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ECM Mentor Programme Hackathon: A friendly competition for Meetings Industry rookie professionals


The first meeting was dedicated to presenting the exercise, setting up the frame and assigning the 4 different groups.

In the frame of the ECM Mentor Programme, ECM offered the Mentees the opportunity to take part in a hackathon, where they worked on specific industry-related topics. The ECM Mentor Programme, industry supported initiative developed last August in close collaboration with IAPCO, IBTM, ICCA, IMEX and HQ Magazine has been created to secure networking, relation building and knowledge exchange between newly-appointed and advanced professionals in the Meetings Industry.

“The purpose of this hackathon was to allow the mentees (newcomers in the Industry) to meet with other mentees and network by being part of a European team. They had to challenge and share their ideas and stimulate their creativity to learn together and convince a jury that their project was the best.” said Sam Johnston, ECM Vice-President for the Meetings Industry and jury member of this hackathon.

The first meeting was dedicated to presenting the exercise, setting up the frame and assigning the 4 different groups. The Mentees then had a week to meet online to work on their project and send an executive summary and the final project to the judges. They also had to present their project live to the judges and other mentees.

3 different subjects were distributed to the groups:

  • How to promote destinations in online events?
  • Hybrid events: how to maximise the value of having both an online and an in-person audience?
  • New meeting formats at congresses: let’s innovate!

The jury was composed of Flavie de Bueil-Baudot, COO of European Cities Marketing, Patrick Delaney, Managing Partner of SoolNua, Barbara Jamison, Head of Business Development Europe at London & Partners, Sam Johnston, Manager of Dublin Convention Bureau, Bettina Reventlow-Mourier, Deputy Convention Director of Wonderful Copenhagen, Hagar Saad, Head of International Conferences of Tel Aviv Convention Bureau and Lesley Williams, Managing Director of BestCities Global Alliance.

Mentees also had their word and could vote for the best team (mentees’ votes counting for 25% of the final vote) and the jury deliberated to decide who the winning team was.

Hands-on approach, solution-thinking and implementation… The jury had a lot of debate deliberating between the 4 teams who had delivered an inspiring and well-structured presentations. The jury announced the winning team on the same day in front of all the Mentors and Mentees taking part in the programme. The winning team is composed of Laura Caprioli, Growth Programme Executive at VisitBritain, Eilis McNamee, Business Tourism at Failte Ireland, Maja Pancur, Head of Bled Convention Bureau, Ana Santos, International Promotion at Porto Convention & Visitors Bureau and Maria Teresa Yague Martin, Junior Consultant at ENITED Business Events in Austria.

The winning project was on the topic how to promote destinations in online events: The group used the example of an automotive company that would be launching a new electric car during an online event. The concept of the event is that attendees can virtually discover the destination in real time while driving the new car. Pitstops are implemented throughout the event to present the new car features, highlight different locations and landmarks of the destination and allow delegates to engage with other attendees and stakeholders.

Each member of the winning team received a free ticket for the ECM International Conference* that will take place on March 17-19 and a feature in the next issue of HQ Magazine, relating the hackathon and the ideas brought by the winning team.

“The hackathon was a very nice initiative for mentees to get to know each other while working together. The competition format was taken in a positive and “healthy” way so it was taken as an incentive to do our best in our project. I enjoyed the team work and the dynamic of sharing our ideas to bring together something that could actually be applied in a real case in our daily jobs.” said Maria Teresa Yague Martin, mentee and member of the winning team.

“I’d like to heartily thank my wonderful team mates and mentor, and the whole ECM team for this fantastic opportunity. And, finally, I’d also like to encourage all rookies in the business events industry to fight this “Covid-derived stagnation” and take that extra brave step, participate in this kind of programmes, embrace all opportunities and resources you have at hand and don’t be afraid to ask for help or orientation. You won’t regret it.” continued Maria Teresa Yague Martin.

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