Three years in preparation and then it’s gone in a flash. For some reason all of us on the team felt the Munich conference just flew by.
It’s a highlight of our team’s year to welcome all our members and delegates to the International Relocation Congress and this year was no exception. Dom and I always arrive on site the Wednesday before the start of the conference week and spend the next three days sorting out all the materials, filling the conference bags and having final planning meetings with the venues. This year we also worked with Tatjana and Svenja from destination event company, Weichlein, who smoothed the way with our external partners. Some years we handle all of this in-house but increasingly we look to work with a local event company to help with logistics such as outside caterers, bus companies for transfers, tour options etc.
We started welcoming the first delegates to the hotel on Friday and Saturday just as the weather changed. On Thursday evening we joined 1000’s of locals and tourists in the 26 degree balmy evening beer garden right by the Hilton. By Friday the temperature had dropped to 10 and the rain came! Luckily in this instance, the Hilton as a venue was perfect for less than ideal weather. Had we had cold and rain in Dubrovnik it would have been a huge logistical issue… but we would have sold hundreds of umbrellas for the charity.
This year we had the largest choice of breakout and plenary sessions and keynotes than ever and I send a huge thank you to the planning team for all their work but more importantly to the speakers and moderators who brought their knowledge and skill to the delegates. With such a wide ranging and diverse programme we are of course aware that it’s often tough to choose and we’re going to scale back the programme for 2020 so there will only ever be two sessions running at the same time. This does mean that slots for speakers will be reduced so if you’re keen to lead a session, start planning now! Dom and Peggy will begin the selection process along with the Executive Group once the call for submissions goes out at the start of September.
It was a huge pleasure to welcome back our host, Frances Edmonds who once again, scored the highest approval rating of all our speakers as she has done for the last 10 years.
Organising a gala dinner for 750 guests is something we know we need to delegate to a great team and not micro-manage!. The team at the Paulaner Brauhaus this year surpassed our expectations with quite flawless organisation. Thanks to everyone who bid for items in the auction to raise money for our charity ZKM. We raised just over €13,000 which is a great achievement so thanks to everyone. EuRA is a multi-cultural and inclusive organization but it has come to our attention that we missed an opportunity to be culturally sensitive.
In a regrettable oversight, our conference dates clashed with a memorial day. Any offence we caused by this oversight was unintentional and we sincerely apologize. In the future, event dates will be published on the EuRA website and Facebook page as far in advance as possible; giving everyone an opportunity to notify EuRA if something is missed.
I know I write about this a lot, but as a not-for-profit, we rely on the generosity of our sponsors and exhibitors to be able to run the event in the way we do. Some years such as this year in Munich, their support is the difference between a profit and a loss. Our gala this year was twice as expensive as its nearest rival which was the Vasa Museum in Stockholm but we don’t raise prices based on that. Instead we meticulously plan years ahead to know that if one conference breaks even, one two years later will make a big profit which will fund our projects. This is why we’re so grateful to everyone for sticking by the zero tolerance policy for non-registered delegates hanging out in the lobby. EuRA is run on very tight budgets and everyone playing the game, really helps.
There are so many people to thank for delivering such an event that I really can’t do it here but they know who they are!
So now we move on to new projects! We’re delighted that four new MIM+ modules are now in the planning and will roll out across the rest of the year. At the last Executive Group meeting we looked again at streamlining our membership categories and also how to energise our new President, Michele Bramstoft’s manifesto pledge to give relocation a higher profile.
We are re-starting our research initiatives in the autumn. We sadly lost our colleague and friend Maria Manly to her lifelong passion for yoga so we’ve delayed the new research until we reshuffle roles around at HQ. Currently we’re collaborating with Steve Cryne and his team at the CERC in a ground breaking project assessing corporate attitudes and predictions for mobility programmes globally.
And of course, Ho Chi Minh! We’re very excited to be representing our members in Asia and bookings and sponsor opportunities are all on the website. See you there!!