Zeroing in on ICT in Zurich

August 19, 2019

Zeroing in on ICT in Zurich

Thanks to an attractive meetings infrastructure and one of the most innovative networks in ICT, Zurich continues to lure association events. The Swiss city is known as a global leader in many fields—especially information technology and sustainability—in addition to being one of the top in terms of life quality, which has helped attract the attention of international associations for some time now – and rightfully so.

One of the best examples of innovation in Zurich? The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, one of the world’s leading universities in science and technology. Known for cutting-edge research and innovation, it was established in 1855 as the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School, and, more than a century and a half later, the university counts over 20 Nobel Prize laureates as alumni, including the great physicist Albert Einstein.

IBM, Google, and Disney are just three of the many corporations that chose to locate important research centres in the city, which is also home to 450 spin-offs and startups. As if this figure isn’t impressive enough, over 5,000 companies employ around 50,000 ICT specialists in Canton Zurich alone.


Zurich is Google’s largest research and development centre outside the U.S., employing almost 2,500 staff. The company has rented new offices in the city and, according to Patrick Warnking, who has been at the head of Google Switzerland’s business operations since 2011, Google intends to expand further in the coming years. When asked about Zurich’s position as a centre of knowledge, Warnking responds: “Switzerland stands for diversity, innovation, and quality. The great administration and infrastructure here are further success factors. Google’s Swiss centre has maintained its international competitiveness for years.”

A few of the key services he’s referring to: Google Search, Google Maps, Google Assistant, and YouTube. In addition,Google’s “made in Switzerland” services are being developed for the whole world. For these operations to be successful, an in-depth knowledge of languages and cultures is crucial. “With some 85 different nationalities, our workforce in Zurich encompasses this diversity,” Warnking says.“In addition, numerous employees come from Zurich’s outstanding technological colleges and universities, which we collaborate very closely with in the field of research. For Google, this is also an important argument in favour of Zurich.”

Google Switzerland sees itself as part of the Swiss society and the Swiss economy. “For this reason, we are actively involved in a wide variety of projects at a local level, such as start-ups. We are also a founder member of the ‘digitalswitzerland’ initiative and part of the framework of the partnership between Google for Entrepreneurs and the Impact Hub Zurich,”says Warnking. Thanks to these partnerships, Swiss start-ups have global access to the Google for Entrepreneurs programmes and events, such as Silicon Valley boot camps or the investor pitches, “Google Demo Days.” Start-up company Kenzen, which is affiliated with the Impact Hub, is just one of the many success stories.

As for top picks for places to visit in the city, Warnking recommends ICT convention delegates add these three to their Google Maps before visiting: the ETH main building, a symbol of centuries-old tradition, innovation, and fascination for the sciences; Zurich Airport (in which other metropolis in Europe can you reach the city centre in just 10 minutes by train?); and the top of Üetliberg, where you can admire panoramic views over the city, lake, the Glarus and Graubünden Alps. “It’s just beautiful!” Warnking exclaims.

Contact: – This article was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Remi DeveThe right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

August 12, 2019

Solutions for Staffing Associations

After rounds of team interviews for the role of Director of Education and Events at the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), chief operating officer Colleen Eubanks thought they found their match. They did the background check, called references, and made an offer. The candidate accepted, and the start date was set.

But the Friday before starting the position, the new hire was swayed back by their current employer with a counter offer. We had to start the search process all over,” Eubanks says. While they ended up hiring a leader who is “more of a team player than the individual who did not join the team,”this sort of scenario is quite a common one.

“In terms of finding talent, I think it’s getting harder and harder to find great talent who are also going to be a cultural fit for the organization,” explains Debra BenAvram, CEO of AABB, the leading organization representing the transfusion medicine and cellular therapy communities. “There is so much competition for good talent that dollars don’t go as far. We’re doing more for less and juggling a lot of factors as making decisions on how to design staff and culture in a way that’s going to deliver results for our members.”

Attracting Talent

In a 2019 “Association Salaries & Staffing Trends Report” conducted by PNP Staffing Group, 28 percent of associations reported candidates declining their best offer, and 57 percent of those surveyed said that senior executive positions are the most difficult to fill. In 2019, the majority of competition will be in this area, since baby boomers are retiring and a large portion of staff replacements are for leadership positions.

According to Alexander Mohr, executive director for the European Flavour Association (EFFA), part of the challenge when it comes to hiring is explaining the role and tasks of trade industry associations, especially if you’re looking outside of major cities like Brussels, London, and Washington, DC. Associations are often not on the radar of young people, which is one of the struggles when it comes to positioning associations and attracting fresh talent. Companies should highlight the work that’s done on a national, European and maybe global level,” Mohr advises. “Demystify the industry and give the people who work with us, the volunteers, more visibility. I think it’s the association’s task and work to give those volunteers the chance to shine a bit.”

EFFA, for example, created a community called the Flavour Ambassadors, a multimedia project that highlights the roles and expertise of professionals from different departments through video interviews. “Engage beyond just giving once a year report about activities, and maybe try and make volunteers ambassadors for the industry with visibility on social media,” Mohr adds.

Creating a Culture

The “Googleplex” campus in California may boast swimming pools, volleyball courts, and 18 cafeterias, but associations can create just as strong of a company culture without all the bells and whistles. One of my colleagues always says culture happens by design or default, and one of those two things is going to happen, so you better design it well,” says BenAvram. “When I think about designing culture, any time we have a person coming into or leaving a team, it’s a brand-new team—and we can never forget that.”

To combat budget constraints and rotating work forces, BenAvram advises developing a strong and ongoing set of values to create a team that trusts each other, challenges each other, and holds one another accountable to accomplish great things. “Culture development and team development is something you’re never done doing,” she says.“When I’m working on building culture, I’m working on building a connection for everyone in the organization to the results for the whole organization, not just the results for their own team.”

Eubanks agrees, which is why the hiring process at IASP is a team effort. When a spot opens up, this is a chance to look across the organization and make a group decision on how—and where—to allocate those resources, instead of rushing to replace a member. “When we set up the interview process, I purposely include team members from other departments and from different levels so the candidates can get a good perspective of how our organization works and what the culture is like,” Eubanks explains.“We also discuss the open position in our leadership team meetings and agree on expectations for the new person to work with different teams, so everyone understands the role and expectations before we even make the hire.”

Having a methodology in place helps to build trust with teams and show that leaders are looking to make the best decision for the organization as a whole, ensuring that every member’s voice is heard. This way, one team doesn’t feel prioritized over another—a challenge in today’s resource- (and budget-) strained world.Culture change takes three to five years—these are building blocks that take a long time to get people to see and trust and value as you’re building a team and figuring out how to use your dollar,” BenAvram says.“At the end of the day, people want a connection to the altruistic mission we’re all here for. Where I work, if we do a good job, patients who need a blood transfusion will have safe blood. That’s a pretty powerful tool for me to use to motivate employees.”

This article was written by Boardroom editor Lane Nieset.  The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

August 6, 2019

Association Membership Benchmarks

Reflecting from Manila, Octavio ‘Bobby’ Peralta, CEO & Founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE), highlights the different models of memberships that can help associations grow.

I recently got a copy of the 2019 membership marketing benchmarking report published by Marketing General Inc., a Virginia, US-based marketing agency working exclusively with membership organizations. The MGI has been publishing this report annually since 2009 and associations find it most useful in recruitment, engagement, renewal and reinstatement of members.

Despite the rapid changes in technology, culture, and demographics, MGI’s data show that many associations have been able to sustain a level of membership growth and continue to serve their markets. A closer look at the trend data also reveals that the percentage of associations reporting membership growth over the last decade is on a gradual decline: from 52 percent in 2012 to 45 percent today. The remainder, in fact a majority of associations, is seeing either no growth or declines in membership.

Associations reporting important positive outcomes in membership also report higher innovation and level-of-value scores. In short, these more innovative and value-producing associations are successfully adapting to the challenges faced in today’s competitive marketplace. Eighty-one percent of associations reported membership growth in the past five years, and 82 percent have an increase in overall new members, indicating that their organization has a culture that supports innovation.

In terms of membership models, one that has seen remarkable growth is the move toward “combination membership” which offers members opportunity to join as either an individual (like a typical professional society) or as an organization (like a typical trade association or chamber). In 2011 only 13 percent of respondents identified their association as having a combination membership structure. This year 26 percent of respondents identified their association as a combination association.

Another developing innovation for associations is the use of paid digital media for marketing efforts. For membership recruitment, this channel has increased as a preferred channel from 12 percent to 15 percent over the past year. Of the 15 percent of associations that consider paid digital marketing tools as a highly effective method for recruiting new members, Facebook paid advertising remains the most effective digital marketing tool (68 percent).

The other technology-driven development that associations report this year is a significant decrease in data problems that have been reported in the past.  The top data complaint is lack of marketing results tracking and analysis, which dropped from 51 percent in 2018 to 39 percent in 2019. Similarly, the issue of inadequate membership dashboards and reporting tools went from 48 percent in 2018 to 35 percent in 2019.

Similar to 2018, the most effective offers for obtaining new members include conference/convention discounts (54 percent), a membership dues discount for the first year (52 percent), and additional months free, e.g., 15 months for the price of 12 (46 percent).

Almost identical to 2018, the top reasons executives believe members join is to network with others in the field (57 percent), learn best practices in their profession (26 percent) and access specialized and/or current information (25 percent).

Association executives reiterate the same top challenges as in 2018: difficulty in communicating value or benefits (38 percent, up from 35 percent), insufficient staff (35 percent; same as in 2018) and difficulty in proving ROI (25 percent, up from 22 percent).

Bobby Peralta is presently the Secretary General of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP), the focal point of 106 development banks and other financial institutions engaged in sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region. With over 25 years of experience as an association executive, Bobby Peralta is a long-standing member of and contributor to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the CEO & Founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE).




July 30, 2019

Knowledge Hubs Without Boundaries

New Zealand has become a synonym for authenticity. Authentic diverse environment, nurtured by the people’s sense of duty towards nature, alternates with unique ultramodern facilities powered by kiwi resourcefulness. This winning combination has brought the country an innovative edge across a number of key sectors, leaving associations no doubt as to why this is an ideal conference destination. The small nation promises and delivers big.

New Zealand offers event planners and international thought leaders the opportunity to tap into the creativity and knowledge the Māori culture has passed down through generations. The kiwi spirit of ingenuity is indisputably present in all the innovation the country lays out for the world. 3rd out of 139 nations for global creativity, 9th globally for Artificial Intelligence, 13th out of 136 nations for safety and security, 1st for the management of sustainable fisheries, the list goes on.

Market segments like Health Sciences, Agribusiness, Tourism, Advanced Manufacturing and Design, High Value Food and Wine, Information and Communications Technology and Earth Sciences are thriving. Collaboration between forward-thinking learning and research centres and a strong focus on education and progress on behalf of the government have led to breakthroughs in these sectors and have taken New Zealand centre stage globally.

A network of innovation

At the foundation of innovation lies New Zealand’s network of universities, research institutions, and Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE). In its biggest city, Auckland (pictured), research in various sectors makes headlines globally and innovative ideas reach the international market. The Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence (MedTech CoRE), for starters, serves as a world-leading research platform in medical technologies.  The University of Auckland’s Bioengineering Institute is undertaking groundbreaking work in AI, as seen in the digital humans by spinoff Soul Machines.

In the field of manufacturing and design, harnessing the power of the waves abundant around the islands, the University’s Yacht Research Unit carries out more wind tunnel testing of yacht sails than any other laboratory in the world. Combined with innovative manufacturing and materials research and a leading marine industry, New Zealand has launched world-leading racing yacht and superyacht technology.

From the cloud to the ground, the Geothermal Institute at the University of Auckland offers leading geothermal expertise along with New Zealand’s lead knowledge hub in earth sciences, the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science (GNS Science).

Knowledge Spread Out

Taking a closer look outside Auckland, the wealth of knowledge in New Zealand expands all over the nation. The Dodds-Wall Centre in Dunedin, in the South Island, is at the forefront of photonic and quantum technologies, while the Xerra Earth Observation Institute, located in Alexandra, is increasing New Zealand’s work in satellite, earth observation and remote sensing technologies.

Found also in the South Island, Christchurch is home to New Zealand’s Natural Hazard Research Centre, at the University of Canterbury’s Department of Geological Sciences. The city has absorbed all kinds of knowledge the 2011 earthquake left in the area in fields like earthquake engineering, low damage construction, building technology, resilient infrastructure and sustainability.

In the North Island, the University of Waikato in Hamilton is home to the Cyber Researchers of Waikato (CROW), leading proponents in Cloud security research, and tools.

In a land of just 4.9 million people, nature and agriculture have the upper hand and research at Palmerston North’s Massey University in agritech innovation, farming systems and cutting-edge genetics has helped bring New Zealand to the top of dairy, meat and wool production worldwide.

From producing raw materials to producing high-value food and wine, New Zealand excels in food technology through courses offered in most of its universities and research by Crown Research Institutes. Prominent examples with Palmerston North operations include AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, and the Fonterra Research and Development Centre with expertise in dairy.

Trevor Simpson, Deputy Executive Director of the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand, sums up New Zealand’s business events mentality: “In terms of Aotearoa, New Zealand, I think we clearly have a lot to offer the world in terms of the way we are as a people. So multidimensional and multicultural.  at the same time having this indigenous Maori aspect to it. New Zealand’s really keen to demonstrate our leadership in health promotion, we’re doing a few things that are really unique at the moment. And that uniqueness revolves around indigenous health promotion and elements of that we think would be of interest to the rest of the world. We think there’s some secrets in there that would be good if we could unlock them and share with the rest of the world in terms of how we could make the planet earth a better place.”

Contact This article was written by Boardroom editor Vicky KoffaThe right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

July 26, 2019

Exposing Predatory Conferences

The rise of predatory conferences jeopardises the future of legitimate research events. But could conference IDs be the solution?

By now, predatory conferences should be on your radar. These “scholarly” events are organised on a strictly for-profit basis, pay lip service to peer review, and publish almost anything sent their way — for a fee, of course. (An associate professor submitted a nuclear physics paper written using iOS autocomplete to one such conference. It passed review with flying colours.)

For years, shady individuals have been exploiting early-career researchers’ eagerness to publish. But unless you were desperate  — or painfully naive — fake conferences were pretty easy to spot and avoid. Up till now.

Read the blogpost of Paul Killoran, who is extremely passionate about exposing predatory conferences. Paul is the founder of Ex Ordo, which specializes in conference software.


July 23, 2019

How a Venue Can Help Build the Capacity of Local Associations

With the continued focus on the relevance of engagement and value creation to enhance the association journey, both from the organiser and delegate’s side, the role of congress centres and their responsibility as advocates, connectors and advisors has clearly evolved over the years, as argues Angeline van den Broecke, Director of Global Business Development and Marketing, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

When a global association starts thinking of choosing a destination and more specifically a venue to host an upcoming international congress some of the most obvious factors that influence the decision are venue availability, location, space, technical capabilities and pricing. These technical and commercial considerations have historically driven the purchaser/supplier relationship between associations and venue providers.

Another key factor that global associations have to consider when choosing a destination is the capacity and capability of the local association or host partner, to contribute to the success of the proposed event, particularly their ability to assist with supporting the organization of the event, contributing to content, delivering participants, and providing cultural communication support and an ease of doing business from a local context or perspective.

Building capacity through partnership

Recognizing the importance of the role associations play in advancing social and economic value, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre)in partnership with the national bureau Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) are investing in building the professional capacities of local association executives. Using their connections, resources, experience and knowledge this collaboration has led to them playing an active role in secretariat support to the Malaysian Society of Association Executives (MSAE)

This support role by the Centre in Malaysia, has assisted to highlight the important role association’s play as a vital business segment of the meetings industry and just how importance it is to invest in understanding the needs of associations beyond their meeting and event requirements.

Most recently, the Centre hosted an educational visit for AMC (Association Management Companies) Institute. As part of the programme the Centre, in collaboration with MyCEB, organised an Association Education & Knowledge Exchange session. Over 200 Malaysian stakeholders, including many national association executives, attended the event where five AMC Institute board members shared their invaluable knowledge and experience on six association-related topics. These included ‘Disruptions facing associations, ‘Engage membership and volunteers to thrive and survive’ and ‘Challenges facing associations in today’s environment’, to name a few.

Commenting on this the Centre’s General Manager, Alan Pryor, explains, “Convention centres are ideally placed as advocates, connectors and advisors. Our entire existence is based around facilitating knowledge transfer, so it is a natural extension for us to use our resources to help build the capacity and capability of local associations.

Sharing her experience AMC Institute Chief Executive Officer, Tina Wehmeir, CAE, CMP, says, “The level of maturity of associations varies from market to market and even within markets. While Malaysian associations may not be at the same level of development as those in the US, for example, what I did see in Kuala Lumpur is the right environment, enthusiasm and tools for them to build their capacity. Initiatives such our knowledge sharing session, facilitated by the Centre and MyCEB, play an important role in enhancing the capabilities of local associations, as well as triggering excitement and opening up new horizons such as running for international boards or hosting their association’s global meeting in Malaysia.”

Long-term commitment

Pryor continues: “We view our investment in developing local associations as part of long-term strategic objective to grow their capabilities. We feel that this partnership approach helps differentiate us from our competitors. Even if local associations go on to bid and host meetings in Malaysia that end up going to other venues, we see this as a positive and part of our ongoing contribution to the development and growth of the local business events industry and the country more generally – which benefits us all.”

An important contributor to the success of their capacity building work with local associations has been a commitment to the programme’s sustainability. The Centre has been working closely with Malaysian associations since it first opened in 2005 and for Pryor this has been a key part of its success. “Our focus on viewing associations as partners rather than clients has been part of our organisation philosophy since day one. We have built on this using our unique position to attract national, regional and international partners to share their expertise with Malaysian associations,” he adds.

In 2018 the Centre partnered to host the PCMA-ICESAP Knowledge Exchange Kuala Lumpur, which provided an avenue for business event professionals to explore how changing digital, political and economic climates can be effectively responded to, turning possible threats into unique opportunities. They also partnered to host the UIA (Union of International Associations) Associations Round Table Asia Pacific. These events were designed to promote engagement, advance professional development and provide a knowledge exchange platform and were well attended by local associations.

Pryor concludes: “We see the capacity building of our local associations as a long-term commitment. As key players in business events, venues such as ours have a lot to offer associations beyond our facilities. Convention centres are well-connected and perfectly positioned to help associations develop their full potential if a partnership mind-set is adopted on both sides.”

This article was exclusively written for Boardroom. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

July 15, 2019

Growing with a Global Agenda

Who doesn’t know the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the international organization working in the field of the wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment? Just the name conjures up images of cause-driven individuals fighting against habitat loss, climate change, illegal trapping of endangered species… and the list goes on. What might be lesser known is the organization’s growth strategy, which has to take into account all kinds of local characteristics, as Sid Das, Director, Digital Engagement, WWF International, explains here.

The WWF is a global organization. How do you define ‘global’ in your case?

WWF came into existence in 1961. From its origins as a small group of committed wildlife enthusiasts, WWF has grown into one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations – supported by 5 million people and active in over 100 countries across five continents.

Over this time, WWF’s focus has evolved from localized efforts in favour of single species and individual habitats to an ambitious strategy to preserve biodiversity and achieve sustainable development across the globe.

From numerous initiatives, priority areas and priority species, the entire WWF Network focuses on six major goals – forests, oceans, wildlife, food, climate & energy, and freshwater– and three key drivers of environmental problems – markets, finance and governance. As a network, we organize ourselves around communities of practice with one for each goal and driver. We are becoming more focused and more targeted in our efforts while building on the interconnectedness of each of these issues within the global agenda. WWF aims to bring the weight of its unique local-to-global network to bear and drive these issues forward cohesively.

Can you explain your growth strategy to be even more global’ and what it implies?

Our mission is to ensure that people and nature thrive together. Our growth strategy is two-pronged. On one hand, we are looking to actively engage a billion people to care for nature. Nature not only provides us with all the things we need to live – from the air we breathe to the water we drink, and from the shelter we need, to the economy we rely on – but also makes our lives better. However, its growing loss puts this all under threat.

On the other hand, we are looking to get nature up the political agenda. The world needs to come together to set ambitious targets to reverse nature loss as it did for climate. We will have a tremendous opportunity to influence the future direction of some of the world’s most important policy instruments for sustainable development in the year 2020. We need policymakers to reset the agenda so that by 2030 the loss of nature starts to reverse.

What are your challenges as a global organization?

We are living in a time of unprecedented risk but also an unparalleled opportunity for the future of our planet and our society. A time where the world’s wildlife has halved in less than a generation; oceans, rivers and forests are struggling to cope with our growing pressure upon them; and where we are still on a path toward catastrophic climate change impacts.

As a global organization, our challenge is to balance local conservation priorities with the global agenda. We need to constantly align ourselves to the direction that is increasingly being set by governments, civil society and businesses. Additionally, the smooth flow of information between all of the offices in the world is something we put a lot of effort and emphasis toward. We choose innovative platforms like Facebook Workplace to ensure our employees and volunteers get all of the information they need.

Can you explain how you decide to locate regional offices and why?

We decide regional offices based on conservation needs. While we have ‘Network offices’ that focus on the conservation needs of a country, the regional offices look to bring countries together to weave a cohesive conservation strategy and its implementation. We also look at other factors like access to regional talent, attitude to environmental conservation amongst numerous other criteria. Currently, we have regional offices in Singapore, Woking, Nairobi and at our headquarters in Gland, Switzerland.

You’re based in Singapore. Why is that so? How does Singapore respond to the needs of your organization?

Singapore is at the forefront of conservation in Asia Pacific. The mission of WWF across the Asia Pacific is to ensure a future for both people and nature. WWF has been working to conserve Asia Pacific’s astonishing wealth of biodiversity for over four decades and has considerable experience in engaging with partners for conservation solutions that benefit people, economies and the environment. Singapore satisfies all of the criteria for WWF’s regional hub. We are able to liaise with teams around the region easily and have access to regional media, creative agencies, fantastic corporate partners and a wide pool of talent which truly helps us build a global organization.

This article, written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé, is part of the exclusive partnership between Boardroom and the Global Association Hubs Partnership (GAHP), which comes as an innovative response to the increasing decentralisation of international associations, as they look to develop their activities globally. www.associationhubs.orgThe right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

July 13, 2019

Making Good on Green Promises

Monaco is steadfastly stepping beyond its reputation as a playground for the rich and beautiful to take its rightful position as a leader in the global fight for a more sustainable and healthy planet. There is a storied and adventurous history behind its dedication to cleaner oceans and air, which is today available for all to see who enter the pristine seaside country.

Prince Albert II founded the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation immediately upon taking his role to support public and private projects including limiting greenhouse gas emissions, developing renewable energies, protecting biodiversity, managing water resources and combating desertification.

The government is leading the way with a strong whole-of-a-city approach – that includes the entire Monegasque society and visitors in the major energy transition – which means adopting new habits and evolving as a society.

“The Grimaldi Dynasty has always been very involved in studying the environment to better understand the link between humanity and the planet. It started with Prince Albert I, who is internationally acknowledged as the father of modern oceanography, in the early 20th century. He created the Oceanographic Institute in Paris, the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, and led many sea expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic region,” explains Olivier Wenden, managing director of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

The Foundation’s efforts stand out for their ambitious targets — the Principality will need to cut emissions four times faster than the current rate to achieve its goals — as well as a commitment to achieving them with practical initiatives. Monaco’s unique positioning is part of what makes it such a powerhouse in this area. Its sustainability efforts extend beyond the 2-km country itself; it has a global plan with a real sustainable vision.

“Monaco is one of the smallest countries in the world, but it has always been very open to the world, to the sea, to trade, and to different cultures. We are very blessed with our economic growth. The whole intention of the residents and government is to give back. It is a very natural path to follow, to give back not only for education, health, and society – but also the environment. We cover the whole scope of the environment in the [Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation] mission statement including the fight against climate change, the promotion of renewable energies, the protection of biodiversity at land and sea, and access to renewable water resources,” says Wenden.

Single-use plastic ban

Although Monaco’s efforts have a global impact, there are exacting measures being taken at home that even a first-time visitor will note.

Monaco banned the use of single-use plastic bags in 2019 and will ban the use of plastic straws, cutlery, and glasses from January 2020. It also became the first country to ban bluefin tuna from the Mediterranean after learning the species would become extinct within two years if action was not taken. Other countries involved in the International Union for Conservation of Nature refused to join, given the popularity of the rare fish.

“You have to understand the power of the market. We lost the case [to ban bluefin tuna among UN participants], but it caught the attention of media The EU started to raise quotes to better monitor fisheries and serious work was done with the fisherman in the region. The stocks are back after five years,” says Olivier.

Monaco also has one of the few marine-protected areas within its perimeter, which was formed in the 1970s. Only 3 percent of the Mediterranean is protected and 1.6 percent of that is due to principality’s efforts.

The Principality has also been actively engaged in the fight against climate change through the ratification of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and more recently the Paris agreement.   Its efforts have shown considerable results: It is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of 50 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

Monaco has become a pioneer in the ‘ecological transition’ necessary for creating a world that people can live in and enjoy for generations to come. It is vital to note how the country’s efforts go far beyond the marketing initiatives and “greenwashing” that other destinations often prescribe to. It instead looks to involve every level of government, business, the local community and even visitors in reaching its ambitious but attainable goals through consistent change.

Across the whole supply chain

To further this deep commitment, the Monaco Convention Bureau launched a digital campaign this year to elevate awareness of its environmentally-conscious approach. The campaign’s tagline “Business is Green” helps to highlight the very tangible efforts happening across the principality and the environment that associations and business travelers can learn and interact with while there. There is a clear shift among business seeking cleaner and more responsible events that match their concerns around the environment, our planet’s sustainability, and their role within that transition.

The sustainability of Monaco and commitment to its efforts is one of the most important factors in drawing associations to its shores today.

The attraction to Monaco’s congress centre, the Grimaldi Forum, goes beyond the history, quality, affordability, stability and beauty of the destination. The venue has a strong sustainability policy where visitors seen the use of eco-friendly materials, photovoltaic panels on the rooftop, and sustainably-powered air conditioning at work. The majority of its 2,500 hotel rooms are certified by Green Globe, Green Key and Planet 21 by Accor, all while maintaining four and five-star quality of service.-

Visitors can dine at the first 100-percent organic Michelin star restaurant Elsa, enjoy a tour of the organic urban gardens run by Terre de Monaco, or take a tour of the green efforts taking place throughout Monaco. “As sustainability becomes more and more important to company’s strategies, either to their shareholders or customers, they make the move to Monaco,” concludes Wenden.

Contact: This article was written by Boardroom editor Samantha Shankman. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

July 8, 2019

AIPC Conference Rejuvenated Thanks to New Format

There were a lot of expectations in Antwerp at the AIPC Annual Conference this year. Hosted by the Flanders Meeting and Convention Center – the ‘Room with a ZOO’ which played a key role in providing a wide range of distinctively different spaces, the event kept delegates engaged in new and varied environments and experiences – something that had not necessarily been the case in previous years.

AIPC, the international association of congress centres, represents a global network of over 190 centres in 64 countries with the active involvement of more than 1,000 management-level professionals worldwide. It encourages excellence in convention centre management, based on the diverse experience and expertise of its international representation. To do so, it is engaging in a variety of educational, research, networking and standards programs.

Its Annual Conference is part of those efforts to bring excellence in all areas of centre management: 2019 saw more than 150 delegates converge to Antwerp and its one-of-kind convention centre – it sits next to the city zoo, and is literally a stone’s throw from the train station – to tackle the overall theme of “Practical Strategies to Meet Changing Expectations”.

As usual, the Conference started by a keynote speech which put things into perspective. In that regard, Dr. Linda Yueh, a globally recognized economist and authority on trade issues, delivered a realistic picture of how current economic and geopolitical issues are re-shaping the business environment of centres. At the end, technology futurist Sophie Hackford shared her insights about the future implications of rapidly changing tech capabilities – and how these will accept meetings in general.

Innovative this year

What was really new this year is how the programme had delegates get to work. In that regard, the “BrainShare” session was developed as a unique opportunity for participants to address the challenges associated with growth, from scalability to resourcing and from accessing talent to resulting adaptations to business models and ecosystems. Developed Oscar Cerezales, it asked key questions in the context of immersion-scale orientation, with dedicated topic stations and discussion labs used to arrive at conclusions that were then merged to create an overall change strategy.

Of course, I, like the rest of the audience, was particularly interested in a session called ‘Insights from Key Clients’. After all, how associations and congress venues can work better together? What’s the overall experience of clients when it comes to convention centres around the world? Chantal Van Es, Head of Sibos, Isabelle Bardinet, CEO of the European Society of Cardiology, Kai Hattendorf, CEO of UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, and Jurriaen Sleijster, representing IAPCO, the international association of PCOs, all  shared their perspectives on change and evolution in the industry.

Chantal, for instance, explained that “our last conference took place at ICC Sydney, and they understood our needs like maybe no other venue before. Sibos is all about financial compliance, all about anti-money laundering, and all about cybersecurity, amongst other things. The goal is to bring people together and make them think about how to solve common challenges and that is what we’ve always tried to do with an event like ours. If convention centres understand what we want to achieve and they can be part of it, then it’s win-win situation. At Sibos, we see meetings as a premium service that’s becoming more and more rare: that’s why we have to provide one-of-a-kind experiences.”

More generally, Isabelle Bardinet pointed out that if we all must demonstrate our open-mindedness, flexibility and forward-thinkingness, by experimenting with meeting environments for instance, we must not forget the basics of conferences. “If the basics are taken care of – and believe me this is not always the case – we’ll be eager to do more and be open to new ideas and formats,” she said. “One thing is certain, tough: meeting and planning are fundamental pieces of what we do at the ESC. The more problems the world will unfortunately have, the more people will need to meet. Simply put: we’re going to keep meeting. Even if there is an economic downturn, we’re just going to adapt.”

Concluding on an event that delegates enjoyed, from the informal survey I made, AIPC President Aloysius Arlando said “This year’s Annual Conference was a significant departure from previous events – but that reflected the kinds of big industry changes we see happening around us. By using our own interactions at the conference to learn and grow as managers we are continuing a great AIPC tradition of sharing for mutual benefit – something we will only intensify as we grow into the future”. 

This article was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

July 3, 2019

‘3 Ps’ of a Successful Secretariat

Reflecting from Manila, Octavio ‘Bobby’ Peralta, CEO & Founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE), highlights the three key pillars of purpose, performance and people when it comes to an efficient association secretariat.

I was going over my old office files during the weekend when I came upon a set of transparency presentation materials. Remember these filmy, clear sheets of cellulose acetate that you write on or print over texts or graphics and lay over an overhead projector? For the younger generation, you probably do not know what I am saying since you came into this world using Powerpoint as a presentation tool!

Today’s column, however, is not about presentation technologies nor techniques; it is about the content of the transparencies that I have uncovered. It was on how to successfully manage a secretariat organization and this is what I wish to share with you. Entitled, “The 3 P’s of a Successful Secretariat,” it highlights the three key pillars of purpose, performance and people.

The first “P”—purpose—is based on Peter Drucker’s definition of the purpose of business, which is “to create and retain customers.” In the context of an association, the customers (and in fact, its owners, too) are its members. The challenge of the secretariat, being the management/executive team of the association, is not only to recruit members, but also how to retain, engage and increase them. In essence: to build and sustain a community of believers and advocates to fulfill its purpose.

To grow and sustain membership, the secretariat has to perform and deliver demand-driven services to its members. This is the second “P”: performance. But mere “performing” is not enough in today’s world. The challenge is to come up with new and “refreshing” services that benefit members. As such, the secretariat has to act in Internet speed and do it with a passion to succeed. Not doing this will compromise the association’s ability to generate the necessary funding and continue achieving the association’s purpose. Performance, therefore, is essential to raising and accumulating financial resources.

The third “P”—people—is the lifeblood of the association. Without good, dedicated, and talented people, the secretariat will be unable to perform well and drift aimlessly. So the challenge is twofold: one, the drive for excellence of the secretariat staff must be sustained and, two, its ability to network and collaborate with others must also be nurtured. In short, people is the engine that drives the secretariat to perform and accomplish its purpose.

Although I must have written this piece decades ago, I believe this is still relevant today. These “3 Ps” remain as guideposts in my continuing work as an association executive at ADFIAP and at PCAAE.

Bobby Peralta is presently the Secretary General of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP), the focal point of 106 development banks and other financial institutions engaged in sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region. With over 25 years of experience as an association executive, Bobby Peralta is a long-standing member of and contributor to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the CEO & Founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE).