3 Things I Learned at IAPCO Annual Meeting

17th February 2022

The first time IAPCO members met in person since the 2019 Annual Meeting in Vancouver, the 2022 Annual Meeting and General Assembly took place for the first time in a hybrid format and gathered 126 IAPCO members and partners in Rome, as well as 46 attendees online from 34 countries.

Themed  ‘There is no future without History’ , the educational programme gave pride of place to inspiring keynote speeches and panel discussions involving leaders from the meetings industry. In addition, workshops called ‘Expresso Exchange’ were designed for peer-to-peer knowledge transfer and proved to be quite popular.

Personally, there are 3 things I will remember:

1 – What does it mean to be a leader in a world that has been turned upside down by the pandemic? According to futurist and global expert in human capital Paolo Gallo, it means building a system based on trust rather than one designed on control. We must develop a human system of relationships based on trust, on skills, on results that make sense. Leaders are the ones with authentic human qualities, such as empathy, integrity and accountability.

2 –  Legacy has been a buzzword in the meetings industry for years now – and refers to how meetings can benefit wider society in ways that are not purely economic. It means different things to different people, but it’s mostly a conversation that is led by destinations. Associations are, in fact, lagging behind. The idea of legacy is often linked to the Olympics – this great machine rolling into town – but what does it leave behind after the closing ceremony? How does it benefit future generations?

3 – The world finds itself at an extraordinary moment. The pandemic is, and will continue to be, a huge catalyst for long needed change. Those organizations that know how to embrace that change and the challenges it brings will define the direction of the next 20 years. The meetings industry has a duty to build back a better world and take its responsibilities regarding climate change, inequality, the retreat of democracy and the failures of the markets to price risk properly. This is what reluctant futurist and ‘Chief Annoying Question Asker’ Mark Stevenson asked us to reflect upon.

Ori Lahav, IAPCO President, said: “Finding the right balance between the unmatchable value of in-person meetings and concerns of sustainability, legacy and inclusion remain key priorities for IAPCO. We received exceptional insights and inspiration from the keynotes and engaged the community present in enlightening discussions that will help us reflect and craft innovative solutions for the future of the meetings industry.

The design of the programme and management of the event were the result of joint work by three Italian PCOs, members of IAPCO: AIM Group International, ega Worldwide, and OIC Group.

The 2023 Annual Meeting of IAPCO will take place in Jerusalem.

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