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IMEX Lands Events-Industry Notable to Head Up Show Content

Veteran planner Tahira Endean, author of the book Intentional Design: Our Professional Opportunity, moves over from SITE with specific ideas for tweaking the educational agendas for IMEX Frankfurt and IMEX America.

IMEX Group, producer of two of the largest shows in the meeting- and incentive-planning industry, has named Tahira Endean, CMP, CITP, DES, CED, as its head of program just 10 weeks ahead of the IMEX America convention and exhibition in Las Vegas. Endean comes from the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, where she was head of events.

The Vancouver-based Endean will bring to her new role deep experience not only as a planner but also as researcher and author of the 2018 book Intentional Design: Our Professional Opportunity. The book aims to help other planners create events that meet attendees’ professional-education and personal-development needs both on site during an event and in their work environment.

An updated edition of the book was just released online, with this topical summary: “Our role as event professionals is to create experiences steeped in trust ... this requires that our event designs bring out the best in human nature by making intentional decisions based on the knowledge available about participants and their needs. Deeply understanding how human beings respond in live-event environments is [planners’] new currency.”

According to the IMEX Group, Endean’s “new role signals a new era for IMEX. She will work with the IMEX marcomm and knowledge and education teams to design learning programs that enrich the show’s value proposition and deliver measurable business benefits.”

The Updated Mission, In Her Own Words
MeetingsNet caught up to Endean on the phone this week to learn more about her new responsibilities around IMEX’s content package.

MeetingsNet: The educational theme for October’s IMEX America show is “Pathways to Clarity.” Did you have a hand in creating that? And what changes will you bring to the educational offerings for both the October show in Las Vegas and the May 2023 show in Frankfurt?
Tahira Endean: Yes, I was involved in the process for the upcoming show. I’ve attended 14 IMEX shows over the years—all 10 in Vegas and four in Frankfurt—so I am very familiar with them. I’ve always appreciated how they’ve always been leading edge and have always showed us the new, bright, and really great speakers in our field.

The main theme the past few years has been anything to do with nature: how we take care of each other and the world around us. But there will now be more on taking care of your future self, things that are really core personal- and professional-development issues, and things around leadership, such as becoming an effective emotional intelligence leader as well as a creative leader for your team.

And, of course, the event planner’s toolkit track is one we must always offer because it is so important, though it will be somewhat different.

MeetingsNet: What types of content will fall under that track this year?
Endean: Well, we’ve got a lot of new presenters and we’ve also got some favorite presenters like Tracy Stuckrath and Tyra Warner, but their content is all new because the situation planners face now is so unique. For instance, there are supply-chain issues with food and beverage: What are you feeding people that’s healthy for them and sustainable for the planet but also within the budget? That’s Tracy’s expertise. And with Tyra, we’ll hear about the walls planners are hitting right now with their contracts. She’s going to bring in some really good case studies from 2022 events and the expected challenges for planners with their 2023 events. Basically, we are just trying to address the things that are most relevant to planners right now.

In that vein, we also want to address innovation and creativity. So, instead of just looking at event-technology trends or those kinds of things, we’re bringing in some really smart people who deeply understand creativity and change leadership and how to facilitate to get better outcomes from events.

MeetingsNet: So far, what is the most rewarding aspect of your new role?
Endean: It’s really fun to build this out and to see a nice flow through the educational program. We’re asking, what’s really critical right now for different segments: association planners, corporate planners, agency planners. We’re trying to make sure that when planners leave an educational session, they are able to ask better questions of their suppliers: What are they doing about the important issues that I need to know about, and how can I be a better partner in those areas? Our team has stepped back and put all of our educational offerings in the context of what is going on right now in the industry.

IMEX America takes place at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, opening with Smart Monday powered by MPI on Monday, October 10 and followed by the three-day trade show October 11 to 13.

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