CIM: What are your conclusions of your first ICCA Congress as the association’s CEO?
Senthil Gopinath: The congress in Houston was one of the largest ICCA congresses ever, and the biggest in North America. As CEO, I was delighted to see the engagement and extensive involvement of the community. One of the notable changes is the enhanced, diversified approach towards the content. In addition, it attracted many members from emerging destinations. It has the potential to shape the knowledge economy and address the value of meetings, socio-economic impacts and sustainability.
Please give us some key figures of the congress.
We had 30 speakers from outside our industry, over 40 sessions inside and outside the venue, plus four inspiring, and thought-provoking plenaries. We had 969 delegates from 75 countries.
What have been the main improvements compared to Dubai 2018?
This year’s congress has delivered an even stronger platform for enhanced member engagement. Like always, we are trying new meeting formats. The plenary stage setup has been improved, and we had a cross-industry collaboration session on meetings design with five industry leaders, including the CEOs of ASAE, IAEE, MPI and PCMA. Another new feature was ‘Moving Conversations’ – a session on a party bike, while cycling through Houston.
With you as the new CEO and James Rees as the new president – how are you going to reposition ICCA?
We will constantly work on ICCA’s transformation to enhance its position as a global leader in our industry. Most importantly, ICCA will be positioned strategically to deliver customised, decentralised services to members.
Thank you, Mr. Gopinath!