Three questions to Lyn Lewis-Smith of Business Events Sydney

July 4, 2018

Three questions to Lyn Lewis-Smith of Business Events Sydney

Lyn Lewis-Smith is Chief Executive Officer of Business Events Sydney, the organization in charge of securing international business events that deliver economic, strategic and social benefits for Australia and global communities. Lyn devotes considerable energy to her passion for women’s rights and was Co-Chair of the Host Steering Committee for the Global Summit of Women Sydney 2018.

As a destination, you bid for conferences. But the way you do this has changed… Can you elaborate on this?

Ten years ago, there was a low level of sophistication when it came to bidding. To simplify, cities could win events off the back of their beauty. Then things changed in terms of how global events operate and the people shaping them. International organizations now really understand why they select one host city over another for their next global meeting. Our industry has also championed this change – we have triggered conversations around what we have to offer to the world as destinations, and what the world has to offer to us.

We always take the Olympic Games bidding model as an example of what we are required to do now – a strategic alignment with our Government’s key growth target areas, and the identification of events that can add the most value. These events might not be the biggest in the world, but they are strategically important to us in many other ways. In Sydney’s home state of New South Wales, we have an A$80-billion infrastructure pipeline – one of the largest in the world at the moment. To support this agenda, we look at everything around building cities – whether it be architecture, urban design, or water waste. We’re bidding for events in that space because New South Wales and Australia are at the forefront of this globally: we have so much knowledge to share from our Private Public Partnership (PPP) funding models, to new applications of technology, and using data science as a way to solve traffic congestion and social housing, for instance.

That’s the mindset we’re operating in now and that’s where the complexities in bidding are coming from: you have to have a vision, a purpose, a business case and then the accessibility, infrastructure, and supply chain back into it.

When it comes to association conferences in particular, have you identified trends?

In Sydney, the decisions to bid for a conference are based on our expertise in specific areas. But we’re only going to attract, secure and hold events if our locals are at top of their game in Australia, and in the world. For us, it’s a matter of seeking them out in university faculties, in the fintech world, and in our startup community.

I am always discovering new things about Sydney or what Sydney is good at. We’ve got industry specialists in infrastructure, health, medtech, fintech (with cybersecurity) and advanced manufacturing. We’re creating and exporting devices that makes us a leading player on the world stage. And then you’ve got the sciences, life sciences, the engineering…

For associations, we can create value even without them asking. We have transformed our whole convention precinct, where the new state of the art International Convention Centre Sydney lies; we have gone from the traditional DMO to a professional services organization, specializing in international business events. We have heavily invested in engaging stakeholders, local, state and federal government, the not-for-profit sector and academia. Now, I like to think that we can sit with any decision maker in the world and bring value to the table.

You’ve recently participated in the Global Summit of Women, which you were instrumental in getting to Sydney. We understand this event was really dear to your heart…

Known as Davos for women, the Global Summit of Women took place in April. An annual summit dedicated to accelerating women’s advancement in the global economy, it brought 1,200 global leaders to Sydney from across the public, private, and non-profit sectors in more than 65 countries to share creative strategies and practical working solutions.

I made it my mission to personally secure that event. I’m passionate about developing women into leadership positions and their economic empowerment. I wanted to bring Indo-Pacific women and our Indigenous communities together, and we helped them attend the Summit. I also wanted to have the opportunity to step into the shoes of people that I convinced to bid for these kinds of events, and the international clients that deliver them, so I got the best of both worlds. It was the most rewarding and valuable thing I’ve ever done in my career, and my team is richer for the experience, having gained so much competitive advantage doing that.

Hosting events like the Global Summit of Women is a catalyst for greater economic empowerment of Australian women – it shone a spotlight on underperforming areas, eliciting tangible commitments from our leaders to change the status quo. A recent EY report suggests that tapping into women’s global potential could be the equivalent of having another one billion people in the workforce, driving economic growth around the world. That says it all.

This interview was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé (



July 4, 2018

The Hidden Treasures of Rimini

In Italy, Emilia-Romagna, the birthplace of ragu, prosciutto di Parma, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese, came in at number one on Lonely Planet’s Best in Europe 2018 list. And Rimini, which made the New York Times list of must-see places this year, sits right in the middle of it. It might be high time you consider it for your next event.

Internationally renowned food, the best-preserved roman, medieval and Renaissance architecture, and internationally worshipped sports cars are just some of the reasons that makes the Emilia-Romagna regionone of the top 2018 European destinations according to Lonely Planet.

If some of you may know Rimini as a great place for lazing on the beach and living the night life, it certainly has a lot to offer when it comes to conferences. A successful and innovative business destination, it boasts one of the most advanced – and iconic-looking – congress centres in Italy. Managed by Convention Bureau della Riviera di Rimini, the Palacongressi di Rimini offers a flexible space and hosts events of any size and format, from business conventions to medical-scientific symposiums, from cultural gatherings to association meetings. The Palacongressi features 39 rooms that have a total capacity of 9,000 people, a plenary hall of 4,700 seats and 11,000 sqm for exhibition.

Of course, there’s plenty to do and see after a hard day’s work at the Palacongressi. From historical villas and castles to medieval villages; from the numerous hotels to theme parks; from beaches to trendy bars, the Riviera di Rimini provides a special atmosphere that will give yet another dimension to your event.

And if you’re after finding what you can do in Rimini and Rimini only, there are a few options. A visit to the Surgeon’s House, where the oldest set of Roman surgical instruments was once found, will reveal a host of unexpected treasures. A stroll along the 200-meter pier at the port while the sun is setting will ease your mind. You can also enjoy Rimini’s state-of-the-art marina with over 600 berths. And there is of course the Grand Hotel, where Art Nouveau charm and the memory of Federico Fellini, the world-renowned film director who was born in Rimini – and the inventor of the Dolce Vita – linger in the air…

Last but not least, at just 20 kilometers inland from Rimini and 760 meters above sea level lies San Marino, the smallest and oldest republic in Europe. Founded in the IV century, it became a UNESCO heritage site in 2008 as «a testimony to the continuity of a free republic since the Middle Ages». Definitely a place to see.

This article was powered by Convention Bureau della Riviera di Rimini. For more

July 3, 2018

Medical Associations to Flock to NewcastleGateshead in 2018

Amazing innovations are happening in NewcastleGateshead – for example Newcastle University, which ranks amongst the top 100 life science universities in the world, was recently granted the first licence to create a baby with three genetic parents, which will be used to prevent children dying from genetic diseases, while its Human Nutrition Research Centre is undertaking ground-breaking research in areas of high public health significance, including obesity and ageing.

As a city with a proud history in medical sciences, NewcastleGateshead has a strong track record for hosting medical conferences. Following the success of major events including the Royal College of Nursing’s Education Forum National Conference and Exhibition and the British Society for Dermatological Surgery’s 35th Annual Surgery Workshop in March 2018, which together saw over 550 delegates visit the city, the momentum is set to continue with an influx of medical conferences throughout the rest of the year.

July is seeing the Association for the Study of Medical Education host its Annual Scientific Meeting at the iconic Sage Gateshead, with over 600 national and international medical professional delegates descending on NewcastleGateshead for the event.

September is set to be the busiest month for medical conferences, which will see over 1,500 delegates arriving in the city. The European Thyroid Association, the Association for the Study of Obesity and NuGO (an association of universities and research institutes focusing on the research areas of molecular nutrition, personalised nutrition, nutrigenomics and nutritional systems biology) will hold significant events at venues across NewcastleGateshead. The European Network of Teratology Information Service and the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists will also host their annual joint meeting at Newcastle University in September.

Rounding up the year’s medical events, the 17th Anaesthesia, Pain and Critical Care Update and the Multiple System Atrophy Trust’s Health and Care Professionals Study Day both take place in October, while the Federation of Infection Sciences Annual Conference takes place in November.

July 2, 2018

ASAE’s Association Leadership Forum in Singapore

The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) is organizing an Association Leadership Forum at Grand Hyatt Singapore from 29–31 October 2018.  The event is expected to draw about 200 association attendees from the Asia-Pacific region along with participants from the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East, in addition to a few suppliers and industry partners from around the world.

Hosted by Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, and supported by Dubai Association Centre and Korea Tourism Organization, along the Asia-Pacific Federation of Association Organizations (APFAO) and International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the Forum is set to focus on building the association community, skills development and sharing best practices, with organisers unveiling a rich programme for October’s event. Using its extensive network and wealth of association meetings market knowledge, ICCA, represented by Noor Ahmad Hamid, Regional Director Asia Pacific, has provided support in designing the programme as part of the Forum’s Founding Advisory Board.

The program will focus on building effective associations as well as discovering practical ideas for association growth, serving members, and building partnerships in similar fields or industries. The Forum is being guided by a strong Advisory Task Force of members from across the region,” said Greta Kotler, CAE, Chief Global Development Officer ASAE.

 For more information, visit the conference website.

June 29, 2018

Washington, DC Provides Access, Ideas and Innovation

According to the latest International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Statistics Report, Washington, DC is the #1 city in the USA for international association meetings. With 17 free-to-enter Smithsonian museums, historic landmarks, tech-friendly venues and artistically-appealing buildings, the city is one of the top destinations to host a meeting.

Washington, DC is dedicated to developing initiatives and investing in new opportunities by adding to its strong industries with $11.5 billion in development, 19 hotels in the pipeline and many new and renovated special events venues in the works. The city’s appeal and ease of access are unparalleled, making it a hot spot for the international business community and specifically its top international meetings markets: UK, India, Japan and China.

It’s all about the access, ideas and innovation that ensure your event will be a success in the U.S. capital. Learn more about how DC is a leading industry knowledge hub where meeting planners can gain unrivaled access to venture capitalists, government leaders, tech startups and cybersecurity experts.


Washington, DC is a top city for social entrepreneurs, the most educated city in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau) and offers unmatched access to federal government and policy leaders. In DC, your proximity to many federal agencies spurs advocacy. Meeting planners can connect directly with members of Congress, policy makers and government experts. The access also extends to a built-in delegate base and nearby stakeholders, so sponsorship dollars and exhibitors grow.

Leading Innovation

DC is home to a thriving startup scene of more than 1,000 tech startups (Business Insider). As data protection has become a hot-button issue, choosing a destination that cultivates young entrepreneurs for jobs in cybersecurity is even more important. The region is a top city for cybersecurity tech startups, and included over 27,000 cybersecurity job postings in 2015, far more than other tech cities (Burning Glass Technologies).

Skilled Workforce

New talent thrives in the nation’s capital. Local businesses create thousands of new jobs for underrepresented workers and entrepreneurs in the tech industry, fostering the most inclusive culture among tech cities on the East Coast. The region ranks number one in the U.S. for high-tech employment concentration, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and continues to grow as a destination for recruiting local talent. The concentrated workforce facilitates more potential attendees at your event.

Intellectual Capital

A neighboring region known as “DNA Alley” boasts 170 biotech companies with nearly 60,000 private sector and government employees. Meeting planners looking for a destination with prestigious research capabilities and science will find that DC is an area where pharma, medicine and biotech investment are rapidly growing.

To learn more and submit an RFP, visit

June 29, 2018

– Into the Wild

The capital of the northern island and prefecture of Hokkaido and the fifth-largest city in Japan, Sapporo gained international prominence when it was chosen as the host to the Winter Olympic Games in 1972. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength, and not only in the sports field or because of its breweries. When it comes to association congresses indeed, Sapporo has many assets up its sleeves, starting with a wealth of knowledge in many areas of endeavours, as well as all the facilities you can expect in a fast-growing environment.

Knowledge Hub

With academic institutions of global fame leading in the fields of geosciences, organic chemistry, agriculture, forestry, energy, medicine, pharma, animal behavior and veterinary sciences, Sapporo’s unique and rich natural environment has a lot to offer when it comes to the value of a meeting.

Hokkaido University, for instance, is one of the top universities in Japan that conducts world-leading education and research. Found in 1876 as Sapporo Agricultural College, it now consists of 12 Undergraduate Programs, 21 Graduate Schools, 4 Research Institutes, 3 Research Centers, 10 Joint Research Centers, and a University Hospital with Medical and Dental Departments.

Among the university’s awards and achievements is the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, won by Professor Emeritus Akira Suzuki in 2010. One of the university’s recent projects is the Global Institution for Collaborative Research and Education (GI-CoRE), a faculty organisation that brings together world-class teaching staff from around the world. The program’s aim is to promote international collaborative research and education that leverages the University’s strengths and distinctive features, and to provide support for international collaborative research.

Collaboration is key

This drive for collaboration was particularly obvious when Sapporo Convention Center hosted the 5thInternational Wildlife Management Congress in July 2015, which brought together 1,400 participants from 46 countries and regions. Initiated by the Mammal Society of Japan (MSJ) in partnership with the Wildlife Society (TWS), the goal of the Congress was to enhance global sustainability and the conservation of wildlife, as well as to recommend improved international models based on the latest interdisciplinary wildlife research. Due to its unique natural environment, Sapporo has, for many years indeed, been introducing many exemplary practices in wildlife management and human dimension studies.

The legacy component of the Congress was impressive. If delegates and citizens joined forces for a good cause, clearing out and cutting down thickets and tall grass along Toyohira River, Rakuno Gakuen University and Sapporo City Government signed, on the occasion of the conference, an Agreement on Policy Proposals on Biodiversity. Thanks to this, research activities on alien species countermeasures and wildlife management discussed at the event are still continuing to this day.

The Congress also provided an important opportunity to discuss and come up with solutions for some of the serious wildlife-related issues that Sapporo was facing, such as the increasing appearance of brown bears and dears in urban areas. An open symposium on the topic was held for the public, which helped to increase the awareness of the issue, the city’s ecosystem and the importance of the wildlife preservation among the citizens. The younger generation was not left out either, as a special symposium on wildlife management and preservation was organised for junior-high and high school students from all parts of Japan during the conference.

This article was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi Deve (

June 29, 2018

New Partnership for an Ever Sustainable Sydney

International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) has recently partnered up with the City of Sydney Council, accommodation and tourism operators launching a dedicated Sustainable Destination Partnership program. Its objective is to to improve Sydney’s environmental performance by increasing its use of renewable energy, reducing water consumption and improving waste management and recycling systems.

The initiative brings together more than 30 local and international organisations including major hotels, museums and city attractions. CEO of ICC Sydney, Geoff Donaghy said: “ICC Sydney is committed to operating in a socially responsible and environmentally sound manner and has already been recognised with some of Australia’s – and the world’s – highest sustainability ratings by building connections and creating impact for local communities, reducing its energy and water usage, and increasing its waste diversion from landfill.”

Designed to operate with optimal resource efficiency, ICC Sydney has utilised smart design strategies combined with cost efficient and renewable technologies, including a community funded solar array, a 200-kilolitre rainwater tank, energy efficient lighting and waste diversion strategies.

June 28, 2018

Toronto Opens its Doors for Medical Technology Experts

Toronto has been selected by the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) to host the foremost international event for medical technology experts, The MedTech Conference, taking place October 5-7, 2020. The major convention will bring over 2,600 leaders in medical technology, including CEOs, venture capitalists, and policy makers to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC).

This is the first time The MedTech Conference will take place outside of the United States, marking Toronto as a centre for Life Sciences and medical technology advancements and manufacturing. In fact, it is home to half of Canada’s medical technology companies and most top 25 global medical technology companies operate in the region. The city’s health sciences sector is also ranked among the best in the world, along with its researchers.

June 27, 2018

The Secretary General’s Voice
– The Potential of Social Media

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 fifth contribution, in which he reflects on the potential of social media.

A few days ago, I wanted to mention a partner association in a tweet. I couldn’t find their tweet account. Then I visited their website and discovered that, to my amazement, they don’t use social media to communicate. It was a surprise to see such a big association completely absent from Twitter. How can we communicate in this 21st century without using social media? But on the contrary, if we use it too much and too often, isn’t there a risk to over communicate and to dilute the impact of our messages?

If you read this article, it’s likely you are a user of or a contributor to social media, and you see them as a tool to inform and/or stay informed. I consider they are indispensable to our activities as associations. I am personally an active user of Twitter and LinkedIn. At UITP, we also use Facebook and have a YouTube channel. In addition to our multiple official accounts, we encourage colleagues to post, like or retweet messages or share posts as much as possible. The more you are active on social media, the more you follow and will be followed, and the bigger the chance will be to learn and share information with a higher number of people, getting your message across.

If used properly, these tools are a mine of knowledge and an opportunity of networking. They also offer direct access to people it might not be possible to easily reach via traditional means. For one of our big events, it took me just a few minutes to contact and invite a keynote speaker who confirmed his participation two days later. I could also approach or was approached by potential members who then joined the association. The same for establishing partnerships to develop joint actions.

Not to mention the numerous new contacts that will grow your database… provided it is compliant with the GDPR. Now each time we evoke contact data we have to add the GDPR compliance provision, the same way publicity about alcoholic beverages must mention the moderation in drinking. GDPR is having big impacts in relation to our marketing and communication activities, our HR policy and our IT tools and security. Moreover, our global dimension adds a level of complexity. It is a challenge, and if a large part of it has been addressed it is still work in progress as, I assume, is the case for many international associations of a certain size.

Coming back to social platforms, besides the public ones, we made the choice at UITP to launch our restricted networking tool, called MyNetwork, which is exclusively reserved to our members. It is the way to offer them one more exclusive benefit. Indeed, if all communication is public what would be the added value to join the association? The aim is to offer information and share knowledge which will not be easily available on public forums, and package it according to the preferences of the member: by topic, by profile of member, by region, etc. This is a way to offer personalised services and satisfy individual needs.

Be it public or restricted, social media based communication is a must for associations. It is an efficient tool to highlight services and people, advocate their positions and show how relevant they are in monitoring trends and knowledge. In this regard, finding a way to cling to the (general or trade) news will attract additional interest and bring the association close to its audience. And if you don’t have enough time to interact on social media, leave your car at home and use public transport. You’ll better use your travel time to explore the potential of networking tools and learn a lot.

June 27, 2018

The Association for Medical Education Heads for Basel

This year’s annual conference of the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) will be held at the Congress Center Basel (CCB) from 25 to 29 August. The association chooses a different European city every year, and Basel was chosen this time because the city is able to satisfy the demanding space requirements – including a plenary room that can seat around 3000 delegates.

3.000 delegates – which include professors, lecturers, researchers, members of governments and administrations, and also ambitious young academics from the disciplines of medicine and healthcare – from over 90 countries are expected to arrive in the city to learn about the latest developments, exchange ideas regarding knowledge transfer and engage in networking. All the participants have the opportunity to present their work in the form of memos and posters and thus obtain feedback from an international audience.