Acquire expertise and establish a network of connections

CityDNA Summer School Gdansk

Gdańsk held a special place in my heart as the birthplace of my educational journey and as a hub for connecting with fascinating individuals in the MICE sector worldwide. Beyond just being a student at the University of Gdansk, I actively engaged in numerous events and workshops facilitated by the Gdansk Convention Bureau. Presently, an intriguing event is underway, offering an opportunity to acquire knowledge and connect with captivating personalities.

The New Generation

The holiday season encompasses more than just relaxation; it also presents an avenue for student internships.

During July, I had the privilege of meeting two individuals who were engaged in an internship initiative at the Polish Tourism Organisation.

In the preceding month of June, in conjunction with Aneta Książek, we orchestrated a training session for students as an integral facet of the SITE Young Leaders program. This session delved into themes of business tourism, industry progression, acquiring expertise within the MICE sector, and the pivotal role of LinkedIn in crafting a professional identity and fostering networks. The entire event unfolded at the premises of the Polish Tourism Organisation, where I hold a position within the Poland Convention Bureau.

The interaction and knowledge exchange with these emerging colleagues unearthed their zeal, thirst for learning, and distinctive outlooks on the world and life goals. There’s a lot of discussion about the emerging Generation Z entering the job market, especially in the business tourism sector. My personal experiences have been positive—collaboration across generations can bring mutual benefits to projects and everyday work. I wonder whether the new generation finds it easier or more challenging to embark on their professional journey right now. It’s probably hard to answer, as it’s certainly different.

Reflecting on my own humble origins, I trace back to my initial steps in the hospitality sector with Orbis Hotels and later with Accor Hotels. For those setting foot on their own career paths, were I to offer guidance, I’d emphasize the importance of fostering curiosity and ceaselessly amassing industry insights.

Social media channels offer not only a means to stay abreast of developments in our chosen domains but also a platform to cultivate professional connections. Among these, LinkedIn stands out as an invaluable resource (as discussed in the article LinkedIn for eventprofs). Thus, right from the inception of a professional journey, it holds merit to craft a refined personal profile.

Gdansk – the cradle of knowledge and networking

Gdansk is called “The Cradle of Solidarity”, but there is more. During my time residing and working in my hometown Gdańsk, my focus was drawn to the prospect of engaging with international marketing and events professionals. A distinct memory that remains vivid is my involvement with the Tricity Academy of Business Meetings (TAOSB), an enlightening initiative orchestrated by the Gdańsk Convention Bureau.

In the course of this experience, I had the privilege of acquainting myself with notable personalities:

  • David Benitez, who was affiliated with Reed Exhibitions (renowned for orchestrating events such as WTM London and IBTM in Barcelona),
  • Bente Holm representing the Norway Convention Bureau,
  • Rob Davidson of MICE Knowledge based in London,
  • Henrik von Arnold hailing from Sweden,
  • Linda Pereira from Portugal,
  • Tom Hulton affiliated with IMEX,
  • Ulrike von Arnold from the Vienna Convention Bureau,
  • and an array of other distinguished experts entered my sphere of connections.

How to compete for international congresses? What is the role of convention bureaux? Why the job of an event planner is one of the most stressful professions? What are the trends in the meetings industry? How to promote a destination in a competitive international MICE market? (a case study of the famous Norway Convention Bureau campaign).

This is just a myriad of other inquiries, encapsulating the breadth of discussions… I absorbed their presentation content and words of wisdom eagerly, much like a sponge…

Don’t be shy

Anticipating the event’s conclusion was equally exciting, as it granted me the opportunity for personal conversations. Back then, Twitter served as an exceptional icebreaker; prior to their arrival in Poland, I kickstarted discussions with these experts through the platform.

Subsequently, a simple introduction often led to the heartwarming recognition on-site in Gdansk, “Ah, it’s you! We’re acquainted from Twitter.” Presently, I might aptly state, “Our initial connection was on X!”

In the modern landscape, regardless of the online platform you opt for or any alternative communication method, shed any hesitations and take the initiative. Extend your introduction to the event’s speaker, establishing a connection before embarking on the shared experience

The future outcomes of such interactions remain unforeseen. In my journey, these encounters led me to eventually collaborate with professionals years later in London. As for others, our paths intertwined on diverse projects, ushering in unforeseen collaborations.

The first ICCA event in Poland took place in …

In the previous year, we commemorated the successful execution of the 61st ICCA Congress held in Krakow (read the article ICCA Congress in Krakow). However, what might not be widely known is that this wasn’t ICCA’s first venture in Poland.

It’s noteworthy that ICCA introduced its first event in Poland in the city of Gdańsk. This was the ICCA RSMP in 2011, where I participated as an attendee. Over several days, I actively engaged in enriching educational sessions and accompanying activities. This occasion provided an opportunity to connect with the entire ICCA team of that era, helmed by Martin Sirk, alongside figures like Mathijs Vleeming, entrusted with the association’s online marketing, and visionaries like Ruud Janssen. Notably, for some, the journey to Gdańsk marked their initial venture to Europe.

You have the opportunity to watch the interviews I conducted during that particular event in Gdansk. While I would have aimed for a higher recording quality today, the value inherent in the shared knowledge and experience remains paramount, making it worth the listen. These interviews feature notable professionals such as Rob Davidson, Martin Sirk, Bente Holm, Mathijs Vleeming, Ruud Jansen, and Ulrike von Arnold.

CityDNA Summer School in Gdansk

In the present year, Gdańsk once again takes center stage as the venue for a remarkable educational event within our industry. Towards the close of August, the ARCHE Dwór Uphagena Hotel becomes the backdrop for the City DNA Summer School, meticulously arranged by the City Destination Alliance.

The event is set to host an array of distinguished speakers and offer enriching educational sessions. With the hope of not just fostering learning but also fostering a profound connection with my hometown, I am optimistic that the young participants will become intimately acquainted with Gdańsk. Trusting in the prowess of the Gdańsk Convention Bureau team, I’m certain they’ll unveil the city’s most captivating facets. Following in the footsteps of attendees from previous occasions, they too will be captivated by the city’s allure.

Find out more about City DNA Summer School in Gdansk and City Destination Alliance.

 City Destinations Alliance Summer School Gdansk

This article is a reminder to me of the remarkable role Gdańsk plays in my journey, in both education and networking in the MICE sector. From my academic roots at the University of Gdańsk to active participation in the Gdansk Convention Bureau’s events and workshops, the city has been a dynamic source of growth.

Just as I once absorbed insights eagerly, I trust that the new generation will embrace the chance to engage with experts. The ever-evolving landscape of professional interactions highlights the value of taking initiative, forming connections, and venturing into the unknown, where future collaborations and success may await.

#PolandCVB #citydna #citydnasummerschool

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