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EuRA Conference Malta 2016

Jul 12, 2016
EuRA held its annual conference in Malta in May. It turned out to be the biggest ever with 680 guests from over 55 countries. Here, Dominic Tidey, EuRA COO, provides his report.

When I arrived in Malta, the week before the event, the hotel was still closed for a total refurb.  The management team sent a car to greet us complete with high vis jackets and hard hats – we called this renovation humour.  After a tour of the ongoing works, which were very far from complete, we knew we had total faith in all of the teams.  Seeing the dedication and diligence of everyone, from the project manager to the building and cleaning crews, was a really humbling experience.  Sure enough, as promised and planned, the Hilton Malta re-opened in spectacular fashion on the Saturday before our conference got underway on the Monday. 

This highlighted a very apposite issue for us.  Our focus this year has been on “Social Values/Better Business” looking at the way Conscious Capitalism is changing the landscape of business and how it’s impacting on mobility.  One of the most central principles in the philosophy is respect and faith in all stakeholders within the sphere of operations in which you work.  Our major stakeholders in the conference are of course the members and delegates and making sure we can give a great, relevant event, at a great price which maximizes the return on investment for all attendees is our primary goal.  Our next most critical stakeholder is our venue, and their goal is to provide us all with an experience that shows they are the best at what they do, and we have to say that the Hilton Malta surpassed our expectations.  Over the four days from our arrival to the opening, the transformation was total and unbelievable.   

With the conference now in its 18th year, it’s interesting to reflect on how much things have changed.  Back at our first event in Barcelona, we had 90 guests and the conference began with cocktails prior to the Gala Dinner on Thursday night followed by a day of sessions on Friday, finishing at 16:00.  

In Malta this year, the conference began with the exhibition and Immigration Symposium on Tuesday and ended with the boat trip on Saturday morning, with partner meetings, training and breakout sessions, a EuRA Global Quality Seal Holders party, our welcome reception, Gala Dinner, plenary days, research update and party night.    

For the second year delegates were able to use the EuRA app to meet and message each other, check the schedules and keep up to date with sessions.  We also had our new Activity Feed so delegates could comment in real time via the app and Twitter as sessions were taking place.  For 2017 we will be adding a full Social Media interface and there will be screens around the venue where the app RSS feed will be live for delegates to upload pictures and comments throughout the event.    

There was some terrific content throughout the event, from Frances Edmonds getting everyone singing new EuRA lyrics to the Beatles classic “Help”, to the very well received first Immigration Symposium, which we will bring back next year.  Our breakout programme was the strongest yet, with four superb sessions looking at industry changes and developments.  Our opening speaker frightened us all into re-examining our IT security protocols.  Steve Cryne of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council outlined the first results of the inaugural joint EuRA/CERC research into industry trends which we will publish in June.  It makes very fascinating reading and provides a genuine toolkit for looking at what changes are coming and how we should prepare.  There will be a huge growth in assignments but the packages being purchased from providers will change.  

Elisa French and Anne Copeland led a brilliant session on how Conscious Capitalism is impacting on our industry and what it means for families and corporations and the duty of care they have.    

For the first time we ran a plenary session using the dynamic and energizing “Ignite” format.  Superbly organised and moderated by Ghadeer Hassan, the seven presenters had 15 slides and 15 seconds per slide to outline the contributions they were making in their companies to embrace the principles of Conscious Capitalism.  

Our terrific keynote speaker Stuart Knight got everyone energized and enthused and we all left for the party night on a high.  

The hotel were very disappointed not to able to host our Gala Dinner around the lagoon pool.  They had been prepping for an outdoor extravaganza, but the wind just proved too much and we were forced to come inside.  We were disappointed that we had to split the group into two ballrooms as it might have dampened the atmosphere, but the hotel did a great job on the food, the wine flowed and people had a great time.  

The party night out in the countryside in the Xara Lodge was a great success and the night was danced away.  

Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of delegates, we raised €25,000 for our Malta charity Inspire, supporting adults and children with learning difficulties across the country.  This was an amazing amount of money which was raised from the generosity of the bidders in our live and silent auctions, from everyone who purchased a pair of EuRA sunglasses to the €5 we donated for every App downloaded.  This is a massive sum of money for Inspire and enables them to continue their fantastic work.  

We are already raising money for our 2017 Warsaw charity.  Delegates are taking part by posting pictures of themselves, family and friends wearing their EuRA sunglasses in places all over the world.  We will donate €5 for every photo posted on Twitter using the hashtag #eura2016sunglasses.  

All of the sessions are on YouTube and a full photo gallery of the event is also online.  

For sessions go to our YouTube channel click here.  

For photo from the conference click here.

Photos: Top left: EuRA delegates; top middle: Steve Coyne; top right: Stuart Knight; middle left: Frances Edmonds;  bottom right: Tad Zurlinden sports the EuRA shades.

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