35 Years of Tradition Meets a Reimagined Event for Holiday Showcase® Incubate

This year, we will come together at Holiday Showcase to innovate, evolve and push traditional boundaries.

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The year is 1988. George Michael, Whitney Houston, and Bon Jovi top the charts. “A Different World” and “Cheers” are two of the most popular shows on TV. A movie ticket costs about $3.50. And, it was the year of the first ever Holiday Showcase®.

Association Forum is proud to serve as an open case study for this community. In the past 35 years, Holiday Showcase has become an industry pillar. You may think of it as the meeting where association professionals gather and get business done. Or you may think of it as the meeting where you reunite with former colleagues and industry peers. Or maybe, for you, it’s the meeting where you eat gingerbread and sip cocktails on the exhibit hall floor.

This year, Holiday Showcase is all those things, and yet, so much more!

As Association Forum has evolved, Holiday Showcase has evolved with us. Today, we’re building a bolder, brighter future for our members, our partners, and the associations we serve. To make it a reality, Holiday Showcase will be the platform to test old assumptions, new methods, and most importantly, ourselves. Over the course of two full days, association professionals from all levels and corners of the industry will gather for top-notch education and unparalleled learning opportunities.

This year, we will come together at Holiday Showcase to innovate, evolve and push traditional boundaries. The goal? To walk away fortified by ideas and solutions that will make an impact on ourselves and the associations we serve.

What can you expect from Holiday Showcase: Incubate? Here are five ways this year’s Holiday Showcase will be like nothing you’ve seen before!

Hold two full days on your calendar for Holiday Showcase: Incubate

This year’s meeting will feature a day and a half of education before the exhibit hall opens. Association Forum has shifted our meeting schedule for 2023, no longer hosting Forum Forward or SmartTech. This was a strategic decision to focus association resources on the most impactful events. Yet, we didn’t want to miss out on offering stellar education. This year at Holiday Showcase, expect diverse sessions across the continuum of association management topics, just like you’d find at an annual meeting.

Bring the whole team

Holiday Showcase has had the reputation of being focused on meeting planners. We get it—the exhibit hall is an excellent resource to the meetings community. In recent years, we’ve worked to include both education and vendors that touch other areas of association management. This year, we suggest you bring the whole team! We will have sessions for every stage of an association professional’s journey. Furthermore, the networking at Holiday Showcase is amazing. The usual cheery networking will be enhanced by themed pavilions on the exhibit floor, a wellness space, and more.

Focus on the future

If you’ve been reading this magazine (and we really hope you have!), you know that we are focusing on three main content areas at Forum: Intrapreneurship, Tomorrow is Now, and New Power Leadership. We call this program Excelerate, and each of these content areas will be represented in educational sessions and on the exhibit hall floor at Holiday Showcase. You can attend a session on the latest tech on Day 1 (November 29 ), and then stop by the Tomorrow is Now pavilion to shop the latest tech offerings on Day 2 (November 30). While technology and leadership enhance our organizations, we’re also looking to provide personal growth opportunities. That’s why we’ll have a Career Center (back by popular demand!) on the exhibit hall floor as well. Visit the career center for professional headshots, make an appointment with a career advisor for bespoke career guidance, or meet with other professionals to help you achieve your career goals.  New this year, association leaders (CEOs, CFOs, HR professionals, Directors) can get answers to tough questions and expert guidance through consultations with HR Source.

One idea can change the world®

Like Holiday Showcase, this trademarked phrase is a part of Association Forum history. We truly believe that one idea can change the world. This year, we’re honoring this idea with a stage that will feature quick, thought-provoking talks around this theme. Look for this stage on the exhibit hall floor during Day 2 (November 30)!

Four wins

When we partner with organizations, we strive for not just a win-win situation, but a win-win-win-win outcome. That means it’s a win for our members, a win for our partners, a win for Association Forum, and a win for the overall community. Holiday Showcase is a dazzling example of four wins. If you happen to fall into one of those four groups (hint: you do!), we’d like you to come see for yourself how this meeting can be a win for you and your organization.

Association Forum was founded on the ideas of community and connection.

We’ve always believed in the power of connection, but since the pandemic our appreciation of it has grown tenfold. Holiday Showcase will be different this year and we are excited to share these changes with you. Yet, above all, you will find the same connection (and cocktails) that have kept you coming back year after year for 35 years.

About the Author

The mission of Association Forum is to advance the professional practice of association management. Founded in 1916, Association Forum serves 3,000 association professionals whose efforts serve more than 27 million members and generate $10 billion in global annual expenditures. Visit www.associationforum.org for more information.

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