Conference News October 2021 - Page 44

44 Show review

MOVING FORWARDS AT INTERNATIONAL CONFEX

Cameron Roberts reviews the 2021 edition of International Confex , which brought the industry together on 1-2 September at ExCeL London
hough International Confex has been running for many years , something felt different about the 2021 edition . Maybe it ’ s the fact that it was the last event to take place at ExCeL in 2020 pre-pandemic and the first hosted by the venue since . Maybe it ’ s because so many of us have not socialised face-to-face in any great capacity for the last 18 months . Or perhaps it ’ s just the feeling in the air that International Confex symbolised events returning bigger , better , stronger .
The show took place in September rather than its usual February or March dates due to numerous lockdowns , changes in restrictions and a desire for International Confex ’ s return to be a strong as possible .
With over 100 conference sessions , 150 speakers and 300 exhibitors , the conference itself was packed with insights from the
International Confex , 1-2 September 2021 ,
ExCeL London .
top thought-leaders in the industry . Speakers included : Gabrielle Austen-Browne of Diversity Ally , Siri Brudevold of TikTok , Michael Gietzen of Identity and Mandu Reid of the Women ’ s Equality Party among many others .
Liz Agostini , portfolio director , Mash Media , said : “ It ’ s been a completely crazy year for everybody , we have never had to bump the show along on four different occasions for example .
“ But I think this International Confex has a massive significance , not just for the show , but for ExCeL , for the stakeholders and for all of us who have worked so hard over the last 18 months to get recognition and to get things back open . I don ’ t think you can escape the significance of us being one of the first big shows back .”
A face-to-face world One of the key drivers for those on site at the event was the ability to network with fellow attendees . In fact , the number of times I heard the phrase : “ It ’ s so weird to speak to people without a Zoom box around their heads ,” you would think we ’ d all been locked inside for 18 months or something .
Rhiannon Kirk , sales manager for Deleware North , London Stadium , said : “ I think this is what we have all been waiting for isn ’ t it , to be back in the room together . To be able to network and see each other , it kind of feels like our homecoming .”
The pandemic pushing events online created a springboard effect according to James Latham , producer at Iceberg , who said : “ This [ International Confex ] is a really good example of how spending 18 months in the digital space has created a thirst for live interactions . This is where business is done , this is where accidental collisions of great significance happen .” www . conference-news . co . uk