Knowledge All Over Luxembourg

December 15, 2018

Knowledge All Over Luxembourg

If most people might only see it as this country not really worth visiting, Luxembourg might well be one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, offering more than just a place for diplomats. In fact, as a knowledge hub tucked away between Germany, France and Belgium, the Grand Duchy has many assets up its sleeves, attracting the attention of European and international associations.

 A country full of contrasts, where tradition and modernity coincide in a harmonious manner, Luxembourgis well connected to the major European cities and hubs, whether by car, train or plane. Boastinga trilingual and multicultural population of more than 600,000, it has historically been open to the world: thanks to the country’s role as a centre of business, European capital and home to the European Court of Justiceand the European Court of Auditors and the Secretariat of the European Parliament, it’s hosted EU summits and diplomats from around the world, and is no stranger to organising large-scale events. A founding member of the Benelux, the Grand Duchyhas, over the years, become more than aware of what a successful meetings destination has to offer.

If modern and well-equipped conference infrastructure to suit any requirements are to be found all over, Luxembourg prospers today from the talent of its people and their ability to innovate. The country has understood that its competitiveness in a modern world is increasingly reliant upon effective innovation networks. With competition from all corners of the planet, Luxembourg has been facing rapid economic changes, to which it has adapted. In this regard, the reinforcement – or creation – of its competitiveness clusters reflects a creative way of thinking about the economy.

Cluster Initiative

As early as 2012 indeed, the Luxembourg government launched the Luxembourg Cluster Initiative, a key element of the national research and development and innovation policy, bringing together several clusters and innovation networks established throughout the country and reinforcing private-public partnerships in order to boost innovation. The initiative aims to develop state-of-the- art technologies, while supporting Luxembourg’s existing technological expertise, as well as promoting the development of centres of excellence.

In this context, major corporations, small and medium-sized companies and public research institutions all benefit from a comprehensive range of individualised services offered by the clusters. They are able to leverage their know-how and expertise via access to the pooled knowledge, resources and networks of cluster members.

“The clusters included in the initiative were not chosen at random. They focus on selected strategically key technologies and aim to strengthen already flourishing economic sectors in Luxembourg, as well as to develop new business sectors with the greatest potential for the sustainable development of the national economy. Between 2002 and 2016, five clusters were created bringing together leading companies in the biomedicine, environmental technology, information and communication technology, material sciences and automotive fields. In 2016, the Luxembourg Cluster Initiative continued its development with new members joining its ranks. To the five existing clusters were added two new clusters active in the timber and the creative industries sectors.” writes Marie-Hélène Trouillez in an article published this summer in Merkur magazine.

This support for development and commitment to growth can also be seen in the way Luxembourg is one of the largest contributors to development aid in the EU. Following the peer review of Luxembourg carried out by the OECD’sDevelopment Assistance Committee (DAC) at the end of last year, the country was indeed praised for its generous contribution to official development assistance, allocating 1% of its gross national income to official development assistance (ODA) and thereby exceeding the international target of 0.7%. Around half of Luxembourg’s bilateral aid targets health, education and local development. “The DAC peer review clearly confirmed that our efforts to eradicate poverty are producing sustainable results,” noted Romain Schneider, Luxembourg Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, in a press release. “We are seen by our peers as a reliable, flexible contributor of funds.” 

In this regard, Luxembourg collaborates extensively with many NGOs. Since the adhesion of the country’s to the DAC in 1992, the Grand Duchy’s development cooperation policy has undergone significant change, both in terms of funds made available to it and with regard to its organisational and qualitative aspects. It now works with multilateral organisations in the framework of a development cooperation characterised by a strong commitment to poverty reduction, humanitarian aid and effective work with its new privileged partner countries, such as Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Mali, Niger, Senegal,Nicaragua and Laos. A platform like one-of-a-kind Le Cercle for instance facilitates exchanges and learning between Luxembourg’s various actors in international solidarity and creates a dynamic of change.

This article was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé. More information:

Picture: European Convention Centre Luxembourg (ECCL)


December 11, 2018

The Secretary General’s Voice
– One Year Later

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 very last contribution, in which he reflects on the year that passed by.

Already one year passed since I took office as Secretary General of UITP. I didn’t see it pass. It was such a busy and exciting year! I faced many challenges and enjoyed many opportunities, not necessarily those I would have imagined. But I am so satisfied with my role and my involvement!

The global dimension, relevance and size of UITP have attracted a lot of interest from numerous national and international organisations. I no longer count the number of invitations received this year to speak at events, participate in the launch of new products, contribute to panels, answer interviews, etc. The reputation of the association and relevance of the topics we cover are a strength that put us in a prominent situation to be approached to represent the sector. This is a priveleged position. Unfortunately we can’t say yes to all solicitations, not that we snob them but because it is practically impossible. It gives a feeling of pride but the stakes are very high at the same time. It requires proper preparation because I respect the organisation who invites me, the attendees who expect my contribution and the association I represent. And my team is outstandingly helpful at preparing my speeches and contributions. I can’t accept any compromise with the quality and relevance of them. I think all went well but only those who attended can judge.

One issue that has been very topical this year is the growing importance of gender balance in our entities and activities. I am happy I identified this before taking office, as a priority for the association. It is not an easy task in a 133 year old  male dominated organisation to decide introducing gender equality. Because you can’t just erase the past and start from scratch. You start from an existing situation and habits. We needed to adopt new ways of thinking, to act with diplomacy, and to dare questioning the statu quo. It’s actually a work in progress and it will be growingly reflected in our coming events and composition of committees and board. Our determination is big:  we even introduced gender balance in our new bylaws formally.

Amongst the fundamental changes there is also the adoption of transparency in our management and communication, and the empowerment of staff and board members. Here too it is a fundamental cultural change. Because transparency means taking the risk of sharing details, being accountable, and putting problems on the table to which you don’t necessarily have the answers. But isn’t it better as it will involve others in sharing the issues and finding solutions? They (the staff and the board members) will feel a sense of ownership and concern about the issues and the future of the association. It will also empower them to concretely lead or contribute to solving the issues. It is the approach we adopted in our financial management, as we reformed our bylaws and reorganised  our internal structure. When you do that, you don’t need to spend energy convincing your partners because they co-design what you want to achieve. It’s about giving the leadership to those who own the association and those who make it work.

These were few examples of this year’s achievements. A year I’ll never forget as it was so exciting. I had the opportunity to share my views and approach on many subjects in this column. It was a pleasure to do it and a honor to receive your ‘likes’ and comments. I hope I have succeeded to engage you with me, in a world that I do hope it’s yours too now. In the end, whatever our field of activities and our professional domain, I have tried to share issues of common sense. We all have so much in common!

December 3, 2018

GAHP Members Surpass Universal Association Growth Rate

The Global Association Hubs Partnership (GAHP) was founded in October 2015, bringing together four major association hubs to represent their regions of America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. As it marks its third anniversary, its members – Brussels, Dubai, Singapore and Washington DC – are experiencing growth in the number of associations located in their cities at a significantly faster rate than global averages. More specifically, in 2018, the number of association headquarters and regional offices located in the four cities grew by 2.5% reaching 3,769, according to the Union of International Associations (UIA), a significantly higher number when compared to worldwide growth of 0.9%.

In this past year, the partnership has continued to get involved in industry meetings and events the world over. This included organising and powering sessions at the inaugural Dubai Association Conference, the European Association Summit in Brussels, the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo in Chicago, and the ASAE Association Leadership Forum-Asia Pacific in Singapore. GAHP has also provided research to feed into studies by the likes of the Union of International Associations (UIA), International Conference and Convention Association (ICCA), Association Laboratory and AT Kearney.

Steen Jakobsen, Assistant Vice President, Dubai Business Events, said: “Dubai remains committed to facilitating the growth of associations, recognising their importance to developing key industries and sectors and further diversifying the economy. The Dubai Association Centre (DAC) provides a powerful platform for international and regional associations to expand their reach, influence and membership, and at the same time contribute to and tap into Dubai’s growing knowledge economy. In December, DAC will host its first Association Leaders Getaway, offering a unique platform for networking, education and discussions.”

Melissa A. Riley, Vice President, Convention Sales and Services, Destination DC, points out the impact of new investment in the region: “The recent announcement that Amazon will establish HQ2 in the DC metro region exemplifies how the investment in technology, talent and innovation intersect in our region.”

Jeannie Lim, Executive Director, Conventions, Meetings and Incentive Travel, Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau recognises the growth of her country as the regional Asian hub for international associations to anchor their events and offices. She says: “Singapore was again ranked as ICCA’s top international association meetings city in Asia-Pacific for the 16th year in a row. We believe we can continue to contribute meaningfully to the growth of associations both at the regional and global level.”

Elisabeth Van Ingelgem, Director, Brussels Convention and Association Bureau, said: “In March, will organise the 7th edition of the European Association Summit, confirming its commitment to association professional development. The event gets into a new dimension by linking it closely to the sustainability activities undertaken by the Brussels Capital Region actors allowing to combine education for associations and promoting what the destination may offer them in this important field.”

November 26, 2018

The Changing Meeting Landscape

As more and more associations create event departments some appear to see less and less value in the work of professional congress organizers (PCOs). Why should associations hire professional organizers if, as they grow, they have the staff and the resources to do things themselves? Are the event departments of associations taking over what a PCO or a destination management company (DMC) can bring to the table, and if so, what does that mean? Aigars Smiltans, director of MEET RĪGA, shares his view.

 With the abundance of information out there, available everywhere and all the time, some association event planners find it easy — or think it’s easy — to get what they need to stage a meeting. Industry experts say they see planners going directly to suppliers, whether a hotel, a technology company, or an off-site venue, to book conference space or audio-visual services for their next event. “This is an obvious trend at the moment,” says Aigars Smiltans, director of convention bureau MEET RĪGA. “What used to be organized thanks to the expertise of PCOs or DMCs is now handled in-house, without the assistance of third parties. Planners, like anybody else, are looking to save money: Everyone now has a good understanding of the supply chain from client to end service and is trying to cut someone out.”

Convention bureaus can still add value, experts say, especially if a destination is totally new to a planer. He/she may need people who can give input on, say, unusual venues and new, exciting activities. “But, as convention bureaus, we can’t add value over the whole supply chain either,” Smiltans says.“Hotels, just like Radisson Blu Latvija for instance, now offer a full range of in-house AV solutions to planners, shortcutting intermediaries. That was typically the work done by a PCO not so long ago. And there is also that big buzz about hotels cutting (or at least reducing) commissions now and going the extra mile for their clients. All this stimulates direct collaboration between conference organizers and suppliers.”

Does this change the situation for destinations? “It doesn’t really,” Smiltans argues. “The workload is pretty much just shifting. What used to be done by a PCO is now done by a hotel; whatever advice could come from a DMC is now coming from a convention bureau. I really think DMCs and PCOs should change their mindset and maybe rethink their business models so that associations see where their added values lie.”  That value, experts say, includes extensive local knowledge and connections.

“More and more associations choose Riga without the support of a local branch — and even without the possibility of getting a subvention — because our stakeholders over the whole supply chain do a good job showcasing what they’re good at,” Smiltans says.

Events in Riga that are testament to this include conferences organized by the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM), the International Airlines Technical Pool (IATP), or the European Association of Adhesives & Sealants Industry and its FEICA event.

This article, whose unedited version is available in the November issue of Boardroom, was written by Rémi Dévé.

November 19, 2018

Transforming Associations with Agility

The world is evolving very quickly, from changing economies to blending industries, resulting in tremendous competitive pressure from all angles. In the current environment, association leaders need to disrupt their organisations to survive, rethinking their products, technology, organisational talent and partnerships. They are required to promote an organisational culture that assumes changes, is comfortable with chaos and customer driven. They are expected to break the rules while bringing operational consistency. There is simply no room for rigidity!

I come at this topic from two directions in my role at Scrum Alliance®, the largest professional association of Agile practitioners worldwide. Our mission is to help others transform the world of work through improved organisational practice. At the same time, Scrum Alliance®itself is in the midst of a multi-year process of renewal and revitalisation to better align our work with the needs and desires of our members.

People over processes

We have attacked that challenge through a greater organisational commitment to Agile – an approach and mindset that values people over processes, iterative solutions with constant customer feedback, deeper cross-functional collaboration, and responsiveness to change over following a set plan.

Although Agile has gone more mainstream, it remains an idea that is easier to grasp than to practice. Scrum Alliance®just collaborated with Forbes Insights on a global survey of more than 1,000 C-level executives. Just 16 percent of these leaders said their organisations were “Agile in both strategy and execution,”although 81 percent of respondents agree on the critical importance of agility when it comes to leading a successful organisation.

So, if your organisation seems to be stuck in a time machine of pre-2000 efficiency, know that you’re not alone. The question is how do you change it?

The findings from our survey suggested a structured approach with three key elements to increase organizational agility: (1) Create a C-suite with an Agile mindset;  (2) Hire and develop the right mix of talent, and (3) Foster an Agile-friendly culture and organisational structure.

Executive-level support for Agile change is a must. Active senior management sponsorship and support is the number one motivator for undertaking a broader transformation.C-level executives can increase organisational agility by challenging ideas, sponsoring the right supporting structure and inspiring an Agile mindset across the organisation.

All about the staff

The next group responsible for supporting successful disruption is the staff. True Agile practice requires everyone in an organisation to work differently. It is important to have changing agents on board and surround those employees with a supporting culture. Many CEOs are good with developing strategies but aren’t as good with communicating across organisational layers. HR professionals become key Agile enablers as the heads of hiring and training. They evolve into a more strategic role becoming strategic business partners. They also help bring culture and communication down from the C-suite, acting as a cross-functional facilitator.

It is fine to start small; in fact, that is how most successful transformations begin. Some departments may be able to handle a total process overhaul quickly, eliminating unnecessary process and protocol, while others, like accounting, may hold on longer to older ways that are still working.

Many organisations mistakenly think that “going Agile” just means eliminating hierarchy. However, Agile is about creating the right team mindset and dynamics through practices such as Scrum and Kanban to support execution. Both Agile frameworks help organisations create empowered teams, bottom-up decision making, accountability, transparency and customer centricity.

The full version, written by Renata Lerch, Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications at Scrum Alliance, is available in the November issue of Boardroom

November 9, 2018

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: Let the People Talk

It’s always better to have organisers talk about their experience in a given destination than just convention bureaus explaining how great it would be for you – and them – if you chose them for their next event. In order for you to get familiar with Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and where its expertise lies, Boardroom asked four planners to explain how the regional convention bureau, Provence Côte d’Azur Events, successfully supported them.


Stéphane Azoulay, Member of the Local Organising Committee, EFMC-ISMC 2022, XXVII International Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry

In September 2022, we will co-organize the 27thInternational Symposium on Medicinal Chemistry in Nice. This biennial event, led by the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry, welcomes about 1,200 participants from the pharmaceutical industry and academia.

Thanks to high-quality research conducted at the Côte d’Azur University,a centre of excellence according to the state-funded programme IDEX (Initatives d’Excellence), easy accessibility to and from Nice through its international airport, a highly flexible convention centre, and a good image of the city on the international scene, our bid made the difference.

In addition, we benefitted, at a local level, from the support of Nice Convention Bureau and many stakeholders of the whole supply chain. They were very helpful putting the bid together and giving us advice in terms of off-site venues and social events – a real added value. On a regional level, Provence-Côte d’Azur Events acted as a facilitator for us to obtain a letter of support from the President of the South Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, with a financial grant of up to 30,000€ – which of course we highly appreciate for an event of this magnitude.


Claire De Longeaux, Trustech Director, Cannes

With an in-depth focus on the latest innovations applied to payments and identification, biometrics, blockchain and artificial intelligence, Trustech is the professional event dedicated to digital trust technologies. We have been operating for more than 30 years and settled in Cannes in 2016, where we usually welcome over 120 different nationalities. Trustech is a congress, with 200 international speakers, a trade show, with 300 exhibiting companies, and a networking event attended by more than 11,000 professionals.

In 2017, Trustech benefitted from the support of the Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur region as part of its ‘Attract Congresses & Events’ programme (see sidebar), helping our growth in a field the region has become renowned for. Many Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur-based companies are indeed working in this dynamic sector, starting with the members of the SCS-Global Competitiveness Cluster dedicated to secure communication solutions.


Philippe Olivier, Deputy Secretary General of the ITER Industrial Committee (ITER France Agency)

ITER (‘the way’ in Latin) is one of the most ambitious energy projects in the world today. In southern France, 35 nations are collaborating to build the world’s largest tokamak, a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy.

The 2017 edition of the ITER Business Forum took place at the Palais des Papes in Avignon, with more than 1,000 representatives of 433 companies from 25 countries, including more than 50% foreigners. For three days, delegates were able, to meet, interact and establish contacts while learning about the progress of the ITER programme and upcoming calls for tenders.

This sixth edition of the Forum, which is today the international flagship event of the ITER programme, was organised by the ITER France Agency with the support of the International Organization ITER and its partners from China, Korea, Europe, India, Japan, America and Russia. The financial support of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region was instrumental in making the event a success.

The full version, written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé, is available in the November issue of Boardroom. For more information on the Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur region as a conference destination: /

Picture: the Ephrussi de Rothschild villa and gardens, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

November 7, 2018

Ottawa: A Pioneer in Innovative Immigration Integration 

Ottawa, a capital at the crossroads of government, education and advocacy, stands apart from all other international hubs for its integrated and holistic approach to immigration.

The Canadian metropolitan is continually ranked one of the best places to live worldwide and an archetype in innovation, economy, and transportation, making it not only a case study for progressive immigration but also for innovative city planning, job creation and top quality of life.

As Canada’s Capital, Ottawa puts conventions on a national stage close to decision-makers and international news media. If gaining their attention can help move an organization forward, Ottawa is the best place to get noticed.

Metropolis Project

It is no surprise that the International Metropolis Project – an international network of researches, policy makers, and community groups concentrated on improving migration and diversity – chose this capital hub for its 2019 event. The 2019 International Metropolis Conference will be held June 24 – 28, 2019 at the award-winning Shaw Centre with more than 1,500 delegates expected to join.

“Not only does Ottawa have several major universities, but all the federal departments and many NGOs also deal with immigration. We have two mayors who are very, very interested in migration issues and a plethora of organizations that look after immigration,” explains Enrico W. del Castello, the director of the 2019 International Metropolis Conference Project.

Del Castello himself could be considered an immigrant to Ottawa. Originally from Rome, del Castello has worked on immigration integration and reform in Ottawa for more than a decade — first as the Metropolis’ director of international outreach and then as the director of knowledge, mobilization and partnerships.

Not only does Ottawa’s status as a G7 capital provide an international stage to share these paramount conversations, its plethora of government departments, agencies and research institutions that del Castello refers to also provide a ready supply of subject matter experts to speak to and expand the discussion.

Hosting the International Metropolis Conference is a huge honor for Ottawa. We’re excited to be working with the Government of Canada to bring a large international conference here,” explains Mikayla Palladino, meetings researcher at Ottawa Tourism.

The conference will take place during Ottawa’s WOW Week, which is the welcome week for newcomers giving delegates from around the world will have an opportunity to see what Ottawa does for new arrivals. “It’s a really fantastic opportunity,” exclaims del Castello.This year’s conference will actually be a homecoming for the organization, which was constituted in Ottawa in 1996. It has since grown into the largest network in migration models in the world representing more than 70 countries. The conference itself is a platform for more than 130 concurrent workshops with up to 2,000 delegates.

The full version of this article written by Boardroom editor Samantha Shankman is available in the November issue of Boardroom. More information on Ottawa:

November 6, 2018

Rimini & Vicenza:
2 Cities, 1 Strong Link

Italy is no stranger to innovation and efficiency when it comes to dealing with international associations, may that be following new trends or covering specific needs when organising conferences, and Rimini (pictured above) and Vicenza (pictured below) are quite representative exemplars of that. Both situated in northern Italy, the two cities are immersed in history and architecture comprising of UNESCO World Heritage structures, hospitality and environmental awareness. Rimini is a dynamic and welcoming city at the edge of the Adriatic Sea and Vicenza is situated in a strategic position in the heart of Veneto, one of the most productive region.

In order to represent the two cities in the international scene, Rimini and Vicenza joined forces creating the Italian Exhibition Group (IEG) as a leading trade fair and conference-convention organizer for expo portfolio. Its Event & Conference Division provides associations with the necessary tools to hold successful conferences in the two cities.

Go with the flow

Keeping up-to-date means far more than just being technologically advanced or facilities-adequate. Both cities have embraced the idea of following new tourism tendencies in order to remain competitive in regards to the meetings industry. Industry Vision Travel&Hospitality, IEG’s survey that monitors consumer trends, is proposing a list of such trends that will influence the international market in the future. Implementing strategies based on this data helps Rimini and Vicenza to build further innovative strategies for their clients.

One of the five trends mentioned in the survey, ‘Wonderland’, wants the public to take a strong interest in the fiction created by immersive technologies, as the need to be surprised is increasing and the line between the real and the virtual is growing thinner. Virtual Reality is key in the second trend, ‘Playing the Game’, where adults are turning into children as they seek more playful and fun experiences.

With change, curiosity and inspiration playing a central role in a third trend called ‘Chance to Change’, delegates will be looking for services and activities that promote transformation and self-awareness, whereas the ‘In Private’ trend finds them opting for exclusivity whether that is in the form of reserving private space or creating small, ‘exclusive’ communities. Last, but not least, ‘Switch Off’ takes tourism to the next level where people are eager to be temporarily detached not only from technology but also from their everyday life obligations.

Venues Adopt the Trends

A clear sign that Rimini and Vicenza have deep understanding of these trends can be found in the two cities’ convention centres. Rimini Palacongressi, the country’s largest convention centre, is a uniquely designed and elegant structure full of light. It manages to combine state-of-the-art technology with smart and flexible architectural elements providing privacy and exclusivity as requested in the in private trend. 39 rooms, seating capacity for 9,000 and a main room that can host 4,700 guests: the Palacongressi is in line with what the consumers want: a total connectivity with the possibility to escape and switch off when needed.

On the other hand, the Vicenza Convention Centre (ViCC) provides the space for 9,000 persons and 15 meeting rooms, all of which are multifunctional and innovative, making Vicenza the ideal new business destination. In agreement with the city’s architecture and today’s needs, the diverse yet simple structure can cater for associations in every detail.

With the two cities joining forces, associations will have the opportunity to offer their delegates new ways to network and do business.

This article was written by Boardroom editor Vicky Koffa. For more information on Rimini and Vicenza: /





November 5, 2018

A Breath of Conference Air in Paris

What more can be said about Paris, the most visited city in the world? Apart from old favourites like the Eiffel Tower or Le Louvre, there are always countless things to do, and you can return over and over and every time you will be in awe of the abundance of history, culture, and of course art de vivre. Paris is renewing itself all the time, and this is true when it comes to meetings. After all, the economic dynamism of Paris and its surrounding region has always relied on research and innovation – this is actually one of the reasons why the International Congress of the European Respiratory Society took place there in September.

While Paris accounts for 20% of the total Ile-de-France population, Paris Region’s multi-faceted economy is unparalleled in Europe, packed with high-tech clusters – there are eight national and global competitiveness clusters – and research centres that rank among the global and European leaders. Paris Region’s sectors of excellence range from aeronautics, cosmetics, health and biotechnologies to logistics and financial services, just to name a few.

Major draw

The city is a major attraction as a destination for association meetings, and many attendees of course opt to tag some leisure time onto their trip. Because attendance is so high in Paris, it is a not-to-be-missed opportunity for associations to broadcast their work to a larger audience and attract more sponsorship.

The International Congress of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) took place in Paris Convention Centre (Viparis)in September 2018. Serving as a platform to share the latest knowledge in the fields of respiratory medicine and science, the event is continuing the standards of previous years and retaining the position as the world’s largest meeting for respiratory physicians, scientists and allied health professionals, with around 420 scientific and educational sessions and a wide range of activities.

Pippa Powell, Director of the European Lung Foundation (ELF), the public and patient arm of the European Respiratory Society, explains: “With more than 20,000 participants from over 130 countries, the ERS is the largest congress in its field and therefore has a restricted number of cities as potential destinations that have the congress centre and infrastructure to support the ERS International Congress. Recent developments in this area in Paris meant that the destination became a possibility for the ERS. We have a broad membership and we also move around European cities to honour our members and make the congress accessible. We have many members in France and the members of SPLF, who are joint members of our Society, feel at home in France.”

In Paris, all stakeholders work hand in hand in order to provide an unmatched level of service to planners and delegates alike who, then, can make the most of the city. In this context, public authorities, suppliers, hotels, the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau constantly unify their efforts to promote, market and sell the destination to event organisers.

Testing the lungs

“Paris is of course a globally renowned city with much to offer. It has fantastic travel links and a wealth of culture,” says Pippa Powell. “As a congress destination however there are many challenges – not least the sheer size and expense. The Paris Convention Bureau provided support to the ELF in the run up to the ERS Congress to try and improve communication with the city of Paris. ELF runs all of the public outreach and legacy activities for the ERS, including lung function testing for the inhabitants of Paris. The Convention Bureau acted as an intermediate between ELF and city officials and were able to help us gain support of the city for our activities, advertising space in the city and a wonderful location for our public event. They also ensured the presence of some key city officials at our activities.”

The full version of this article, written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé, is available in the November issue of Boardroom, out soon. For more information on Paris:


October 26, 2018

International Coach Federation – Growing With a Local Presence

Globalisation can bring your association many benefits, the first and most obvious being getting access to a much larger base of members and partipants for your events. If your services are proven added values, you can enjoy increased revenues while at the same time helping an exponentially greater number of people find the answers to the questions or challenges your association helps solve, this way improving your reputation. Thanks to our special partnership with the Global Association Hubs Partnership (GAHP), Boardroom talked to Magdalena N. Mook, CEO of the International Coach Federation (ICF), who explained all about the organisation’s growth strategy. 

Can you introduce ICF to our readers? What are its mission and vision? 

As a federation gathering professional coaches, ICF helps people and organizations truly reach their full potential so they can contribute to a thriving society. We are changing lives, day after day, person by person, organisation by organisation. Our mission is to advance the art and science of professional coaching. And our mission is to see coaching being integral part of the society, and – naturally – ICF coaches representing the highest quality in professional coaching. Established in 1995, ICF is now a proud home to over 32,000 professional coaches around the globe.

What are your growth objectives and how are your plans to achieve them?

We are very happy that we have members in over 140 countries right now! We started small and then big – but just in North America at the very beginning. The growth in all other areas of the world has been phenomenal. Our ultimate goal is to help everybody gain access to a professional coach or to somebody who can offer coaching skills. The sky is the limit, really: we keep adding close to a thousand of new members every month.

To sum it up, we do two things. Externally, we promote coaching to general public and also do some targeted outreach to organisations and institutions. Internally, we offer education, tools, practice, credentials and community to our professional coach members so they can be well prepared and very confident in offering their services to their clients. These two dimensions seem to be working well.

You’re an international organisation and your reach is global. Were there any obstacles as you expanded?

Becoming global does not happen overnight. Even when you have members in multiple countries, it does not mean your organisation is global. It took us several conscious steps to “get there”. First, we made sure that our board of directors reflects our global make-up. Then, we evaluated our products and services to ensure that they are equally accessible around the globe. And then, we reviewed our language policies so we could access our members in their native tongues – coaching is such a personal relationship, after all. We conduct lots of research about coaching marketplace around the world. It helps us to adjust our messages and services, depending on the market.

There is no question that we are part of a larger global community and every day associations are looking for ways to take advantage of this globalization to grow.Getting global means having a better visibility towards your community and enhancing your presence in geographical area that you might have never thought about before. This way, you can assert your position as a leader in your field.

As an international federation, you have a lot of chapters. What are the challenges and opportunities for growing internationally? What are the synergies between the chapters and the ‘mother organisation’?

Chapters are truly our blood-line in the organisation. For so many of our members, the chapter is the lens that they perceive ICF – that’s their reality. So chapters are crucially important to our system. They play a significant role in retaining members and recruiting them. We put a lot of effort to support initiatives to create a chapter, our staff is working with members on the ground to see this happen.

And then we invest heavily in equipping our leaders with tools to make them successful in running a chapter – that being an education about association management; financial management; governance or even how to best access everything we, as the headquarters, have to offer. Four years ago our Board made a brilliant decision to support an annual gathering of all of our chapter leaders. This amazing event, typically lasting three days, brings us together to remind all of us about the “why” of ICF and coaching and then to help improve the “how” of the execution.

This interview was conducted by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé. The full version of this article is available in the November 2018 issue of Boardroom available here.