Elizabeth Glau Discusses Event Integrity’s Next Chapter
Event Integrity, the marketplace that helps event organizers, trusted event planners and suppliers find each other, was recently purchased by event industry veteran Elizabeth Glau. Corporate Event News chatted with Glau about her plans for the Event Integrity brand and her vision for the meetings and events industry.
How did you get involved with Event Integrity?
Event Integrity’s focus was originally more on consumer events — [answering questions] like, ‘I want to hire this DJ for my wedding, but how do I know they're not going to run away with my deposit?’ Chrystal [Huskey, Event Integrity’s founder], brought me in to help hone the company’s vision.
I was using the template of the massive transformative purpose (MTP), which asks the questions: What is your company doing in the world? How is your company making the world better? At that time, Event Integrity’s MTP was “making transparency commonplace,” and I totally bought into the idea. I loved everything Chrystal was doing. I loved the idea of transparency, making our industry more transparent.
What motivated you to purchase Event Integrity?
I started getting fired up about corporate culture and doing things the way I think they can and should be done. We have the opportunity to come out of [the pandemic] better. Companies are pledging to take climate change seriously, and treat their employees as the humans they are. That got me thinking — what is the events industry’s role in this change?
There's a lot of opportunity for more transparency in the events industry. And there's a lot of opportunity for more integrity in the events industry. One of my mentors, Joan Eisenstodt, has been talking about integrity for decades. If all the smart people in the industry can get together and push for change, we have a chance to make it happen. I feel I can help do that with the Event Integrity brand.
What is your vision for the company and for the brand?
My vision with Event Integrity is all about being authentic and transparent. It’s about being honest and truthful. Integrity is part of that — it’s telling the truth, doing the right thing and allowing people to be themselves.
Chrystal started out with a certification for businesses to help planners know that these businesses are legitimate. They're not going to steal your money. [I see] the evolution of that going into the realm of corporate social responsibility: The companies that have said they care about long-term stakeholders over short-term shareholder profits. Either they’re doing the right things as far as the events industry goes, or they're not.
We need to look at long term sustainability, and I want to be that beacon for a new events industry. It needs to be collaborative. [I’m thinking about] how I can bring these folks together, be a source of education and help people think about these things in a different way. Event Integrity will focus on the triple bottom line definition of sustainability: people, planet and profit.
How does this definition of sustainability vary from what the events industry currently practices?
The events world has been focused on the planet side of sustainability for some time now and has made significant strides. But it also needs to be about inequality. How are we, the people, being taken care of? I think we need to start leading with corporate culture and employee experience. Are you taking care of the people who work for you? Are you treating them like they're actually humans? Do you respect them? And the same thing holds true for your customers. Are you truly a customer-centric organization?
Any specific areas or topics you plan to address?
I’m going to be talking a lot about that people piece of the bottom line — diversity and inclusion, democratization, whatever you want to call it. There’s a gap between how far that conversation has gotten to and where we need to be, what we need to be talking about.
Many events just aren’t inclusive. The conversation has gotten to the need to have a more diverse group of speakers that represents your audience. But if you went further and proactively exposed your audience to different voices, maybe your audience would grow, and become more diverse, as well.
I recently met a woman named Yasmin Mattox. Her company [Arkatecht] makes software that helps women find conferences they want to attend, and also helps them find childcare. This is a demographic that so often has been overlooked.
Who do you see as the client base for the new iteration of Event Integrity?
[As we’re seeing right now], the event is not always the answer. My initial focus is going to be on providing useful content to help the planners who want or need to expand beyond events, because this is the time to do that. I want to help them move from the traditional role of helper to that of strategist.
Longer term, I’ll be looking at some kind of badge, accreditation or certification — a way that organizations can prove they’re doing what they say they’re doing. Ultimately the C-level decision-makers will have to decide if that’s something they need and need to work towards.
What is the one thing that you feel is most important for event professionals to be focusing on right now?
If you have the opportunity [to do so], step back and look at the bigger picture. Put your problem-solving skills to use for the future rather than focusing on whether you’re going to have your event this fall. Think about how your events can support your company’s values and mission for doing good — that’s what I want to get people thinking about right now.
For more information on Event Integrity, go here.
Glau will be speaking about purpose-driven organizations on Thursday, June 11, in the PIVOT Virtual Summit. Registration for the Summit, taking place June 1-12, is free.