ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition Highest Attendance Since 2007

August 23, 2018

WASHINGTON— More than 6,000 association professionals and industry partners gathered in Chicago, August 18–21, for the 2018 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition. Participants heard from keynotes Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler and World Champion triathlete Siri Lindley, participated in more than 110 education sessions, experienced five game changers, and explored a packed expo hall with 450 companies.

The final attendance breakdown: 3,554 executives, 2,120 exhibitors, 418 others, including guests, spouses, press, vendors, and staff, for a grand total of 6,092. A total of 450 companies representing 713 booths exhibited in the expo hall, which resulted in a strong ratio of 63 percent buyers (association staff) to 37 percent sellers (industry partners). 

“Throughout the conference, our attendees heard from two fantastic keynotes, five Game Changers, engaged in 115 learning labs, and networked with industry partners in the expo hall.  Participants found new ideas, strategies, and solutions they could take back to their organization,” said ASAE President & CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE.

Strickler kicked off the conference as the opening keynote. He gave insights on how he started Kickstarter and ensured it was designed to reflect trust, value, and culture of the organization. He stressed how financial maximization isn’t permanent, and it’s critical for organizations to focus and articulate other values including community, knowledge, human capital and security. 

For the closing keynote, Lindley told her inspirational story about how she became a triathlete champion. She stressed how we all need to be willing to fail, and by making that decision, let go of being afraid and embrace finding the gift in the struggle reaching goals in life because we learn something about ourselves in the process.  

ASAE presented five game changers: Gabby Rivera, Author, Juliet Takes a Breath and Marvel Comic Series America; Rich Karlgaard, Publisher & Columnist, Forbes and Author, The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success; Seth Mattison, Cofounder and Chief Movement Officer, Luminate Labs and Co-author, The War at Work; Tina Tchen, Partner, Buckley Sandler and former Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama; and Manjit Minhas, Cofounder, Minhas Brewery & Distillery Dragon, CBC Dragons' Den.

ASAE raised $71,000 for two charities: The Greater Chicago Food Depository and Little Brothers: Friends of the Elderly. The total weight of the food donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository Food Drive was 6,687 pounds, which translates to 8,693 meals.

Next year’s ASAE Annual Meeting will be in Columbus, Ohio, August 10-13, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. 

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

Strategic Partners
Atlanta CVB
Canada Business Events
Choose Chicago
Experience Columbus 
Community Brands
Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB  
Naylor Association Solutions
Visit San Jose

Corporate Partners
Visit Austin
Visit Baltimore
Destination Cleveland
Visit Dallas  
DelCor Technology Solutions
Louisville Tourism
Visit Omaha 
Visit Salt Lake

Event Partners
iMIS by Advanced Solutions International 
The Broadmoor 
Higher Logic
Johnson Lambert LLP and Vault Consulting 
Mexico Tourism Board 
Discover The Palm Beaches

Global Partners
Dubai Association Centre
Korea Tourism Organization 

MEDIA CONTACT: Sabrina Kidwai, APR, CAE, 202-326-9505

About ASAE and the ASAE Foundation
ASAE is a membership organization of more than 42,000 association executives and industry partners representing 7,300 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