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President Message – May 2019

Dear ICCA Colleagues,

It was a pleasure to see so many of the ICCA family during IMEX in Frankfurt this month. Thank you all for your engagement and contributions to ICCA’s activities during our plenary session and the many meetings and events that were held during the course of a very successful event.

In particular, we were able to hear news about the exciting programme planned for the ICCA Congress in Houston this year. Congratulations to Young Ran Kim from Coex who won the prize of a free registration to the Congress during the ICCA reception – we look forward to seeing you in Houston!

I would also like to extend our gratitude to Ray, Carina and the whole IMEX team for their support of ICCA’s activity during the show and congratulate them on delivering a wonderful event for our industry.

For those that were unable to attend IMEX, I wanted to take the opportunity to share the update given to ICCA members during our plenary session on the progress we have made since the very successful ICCA Congress in Dubai last November.

In the weekend prior to IMEX, there were very productive meetings of the Board of Directors that will help set the financial and strategic path of ICCA over the coming months. It is the Board’s duty to be the custodians of ICCA’s present and its future and, along with our Chapter Chairs across all our regions, these volunteer leaders give their time and energy to support ICCA’s management in ensuring the continued growth of our association and we thank them for their outstanding efforts on all our behalfs.

When I spoke at the General Assembly in Dubai, seeking your support to be the next ICCA President, I spoke of inevitable change for ICCA and the need for innovation and creativity, and shared a quote from William Pollard about the challenges of this inevitable change.

During my speech at IMEX, I shared quote from President John F Kennedy, who said this:

There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.

For me, that quote epitomises where ICCA has come from and where it is going, and I am delighted to say that, since the Congress in Dubai, the Board has taken action, working tirelessly with the ICCA Management team under the leadership first of Dennis Speet and now our new CEO, Senthil Gopinath, to begin to evaluate all aspects of the ICCA organisation.

This new way of thinking, supported by the Board, has begun to draw on the talents of the whole ICCA team from our various global offices and over the coming months will begin to help us deliver more value, more services and more business opportunities.

Underpinning the evaluation of ICCA services has been a need to ensure a robust financial structure and a longer-term planning ethos as we review our budgets and future revenue opportunities. A key change that the Board has asked of management is to set out its plans on a multi-year basis, rather than on an annual single-year basis as had been the case in the past. This will allow management to make better, strategic investment decisions and to plan for future enhancements of member services tailored to each ICCA region.

At the General Assembly in Dubai, members voted in support of the 2019 budget which set out a planned deficit of €354,000.

As a result of the hard work over recent months and the new innovations that the ICCA team have created, I am pleased to say that we are now forecasting a positive correction on that position and whilst it is only May and without wishing to tempt fate, I am very hopeful that when we meet at our Congress in Houston we will be able to report a much healthier financial position than we could ever have expected. I would like to thank the ICCA staff for embracing this new way of thinking and working - and to helping deliver a big improvement in our financial performance.

Part of ICCA’s 5-year strategy has been to create more opportunity to engage with the associations we serve.

As you will be aware, there has been a great deal of debate regarding the question of whether ICCA should look to include associations as part of our community in the future. This matter was debated at length during a Town Hall meeting at the Congress in Dubai and since then a working group comprising of both Board Directors and ICCA members from several countries has been working on a proposal to see how we might take this idea forward.

The working group’s proposal has been finalised and approved by the Board and the ICCA team will now prepare a document which will be forwarded to all members over the summer to advise the detail of this proposal. I do not wish to pre-empt the publication of that document, however can confirm that the proposal has taken into account the views of all ICCA members who have contributed to the debate about this area of ICCA’s future strategy – and I thank everyone involved for their thoughts and strong opinions.

My last task at the plenary session was to welcome our new CEO, Senthil Gopinath, who has now relocated from Dubai to the Head Office in Amsterdam. Senthil was able to set out his vision of engagement with all ICCA members and the fact that he wants to make time to listen to the needs of members from all regions so that we can adapt ICCA services to meet those needs in the future.

On behalf of the Board, we are delighted that Senthil is now in position and ready to take on the work ahead to ensure ICCA’s future prosperity.

If any ICCA member wishes to discuss any of the details from this message, I am always happy to make myself available but in the meantime, I wish you all continued success in your businesses and organisations in the months ahead.