Belfast is Born Again

April 20, 2018

Belfast is Born Again

Once renowned for its shipyards – the Titanic was built there – Belfast seems to have found a new lease of life. Now a vibrant city full of energy and knowledge in many areas of endeavours, it has, in recent years, undergone major rejuvenation, resulting in a modern hub that attracts associations from all around the world.

If Belfast was once known for its strong industrial base and its oft-troubled past that has now fortunately become part of its history, it is now the shopping, retail, educational, commercial, entertainment, and service centre for Northern Ireland and the seat of many of its largest businesses and hospitals. Wandering through the streets of its historic centre, its gracious parks and its tidy residential neighbourhoods, you realise Belfast has much to offer to association planners looking for a destination with a twist.

Walking distance

First and foremost: everything is at walking distance. When you arrive at one of the city’s two airports (Belfast City Airport, right in the heart of the city, or Belfast International a mere 25 minutes away – and there’s also Dublin International Airport, only 90 minutes by road), you figure out quickly that you won’t lose time commuting between your hotel, your conference venue or your gala dinner. The city’s compactness makes it easy for delegates to network outside the traditional networking opportunities they are presented with since they are likely to run into colleagues and peers simply walking around…

If Belfast’s traditional manufacturing specialties, linen and shipbuilding, have declined since long, the sectors are now overshadowed by service activities, food processing and machinery manufacture.Educational institutions include Queen’s University at Belfast (also a popular conference venue) and the University of Ulster. Northern Ireland, as a whole, is a global leader in the aerospace industry with big corporations such as Airbus or Boeing working hand in hand with Northern Irish aerospace companies. Northern Ireland is also the #1 location in the world for investment into cybersecurity with the highest percentage of qualified IT professionals in the UK and Ireland.

As the middle point between America and Europe, Belfast is a major port, with commercial and industrial docks dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline, including the famous Harland and Wolff shipyard, where the well-known RMS Titanic was designed, built and launched. The site now houses Titanic Belfast, a gigantic museum that tells the story of the famous ship, from her conception in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to its maiden voyage and subsequent place in history. Titanic Belfast boasts the largest dedicated gala dinner space in the city.

A true renaissance

If the opening of Titanic Belfast (pictured) in 2012 may have marked the beginning of the city’s recent revival, Belfast’s renaissance was actually prompted by the Good Friday Agreement in the late 1990s, putting an end to years of violence. The fact that there is now a common effort, a unified message to attract association conferences is also helping Belfast being on the meetings map like she has never been before.

Infrastructure you would expect in large metropolises have pride of place in the city: Belfast Waterfront is the largest conference facility in Northern Ireland and can cater for 5,000+ delegates over 7,000 sqm of meeting space, right on the banks of the River Lagan in the heart of the city, with nice riverside views and easy access to transport links, hotels, restaurants and attractions. Like Dr Thomas Kauffels, the chair of European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) observed:“Belfast Waterfront’s city centre location and convenience to the region’s two airports have proven extremely beneficial to our international delegates – members can fly in and go straight to a meeting, hassle free.”In terms of accommodation, there will be 10,000 hotel bedrooms in Northern Ireland by 2020, with 1000 coming this year alone, including the Grand Central with 304 bedrooms.

Last but not least Belfast is where the first seasons of TV series Game of Thrones were shot and, in terms of pre- or post-conference tours, you can hardly do better! The famous nearby Causeway Coast is also a draw, offering something unique to the most demanding association planners or delegates.

More information on Belfast as a convention destination: www.visitbelfast.com/ Caroline.Phelan@visitbritain.org 

This article was written by Rémi Dévé, Boardroom Chief Editor (editor@boardroom.global)

 

 

 

 

April 16, 2018

Register to ASAE’s CEO Symposium in Amsterdam

How do you optimize a solid and strategic partnership?  How can you align the governance roles and responsibilities of your CEO and volunteer leader? ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership has designed the CEO Symposiumto provide leadership discovery and direction in an ever-changing association workspace. Held in Amsterdam 23-24 May, the Symposium encourages association executives to evaluate annual priorities and offers insight on how best to work with their incoming leader.

For more than 30 years, both first-time and past attendees discuss the value of attending an ASAE CEO Symposium, which provides current information and direction on the emerging issues that the association community faces.  CEOs return with their newly elected officers and establish mutual trust while learning ways to strategize on governance issues and volunteer culture. Isabel Bardinet, Chief Executive Officer of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) said, ‘This one programme had a profound influence on how we now develop policies, design committees, and the day-to-day interactions between permanent and volunteer leadership.  We passed along many of the lessons to our directors, which improved the functioning of their own teams. ‘

Making connections and establishing a common ground among top members of the leadership team developsa sense of ownership and stewardship within the association and ultimately createsmeasurable results on the overall mission and success of your organization.With unparalleled expertise and a proven track-record facilitating the CEO Symposium both domestically and internationally, faculty from Tecker International, LLC will deliver valuable insights for immediate application to the realities of your own association. Optimize your partnership, create mutual return, and foster effective governance by participating and applying:

  • + Current and anticipated challenges facing leaders of contemporary associations
  • + Value of research and strategy in decision making
  • + Relationships of board and staff in association governance
  • + Leadership behavior and its impact on change, innovation, and organizational culture
  • + Successful practices in strategic planning and thinking

Glenn H. Tecker is chairman and co-CEO of Tecker International. He has more than 35 years of experience assisting associations and corporations in planning for change. Glenn is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost experts on leadership and strategy. He has worked in an executive capacity with businesses, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations and served as a board member for many nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Glenn’s expertise in the areas of governance, program strategy, organizational design, research analysis, and presentation skills will be critical to the effort.

Newly added program:

Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Foresight:  Empowering Associations for the Future

Senior association professionals and volunteer leaders are often called upon to consider how the ever-changing business, technological, social, and political landscapes will transform the organizations they represent. Leaders must be equipped with the tools, resources, and skills to guide and direct dynamic conversations around environmental scanning and planning for change. This evidence-based program will draw from ASAE Foundation’s new research initiative, ASAE ForesightWorks, to deliver key information about current business and association drivers of change. The two-part session will address the value of foresight, creating a culture of foresight, and how associations may exemplify the “duty of foresight” into their board and committee orientations. Program resources will be used to demonstrate how a continual stream of intelligence about anticipated trends can be applied and integrated such that it stimulates meaningful discussions and action.

Register at ASAEcenter.org/Amsterdam to facilitate strategic conversations around your association’s strategy, digital transformation, research and analytics, engagement, and resource allocation.

April 12, 2018

Monaco Helps You Comply

Recent years have seen increased regulation from government bodies within Europe, and from the industry regulators implementing more stringent codes and guidelines pertaining to the interactions between the pharmaceutical and medical-device industries and healthcare professionals. These factors have had direct impact on medical associations and their meetings activities. In this context, the Government of Monaco, together with all the key players in the business events industry, have converged towards the values of transparency expected in this sector.

With 530 healthcare professionals, Monaco has always aimed to achieve a high level of medical excellence and is renowned for the quality of its facilities in several fields, ranging from cardiology and gynaecology to emergency medicine and medical biology. In the fight against cancer, the CentreHospitalier Princesse Gracehas been standing out for many years. The range of disciplines available on site, collaboration with societies and links with various companies and industries has allowed many patients to access the most innovative strategies.

Monaco as a whole boasts a very dynamic healthcare cluster. If the Scientific Centre of Monaco (CSM), a public establishment founded by Prince Rainier III in 1960, is well known, the Monaco Cardio-Thoracic Center (CCM) gathers experts in diagnostic and interventional cardiology, anaesthesiologyandthoracic and cardiovascular surgery, while the Monaco Institute of Sports Medicine and Surgery (IM2S) is dedicated to surgical osteo-articular treatments. Recently, the emphasis has also been put on clinical research, as the Principality strongly believes the management of diseases is optimal wherever clinical research is associated with care.

In this ever-changing world, Monaco, which boasts a strong track record of welcoming medical conferences, can provide a full range of support to organisations wishing to hold their next event in the Principality. As a destination, Monaco can help you ensure that the overall medical ethics are always respected and that regulations are duly followed. In Monaco, simply put, compliance will be the key word that is going to be applied to every aspect of your event, especially according to the guidelines of MedTech Europe, which is committed to a high level of ethical business practices and which advises on how to collaborate ethically.

Catherine Decuyper, CEO, Conference Manager with EuroMediCom, who organises the Aesthetic & Anti-Aging World Congressevery April since 2005,puts it like this:“Choosing Monaco as a venue for the Anti-Aging World Congress was one of the keys to its success. Monaco is an exceptional destination on many counts: superbly located and with a climate that is mild almost all year round. Monaco Tourist and Convention Authority is a real partner, keen to offer help and advice at all stages and the Grimaldi Forum Monaco is a perfect congress centre. 

This article was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve / editor@boardroom.global/ More information on Monaco as a conference destination: lpapouchado@gouv.mc/ www.monaconventionbureau.com

April 5, 2018

Associations and Data Management Plans

In social and scientific research, data are extremely important. Dealt with first as raw material, but then processed and analyzed by professionals in the framework of a research plan, they produce, in the end, knowledge. Associations – and not only of a scientific nature  –  generate a lot of data and today it is essential for them to handle, preserve and store most of it.

In practice, a Data Management Plan (DMP) summarizes the way in which researchers monitor their data over time, no matter their origin or type. Data can in fact come from a functional magnetic resonance apparatus or a particle generator, but can also contain texts, graphs, images, tables and so on.

In reality, some scientists, such as geneticists and astronomers, have used data-related methods for a long time, but, for others, they represent a novelty they now have to deal with. Geneticists, for example, can already count on over 70 metadata information systems, which can range from viruses to oncological images. However, each research community has its own metadata management system, as www.re3data.org shows.

Open Science

DMPs are required to fully realize the so-called open science, whose aim is to make scientific research quickly available and as accessible as possible. Data retention makes it possible to reuse them, compare them and duplicate searches. It also prevents some from embarking on roads that have not led to concrete results.

In addition, when the amount of data is big, artificial intelligence can come in and deal with it much better than humans, especially in the medical field. Healthcare planners, providers and researchers are perfectly aware that the data they collect every day can be translated into valuable information for patients worldwide. Let’s just think, for instance, about the millions of mammograms that are processed everyday…

The fact is that US federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, but also the European Commission, require DMPs to obtain funding.  And it is actually requested not only to specify the way in which the data will be produced, but how they will be stored when the research project comes to an end. Those who do not provide open access to the information they have collected for reasons related perhaps to intellectual property or security must have adequate reasons.

Lack of information

The problem lies in the fact that many researchers are not informed thoroughly. A survey carried out last year among over 1,200 young European research fellows and PhD students shows that only a quarter of them had generated a DMP and another quarter did not even know what it was. Many complained about the poor support from the institutions to which they belonged.

Unfortunately, each scientific discipline produces – qualitatively and quantitatively – a big amount of data, so that the variety of DMPs that can be needed is very high. Clearly, a particle generator provides an enormous quantity of data, while an anthropologist typically produces less. There is also research of a conceptual nature, or of a theoretical nature, that do not require any DMP: it is simply impossible to preserve every source, even minimal, of information. A fundamental step, however, concerns the indication of who, after a research project is finished, will keep the data. Choosing a physical person will be unwise; a library will be more appropriate. But even in this case, since libraries do not store personal data, it is advisable to include the data in a specialized computer archive.

Sensitive Data

There is also the problem of sensitive data, especially the medical ones, more than ever vulnerable in our ‘big data’ era. A lot of companies accumulate personal data in order to resell them to third parties, allowing them to hone their marketing strategies or propaganda. These ‘gatherings’ of information are based on individual, demographic and geographical data. Those called “psychographic” are focused on behaviours and attitudes, and usually come from the illegal fishing from smartphones and social networks. Some agencies – as shown during the last presidential campaign in the US – even managed to collect data on voters. The aim was for them to tailor their messages, and, in the end, influence the election.

In this context, as some sensitive data can clearly be obtained in an illegal manner, many research institutions are looking for ways to control them. Trust protocols have been adopted that allow for transparent exchanges. And, to accelerate the acceptance of what some consider as being just another administrative burden, science professionals and research associations must work to streamline the process and to explain its benefits. Funders and institutions, then, must ensure that data management, and the basic skills of exercising it properly, becomes widespread.

Clearly, some steps are fundamental to producing a good DMP. Online help is available to develop a DMP that fits the requirements of the funding agency on the basis of the association field. Clear objectives about how the data will be archived will clarify the storage space and the formats needed. Other aspects to be touched upon include who will use and manage the data, how and when data will be shared with people outside the association.

We are all perfectly aware that technology can outpace its regulation. But we cannot be afraid of sharing and, at the same time control, the data we generate considering our codes of ethics.

This article was contributed by Franco Viviani, the former President of the International Council for Physical Activity and Fitness Research (ICPAFR) and a professor of Anthropology at the University of Padua, Italy.

 

 

April 1, 2018

In the Shoes of the Secretary General (Part II)

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 second contribution, in which he argues that it’s all about the members.

 

An association is by definition member-focused. It seems obvious. But actually the way members are involved differs from an association to the other. And hence the focus on members doesn’t have the same scope. The more I meet my peers in other associations the more I realise the diversity of approaches.

The specificity of associations is that their shareholders are their customers, i.e. the members. They govern the association, decide on the rules, membership fees and programmes, and then they produce and consume services. It means that they have to safeguard the general interest while assuming the consequence of their decisions at an individual level. There is a risk of conflict if the governance structure and bodies don’t reflect the diversity of membership. Therefore, it is important to have rules all members can follow equally.

There is also a risk that the Secretariat or the staff of the association takes the lead forgetting that their role is to facilitate and support members and not to decide on their behalf. In that regard, associations are not companies: the owner is the member and not the CEO. The challenge is to make sure members dedicate time and effort to run the association. Even if the Secretariat has the expertise and resources to prepare papers, carry out studies and develop services, the legitimacy of the association is brought by the number, quality and profile of its members. They have the practical experience, they are the ones taking risks to innovate in their businesses and to develop their market, and the peer-to-peer exchange is what makes the association credible.

The association offers them an often international network and the bigger picture that they generally miss in their day-to-day job. We help them open their horizon, take a step back from any daily issue they might face and make them stronger by relaying their voice and joining it to that of their peers.

In an increasingly digitalised and competitive word, it is key to find new ways of engaging with members besides physical meetings which, to this day, remain one of the main reasons why people join an association.

Digitalisation, in a way, forces us to progress quickly, allows shorten timelines for project delivery. Because of it, we have to be more agile and react to changes faster. If our members are used to new techniques in their daily activities they must find the equivalent in the association. We have to commit to achieving such objectives.

Members also expect transparency and accountability from those managing the association. This is a great opportunity for us because they feel more concerned and therefore will engage more. Let’s be frank, our satisfaction at work often depends greatly from the interaction we have with our members. We are in a people’s industry. The more people are engaged, the better we feel, and the stronger the association will be. And when dealing with people, we must develop a culture of service excellence to keep them satisfied. And this is only feasible with happy staff… But this will be the topic of one of my next contributions.

March 28, 2018

Tokyo Gears Up for the Future

With more than 37 million people living in greater Tokyo, the city is probably the largest metropolitan area in the world, giving it a bustling feel. As the 2020 Summer Olympic Games are approaching, Tokyo is growing even busier with preparations on its infrastructure, transportation and human resources. However, these plans are but a small part of what Tokyo is envisaging for the future in other sectors, building on the important groundwork it has already laid.

Looking at statistics, the city appears in the top 10 cities worldwide of almost every financial ranking. Half of all major Japanese corporations are headquartered here as well as 76% of foreign companies in Japan and almost all Japanese banks, making it a major economic player. Considering it as an academic hub, it boasts over 140 universities and 160 public and private research centres, especially in the medical field, with achievements like the use of 3D printers and robot engineering. It is no wonder that most pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers are based in the area.

A City with a Vision

But this restless city has a vision for further industrial and academic growth daring innovative projects. One example of this, pharmaceutical companies and research institutions have joined forces in the Nihombashi and Tokyo Station area in an effort to turn Tokyo into an international hub for life sciences and drug discovery. And it becomes more interesting when universities join this flow of progress giving birth to ventures which capitalize on their R&D capabilities, like developing biofuel using euglena, a type of algae. This vision could not leave out the latest trend in Japan, Monozukuri, namely sophisticated manufacturing by small to mid-sized businesses. In fact, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has launched the “Medicine Manufacturing Cooperation HUB Agency” to promote the development of medical devices, coupling technology with healthcare.

The business events industry is in the centre of this fever of development, since the capital of Japan offers quality convention venues working hand in hand with businesses and universities and supported by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. 5,000 seats, 34 meeting rooms and an exhibition hall are the numbers describing the enormous boat-shaped glass Tokyo International Forum, the city’s largest convention facility, followed by the International Convention Centre Pamir with a capacity of more than 3,600 people and the Prince Park Tower Tokyo offering a plenary space of also 3600 people. What is more, unique venues like theatres and museums as well as hotels have developed suitable convention facilities for any size of meeting.

Association Wins

The two airports, Haneda and Narita, are located in easy travelling distance from the city, while fast trains connect most of the surrounding areas. Furthermore, 96,000 hotel rooms in central Tokyo are available for all budgets.

Conventions like the International Bar Association Annual Meeting in 2014 with 6300 participants, the 25th Conference of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver in 2015 with 4200 participants or the IFHIMA Congress two years ago with 3500 participants are proof to Tokyo’s efficiency. Future congresses for the city include IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition this year and the International Congress of Nutrition in 2021.

This article was written by Vicky Koffa, Boardroom digital editor. For more information on Tokyo as a convention destination, visit www.tcvb.or.jp/en/

March 18, 2018

The European Association Summit Grows Strong

For the sixth year in a row, visit.brussels organised the European Association Summit (EAS) at the newly-rebranded SQUARE-BRUSSELS CONVENTION CENTRE on 8-9 March 2018. Over the years, the event has become indispensable in terms of exchanging information, sharing knowledge, and networking for international associations. This year’s trends and biggest questions facing the association community were addressed under the theme of “Engage, collaborate, and innovate.”

This year’s EAS was the biggest to date, with over 200 participants, who could choose from 20 themed workshops and three plenary sessions. Growing from strength to strength, the organisers formed new partnerships and, for the first time, welcomed ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) and PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association). Based on real case studies, the summit gathered association representatives – from Brussels and beyond –  around the table to discuss a whole range of topics, such as organising campaigns, advocacy, growth strategies, relations between members and management in fields such as sport, nanotechnology, medicine and culture.

As far as Boardroom was concerned, what really changed this year was the level of engagement from the audience. If plenaries were expected plenaries (the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, tackle, for instance, the topic of collaboration, which is essential for associations), the workshops were the opportuntiy for delegates to participate, and, most of them did in a very spontaneous and lively manner. Emilie Fillod, COO of the European Forum for Good Clinical Practice (EFGCP), put it this way : ‘The overall content of the sessions was very good, and I particularly liked the way many of us participated in the conversations. Like they say, the knowledge is in the room, and I find, by talking to my association peers, many issues can be raised and even challenges can be solved.’

Popular sessions included a focus on GDPR organised by FAIB, the federation of associations based in Belgium, how to create momentum with online advocayc campaigns, led by three very dynamic young association executives, the power of the personal touch, where you understood that, in fine, relationships are key, and a special workshop on membership, where you could understand the differences between top-down and bottom-up initiatives.

This article was written by Rémi Dévé, Boardroom Chief Editor (editor@boardroom.global).

March 17, 2018

Creative and Dynamic Toulouse

Located in the Southwest of France, innovative, sportive and festive, Toulouse cultivates its creativity and dynamism. Toulouse’s heritage, Garonne River, climate and conviviality make the “pink city “ an attractive destination.

Toulouse is an exceptional destination for great international conferences. Its competitive advantage in the aeronautic and aerospace industry is known world-wide. Its efficient infrastructures and unforgettable identity, are transforming this European metropolis into an international premier destination.

Rich in 2,000 years of history, Toulouse revels in major historical sites (UNESCO classified, museums, architecture…). However, Toulouse is also an icon for progress and innovation.As the third French student city, Toulouse revels in high-level standard research laboratories, engineering schools and accredited industry leaders.

With more than 800,000 inhabitants, Toulouse is expending demographically, ranking first among the southern European cities, with a yearly increase of 10,000 inhabitants for the past 10 years.

Strong tradition and permanent innovation makes Toulouse a favorable destination in overcoming any challenges!

This article is powered by So*Toulouse. For more information on Toulouse as a convention destination, visit https://www.toulouse-visit.com/toulouse-convention-bureau 

 

March 11, 2018

Optimism vs Pessimism in Associations

To reach successful and rational business outcomes, especially in associations, it is very important to acquire rationality and flexibility in a context – let’s call it cognition – that is rigid and reactive, oriented toward learned rather than learning behaviour, and based on beliefs rather than evidence. In practice, we must be aware of some of the cognitive biases that affect us. In this article, I will examine the negativity bias vs. the optimist bias, and how it relates to associations.

Take a glass and fill it half way with water. Should it be considered as being half full (an optimist stance) or half empty (a pessimist one)? Psychological research on both optimism and pessimism can help us cope with these two peculiar inclinations. We must keep in mind that our evolutionary past forged us having both. Individually, we were obliged to defend ourselves against the predators lurking in a harsh environment, and this forced us to be suspicious. Collectively, we dared to take on risky projects that, for instance, allowed us to invade all corners of our planet. The coexistence of theses notions in us could be problematic, because in problem-solving and decision-making situations they play an important, if not fundamental, role. Sir Winston Churchill rightly said once: “A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.

Happiness never makes a good story

Pessimism can stem from the negativity bias, a psychological phenomenon that always occurs: we tend to give more importance and weight to negative experiences and information. Across almost all domains of life, we seem to be, more often than not, overly pessimistic. We all notice first a dark face in a crowd, not a happy one. We have a very rich vocabulary for pain, but not for the description of physical pleasure. The wars have poured rivers of ink and created mileage of movies; happiness, it is said, has never made a good story. And the list goes on. There is a plausible evolutionary explanation for this: the harsh environment in our distant past forced us to react promptly to threats. Being sensitive and reactive was essential. To imagine and to anticipate catastrophic scenarios actually helped us, in some way, to prevent them. This pessimistic feature in us is deeply-rooted.

The other side of the coin, optimism, could be wired in our brains as well. Without this feature, after all, we would never have colonized the whole Earth. Schoolchildren and adults over 60 see, studies show, the glass half full: this does not happen in other phases of life. In general, however, as individuals we tend to consider ourselves a little superior to other mortals. In the US, 90 percent of males are convinced to drive their car optimally compared to others; financial advisors are sure to be in tune with the markets (which, data show, they are not); small entrepreneurs believe that they will succeed in the great majority of cases (unfortunately for them, this does not always happen: their commercial mortality is very high).

This optimism can be found in one particular talent humans have: mental time travel, or the possibility that our mind has to move back and forth through time and space. Something that was essential when there was a need to envision a different time and place, for, again, our survival. We all know that optimists live longer because they are healthier than pessimists. But we are also aware that excessive optimism can be counter-effective, as it can lead to illusion. Steve Jobs, for example, when he discovered he was suffering from cancer became vegan and looked for a treatment on the net, blatantly refusing surgery. Reality didn’t stand a chance against his excessive optimism.

The power of cognitive biases

The problem is awareness. We have a tendency to recognise the power of cognitive biases in others but to be blind to their influence on our own beliefs. In fact, we usually consider ourselves as relatively unbiased compared with others. For example, if we take an IQ test and we score badly, we think that that test is wrong and we search for another test. Horoscopes are another example. Our brain’s illusions must be identified, in order to give sense to them. Once we are aware of our optimistic illusions, we can act to protect ourselves.

In associations it is important to remember that collectively we lean towards pessimism, but individually we are more inclined to optimism. Despite the fact that the negativity bias exists and induces us to pessimism, we are indeed preternaturally optimists, at an individual level. Vital decisions, like those finance- or future-related, should be, in this contex,  taken collectively, and association boards should be diverse (in terms of gender, geographic areas, ages, etc.).

For example, women belonging to the so-called developing countries lack purchasing power, therefore tend to be pessimist. Data from US and European Gallup opinion polls show that differences in optimism and in perceived stock market risk between gender can explain why women hold an average less risky portfolio than men. Swedish data on more than 235,000 respondents show that women are less optimist than men regarding the future economy of their country. However, during economic crisis both genders lower their expectations for the present and future at the same level, depending on the quantity and quality of information available. There is also the belief that female pessimism about pay could sustain the gender pay gap. Fluctuations between optimism and pessimism are normal. Only teamwork and teambuilding activities can curb their potentially harmful consequences.

Franco Viviani is the former President of the International Council for Physical Activity and Fitness Research (ICPAFR) and a professor of anthropology at the University of Padua, Italy.

March 5, 2018

Washington, DC Offers an Ecosystem to International Associations

Washington, DC offers a value-added approach for meetings and conventions, especially for organisations within the technology, biotech/pharmaceutical, education and medical spaces.

International association planners looking for an ecosystem that can help support and enhance meetings find that Washington, DC delivers. By gaining unrivaled access to venture capitalists, government leaders, tech startups and cybersecurity experts, you can experience the DC difference.

The intellectual capital boasts 21 higher education institutions throughout the region and claims the most cybersecurity jobs—more than 27,000—in the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, DC is the most educated city, making it a destination with a qualified workforce and a hot spot for innovation. These factors and more establish DC as a knowledge hub with access to robust assets unlike any other city.

International association business is one of the largest growing market segments for the city and Washington, DC continues to develop initiatives and invest in new development opportunities to ensure that it is one of the leading U.S. destinations for the international association market.

In 2018, Washington, DC will see new direct nonstop air service into Dulles International Airport from key international markets, including Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific and London Stansted on Primera Air. In addition to its strong industries, $11.5 billion in development underway means 15 new hotels with over 3,400 rooms in the pipeline and special events venues continue to come online.

“We welcome more international association business and hope the new flights and hotel inventory help make it easy to choose Washington, DC,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of Destination DC. “Business travelers can access lawmakers relevant to their cause, meet in incredible venues and enjoy the city’s captivating free museums and Michelin-starred restaurant scene.”

Meeting planners find DC’s safety and attractiveness appealing, as well as ease of access and value. The nation’s capital has built a path towards greener living by creating an environment where every government building is now powered by renewable energy, making DC the first LEED Platinum city in the world by U.S. Green Building Council in August. The city continues to add properties that are LEED certified such as the new POD DC hotel in Chinatown. With the opportunity to access Fortune 500 tech companies and as the top city for women in tech (CBRE Tech Talent Scorecard, 2017), selecting DC for your next meeting will benefit attendee, exhibitor and sponsor bases alike.

This article is powered by Destination DC. To learn more about meetings and conventions in Washington, DC or submit an RFP, visit washington.org/meetings.