The 38th edition of the IACC Americas Connect conference came to a close 11 April at Vantage Venues and The Globe and Mail Centre, Toronto, having gathered 230 delegates over the two days.
The International Association of Conference Centres’ Americas chapter also welcomed 20 meeting planners from the US, Canada, Europe and Australia for the conference – themed ‘Radical Innovation – Change Everything!’ and they took part in a full schedule of education, networking and discovery.
The conference put a ban on PowerPoint presentations with slides that included more than one-word in a bid to turn the stereotypical conference on its head and shake things up to create an environment where delegates could think differently.
The tone for the event was set by opening keynote speaker Pablos Holman, former computer hacker turned inventor and Silicon Valley innovator, who delivered a session that encouraged attendees to be the disruptors of the events industry in the next five-years with their innovative venues, services and solutions to some of the industry’s biggest problems.
Culinary trends were also at the centre of the sessions’ debate. The panel of experts, including Mariela McIlwraith of Events Industry Council, Tracy Stuckrath of Thrive Meetings, Alan Booth of Deloitte University and Brian Stapleton of Aramark Conferencing, led discussion covering topics from allergens and dietary preferences, to new foods, managing wastage and sustainable practices.
This year, for the first time, IACC directly involved the meeting planner and university student communities. Students from Ryerson University and Seneca College attended to gain experience in the industry.
CMW editor Paul Colston joined the international media judging panel for a fast-paced competition focused on innovations, with eight IACC members and suppliers invited to deliver a four-minute-long elevator pitch for their innovation. IACC CEO Mark Cooper announced Janice Cardinale and Richard Emmanuel of The Idea Hunter as the winner of the competition during the IACC Opening Awards Ceremony.
Delegates were also treated to a mystery culinary tour around the city, where they visited three venues putting a fresh and vibrant approach to food and beverage to the fore.
Nancy Lindemer, IACC Americas President commented: “We felt it was time that Connect returned to Canada after 15 years in the US. Our members in the region embraced the opportunity in a truly incredible way, and the ideas and creativity from the team tasked with designing this year’s event was immense.”
The Global Copper Skillet competition took place on day two of the event where the Americas, European and Australian finalists competed for the title of Global Copper Skillet Champion. Celebrity chef Michael Smith, regular on the Food Network Canada, presented a workshop and joined the line-up of judges for the Copper Skillet final.
Sebastian Layen of Deloitte University | Benchmark, a Global Hospitality Company was named Senior Chef Champion and Niclas Jansson ofSigtunahöjden was named Junior Chef Champion.
IACC’s next annual European conference ‘Knowledge Festival’ will take place in Brussels 4–6 October 2019.