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Tue, 28 Nov



Association Leaders Forum

Join us at the annual meeting point for Association Leaders!

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Association Leaders Forum
Association Leaders Forum

Time & Location

28 Nov 2023, 13:30 – 17:00 CET

CC3.11, Fira Barcelona, Spain

About the Event

ESAE is designing the IBTM World's Association Leaders Forum 2023!

We leveraged the collective expertise of our members to tailor sessions addressing the topics that matter the most to Association Executives. Through engaging debates, presentations, and lightning talks, we will dive into best practices for addressing the impact of ESG on Associations, explore technology's role in moving towards a green and inclusive future, tackle event footprint challenges, and address hot topics like practical AI use, impact measurement, and risk management.

Take a look at the full programme of sessions below.

If you have a case study to share with the Community and help other Associations learn from your experiences, don’t hesitate to be part of the dialogue! Drop us an email.


13.30-13.45: Associations Trends 2024 & Beyond

Associations globally have been going through some game-changing transformations in the post-covid, and increasingly digital environment. Most of them are reviewing their Strategy and Governance frameworks, while all of them have adjusted their operations to match the ever-evolving needs of their members and stakeholders. The introduction by the President of the European Association Executives will set the tone for the discussions to follow, offering a unique perspective on the latest trends.

13.45 – 14.20: Travelling and Sustainability: An (Im)possible Compromise? (Panel Discussion)

It is about time we speak about the elephant in the room. Hundreds of thousands of delegates travel each year around the globe for small to large meetings and events. From energy consumption to food and water waste, the impact on the environment is considerable. In the meantime, we have all tried to do things digitally, but most of us still opted for the real deal. Is a sustainable future viable if keep travelling the way we do? How efficient is carbon offsetting, and what about the broader positive effects to society that a meeting or a conference can have, that will make the environmental impact a necessary evil? The debate will offer exciting food for thought on the future of Association Events.

  • Mohamed Mezghani, Vice-President of ESAE & Secretary General, International Union of Public Transport (UITP)
  • Nata Nambatingué, Director, Congress & Events, European Society of Cardiology (ESC)
  • Elke Dens, Global Director of Programmes, The Travel Foundation 

14.20 - 14.35: Networking Break

14.35 – 15.40: How can Associations build a diverse and inclusive world with Environmental, Social and Governance Impact? (Panel Discussion)

Can Associations truly change the world for the better? Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), has been hailed as the long-awaited opportunity for Associations to claim the central position they deserve in Civil Society. Not only to take ESG into account when making decisions and pursuing activities but to shape their mission and vision and constitute themselves as enablers of positive change for the society at large. The panel discussion will bring together Association experts from different sectors to hold a comprehensive dialogue on the role of Associations for the betterment of our world, inviting input from the audience in a unique opportunity to look at what our organisations can and should do to achieve sustainability.

  • Dianna Steinbach, Board Member, ESAE & COO, National Association of Wholesalers (NAW)
  • Johann Lenhart, CEO,  The European Petrochemical Association (EPCA)
  • Idoia Rodes T, President MCI Benelux, MCI Group
  • Susan de Bièvre, Managing Director, NATA- the Network for the Advancement of Patient Blood Management, Haemostasis and Thrombosis (NATA)

15.40 - 16.00: Networking Break

16.00 – 16.45: AI, ESG, Association's Impact and Sustainability (Lightning talks)

  • From theory to practice: AI tools you can use in your Association today by Jimena Gomez de la Flor, Communications Director, European Flavour Association (EFFA)
  • Effective Climate Actions – leading by example, by Christina Russe, Deputy Secretary General, The European Travel Agents' and Tour Operators' Associations (ECTAA)
  • AI tools to maximize productivity and creativity by Angela Guillemet, Board Member, ESAE & Executive Director, INCON
  • Balancing Impact and Footprint: EURORDIS' Transition to Hybrid, by Sharon Ashton, Open Academy & Events Director, Eurordis
  • How to JEDI your DEI by Tracy Bury, Owner & Founder, Operandi Consulting

16.50 – 17.00: Closing Remarks

17.00 - 18.00: Networking Drinks

If you would like to attend the Association Leaders Forum, you will need to register as a Hosted Buyer. RSVP to attend our ESAE Hosted Buyers' Group and attend free of charge!

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