Carina Bauer

Photo: IMEX Group

(Female) Leadership in a crisis: From the desk of Carina Bauer, CEO IMEX Group.

Prepare to flex

We knew that going back to live wouldn’t be without its challenges. We knew that contingency planning would never be the same again. We knew that we’d be looking at ‘force majeure’ in a totally different light. But now, with live events (thankfully) being held again across the world, the reality for planners is really starting to bite.

When we were in lockdown there was endless talk and questions about the ‘new normal’. What would it mean? Would it be all about technology, digital and hybrid events? Or could we happily go back to living our lives and planning our events as if all this had never happened? With the pandemic turning endemic and no ‘on-off’ switch for a virus, we are learning what it means to live with a whole new level of uncertainty. Whilst digital and hybrid events are certainly playing their part; the true ‘new normal’ is all about agility and flexibility.

We’re less than two months away from IMEX America from 9 to 11 November in Las Vegas and it feels fantastic to be working towards a live tradeshow again. Our team has an in-built cycle and rhythm that is kicking into place and you can feel the momentum building with every week that passes. This is something we know how to do and do well!

“Whilst digital and hybrid events are certainly playing their part; the true ‘new normal’ is all about agility and flexibility.”

Carina Bauer

We keep getting asked, “what will be different?”. And the reality is that whilst many elements of the show are different or improved to ensure safety and comfort, the essence of what we do and provide remains the same. A tradeshow, at its heart, is about bringing a community together to do business, learn together and relish in human connections with like-minded friends and professionals. Whilst some of the transactional elements can be achieved through email or zoom, the community togetherness is something that needs to be experienced in-person. But, what is different, are the myriad contingency, ‘what-if’ and back-up plans that we now have to contend with and manage. And, to be honest, we’re planners – that’s what we do best. Planning isn’t the problem – it’s the changing landscape and foundations that provide the real challenge. No sooner than we have one plan in place, do we find that we need a different one. We have three parallel plans just to ensure that (some of) the IMEX team can travel to the US and operate the show, and we’re in constant contact with our partners in the US to understand and respond to the landscape on the ground.

“A home coming for the industry”

Conversations with Carina - IMEX America

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“Conversations with Carina” is an almost monthly chat with Carina Bauer, CEO IMEX Group, and Suzanne Mulligan, Senior Community Engagement Manager IMEX Group.

Now we are starting to truly understand what it means to have an agile and flexible approach. This requires a whole new mindset and approach. Those businesses who have hibernated for the past 18 months, or those professionals hoping to ‘go back to normal’ will need to understand that the biggest challenge they’ll face is their ability to change their plans and develop contingencies based on political decisions and a virus that they can’t control. It’s this that will provide us with the biggest challenge over the coming months and years. So, my advice is to ‘control the controllables’ and be ready for anything. Hang on in there and enjoy the ride!

Carina Bauer, and Ray Bloom, CEO and Chairman of IMEX Group are confident, 3,000 visitors have signed up in August. Foto: IMEX Group

IMEX America 2021

Over 3,000 buyers have registered by 31 August 2021 to attend IMEX America. Alongside the buyers, an international range of exhibitors are contracting week on week, i.e. Argentina, Australia, Canada, Dubai, Italy and Singapore. “We’re thrilled to see such demand from the business event community to reconvene at IMEX America this November”, said Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group. IMEX America 2021 will take place from 9 to 11 November in Las Vegas Mandalay Bay, and is preceded by Smart Monday, powered by MPI, on 8 November, including the conference She Means Business.

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