IACC celebrated another year of excellence and innovation at IACC America’s Connect in sunny Southern California. Multiple educational sessions, panel discussions, workshops and the annual Global Copper Skillet cooking competition were hosted by the UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center April 4-6, 2017, located on UCLA’s main campus in Los Angeles.
“This year we were delighted to bring new and exciting education to the annual Connect conference,” said Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC. “Our members, who traveled from throughout North America to Los Angeles were able to experience this learning together and share ideas that will help them deliver exceptional meetings in 2017 and beyond.”
IACC-MPI Global Alliance Announced
During IACC Connect it was announced that IACC, the only association to certify conference and meetings-focused venues on a global basis, and Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the leading global association for meeting professionals, had entered into a five-year global partnership for the mutual benefit of their members. The two associations will share event and learning platforms, including education delivered at annual conferences, regional events, and online as well as research initiatives.
One of the first IACC-MPI Alliance projects to roll out this summer will entail MPI conferences streamed live to IACC venues, where MPI members can come together, learn and experience valuable networking. The venues will be IACC certified and capable of delivering a quality event with live streaming of content, supported by IACC member staff. MPI’s 2017 World Education Congress, which takes place June 19–22 in Las Vegas, will be the first conference featured.
Additionally, MPI will take part in the next phase of the innovative IACC Meeting Room of the Future research project, which aims to transform the meeting experience through a global collaboration of leaders in conference and meeting space design, technology, hospitality, delegate collaboration, experience and conference management.
Global Innovations Workshop
One of IACC Connect’s most popular workshops this year was the Global Innovations session, where IACC members presented their innovative and creative initiatives that either develop their product and service or help them run aspects of their business more efficiently. Members shared innovations in new furniture design, creative CMP meeting packaging and new food and beverage styles of service. Borrowing a “speed dating” concept, each participating member received 5 minutes to share their idea in this fast-paced showcase.
MPI Meeting Planner Workshop
Coming on the heels of the IACC-MPI Alliance announcement, IACC in partnership with MPI staged a California meeting planner session that zeroed in on new and innovative educational formats for meetings. Planners and operators got together for this session to explore trends in introducing meeting formats such as Fishbowl, Spectrogram and Open Space — and the impacts these can have on delegate participation and collaboration. IACC members considered how they could make their venue offering more open to accommodating new styles of meeting formats. “The Exploring Unique Learning Formats was a very informative session allowing me to understand better the types of meetings clients are now booking,” said Katie Schultz, director of sales at Chubb Hotel & Conference Center. “The workshop did a great job in ensuring our understanding of the different formats and giving us time to demonstrate with each other.”
Using the Internet to Win Business
IACC’s previous research made it clear that the internet is soon to become the single most important consideration when selecting a venue. So new for 2017, the association made sure that there was specific learning available to IACC members on how to provide the very best internet infrastructure for conferences and meetings. This well-attended workshop looked at creative ways to leverage the network to provide value-added services that help close business.
Global Copper Skillet Competition
In what has become one of the most eagerly anticipated events at IACC Connect, six chefs from IACC Americas-, Australia/Asia/Pacific- and European-member venues competed for the Global Copper Skillet. The event served as the final stage in a three-part competition held in phases around the world. United Kingdom and Canada chefs were named as the Global Copper Skillet winners: Mary Palecek, sous chef at Sundial – Woodside Conference Centre, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England, took the Junior Category Copper Skillet; and Kent Phillips, executive chef at Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre, London, Ontario, Canada took the Senior Category Copper Skillet.
More Meeting Design in 2017
IACC demonstrated a commitment to delivering as much learning as possible in the two days that IACC-Americas Connect took place. The association brought in Mike Van Der Vijver of Mind Meeting in the Netherlands to facilitate the learning, which started with a creative newcomers session and included delegates participating in a new closing session entitled “Capture the Learning”, where all came together and shared the highlights from their two days at the conference.
Culinary Mystery Food & Beverage Tour
Los Angeles is one of North America’s culinary capitals where trends in food and beverage are launched and migrate across the continent and globally. To celebrate and learn from this, a select number of delegates attended IACC Connect’s sell-out culinary mystery tour. Delegates were treated to an educational and experiential tour, which included a visit to iPic, one of the U.S.’s newer high-level cinema experiences offering creative food and beverage to their customers.
IACC Connect Honors Distinguished Members at Gala Awards Evening
One of the highlights of IACC Connect is the opportunity to recognize excellence and reward extraordinary service within the association’s membership.
The 2017 IACC Awards Recipients include:
Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service
IACC Americas presented its most prestigious honor, the coveted Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service to IACC and the meetings industry, to Tom Cappucci, general manager at the Inn at Darden Conference and Event Center, Darden School of Business/FLIK Hospitality Group.
The IACC Pyramid Award, established in 2000 to recognize members who show a true and long-lasting commitment to IACC education, was presented to Cindy Novotny, managing partner at Master Connection Associates.
Award of Excellence
The Award of Excellence was established 17 years ago to underscore IACC’s commitment to education, and to recognize those who give of their time, talent and resources to expand and enhance IACC’s educational offerings. This year’s winner was Eric Bracht, senior consultant, AV Operations at Electro-Media Design Ltd.
Doris Sklar Scholarship Award
The Doris Sklar Scholarship Award, established in honor of Doris Sklar who was an important long-time meeting professional and strong advocate of IACC, went to Kate Blumenthal, graduating senior at New York University.
Global Distinguished Service Award
The Global Distinguished Service Award was presented to TJ Fimmano, general manager at Dolce Hotels and Resorts, in recognition of his many years of leadership and extraordinary service to IACC.