What do you hope to achieve as 2015 EDPA president?
My passion within EDPA has always been [to] increase membership and make it more international. We have grown our international membership considerably over the last years. Ideally, we would continue to grow and become a larger association, allowing us to talk for more people in a stronger way.
At the end of 2014, EDPA is in a solid financial position again. This came from some very sound, conservative housekeeping that started years ago and needs to continue to make EDPA stronger to address industry issues forcefully.
How do you balance your EDPA duties with your roles at Uniplan Group in Switzerland and Kaohsiung Exhibition Center in Taiwan?
EDPA is my night job. This is not only true for me, but for the scores of people [who] volunteer for EDPA for the betterment of our industry. Naturally at times, it is not easy, but not to participate in the issues that EDPA addresses is to take a bystander view of something so important as the shape of our industry. The balance for the time, effort and expenses invested is achieved in that Uniplan benefits from a wide network of partners [who] we refer business to or who refer us business. There are members from all continents, and Uniplan’s network has been expanded enormously through our membership and attendance of the EDPA annual meetings. Agreed, personally finding the balance at peak times is not easy, but when we add it all up, it is well worth it!
What type of legacy do you hope to leave at EDPA?
Show that EDPA is an international association. Open the door for a Mexican, Indian, Australian or Chinese also to become president one day. In the end, it is not about nationalities, but about values and the way that you become EDPA president is working with members, then the board, on committees, then on the executive committee. Along the way, other members need to feel that you share their values and be able to be EDPA president. My legacy is hopefully leaving a stronger, larger and more international association.
How will you use your cross-cultural roots to grow international membership?
Being elected as the first non-North American EDPA president (Canadian Cam Stevens was the true first non-U.S. one) sent a strong message to our membership and industry, saying that EDPA is not only about the U.S. and its tradeshow and event issues, but that we understand that our industry is international. With over 20 percent of our membership being non-U.S. companies, it gives U.S. companies an added reason to join us. At our annual meetings, you not only get to learn about the latest trends in management issues and the U.S., but you also can find a host of new partners with which to expand your business internationally. Surely, my international connections will help grow membership outside the U.S., but it will also be an even better reason for U.S. companies to join.
How do you spend your free time?
Keeping fit with walking, running, biking and dreaming of one day being able to run a full marathon. Yes, I have to do this one day!
I read quite a bit. I never read a lot, but over the last few years, I have really taken a liking to it. Mostly in Spanish, which I believe is one of the most beautiful languages. One of the best books I read lately was in English: The Christmas gift from my son, Morris, “The Next 100 Years” by George Friedman. Fascinating!
As a British Uruguayan of course, I’m very interested in soccer, which provides me with some couch time. When I’m in Switzerland, I get to go and see Morris play soccer, which is always very rewarding bonding time.