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The event saw the largest turnout yet of association delegates

IMEX Association Day success applauded by 290 delegates

Report – Frankfurt – IMEX 2009: Nearly 290 association professionals from 33 countries including Australia, the US, Brazil, India, Ireland, China and Belgium attended the IMEX Association Day at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers Conference Centre, Frankfurt. The event saw the largest turnout yet of association delegates, with more countries and more industry sectors represented than ever before in the event’s seven year history…

Report – Frankfurt – IMEX 2009: Nearly 290 association professionals from 33 countries including Australia, the US, Brazil, India, Ireland, China and Belgium attended the IMEX Association Day at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers Conference Centre, Frankfurt. The event saw the largest turnout yet of association delegates, with more countries and more industry sectors represented than ever before in the event’s seven year history. 

IMEX Association Day, which is tailored exclusively to meet the networking and educational interests of professional association executives from around the globe, takes place once a year and has become one of IMEX’s hallmark industry initiatives and the trade show’s unofficial opening event.

The Day’s programme started with delegates choosing from three concurrent English language sessions and two German sessions. Maarten Vanneste, CEO of Abbit Meeting Support and President of the Meeting Support Institute presented ideas on “How to give your congress delegates the best networking experience.” During the one hour seminar he explained the principles behind using new technologies combined with best practice to allow participants to collaborate openly and easily. 

Dr. David Perl, Founder of docleaf; Harvey Thomas, Chairman, Fellowship of European Broadcasters and Linda Pereira, International Relations for the Women’s eCommerce Association International – European Chapter together with Paul Wilson, Director of GCC (Global Conference Consultants) jointly presented their ideas and recommendations for managing “Communication and PR when times are tough”. The subject proved extremely popular with delegates keen to understand how to offset or limit negative media coverage and how to turn potentially damaging PR into a vehicle for improved and more satisfying relationships with journalists over the longer term. 

Masie challenge to status quo
One of the highlights of the day’s programme was a session by international futurist, analyst, learning trends researcher and humorist, Elliott Masie.  He posed the question “What Is the Meeting of the Future – and can we start today?  Masie urged his rapt audience to combine the latest thinking about learning, education, social networking and technology and to apply it to the international association world without delay. He also challenged his audience to adopt new ways of thinking about learning and what professional education really means and where its long-term value lies. 

German speaking association professionals were offered a choice of four short seminars on subjects relevant to their specific needs which included quality control and fundraising. 

The popular round table discussion format closed the afternoon with delegates choosing from a range of topical association management issues including Committee Management, Membership Benefits, Fundraising, Relationships with Global Associations, Strategic Alliances and Partnerships plus Social and Viral Marketing. Each of the sessions was formulated to allow maximum sharing of personal experience, both good and bad between delegates, with moderators ensuring that conversations remained as direct, open and as outcome-based as possible.

Another first this year was marked by the award of professional education credits to those delegates working towards CAE accreditation. Attendance at IMEX Association Day qualified participants for six Certified Association Executive credits. Founded in 1960, the CAE program has evolved to reflect what it takes to manage an association in a challenging climate. CAE has become widely recognised as one of the essential credentials in association management. 

Giving his feedback on the Day’s content, Kai Chen, Project Manager of the China Medical Association, said, “I was impressed! The networking session was very good.” Richard Holmes, International Director of Meetings for the ILAE / IBE Congress Secretariat commented, “The presentations were superb and were extremely important for the delegates. They were combined with first class organisation and the unique warmth of the team.” 

Another participant, Charlene Bright, Programme Co-Ordinator of the World Federation of Public Health Associations stated, “Everything was very well organised and the meeting of the future presentation was valuable to me. When I return from IMEX I will get to incorporate what I’ve learned into our meetings.”

Association Day traditionally finishes with an Evening Networking event which provides a forum for exhibitors who are members of one of the organising associations (ICCA, AIPC, IAEE, DMAI, IAPCO, ASAE and the Center of Association Leadership, ESAE) to meet with association executives. This year over 800 people gathered for an extremely busy and animated business reception at the Intercontinental Hotel.

IMEX Chairman, Ray Bloom, gave his view on the strategic importance of the broader association market, “I am delighted by the strong turnout at this year’s Association Day.  The presence and contributions of so many global associations and their members lend a strong endorsement to IMEX both as a meetings market and also an educational platform. The association market is especially resilient in times of economic turbulence which makes their presence extremely valuable to exhibitors. The IMEX Association Day & Evening programme continues to attract a new and ever growing audience to IMEX who then stay on at the show to network with colleagues, and of course to research and place business.”

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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