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.”