PCMA Influencers Summit: What to Take Away

October 9, 2018

PCMA Influencers Summit: What to Take Away

Luca Segantini is the Executive Director of the International Society of Nephrology, and attended the 2018 PCMA European Influencers Summit in Seville in September. He tells Boardroom how the programme was relevant to his organisation and what his takeaways are.

Can you briefly introduce the organization you work for? What’s your role in it?

Since 2009, I am executive director of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN), a global organisation dedicated to advancing worldwide kidney health with a 35-people team. We build capacity with healthcare professionals via granting programs, education and research. My role is to make sure that all ISN programs are well-managed and support our mission.

Why did you choose to attend the Summit in the first place?

I have only been to a PCMA event once before, and I had a positive memory of the experience. Beyond my commitment as an AC Forum board member, I only go to a couple of association events each year, and I try to carefully select them. The PCMA European Influencers Summit promised to be right on target for me, as I will soon be moving from an international association to a European one, so I must learn more about specific issues and best practices on the continent.

What are your takeaways?

Although the line between global issues in the events/association world and local (European) ones is fairly thin, I learned that the value of collaboration, partnerships and teamwork is higher in Europe. Perhaps the fact that many excellent destinations are trying to attract customers in a comparatively small space forces everyone to overcome the purely competitive approach and seek ways to put in place win-win strategies. Alliances are a visible sign of this philosophy and I am personally convinced there is still work to be done to achieve their full potential, for customers and destinations/venues alike. 

What are the key highlights of the event according to you?

Like most of the audience, I enjoyed Dr. Nordström’s plenary speech, although I disagree with his conclusions. I appreciated the clear delineation of the forces influencing our future: de-globalisation, urbanisation, technology. The speakers showing new revenue streams were all interesting, in different ways, and some of their case studies are immediately applicable to any event. Finally, I thought the concluding workshop was well structured and gave me a few nuggets I am already sharing with my team – overall, a positive experience, in a wonderful setting in Seville. Just make sure it is not 38 degrees next time…

October 8, 2018

The Secretary General’s Voice
– How to Stay Humble

A member of Boardroom Advisory board, Mohamed Mezghani has been appointed Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) in January. Boardroom has asked him to contribute a monthly column in which he explains all about the challenges of holding such a position. This is Mohamed’s eighth contribution, in which he reflects on how to stay humble

Over the last weeks I had the opportunity to visit many of our members and establish formal cooperation agreements with sister associations. It is so exciting and encouraging to see how much these members value their belonging to UITP. I am received with the honours and feel the importance they see in these visits and the attention we bring to them. The same goes for partner associations: they are so eagerly willing to join forces with us, which is obviously reciprocal. It also indicates high expectations that we’ll have to answer to. This had made me reflect on the reasons of such treatment and the desire to get close to us.

First, I think our diversity and global dimension which make us a credible representative of our industry has everything to do with it. We represent all stakeholders in all continents. How many trade associations represent the whole eco-system with a multiplicity of member profiles who may sometimes have opposite interests and must go beyond their corporatist positions? How many of them have offices spread all over the world? Though we are in the era of digitalisation and online communication, geographical proximity is still an asset. In many regions, members want easy access to our team, to call us up instead of emailing us, so we can meet them when needed and develop informal relationships with them…

Face-to-face meetings are the only way to gain trust in many situations and this is made possible by a large network of offices and by visiting members as often as possible. Members also see an acknowledgement of their achievements in these visits, and a strong support by a global organisation. The challenge is to express this support while avoiding interference in local affairs, in particular when the political dimension is so important especially in public transport.

Then there is the credibility we inspire by the quality of our services, the relevance of our policy positions, and the continuous focus on monitoring trends and the integration of them into our work programme. Being rooted in the current reality of the sector and, at the same time, a forward-looking organisation is a strong objective that drives our work. We are not a research institute nor a prospective consultancy but we must answer the short-term business concerns of the members while increasing their awareness on the longer term trends impacting the sector.

It’s also about caring about members whatever their request and their expectation. It’s about adopting a service-minded approach in our daily relationship with them. We shouldn’t forget that belonging to an association is not their core activity, and they don’t usually have time to understand all our services and benefits. They expect us to guide them and help them navigate through our service packages, to anticipate their needs, to advise them, to make their involvement easy and smooth. We have our own jargon and our own ways of organising work within the secretariat, we shouldn’t bother them with those but speak their language and look at our services from their perspective. And we do that for all members regardless of their annual subscription. At UITP we are proud to have a ‘one member, one vote’ policy.

Being diverse, credible, and equitable and remaining available for our members strengthen the association and make it more relevant. But whatever the honours we are received with, we shouldn’t forget that the association is first and foremost made up from our members, and operates thanks to them. Our role is a facilitator. So let’s stay humble.

Picture: Alinur Aktas, Mayor of the City of Bursa and Councilor of Marmara Municipalities Union (Turkey) and Mohamed Mezghani signing a collaboration agreement to launch a UITP Training Centre in Istanbul

October 8, 2018

Toronto Goes into a Tech Rush

Toronto has emerged as one of the world’s fastest growing tech markets; indeed, it’s the 3rd largest in North America with some 14,000 tech companies and 65+ incubators. In the past 30 days, the city has seen a number of announcements, such as Microsoft’s expansion of their Canadian headquarters or that Pinterest is opening its Toronto office, a clear indicator that Toronto’s tech boom shows no signs of slowing down.

With organizations such as Business Events Toronto, Toronto Global and the Toronto Leader’s Circle helping provide access to local sponsorship and thought-leaders, attendance-building tools and industry networking opportunities, the city is the right destination for tech conferences. Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the largest convention centre in Canada and Enercare Centre, the largest exhibition space in Canada, make it easy for conferences such as Collision, North America’s fastest growing tech conference, to relocate to Canada’s downtown.  

In a recent article on the Collision Conference, Johanne Bélanger, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto, noted how Toronto’s Tech scene is shaped by global events hosted here,  “Hosting a conference of this magnitude demonstrates how meetings and events can be a powerful catalyst for economic development for sectors like technology and innovation, showcasing and elevating the booming tech industry, people and companies that have made the Toronto region a tech powerhouse.”

October 5, 2018

Nuclear Medicine Finds a Home in Düsseldorf

The 31st Annual Congress of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) – the world’s leading event in this area – will be taking place at the Congress Centre Düsseldorf (CCD) from 13–17 October. EANM ’18 will bring around 6,000 international participants from Europe and beyond to the city of Düsseldorf and will provide the possibility to network, socialize and discuss the newest trends and findings in the field of Nuclear Medicine.

The educational program will include up-to-date teaching sessions, enriched pitfalls seminars and Continuous Medical Education interactive sessions. With similar pedagogic intent, numerous multidisciplinary joint symposia, organised by several EANM Committees in collaboration with sister societies, will offer an integrative approach to various topics relevant to the state of the art of this discipline.

Photo : Congress Centre Düsseldorf

October 4, 2018

Yokohama Is the Destination of Choice for Computational Mechanics

Yokohama has been chosen as the host city for the 15th World Congress on Computational Mechanics (WCCM), which will take place at the new PACIFICO YOKOHAMA NORTH in 2022. About 3500 researchers and experts in the fields of computational engineering and computational mechanics from around the globe are expected to participate. Of those, roughly 2,000 will be coming from abroad.

The success of the mission was thanks to a joint effort by JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization) and the Japan Tourism Agency, YCVB (Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau) and the city of Yokohama and PACIFICO Yokohama. The local organising committee established “Pursuing the Infinite Potential of Computational Mechanics” as its vision statement promoting new concepts and technologies to address societal needs.

October 3, 2018

Respiratory Experts Take a Deep Breath in Vienna

The international congress of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) will take place in Vienna for the fifth time in 2020: from September 5-9 around 20,000 pulmonary and respiratory experts will meet at Reed Messe Wien for the congress’s 30th instalment.

The annual ERS congress is the world’s largest scientific get-together for physicians, researchers and other specialists working in the field of pulmonology. Participants at the gathering will find out about the latest treatment options for lung and respiratory diseases at more than 400 scientific lectures and training sessions. The large-scale congress is a global networking platform for pulmonary specialists from more than 100 countries.

October 2, 2018

Academia, Industry & Government Success in Jerusalem

Building on a very strong academic backbone, Jerusalem has emerged as a hub for life science and biomedical companies, with a number of ground-breaking achievements attracting the attention of associations around the globe—and the government offering financial support for international conferences to get here.

High-Tech Hub

Five years may not seem like a long time, but for a city like Jerusalem, half a decade feels like a century in terms of innovation success. Jerusalem has undergone a technology renaissance of sorts, with one of the fastest growing start-up scenes on the globe. The city has earned the title “Start-Up Nation” since it is home to over a thousand start-ups—the largest number of per-capita start-ups and venture capital investments in the world. Thanks to these investments, the number of active life sciences and hi-tech companies in Jerusalem has tripled from 150 to 570 over the past five years alone.

This has inspired both local and global enterprises, such as Kaspersky Lab and Rafael (Israel’s most important manufacturer of advanced defense systems), to expand their operations by moving to the city. “Jerusalem features two main hubs: education and biotech. Innovative companies have established their own hubs in Jerusalem through the contribution of academics coming from the university,” explains Dr. Joseph (Yossi) Tam, Director of the Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. One hub nourishes the other.”

Modern-Day Medicine

Jerusalem also features 17 academic institutions that build on a history spanning back more than two millennia. The Hebrew University, which ranks 23rdin the world, features the highest number of life science Ph.D. students in the country, with cutting-edge research in areas like biotechnology, computer science, astrophysics, cancer and solar energy.

Along with affiliate Hadassah Medical Center, the two institutions conduct over one-third of the country’s academic research, as well as 43% of Israel’s biotechnology research. With over 1,800 students graduating annually and setting out into the community, Jerusalem is continuing to build on its reputation as a powerhouse in the field of life sciences, with over 100 companies specialising in this sector.

Given the facilities and wealth of research stemming from the city, Jerusalem has gained notoriety as a leader in scientific and medical conventions and makes for an ideal conference host, attracting over 350 tech events per year that include everything from inspiration meet-ups to hackathons and conferences. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and attracts many people coming to the country,”Tam says. “Being a perfect mix of religion and invention, history and culture, modernity and life, brings together many people from around the globe to explore this beautiful city.”

In September 2017, mHealth Israel, the country’s largest medical technology conference, met for the fourth time in the city, bringing together over 500 attendees from more than 20 countries, over 80 percent of which were entrepreneurs. According to mHealth Israel founder Levi Shapiro in a press statement: “It is clear that Jerusalem is experiencing a boom in life science and Medtech investment and start-ups. Jerusalem offers the perfect setting for global C-level decision makers to meet innovative start-ups from across Israel, Europe and the US.”

Groundbreaking Gains

Jerusalem is also leading the way in cannabis research, thanks to the work underway at the Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which hosts an annual symposium on cannabinoids. Building on five decades of work started by Professor Raphael Mechoulam, “the father of cannabinoid research,”the center coordinates and conducts research on medical Cannabis and endocannabinoid activity and its therapeutic potential in treating disease.

In conjunction with the Jerusalem Conventions & Visitors Bureau, Dr. Tam helped persuade the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) to choose Jerusalem for its International Symposium on the Cannabinoids in 2021 at the Jerusalem International Convention Center (ICC), the same year asProf. Mechoulam’s 90thbirthday. For both Jerusalem and the Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research, this is a huge win since the ICRS is the oldest scientific society dedicated to the research of the cannabis plant, cannabinoids and their physiological and biochemical targets.

“One of our first goals after establishing the center was to host the ICRS conference in Jerusalem so that the international community of researchers can learn about the highly advanced work in the field of cannabinoids carried out in the center and in Israel,” Dr. Tam said. “I am certain that hosting this high-level conference will constitute another turning point in Israel’s position as a global leader in cannabinoid research and development.”

The conference, which debuted in 1990, is one of the top in the field of cannabinoids research and brings together hundreds of leading researchers from scientific communities around the globe. In an effort to win the bid and compete with other nearby cities in Europe, the Jerusalem Conventions & Visitors Bureauwas able to price match leading locales to ensure the city was a top contender, serving as a one-stop-shop offering financial support of up to €50,000.

This article, whose unedited version can be found in this edition of Boardroom,  was written by Boardroom editor Lane Nieset. More information on Jerusalem as a convention destination on www.jerusalemcvb.com.


Smart Stats on Jerusalem

Accessibility: Sitting halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, a 20-minute train ride away from the city, Israel’s international airport, Ben Gurion, is just a 4-hour flight from Europe’s major cities, with direct flights from 141 locations

Venues: The Jerusalem International Convention Center (ICC) is the largest and leading conference centre in the country with 27 halls accommodating up to 10,000 attendees, including the 3,000-person Ussishkin Auditorium—the largest in Israel

Accommodations: More than 17,500 rooms scattered across hotels suiting all budgets



October 2, 2018

Darwin Discusses Australia’s Ports

Some 200 industry leaders, decision makers and government speakers from all over Australia met in Darwin recently for the 46th biennial Ports Australia biennial conference. The conference, one of Australia’s chief maritime events, focussed on the opportunities and challenges facing Australia’s port sector, delivering strong, positive messages about the value Australia’s ports contribute to society.
During the two-day event, delegates attended 23 presentations and Q&A segments on the conference’s main themes, including security, economic and regulatory issues in Australia’s ports sector, social licence and community engagement, alternative energy, new technologies and innovation, port policy, Australia’s business and trade relationship with China, and coastal shipping.

Ports Australia’s Communications Director, Mike Fairbairn, said Darwin’s unique atmosphere and welcoming personality was one of the highlights. “The atmosphere in Darwin relaxed people, and they were able to socialise. I think there were a lot of new relationships and networks built out of the Darwin conference, which is one of the main reasons we do the event in the first place. The setting actually encouraged the sector to unify more—that would be one of the legacy issues from the Darwin event”.

Photo : Darwin Convention Centre

October 1, 2018

Who Does Your Association Conference Serve?

In an article published on the website of Convene, one of Boardroom’s partners, Dave Lutz, CMP, reflects on how an association conference shouldn’t be a rite of passage or a way for someone to leave a legacy.

Conferences are there to serve the paying attendees. Organizations that don’t put the attendee first in every conference experience they offer lose an opportunity to grow trust and loyalty.

Read Dave’s opinion piece here.

October 1, 2018

Basel Proves Itself to Medical Academics

The Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) organised this year’s conference in Basel from 25 to 29 August at the Congress Centre Basel (CCB). The organisation brings together professors, lecturers, researchers, members of government and public administrations and also ambitious young academics from the medical and healthcare disciplines.

The Centre welcomed 3,800 participants, a plenary event with 3,000 guests, 35 sessions staged simultaneously and an accompanying exhibition on an area of 8,000 m2, featuring 83 exhibitors and 900 posters. The conference used the entire infrastructure of the CCB and the adjacent Swissôtel, proving that Basel is suitably equipped for major congresses with more than 3000 participants. Pat Liley and Nicola Williams from the AMEE communications agency PCO Worldspan were full of praise for the location, organisation and running of the conference.

Photo: Congress Centre Basel