The 8th Annual Summit of the India Association Congress took place online on October 9, bringing together thought leaders, chiefs of associations and events organisations and key players from the industry, who offered variations and personal perspectives on the theme: ‘Facing the Future – Together.’ The conference was led by keynote speaker, Chairman of India Association Congress, and CEO of CIMGlobal, Prasant Saha. Panel members from around the world representing regions and association bodies stayed up at odd hours to speak and participate in Q&A, making the event a huge success!
The All Star line-up for 2020 included International Advisor at Global Association Hub Partnership (GHAP) Martin Sirk, CEO & President of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Sherriff Karamat, Association Laboratory President Dean West, CEO & President of the International Association of Exhibition and Events (IAEE) David DuBois, Author & Consultant – The ROI of Membership and ‘ROI Guy’ Ed Rigsbee (CSP & CAE), and Founder of World Toilet Organisation Jack Sim, among several key industry players from the US, Singapore, Belgium, Australia and the Netherlands.
Against the backdrop of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the main focus this year was undoubtedly on the fallout from the shuttering of events worldwide. Many speakers addressed the rise in hybrid programs, while the developments in virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR) as a replacement for physical events was universally lauded as one of the best methods to manage events in the current situation. As for ways to keep associations relevant during these trying times, engaging the community and encouraging events at the local level emerged as a popular opinion and recommendation.
Comprehensive presentations, surveys and findings enabled the panel to critically observe the various approaches to the pandemic, urging representatives in attendance to drop non-viable practices such as free dissemination of valuable information, and encouraging associations to find the right products for audiences as opposed to finding the right audiences for existing products and services.
Though online wasn’t the first choice, the virtual summit stayed true to form and served the original purpose: forming a platform for association leaders from India and abroad to discuss opportunities and challenges and come up with practical solutions for the benefit of the events industry at large. Aside from the greater goal, the conference also has given members the occasion to meet up, albeit virtually, network and compare notes on the diverse and somewhat radical steps being taken by associations in different parts of the world.
Expressing happiness at the success of the event, IAC Chairman Prasant Saha said, “The main goal of getting some face time together and exchanging opinions has been met. It’s important for associations to be in sync, now more than ever, and we’re as happy as the speakers for making that happen!”
Excerpts, key points and select questions and answers will soon be made available on the India Association Congress’ website.