Radical PowerPoints and French Cuisine Highlight IACC’s Americas Connect 2019
Toronto’s Vantage Venues and The Globe and Mail Centre played host to the 38th edition of IACC’s Americas Connect conference April 10-11, which brought in 230 delegates.
The theme of this year’s event was “Radical Innovation —Change Everything!” and as such, the education and networking opportunities took a new form. For example, organizers banned speakers from having PowerPoint slides with more than one word. In his address, Keynote Pablos Holman, a former computer hacker turned inventor, encouraged attendees to be disruptors of the events industry..
“We vowed to be different, and I believe that is something we achieved,” said Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC.
Regarding the PowerPoint change, Cooper says delegates were more attentive to the presenter without furiously trying to take notes or capture photos of the slides. “They just sat, listened and engaged,” he says.
The effect of these changes was also felt during networking breaks, which were “full of chatter,” according to Cooper, as delegates discussed and debated what they’d learned during sessions.
“If you want your delegates to remember the event for its educational sessions and not just the food,” he advises, “then this is a step in the right direction.”
That’s not to say food wasn’t a hot topic at IACC Americas. Its famous Global Copper Skillet competition, which took place on the second day of the conference, had finalists from the Americas, Europe and Australia competing for the championship. In the end, Sebastian Layen (an executive chef with Benchmark Hospitality) took home the title for his French-inspired crusted-beef medallion with fig and maple syrup gastrique; and roasted fig, artichoke and root vegetable barigoule (say that five times fast!).
In addition, attendees enjoyed a mystery culinary tour around the city of Toronto, where they visited three different venues to get a taste of unique twists on F&B.
Another new element at this year’s conference was directly involving the university student communities, inviting students from Ryerson University and Seneca College to gain experience and network with industry professionals.
“We wanted delegates to walk away from this year’s event inspired and excited to share what they’ve learned with their wider teams,” says Cooper. Mission accomplished.