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First Presidential Message from James Rees: The countdown to #HoustonLaunch commences!

Dear ICCA Colleagues,

I am honoured and privileged to be in a position to send my first Presidential Message. Thank you so much for your support and the many kind words you have written since our Congress in Dubai.

Please join me in thanking Eric Bakermans and Juan Jose Garcia for their excellent election campaigns and service on the Board of Directors in recent years. ICCA was very fortunate to have such strong candidates for the election.

I would like to take this important opportunity to thank Nina Freysen-Pretorius for her service to ICCA over the last 4 years as our President. Her contribution cannot be underestimated. We are privileged to keep Nina on our Board as Immediate Past President, and I would like to echo her plea for having an equitable and more diversified ICCA Board of Directors in the future: I encourage each one of you to volunteer and take up an active role in our global ICCA Family and contribute to our wonderful industry.

As in my Presidential Election Speech in Dubai, I would like to share with you a quote from William Pollard, an English Clergyman born almost 200 years ago, who said this:

Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.

Today ICCA faces inevitable change. It has already begun: We are recruiting for a new CEO and you have just elected a new President.

With the support of the Board of Directors, I intend to use ICCA’s strengths to drive innovation, creativity, and incentive for improvement.

So how will we innovate?

I believe ICCA needs to provide services designed to meet the needs of each region we serve. A one-size-fits-all approach will no longer allow ICCA to grow its membership and global influence. What is right for Beijing may not be right for Buenos Aires. What is right for Dubai may not be right for Durban or Dallas or Dublin. By providing each global office with the resources to adapt its services and create new regional events, ICCA will be able to deliver enhanced benefits to all its chapters and members.

For creativity, I want to draw on the talent of the younger, future leaders of our association. I will seek to create a shadow board, of young ICCA members, who would be tasked with bringing fresh ideas to ICCA’s strategy and, in particular, to the content of our annual congress which must be a Beacon of Excellence that every member aspires to attend.

And finally, how do we improve the growth of our business?

Our industry delivers billions to the global economy by bringing people together to make things happen. The industry we lead changes the world for the better, changes people’s lives and I believe that governments need to recognise that, celebrate that and support that. As your President, I will be a true advocate for our business, a champion of our sector and ensure that ICCA’s voice is heard by government, in a language they understand.

So let us echo the words of William Pollard and through change we can innovate, create and bring true improvement to our association.

Having spoken personally to so many members, I believe we shared a wonderful ICCA Congress in Dubai with a record number of attendees for any ICCA Congress outside Europe. I took the spirit of Dubai with me to IBTM in Barcelona where we spread the African hospitality, passion and #ZuluLove when opening registration for the 2019 Association Meetings Programme in Durban, South Africa, and we will keep the Dubai and ICCA Family spirit alive while we countdown to #HoustonLaunch for the 2019 ICCA Congress. Dubai has certainly raised the bar!

Yours in ICCA,

James Rees
ICCA President