Written by NGL Grant 2022 recipients: Daniella Galante, Joe Kowalsky, Jon Yahirun, Justine Rabel, Maria Victoria Piñeres Bustillo, Monika Baro

The 2022 NGL Grant winners met for the first time in Poznan, Poland at the UFI European Conference, when we first started talking and working together about developing a New Talent Narrative for the exhibition industry. 

In our 8-month-long project, we’ve studied multiple companies and venues, interviewed professionals and did extensive research on industries and companies as a reference, on how they have attracted and retained talent over the years.

We’ve come to realize that there is currently no talent narrative for the exhibitions industry. Why is it important to have one and how do we develop one?

We first delved into what makes a talent narrative dynamic and successful. Taking inspiration from industries we believe embody their narrative, and achieve strong attraction & retention rates as a result, we looked to identify our core attributes and areas needing realignment. To do so, we deep-dived into the Tech Industry and the Media Industry which proved specifically attractive to talents. We studied why so and analyzed to what extent this could be replicated for the Exhibition Industry.

At the early stages of this process we identified the need to first focus on a subject we’ve come to call the 3 C’s:

  1. Culture
  2. Career Development
  3. Compensation

Within the subject of culture, strong messaging on wellness and diversity, equity and inclusion are vital. Career development must emphasize the importance of further education, training and good onboarding as well as the vital role of powerful leadership. Shifting focus on solely salary as compensation to an overall rewards package is crucial in times like today with increasing remote work flexibility.

After taking actions around the 3 C’s, we will begin to build a welcoming culture that will attract top talent however, we cannot stop there. We also needed to look at our industry story and the bigger picture.  We needed to answer two questions; who are we and what do we aim to do? In the end, we found we are more than the global events industry, we are actually…

The Community Building industry.

We are the community, for community builders.

From venues across the world that welcome millions of visitors each year, to the event & content producers that drive engagement with curated audiences to technological innovators championing new frontiers; we all work in tandem to build, animate and nurture communities. Experts in interaction, spirited by diverse opinions, ideas, and backgrounds; we use events, media, data and technology to drive business, connection and growth across the globe. 

Built on a foundation of flexibility & purpose, our own community serves as the cross-functional home for creative problem solvers to follow their passion and serve as instruments of change. Traveling the world, on the front lines of fostering human engagement, we act as a hub for knowledge sharing, trend discovery, and industry advancement. Having the unique position of being the industry interwoven with all other industries, we aim to be the best in every industry we intersect.

In a space where no two days are the same, you’ll work on fun out of the box projects, develop & hone your skills, broaden your horizons, learn and grow into the professional you want to be. And, when the hard work is done, you will be one of the lucky few who are able to physically see the culmination of your hard work, alongside a group of people who share your same passion and drive. 

Business needs connection. People need connection. Join us in being the point where everyone meets!

For our community of community builders and the narrative we have introduced, there are 6 key takeaways we wanted to you remember:

  1. Action. All of our presentations are meaningless words on paper unless we take action to make them a reality. Action, action, action!
  2. Give us a seat at the table and give us a voice. Empower us.
  3. Build a welcoming workplace that promotes inclusion and belonging. Think of compensation holistically.
  4. Embrace the change. We need to adapt and change. We need to modernize the industry.
  5. Our families, workplaces and communities need better brands of leaders. It starts with me and it starts with you.
  6. Invest in learning and development. Let’s improve the future.

Interested in applying to the NGL Grant 2023 programme?

Visit www.ufi.org/ngl