Event & Arena Marketing Conference Honors VenuesNow Founder Linda Deckard and CN Centre's Glen Mikkelsen

Linda Deckard
Bobby Wolff

Tammy Koolbeck (Executive Director, Iowa State Center/Venue Works), Linda Deckard (2019 EAMC Gigi Award of Excellence winner) and Glen Mikkelsen (2019 EAMC Hall of Fame inductee)

The Event & Arena Marketing Conference (EAMC) honored industry veteran and trade publication VenuesNow (formerly Venues Today) founder Linda Deckard Thursday (June 13) at the event’s fifth annual Awards Luncheon.

Deckard received the 2019 Gigi Award for Excellence for her significant contributions to the live entertainment industry and for her emphasis on acknowledging marketers in the space.

“Linda has been a staple of our industry,” said EAMC president Sheila Francis in a prepared statement at the luncheon. “She knows everyone and everyone knows her. She is the first to tell you how important and passionate she has been over the years in making sure the industry is covered from the venue perspective. That’s why she started Venues Today.”

Former EAMC president and vp communications for Nederlander Concerts Vanessa Kromer added: “Linda is a pioneer in the entertainment industry, paving the way for women to be recognized and have a voice. Launching Venues Today magazine and curating the conferences and awards that followed have been a true inspiration to me.”

Deckard, who sold Venues Today to Oak View Group in 2016, got her start covering the live entertainment industry 40 years ago as the first female reporter for Amusement Business magazine.

“When I started at Amusement Business as a reporter, they truly did question whether a woman could cover the industry,” said Deckard in her acceptance speech. “The reason they were concerned about hiring a female reporter was because they weren’t sure they wanted me out at a carnival at midnight and carnivals were very much a part of what we covered. They got over that.”

In 2002, Deckard founded Venues Today giving a voice to venue managers, event marketers and other people in behind the scenes of the live entertainment business. Through the publication, she also launched multiple conferences including the VenuesNow and VT RISE (Raising the Industry in Sports & Entertainment) along with coveted industry awards such as Women of Influence and GenerationNext.

“I didn’t think I qualified for an EAMC award like this because I’m not a marketer and I am totally in awe of what you do every day,” Deckard said from the stage. “There is so much happening. It is much harder to market and reach the public now and you all find a way. This group has always impressed me so much with their passion and their energy.”

In addition to Deckard’s Gigi Award, EAMC added GM of CN Centre in Prince George, British Columbia, Glen Mikkelsen to the event’s Hall of Fame. Mikkelsen was honored for his frequent attendance and support of the conference and for his work making the geographically-remote CN Centre a stop for major tours of the world’s finest entertainers.

Decked out in pants covered in guitars and his signature bow tie, Mikkelsen teared up at the end of his acceptance speech stating, “Thank you so much. This is one of the highlights of my life.”