Last week (20th July 2021) the 40th edition of IACC Americas Connect took place using IACC’s Multipod format, enabling the event to take place across three in-person meetings across the US as well as virtually. IACC partnered with hybrid event specialist Encore to stage the one-day conference, which had in-person sessions in Chicago, Dallas and Delaware and attracted 241 delegates globally (up 9 % from IACC Americas Connect in 2019). The conference followed a full program of plenary sessions, breakouts, a highly collaborative innovation lab and the Copper Skillet cook-off competition.

Each pod, including the virtual pod, had a regional facilitator supported by master facilitator Mike Van Der Vijver of MindMeeting. The team of IACC volunteer members were coached by Mike on facilitation techniques and helped them to deliver complex multi-location workshops.

As part of the Invention Lab, each pod was tasked to design a future meeting environment, which was reviewed and commented on by content experts in the live and virtual locations.

The Delaware pod was the host venue for this year’s IACC Copper Skillet USA cook off. The competition, which was introduced in 2004, highlights the artistry and skill of the best chefs from IACC-member conference venues around the world, and to honor their contributions to the shared goal of providing an outstanding conference venue experience.

The junior category winner was Brandon Hartel, Junior Chef at Arden Shisler Conference Center and the senior category winner was Shane Hawkins, Senior Chef at Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center. Both chefs will go on to compete in the IACC Americas final, which will take place later this year.

Mark Cooper, CEO, IACC commented: “We had one goal, to create a conference that made it accessible for as many of our members to come together, in person or virtually, at this important time in the recovery of our industry and to place digital technology at the heart of the conference.”

IACC awarded the Mel Hosansky Award for 2020 and 2021, which recognises outstanding service to the meetings industry, to Lotta Boman of Sigtunahojden Conference Centre and to Cindy Novotny of Master Connections Associates.

In addition, Tim Luepke and Mehdi Ahmadi from Sodexo Conferencing, were presented the IACC Americas Pyramid Award and Murray Hall from Dolce BMO Conference Centre was acknowledged with the IACC Americas Award of Excellence.

Attendees at all three locations participated in a ‘feed the city’ community food preparation exercise and collectively prepared 2,350 meals that were delivered within three hours to local children in need across the cities.

The next IACC Americas Connect will take place on March 15–16 2022 at Park MGM in Las Vegas.