John Zeltin
    Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
"The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge
and the dissemination of truth."

John F. Kennedy

Meet our Thoughtleaders: An Interview with
John Zeltin. CME, CMP and Rod Abraham
on their New Partnership by Gordon Nary



Return to John's Webpage
Return to Rod's Webpage
Thoughtleaders Main Page


 
Gordon 
 
What is your New Partnership, what services are you offering, and what is you target market?
 
John



 
Simply put, we want to help association CEOs improve their ROI.  Associations and not- for- profits are under pressure to generate revenues to support programs and services. In today's environment,  Executives are more than ever evaluating existing processes and trying to identify new sources of revenue. We aim to help them do this.
 
 
Rod

 
It is easy to get comfortable with the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” idea.  That just doesn’t work in today's marketplace.
 
 
Gordon 
 
Okay, but what distinguishes you from others in the marketplace?
 
 
Rod




 
Well, we think we have an unique combination of talents and expertise that are complimentary.  First, there is our breadth and depth of experience.  It encompasses successfully dealing with business challenges on both a strategic and tactical level.  Second, John and I bring different perspectives.  His background is in corporate event marketing , mine as an association executive event producer/entrepreneur and successful small business owner.  And we both have had extensive experience working with associations and not for profits enabling us to appreciate their challenges and  see what works and what does not.
 
 
John

 
I think Rod expressed it well.  We are able to take a completely fresh perspective and bring a world of experience to our engagements.
 
 
Gordon
 
Why did you form this partnership and at this particular time?
 
 
John



 
Timing.  I left a major corporation last year after  24 years directing Event Marketing activities to launch my consulting practice.  We both have reached a point where we wanted to work on only a few projects where we could make a significant difference and apply our depth of experience.    Also, we saw a need for senior level, objective counsel as associations and not for profits come under increased pressure to generate revenues,  save money and come up with new ideas for both.
 
 
Rod

 
To me, it comes down to our both wanting to be selective in the clients with whom we work.  As John said, we want to make a difference with a few clients that we know we can help.
 
 
Gordon

 
Rod, you both have exceptional backgrounds as our readers know from reading your and John's Thoughtleader profiles. Can you expand more on the experience that you bring to your new partnership?
 
 
Rod



 
Well, my professional background can be categorized into three phases.  First, I was an association executive doing stints in all phases of association management and functioning as a COO.  The second phase was motivated by my love for the meetings/events world.  During that time I founded a full-service meeting/event management company that morphed into a niche market of multi-city, roadshow type events.  And now, in phase three, I am focusing on pure consulting and mentoring.
 
 
Gordon

 
John. You had an amazing career at American Express  where I first met you several years ago.  Could you also mention some other aspects and experience of your career that you bring to your new partnership?
 
 
John




 
I spent the first part of my career at a major financial services company as VP of Corporate Services,  leading a team responsible for Corporate Meetings and Incentives,  Travel and Communications.  The second part was at American Express where I directed Event Marketing Activities including trade shows, sponsorship and major corporate events for both the B to B and Network sides of the business. I also serve on the board of directors on three not-for-profit organizations which has given me a strong background in the challenges of effective and successful not-for-profit management,
 
 
Gordon
 
You mentioned a perceived need for your services.  Can you give me more details on that?
 
 
John


 
I have worked extensively with associations and trade organizations from the corporate side.  Companies are more than ever questioning their investments in trade shows,  sponsorships and events and looking at the ROI and how they might save money.   Associations need help in generating ideas for new revenue streams and maximizing the value they provide for sponsorships and the companies who invest.
 
 
Rod


 
There are more trade shows and sponsorship opportunities than ever, but even the “big” players have budget limits.  At the same time, executives need help in controlling costs (have you checked on the cost of a gallon of coffee lately?).  And, now more than ever, creative ideas for sponsorship will benefit both sides. Recently an association CEO engaged us to audit all phases of the execution of their annual meeting and expo even though it was quite successful by most measures.
 
 
Gordon
 

Thank you for your time and your continued contributions to our industry.