IACC Unveils New Conference Format and Recognizes Excellence in Key Award Recipients at IACC-America’s ConnectAnnual Conference
CHICAGO, April 2016—Capping another year of unprecedented innovation and achievement, IACC introduced a ground-breaking new conference format, which attracted record attendance and was the first centralized New York City conference in the association’s 35-year history. The IACC America’s Connect annual conference took place earlier this month, using multiple city locations, a new shorter duration and significant new educational content.
Said IACC’s CEO, Mark Cooper, “At the end of last year’s annual members conference, we promised radical change to this much-loved event and we were delighted with the attendance and feedback we received from our delegates who attended from throughout the Americas and globally. Our goals were to stage an affordable event, in an innovative and accessible destination, offering education that is relevant to the needs of our members today. Our chapter board, our annual conference planning committee and the IACC staff took this to heart from day one in planning this year’s members meeting.”
Keynote and educational workshops took place over three locations, all in Midtown Manhattan, at Convene Midtown East, Convene 101 Park Ave and Davios Restaurant. The final awards presentation event took place at Current, Pier 59, on the Hudson River.
A number of IACC members took advantage of the location and combined business appointments while in the city and some took advantage of the new 1-day registration option if time or budget constrained attendance for the shorter 2-day event. In previous years the conference took place over 3 days.
The educational sessions, panel discussions and new campfire workshops, were aligned to the conference theme of ‘What it takes to deliver an exceptional meeting experience’ and a 100% increase in first-time attendees was reported.
TJ Fimmano, IACC-Americas president commented, “Everybody involved in this event proved that they are not only the best at hosting meetings at their own venues, but that they can come together and organize an exceptional conference for their peers in the industry. The sun shone and the ideas flowed last week and being a native New Yorker, I was proud to welcome the IACC family to my home city. I am confident that many ideas were exchanged and powerful connections made from our time together.”
The well attended panel discussion on Wednesday morning looked at all of the influencing factors in delivering exceptional meeting experiences. The panel was Introduced to the IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ transformative research produced by a global collaboration of leaders in meeting and conference space design, audio/visual technology, hospitality, academia and conference management. The project combines innovation and entrepreneurialism with the expertise of meeting industry professionals and planners. The panel was made up of Terry Bickham, Deloitte Learning; Chris Kelly, Convene; Tessa Horovitz, Chateauform’; Anthony Kinney, Microsoft and David Adler, Biz Bash. Research was introduced by Robyn Domber of Development Councillors International and panel facilitator for the session was Dianne Devitt of DND Group.
The research highlights that the meetings industry is transitioning at a rapid pace. As the meetings industry landscape continues to evolve and expand, meeting planners must continually evaluate all elements of the meeting experience in order to ensure they are providing the most relevant environments to foster collaboration, ideas exchange and relationship building among attendees. A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the IACC website here.
The conference’s awards segment also paid homage to important industry leaders whose dedication, expertise and vision have defined IACC’s past and formed its future.
The 2016 IACC Awards and their Recipients include:
Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service
IACC-Americas presented its most prestigious honor, the coveted Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service to IACC and the meetings industry, to the late James Mahon, IACC’s Director of Public Relations. Over 20 years, James strategically and successfully built IACC’scommunications strategy and media outreach, using his outstanding writing and interpersonal skills and in-depth knowledge of the meetings industry. This was a well-deserved honor for James, and an homage to IACC’s immense appreciation for his service and contributions. James’ wife, Mary, and his daughter, Kathleen, were present to receive the award.
The IACC Pyramid Award, established in 2000 to recognize members who show a true and long-lasting commitment to IACC education, was presented to Dan Techman, director of sales and marketing for Doubletree Suites by Hilton Conference Center, Chicago, Downers Grove. A member of the IACC Americas Board of Directors, Techman served on IACC’s conference planning committee over many years and recently worked tirelessly to generate sponsorships to support the conference.
Award of Excellence
The Award of Excellence was established 16 years ago to underscore IACC’s commitment to education, and to recognize those who give of their time, talent and resources to expand and enhance IACC’s educational offerings. This year’s two winners were Mark Woodworth, senior managing director of CBRE Hotels | Americas Research, and Ron Stoddard, executive chef, The Summits Executive Centres, Chicago. Under Mark Woodworth’s direction, IACC’s annual conference center trends report has developed successfully over the last 19 years. RonStoddard was honored for his leadership and contributions to the popular Copper Skillet competitions and his role in promoting IACC’s food & beverage programs.
IACC concluded the 2016 Connect event with a unique gathering of past Global and Chapter Presidents, an event that had not occurred in decades. The past leaders represent the historic evolution of IACC, and they gathered to lend their support, experience and expertise to the new generation of organizational leaders as they further IACC’s growth and evolution to maintain strategic relevance and significance in the small-to-medium-sized meetings industry.
Attached Photos (L to R)
Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service photo: TJ Fimmano, Mary Mahon, Kathleen Mahon
Pyramid Award photo: Dan Techman , TJ Fimmano
Award of Excellence photo: Ron Stoddard, TJ Fimmano, (not in photo, Mark Woodworth)
Past IACC Global & Chapter Presidents photo:
FRONT ROW – Jeff Farina, Sam Haigh, Burt Cabañas, Charles Williams, John Marenzana, Roberta Butler, Andy Dolce, Wende Blumberg, Tim Chudley, Joe Sebestyen
BACK ROW – Alex Cabañas, Lotta Boman, Rachael Bartlett, Jeu Bressers, TJ Fimmano, Hendrik Karsten
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The IACC Mission Statement: IACC is the thought leader on the meeting experience. IACC represents its members by defining and promoting the IACC Meeting Concept and providing learning opportunities.
The IACC Vision: “IACC is a community of passionate people and organisations delivering innovative and exceptional meeting experiences.”
Founded in 1981, IACC is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting understanding and awareness of the conference centre industry and to giving member properties the tools necessary to provide an exceptional IACC meeting experience. Active members meet a set of stringent Quality Standards and agree to a Code of Ethics. Currently, the association includes approximately 400 members from the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, England, Scotland, The Netherlands, Germany, Ukraine, Nigeria, Kenya and the Philippines. For more information, visit the website at https://www.iacconline.org. “There are meetings and then there are IACC meetings.”