ASAE Launched First Successful Xperience Design Project for Association and Industry Professionals

May 25, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – ASAE delivered its newest event, Xperience Design Project (XDP), May 23-24, at the Gaylord National® Resort & Convention Center. Over the two days, XDP brought together 1,816 association professionals and industry partners. Participants collaborated together to co-create ideas and solutions on how to reinvent their meetings, networked at Connections, and had new face-to-face business experiences.

“There was tremendous energy, excitement, and teamwork happening at XDP. All participants had new experiences that provided opportunities to see first-hand how they can apply new learning formats, design and engagement elements, technology, and operational innovations into their organization’s future meetings,” said John H. Graham, IV, FASAE, CAE, President and CEO of ASAE.

On the first day, attendees experienced the Lab—an immersive, facilitated learning journey around five core topics. Participants were led by XDP’s host Lisa Kay Solomon, author, speaker and Managing Director of Singularity University, and each topic was led by prominent industry leaders.

  • Experience: James H. Gilmore, co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP and Adjunct Faculty, UVA Darden Business School
  • Learning: Jonathan Finkelstein, CEO, Credly
  • Location: Michael Dominguez, Chief Sales Officer, MGM Resorts International
  • Marketing: Eric Kuhn, Chief Marketing Officer, Layer3 TV Inc. and KiKi L’Italien, CEO & Founder Amplified Growth
  • Technology: Reggie Aggarwal, CEO, Founder of Cvent
Attendees listened to two Pop-Up talks that were designed to spur conversations in the next zone rotation. Shannon Polson encouraged attendees on how they can be a leader from any seat, and Kelly McDonald shared her wisdom on ways they can keep customers coming back for more. 

On Tuesday evening, participants took part in the Connections event, a night of networking at MGM National Harbor with the B-52’s. 

On day two, participants experienced four key elements: LabX, the Business Exchange, Idea Accelerators, and XDP’s Closing Experience. LabX included entertainment and a recap of the best insights from the previous day. The Business Exchange was a forum for industry partners and association professionals to have one on one meetings. 

There were six Idea Accelerators, 20-minute talks, focused on solutions for association professionals that ranged from experience design mapping to incorporating wellbeing principles into an event while rethinking marketing strategies and strengthening an entrepreneurial mindset. 

Throughout the conference, ASAE integrated music and performing arts as an intentional experiential element that evokes emotion and triggers memory of the event. Artists included: Live DJ Jamie, Saul Paul, a musician who co-created a song with the audience during LabX, and performance painter David Garibaldi, who created three original paintings during the Closing Experience. 

ASAE’s key partners in the research, development, design, and delivery of XDP were: 360 Live Media, Hargrove, Inc.; Steelcase Event Experiences; and hotel partner Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

Next year’s XDP will be April 19-20 at the Gaylord National Resort. For information about XDP, visit 

ASAE thanks the following Alliance Partners for their continued support of the association community:

Strategic Partners
Atlanta CVB
Business Events Canada
Choose Chicago
Experience Columbus
Reno Tahoe USA
Visit San Jose

Corporate Partners
Visit Baltimore
DelCor Technology Solutions
Visit Dallas 
Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB 
Fort Worth CVB 
Louisville CVB 
Mexico Tourism Board 
Naylor Association Solutions
Visit Omaha 
Visit Orlando 
Visit Salt Lake

Event Partners
The Broadmoor 
Dubai Association Centre 
Hong Kong Tourism Board 
Johnson Lambert LLP and Vault Consulting 
Korea Tourism Organization 
Meet In Minnesota 
New Orleans CVB and New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Media Contact: Sabrina Kidwai, APR, CAE,, 202-557-1066.

About ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership 
ASAE is a membership organization of more than 30,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 7,400 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world. With support of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession, and provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. For more information about ASAE, visit