The International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) celebrated culinary and service excellence as well as a new industry partnership at its 2017 America’s Connect conference, which was held April 4-6, 2017 at the UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center, located on UCLA’s main campus in Los Angeles.
“This year we were delighted to bring new and exciting education to the annual Connect conference,” said Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC. “Our members, who travelled from throughout North America to Los Angeles were able to experience this learning together and share ideas that will help them deliver exceptional meetings in 2017 and beyond.”
Global Copper Skillet Competition
For the second year in a row, a Canadian took one of the two top chef awards in ICCA’s Global Copper Skillet Competition. Kent Phillips, executive chef at Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre, London, Ontario, took the Senior Category Copper Skillet. Mary Palecek, sous chef at Sundial – Woodside Conference Centre, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England, took home the Junior Category Copper Skillet.
Global Copper Skillet Competition is a three-part competition held in phases around the world. Chefs, in junior and senior categories, from member venues have to capture the top spots in two levels of competition before moving on to the finals, which sees six chefs from IACC Americas, Australia/Asia/Pacific and European member venues vie for the top spots in a Top Chef/Chopped style competition, held at IACC Americas Connect.
IACC Connect Honors Distinguished Members
The conference also included IACC’s annual awards gala celebrating its members. The 2017 IACC Awards Recipients include:
- Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service – Tom Cappucci, general manager at the Inn at Darden Conference and Event Center, Darden School of Business/FLIK Hospitality Group
- Pyramid Award (recognizing member who shows a true and long-lasting commitment to IACC education) – Cindy Novotny, managing partner at Master Connection Associates
- Award of Excellence (recognizing member who gives their time, talent and resources to expand and enhance IACC’s education offerings)– Eric Bracht, senior consultant, AV Operations at Electro-Media Design, Ltd.
- Doris Sklar Scholarship Award – Kate Blumenthal, graduating senior at New York University
- Global Distinguished Service Award (recognizing years of leadership and extraordinary service to IACC) – TJ Fimmano, general manager at Dolce Hotels and Resorts
America’s Connect 2017 Highlights
The conference also featured a number of innovative sessions and a major partnership announcement.
IACC-MPI Global Alliance – IACC, the only association to certify conference and meetings-focused venues on a global basis, and Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the leading global association for meeting professionals, have entered into a five-year global partnership, which will see the two associations share event and learning platforms, including education delivered at annual conferences, regional events, and online as well as research initiatives.
One of the first IACC-MPI Alliance projects to roll out this summer will entail MPI conferences streamed live to IACC venues, where MPI members can come together, learn and experience valuable networking. The venues will all be IACC certified and capable of delivering a quality event with live streaming of content, supported by IACC member staff. MPI’s 2017 World Education Congress, which takes place June 19-22 in Las Vegas, will be the first conference featured.
Additionally, MPI will take part in the next phase of the innovative IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ research project, which aims to transform the meeting experience through a global collaboration of leaders in conference and meeting space design, technology, hospitality, delegate collaboration, experience and conference management.
Global Innovations Workshop – One of IACC Connect’s most popular workshops this year was the Global Innovations session, where IACC members presented their innovative and creative initiatives that either develop their product and service or help them run aspects of their business more efficiently. Members shared innovations in new furniture design, creative CMP meeting packaging and new food and beverage styles of service. Borrowing a “speed dating” concept, each participating member received 5 minutes to share their idea in this fast-paced showcase.
MPI Meeting Planner Workshop – Coming on the heels of the IACC-MPI Alliance announcement, IACC in partnership with MPI staged a California meeting planner session that zeroed in on new and innovative educational formats for meetings. Planners and operators got together for this session to explore trends in introducing meeting formats such as Fishbowl, Spectrogram and Open Space–and the impacts these can have on delegate participation and collaboration. IACC members considered how they could make their venue offering more open to accommodating new styles of meeting formats. “The Exploring Unique Learning Formats was a very informative session allowing me to understand better the types of meetings clients are now booking,” said Katie Schultz, director of sales at Chubb Hotel & Conference Center. “The workshop did a great job in ensuring our understanding of the different formats and giving us time to demonstrate with each other.”
More Meeting Design in 2017 – IACC demonstrated a commitment to delivering as much learning as possible in the two days that IACC-Americas Connect took place. The association brought in Mike Van Der Vijver of Mind Meeting in the Netherlands to facilitate the learning, which started with a creative newcomers session and included delegates participating in a new closing session entitled “Capture the Learning”, where all came together and shared the highlights from their two days at the conference.