IMEX America 2018: Lessons in legacy and the power of events to direct the future

IMEX America 2018: Lessons in legacy and the power of events to direct the future

Legacy, the IMEX Talking Point for 2018, will be the talk of IMEX America when it comes to life through a series of engaging activities including a major research report, a keynote presentation, education sessions and even a wall of inspiring legacy stories!

It begins right from the start with the opening Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Keynote ‘Legacy – the power of events’ on Smart Monday, powered by MPI, and continues throughout the show.

In a keynote sponsored by Visit Anaheim, Julius Solaris, editor of EventMB ( will reveal how events that are planned with a long-term legacy in mind can change lives, businesses and whole communities. He will share findings from a major new industry research report, commissioned by IMEX, researched and produced by EventMB and developed in association with ProColombia.

ProColombia Vice President, Julián Guerrero, explains: “In the 21st century the meetings industry is not only asking questions about what a destination has to offer an event but also how an event can contribute to a destination. This is the idea of legacy.

“Colombia, which has become a very attractive destination for the meetings industry thanks to its diversity, excellence in service and permanent innovation, is focusing on legacy as a way to make meetings in the country a really transformative experience both for attendees and for hosts.”

The legacy research report will review 300 events from all continents under six categories – generational, marketing, meetings design, sponsorship, sustainability and technology. Solaris’s keynote will present the main lessons from top events in each category and be shaped so that meeting and event planners take away insights, ideas and approaches they can easily apply to their own future events.

Julius Solaris says: “Events are powerful, they change lives, they change communities. We reviewed some of the most inspiring events from around the world to give IMEX America attendees a practical roadmap to elevate their events to experiences that change lives, impact new generations and help advance the industry.

“I like to think of ‘the power of events’ as the most inspirational session delegates will attend this year, but at the same time packed with practical advice on increasing the positive impact of their events.”

EventMB has also researched and produced a new case study for the IMEX Group – “How Events Turned a City Around: The Legacy of Hull.” This is freely available at It tells the story of one city in the UK – Hull – which strategically used events to both reinvent and regenerate itself after successive years of being voted ‘the worst place to live in Britain’.

More than A Meeting

The legacy education at IMEX America continues on Monday afternoon when Ksenija Polla of ICCA and Jane Cunningham of BestCities Global Alliance will deliver ‘More than A Meeting’. The pair will demonstrate how association events can create awareness of a specific health or societal challenge, influence policy makers, support education and youth as well as providing knowledge. They will share examples and help delegates gain a greater appreciation of the impact of their events.

On Tuesday October 16 at 1200 IMEX’s Legacy Talking Point continues when Mariela McIlwraith of the Events Industry Council will present ‘Lasting legacies: How to extend the impact of your event on the local community’. McIlwraith will explore creative ideas for engaging with the community by focusing on legacy planning.

Linda Garzon of the Greater Bogotá Convention Bureau from Colombia will take the legacy learnings further when discussing ‘Synergies for change: How the meetings industry can contribute to the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs)’ on Wednesday October 17 at 14:00. Garzon will be providing tips on how a convention bureau can achieve a ‘win-win’ by contributing to the United Nations’ SDGs by helping leverage local social enterprises.

Curated legacy stories

On the show floor IMEX America will be building a simple, rustic wall designed to display a gallery of legacy stories. Specially curated by the IMEX team, these stories and case studies will be provided by exhibitors, individuals and IMEX staff as a way to inspire attendees with even more legacy ideas. Stories will be grouped into five categories: Political Legacy, Knowledge Economy, CSR, Environmental and Personal.

Since the beginning of the year IMEX has been exploring legacy with the strapline – ‘Legacy: What’s yours going to be?’ It has already featured in the IMEX Policy Forum and Exclusively Corporate programs at IMEX in Frankfurt and throughout EduMonday, the pre-show education day in Frankfurt.

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group commented; “We’ve seen and experienced interest in legacy building throughout the year as more people truly grasp its importance to our industry, society and among individuals. Our Talking Point has given the topic of legacy due recognition in the meetings, events and incentive travel sectors and this program of activities at IMEX America will add even more energy and momentum.

“It’s our intention to introduce a new annual Talking Point every year as a way for IMEX to deliver more value to an industry we care about very deeply. It’s also the perfect expression of the IMEX mission, which is to unite and advance the industry, doing everything we can to educate, innovate and help all our clients make powerful connections with the right people.”