26 June 2012
As we have finally passed the shortest day of the year and start to dream about warmer times to come, I would like to send this upside-down message to my dear ICCA colleagues in the Northern Hemisphere!
Sometimes we take far too many things for granted: for example most Europeans and Americans automatically think that everyone has their summer vacations in July and August. But in today's globalised world this is no longer automatically the case, because this is peak business time for your Southern hemisphere clients, and our chilliest time of the year!!
What is also false is the idea that all the interesting meeting innovations are happening in the North. I've recently been speaking in Sao Paulo in Brazil, where I was joined by our Board member Ulrike von Arnold from Vienna Convention Bureau and her husband Henrik, who runs the Stockholm bureau. They can testify that Brazil has now really got its act in order, and the ICCA Brazilian Committee is going to be possibly THE national group to pay attention to over the next few years.
In Colombia I learnt how public-private sector collaboration has helped to dramatically transform their meetings performance, so they are now ranked third in Latin America, something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
In August I will be speaking at the SAACI conference in South Africa, where I am very excited to hear how work on setting up a continent-wide African Society of Association Executives is progressing, another fantastic concept that has the potential to accelerate the growth which we are already observing.
So I urge ICCA colleagues to occasionally flip their global viewpoints upside-down: there's always a lot happening on the opposite side of the world, and through your ICCA membership you can easily learn great new ideas from far-away competitors.
So enjoy your Winter/Summer, wherever your travels take you over the next couple of months!