IAPCO’s Annual Meeting and General Assembly 2023 marks the start of a new presidency tenure and the election of new officers to the Council.
Sarah Markey-Hamm, CEO of ICMS is the new President of The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO), taking over from the CEO of the Kenes Group, Ori Lahav at the association’s Annual Meeting and General Assembly (AM&GA) that took place between 6–9 February in Jerusalem.
Sarah Markey-Hamm’s appointment as President follows her one-year tenure as President-Elect since her election at IAPCO’s 2022 AM&GA held between 10–13 February in Rome. She will be leading IAPCO for two years as President following which she will serve the association as Immediate Past-President.
ICMS is an established Professional Conference Organiser for over 50 years and has been a member of IAPCO since 2003, which, under Sarah Markey-Hamm’s leadership provides a strong representation for IAPCO in the Asia Pacific region.
Sarah Markey-Hamm is a firm believer in the power of face-to-face interactions to build communities and inspire and promote change. Driven by a passion for events, she is a driving force in today’s events industry and holds influential positions in many industry organisations. Along with her new role as the President of IAPCO, she has been Chair of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Australian National Committee and was on the ICCA Meetings Advisory Group. She has been a board member of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) and past President of the Meeting Events Australia (MEA) Victorian Chapter.
Sarah Markey-Hamm commented on commencing her presidency at IAPCO: “I am excited to be commencing my tenure as President of IAPCO and would like to congratulate Ori Lahav on his tenure as President. It is not going to be an easy act to follow! I hope to highlight IAPCO’s activities within the Asia Pacific region.”
IAPCO 2023 was also the occasion for the elections of one returning council officer and one new one for the available vacancies. IAPCO members present at the AM&GA in Jerusalem, as well as many joining online, voted through in-app and ballots to re-elect Sissi Lygnou, CEO of AFEA Travel Congress Services and elected Nicola Testai, CEO of OIC Group.
In addition to leading AFEA, Sissi Lygnou is the President of HAPCO & DES, an association representing meeting professionals in Greece. As a re-elected council officer, Sissi will continue her role as the chair of IAPCO’s newly formed Advocacy committee and the Marketing Task Force.
On her re-election to the IAPCO Council, Sissi Lygnou said: “I feel extremely grateful to our members for their support, and I’m honoured and happy to be able to continue with my mandate as Council Officer for the period 2023–2025. Contributing to IAPCO and the development of our global Meetings Community is of high value to me. In this respect, I will continue doing my best with passion and in collaboration with my fellow colleagues, with the aim to raise IAPCO’s profile and to advocate its key role in our Industry.”
New to the IAPCO Council, Nicola Testai has for 10 years been the head of OIC Group, one of the first PCOs in Italy. With an active role in the international association world, he is also the Vice-President and PCO representative of Federcongressi&eventi, the first-level national association which represents both public and private companies that carry out activities connected to congresses.
Nicola said on his election to the Council: “I am honoured to be part of this important international organisation, and I shall try to contribute in the best possible way to fulfil IAPCO’s objectives, along with my fellow Council members. In my role as the council officer, representing IAPCO, I will work to prove the resilience of the events industry, independently from the unstable economic period that we’ve been experiencing for a while across the world.”
IAPCO CEO Martin Boyle commented on the start of new tenures for the members of the IAPCO Council: “IAPCO has come through the past two or so years in an extremely strong position with 100 per cent membership retention, more new membership applications than ever before and a balance sheet that enables us to re-invest in programmes to meet the future needs of our accredited members. I am delighted to welcome Sarah Markey-Hamm as our new IAPCO President, together with Sissi Lygnou and Nicola Testai to IAPCO Council and am certain that, under Sarah’s leadership, IAPCO will develop exciting new initiatives that continue to deliver on our mission of raising the professionalism of the meetings industry globally. Exciting times lie ahead for IAPCO and our Community.”
The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers is a not-for-profit membership association, registered in Switzerland. IAPCO Members are Professional Congress Organisers (companies, not individuals) that have qualified for Membership under the detailed application process by demonstrating that they consistently deliver PCO services to their clients and partners at high-quality standards. They retain their membership through annual quality checks and reviews by the IAPCO Quality Committee.