Bestuurswissel bij MPI Belgium

MPI Belgium heeft een nieuwe 'president'. Kevin praat met Katinka Meszaros en Elina Jutelyte over de wissel en de uitdagingen in het corona-tijdperk.

20-07-2020 -  by Kevin Van der Straeten

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Hi Elina, Katinka, welcome to our studio. It's a really strange and weird time currently. How do you see the future? For our industry.

Yes, it's a very important question. And I think everyone is thinking about that right now.

And the future? Probably not as, you know, positive as we would like to have.

Obviously, not everyone will survive through this period, because it hit us very hard.

But what's important will be happening is that we will see transition. And from MPI point-of-view we hope to see the industry will be more united than before.

And also, we'll see much more interesting new products coming on the digital side. And the industry itself will become more digital. That's what we're going to.

To our perspective, it's a new product, actually. It's not a competition. Because, we still like to meet in person, right? We can't take that away. But what will be coming is a new product of digital events.

And that is a type of experiences that actually can live longer. Because we can access the information and access the contacts at any point of time. And it can be launched much faster. So, we talk about a different set of skills. Also a different technology and different experiences altogether.

You're in transition in the MPI Belgium sector. Katinka is taking over from Elina. Mid during the crisis. Was this a good time to switch?

Yes, well maybe I'll just introduce Katinka indeed. She joined...

She's coming as the new President and it's indeed probably the most exciting time for this change. Unfortunately we have to respect the guidelines of MPI, so that's indeed the period. But it's up to Katinka to carry forward the development that we have done the last years.

Okay, welcome. And how do you see your new role in MPI Belgium? Do you have plans to start new projects? Or...

So, first of all we would like to continue the work laid before with this amazing MPI Board before us. So, that's definitely important.

And we were already working on building relationships,  engaging with our members. So, we will continue that.

And we also added another, kind of, dimension. Which will be focusing on technology. So, we will have different projects in that. We have a person, a designated VP technology. So, we are investing in that.

And also education to our members. Because MPI has a lot of added education on programs. And we would like to bring even more to our members so they get this value out of their membership.

We would like to really collaborate with other associations. And we would like to do this partnership, building relationships. Not only with members, but also with other stakeholders in Belgium, in the event industry.

So, these are the main things we will focus on.

And who are you then thinking about? Is it the federations?

Yes, for example the different federations, associations and we are...

You know that we have this COVID Risk Model. So, we are discussing this with the other associations. And we would love to join forces, of course. So, we are working on these different dimensions.


If you look at the road-map for the next years. What are then, for you, the highlights? Where do you want to be within the next few years?

Well, I think what's important is that we support each-other and we continue this. Because in this crisis-times, it showed us how important this is. And also how good it is to be connected to our network, to the people. And it shouldn't be only in crisis. So, we would like to take this further in the next years.

Of course, we would like to have some successes. So, it's up to the new board to define what nice projects we can come up with. And how to re-engage with members, with the younger generation.

What are the challenges? Digitalwise.

So, as we are forming it now and we don't have, how to say, the possibility to look into the far future, we are now taking it step-by-step. And then see, after the summer, about the long-term goals.

One thing I can add to that: we have made several developments over the last two years.

And obviously we'll continue on those. And back then, the focus areas were: first, the synergy between the industry organizations, like Katinka mentioned, and we continue pushing that on agendas. So, talking to all the players. We think the industry that we are, event industry, and we have to stand for each-other. We actually see results of these joint efforts, right now. When, frankly, event industry is not visible enough, when it could be much more prominent on agendas. So, that's something we'll continue working together with other organizations, I hope.

Another prominent project that we have in the books, right now, is event planner's career survey. Because again, coming back to the topic of visibility, we need to elevate our event planners to a higher level. So that they don't stagnate in their jobs. Because that's what we discovered.

Like Katinka mentioned, technology is another important component to that. And the goal is actually to establish a technological event industry in Belgium. So that we can actually go outside of Belgium and create visibility for those providers, outside of Belgium. And elevate Belgium in general in event management profession and in event industry in general, worldwide.

Because we did have some experiences in the past, where we hurt our image a little bit. So, that's important.

How do you support or how does MPI support the community?

Well, there are different ways, really. There are 60.000 members worldwide. And from our own experience with members, to be honest with you, it's opening so many doors. You just have to realize for yourselves that this is what you want to achieve. And you have the network. You have the tools. You have everything for you, to support you to continue in what you want to do.

It's not that you become a member and then you forget it. You need to be active. It's like with sport, gym. It's the same story. You need to exercise in order to get something in return.

And MPI Global, in this difficult time, supported the community by actually putting people together for their look. Sharing the best practices. Sharing what happens in other countries. How are they handling the situation? How are event planners reacting to this crisis situations? Providing guides. Providing...

They opened up paid resources. Made them free for members and non-members. To educate in these critical times. To gain this expertise.

People who want to know more about MPI or maybe become a member. Where can they find more information? Do you have info-meetings, or...?

So, we have our website, which is: We are also present on social media. All the different channels, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. And if they drop us an email or just a message on social media, we can get in touch.

Everyone is obviously welcome to attend all our masterclasses. That ran weekly, the last three months, on different subjects. And we'd love to see more faces.

Thank you so much for your time. And sharing these insights with us.

Thank you so much for hosting us.

There is one thing, Kevin if I may mention it.

Something important is that MPI has a foundation. Which goal is to support the industry and those who are in need. So, what that foundation did in the last three months is actually providing grants for those who want to, for instance, study further or maintain their membership or support in many other ways. So, that is a possibility which is not well-known. At least in Belgium.

And that was very interesting. To actually see that development happening to support the industry.

Great to hear. Thank you so much. And you, at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.