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mia praises perseverance of events industry

The Meetings Industry Association (mia) has used its AGM to recognise the achievements of event management professionals as the sector continues to overcome challenges old and new.

Taking to the stage at the association’s 34th annual general meeting, chair Charles Sargeant acknowledged ‘triumphs amongst the turbulence’, recognising the importance of the mia’s role to continue providing advice and guidance to the sector in a period of ongoing political and financial instability.   

To aid this support package, the association launched dedicated peer-to-peer groups in 2023 to help address the evolving needs of the sector. Sargeant stated that these ‘purposefully span the entire sector and offer a platform that allows event professionals to join forces and address industry issues and identify opportunities, ensuring that we as a sector are better equipped to adapt and thrive’. 

Sargeant concluded by recognising the achievements of the mia’s chief executive and team, particularly their efforts in driving financial growth. Their contributions not only facilitated the association’s recovery from significant pandemic-related losses but also bolster its financial stability to support future plans and initiatives.

Chief executive Kerrin MacPhie praised the perseverance of the sector, highlighting increases in enquiry value and volume, longer lead times, higher conversion rates, a reduction in vacancies, as well as significant investment in IT and infrastructure across the sector despite the challenges it’s faced.

She said: “Rail strikes and subsequent disruption and the rising cost of doing business have tried and failed to significantly impact our industry. This says a lot about who we are and how we ride the storm when faced with a challenge.”

The launch of the mia’s student membership and peer-to-peer groups, as well as the delivery of 35+ events were among some of the key highlights shared by MacPhie. The chief executive went on to reveal impending developments to its AIM accreditation, with eyes also firmly focused on Martyn’s Law, ESG and more in 2024.

Looking ahead in a year that will include a general election, MacPhie emphasised that the mia’s “relationship with government needs to be strong and the value of business meetings and events must be clear and understood”. As industry representatives, she reinforced the important role the association plays in bringing business meetings and events and its most pressing matters to the forefront of the government’s attention.

Concluding the AGM was the appointment of the mia board for 2024/2025. Charles Sargeant of Whittlebury Hall remains as chair following his appointment last year, with Wyboston Lakes Resort’s Steve Jones serving as past chair. Barry Cope of ACC Liverpool retains the title of treasurer and Kevin Breeze remains as company secretary.   

Other board members for 2024/25 include: PwC’s Samantha Van Leeuwen; Lime Venue Portfolio’s Jo Austin; NEC Group’s Allan Boyle; Meet Devon’s Nicky Harding; Hilton Birmingham Metropole’s Nicola Underhill; Off Limits Group’s Martin Stevens; The Delegate Wranglers’ Neil Thompson; Grand Brighton and Richmond Hill Hotels’ Andrew Mosley; Park Plaza Hotel Group’s Manju Goel; Central Hall Venues’ Sarah Franczak; Hotel Football’s Jessica Southworth and Meet and Potato’s Jon Kelly.


Stuart O'Brien

All stories by: Stuart O'Brien