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mia holds its Future Fit conference at 1 America Square

mia held its Future Fit conference on 11 March, featuring keynote sessions from a number of esteemed speakers.

The conference, which took place at Cavendish Venues’ 1 America Square, followed the announcement that mia membership has hit an all-time high of 804 members.

Broadcaster and journalist Declan Curry warned the meetings and events industry that ‘standing still is not an option’, during a talk which examined the prospects, challenges and opportunities for the UK’s economy post-Brexit.

Curry said: “You need to keep watching the horizon because the stand-out danger is doing business the way it has always been done. 

“Even in the toughest of times, there are still opportunities for those that are nimble enough to get them. We should be optimistic as we have an immense thirst for business. Our skills, talent and creativity will make us more adaptable in a globalised economy driven by knowledge.”

mia chair Kay England spoke about the association’s sustainability campaign #20PercentLess: “Eight million tons of plastic are entering the ocean every year and once in the ocean, it poses a major threat and starts to poison food chains including our own. Every part of the ocean is now affected, and once in, it stays there for a very long time.”

Atsushi Ishii spoke about the potential of artificial intelligence as a money-saving tool, and how his company Connectome is developing a ‘virtual human agent’ interface that mediates communication with people.

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the Meetings Industry Association, said: “We were thrilled with the Future Fit programme that was specifically designed to engage, educate and take delegates out of their comfort zone. 

“What is clear, and what was reinforced and demonstrated by every speaker, is we have a huge opportunity to be both bold and innovative to drive business growth. We can’t just stand still. 

“Instead, we need to embrace and take advantage of both the technological advances set to occur over the coming years and the opportunities presented by Brexit.