Association Event Network December 2019 - Page 15

The Big Interview What do you do in your free time? I’m an avid water-skier, so when the weather cooperates where I live in Scotland (which is not often enough!), I can be found on the water with family and friends. participate in events and provide support on a daily basis to a vast array of organisations. The challenge is to ensure we don’t overstretch our resources for the sake of it, or for fear of saying no. We will be more strategic in the decisions we make and the projects we take on. Does IAPCO work to promote legacy projects? In a word, yes. I would qualify this, though, as the term ‘legacy’ has been used in so many different guises and contexts over the past several years in our industry. If by legacy you mean “do we try to make the world a better place?”, then you bet we do! I suppose the next question would be — how? Prior to my joining IAPCO, our mascot Ticky the Turtle was born and has been spreading the message to rid the global meetings industry of single-use plastics. Ticky is our way of promoting UN sustainable development goal #14 (‘Life Below Water’) in a subtle manner, while asking organisations across the meetings supply chain to be more proactive in their support. To date, 40 organisations have taken the pledge and are committed to reducing single- use plastics. We are very proud to support the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC)’s initiative in collecting submissions to highlight the industry’s UNSDG activities. In addition, we lend our support to the World Obesity Federation’s Healthy Venues campaign. How can association event organisers achieve meaningful legacy from their events? Meaningful legacy means different things to different people, and to different stakeholders. Let’s be honest — sitting governments are looking for positive stories and statistics that they can use to deliver during their term. Unfortunately, this is still primarily based on immediate economic impact from a meeting or congress being in a city. It is much more difficult to measure long-term legacy. When planning our IAPCO Annual Meeting and General Assembly, as well as all of our EDGE Seminars around the globe, we take the time to map out our legacy objectives as part of the strategic planning process, rather than a ‘bolt- on’ afterthought. However, we are still learning and, to be honest, could do more in this regard. Most destinations, venues and service providers in the meetings supply chain have policies and programmes in place that can be accessed and utilised by associations for their meetings and congresses. I would recommend all association executives be clear on their own internal CSR policies and strategies, and then communicate these openly with destinations and service providers well in advance. I believe that any legacy objective, however grand or ambitious, is only achievable and measurable if it is clearly defined at the outset. Where did you grow up? My family moved from the UK to Singapore when I was just four years old, so I was fortunate to experience a very multi-cultural environment at an early age and loved every minute of it. We then moved to Canada in the early 80s where I finished secondary school and university, before launching a start-up in the digital marketing space and another in the corporate events sector. What’s your go-to karaoke song? Well, that’s an easy one…Hothouse Flowers – I Can See Clearly Now! 15