Associations World Congress

9 July 2023 Florence, Italy Congress


Each session of the Association Leadership and Conference & Events Strategy streams will take the format adopted in 2022 in Lisbon (bulleted below), which had excellent feedback. The Session Leader will present and facilitate discussion and delegates will contribute to the discussions and case studies.

  • Introduction and challenges facing associations in the topic area
  • About the delegates's specific challenges - from input provided by delegates
  • Discussion among delegates on the issues and how to address them
  • Case studies (x 4/5) by delegates, presented to the room of how the have addressed issues
  • Presentation of other case studies by delegate's around their tables
  • Exercise (subject to time available)
  • Conclusions
Each session is half a day long with a refreshment break in the middle, except for those on Tuesday afternoon which are shorter with no break.

DAY ONE - Sunday 9 July

13:00 - 17:30 
Medical Associations Meeting

This annual meeting within the congress has proved very popular each year. We examine the top issues raised by medical associations, with setting the scene, discussion threads on the top three issues, case studies from delegates presented to the room and discussed around tables, ending with the summing up.

  • 13:00 -14:00 - Lunch
  • 14:00 - 15:30 - Discuss and share issues particular to Medical Associations, Societies & Federations 
  • 15:30 - 16:00 - Refreshment break
  • 16:00 - 17:30 - Discuss and share issues particular to Medical Associations, Societies & Federations

Each delegate will be invited to share their key challenges, from which the topics will be defined for each of the two sessions.

Linda Pereira

Executive Director
CPL Meetings & Events


Main Congress Starts
Welcome Reception

at the Palazzo degli Affari

Welcome Dinners

at selected restaurants in Florence centre

DAY TWO - Monday 10 July

08:30 - 08:50
Plenary: Opening Session 
09:00 - 12:00

Including a
30 minute refreshment break

Association Strategy
1. Critical challenges to sector-leading associations: Identifying and solving threats & taking advantage of opportunities 

We have been adjusting our business, services and member offering in the face of disruptions over the last few years. While normality has returned, we haven't always taken advantage of the opportunities presented. How have we and can we do this?  How do we face leaner competitors, be they out of new online communities, publishers or other associations expanding into our territory?

During this facilitated session, delegates will consider the opportunities that others have taken, what threats are a danger to their association's position in the sector, revenue and membership, and how to ensure they are in an un-assailed position for a success.

Andy Burman

Managing Director
SEBCO Consulting


Conference & Events Strategy
2. Conference Successes and Challenges - for a robust & growing future

It’s been a rollercoaster – but what have we learnt? We went to online, to hybrid, and back to in-person, or in-person plus. We struggled with which audience to privilege. The challenges of budgets, diversity, sustainability, accessibility, increasing delegate numbers, decreasing delegate numbers – happy sponsors, less happy sponsors – we’ve heard it all. And boy did we learn fast. Learning about online delivery, pricing and marketing online events. Hybrid was expensive, technology was developing rapidly but not always effective, too often members naïvely demanded or we naïvely gave them free or very low-fee online attendance, and sponsors and exhibitors couldn't get enough out of them.

In this session we bring together all that experience and learning, share what we discovered, what worked and what didn’t. During this facilitated session, delegates discuss the core new challenges, hear from each other about successes and learning moments, and how to overcome the costs and mindsets that prevent expansion, growth and greater revenue.

Sasha Frieze

Managing Director
The Business Narrative

  Executive Education
3. Coaching for Growth: Conversations that enable discovery and innovation

How you serve as a leader has changed. Today, being a good leader does not mean having all of the answers. It’s about harnessing the potential of others to create them. Your job is to work collaboratively
with your people, enabling them to tap into their best thinking, and exceed their own expectations. The outcome is a highly motivated, energised team. A team able to generate the ideas and actions that meet the challenges of today. And possessing the belief that they will be able to handle whatever lies up

To get to this place requires a shift in how you communicate with your people. Today’s high performing leaders are using a coaching skillset to support their people to reach their full potential.
Coaching is a particular kind of conversation. It’s a partnership that stimulates learning, increases creativity, inspires and motivates. It is spacious, open and non-judgemental. It can create shifts in
relationships, behaviour and beliefs. It can build resilience, responsibility and self-reliance.

In this interactive session, ICF credentialed coach John Scarrott PCC, will share the principles and a practical guide to coaching. He will share the skills and qualities you need to unlock more of the
potential of your people and learn and support yourself as a leader in the process.

  • Introductions and goals for the session
  • An introduction to coaching: the key principles of professional coaching from the ICF
  • Key Skills: the four ACES that leaders can nurture in order to harness coaching
  • ACES in depth: the chance to explore the ACES (Attention, Curiosity, Expanded Listening and Speaking) in discussion and exercises
  • Practical steps: how to have a coaching conversation, set up, move along and complete
  • Barriers: what can get in the way of coaching and how to handle it
  • Discussion: the opportunity to raise questions and discuss challenges
  • Action: the space to develop a plan to begin to work on these skills beyond the session

John Scarrott

Trainer and Coach
John Scarrott Training and Coaching

12:15 - 13:30
Appointments Session
13:30 - 14:30
Lunch & Networking
14:30 - 17:35

Including a
30 minute refreshment break

Association Leadership - Session 4
4. Association Data Analytics

Data and analytics is essential to driving success. This session will help you understand the usage of data in your association, key technologies, what to measure and how to forecast. 

In this session, you will gain and understanding of:

  • Where your organisation sits on the Data maturity scale and the different uses of data – automation, reporting, prediction, compliance & audit
  • What you need to measure and how to grow membership – renewal, recruitment, service usage, engagement
  • Common technologies used for data analytics – PowerBI, Tableau, Dashboards, Google Analytics
  • How data can be used to predict the future and assess risk
  • AIs and ChatGPT and their use in membership - A brief look at the future

Charles Veal

Membership Insights

Executive Education - Session 5
5. Outsourcing & sourcing: Successful approaches for the highest quality and success

From total conference management, sales agencies to event management technologies, there are many areas you can outsource and if you are expanding rapidly or lacking expertise in critical areas, it may be essential. However, as we hear of many failures with outsourcing and even have experienced it ourself, the process needs detailed examination and learning.

In this session, we will hear of key association successes and learn of the critical requirements for: agility, flexibility, resilience and mutual profit.  How to make outsourcing a partnership that truly works well with gainshare outcome based models.

The Global Sourcing Association will also present their case study of outsourcing everything in their association, including additionally offshoring.  Learn from them also of their framework for reducing time and risk with standardisation in: Accounting, Marketing, NDAs, Confidentiality, Liability provisions and more.

Kerry Hallard

Global Sourcing Association

  Conference & Events Strategy
6. Re-examining the Conference Creation Process – a framework for an effective event strategy and design

How do we meet post-pandemic? How do we hardwire purpose and outcomes into our event design? How do we sort through conflicting information - Back to live? Hybrid? Accessibility? Diversity? Sustainability? Responding to millennial and Gen Z desires?

Now is the time to reimagine your conference, congress or summit creation process – from those very first building blocks. This session is designed to help you develop both your flagship Event Strategy and Event Design so that you and your teams have clear frameworks that you can reference throughout your event lifecycle.

The session will take delegates through the Event Narrative Framework (ENF), help you articulate a great question around which to frame your event's objective, and give you the building blocks to explore designing events with a clear purpose, based on these seven questions:

  • Why are you doing this event?
  • What journey are you taking your participants on?
  • Who are you stakeholders (and which want in-person and which online)?
  • How you create an experience to inspire change
  • How to share your message and promote the event to the audience
  • How to execute with purpose, excellence and quality production
  • How to measure results event and plan for the future

The session will also show you how to take your Event Narrative Framework and take it to the next level – event design; a process to help you shape your content, experiences, showcase your associations services and benefits, and hardwire diversity and accessibility into your event design plan.

Sasha Frieze

Managing Director
The Business Narrative


17:45 - 18:30
Appointments Session
19:30 - 22:30
Congress Party at the Palazzo Gondi

Taking place in the centre of Florence, the party with local wines and tuscan food and entertainment, will be an amazing evening with great fun and networking.

DAY THREE - Tuesday 11 July

08:30 - 11:30

Including a
30 minute refreshment break

Association Strategy
7. Succesful Member Engagement

At the previous congress we focused on the measurement of engagement, considering also what does 'member engagement' really mean and what is useful engagement worth measuring and what isn't. In this session we look specifically at how to increase engagement and monitor effectiveness. For an area that can seem quite ethereal its important to adopt rigourous and meaningful methods.

In this session you will examine successful engagement growth, discuss what member engagement means for your organisation and how to create your own system that is purposeful and delivers real results. 

  • How to enhance your member benefits
  • Maximising engagement
  • Demonstrating value to encourage retention

Lisa Collins

Managing Director
Dovetail Creative


Conference & Events Strategy
8. unConferences and Side Events: Addressing the critical threats & opportunities

There are two ways you ought to be concerned about unConferences & Side events: When your annual event attracts them and when you want to create them for yourself alongside other organisation's events.

Some events have become world famous due to their openness to side events. Others struggle to work out what to do with side events and communities that can emerge in parallel to summits.

If your event is large enough to attract side events or if it does already, then you need to address this pro-actively to avoid them undermining your own event and your revenue. We need to consider: Do they compete? Should you accept them but control them tightly? Should you want them to profilferate? We will examine the issues, explore what forms side events can take. We will discuss the role of associations and companies in shaping or running these events. We will discuss the role played by technology to facilitate communities and unofficial programmes. And we will dig into the opportunities that can be revealed, not just in side events for your own summits, but holding side events alongside other expos and events. 

This session will be led by one of the most imaginative community and event creators (and one of our former keynote speakers), Mark Turrell, the creator of #unDavos. 

Mark Turrell

Professor of Global Strategy at Hult International Business School
Vork & Orcasci

  Executive Education - Session 8
9. Take to the Stage: Speak with confidence and highly effectively when it matters most

An association leader is expected to be a comfortable presenter. Speaking and presenting during meetings is a frequent occurence, but then there are the bigger occasions. The audience is larger, the
occasion is more formal, and you may be speaking on a topic that is less part of your day-to-day. Whether it’s an annual conference, AGM, awards dinner or something else, these moments are bigger.
The stakes are higher. The opportunities are greater. These occasions are your opportunity to:

  • Lead and promote through sharing ideas with others
  • Activate a positive connection between the audience and your Aassociation
  • Inspire trust and credibility in you as a leader
  • Create confidence in your association

This session will support you to make the most of these opportunities. ICF credentialed coach and experienced trainer and speaker, John Scarrott (PCC) will share his proven approach to success. This session will support you to create a step change in your approach to speaking, look forward to your next opportunity to speak, and be ready harness the occasion to raise the profile of your association.

  • The four Ps of successful speaking: Preparation, Practise, Performance, Personal Confidence
  • Preparation: What will you say and how will you say it? Planning and storylines to work with
  • Practise: How to practise to improve your performance
  • Performance: What to nurture and what to avoid around body language and voice
  • Personal confidence: boost confidence levels, before, during and after your speaker slot
  • Practical matters 1: A checklist for what to do in the run up to the speaking opportunity
  • Practical matters 2: Other than what you say, the key choices that make your presentation effective including slide options, use of technology and delivery methods
  • Action plan and next steps: plan what you’ll do next to take this forward

John Scarrott

Trainer and Coach
John Scarrott Training and Coaching

11:45 - 13:00
Appointments Session
13:00 - 14:00
Lunch & Networking
14:00 - 16:00



Association Leadership - Session 10
10. Go Global: exploiting potential for international growth

All associations have the opportunity to grow their membership and services internationally. It's an opportunity that when planned carefully can provide greater influence, a global presence, and a substantial revenue stream. The last few years has changed so many aspects of how business is done internationally - new opportunities have arisen and others have closed. 

Tim Whiteman, an expert in international growth, will introduce the critical aspects for success. He will lead the discussions and case studies, and present his own experience of growing associations and businesses while facilitating an exchange of ideas and best practice. The session will cover:

  • Is your association truly international?
  • What can you bring to other countries?
  • Recent case studies of successful international growth
  • How to determine the opportunities for your sector
  • International vs.Global
  • Avoiding confrontation in new regions and the advantages of domestic organisations
  • Different strategies: Membership led, Events led, Qualification led
  • Creating the team
  • Examination of possible business models
  • Pricing approaches for sustainable growth

Tim Whiteman

Chief Executive Officer

Association Leadership - Session 10
11. Association Awards Success Stories

During this session you will examine the successes various associations have had with their projects, and which were finalists in the International and European Association Awards.

SPE PetroBowl Championship (Winner, Best Digital Transformation)
Presented by James Whitaker
Senior Young Member Programs Manager
Society of Petroleum Engineers

International Social Housing Festival (Winner, Best Event of the Year)
Presented by Diana Yordanova
Communications Director
Housing Europe & ARA

AIPH World Green City Awards (Finalist, Best Event of the Year)
Presented by Audrey Timm
Technical Advisor to AIPH
International Association of Horticultural Producers

Love Your Eyes Campaign (Winner, Best Campaign of the Year)
Presented by Simon Darvill
Director of Communications, Campaigns & Events
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness

The Global Skills Matrix (Winner, Best Education or Professional Development Offering)
Presented by Helen Monument
The World Administrators Alliance

Introduced by Anca Urdea, Association Awards & Success Stories Manager at AAE

Congress Closes