ESSA has announced details of its much-anticipated annual conference.

Taking place on 8 December 2022 at The Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, in conjunction with headline sponsor BeMatrix, the tone of this year's conference is one of bolstering resilience and identifying opportunities in order to lead and navigate through changing times with increased confidence.

The day promises a stellar line-up of speakers including the chief economist of Lloyds Bank, a UK hostage negotiator and Virgin Atlantic’s head of customer service who will offer valuable insight about mindset change, culture change and leadership change.

This year’s opening keynote address is from Ian Washington-Smith, ex-detective inspector and founder of coaching service Mindsmith. With an avid interest in human behaviour, Washington-Smith will explore the mind and its effects to explain why people think and behave in a certain way and how that information can be used to empower organisations.

Closing the conference is British touring car championship driver and motivational speaker, Nicolas Hamilton. Having been diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age, against all the odds, Hamilton forged a successful racing career and will discuss how an ‘anything is possible’ attitude can overcome adversity through teamwork and perseverance.

In addition to the conference, and new for 2022, ESSA will also host its inaugural sales stream workshop, ‘Sales hasn’t changed, selling has changed.’ Targeted at event sales professionals, the thought-provoking sessions and peer-to-peer workshop will be hosted by The Exhibition Guy, Stephen Murtagh, and a line-up of expert speakers to help develop improved sales strategies. 

ESSA director, Andrew Harrison, said: “As our sector continues its recovery post-pandemic, a whole host of opportunities and challenges continue to reveal a new reality. Global resource challenges, travel and recruitment challenges, mental health challenges and a once in a generation cost of living crisis feels a little like jumping from the frying pan and into the fire.

“In a world where so much is outside of our control, it's important to understand what we can control. This year's conference will rise to the challenge of offering key takeaways that will bolster resilience, identify opportunities and increase confidence and leadership to navigate the changing winds.”

Following the conference, the 2022 ESSA Awards Dinner will honour inspirational individuals and teams who have demonstrated exceptional work during the previous 12 months. This year, nominations are open for eight categories and include a new Sustainability category which acknowledges the rising importance of the topic. Free to enter, every ESSA member is eligible to submit an entry. Full details and application forms can be found here.

The ESSA 2022 Conference and Awards Dinner is open to all in the events industry. Full ESSA members receive two complimentary tickets to the conference, dinner & awards*. Tickets start from £90 plus VAT. For further information and to register your attendance, click here**

*Additional tickets are required for three or more attendees from the same ESSA member company.

**Separate registrations are required for the daytime conference and evening awards dinner event. 


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The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) is a trade body representing the very best contractors and suppliers of goods and services to the UK’s thriving events industry.

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