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titanic

All hands on deck for ABPCO's Titanic AGM

From the glass deck at the top of the Titanic Belfast, you can see the original slipway from which the RMS Titanic launched in 1912.

Belfast’s latest major tourist attraction, completed exactly 100 years after the ship from which it takes its name, was the host venue for the opening dinner of ABPCO’s AGM. Key figures from the UK conference industry gathered to discuss the challenges and successes of the past year, with the sun shining brightly through the venue’s panoramic windows.

The AGM itself took place in the ICC Belfast the following afternoon, opening with a tour of the venue, as well as some remarks by Visit Belfast, the city’s tourist board. The ICC rebranded from Belfast Waterfront in 2018, and, alongside the construction of the Titanic Belfast, is part of an extensive project to rejuvenate the city’s commercial appeal.

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A fitting location, then, to host an AGM with a focus on change. The keynote was delivered by David Meade, speaking on behalf of charity Extraordinary Impacts, which works to build and deliver simple prosthetic hands to amputees in less developed countries.

Meade highlighted the importance of a positive mindset, and how saying “yes, and…” instead of “no, because…” can help us achieve things we thought were outside our reach. He asked us to put this mindset to the test, tasking each of our tables with constructing one of his prosthetic hands from scratch. It took around an hour and was by no means easy, but Meade’s keynote helped to underline the power and importance of collaboration, which is at the heart of ABPCO membership.

Co-chairs Kate Sargent and Jo Powell then reviewed the year 2018/19, which has been a strong one for ABPCO. New member growth is up 10%, and the association’s new website was unveiled during the conference. It features an improved layout, a new ‘My ABPCO’ profile section, and a community chatroom for discussing important topics. “The new website will provide more functionality, and allow us to communicate in new ways,” said Sargent.

Communication was the key word at the ABPCO AGM. It was an opportunity for PCOs from around the UK to learn from one another, and chart a course for the year which avoids any hazardous MICEbergs.