A great number of members gathered for the IACC-Americas annual conference last week in Fort Lauderdale and took part in three days of learning, networking and sharing ideas with industry colleagues.
This year’s conference delegates were treated to a number of new meetings experiences and educational workshops that delivered insightful learning. Hosted by the Bonaventure Resort and Spa, delegates experienced the very best in meetings hospitality and were treated to a new Finale dining experience following the Annual Awards Presentations. The Global Innovations workshop, Innovations Games, PKF Trends, IACC 101 and Sales Prospecting, proved popular workshops with delegates.
The conference started with an incredible display of Florida regional culinary fare served around the pool at the welcoming reception, with guest Alligator and Snake appearances (by invitation of course!) and FIU School of Hospitality & Tourism serving their IACC beer, especially created for the event.
The education program got underway on Wednesday morning with a panel discussion with IACC-Americas executive directors, TJ Fimmano, Nancy Lindemer, Alex Cabanas and Sean Anderson, where they mapped out the goals and the challenges for the chapter in 2015. They called-out to members to become involved in IACC’s initiatives including surveys, research, trade shows and events in 2015. Delegates interacted with the panel throughout the discussion, with polls and a Q&A’s submitted via Sli.Do.
Keynote speaker, Billy Beck entertained the audience, with his Breakthrough keynote and set delegates up nicely to move into the morning’s workshop sessions.
A fantastic outdoor lunch awaited delegates, with mobile vans serving a myriad of cultural fayre.
Thursday’s keynote presenters, all the way from Dublin Ireland, started with a bang, demonstrating their own twist on the famous ‘River Dance’ routine. Padraic and Patrick, co-founders of Ovation Group, which grew from a home office to a $100m business operating in 47 countries, told their story and how they created a unique approach they took to organisational culture. They shared the highs and lows and reminded all that ‘Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast’!
Delegates had an opportunity to “preview” some of the day’s sessions by bringing a few presenters onstage at General Sessions to present TED-style ICE Talks as teasers for their longer sessions later in the day. To download handouts and/or presentation materials from those sessions for which presenters have made them available, click here.
The IACC family came together this year to pay their respects to the Mahon family and to celebrate the life of IACC’s former Director of Public Relations, James Mahon who passed away in early April after losing a short battle with cancer.
On Wednesday evening, members and industry press partners paid tribute to James by naming a ‘Mahon-Hattan’ cocktail and paying respect to James’s love of life, love of IACC and love of a bourbon or two with friends!
In line with IACC’s goal to reduce waste and deliver sustainable meetings and events, delegates kept track of the sessions, viewed delegate and speaker info and gave feedback through the IACC Event App.
The Annual Conference Planning Committee always puts in hundreds of hours of volunteer and staff time in the effort to make the IACC-Americas’ conference a success. This year was no different in the enormous dedication of our Conference Champions to their assignments, which conscientiously applied a new slant on everything from content, programming to scheduling. IACC Americas Chapter President, TJ Fimmano, echoed that sentiment at the closing banquet. He also spoke of the tremendous energy at this year’s conference and the fantastic job that the Bonaventure team had done to welcome and look after IACC delegates at this year’s conference. and said, “Many hands make light work and it is clear that the Americas chapter has the energy and passion to deliver creative and innovative learning and events throughout 2015. Watch out continued development of our annual conference, with a exciting new format planned for 2016!”.