After 3 Years in the Making, EMEC Comes Full Circle

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Emcees Suzanne Medcalf Mulligan and Richard Allchild, holding one-year-old Cal

The energy at the opening session of Meeting Professionals International’s European Meetings and Events Conference (EMEC) at the Hilton Brighton Metropole last week was palpable.

That was because this single event represented everything that everyone in the room had been through in the past three years—coinciding almost exactly with the date of the 2020 lockdown. EMEC had originally been scheduled to take place in Brighton in 2021, then was moved to Frankfurt to coincide with IMEX, then IMEX was canceled—and so on—and there we were, more than 300 of us, as it finally took place in 2023.

Emcees Richard Allchild, Head of Sales North America, IMEX Group, and Suzanne Medcalf Mulligan, Head of Engagement, IMEX Group, came up on stage to greet the audience with Richard holding Cal, Suzanne’s baby boy, who is just about to turn 1. When the planning for this event had started, Cal had not even been born, and her other son, Finn—3 1/2 years old and too shy to join his brother in front of all those people—had been just 5 months old when he took the stage at the 2020 EMEC in Seville to announce EMEC 21 in Brighton. It was the perfect way to illustrate the enormity of this unforgettable passage of time.

Suzanne with Finn and Cal

EMEC was packed with meaningful moments like this, and its roster of high-profile speakers was a virtual who’s who of industry leaders, including Martin Boyle, CEO, International Association of Professional Congress Organizers (IAPCO); Carina Bauer, CEO, and Tahira Endean, Head of Programme, IMEX Group; Annette Gregg, CEO, and Pádraic Gilligan, Chief Marketing Officer, SITE; Amy Calvert, CEO, Events Industry Council; Mark Cooper, CEO, International Association of Conference Centers (IACC); and Senthil Gopinath, CEO, International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

The host city of Brighton is home to the IMEX headquarters, and its team was instrumental in bringing the meeting there and lending its support. Even in March, this vibrant seaside city did not disappoint. Brighton is known for its vacation vibe, yet has retained its Victorian charm and was once home to King George IV, who came there for the therapeutic properties of the sea. The meeting’s activities and events took advantage of its oceanfront venues, including a ride on the i360, with views of the city from 450 feet up; an opening night at the food court at Shelter Hall; and the MPI Rendezvous fundraising evening at Brighton Palace Pier, featuring entertainment by SongDivision.

Prevue joined a U.S. meeting planner group hosted by VisitBritain/MeetEngland, who spent a couple of days prior to EMEC touring London with the London Convention Bureau before heading to Brighton.

“I found EMEC to be extremely educational, both the plenary sessions and the breakouts,” said Nicole Ferrara, travel account manager, Maritz Global Events, one of the participants. “Padraic Gilligan’s “5 Things to Know About Incentive Travel in a Post-Pandemic World” very informative and it was my favorite of all the breakouts. And I loved hearing from other meeting professionals, as well as from our hotel, DMC and DMO partners. I hope I get the chance to attend this event next year and reconnect with the new people I met.”

“EMEC was very inspiring to me as I got the chance to connect and exchange ideas with leaders and event professionals from all over Europe and the U.S.,” added Virginie Raimondi, country operations director USA, Egg Events. “The topics were very current and I can’t wait to get some post-event data about what was discussed in the sessions I didn’t participate in. Thanks to MPI and IMEX for bringing us together and giving us a voice, too.”

You May Also Be Interested In…

GMID 2023 to Showcase Why Meetings Matter

Meetings Mean Business Coalition Integrates with U.S. Travel

Industry VIPs on the Future of Events


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Previous articleNationwide Protests Continue to Disrupt Travel in France
Next articleTake Your Meetings to Paradise
Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.