This year’s edition of ASAE’s Annual Meeting and Expo in Columbus, Ohio, 10-13 August, featured one of the strongest international programmes ever, and great networking between international associations aiming to improve or launch their global development programmes, key destinations from all regions of the world, and expert content providers. GAHP partners were of course prominent in all the international activities and educational sessions.
GAHP representatives at ASAE: Jan Lichota (visit.brussels Association Bureau), Elke Wong (Singapore Tourism Bureau), Paul Weintraub (BICSI – association guest and speaker on “going global”), Virginie Lurkin (visit.brussels Convention Bureau), Steen Jakobsen (Dubai Association Centre), and Martin Sirk, GAHP International Advisor.
Chair Sal Martino gave one of the all-time great ASAE leadership speeches, combining the moving personal story of his journey as an openly gay association leader, and a call-to-arms for associations to fight for societal progress and social justice, and to champion the power for good that associations represent. His call for civilised discourse, respect for science and facts, and why associations remain bastions of these values, resonated powerfully with the 5,000 attendees.
Great session by AMC-Institute (the international association for association management companies – https://www.amcinstitute.org) on how associations can maximise the impact and reach of their research projects.
There was a full house for the International Meet & Greet, even though it started at 7.15 am (luckily, for many of the international attendees our body clocks said it was already lunchtime!). Incoming ASAE International Advisory Council Chair Magda Mook from International Coach Federation welcomed everyone, supported by Steven Basart, AMC Kellen’s VP Beijing office. A very successful innovation this year was that each Round Table was given a pre-set discussion topic on a strategic issue facing associations that are planning to go global, leading to great interaction and concrete solutions to some big challenges.
Bonnie Koenig from Going International led an excellent session on “why going global takes time”. Too often associations look for quick wins and fast ROI in their global development plans and projects – Bonnie and her panel made a powerful case for the importance of taking the long-term view, encouraging Boards to be patient, and building in capacity to deal with unanticipated but inevitable hurdles and delays.
MCI designed an innovative format session, with just a short introduction followed by in-depth, interactive Poster discussions around the room, focusing on the unique characteristics of “going global” in different parts of the world. Their Singapore office’s presentation made the point that because of the city’s unique concentration of skills and services, they run all pan-Asia financial, registration and communication from that hub, and outsource only event logistics to individual country offices.
Great turnout for Dubai Association Centre’s “preview” session for the forthcoming DAC Conference in December, led by that conference’s lead moderator/designer, Genevieve Leclerc of Caravelle Strategies and #Meet4Impact. Delegates were hungry to hear about new concepts for setting, measuring, and managing the broader societal impact of association meetings. For more info about this topic: https://www.meet4impact.global
GAHP’s Open Space session on “going global” this year featured powerful case studies from Cathy Breedon and David DuBois from International Association for Exhibitions and Event, Matthew D’Uva from International Association for the Study of Pain, and Dean Parisi from the American Medical Association. With moderation, interviewing roles, and “helicopter views” from GAHP’s Martin Sirk, Kellen’s Alfons Westgeest, and Dean West from the renowned research company Association Laboratory, this led to some fascinating discussions and new connections.