This year the IELA Forum explored, unlocked and unfolded the power of the HUMAN FACTOR.

TRANSITIONING TRANSCENDING TRANSFORMING was our mantra three days long, investigating and exploiting new fields for action.

together with the new EXPLORATORY ZONE were our source for personal empowerment and inspiration in order to successfully manage change.

The 2019 IELA Forum took place in Venice, Italy from June 24th-25th as the core of the IELA 2019 Congress. The new Forum format introduced in San Francisco proved already in the past that small groups, involving exchange and discussions, are effective tools for sharing, exploring and spearheading the emergence of new projects and personal growth.


The first day was opened with the

#KEYNOTE 1 “Waiting in a cross-cultural and globalised world” by Mario Pecheny. Here the message was clear: Shift your perspective. The Forum kick-off on the second day was
#KEYNOTE 2 “Unlocking Human Potential” by Sofia Allegra Crespi who asked the fundamental questions such as How can I adjust my skills to technology? and What is the future of my business? Her concentration was on the Man-Machine relationship and the harmony to be sought in order to exploit the business advantage. In both speeches, the two academic speakers presented a unique approach to their subjects and provided new insights from the Social- and Neuroscience perspective, which opened our eyes regarding the understanding, motivation and possibilities to boost individual and team development.

Moving from a product-focused to a customer-centric perspective was the focus of this year’s THINK session. The discussion panel was comprised of members from the complete IELA customer-chain, an original concept which was welcomed with intense interest by the members: #THINK like an Organiser with Laurent Noël, Comexposium, France.

#THINK like an Exhibitor with Markus Metzmacher, ifm electronic gmbh, Germany
#THINK like a Venue Owner with Giacomo Lucchini, UFI, Operations and Services
#THINK like a Pavilion Organiser with Giovanni Bifulco, Italian Trade Agency, Italy Moderator with Florent Jarry, AMR International Limited, France

So the stage was set! Our #Think Like An Exhibitor Markus Metzmacher summarised the role of the freight forwarder in a nutshell: as exhibitor, he defined his primary goal is to find “Someone who not just takes care of needs, but what comes with the needs”. It was then clear that the role to be adopted as a trusting partner evolves into that of a consultant in order to attain a successful result where the client is more than just happy. Seeing the situation from an organiser’s point of view, Laurent Noël, Comexposium, summed up the pre-show situation that we all know well and the challenging job we have on a daily basis. He pointed out that everything should be perfect from Day 1 of an event but usually this is not the case. Even more reason for us to step in and show our true talent! This round of discussion essentially identified the importance of keeping the customer at the heart of our efforts and maintaining their needs in the forefront. Giovanni Bifulco, from the Italian Trade
Agency, our pavilion organiser, stated the rule that applies when working in the exhibitions industry: “We need to keep up a level of quality as our customers expect consistency”.

It was then with great pleasure that IELA was reinforced in its chosen strategy by Giacomo Lucchini, UFI, representing the event venues, who named the four important areas to be addressed by freight forwarders which are expected from customers : Security, Health & Safety, Quality & Technology and Sustainability, addressing the challenge of how we can re-use the materials at work. All speakers followed by giving their consensus on the importance of compliancy on this subject.

The question of sharing data was also a major topic for discussion. Laurent Noël summed up the situation by saying “The platform we are sharing with our partners can improve the delivery of service …. at the end of the day we must improve the journey of our customers”.

The global association IELA can be proud of the hard work and progress achieved so far in all these major areas of concern highlighted during this session. The Health & Safety Guidelines are published and soon the Sustainability Guidelines will follow. The concept of Sustainability at next year’s congress confirms that IELA remains on the right track to fulfill the needs of customers and partners alike. The IELA Data Room project tackles how information-sharing can make our lives easier and that of our customers also! IELA continues to maintain and develop its pole position in the industry as a reference for quality service.


The second day kicked off with BREAKFAST BRAINS sessions and proved to be very popular among the delegates.

#BRAIN 1: Power Up initiative, celebrating, supporting and encouraging Women’s Leadership in the Exhibition and the Event Logistics Industry by Elizabeth Niehaus,
IELA Executive Officer
#BRAIN 2: Digital Transformation by Luigi Bianchi, Wexlog France
#BRAIN 3: Airline Charges/Declaration of Dangerous Goods by Daniel Mithran, JIM Project & Expo Logistics (M) Sdn. Bhd, Malaysia
#STREAM 1: Unleash your Organisation’s Full Human and Creative Capacity with Sofia
Allegra Crespi. This not only provided a window for identifying the characteristics required for creativity, but also for understanding and strengthening the future potential in your team which can lead to unbounding advantages for a company. The session incorporated active participation of the delegates and was a great success in capturing their interest.
#STREAM 2: Stress Management: Boost Your Resilience at Work with Maria Rosa Rocco.
Maria Rosa inspired active participation from the delegates identifying the five main “magic” tools in the fight against stress.
#STREAM 3: Reverse Mentoring: Keeping the boomers engaged and millennials committed
with Mario Pecheny, was the focus of the brainstorming. Many participants were present and shared their experience on this matter with a view to understanding the generational gap which exists. How to appeal, involve and adapt through all generations involved facilitating an easy know-how handover was the core of the discussion.

Transformational leaders can empower their team beyond immediate self-interest through influence, inspiration and encouragement. They are capable of elevating their colleagues’’ personal achievement goals and ideals beyond individual levels to that of the organisation and, most importantly, society itself. This was exactly IELA’s goal this year: To accompany the UNLOCKING of each and every delegate’s POTENTIAL in order to BOOST change with new ideas carried back to the office by every single participant.

The new EXPLORATORY ZONE gave our delegates the individual space to reflect on what makes us human, unique and essential.

All in all, this year the IELA FORUM catapulted us into a brainstorming exercise which investigated the means of recognising and understanding what employees want, what drives them and how managing emotions and talent at work should become business priority no.1.

We believe that adopting a culture of transformational change will nourish individual leadership potential within our organisation. This focus on human resources is crucial as a member of staff holds the key to transforming goals into reality.

Transformational leadership which fosters autonomy and challenging work is increasingly a key factor in job satisfaction and retention of talent, therefore key for IELA and its members:

Recognising, understanding and managing emotions at work is critical for effective leadership

Finding one’s own purpose, identifying the path and method as to how to bring your purpose into your own organisation are key to accelerating growth within team members
and adding value to your business.

Venice was the perfect setting to focus on the HUMAN FACTOR and the particular subject
of transformational leadership. Creating an environment in which a long-term culture of transformation could be nourished and then unfolded was our foremost goal.

We truly hope our delegates were enchanted by the Venice spirit and motivated to unlock their human potential among fellow colleagues!

The next IELA Forum focuses on SUSTAINABILITY and will take place in Pretoria, South Africa, from June 27th to 30th, 2020.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here