Monthly Archives: May 2016


Team San Jose CEO Karolyn Kirchgesler and VisitPITTSBURGH President and CEO Craig Davis made a friendly wager for the Stanley Cup Final Series between the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

VisitPITTSBURGH will send Primanti’s Bros. sandwiches, a burnt almond torte (one of Pittsburgh’s most famous desserts) from Prantl’s Bakery and traditional pierogies from Pierogies Plus to San Jose if the Penguins lose. Team San Jose will send tacos and orange sauce from La Victoria, J. Lohr wine and manju from San Jose’s Japantown to Pittsburgh, if the Sharks lose.

“San Jose has been waiting a long time for the Sharks to go to the finals and we couldn’t be happier for our team and our city,” said Karolyn Kirchgesler. “We are grateful to share the spotlight with a major sports destination in Pittsburgh and look forward to showing Pittsburgh Penguins fans all that San Jose has to offer leisure travelers. It will be a great series and we’re glad to be part of the action with this wager against VisitPITTSBURGH.”

The city of San Jose will colored in teal in support of the Sharks throughout the Stanley Cup Final Series. Visitors can look forward to discounts at local attractions and enjoy viewing parties and street rally’s throughout Downtown San Jose.

“We are excited to make this wager with our colleagues from the beautiful city of San Jose, so we can show our tremendous pride in our Pittsburgh Penguins who have helped make Pittsburgh a legendary sports town and a major sports destination,” said Craig Davis, President and CEO.  “Both of our teams have put our cities in the national spotlight, and that exposure will help drive tourism well into the future.  We invite the great sports fans from San Jose to come and visit Pittsburgh and experience our great restaurants, hotels, sports events, attractions, theaters, museums and attractions.”

In 2015 Pittsburgh was named one of the top 10 destinations on the rise by Trip Advisor and the No. 1 Food City in the U.S. by Zagat. Prantl’s Bakery is a Pittsburgh institution and the Huffington Post recently named their Burnt Almond Torte the “best cake America has ever made.”

Primanti’s Bros is a Pittsburgh original, known for topping its sandwiches with coleslaw and French fries. The Penguins’ third line of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel — the HBK line — has grown in such popularity that it has its own Primanti’s sandwich

Pierogies Plus is the go-to place for homemade authentic pierogies, a crescent-shaped, tender dumpling filled with a variety of fillings – potato and cheese is most popular.

For more information on San Jose and Pittsburgh visit and

Sold Out Visionary Awards Event Honors Leaders in Business Events

Reimagined event delivers on its promise to inspire

The PCMA Education Foundation honored the lifetime achievement of three individuals and announced the recipients of four coveted annual industry awards. The reimagined evening was transformed into an Oscars-like awards gala, complete with a walk on the red carpet, a see-and-be-seen reception, entertaining awards program and after party featuring a band specializing in the sounds of Motown, Soul, Funk and Dance.  More than 1,000 leaders in business events were in attendance at the premier industry recognition event.

“Redesigning a beloved event is a difficult task,” said Deborah Sexton, President and CEO, PCMA and PCMA Education Foundation, “but our team pushed the celebration to a new level last night – our guests were thrilled and our honorees were truly an inspiration to all of us.”

Those celebrated last night included:

Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees

  • Johnnie C. White Jr., CMP, CAE, MBA, Sr. Director, Education and Meetings, American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation – 2016 Meeting Professional Honoree
  • Janet L. Jakobsen, CMP, MBA, Professor Hospitality and Tourism, Niagara College – 2016 Educator Honoree
  • James E. Rooney, President and CEO, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce – 2016 Supplier Honoree

Professional Excellence Award Winners

  • Allyson O’Connor, CEO and Founder, NXTevent – Event Designer of the Year
    Christine Phelps, Deputy Executive Director, American Academy of Neurology – Community Advocate of the Year
  • Kirsten Olean, CMP, CAE, Director of Meetings, American Society for Microbiology – Meeting Professional of the Year
  • Rachael Riggs, CMP, Manager, Meeting and Convention Sales – Midwest/Chicago, Tourism Vancouver – Supplier of the Year

This event recognized the following esteemed industry leaders as finalists chosen from dozens of nominees in their respective categories.

Professional Excellence Finalists:


  • Warren Goodson, Director of Production, PSAV Creative Services – nominee
  • Erin Vomocil, CMP,  Senior Manager Event Operations, UBM Tech – nominee


  • Ellen Shortill, Director, Convention & Meetings, American Speech Language Hearing Association – nominee
  • Germaine Schaefer, Director, Conferences & Leadership Development, National Association of Counties – nominee


  • Lenay Gore, Director, Meetings and Conventions, American Public Transportation Association – nominee
  • Lynn Smith, CMP, Chief Planning Officer, AVID Productions – nominee


  • Susan Kushner, CFO/President, Kushner & Associates – nominee
  • Jason Lusk, CMP, Associate Vice President, Convention Sales, Visit Denver – nominee

About PCMA Education Foundation
The role of the Education Foundation of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) is to support the mission of PCMA through fundraising and grant giving focused on scholarships, education and research that will advance the meetings and conventions industry. Established in 1985, the Foundation fuels advancement, nurtures professional development and shapes tomorrow’s meeting and convention leaders. Learn more at

IACC Undergoes Re-branding and Launches New Logo

IACC announces the re-branding of the association.

IACC has experienced rapid growth in its membership and global reach. Being the only global association to represent small to mid-sized, meetings-focused venues and influenced by exciting innovations it is seeing from members, IACC has identified that the brand needs an update in order to represent all 378 members in 22 countries. The new brand addresses the needs of a dynamic, changing market place, while leveraging the brand equity IACC has built over 35 years.

In developing their new branding, IACC conducted extensive research with members and industry stakeholders across four continents. The association worked closely with members and industry ambassadors to talk about what the brand said about them now and what members wanted it to stand for in the future. IACC took these findings and concentrated all ideas into a set of brand pillars which are aligned with the core values by which it wants to live and to foster a feeling of collaboration, connectedness and impactful outcomes.

Today IACC’s membership reflects more than just conference centres, each branded in individual ways, but all providing the same high quality standards and delivery of exceptional meetings that began in the 1980’s under IACC.  Member venues include conference centres, seminar houses, day meeting venues, corporate universities, and meetings-focused hotels and resorts. The association will no longer refer to itself as the International Association of Conference Centres, but will simply be referred to as IACC.

Alex Cabañas, IACC Global President, comments, “This is a monumental time in IACC’s 35-year history.  We are an exclusive association of the brightest minds and exceptional meeting venues in the world and we are excited to celebrate who we are today and who we want to become with this fresh new logo and identity.  This gives us a refreshing new look that reflects and projects a modern, forward thinking and innovative personality, which remains a unique characteristic of the IACC global community.”

The new logo has been designed to reflect a sense of symmetry, with each shape overlapping in unison to further illustrate the strength and alignment of universal connectivity. The four symbols represent the four brand pillars which are the signature qualities and attributes that exemplify the IACC experience.

IACC’s Brand Pillars

Exclusive meeting venues, by design

At the forefront of meetings innovation

Globally connected network of passionate members

Curators of exceptional meeting experiences

Mark Cooper, IACC CEO, comments, “As we continue to grow and expand the association globally to thrive in what is undoubtedly a fast changing meetings industry, the brand needed to evolve to acknowledge this.  I am excited to share with our members and partners the brand pillars, which speak to the creative bridge to the incredible unity of our members globally.”

Following the launch, the new brand will be at the heart of new publications, communications and marketing and in a soon-to-be-re-launched website. Logos and usage guidelines are available to download from IACC’s website here and see the unveiling of the logo on video on IACC’s YouTube Channel.

IACC wishes to thank all the members and their industry partners who contributed to the research and interview stages of the exercise, and the global volunteer group for their time, patience and expertise in developing the new logo.


The IACC Mission Statement:  To bring together the brightest industry minds to promote the best meeting venues, which deliver exceptional meeting experiences. There are meetings…And then there are IACC Meetings.

The IACC Vision:  IACC is a community of passionate people and organisations delivering innovative and exceptional meeting experiences.

About IACC:  Founded in 1981, IACC is a not-for-profit association dedicated to promoting understanding and awareness of the meetings venue industry and to giving member properties the tools necessary to provide an exceptional IACC meeting experience. Active members meet a set of stringent Quality Standards and agree to a Code of Ethics. Currently, the association includes approximately 400 members from the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Kenya, Nigeria, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, England, Scotland, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Germany, Hungary and the Philippines.

For more information, visit the website at  “There are meetings and then there are IACC meetings.”

Twitter:  @IACCmeetings   




Berlin Top Choice for International Conventions

No other city in the world hosted more international congresses in 2015

Berlin is the top location choice for gatherings of international associations, as revealed in statistics published today by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). With 195 events hosted last year, Berlin surpassed both Paris (186) and Barcelona (180), followed by Vienna, Madrid and London. Singapore is the city with the most events of this kind outside Europe. The ranking is one of the most important performance indicators in the meetings industry and has great influence on the awarding of many major congresses. It is the first time that Berlin is at the top of the list.

Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin: “Berlin has become the leading international meeting place. Whether healthcare, mobility, IT, and many other highly innovative industries, all roads lead to Berlin at some point. This also benefits Berlin’s role as a location for trade fairs and conventions, allowing the city to offers its visitors an ideal environment for doing business. Behind this are many years of constant work and effort for which I wish to express my gratitude to all those involved in this success. Berlin has put its efforts to developing this aspect of its economy with consistency and our long-term, future-orientated policies are paying off.”

Burkhard Kieker, visitBerlin CEO commented, “This is a great confirmation of the work being done by the visitBerlin Berlin Convention Office and the entire meetings industry in our city. We also wish to thank our partners Messe Berlin and Estrel Berlin for their continued cooperation. The fight to host any of these conventions is hard-won. This can be seen just from looking at the list of our competitors. In order to continue to play at the top of the league, Berlin needs to begin planning the expansion of its capacities wisely.”

More and more events in the medical segment 

In addition to the major conventions covered by these statistics, the city also hosts many events in its hotels and smaller conference centers. 2015 saw Berlin host more association meetings with more than 1,000 people in attendance than in the previous year; there was also growth in the number of events with 50 to 200 participants.

“These figures underline the non-stop rapid development of Berlin as a meeting destination to which we have been able to make a significant contribution with our broad portfolio of events, but especially international medical conferences”, says Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH. “In 2015, Berlin hosted the European Academy of Neurology with more than 7,000 in attendance and the annual congress of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine with 5,500 participants took place in our CityCube. In the past two years, we have successfully increased the average number of participants per conference by around 30 per cent to almost 4,000. This is a leading figure globally. We have been able to continue this trend in the first part of 2016.”

Conferences are an extremely important economic factor for the city of Berlin. Each participant in a meeting spends on average €232 a day in Berlin, about 12 per cent more than the conventional visitor to the German capital.

Berlin has been in the Top 5 since 2004

Association meetings included in the ICCA statistics must be attended by at least 50 participants, take place regularly, and switch among at least three different countries. The ICCA statistics exclusively count international meetings of associations to ensure a global comparison. Berlin has been in the Top 5 since 2004. The ICCA is an association of the most important organizations in the meetings industry. Its members include more than 1,000 members from over 90 countries.

For more information about Berlin as a meeting destination, go to .

“We know Berlin.” This is the slogan that Berlin Tourismus & Kongress GmbH, operating under the trade name visitBerlin, has been using since 1993 to advertise Berlin globally as a travel destination. The visitBerlin Berlin Convention Office markets the many convention and meeting options offered by the German capital. Berlin’s popularity as a tourist destination continues to grow: with more than 30 million overnight stays in 2015, the German capital is as busy as ever. Berlin has been among the top five most popular destinations in the world for conventions and meetings for the past ten years. As a tour operator, the company offers a wide range of travel packages and also issues the official tourist ticket, the Berlin WelcomeCard. visitBerlin operates six Berlin Tourist Information Offices across the city. The Berlin Service Center (Tel. +49(0)30-25 00 25) provides information on the complete range of tourist offerings in Berlin. The website provides information about the capital in 14 languages.

Grand Rapids on International List of Top Places To Go in 2016

New York Times highlights city’s arts, shopping and craft beer

Grand Rapids, Mich. – The New York Times list of “52 Places to Go in 2016” was announced today which included destinations like Bordeaux, Abu Dhabi, Malta and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The annual list, which includes top destinations around the world, lists Grand Rapids number 20 and calls out attractions including Frederik Meijer Gardens, the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, ArtPrize and the craft beer scene.

In response to the announcement Janet Korn, Senior Vice President of Experience Grand Rapids, said, “This list underscores what people who live in and travel to Grand Rapids already know: this is a vibrant, fun and exciting city. From arts and culture to craft beer, shopping, food and sight-seeing Grand Rapids is a must visit destination, and we are proud to be included on this prestigious travel list.”

To develop the annual list, the New York Times starts with recommendations from travel writers from around the globe, then the editorial team narrows the list based on merits of each suggestion. They aim for a selection of places they expect to be particularly compelling in the coming year.

IMEX Group Sharing economy survey reveals differing views among meetings industry around the world

• 35 per cent of meetings professionals would not use a sharing economy service for business

• Uncertain quality and safety were found to be the major reasons why they are not being used

• Nearly 45 per cent believe legislation, regulation, objections and taxation will slow or limit the expansion in many countries

• 44 per cent think that many new applications will be launched successfully

• 12.9 per cent believe usage and growth will decline, 33.9 per cent expect significant increase

Recent research carried out by the IMEX Group into the impact of the sharing economy within the meetings and events industry generated thought-provoking results. The findings were revealed at IMEX in Frankfurt on Wednesday 20 April during a seminar entitled: ‘How can we work with the new sharing economy?

The responses from 729 meetings professionals across the world provide a fascinating insight into their experience of sharing economy services, on the issues, challenges and opportunities they generate and whether they believe that usage will decline, plateau or increase over the next five years.

Sharing Economy participants shared their comments using laptops at their tables.

When asked: other than Uber and Lyft, have you used a sharing economy service when travelling for personal or business use? the choice of answers included ‘would not ‘ as well as ‘many times’, ‘once or twice’ and ‘not yet’. Most striking was the fact that 35 per cent would not use a sharing economy service for business.

Regionally around the world, there was significant variation. While just 15.1 per cent of those based in Africa, the Middle East or Far East claim that they would not use a sharing economy service for business, by contrast, a major proportion of respondents in the USA, 41.0 per cent, and even 42.0 of those based in Germany would not use one for business.

44.6 per cent had not yet used such services for business, a similar proportion worldwide. Altogether only 20.4 per cent had used these services for business at all, even though 49.4 per cent has used them for personal reasons.

Why not?

When those who had said they would not use a sharing economy service when travelling were asked: why they would not, uncertain quality and safety were found to be the key issues. 31.9 per cent of all respondents highlighted uncertain quality as a reason not to use it, with a notable 38.6 per cent of USA based participants choosing this reason. This is backed up by the findings of MPI Meetings Outlook research in February, asking the same question; 33.6 per cent of its respondents cited Uncertain Quality.

Safety was selected by 20.3 per cent, including 27.9 per cent of those in the US. 48 per cent of MPI respondents chose this.

When invited to specify other reasons of their own for not using such services, several suggested that lack of taxation and regulation was a concern.

Looking to the future, when asked whether they agreed with various statements about the development of the sharing economy in the travel sector in the next five years, there was a clear pattern.

Those in Germany were always distinctly less confident about prospects than the overall world view, so also to lesser extent were USA respondents. By contrast those in Africa, Middle East and the Far East as well as in Central and South America were usually more optimistic.

44.8 per cent of all respondents, up to 53.5 per cent of those in Germany, thought that legislation, regulation, objections and taxation will slow or limit the expansion in many countries.

When asked whether they thought that most barriers will be removed and the sharing economy will be accepted and flourish, 32.7 per cent worldwide, but only 25.5 per cent in Germany and just 26.1 per cent in the USA agreed. However 41.9 per cent of those in Central and South America think that the sharing economy will be accepted and flourish.

There was general optimism when asked whether they thought that many new applications of the concept will be launched successfully and be accepted. 44.0 per cent worldwide agreed but only 36.2 per cent in Germany did.

Usage in five years ahead

Considering usage in the future, overall there is a cautious confidence. 13.3 per cent think that it will plateau, 12.9 per cent believe usage and growth will decline as the novelty wears off and objections increase but 33.9 per cent that it will increase significantly. However, 17 per cent of Germans think usage will decline and only 27.7 per cent of them and just 28.9 per cent in the USA agree that it will increase significantly, substantially less than the 40.8 per cent in Central and Southern American who think this way.

The early morning seminar, organised by IMEX, drew a keen audience. Moderated by Greg Oates, Senior Editor of Skift and Padraic Gilligan, Managing Partner of Soolnua, the session featured several sharing economy entrepreneurs among the speakers. They were Jean-Michel Petit, CEO and co-founder of; Gary Schirmacher, SVP of Experient, A Maritz Travel Company; Jan Hoffmann-Keining, CMO of Spacebase and Damian Oracki, co-founder of Showslice.

Commenting on the session, Xavier Guillemin, Congress Market Director of Accor Hotels said: “The structure of the event was good and I liked the concept of sharing comments. The speakers were very good.

“We have to face up to the trend of the sharing economy in an increasingly digital world. There are still some risks, particularly with safety and security. Overall, the hotel industry needs to be inspired by this trend.”

Hosted buyer Cristiane Wellisch of Origami marketing & events from Brazil, said:

“I’ve already worked with Uber and Airbnb and this session enabled me to find out more about the market and the latest trends and how I might incorporate these ideas into my business meetings.”

Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group commented: “We wanted to give our buyers, visitors and exhibitors – and the industry as a whole – a snapshot of what meetings professionals think about this hot topic and the chance to learn more about this important, high profile business issue.

“We believe that everyone’s opinion is important and everyone should have a chance to air their thoughts. Through the survey and the seminar we aimed to facilitate this.

“The results of the survey and discussions highlight notable international variation in attitudes as well as both caution and optimism.

“It will be fascinating to see what the future actually reveals.”

ibtm america 2016 to Connect Elite Industry Buyers and Suppliers With 100% Mutual Match in Nashville

This year ibtm america 2016, part of the ibtm events portfolio, will take place from June 15-17 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is known as the largest exhibition and meetings venue in the continental US and features 882 guest rooms onsite, 6 ballrooms, more than 100 technologically advanced conference and breakout rooms, some 600,000 sq ft of meeting, convention and exhibit function space and 4.5 acres of tropical gardens. The property will create the perfect setting for bringing together meetings industry professionals from across the globe.

Jaime McAuley, Event Director, ibtm america commented, “The excitement behind delivering our event in different cities in the US adds variety and new experiences for all our attendees. One of the hottest convention cities in the US right now, Nashville is a bustling cultural hot-spot with more than 120 live music venues, a burgeoning culinary scene featuring everything from southern fare to haute cuisine, and a number of incredible meeting venues to offer international and regional planners.”

This year’s event will open with a 1 to 1 ratio of elite international and regional Association, Agency and Corporate buyers and industry suppliers, all of whom will have an opportunity to take part in a 100% compatible meeting or what ibtm america is calling 100% mutually matched business appointments. This system will enable Hosted Buyers and exhibitors to request appointments with the business leads they identify and create a diary of up to 30 appointments.

McAuley commented, “We were the first to roll out mutually matched appointments at ibtm america 2015 and we have been working to perfect the system even further to eliminate non-relevant appointments and maximize opportunity for ROI. As a result we are now able to deliver 100% mutually matched business appointments, which we believe is a first for an event of this kind in the US. The system is a unique method of ensuring that both parties at ibtm america have control of their time and investment at the event, knowing they have back to back appointments that are totally at their own request, matching their business objectives.”

All Hosted Buyers will be verified against a strict qualification criteria, which requires that they are senior level decision makers with proven budget and business to place in the US. Some of the Hosted Buyers attending this year include Philips (Brazil), Rimac Seguros y reaseguros (Peru), Hurricane Action Sports (Canada), Montreal Event Planner (Canada), Lenovo (China), GECK’O Incentives & Events (Germany), Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited (India), Fullteam Networks (Mexico), TUSExpo BV (Netherlands), Decast Group (Russian Federation), ABB INDUSTRIES (UAE), Ultima Media (UK), Smartfocus (UK), Freestyle Football Federation (UK), the American Association for Cancer Research (US), AT&T (US), Wells Fargo (US), Corning Inc. (US), The Geological Society of America (US), and Nature’s Way (US).

Attending Hosted Buyers will organize a variety events, the most popular being conferences and meetings, incentive travel, conventions/congresses, exhibitions, staff training/motivation, luxury travel and business travel. Hosted Buyers have also indicated a variety of product interests; 90% indicated an interest in hotels, 83% in conference meeting venues, 67% in Destination Management Companies, 62% in destinations, and 61% in resorts and spas.

Elite hotels and resorts, destinations, technology providers, incentive providers, DMCs, transportation companies, convention centres, cruise lines and more will exhibit. Exhibitors will be able to use the meeting pod format introduced at ibtm america 2015, which had a 95% satisfaction rating among exhibitors who felt that the new pod format signified the ever changing needs of the industry and that following their 2015 experience, they were likely to exhibit at ibtm america 2016.

All exhibitors and Hosted Buyers will be able to take part in a number of networking events and education sessions, designed to foster business connections among attendees and create an industry community throughout the three days that works and plays together.

The ibtm america Knowledge Forum will give exhibitors and Hosted Buyers the opportunity to attend CEU Accredited Sessions and experiential sessions covering thought provoking topics such as “Digital Security,” “Meetings Design” and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) areas that will resonate with current trends within the industry. ibtm america will also introduce the brand-new TECHCollective, created in partnership with DAHLIA+ and located within the Central Hub, featuring live demonstrations from a select number of innovative start-ups exhibiting at the event.

A total of ten exhibitors will be given the opportunity to showcase their products, including (, EventCollab (, InitLive (, and Hubvents (

McAuley commented, “Technology is one of the fastest growing sectors within the meetings and events industry and this means that meeting professionals are always playing catch up. This year we wanted to shine a spotlight on the top start-up tech companies attending our event and provide them with an opportunity to show the industry what they can do in person. The TECHCollective will provide a great educational platform for everyone to learn about the latest technology solutions as well as allow our Hosted Buyers to touch, feel and play with potential business partners’ products.”

Hosted in conjunction with the Nashville CVC, Visit Music City, Discovery Day will kick start ibtm america 2016 with tours of The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, the Music City Center, Nashville’s newest convention center which boasts 1.2 million square feet of meeting and exhibition space, and the Omni Hotel, one of Nashville’s premier luxury hotels, rated #1 on Cvent’s Top 100 Hotels in the United States.

Networking events will include a luncheon inspired by the music culture of Nashville where Lyric Crew, a group of seasoned songwriters and studio musicians, will work with attendees to create an ibtm america theme song, a unique evening in downtown Nashville with live music, bull riding and traditional Southern food tastings and dancing at Tequila Cowboy, one of Nashville’s hottest Honky Tonks, and an evening reception at one of The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center’s award winning restaurants.

“With 100% mutually matched business appointments rolling out this year, the focus is really on making this a quality event that offers a truly personalized experience to attendees providing maximum opportunity for ROI. We want to make sure that every moment of their time is accounted for, whether that’s connecting with industry peers at Discovery Day, meeting potential partners at one of our networking events, or attending business appointments with the buyers or suppliers they have identified as relevant to their business interests,” added McAuley.

For further information about exhibiting, please visit

Astronauts Inspire and Motivate Audiences Through New Partnership between Orate and uniphi space agency

Online marketplace and Astronaut talent management company join forces to create “out-of-this-world” experiences

A partnership was announced  between Orate, an innovative digital marketplace that allows event organizers to easily find and book thought leaders for their events, and uniphi space agency, a division of uniphi good, LLC, Talent Management and Brand Marketing Agency. Together, Orate and uniphi space agency will bring the inspirational stories and lessons of Astronauts to audiences of all kinds.

While Astronauts are an elite group with rare experiences, they can speak to universal themes: teamwork, collaboration, leadership, risk management and more. For that reason, these Astronauts – who are also accomplished scientists, inventors, educators, engineers, executives, historians, authors and philanthropists – are compelling speakers who draw crowds to all types of events. The collaboration between uniphi space agency and Orate will expand the reach and exposure of these accomplished Astronauts, and their incredible stories to event organizers who want to provide a unique and engaging perspective on high-demand topics.

uniphi space agency is honored to represent a diverse range of Astronauts”, said Annie Balliro, President and CEO of uniphi space agency. “We look forward to bringing their incredible stories and lessons learned to a wider audience through our collaboration with Orate. We have seen first-hand the incredible positive impact made by having an Astronaut participate in any event – corporate, education based, galas and more. For conference organizers and event planners, there is no better choice than an Astronaut to help deliver a meaningful message that will relate to everyone.”

uniphi space agency is the exclusive management agency for a diverse range of former Astronauts, who are all exceptional leaders in their current fields. Through Orate, event organizers can quickly and easily find the best speakers for their events. Orate provides a central platform, with all of the pertinent information an event organizer needs to evaluate and book a speaker.

“Regardless of the markets they serve, event organizers want to book a speaker that will draw attendees to their event, one that inspires, and that engages their audience,” said Orate Chief Commercial Officer Sara Capra. “Astronauts are uniquely positioned to do that, and those represented by uniphi space agency have deep experience not only in space, but behind speakers’ podiums, as well.”

To invite an Astronaut to speak at your event, visit, email or call 385-336-7283.

About Orate

Orate is an online marketplace that connects event organizers with the most relevant thought leaders. Organizers can find, vet, and book the perfect speaker in one centralized location, saving companies time and money. Whether it’s a keynote speaker, panel moderator, workshop facilitator, or speaker for a webinar, Orate connects meeting and event organizers with a wide range of speakers across a multitude of industries. For more information, visit or connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

About uniphi space agency

uniphi space agency, a division of uniphi good LLC, is honored to represent an incredible roster of Astronauts, who share this very unique “out of this world” experience, related to lessons learned as an Astronaut from a personal point of view, and in their own unique voice, to deliver some of the world’s most compelling and unique book projects, speaking engagements, collaborations and beyond. Topics include things such as STEM/STEAM topics, innovation, motivation, technology, perseverance, education, engineering, safety, adventure, risk, strategy, “anything is possible”, lessons from space as related to here on Earth – and even the sky isn’t the limit. there are infinite possibilities for everyone to follow their dreams! #WeBelieveInAstronauts

ASAE Welcomes Experience Columbus as New Strategic Partner

ASAE announces Experience Columbus has signed-on as a Strategic Partner in its Alliance Partnership Program.

“We are delighted to have Experience Columbus as a Strategic Partner,” said ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE. “This new partnership will provide Experience Columbus with a great opportunity to continue to build relationships in the association community and educate our members about the many new and exciting developments that make Columbus a vibrant destination.”

The Alliance Partnership Program was developed to provide the industry partner community with opportunities to align itself with ASAE and the association sector through customized marketing platforms. It also offers partners the chance to help build and maintain year-round relationships with ASAE members and nonprofit communities worldwide.

“As an emerging destination, we are thrilled to partner with such a visionary leader in the meetings industry,” said Brian Ross, Experience Columbus president and CEO. “We look forward to joining with ASAE as a Strategic Partner and for the opportunity it will allow us to increase awareness about all Columbus has to offer conventions and tradeshows.”

For more information about the ASAE Alliance Partnership program, please visit ASAE ( or contact Dan Melesurgo at

MEDIA CONTACT: Sabrina Kidwai, APR,, 202-326-9505.

About ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 21,000 association executives and industry partners representing 10,000 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world. With support of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession, and provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. For more information about ASAE, visit

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is an Accredited Training Provider

Now sanctioned to train external participants

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) is now sanctioned to provide training to external participants following receipt of the ‘Certified Training Provider’ accreditation from the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources’ Human Resource Development Fund* (HRDF).

Rohizat Baharum, the Centre’s Director of Human Resource, said that cognisant of her role as an industry leader, the venue has, since day one, been committed to building a passionate, experienced and flexible team to ensure the delivery of quality products and services across the board.

“Therefore, this certification fits perfectly with our vision of being a knowledge centre and training provider for local industry players and stakeholders, to help raise the level of service delivery and grow Malaysia’s business events footprint globally. We look forward to sharing our training experience and knowhow; garnered from over a decade of operations, with partners and stakeholders to help boost Malaysia’s competitiveness against regional and international competition.”

According to Rohizat, the certification process took about three months to complete and involved an online submission and an on-site audit by HRDF officers. The facility was also required to have a minimum one HRDF certified trainer on board and this, the Centre passed with flying colours with four certified trainers – Rohizat; Suya Sumithra Thangaiah, Training Manager; Girbakran a/l Balachandran, HR Supervisor – Training and Azman Ali, Assistant Catering Manager.

Since opening in June 2005, the Centre has made great strides in responding to the Malaysian government’s call to nurture and retain local talent and to develop innovations that will benefit the hospitality industry in Malaysia as a whole. The Centre was the first in Malaysia’s hospitality arena to address the flexible staff shortage faced by the industry with a manpower development initiative, the Ambassador Programme. Designed to nurture and grow a talent pool, the Centre’s ‘Ambassadors’, when not on duty at the venue, can freelance with other hospitality organisations. To date, more than 6,700 ‘Ambassadors’ have been trained under the programme.

The Centre also collaborates with institutions of higher learning on programmes aimed at familiarising students with the industry and the different career opportunities available to them. They include the Student Employment Programme (STEP) which involves participants attending multiple workshops and receiving on-the-job training and exposure to various departments within the Centre and the six-month Experiential Learning Programme (ELP) whereby participating Diploma students spend four days working at the Centre and one day in the classroom at their respective college.

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*The HRDF is tasked with the development of quality human capital and a world-class workforce as a means towards achieving Malaysia’s aspiration of developed status by 2020. For more information on the HRDF, visit