ABPCO’s 2nd Festival of Learning will take place on Tuesday 25th April at Telford International Centre. The educational event, which is supported by Telford and Wrekin Council, will deliver a full day of content focused on the needs of association event professionals under the theme – Survive and Thrive.

The event will be preceded by an evening of networking on 24th April, which will include a light-hearted selection of “PCO stories you really couldn’t make up” led by Rose Padmore, former ABPCO chair and owner of Opening Doors and venues.

Programme highlights for 25th April include:

Purusha Gordon – Survival to Thriving

On a bleak January morning six years ago, Purusha stood on her doorstep, strong coffee and cigarette in hand and wondered why she was living a life which was passing her by. It was in that moment she realised something had to change. With no rowing experience, in the summer of 2021 and in the midst of the global pandemic, Purusha and her all-female team set a new world record across the Pacific Ocean.

Purusha’s story shares how she put together a record breaking row whilst navigating home schooling, and the collapse of her events business in the pandemic. It will also investigate how a culture of kindness on the boat and a positive mindset saw the team thrive.

The Association Meeting of the Future

Introducing meetings with creche’s, workspaces, water cooler moments and hybrid extensions that reach audiences far and wide; this is ‘The most inclusive and democratic meetings you’ll ever be at’.

From the architecture of the event to its culture and personality. This is a gaze into a future that is closer than we think.

  • Robert Dunsmore, Event Creative and Consultant to The Meeting of the Future
  • Adam Fillary, Meeting & Event Support Association (MESA)
  • Jo Austin, Lime Venue Portfolio
  • Jennifer Jenkins, WorldSpan
  • David Parker, RCP, (session chair)

Moving Sustainable Meetings Forward: The Next Step in the Journey

We have seen a massive acceleration in sustainable practices within association meetings. Where will this increased ambition take us next? Encouraging input from the audience, the session will look at what we’ve learnt and what we’re changing.

  • Dawn Lauder, Head of Association Sales, Scottish Event Campus
  • Sarah Garry, Executive Officer, British Association of Soil Science

Accessibility and inclusivity is a must for all conference delegates

How inclusive is our industry really? How accessible are our events for the full spectrum of society and how welcoming are they to those with different or specific needs? In this interactive discussion we ask what are the barriers to them becoming more welcoming, more accessible and with more equity for every delegate.

  • Leanne Bladen, The Eastside Rooms
  • Lizzie Eaton, Oddity Events
  • Rory Archibald, New Intent
  • Gabrielle Austen Browne, Diversity Alliance (Chair)

ABPCO joint-chair Emma Duffy said: “Our inaugural Festival of Learning was an incredible success. The concept has been reimagined for 2023, with content from a fantastic group of speakers, leaders and influencers. ABPCO is grateful to our partners Telford and Wrekin Council, Telford International Centre and Brightelm, whose support has been invaluable and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the event.”