up to people who reported to the top two. And then a couple of years ago our youth initiative brought in the new people coming into the industry. The feeling was that if we were able to get them to join, they’d become passionate and want to serve the association. That initiative, along with a group membership initiative, has grown our membership to about 5,200 now.