The inaugural Event Leaders Exchange (ELX) Annual Congress took place in Chicago, February 1-3, 2023, and gathered senior event leaders to address the industry’s most pressing issues. Faced with immense challenges in the post-pandemic world, the Congress facilitated strategic, actionable conversation between ELX members and partners.
Congress sessions were largely member-led and included: event measurement, benchmarking, supplier partnerships, diversity, equity inclusion and belonging (DEIB), sustainability, travel boycotts, attendee experience, technology, and more. The sessions invited participants to offer insights, ask questions, and to steer future initiatives for scaled global events.
“My sense of the Congress exceeds expectations in terms of the solid creation of a meaningful community that coalesced quickly in the first day of the congress,” said ELX Co-Founder David Kliman. “The Congress highlighted the need for collaboration and communication. Whatever sector they're in, global heads of corporate events can’t operate in a vacuum.”
The Congress highlighted post-pandemic challenges to the events industry, many of which centered around enhanced communication, co-creation, and putting more power back into the hands of event attendees.
“The pandemic really highlighted where our weaknesses as an industry have been – and it shone a light on the gaps we needed to fill,” said Chloe Richardson, Managing Director of ELX. “Event leaders are listening to and designing experiences that meet and exceed attendees’ expectations.”
The inaugural Congress received sparkling reviews. ELX member Debbie Brewer, VP of Strategic Events at ServiceNow, said, “Often in the events industry you’re with people who don’t have the same scope as you when you go to these meetings. I got a lot of little nuggets, and met people who I want to connect with later.”
ELX partner Joan Wells, President at Augeo Marketing added, “I would equate it to launching a start-up in a new space and I think that it is a successful launch. I see the gelling of a really solid community that has all the foundational elements to be a sustainable community.”
Founders of ELX ensure that the future of the group will be member-driven, ELX Co-Founder Kimberly Meyer said, “I think that we’re absolutely open and understand that as this community evolves, we need to keep evolving, changing, and pivoting to make sure we meet everything our members need and beyond.”
Mark Brewster, Co-Founder of ELX, added, “As the trend to centralize meetings and events functions in large corporations continues, 'Global Heads of Events' are increasingly critical in managing program strategy and ensuring that event spend delivers best value and impact. It's so important that these leaders are not limited by isolation. This why we collaborated with others to create a community for senior level corporate events leaders to exchange ideas.”
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