Omer Soker appointed new AGHA executive general manager
Former Reed Gift Fair exhibition director, Omer Soker, will join the Australian Gift and Homewares Association (AGHA) from December as the new executive general manager after CEO David Leek decided not to renew his contract.
Soker stepped away from corporate life more than a year ago to write his book The Trust Future, which shows companies a more ethical and open way of doing business.
He says his new position with the AGHA is the perfect way to put what he has been writing about into practise by focusing on the organisation’s values and goals to support and educate its members.
“I would love to be the catalyst to actually fulfil all those promises because it’s a tough market, it’s changing and everything is topsy-turvy,” he says. “What I think that I can bring to it is to position it as the authorative convenor of the industry to transcend all of those trade fair rivalries and whether it’s the Home & Giving Fair or the Reed Gift Fair or whatever it may be, the Australian Gift and Homewares Association can help bring everything together and so that’s what I would absolutely love to do.
“The other one is to really understand what the members want and so I want to engage everyone very openly and transparently – especially the people who have been with us for 10, 20, 30 years and say ‘tell me what you think about the association, tell me the good but also the bad stuff’.
“[I] probably want to hear the bad stuff more than the good because that’s how you can improve. Through my book and values and ethics it’s about transparency so bring it on – tell me everything.”
With seven to eight years’ experience at Reed Gift Fairs, Soker is aware of the struggles people in the industry face. This new opportunity gives him a chance to help all stakeholders in the sector but enhance the Home & Giving Fair as well. However, he hopes to have a strong focus on advocacy and representation for members as well as boosting AGHA’s education, information and networking programs.
“So you will see lots of new initiatives and these will not be profit generating – they’ll be value creating. So lots more association membership building things to meet members’ needs and also to attract new members,” he explains.
AGHA president, Nigel Kirby, is pleased to have Soker on board and thinks he will help the organisation move with the times.
“Omer has a proven track record in trade fair management and delivering a variety of user solutions,” Kirby says. “He has a sound understanding of membership based organisations and his skills will ensure that we continue to stay relevant in a rapidly changing environment.”