Interview Allie Magyar
"Advocate for the change we want to see"
Allie Magyar, Chief Product Officer at Notified and Founder of Hubb, about IMEX America and She Means Business, authentic conversations, the attendee perspective, diverse leadership and a new hybrid future.
tw tagungswirtschaft: Back from IMEX America and the She Means Business conference. What do you remember most?
Allie Magyar: This was my first time back at a large conference, being surrounded by thousands of people. And I remember that I was so excited to feel that energy and excitement in the air, that magic that only exists in these kinds of big events. But I was also exhausted while I was excited. My social batteries were not used to this and definitely drained faster than before. She Means Business was actually one of the areas that helped recharge my batteries, because it was so authentic. I wasn’t being immersed in a crowd of 10,000 people, I was having authentic conversations. People were just being real and showing up for each other, inspiring one another. And that felt really good The other thing that jumps out in my memory was the large majority of people in attendance were in their late 30’s or older. The younger generation simply wasn’t present. Both on the trade show floor and in the board meetings I attended. And I think this is something that our industry has to keep an eye on, that we actively welcome and invite the younger generations. We need their perspective, their ideas on how to connect and deliver experiences if we want to ensure a future for the industry.
Why was it important to you to travel to Las Vegas and to participate in person and not from home?
Part of my reason for flying down to Vegas was to be a part of the first big return to in-person events. Part of it was that I am a type-A meeting planner and I crave being around other people. But most importantly for me, I wanted to get that attendee perspective of returning to large in-person events. As we go into this new hybrid world, I wanted to see how I would feel. Could I handle starting my day at 7am then presenting and networking all day and topping it off with taking clients out to dinner? No surprise I was exhausted. After two days I was thinking to myself, I can’t do this anymore, and I am so ready to go home. Obviously there is a balance, but going to Vegas gave me the foundation to help build that new hybrid future.
„Where are all the 20-year-olds? If we’re designing things for 40+, we’re going to age ourselves out. We’re not going to be relevant in the future.“
Allie Magyar, Chief Product Officer at Notified and Founder of Hubb
She Means Business is about diversity, gender equality and female empowerment. Why should everybody in the event industry care?
I would make statement broader and say that diversity, equity, and inclusion is something that everyone should care about. It goes back to my earlier comment of where are all the 20-year-olds? If we’re designing things for 40+, we’re going to age ourselves out. We’re not going to be relevant in the future or even now unless we welcome a broader group of people. One of the things that I appreciated about She Means Business was that it wasn’t just women there. Men were also present. Gender equality isn’t just a female problem and females should fix it. If we want to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, then we need to ensure we welcome all people and gender identities. Because if we don’t get out of our own perspectives, then we’re not actually designing for the world we live in.
Why did you support She Means Business?
Part of affecting the world is using your voice to change it. It’s up to each of us to participate and advocate for the change we want to see. For me, supporting She Means Business is my opportunity to advocate for change and be a part of the conversation.
How did you come to found Hubb, a virtual conference and event management software solution?
Hubb before it was Hubb, was the technology that my own event planning company used to work efficiently and solve a lot of the pain points that planners face. The excel hell as we liked to call it. As a planner myself, organizing and producing some of the world’s largest events I knew the challenges that planners dealt with, and so I wanted to create a tool for myself and my team to solve these challenges. So we created Hubb. And when we realized that we had something special on our hands, we wanted to share it with the rest of the events industry. With the Hubb platform, planners can design events with powerful attendee engagement tools, manage all their content, community, and information in a single location, all while giving them unprecedented control and agility.
Does the technology sector need more women in leadership?
Yes. We need more diverse leadership, gender or otherwise. It goes back to my point about the importance of different perspectives. If the leadership doesn’t reflect the world we live in, then the innovations they drive won’t fit the world.
Allie Magyar (left) interviewing Courtney Stanley at IMEX America. Courtney Stanley is a keynote speaker, event emcee, career coach, and host of the women-inspired podcast „Dare to Interrupt“. Photo: Hubb
At She Means Business you spoke about your entrepreneur’s life. Which challenges did you face while seeking to grow your business?
Too many to fit all in here. Every day was a different challenge. As an entrepreneur, it’s all about the journey. You learn something and then you fix it and then you move on to learn something new and different. Then you fix that and move on. So for me, the biggest challenge was how to maintain that grit to keep pushing, to keep solving and to keep learning, regardless of the situation.
Looking back at your 15-year career: What can women learn from men?
I really think the question should be what can we learn for each other. And the answer is everything. Every person comes to every situation with a unique perspective, unique background, unique points of view. And to me that’s what inclusivity is all about. Being willing to take other people’s point of view in, to understand them and be open to their perspectives.
Fair enough. So I won’t ask you what men can learn from women… but from Hubb. :-) At Hubb you believe in the power of events to drive business. Can you explain this power?
Events are the most powerful touchpoint in the marketing funnel. You’re tailoring and designing experiences for the audience, engaging all their senses and attention. At no other point in the marketing funnel are people more engaged with your brand and your business. It’s this kind of big opportunity where we can impact their perspective, and therefore the sales funnel. Events create sales momentum, build relationships, and gather the data marketers need to understand what matters most to their customers.
For you, events are an opportunity for us to reconnect to what makes us human. What do events need to create that reconnection?
Events need opportunities to authentically connect. Being on the show floor at IMEX with 10,00 other people gave me this incredible energy and excitement, but it did not give me an sense of connection. The points of connection for me were the authentic conversations I had at She Means Business and going to the bar and moving table to table. Small groups and intimate conversations where we can be in each other’s presence and learn from one another will be the key to creating that reconnection.
Due to the pandemic and mega trends such as digitization and sustainability we need to rethink events. What are your thoughts on this?
I’ve said this a lot before, but we can’t just go back to where we were. Even though, as planners, we are most comfortable producing the same kind of events that we’ve done for decades, the world has moved on. The metaverse is blowing up, a year of connecting digitally has altered the way we interact, and preferences and expectations have changed. One of the biggest changes in expectations is around personalization. The younger generation views it as the norm. Everyone else is getting used to it and starting to expect it as well. And the assumption that people will leave these kinds of expectation at the door when they enter your event is just wrong. We need to look at how the rest of the world is changing and move with that change. Because at the end of the day, the main job of planners is to create experiences that will help their audience succeed. And a one-size-fits-all event is not that.
„The world has moved on. The metaverse is blowing up, a year of connecting digitally has altered the way we interact, and preferences and expectations have changed.“
Allie Magyar, Chief Product Officer at Notified and Founder of Hubb
Do we see you at She Means Business at IMEX 2022 in Frankfurt?
I’m very excited for IMEX 2022 and to see what they create in the next six months. It’s such a valuable connection point. And I’m excited for the world to see the world open up more and more for travel. So much of the diversity of perspectives comes from that global perspective.
We will continue our format “Ladies’ choice: Conversations on diversity and gender equality“. Women can select a man they like to talk to on stage. Whom should we invite for you?
While I don’t like to limit myself to the binary selection, for the sake of this question I would invite Ben Chodor. As part of bringing Hubb into the Notified team, he has shown incredible leadership and empathy. Bringing together two different companies and cultures, to be inclusive throughout requires a special kind of person. And I believe if anyone should be celebrated up on stage, it is people like Ben Chodor.
She Means Business: Celebrating the role of women
She Means Business is about diversity, gender equality and female empowerment. The conference connects women and men to collaborate to achieve diversity. At She Means Business on 8 November 2021 at IMEX America in Las Vegas Michelle Mason, American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Juliet Tripp, Chemical Watch, and Human Biography’s Nisha Khare Balding spoke about strategic goal setting to conscious living. She Means Business is a joint event by IMEX and tw tagungswirtschaft, supported by MPI – Meeting Professionals International. Save the date: She Means Business 2022 at IMEX in Frankfurt, 26 to 28 April 2022 at Messe Frankfurt, She Means Business America 2022 at IMEX America, 11 to 13 October 2022 at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas.