Post Show 2016 Reflections

Categories: Today at ISSA Blog

By Randy Kim | November 8, 2016 << Back to Articles

The ISSA / INTERCLEAN® North America show made its way back to the Windy City just as the Chicago Cubs prepared for its first-ever World Series appearance in 71 years. As the city was revved up for that historic week, the ISSA / INTERCLEAN brought its own version of the “World Series” for the international cleaning industry with exhibitors from all over the globe showing off the latest and greatest innovative products at the McCormick Place.

As a first-timer to the trade show experience, I was immediately in awe of the dazzling display of exhibitor booths from Rubbermaid to Clorox to Kimberly Clark. The shiny, bright lights, moving ceiling banners, brand new cleaning products and technology, and energetic exhibitor booth staffs all added to the visual treat of the cleaning industry’s biggest show in town.

Along with the membership team, I was a part of the “Brain Bar” desk at the ISSA Resource Center. We were dressed in our white scientist lab coats as we were giving away free Bluetooth earpieces to attendees who filled out their information on the “Brain Bar” cards as part of our strategy to engage with our members. From high-level executives to custodial workers serving anywhere from all levels of the manufacturing / distributing companies to the universities, hospitals, and the family-owned building service contractors, they all shared their frustrations, success stories, and their vision for the company and clients they serve. One of the common frustrations that I found from many attendees in management were their struggles with employee retention in sales and frontline custodial services. As the turnover tends to be high among those two areas, I asked them questions about what their experiences have been in helping to improve the quality and value of their employees’ work, what kind of resources and support are there to support them, and whether they provide recognition and professional / skills advancement through their company. While I may not have been able to magically offer a quick solution to their issues, I was able to open up the dialogue and help them brainstorm potentially new ideas that can improve their end goal.

One of the memorable moments of the show was seeing one of our attendees, an owner of a small building service contractor (BSC) company, who recently fought cancer, spoke to our membership team about how much she wanted to be there in Chicago to see this show. This to me, speaks to the impact that this show has had on both our longtime and new attendees.

In addition to my work in membership, I also serve as a coordinator for the recently developed, ISSA Hygieia Network (IHN), a women-led network that seeks to promote, recognize, and celebrate women professionals in our industry.

During the ISSA Tuesday educational seminar day, IHN hosted the “Networking Secrets of Successful Women” sponsored by GP PRO with speaker, Diane Darling.  Darling quickly engaged audiences with her sharp, witty anecdotes while offering important techniques on how you approach various professionals in your industry and how you should follow up with them. The seminar allowed women professionals that were present to network with one another, and utilize the tips that Darling offered.

IHN also had their 2nd annual ISSA Hygieia Network Awards held at the Hyatt McCormick on Wednesday, October 26th. Held on the evening of the opening of the trade show exhibit, guests and sponsors from Kimberly Clark, 3M, Sealed Air, Network Services, among several others were present at the show. Shay Strzemp-Green, executive of housekeeping with the Hyatt McCormick started out the night by sharing her story of how she advanced in the hotel industry and highlighting the Hyatt’s commitment to women professionals.

Led by Dr. Ilham Kadri, IHN council president shared her early inspiration from her grandmother who taught her to seek education as a means to survive and be successful. The network honored several of our ISSA members (both individuals and companies) that dedicated themselves in their commitment to gender diversity and inclusion for their industry. Scarlett Hart, 2016 recipient of the ISSA Hygieia Network scholarship, who wasn’t able to attend, instead, recorded a video on how the scholarship will allow her a better opportunity to empower herself as she develops her leadership skills in graduate school.  At the conclusion of the event, many of our guests were inspired by our winners, and looking forward to participate in seeing more future programs for the ISSA Hygieia Network.

As the trade show was winding down to the final hour, the look of exhaustion appeared on the faces of many of our ISSA staff members, but with that, also comes a look of accomplishment and appreciation that the show has managed to reach several thousands of attendees across the globe.  The show not only provided the visual appetite to our attendees, but they were able to leave inspired with new ideas, potential collaborations, and goals to help change the landscape of this industry.  With the Chicago Cubs’ recent landmark victory, the first of its kind since 1908, ISSA is reminded that dreams can happen anywhere, anyplace, anytime.  The hope is that this past trade show is a start of many dreams for many of our attendees and our ISSA team.

About the Author.

Randy Kim is ISSA's Hygieia Committee Coordinator. He can be reached at [email protected]