Enjoyment in Moderation for EMEC Facilitator Samme Allen

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Enjoyment in Moderation for EMEC Facilitator Samme Allen

By Mikayla Milburn | Dec 2, 2019

The enthusiastic and engaging Samme Allen is returning as the emcee for the European Meetings & Events Conference (EMEC) 2020 in Sevilla, Spain.

She previously moderated the successful and engaging EMEC 2019 in The Hague, the Netherlands, which has resulted in being shortlisted for some prestigious event awards this year.

Just a year ago, Allen (MPI Netherlands Chapter) was not a celebrated emcee, but a consultant, working with venues across Europe. The business wasn’t going as well as she had hoped. At the same time there were some difficulties in her personal life with a family bereavement, family illness as well as needing to move to a new house. 

After taking some time out to really evaluate her life on a break in the U.S., Allen was surprised to get a phone call from an organization that she had previously worked with when she voluntarily moderated the Fresh Conference in February the year before.

“I had moderated several events over the past few years including MPI chapter activity as well as industry panels and conferences,” she says. “I did this not realizing that it was actually a big skill set and potential profession; I just enjoyed it. If someone asked me to do it, I said why not? I completed a course in 2014 called ‘Mastering Moderation’ and, yet again, I loved it and got great feedback from that, but didn’t think it any more than a hobby, something I could do to support our industry.”

The business partner who Allen worked with at the 2018 conference called her while she was on her break and asked her to moderate an event for a major pharmaceutical organization. At first, Allen did not think she was qualified to moderate a specialist pharmaceutical event, as she had only moderated in the meeting industry. But after reassurances from the business partner that Allen had the experience the client needed as she knows all about people and engagement, and that is why they wanted to hire her, she then agreed to moderate the event, which really did change the course of her life.

The feedback from both the organizers and the participants ignited a flame that she didn’t know existed and led to the beginning of an incredible new career journey.

“I went over and spent two days with this pharmaceutical company moderating this conference and it was brilliant. They loved it. I loved it,” Allen says. “There was a fire back in my belly. Back home in the UK, my partner told me to buy sammeallen.com and give this moderating business a full year of focus because I was born to do this. I had a huge imposter syndrome to get over, but thanks to MPI EMEC, this syndrome disappeared early in 2019.”

In the year since that eureka moment, Allen has since moderated more than 20 events, including a medical association opening ceremony for more than 3,500 participants through to a government conference with the British prime minister, but she attributes her “big launch” to EMEC 2019.

“My business partner at the time was the VP of knowledge for MPI in the Netherlands and they were the ones organizing EMEC [2019]. It was a hilarious conversation [with] me saying I’m closing the business, which she had anticipated,” Allen says. “I said I was going to spend a year trying to be an emcee because I think this might be my passion and future and she said, ‘This is weird, but we don’t have an emcee for EMEC 19.’ I quickly sent over my moderator resumé and obviously the guys at MPI know me well and put their faith in me to deliver.”

Since EMEC 2019 was officially her first big launching point as an emcee and moderator, Allen says that she is looking forward to seeing the development of the conference experience and participating in the new learning journeys.

“I have been a participant for many years as a chapter leader and as a member. I am most looking forward to making sure that I get involved with the learning journeys. If anybody doesn’t know about these experiences during EMEC, they should,” she says. “I think that taking our participants out of the conference center and developing their skills in leadership, complex problem-solving, business design thinking and storytelling in innovative environments will be a learning experience second to none.”

Allen says that she is counting down the days to EMEC and encourages anyone who has not been to EMEC in the last few years to come and not only experience the new learning journeys, but push your boundaries in terms of education and content, as well as spend time in the beautiful city of Sevilla.

“As an MPI member for almost 12 years, I am really excited to be a part of this community and am proud to have seen EMEC evolve over the past few years,” she says. “It is now designed for and by European members of the global meeting and event community and the event is truly pushing boundaries on how we meet, learn and experience. If you want to make an impact on the meetings world you work in, put a placeholder in your calendar now.”

Allen has also partnered with MPI to develop some destination and event promotional videos that reveal more about the city, the historical journey that participants will follow and much more during EMEC 2020—available at mpi.org.

It’s Time for Sevilla and EMEC

Visit mpi.org/blog to learn much more about Sevilla and EMEC 2020.

  • Speakers Ana Aymerich and Bettina Gallego discuss how they will offer EMEC attendees ways to help their employees be more engaged and motivated.
  • Former French Navy fighter aircraft Pierre-henri Chuet (a.k.a “Até”) previews his learning journey, in which attendees will learn about the latest methods and techniques used in aviation and how these techniques translate to better stress management in the business world.
  • MPI Director of Publications Rich Luna offers 10 reasons Sevilla is a must-visit destination—from a UNESCO World Heritage site (Sevilla Cathedral) to the artsy Triana neighborhood, a longtime home for sailors, bullfighters and flamenco dancers.

Visit mpi.org/events/emec to register for EMEC 2020.



Mikayla Milburn
Mikayla Milburn

MiKayla Milburn is a freelance contributor who writes relatable, accurate and resolute content. In her personal life, she adores her furbabies and her husband, in that order.