IMEX America to Feature Radically Streamlined Education Program Addressing Post-Pandemic Needs

September 8, 2022

The IMEX Group unveiled details of its education program for IMEX America 2022, set to zero in on modern-day challenges and hot topics as industry professionals navigate a new normal for events.

In creating the education program for this year’s show, which takes place Oct. 10-13 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, the goal was “radical simplicity,” according to Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group.

“We know meeting and event industry professionals are overrun, overwhelmed and seeking clarity, so this year’s learning sessions deliver bold content designed to cut to the heart of the biggest issues in business and personal growth,” Bauer said. “This is a chance for any and all participants to soak up some really on-point, high-quality knowledge, and the only price they have to pay is to show up, take it all in and then put what they’ve learned into practice.”

Bauer added that the group also listened to feedback from event professionals and brought some tailor-made education and events for specialist audiences to the show floor.

“This means corporate and association planners will learn side by side with their partners, clients and suppliers, benefiting, if they wish, from added convenience and efficiency,” she said.

Pathways to Clarity

Under the theme Pathways to Clarity, the education program is designed to provide tools that event professionals need to find simplicity—both professionally and personally—in a today’s complex world. To that end, sessions will be delivered in four simple tracks (reduced from 10): Respect for People and Planet; Future Self; Innovation and Creativity and Event Planner Toolkit.

More than 100 sessions will be available, with the majority taking place on the show floor’s three-theatre Inspiration Hub, sponsored by Visit Detroit. Highlights include:

The Art of Badassery: Unleash Your Mojo With the Wisdom of the Dojo with empowerment coach and self-defense expert Jennifer Cassetta, who will take a martial arts-led approach to helping attendees feel safe and strong in the workplace.

• Our Red Flag Employee with David Jaime, chief executive at LE Professionals, who will cover behavioral red flags that create unhealthy work environments and share best practices for increasing collective accountability. 

• Fickle Eaters with Tracy Stuckrath, founder and president at thrive meetings & events, and Thomas Whelan, assistant general manager at Levy Convention Centers, who will highlight fundamentals of food and beverage planning in a time marked by compromised supply chains and share tried-and-tested tricks for incorporating dietary needs into menus without affecting the bottom line.

Enter the Metaverse: A How-to Guide, with Scooter Taylor, founder of West Peek Group, who will lay out all the steps to planning a metaverse event, share resources and give attendees a first-hand glimpse into the metaverse. 

Hybrid Is Still a Thing, So Let’s Get It Right with Brandt Krueger, owner of Event Technology Consulting, who will showcase how hybrid events, when done property, can deliver expanded reach and improve inclusivity—all without losing the power of a hands-on experience.

Sustainability and the Circular Economy: What the Future Holds with Aurora Dawn Benton, chief change agent at Astrapto, and Benoit Sauvage, CEO of Hospitality Sustainability Revolution, who will explain why the circular economy—a regenerative system designed to minimize resource input, waste and emissions—is key to a full events industry recovery and detail best practices for events that deliver benefits such as enhanced brand, increased clientele, reduced costs and exceptional experiences.

On-Trend Keynotes

IMEX America’s strategic partner, Meetings Professionals International (MPI), sponsors a series of keynotes at the show every year that spotlight some of the industry’s most trending topics, starting with Smart Monday, powered by MPI, and running every morning thereafter. This year, human-centered service, imposter syndrome, engaging communities and the power of play are among the topics that will be highlighted during the keynote sessions, including:

Composing Change: Events That Move People with Kai Kight, a classical violinist- turned innovative composer, who uses music as a metaphor to inspire individuals and organizations across the world to compose human-centered paths of imagination and fulfilment and has performed his original music in venues across the world, from the White House to the Great Wall of China.

The Science of Self-Sabotage: Making Imposter Syndrome Your Superpower with comedian and coach Jen Coken, who will share strategies to embrace imposter syndrome and use it to achieve extraordinary things with confidence and certainty.

Leadership Passport: Build Better Relationships and Create Engaged Communities with Shane Feldman, founder and CEO of Count Me In, who will spotlight ways to cultivate a work environment centered on community to help individuals and teams perform at their highest levels.

On the Playground: Your IMEX America Unkeynote Experience with Nancy Snowden, manager of educational experiences at MPI, who will introduce a practical, solution-focused experience that will allow attendees to harness the power of play to provide new perspectives and creative answers to serious event and meeting challenges.

Tailor-Made Events

This year’s show will also feature events specifically designed for corporate and association planners to meet, connect and learn, beginning on Smart Monday. Additional sessions, including industry certifications and top-ups, will be delivered by dozens of IMEX partners, including MPI, International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) and Events Industry Council (EIC). Meanwhile, She Means Business, produced by IMEX and tw magazine and supported by MPI, will also return this year and is open to everyone.

All eligible sessions throughout the show carry CMP accreditation.

The show’s newly streamlined education program is part of a new era for IMEX, during which event industry visionary Tahira Endean, IMEX’s newly appointed head of programme, is leading a three-year strategy to remodel the professional education offerings at its two annual events: IMEX America and IMEX Frankfurt.

IMEX America 2022 will open with Smart Monday, powered by MPI on Oct. 10, followed by the three-day trade show Oct. 11-13. 

To register for IMEX America 2022, click here.

Main photo: Scooter Taylor, founder of West Peek Group

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.