Conference News September 2021 - Page 10

10 Interview

OVER BUT NOT OUT

After 17 years as chief executive of the Meetings Industry Association , Jane Longhurst is stepping down . She tells Martin Fullard about her journey .
ince her appointment as chief executive of the Meetings Industry Association ( mia ) in 2004 , Jane Longhurst has played a pivotal role in the growth of the association and the introduction of initiatives that have driven best practice and service standards across the business meetings and events sector .
With the announcement that Longhurst will step down from the role in November , I caught up with her to reflect on her time at the association and find out more about the association ’ s upcoming plans to support the stabilisation and recovery of the sector .
How has the mia – and the industry – changed during your tenure as chief executive ?
After 17 years in post as chief executive there ’ s of course a lot to reflect on , and I take great pride in recognising just how far the mia has come during this period , as well as how much the industry has developed alongside it . Prior to joining the mia , it was clear that it
Jane Longhurst was suffering from a degree of inertia , and we wanted to take on a much more proactive role serving the industry . It was a bit of an old boys ’ network compared to now , and today ’ s board is much more representative of the exciting range of modern professionals that make the industry so full of passion and talent today .
One of the most notable developments during this tenure was , of course , the launch of AIM accreditation in 2007 , which has undoubtedly helped drive the exceptional service standards we see today and was also influential in gaining recognition and credibility from government .
As we demonstrated with AIM , we wanted to develop as much value as possible , delivering clear benefits and true ROI to our members .
This meant establishing influence with government , providing insightful resources and guidance and also developing our events programme , which was far afield from the training and networking opportunities that we supply today . www . conference-news . co . uk