In order to get to know our Hall of Famers better, CMEExpo will be interviewing inductees one by one after their induction. These interviews have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Name: Francois Brunet
Inducted in: 2019
Category: Industry Volunteer
Currently working as: Chairman, D.E. Systems
CMEExpo: Tell us a little bit about your journey into meetings and events.
FB: Well, I started with D.E. Systems 21 years ago. I got into some government work doing some small meetings and that, which turned into larger meetings and conferences. And that’s when I decided to get involved in the meeting industry segment. We did that by being involved with associations like MPI, PCMA, CSAE, and CanSPEP as a company. And that evolved and expanded our business with meeting directors and meeting planners. That’s really where we are today.
CMEExpo: What got you interested in the events industry?
FB: It lined up quite nicely with what we were doing at D.E. Systems. We were doing software development for registration. So from a business standpoint, it just made sense. From a personal standpoint, I just really enjoyed the industry. It’s all about face-to-face meeting and networking, which for an introvert isn’t the most appealing thing but you make so many connections and get on-hands learning you can’t get anywhere else.
CMEExpo: What is your favourite part of the industry?
FB: It’s so vibrant. It’s alive. There’s always something going on. Other industries are more low key, but I find the events industry is always moving forward, and is always exciting. The people in the industry are always looking to do something different and push the envelope.
CMEExpo: Can you tell us about a favourite event you’ve been a part of?
FB: Probably a larger event I worked on. Like the G7 summit. You work for three to four months to stage the event, and when it happens, and works really well…those are the events that stick out.
CMEExpo: You were inducted as the Industry Volunteer; can you tell us what that meant to you?
FB: It’s so special to be inducted, especially where I am at in my career. I’m at the twilight of my career and I’m planning on retiring next year. I’ve been involved in so many industry associations, and so to be recognized for my contributions, it’s really humbling and satisfying.
CMEExpo: Tell us what’s next for you. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
FB: As I said, I’m retiring next year, but that doesn’t mean I won’t still be a part of the industry. I plan on volunteering in the industry still, so I’ll be around for a while longer.