When compiling JCK’s first Power List, we kept circling back to the question: How do you define power?
We decided early on that this industry was too sprawling and diffuse for us to rank its most powerful people on a strictly numerical basis. So we opted to break down our rankings by sector (each list is numbered for ease of reading; we did not rank individuals in each category). Not everyone on our list racks up millions of dollars in sales or can make exhibitors snap to attention at trade shows. Some of them operate strictly behind the scenes. But all of them are innovators who are ensuring this tradition-bound business prospers in the 21st century.
Of the 50-plus people who made the cut, we chose to highlight 10 we thought deserved special attention because they likely fly beneath most people’s radars. But by our reckoning, all of them make up the industry’s powers-that-be.
The JCK Power List was compiled by the magazine’s editors in consultation with numerous outside experts. And yet we are well aware that the final tally does not include every notable person in the trade. We fully expect this to spark heated debate. (Lord knows there were some heated ones while putting it together.) We may have bruised an ego or two. But we feel confident that everyone on the list matters.
By “matter,” we mean: The members of our Power List wield influence. They are listened to. They make things happen. And this business would be significantly different without them. We never really came up with a precise definition of power. But perhaps that’s as good as any.