Conference News September 2021 - Page 11

When you look back , what are your proudest achievements ?
It ’ s admittedly easy to become immersed within the last 18 months and the relentless efforts of the industry ; however , I must say that during the course of the pandemic I have been immensely proud of how the mia and our team has supported and engaged with our members and industry organisations .
We have truly been fighting the industry ’ s corner every hour of every day and have subsequently gained essential government recognition that will support the association and the best interests of the business meetings and events sector for the future .
Looking back on slightly less intense , but landmark moments nonetheless , the launch of AIM accreditation was certainly a monumental occasion for the mia as mentioned , and one that I will forever be proud to have been involved in .
Having established itself as a declaration of service excellence over the course of 14 years , it ’ s something that has undoubtedly left a legacy and will continue to carry vast credibility with venues , event organisers and corporate planners for years to come .
Finally , I must of course give mention to the miaList , our awards ceremony that we launched to recognise and celebrate the exceptional talents that make-up the industry . It ’ s been one of the most rewarding elements of the role . We have had some exceptional individuals and teams on our honours list over the past 10 years , and I very much look forward to watching their careers flourish as
has been the case with so many before .
How has the industry ’ s relationship with government evolved over time , and what would you like to see going forward ?
Since my first day at the mia , I was keen to establish networks of influence that would support our vision to drive high standards , investment , and recognition of our industry . Initially we received next to no engagement from government , whereas today they ’ re actively requesting our insights and intelligence . It ’ s something that has evolved to such an extent that we know we have a direct voice on the industry ’ s key challenges and changing needs , which is invaluable in protecting the best interests of events and those serving them .
Moving forward , this is a relationship that will undoubtedly be utilised , as we continue to proactively deliver sector intelligence directly to government through more regular industry surveillance . We remain in regular liaison with the Department for Digital , Culture , Media and Sport ( DCMS ) and will shortly be demonstrating the role of our miaTouchstone tool in not just benefiting members , but providing quantitative industry insights to help support government strategy .
What are the key areas which your successor will need to concentrate on ?
Following our recent strategy day with our board of directors , the core pillars of the mia ’ s strategy and subsequent growth plans are
“ After 17 years in post as chief executive ... I take great pride in recognising just how far the mia has come , as well as how much the industry has developed alongside it .”
well-cemented , and our goals are clear in ensuring that we can continue to help the sector not just recover , but develop and thrive .
We ’ ve made great strides connecting with government as just mentioned , and alongside our industry and sector-level research we are well positioned to drive sector standards and provide invaluable support to our growing membership through insights and further development of our events and education programme .
The continued support of the breadth of our sector will be key , recognising every corner of our industry that will create a robust business meetings and events sector for the UK .
How will you spend your retirement ?
Retirement somehow implies a period in life where you do very little but that ’ s not my style . Instead , I will be transferring my skill set to the family business where I will be taking an active role , something I am really looking forward to and that has previously been squeezed into weekends .
In addition , with any down time I do have I will be outside . Despite having worked so closely with the UK ’ s most impressive venues and their meeting and event spaces , I ’ ve always had a love for the outdoors . At home we are fortunate enough to have three acres of land which is usually the domain of my three crazy French spaniels but , in the immediate future , the intention is to introduce some livestock , so quite the change from current proceedings and quite a change for the dogs ! CN
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