Let's start a little with the background. How you found yourself in this industry, and what you've been doing for the last 15 years?
About 20 years ago I started to work as a marketing assistant for Deutsche Telekom, a multi-national company with over 200 thousand employees. I had the opportunity to manage some sales incentives which was the moment when I realized my desire to work in live communication and events. From there I managed international corporate events in different companies of the ITC industry with 12 years at Symantec as Head of Global Events EMEA and responsible for the strategic planning of Live Communication campaigns, the optimization of the event portfolio for highest return and the execution and follow-up of pan-European events for internal and external clients.
As a recognition of the industry and a proof for a smart strategic meeting management, we were very proud to win the IMEX GMIC Green Meeting Award in 2014 and the GBTA Icarus award in 2015 for one of our roadshows across Europe.
But recently you’ve changed your professional life significantly. What were the reasons for that?
After 20 years working at big corporations, I decided to make a change.. I started my own consulting business and as a partner of the Event ROI Institute I will help event professionals to improve their event strategy for a higher return. Sharing knowledge and skills was always a key driver in my live and with my own experience in planning event KPIs and measuring results I hope to provide value to my peers by teaching them the ROI methodology and by accompanying them during the implementation of this recognized approach.
How did your relationship with EuBea (the international festival of events and live communication) start?
In 2013 I was recommended by Elling Hamso, Managing Partner of Event ROI Institute and invited by Salvatore Sagone, the President of ADC Group to join the jury of the Best of European Events award and later to their Advisory Board. It gave me an excellent opportunity to meet the industry including corporate planners, but also agencies and associations in order to share our knowledge and find solutions for the challenges that we face in our jobs and projects.
And somehow you also decided to become the strategic advisor of the EuBea festival. Tell us a little bit about your role in this project.
This idea came up when Salvatore, the founder of the EuBea Festival, and I met after the festival in Sevilla last year. We talked a little bit about opportunities to improve the festival and what we could do to get more corporate planners on-board. We realized soon that the educational opportunities are key for corporate event managers but also for other participants to buy a ticket. That was the point when I offered them my help to work on a content strategy and our business relationship began.
The content agenda of the Festival is divided into three aspects, which is also the motto of the Festival this year: inspire, empower, succeed. Can you tell us briefly about each of these aspects. Who is responsible for each one and why?
EuBea´s mission is to inspire souls and to empower people to succeed in events.
We have structured the whole festival according to this theme – starting with the unique opportunity to be inspired by numerous case studies and best practices that will be presented on the first day of the festival in front of a jury composed of corporate event managers and associations.
The second day – the Leadership Conference Program – will share live communication insights from different angles. We have sorted these into three different tracks so that participants have the choice to join inspirational keynotes where they get a preview of the future and an insight into upcoming challenges and opportunities for the industry. Afterwards they gain more knowledge by joining different success stories shared in breakout sessions. Or they will be empowered by learning new skills in engaging workshops. There will also be several networking opportunities and possibilities to meet experts to discuss individual challenges and not to forget the grand award ceremony which will be an inspiration on its own and the top-recognition for the industry.
Speaking about the future, what is your personal vision of live communications, what kind of future is the industry entering into?
From a corporate view I think the focus will be even more on a smart event strategy which is integrated into marketing and communication plans and objective focused for highest return. New technologies or tools are just a means to an end and excellent execution is taken for granted and might be more and more outsourced.
So the future is about a multifaceted event strategy that considers new focus areas such as security risks, compliance policies, corporate responsibility, globalization and multi-cultural needs, big data and data policies, local and individual requirements and live communication challenges. Within the live communication strategy we learned that mobile becomes the norm. So people do not just go to an event on-site to collect information – they want to have access everywhere and will also influence perceptions at any time (through social media). So we have to handle different communication channels by delivering similar brand experiences achieving desired (re)-actions. This might be one of the biggest challenges for the future.