Maureen Beddis thought she knew what to expect when attending her first Global Game Expo in October 2022. For more than two decades, she’d visited Las Vegas for trade shows, including 16 years as the Vision Council’s executive vice president.
As the incoming Senior Vice President, Membership and Events for the American Gaming Association, Beddis thought she understood how Las Vegas conventions operated.
“I’d been there quite a bit,” Beddis says of Las Vegas. “I thought, ‘I’m sure I’ve kind of seen it all.’ So, when I actually got there and stepped onto the show floor, it was really clear that I hadn’t seen it all.”
In her new role, Beddis will work with Reed Exhibitions (RX) on the next G2E, scheduled for Oct. 9-12 at the Venetian Ballroom. Beddis says visiting the expo last year was instructive and eye-opening.
“I was energized by what I saw,” she says. “The way that the exhibitors show up. Those booths are incredibly impressive, from floor to ceiling, the lights, not at all what I’m used to. I’m used to walking into that space and seeing exhibitors, but not seeing exhibitors show in quite that way.”
What impressed Beddis the most was the way industry personnel greeted her. Everyone she talked to was eager to share insights and knowledge, to bring Beddis “up to speed” on the industry.
“It wasn’t just casinos and slot machines, but things like global payments,” Bendis says. “There was so much for me to see and learn. The show floor was definitely filled with some of the smartest people I’ve come in contact with in a long time. That’s a not a diss to my optical friends, it’s just a different experience.”
Beddis left the Vision Council reluctantly. But the idea of working in a new industry with different challenges was intriguing.
“The gaming industry seems to be changing by the hour and day across the U.S.,” Beddis says. “It’s hard to deny the growth of this industry. Leaving an industry I was in for 20 years, and an association I was with for 16 years, wasn’t a decision I took lightly. That I was considering a move to gaming, which is experiencing such growth, really kind of made that decision easy.”
While at the Vision Council, Beddis was working on that group’s scheduled expo in Las Vegas – also with RX – when it was canceled in March 2020 due to the pandemic. That trade show accounted for almost 85 percent of the Vision Council’s revenue and Beddis admits the organization was “not prepared to take a hit like that.”
“My role expanded, my team expanded, all the while our finances were shrinking,” she says.
To help the Council rebound, Beddis read Extreme Ownership: How US Navy Seals Lead and Win and started to apply lessons she learned from the book by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Beddis identified principles from the book, including determining outcomes that were being sought, identifying necessary resources, and preparing for circumstances that might not occur; it all helped the Council remedy the chaotic circumstances caused by pandemic.
“We had to rely on each other, but everyone had to start taking ownership of their own areas, too,” she says. “I live by those principles now as a result of that crisis and what I went through there. I keep those principles on my desk and I look at them every day.
“And honestly, the AGA already is working with those principles. I don’t know if they even realize it. I’ve been so impressed that all of the measures that they have in place ensure success at every turn of all of their programs.”