Kirsten Epskamp - MPI Belgium

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Kirsten Epskamp - MPI Belgium

By Kirsten Epskamp | Nov 8, 2019

I have always worked as a project manager for international consultancy companies. As a senior project leader for European projects, organizing congresses was one of my tasks—and the one I got passionate about. I therefore accepted an appointment as an association event planner, where I had the opportunity to create events from A to Z. I am still grateful for the trust and liberty of decisions I was given right from the beginning. I accompanied the association through challenging times, always adapting the events and the ROI we wanted to get out of it to the changing environment. In the meantime, I took over many additional tasks within the association, but event management is still an important part of it and the one closest to my heart.

Two things I really love come together in the event industry. First of all, events are the “perfect” projects—you start with an idea, make it happen and you have a clear finishing line with immediate feedback. There are few things as rewarding as accomplishing a successful event! In addition, I am lucky to work in a truly international environment. I love collaborating with colleagues from different countries when preparing an event, and it is also great to see how participants from so many countries worldwide connect and build bridges at the event.

One of my goals is to deepen, strengthen and enlarge my network of association event planner peers. Our exchanges on plans, best practice and challenges we face are very enriching and valuable. My objective is to develop, together with my colleagues from the MPI Belgium Chapter board and other stakeholders, a meaningful series of education for associations and to raise awareness on the added value a trained event professional can bring to an association.

The MPI Belgium Chapter organizes informal “MPI Cafés,” and this was a nice, low-threshold occasion to get started. I immediately got involved on the board, and my engagement really opened the MICE industry to me. I meet so many inspiring people—it is a give and take that brings valuable contacts and allows me to take a fresh view on things. I am frequently approached to join other associations, but I feel that no other is so focused on the MICE industry as a whole and offers so many opportunities for professional development.

The event industry is a bit slow in adopting sustainability and developing sustainable services. Sustainability sometimes still seems to be seen as a nice extra, but something that is costly to implement and the first thing to be cut if margins are getting squeezed. But isn’t there a great opportunity for suppliers to develop their USP around it? I can see offers coming to the market, but when talking to my planner peers I can still sense a frustration with the lack of commitment. Sustainability is a key concern, and many of them add this now as a requirement to their RFP.

I am a very curious person. I like to explore and discover new things and activities. These can be as different as a parachute jump or an athletic pool dance. I always have a range of things on my bucket list and it is just fun to tick them off one by one.

 

Author

Kirsten Epskamp Bio
Kirsten Epskamp

Kirsten Epskamp is director of operations for the European Nuclear Society and VP of partnership associations for the MPI Belgium Chapter.