IELA celebrates the value proposition of associations in the events industry

The International Exhibition Logistics Association (IELA) recently invited peer associations from the event and exhibition industry to talk about leadership, advocacy and their vision for a better event and exhibition industry during an Associations Day online event, 15 December.

In the wake of the pandemic, IELA notes associations have spotlighted more than ever the key instrumental and strategic role they play for their industries. But behind every achievement and every fight won, says IELA, is a team made up of individuals.

In order to celebrate the people behind the scenes that keep us connected, IELA designed an innovative set-up with a rapid-fire format designed to facilitate a lively conversation, where representatives from guest associations had one minute each to answer questions.

Topics of discussion turned around going ‘Back to human’ and fostering a culture of meaningful transformation, resilience and a collaborative mindset and connectivity. Trends and threats in our industry were also under discussion.

EW reflects here the flavour of the discussion and debate:

Starting with A for Advocacy, UFI’s CEO Kai Hattendorf was asked what he thought was the key strategic impact of associations over the past 22 months?

“The key,” said Hattendorf, “is collaboration and changing the narrative of our sector: we are not a sub-sector of tourism. We are a strategic tool and asset with our event industry. We build and grow economies and societies and help [them] to prosper on the other side of the pandemic.”

To SISO’s CEO David Audrain the question was: ‘Being a professional for many years, how do you foster a culture of transformation in your team that will help you in facing new challenges?’

The essential thing,” he replied, “is hiring the right people from the beginning, people who are able to work under their own supervision and don’t require managing. We must encourage them to stretch us and themselves and bring forward their ideas.”

IELA then explored the question of resilience as a key to surviving the issues and challenges of today, asking what it meant to truly develop resilience, and how can our associations do it successfully within their teams?

Cathy Breden, IAEE EVP/COO, CEIR CEO & EIC incoming chair, fielded that one, saying: “We must make sure that we are constantly planning, continuity planning, creating different scenarios for budgets, for events. Regarding staff, we remained as transparent as possible: being clear on financial perspective, with lay-offs, getting staff to become resilient by helping them to understand the situation and how we are dealing with the unforeseen consequences of the pandemic.”

For more coverage of the session, make sure you get the next edition of Exhibition World magazine. It is free to subscribe to here:

The event concluded with the launch of a new LinkedIn Group for event and exhibition association professionals to share best-practice and knowledge and exchange thoughts and ideasThe event was organised by the IELA Industry Relations Working Group, its chair and vice-chair, Jacqui Nel and Kim Valdes, and the IELA Ambassadors.