And we’re back! Confex kicks off trade show schedule

After being postponed three times, International Confex at ExCeL London finally got off the ground on Wednesday 1 September.

The education programme saw Michael Gietzen, managing director of Identity, discuss the key learnings from delivering the G7 Summit, while the audience also heard from Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, who scrutinised the lack of female representation in leadership in the UK. Then Kathleen Warden, director of conference sales at the Scottish Event Campus and Identity’s project director for COP26, David Zolkwer, took to the stage in the keynote theatre to discuss the impact of delivering COP26 and the national impact it will have. 

Exhibitors and delegates were equally as keen to reconnect after two years of attending online-only tradeshows and virtual networking events.

Lizzy Eaton, founder of Oddity Events explained to M&IT that attending International Confex had boosted her confidence and added to her excitement to attend upcoming trade shows such as The Meetings Show at ExCeL London between 30 September and 1 October.

“Today has been positive, encouraging and inspirational,” Lizzy said. “Seeing all these people come out here after a year and a half out of action has just reiterated how resilient the industry is and that we’ve all learned so much since we last saw each other.

“We’ve all got so many stories to tell and skills to share – it’s been really great.”

Alongside the longstanding industry suppliers who were exhibiting at the event, including hotels, event technology platforms, and caterers, there were more than a few new faces among the crowd – a promising sign for an industry that has lost talent as a result of redundancies and sector transfers.

Those included in the new crowd were High Flying Events Crew, an event staffing agency that was conceived by and consists of an ex-cabin crew who are able to transfer their years of experience from the sky to the ground.

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