Message From UFI President, Mary Larkin

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Resilience and People

As we enter another month of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s impact on our industry, our businesses and our lifes is still growing. We are all striving within ourselves to be resilient, to plan events in the midst of uncertainty, to “pivot” to other revenue streams and to hang on to the positive news from elsewhere and glimmers of hope that we see around us. While events are reopening in many countries, there is confusion as to the value they bring to an economy in many others. Discussion topics vary from the need for advocacy to our customers discussing the future of events.

One thing is certain, we do need to be resilient and picture a future beyond this crisis. Because this, too, will pass.

But: What does that future look like? How will we deliver events that are safe and yet, are the vehicles that have driven and will drive economies for years?

There is a simple, obvious answer that we tend to overlook – almost as sometimes one does not notice the trees in the forest: We will do that just as we have always done! We will draw on the skills, the ideas, the talents of the people who drive this industry, who are of this industry. They – we all – are the backbone of ensuring that events are built, opened and that businesses grow.

Companies are facing major employment losses across the globe as they strive to manage cashflows and plan for the short term, before events reopen. The entire supply chain is at risk of further fragmentation as the reopening of events is stalled again. For those seeking employment, hiring freezes or lack of employment make the industry they love, very unattractive. How do we reengage the “people” factor of our industry?

There are small but mighty groups, scattered across the globe, who are working to ensure that our colleagues re-enter the industry swiftly, once this crisis passes. We will need that brain power and their resilience to help us leave this crisis behind. For this, we need to ensure that, even now, we can easily stay connected as industry professionals and colleagues.

At UFI, we are working on the issue of keeping connections going, and we have looked at how this is impacting the industry as a whole. Beginning this month, in partnership with MBB-Consulting Group, UFI gives individuals from our member companies the possibility to join the Exhibition Think Tank Club (ETTC) free of charge as a new member benefit. The ETTC is a global e-platform for the exhibition industry whose members network, debate and work together to keep the industry moving forward. Every industry professional in the club can change the way our industry develops, by taking part in the think tanks and other projects. You can find and connect to colleagues beyond your own work environment, and as well share insights and experiences.

For our future success, it is vital that this industry remains attractive, provides the career opportunities and the environment for innovation that will lead us through this and future crises.

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