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AIPC: The Future is Ours

by Sven Bossu, CEO AIPC

I’m a survivor (what), I’m not gon’ give up (what)
I’m not gon’ stop (what), I’m gon’ work harder (what)
I’m a survivor (what), I’m gonna make it (what)
I will survive (what), keep on survivin’ (what)

You will (probably) recognize the lyrics. Until very recently, I did not know that at the time the song was created, the group that would make it a global hit was at a low point in their career. And that it took a spark of inspiration from a semi-funny remark to make this success happen.

As I mentioned on these pages before: I truly believe the future of organized events is a bright one. At the same time, we need a few sparks, just like Destiny’s Child did. First, we need to be allowed again to host organized events. Second, we need to convince our customers to come back. And third, we need to profoundly rethink how to create value for all parties involved.

Advocacy will be key for all three steps, and a lot of great work has been done over the last year. At the same time, it will take true leadership to create that bright new future ahead of us. That leadership will embrace the changes the event industry is going through and will transform the current business challenges into new and exiting ventures. A key success factor will be attracting and retaining talent to make it all happen.

Therefore, AIPC is launching its Future Shapers program: a 12-month, free of charge, elevated management program, with a maximum of 20 participants.

The Future Shapers program supports the development of the high performers within the AIPC community to think and act like leaders. Participants will be senior managers on a path to the highest leadership roles within their organizations. Through education, a community of peers and mentors, and a platform to perform, the program will support these future leaders to become future shapers of our industry.

To be perfectly clear: this is not a management course. This is an interactive roadmap toward excellence in convention center management, requiring commitment and engagement of the participants. In exchange, we offer the candidates the opportunity to help shape the future of the AIPC community.

As you can see, the ambitions are high and the result of a very focused team effort. The Task Force, which pulled all this together in record time, is composed of four members: Kathleen Warden of the Scottish Event Campus, Elain Wan from the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, Samantha Glass from ICC Sydney and Kareem Salvant from the Javits Center in New York. It is a truly diverse and global team (finding the right time to meet can be a bit of a challenge) and all the members are on a shared mission. They want to shape the future of convention centers by embracing Peter Drucker’s motto: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

The joint effort and output are a great reminder of what our industry is about: bringing people together around shared objectives, enabling trade, innovation and collaboration. The careful re-opening for organized events and the transformation of convention centers into multi-channel platforms allow for optimism. The creation of programs like the Future Shapers, by a small team of great people, provides energy. The combination of both is the key to a bright future.

Sven Bossu was appointed as AIPC’s first CEO last May. Prior, he was the managing director for innovation at ESTRO, the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology. He also has eight years of experience in the meetings industry at SWIFT and its world-renowned SIBOS conference. Contact him at sven.bossu@aipc.org.

AIPC, the International Association of Convention Centers, represents a global network of more than 190 leading centers in 64 countries with the active involvement of 1,000+ management-level professionals worldwide. It is committed to encouraging and recognizing excellence in convention center management, and maintains a variety of educational, research, networking and standards programs. For more info, visit aipc.org.

This story originally appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of Exhibit City News, p. 18. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_may-june_2021

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