Creating opportunities for future leaders

3 mins

How IMEX foster's leadership skills in the next generation of event professionals

One of our core values at IMEX is to create connections for everyone. Our work to support the next generation is no exception. 

It has taken on extra resonance recently as we continue to support young professionals post-pandemic.

Hannah Lee, Knowledge and Events Senior Executive at IMEX has written this blog to introduce you to the IMEX-MCI-MPI Future Leaders Forum. A place for students and industry experts to learn and connect.

As a Knowledge and Events Senior Executive at IMEX, I look after the Future Leaders Forum (FLF) programs worldwide. I graduated in Event Planning at university a few years ago and I’m so happy to be a part of the global business events industry. But I also understand how overwhelming it can be to start a career in events. And that’s where the Future Leaders Forum comes in…

The Forum is a global program for talented students considering a career in the business events industry. We run our year-round program in partnership with MPI and global meetings and events company MCI – so you know you’re in safe hands!

The Future Leaders Forum aims to provide students with ‘real-life’ education about the events sector. Many of our speakers currently work in the industry and some in leadership roles! The Forum enables valuable connections with industry experts and fellow students. Our mission is to inspire you - the next generation of event professionals - to start your career in our incredible industry. If you’re entering your final year of a hospitality, event or tourism management course, the Future Leaders Forum is the perfect opportunity for you.

I want to share three ways the Future Leaders Forum can help you:

Future Leaders at IMEX America 2023

1. Supercharge your learning

FLF provides free education which centers around the challenges and opportunities you’re facing. This includes networking tips for launching your own business and building your personal brand. You’ll be in the company of handpicked industry experts, who are ready to impart their wisdom.

Our roundtable sessions allow you to speak to industry professionals in small groups and ask them any questions you like. We work with you directly to help you stand out and succeed! One FLF participant shared the following in our anonymous survey. “It's refreshing to meet with professionals who were willing and eager to speak to us as students and educate us on their journey in the industry.”

2. Networking that works for you

Networking is a skill that improves with experience – but you’ve got to start somewhere! FLF provides a safe space for you to network with fellow students and professionals without the pressure of “doing business”. And our participants agree. One student shared, “The roundtable session was fantastic. We’re able to speak to industry professionals in a smaller group. I also enjoyed meeting all the students who shared the same passions as I do.”

The format of FLF means you can break up into small groups and easily find common ground. There’s also a chance to meet exhibitors and explore the show floor at selected events. One survey respondent found this very helpful, “It was a great opportunity to get onto the trade show floor! I really liked that the exhibitors set aside time for us.”

3. The kick-start to your career

Creating a network of valuable contacts could help you kickstart your career. One student fed back, “The Forum allowed me to meet with people in the industry, as well as students who in the future can be my partners, allies or suppliers.” You never know who may prove to be a useful contact down the line!

Learning from accomplished event professionals can be inspirational. It might help you understand the direction you want to take. You might even spot a gap in the market for your skills and experience. Be open to opportunities because you never know where they’ll pop up!

The Future Leaders Forums take place at IMEX America and IMEX Frankfurt as well as at other industry events. During the pandemic many of these events have transitioned online, making them even more accessible.

If you know anyone who might benefit from attending the Future Leaders Forum, please share this blog.

Connect with Hannah

About the author

Joining IMEX from her role as events manager for Brighton’s Malmaison Hotel, Hannah brings her event expertise to running the IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forums global program, helping to nurture the next generation of event professionals; and to managing our Inspiration Hub speakers.

Hannah Lee

Knowledge and Events Senior Executive