Association for Women in Events (AWE), the group behind the Elevate! Conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in March, is moving from a dues-paying association model to a community model in light of the state of the events industry in the wake of shut downs from COVID-19.

AWE President Marie-Claire Andrews said the mission established five years ago remains the same: to be “a beacon in the events community—a groundbreaking movement designed to elevate and celebrate the role of anyone who identifies as a woman in the events industry.” The group was formed to shed light on disparities, effect the necessary change, have the tough conversations and be fearless to achieve their purpose on behalf of all women in events. “We are very proud of our many achievements fueled by the hard work and tireless commitments of every one of the selfless volunteers who have been integral to AWE’s success.”

Andrews positioned the change as an opportunity to create a new community model to better align with our industry’s new normal. “Many of our members have been laid off, furloughed, terminated or have taken a salary reduction. The loss of live event revenues has financially devastated our partners and sponsors. We believe it would be irresponsible for AWE to hold our community to their financial commitments when the current unprecedented circumstances would not permit us to deliver on their expected AWE’s value proposition,” she said in a letter to members.

Instead, leadership plans to “proactively shift our energies towards our active online community.” Through social media channels, AWE will continue to support women, men and organizations with a vision of an inclusive community that empowers, elevates and advocates for all those who identify as women in the events industry.

AWE will refund membership dues paid after January 1, 2020, pro-rated based on May 1 end-date when the group is eliminating overhead expenses and dissolving the formal infrastructure.

“We hope that once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, we will once again be able to meet face-to-face in 2021 and celebrate in new and unexpected ways, just as we did on March 5 this year,” Andrews concluded.