IACC’s Americas Connect looks to ‘change everything’ in the meetings industry

The 38th edition of the IACC Americas Connect conference took place last week in Toronto, with more than 230 delegates from the US, Canada, Europe and Australia joining the two-day conference themed ‘Radical Innovation – Change Everything!’

The conference put a ban on PowerPoint presentations with slides that included more than one-word in an effort 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 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.

Toronto’s meeting planning community also joined a lively debate on culinary trends. 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 a discussion on how the industry can best embrace the fast pace of change, 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.

In a fast-paced competition focused on innovations, IACC members and suppliers were invited to deliver a four-minute-long elevator pitch for their innovation, with Janice Cardinale and Richard Emmanuel of The Idea Hunter crowned as winners.

Delegates were also treated to a mystery culinary tour around the city, where they visited three number of venues which all approach food and beverage differently.

“We felt it was time that Connect returned to Canada after 15 years in the US,” said Nancy Lindemer, IACC Americas president. “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. Sebastian Layen of Deloitte University | Benchmark, a Global Hospitality Company was named Senior Chef Champion and Niclas Jansson of Sigtunahöjden was named Junior Chef Champion.

IACC’s next annual European conference ‘Knowledge Festival’ will be taking place in Brussels on October 4-6.