A sneak peek of the 2021 INFORMS Annual Meeting

For today’s episode, we’ll be doing something a little different. Recently I was joined at INFORMS headquarters by Brad Weaber, our wonderfully dynamic and engaging host for the upcoming 2021 INFORMS Annual Meeting.

This year’s meeting features a flexible format, with the opportunity to participate in-person in Anaheim, CA, as well as a fully virtual meeting platform that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.A self-described cruise director on land, Brad will be helping bridge the gap between in-person and virtual attendees, igniting conversations and sparking lasting connections, as well as helping to highlight the many unique features of the upcoming meeting.

The following is an excerpt of the video recording of our conversation, where we discuss Brad’s background, his role in both the virtual and in-person meeting settings, what he’s most looking forward to, and what he’s enjoyed learning about INFORMS and its members.

I think the key is, get excited about this. The work you’re all doing is unbelievable, how you all touch everyone. Look I can’t profess to know all that you do, I’m a layman compared to this. But I know that you touch my life every day by the incredible work that you do, through how you provide services and efficiencies, and that type of thing. So that’s really cool! As far as the attendees, I just want to make sure that you really take advantage of everything [the meeting] has to offer. And just because you’re watching virtually, doesn’t mean you can’t’ take advantage. You’re going to have these amazing networking opportunities, so just really get in there and get to know the platform. And I do encourage all the in-person attendees to go find a new friend this time, walk around and say, ‘I’m going to talk to somebody I haven’t met before.’ So I just think now is the time to start your planned experience.

Interviewed this episode:

Brad Weaber

Brad Weaber Consulting Group, LLC

“My story really begins at a pivotal moment when I was 9 years old having just driven from rural Illinois to Los Angeles, California to visit my grandparents, George and Blanche Potter. My Grandfather took me to Long Beach one morning to show me the grandest thing I had ever seen in my life…the RMS Queen Mary. I remember the feeling of walking up to that ship as if it had just happened today.

My Grandfather showed me photos that were on display of all types of people from every walk of life using that ship as their passage to America. He explained that many of these people had nothing but hope and promise in their hearts. And with hope and vision and hard work that I could be anything I wanted to be. My grandfather was an amazing communicator and had the gift of emotional intelligence before it was even a phrase.

After putting myself through college, I spent 34 years in corporate America and 29 of those years in executive or C-suite management. Communication as a cornerstone of my leadership journey rewarded me with a hybrid of experiences from hotel management, event third party management, association management and destination marketing management working for some of the most iconic brands in the industry: Experient, SmithBucklin, New Orleans & Company and Connections has prepared me for owning my own company where I have the pleasure of sharing and coaching my experience and models of success.

Being a paradigm pioneer in a multitude of markets (association, trade show, corporate and government) has required a honing of communication and emotional intelligence skills. Whether it be working in organizational design and structure, implementation of a new direction or speaking in front of the masses…the foundation is communication. I have had the privilege of presenting around the globe as a trusted adviser. While I enjoy presenting, I am truly the happiest when I am working with someone to find their voice. A graduate of the University of Illinois and member of the American Society of Association Executives, Professional Convention Management Association, International Association of Exhibitions and Events and a Founding Supporter of the Association for Women in Events. My greatest accomplishment – being a husband and a father! Oh, and a rescue dog Dad!

So where does the compass fit in? 31 years after standing on the Queen Mary, I was presented with a gift of one of the compasses of the Queen Mary by the Long Beach hospitality community as a tribute to my journey, the business that I conducted over the years in that destination and ultimately to my grandfather. I cherish it every day.”