How to Turn the Lockdown into Unlocking Your Potential

Blog > Tips & Advice

How to Turn the Lockdown into Unlocking Your Potential

By Per Ankaer | May 11, 2020

Per Ankaer, a 2020 member of MPI’s European Advisory Council, shares his personal experience of education networks during the COVID-19 crisis and offers assistance to those navigating the "new normal."

When the lockdown hit Scandinavia early March 2020 my first thought was, OK, this will be short-term. After a few weeks of hard work assisting clients in moving or cancelling events, I realized this was going to be serious and have long-term effect.

Many of our clients and suppliers were in a limbo and did not know how to react to the crises and, of course, in some cases were afraid of losing their jobs or their business. I also did not know exactly which way it would go, but having worked through financial crises, volcanic eruptions, strikes and other crises, I knew one thing is important: Try to stay calm and get the overview. The overview you also get from using input from the network you are member of, like MPI, and then come up with a selection of solutions, evaluate and select when you find best.

While assisting our clients, I saw many friends in the business trying to find ways to handle the crises, so I decided to offer free advice and consultancy on my LinkedIn profile. It was very well received with over 1.500 views and several people reaching out.

What has always motivated me has been to be of assistance to other people. Assisting them in experiencing great events or assisting them on getting wiser or moving on in life. When you assist you get inspired and learn to think in a different way and understand other cultures and people.

In Denmark, the government supported companies like ours with compensation for salaries and fixed expenses so we could work on reduced time and keep the companies going for a while. The time spent was used on further education from MPI and other organizations. I could see the need for education and many people either had the time and/or the need to get wiser, so I suggested MPI and other organizations to open up their webinars and online education for non-members for free.

This was very well received and many non-MPI members have now taken online classes. The next step for us as MPI members is to see the non-members become part of the MPI community once the crises is over and meetings start coming back. That is when you need a strong organization, a strong network and good educational background (and a bit of luck).

In Denmark, I got some of the local meeting planners and agencies together and we offered the Health Authorities assistance in the logistics of setting up COVID-19 test centers. The offer was very well received.

As the crises is moving into the next step with soft openings of societies, the meeting industry will very slowly enter a new normal situation. There will be new ways of working together, new business models and new conditions. Also, here there is a need for good advice and ideas and maybe to disrupt the way we do meetings. I have suggested to the other members of the MPI European Advisory Council that we offer free consultancy until the end of June 2020 in order to assist other MPI members getting through this, get inspired and seeing the benefits of a strong network like MPI.

If we can assist in getting the meeting industry back on track a bit faster, it will be a reward for us. Stronger together!

Please feel free to contact any of below EAC members for a friendly advice, suggestions to move forward or just motivation and how to get into the new normal.

Paula Blomster, congress manager, Helsinki Expo & Convention Center

Robbert Weddepohl, operational and commercial director of Van der Valk International

Suzanne Medcalf Mulligan, senior community engagement manager, IMEX Group

Pieter Allaerts, chair of MPI's European Advisory Council, board member of IACC, director of sales & marketing at Dolce by Wyndham La Hulpe Brussels

Per Ankaer, sales director, MCI Nordics



Per Ankaer
Per Ankaer

Per Ankaer is a 2020 member of MPI’s European Advisory Council. He has for the last 4 years been working as Nordic Sales Director for MCI Group in charge of developing association and corporate meetings in the Nordic countries and the rest of Europe. He had previously owned company in Denmark: ICS – International Conference Services, which he sold to MCI in 2016. He enjoys producing engaging online and offline meetings and events and has together with the Nordic team created great events for some of the leading associations and companies with a sustainable touch. He is dedicated to making it through the crises and is motivated by the success of the people around him. Per is currently Board member of Meetingplace Wonderful Copenhagen and President of a local Danish Rotary Club, who is working with social wellbeing for children in Greenland. Privately he is also active with ski touring, kayaking and open water swimming and has 3 children and a wife, who all try to keep up the pace.