LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Two hundred association meeting planners from across the US and 20 countries around the world came together today for a power-packed afternoon and evening program of learning and networking as part of the first ever IMEX America Association Day.
The event, which is unique to IMEX, was supported by the show’s headquarters hotels, The Venetian®|The Palazzo® and The Sands and official AV suppliers, PSAV. The dynamic forum was co-organized and presented by ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership and ICCA (International Congress & Convention Association).
By holding an education day dedicated exclusively to the everyday management, operational and professional development issues faced by association executives, IMEX America, and its co-organizers recognizes the unique pressures and challenges faced by this important audience.
Today’s program, which took place as part of a myriad of special education sessions called “Smart Monday,” was highly customized to allow association executives to share best practices and insights, as well as learning from industry experts and leaders in a private setting. All 200 association meeting planners have stayed on as part of the IMEX America hosted buyer program to meet and do business with exhibitors over the next few days.
In a series of three concurrent sessions – repeated twice during the day – attendees chose between: “Reshaping an Association’s Value Proposition in a Transnational World,” presented by Glenn Tecker, Chairman & Co-CEO of Tecker International; “How to Turn your Medical Meeting’s Intellectual Content into More,” which was moderated by Quirine Laman-Trip, Facilitator of Group Learning and Director at Kenes Group and also featured Matt Petersen, Director of Information Resources and Professional Engagement at the American Diabetes Association and Steve Waters, President, SRW Group. The third session was presented by Nikki Walker, VP at Global Association Management & Consulting company, MCI Group, who spoke about “Adapting Global Strategy to Ensure Local Relevance and Operational Success.” She was joined by a speaker panel of Howard A. Wallack, Director of Global Member Programs, Society for Human Resource Management; Jim Gurowka, International Development, Institute of Management Accountants; and Susan Root, Director Conference Business Services, IEEE.
Hot topics that caught the attention of delegates and were widely debated throughout the day included long-term strategy planning; emerging market penetration challenges; new trends affecting the global association market; and the changing nature of client, association management, and member relations.
For those wanting to learn more about risk management in association conference contracts, a special session entitled “Keeping your Head above the Weeds: Managing Contractual Risk with your Association Conferences,” was also presented. Former meeting planner and Attorney for Client Services at Experient Inc., Patricia A. Ekers, was joined by Gary Schirmacher, CMP, Senior Vice President of Strategic Account Services at Experient, to lead this debate.
DEEP DIVE DISCOVERY
An alternative three-hou,r deep dive session was also a draw for IMEX America Association Day participants. “Associations at the Crossroads – The Shifting Landscape of Business Models and Membership in an Uncertain Future” offered a compelling conversation guided by speakers: Susan Robertson, CAE, EVP, ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership; Jay Younger, Managing Partner and Chief Consultant at McKinley Marketing Inc.; and Scott Steen, CAE, CEO of American Forests Association.
Although innovation was an important part of the day’s program, it had a particularly strong focus during Fast Future Research’s 20-minute Power Briefing. In “Event Innovation – The Latest Examples from the Convention 2020 Study,” CEO Rohit Talwar took participants through short case studies on how associations and other event owners around the world are evolving the design and delivery of their events to keep in step with rapidly-changing social, economic, and technology trends.
Later in the evening, IMEX America Association Day attendees joined an informal evening reception, held in the stunning Palazzo Ballroom and hosted by the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Buyers had the opportunity to socialize and network with hundreds of IMEX America exhibitors and other association partners and peers. The reception saw 700 meetings industry professionals making the most of the glorious ballroom setting and extending their business contacts and knowledge before the show doors had opened.
Sharing his feedback on the day’s program, Jim Booth, Executive Director of Prism International, USA, said: “Thought-provoking and relevant content delivered in a great, highly-interactive format. Here I am picking up the kind of information necessary to drive our strategy and respond to a rapidly-changing business environment. The day was a superb investment of my time.”
Alec Kiradjian of the Boutique and Lifestyle Lodging Association, USA, commented: “Today was a real learning hub and well worth my time. It was an impressive, invaluable, and enlightening experience.”
Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, commented on the success of this first IMEX America Association Day: “I’ve been delighted with the feedback we’ve received, which testified to a terrific day – and evening – jam-packed with value, learning, and networking. It clearly left association meeting planners feeling energized and empowered. These hosted buyers – especially being part of a newer attendee model for the US Market – also seemed to find great benefit in connecting with peers from different world markets, as well as across North America. This was an important part of our ‘Smart Monday’ education day and a great kick-off for the inaugural IMEX America.”