International associations & the joy of face-to-face
After more than two years hunched behind computer screens it’s finally happening: associations are meeting face-to-face once more, pulling together their own far-flung communities at reinvented and repurposed annual conferences, and finding great event-excuses to reconnect with their peers.
The Dubai Association Conference, Brussels International Association Forum and the similarly-located European Association Summit have all successfully taken place recently, and other groups of international associations are preparing to participate in IMEX’s Association Focus in Frankfurt, ASAE’s Annual Meeting in Nashville, and a host of other event-opportunities to share success stories, recognise common challenges, and collectively work out how to navigate our organisations through the extreme uncertainty and constant disruption of the new business environment.
Big COVID-19 risks still remain – the Pandemic is not over! The war in Ukraine casts a dark shadow over every decision. We haven’t yet come to terms with severe dislocations to the no-longer low-friction world of global travel. And the climate crisis and its impact on every aspect of society and economic activity are on every strategic agenda. But these macro-concerns fade into the background when we have the chance to sip a coffee or glass of wine with a friendly colleague, to recognise that we’ve managed to keep ourselves and our associations upright (at least, so far!), and that we are most definitely NOT alone. That’s a great reason to smile.
I hope to see many of you very soon in Frankfurt at IMEX Association Focus!
Most advice on enhancing efficiency and effectiveness focuses on the new; we argue instead that eliminating accumulated deadwood – in everything from antiquated Board processes to Sacred Cow events to ingrained personal habits – is an even more helpful philosophy. But don’t take our word for it, this article was developed with innovative ideas and input from over 20 international association friends from around the world. It’s amazing what you can stop doing and what value that creates, if you really want to!
European Association Summit, Brussels
Over 100 delegates from more than 40 international associations and 20 association partnering companies and organisations participated between 3 and 5 May in The Egg conference venue for the 10th edition of EAS, in an interactive education programme on some of the hottest current association concerns, curated and MC’d by Benita Lipps from Interel and Christoph Raudonat from Henley Business School. Just as importantly, it was a chance for association peers to catch up with old and new friends, share stories and smile, and to remember how to take advantage of serendipitous encounters in the times between sessions and during evening networking tours around Brussels.
Highlights included: *Global Association Hubs “Shared Solution Room” session to identify each delegate’s priority business or leadership challenge and start to identify solutions, whilst experientially imparting lessons about meeting design techniques and psychological inclusion at events. *Leadership profiles and practices, including ways to build resilience, self-management, self-discipline and happiness, in which we discovered that 70% of C-suite executives suffer from “imposter syndrome”, and close to 100% suffer from at least some level of psychosomatic stress disease! *How to create engaging hybrid event experiences (EAS also beamed in a couple of expert contributors from the USA, and beamed out a few select sessions to online participants). *Latest legal situation for associations in Belgium, with specialist legal analysts from EY Law. *Communicating in times of crisis and war: understandably, a very hot topic at present with lively interaction and very detailed questions. *A great session by ESAE on Building an Executive Skills Toolkit, including some engaging teamworking exercises, and expert advice from AssociationWorld’s Kai Troll on Building New Revenue Streams, with particularly insightful advice on understanding and working with high-net-worth benefactors. *A session every association executives should download, by Gareth Harding of CLEAR Europe on Junking Jargon! In the “alphabet soup” acronym- and jargon-infested world of associations and EU institutions, this is something we all need to get better at.
Singapore celebrates : international women leaders
Global Association Hubs supports the “Women who advance associations” initiative, and in this newsletter we’d like to highlight two Singapore-based leaders who featured in the 2022 programme, both of whose influence reaches extensively into the wider association and NGO communities across Asia Pacific. Any association leaders passing through Singapore should look them up!
Laura Deal Lacey is Executive Director of the Milken Institute Asia Center, which provides a neutral platform and research facilities to support equitable access to capital, healthcare, education and employment throughout the region.
Caroline McLaughlin is Chief Partnerships Officer at AVPN, which is a philanthropic ecosystem builder focused on increasing the flow of capital into the social sector throughout Asia.
It’s getting closer: the first IMEX in Frankfurt since 2019! We can hardly wait!
Global Association Hubs is proud to be one of the sponsors of this year’s Association Focus, one of Europe’s most important educational events for international associations. Representatives from all four cities will be present during the afternoon’s programme and during the evening reception, and International Advisor Martin Sirk will be involved as a moderator in the education programme.
Click on the title of this article for more information and to register for this always-excellent programme and the main IMEX trade show taking place from 31 May to 2 June.
Global Association Hubs partner cities will be present at ASAE’s flagship event this August, and we are organising a wide-ranging strategic global discussion as part of the education programme: “Looking over the Horizon: Exploring the Future of Global Associations”.
Please let us know if you plan to be in Nashville and would like to get involved in what promises to be a lively, interactive highlight of the education programme!
For more information about this event and to register, please click on the link in the article title.
This edition of Business Events World, issued by our media partner The Iceberg, has a major feature on the war in Ukraine and the response from the meetings industry and its associations.
Please sign up for this monthly newsletter for regular stories and case studies on the positive societal and economic impact of association meetings. The Iceberg has led the way in advocating for an understanding that business and scientific events are so much more important than the bed-nights and hospitality jobs that they create, driving healthcare improvements, economic growth and innovation, and, of course, progress towards a peaceful world. Nothing could be more important at the current time.
Please click on the article title to access the full newsletter.