Adapting to change: Association Focus at IMEX Frankfurt confronts an AI future, mental toughness, transformative event design and sustainable event impacts

21 March 2024

Carina Bauer IMEX CEO headshot

Adapting to change is a top priority for association planners today – whether it’s shifting member needs and demographics, or balancing budgets, policies and partnerships. It’s a topic that runs throughout Association Focus, sponsored by Amsterdam Convention Bureau - a dedicated day of education for association professionals.

Taking place on Monday May 13, the day before IMEX Frankfurt, the collaborative program, delivered in association with ICCA, AC Forum and ASAE, offers insights and recommendations as well as the opportunity to debate and exchange ideas.

Association Focus highlights:

  • Disabled adventurer and explorer, Darren Edwards, knows a thing or two about adapting to change. A soldier and avid mountaineer, Darren’s life changed the moment he suffered a spinal cord injury in a rock-climbing accident. Now an acclaimed speaker and expert in mental toughness and teamwork, he’ll be sharing some of his life lessons in his plenary session: The Adaptive Mindset: Five Pillars to Overcome Adversity.  Darren says: “In an ever-changing and constantly shifting world, a business's ability to adapt and its staff's mental toughness have become integral to success.”
  • With the World Economic Forum recently stating that 23 per cent of jobs will change in the next five years, upskilling and reskilling is a must. What are the tools we need to do this? Meredith Ellison from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence will lead the discussion in The race to reskill: Building a future workforce.
  • AI is fueling current discussions around changing roles and responsibilities and it’s a technology that nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of associations and not-for-profits are already engaging with. However, there’s a need to increase understanding in exactly how to use it to deliver impact, with 72 per cent not engaged in AI education. Veemal Gungadin, founder and CEO of Gevme leads the discussion around how associations can make it work for them in AI: Artificial Intelligence meets Association impact.
  • Designing events with long lasting impact sits at the heart of a session by Pigalle Tavakkoli founder of the School of Experience Design. She explains: “Experience design allows us to go beyond designing the form and function of an event, to designing the audiences’ emotions, memories and behavior. When the attendee remembers the experience, the same emotions come flooding back – and this inspires change and becomes a transformative experience for the long term.”
  • Every organization is on a sustainability journey, and yet there are many missed opportunities along the way. According to the latest ICCA & Destination Canada International Sustainability Report only 19 per cent planners include their sustainability efforts and impact in annual reports and only 34 per cent communicate their sustainability efforts on social media channels. Guy Bigwood from GDS heads an energizing session covering best practice examples and sharing the strategies needed to build the ripple of sustainability at events.
Carina Bauer IMEX CEO headshot
Pigalle headshot


  • Carina Bauer, IMEX CEO - click here to download image.     
  • Pigalle Tavakkoli founder of the School of Experience Design - click here to download image.

Solid skillset for success

"While global recovery is progressing, there are still significant economic, political and environmental challenges on the horizon,” says Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group. “Our international roster of speakers is set to share their take on the skills needed for the journey ahead, namely: adaptability, innovation, resilience and a collaborative spirit. Our dedicated day of learning and connections for association professionals is a sure-fire way to create a solid base for future business success.”

Association Focus is sponsored by Amsterdam Convention Bureau and takes place at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel on Monday May 13, followed by Association Social at the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel. It is delivered in association with ICCA, AC Forum and ASAE. 

Register to attend IMEX Frankfurt from May 14 to 16 – for free - here.

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08 April 2024

IMEX Frankfurt learning program shows the events sector how to make a more positive impact