An invitation to all Image 1


An invitation to all

The conference 
"She Means Business"
 on May 14 at the IMEX 2018 in Frankfurt is already at the center of discussions in the run-up phase. The organizing IMEX Group and tw tagungswirtschaft urge men and women alike to engage in dialogue on diversity and equal opportunities.

ith her #EventPlannersTalk Twitter chat "Gender specific initiatives in the events sector", Irina Graf is encouraging exchange of opinions. The host of 
The MICE Blog
 wrote: "IMEX gets smart about gender announcing She Means Business. We think that this topic is very important and should be discussed both by men and women." Many agreed per tweet and discussed the name of the new conference: "That's great that both men and women can participate. But the name of the event suggests that it's female only", said one participant. Another one warned against divisiveness. "You may only see a one-sided (possibly gender specific) opinion. Gender can be a charged issue, so it's hard to create something that opens people up to new ideas."

An invitation to all Image 2
Carina Bauer: "She Means Business“ – You are invited. Conference language is English.

The discussion on gender equality is an on-going issue – and it has been on Lyn Lewis-Smith's agenda for quite some time. For the Business Events Sydney CEO, this equality is decisive for any industry. "We've certainly come a long way, but we still have a very long stretch to go: we need to talk about this, aim high, and point to what needs to be changed," said Lewis-Smith. "We have so many talented women in the event industry, it's just that not nearly enough have made it to the top. Similar to other industries, too, we must carry on the discussion." For this reason, the Australian on May 14, 2018 at the "She Means Business" will take the stage at Messe Frankfurt's Kap Europa.

"I am a very strong advocate for women in leadership, so much so that I personally led the charge to secure the hosting rights for the 
Global Summit of Women
 2018 in Sydney, and I’m leading the host Steering Committee as Co-Chair.” The Summit has been rotating around the world for almost 30 years, and draws up to 2,000 delegates. They will discuss "Women: Creating Economies of Shared Value" and at the "Women CEO Forum" will define the future of workplaces. She is certain that successful businesses will be diversified and integrative. "Diversity means that businesses will count on men and women alike and thus upon an abundance of different perspectives, experiences and abilities – and that in all functions and management teams, throughout the organization."


Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group

What is the aim of the “She Means Business” conference on 14 May at IMEX 2018?
Carina Bauer
: The aim of the event is to celebrate and highlight the role that women do and can play in the meetings and events industry. It is also an opportunity for learning from inspiring stories and mentors, as well as networking.

Do you think that there is a need for such a conference?
We think so, indeed. It has long been noticeable that whilst women are in the majority in the meetings industry, they are in the minority in leadership positions. We want to play our part in highlighting the challenges that women face, but more importantly play a positive part in laying the ground work for solutions. If the industry is to attract the best talent and be a truly diverse workforce, we must address issues such as these. We believe the sharing of experiences and stories is the most powerful way for women to talk to each other and to men, to encourage men and women to work together to achieve diversity and gender equality.

So men are welcome to attend She Means Business?
Absolutely and we encourage men to do so. If the industry is to be a diverse and successful workforce, then we all need to work together and we want to understand the challenges that men encounter, too.

An invitation to all Image 3
Lyn Lewis-Smith: I am a very strong advocate for women in leadership.

Laura Winterling also wants to encourage women with her session "Women in Space". She heads Space Time Concepts, European Astronaut Centre (EAC) and will speak on "We are what we decide to be. Our every step alters the direction we go in life and has the potential to open new horizons". The graduated physicist has this advice to give: "Be brave, challenge yourself and push your limits. Don’t let others tell you it’s impossible". In the sessions "Women in Business", Karin Nordmeyer, UN Women; Dr. Mara Harvey, UBS; Susanne Labonde, SAP; Isabel Bardinet with the European Society of Cardiology will have a look at the role of women in the business world and society in general. In the panel discussion "Women in the meetings industry – on eye level with men?" will presenter Sherrif Karamat, Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), debate controversial issues with Nina Freysen-Pretorius, International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA); Karen Bollinger, Melbourne Convention & Visitors Bureau; Sarah Sigloch, H-Hotels, and Edgar Hirt, Congress Centrum Hamburg. The Round-Table-Session is an invitation to discuss concerns such glass ceiling and pay gap.

There is enormous support and encouragement for "She Means Business" from trade associations including AWE, ECM, Event Tech Tribe, EVVC, Famab Fast Forward 15, IAEE, ICCA, IFES, MPI, PCMA, SITE, VDVO, WINiT and Women in Event Tech. "The new conference comes at a crucial juncture in society – we’ve reached a turning point where these issues have come to the fore," said Carina Bauer, CEO Imex Group. “The next step now is to decide how to move forward. She Means Business will provide a platform for forward-thinking women — and men – to come together and take action.”  KERSTIN WÜNSCH

Supporting Partners

Supporting partners are H-Hotels, CCH – Congress Center Hamburg, Cologne Convention Bureau, London & Partners, Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau (SCIB) and Gahrens + Battermann. Supporting publications are Horizont, m+a report and BizTravel among others.