IACC’s Americas Connect explored radical changes in the meetings industry
The 38th edition of the IACC Americas Connect conference took place last week at Vantage Venues and The Globe and Mail Centre, Toronto, with more than 230 delegates attending over the two days.
The conference delivered a 100% new speaker line-up. The mission for the event was to turn the stereotypical conference on its head and shake things up to create an environment where delegates could think differently, and delegates immersed themselves in the learning and networking over two full days.
The tone for the event was set by opening keynote speaker Pablos Holman, former computer hacker turned inventor and innovator, who delivered a session that encouraged attendees to be the disruptors of the events industry in the next five-years with their innovative venues, services and solutions to some of the industry’s biggest problems.
Toronto’s meeting planning community also joined a lively debate on culinary trends. The panel of experts, including Mariela McIlwraith of Events Industry Council, Tracy Stuckrath of Thrive Meetings, Alan Booth of Deloitte University and Brian Stapleton of Aramark Conferencing, led a discussion on how the industry can best embrace the fast pace of change, covering topics from allergens and dietary preferences, to new foods, managing wastage and sustainable practices.
This year, for the first time, IACC directly involved the meeting planner and university student communities. Students from Ryerson University and Seneca College attended to gain experience in the industry.
In a fast-paced competition focused on innovations, IACC members and suppliers were invited to deliver a four-minute-long elevator pitch for their innovation to a panel of global senior press judges. IACC announced Janice Cardinale and Richard Emmanuel of The Idea Hunter as the winner of the competition at the IACC Opening Awards Ceremony. Delegates were also treated to a mystery culinary tour around the city, where they visited three number of venues which all approach food and beverage differently.
Nancy Lindemer, IACC Americas President commented: “We felt it was time that Connect returned to Canada after 15 years in the US. Our members in the region embraced the opportunity in a truly incredible way, and the ideas and creativity from the team tasked with designing this year’s event was immense.”
Delegates were treated to an evening of Enchantment at Globe & Mail Event Centre, for the Awards Evening. They soaked up incredible selfy-rich moments against a backdrop of the stunning Toronto skyline from the rooftop balcony and enjoyed a culinary and entertainment extravaganza and long time contributor to the conference and Copper Skillet, Al Morgan was awarded the IACC Pyramid Award.
Finally, on the last evening, delegates were transported to Toronto’s trendy Distillery District for the closing reception at the Spirit of York Gin Distillery. Delegates recognized the incredible efforts of the IACC conference planning team who had staged an incredible two day event in Toronto.
IACC’s next annual European conference ‘Knowledge Festival’ will be taking place in Brussels on 4 – 6 October 2019.