Mark Cooper CEO of IACC, a global association of small to midsize conference hotels and venues, discusses the ability of his international networking community to innovate and grow by setting aside their differences and working together.
Last week, while hosting our 37th Americas Connect conference in Philadelphia, I was reminded of a quote from President Kennedy. In his inaugural address, JFK famously asked all Americas to do something for the public good, he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”, the sentiment of his appeal to the American people over 50 years ago still rings true, because it is the ability of a giving and sharing attitude to create innovation through collaboration that will help our industry thrive. And this is what IACC’s international community of like-minded people came together to discuss. And, indeed, reap the benefit from.
I’m incredibly proud of the event, it was fantastic. We saw a 33% growth on last years’ attendance and we welcomed attendees from the USA, Australia, England, Sweden, and Switzerland to name just a few. These are people from businesses that could be seen as competitors, but instead, they join together through IACC and share ideas for the good of all.
IACC’s mission is to bring together the brightest industry minds; providing a platform for peers from different parts of the world to come together and collaborate, is hugely important; it’s where innovation happens. When cooperative people gather to exchange ideas and learn from one another, to help each other find solutions without any competitive agendas, positive change is enabled.
The conference attendees showed a willingness to support one another and help find the solutions needed to make and maintain the outstanding quality of all the association’s venues across the globe.
Recognising the challenges our members and the industry face daily, and at lighting speed, we continuously aim to improve the conference by developing and adding to our educational content and schedule. Music to my ears is that the feedback from the conference has been great, from first time attendees to longstanding members, the educational content was said to be “rich” and “invaluable”, and the energy of the IACC community described as “unbelievable”.
One particular session ‘Solutions Room’, which took place on the final day and was facilitated by Mike Van Der Vijver of MindMeeting, saw attendees team up to help find the solutions to individuals challenges with innovative ideas. This is at the heart of what we do, and those who attended last weeks’ event in Philadelphia are true a reflection of the values and ideals we uphold.
It was a great privilege to be surrounded by such energy and creativity; we’re not just an association, we’re a tribe of industry professionals looking to make the events industry a better place.