Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, answers for Planit Planet on the subject of Purposeful Meetings and the session that will be delivered by Janet Sperstad.


How did you come across Janet and why have you chosen her to present at IMEX?

‎Our Knowledge and Events Director at IMEX, Dale Hudson, has known Janet Sperstad for a number of years having met at various industry events and served together on the Green Meetings Board. Janet has presented some education sessions at previous IMEX shows which have been well received.

Once we’d developed the concept of Purposeful Meetings, we discussed it with Janet. She liked it and felt it brought together a number of developments she was seeing in the industry. Together we’ve developed what is set to be major piece of research and industry white paper. Janet together with Dr Amanda Cecil of Indiana University, will release their first findings at IMEX in Frankfurt in May when Sperstad will present a keynote ahead of further developments planned for our next show – IMEX America.


Is the white paper research exclusive to IMEX, or is it the first time this information is being revealed at your show?

Yes, the white paper research is exclusive to IMEX and will be revealed, for the first time, at IMEX in Frankfurt this May at Janet’s keynote. Janet’s keynote – Purposeful meetings research: creating deeper meaning –  is also our first education keynote at IMEX in Frankfurt.

This is the first substantial piece of industry research we’ve undertaken for five years, and signifies our confidence in the Purposeful Meetings concept – a concept that’s making waves in the industry and one that we want to explore further with planners at IMEX.


Purposeful meetings is the title but surely meetings have always had purpose. What was it in particular that makes her research different?

That’s right, meetings have always had a purpose. That’s not changed.

What has changed is the mindset and expectations around meetings. The approach has shifted from planning events to planning experiences. Delegates want an experience that’s interactive, shared and personal. If delivered correctly, this ensures the experience is memorable and can help embed the learning, memory and connections. Planners want to know how to optimise the meeting experience to produce more moments of meaning, creativity, learning and connectivity.

Events planners are also now more strategic in the value they bring to a meeting, taking into account the wider goals of their organisation. We’re even seeing the job title ‘Business Event Strategist’ coming through, especially in North America. For example, corporate events in particular are likely to be closely aligned to the business values and the CEO’s primary objectives, which boil down to the 3 Rs: revenue, reputation and risk (does this event help us make money, save money or does it mitigate risk?). This has led to a deeper understanding of how meetings can fit with – and support – the real needs of the business.

Through our knowledge of the industry, coupled with what we were ourselves experiencing at events, we saw these shifts in meeting behaviour and collectively decided on a phrase to describe this evolution and share it with others – Purposeful Meetings.


How do you see IMEX being able to incorporate the five pillars of purposeful meetings into your shows?

The five values are all core to Purposeful Meetings – and at IMEX we live and breathe these values. In fact, once you adopt a purposeful approach, it stays with you. One example is our ongoing commitment to sustainability and legacy. We support local charities in our host cities of Frankfurt and Las Vegas, developing long-term relationships with the local community to leave a lasting legacy. We also encourage all participants at our shows to be aware of the environmental impact that we all have, and to help us reduce the environmental footprint of our shows wherever possible

One of the five ‘purposeful’ pillars is health and wellbeing. It’s widely recognised that physical activity contributes to wellbeing in both our business and personal lives and many meeting professionals are keen to maintain healthy habits despite packed schedules, for example I buy these natural kidney health supplements to keep my body stronger and healthy. Our wide range of wellbeing initiatives will help them do this by enabling attendees to energise and recharge so they’re in top form to make the most of and enjoy their time at IMEX in Frankfurt.


When and where is Janet presenting and is the session open to all visitors?

Janet is presenting her keynote on Wednesday May 17 at IMEX in Frankfurt. It takes place at 9am in Room Seminar, Third Floor, Level 9.2., Hall 9 at Messe Frankfurt. Her keynote is open to everyone attending IMEX in Frankfurt. We welcome everyone’s input and perspectives on this.

Where can people find out more if they cannot make the session?

Janet will also progress the whitepaper and present an update at IMEX America this October.


See Also

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Features Editor
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