AEO - Association of event organisers

AEO Forums delivers on working smarter, sustainability and more


AEO Forums delivers on working smarter, sustainability and more

06 Feb 2020

The AEO Forums 2020 attracted 300 event professionals to the Business Design Centre on the 31st  January. 

Industry professionals arrived eager to learn more about how they could “work smarter, not harder”, with Matt Wozniak from The Event Lab chairing the ops stream, Caitlin Read, Communications Director from Comexposium, the marketing stream and Carly Walker, Sales Director from Forum Events, the sales stream.

Chris Skeith, chief executive of AEO said: “We couldn’t be happier with the mood and turnout on the day. Delivering valuable content to our members and the industry is paramount.  In an age of burnout, a focus on implementing greater day-to-day efficiencies and working more collaboratively felt like a necessary topic to address. It was well-received too!”

There was a big emphasis on using more sustainable practices as Nalan Emre, chief operating officer, at the IMEX Group, delivered her keynote on; “A case study of collaboration and success”.

IMEX Group is a company driven by one of its five goals to work more efficiently in a sustainable way.

Emre said: “My keynote address at the event was designed to pass on solid and practical sustainability practices based on our own experience.”

Emre added: “As I said in my address- 'sustainability is not a sidebar issue any more' - and I hope event professionals will take action.”

To further promote sustainability, the AEO provided reusable water bottles for delegates to fill up at the water stations and trialled its first vegetarian lunch.

A variety of other topics were covered in each of the three streams, with the day ending in an afternoon panel discussion, which looked at the importance of the relationship between the three functions.

Key areas for improvement across the functions were highlighted as follows:


  • Better planning, so timelines match up across functions for optimum results
  • Communication
  • Understanding each other’s priorities
  • Stopping the blame culture
  • Looking for exhibitor solutions like “sponsorship” together


The session also uncovered the mutual desire to work more closely together, have more empathy, share information, and keep a customer focus.

Below is some of the feedback received from this year’s delegates:


Really liked the enthusiasm and engagement of the speakers.

The information and content presented was informative and most importantly inspiring.


Lots of ways to make our exhibitions and company more sustainable, tips for making our social and email content more emotive.


I liked that there were professional speakers in many different areas of the industry. Gave a good insight into the challenges faced from one job role to the next.


  • "Broadway Events joined the AEO on the Enterprise Membership. We’ve already taken advantage of the many benefits including the excellent FaceTime Masterclasses and training guides for exhibitors."
    Emma Barrett
    Broadway Events
  • "We are a member of the AEO because it is a proactive association for the events industry. As an organiser it provides us with high value ideas, networking, guidance and information."
    David Harrison
    PPMA Group
  • "This year, the association has led working groups to address industry issues and put on some amazing events full of insightful content for both organisers and, through the AEOs FaceTime initiative, exhibitors. In addition, the AEO has represented the industry at a Governmental level to raise awareness of the importance of events to the UK economy."
    Paul Byrom
    Upper Street Events
  • "I genuinely believe that if you’re involved in organising events you should become a member of the AEO."
    Simon Kimble
    Clarion Events
  • "Our membership of the AEO represents real and tangible value for UBM - it provides fantastic networking opportunities, practical training for our team as well as valuable insight into the state of our industry."
    Simon Parker
    Informa Markets
  • "As an Association business, we appreciate the excellent work the secretariat of the AEO do for our community. From the events side of our business, the AEO provides an excellent return on investment, providing thought leadership, fantastic networking, brilliant awards, excellent research and FaceTime, a valuable tool to tell our markets why exhibitions and events should be an essential part of the marketing mix."
    Neil Felton
  • "AEO’s networking and member meetings are valuable for individuals at all levels within our organisation. The promotion of our sector to the outside world, to government, authorities and business at large is another vital aspect of the AEO’s purpose for members, many of whom, like my company, work on events throughout the world."
    Stephen Brooks
    Mack Brooks Exhibitions
  • “Knowledge is power and the AEO dinners are certainly powerful, there is always a wealth of knowledge at the table. Insightful presentations make for a constructive and extremely social way to learn from the experts who’ve done it before. I attended the Japanese evening and gained really valuable insight about the culture and how best to communicate with a local audience.”
    John Whitaker
    Vice President Marketing, Data & Digital , dmg events
  • "We have the opportunity to contribute positively to the industry as well as gaining valuable insight and advice. There’s no need to spend valuable time and money reinventing the wheel when you have so many experienced professionals in AEO membership to learn from”
    Emma Cartmell
    CHS Group
  • "JOINING THE AEO HAS BEEN FANTASTIC! Being able to gift our customers with free places at the FaceTime masterclasses, learn alongside industry peers and seek advice to common challenges is invaluable”
    Sharon Azam
    GovNet Communications
  • I just wanted to send my most sincere thanks for everything that you and the AEO team are doing to help navigate the events industry through the pandemic. The working groups and communication from the AEO have been excellent and I’m really appreciative of being part of such a wonderful organisation.
    Simon Burns
    ICHF Events
  • I think what the AEO has been doing during this tough time has been exceptional.
    Greg Cherry
    QD Events LTD
  • It is so useful to hear from your peers at this time. Please pass my thanks to Ruth and the BTIG panel
    Dan Assor
    CloserStill Media
  • Just wanted to thank you and Ruth this morning for the Zoom meeting - it was really interesting to hear how things are moving along in the virtual/hybrid meeting/exhibitions. All very new to me, so a lot to digest.
    Maureen Wright
    Optic UK
  • The session this morning was fantastic. We are right in the midst of this and the information was so useful. We can apply it immediately
    Claire Adams
  • The AEO provides an opportunity to make a difference, to work with other companies for the good of the industry as a whole, but beyond that, it provides it’s members with valuable insight and tangible benefits to grow your business, upskill and engage your teams. For those reasons, our membership is in indelible ink on the each annual budget. In short, if you aren’t a member, you are missing out.
    Ed Tranter
    73 Media




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