AEO Forums delivers on working smarter, sustainability & more


The AEO Forums 2020 attracted 300 event professionals to the Business Design Centre on 31st  January. 

Industry professionals arrived eager to learn more about how they could “work smarter, not harder”, with Matt Wozniak from The Event Lab chairing the ops stream; Caitlin Read, communications director from Comexposium, the marketing stream; and Carly Walker, sales director from Forum Events, the sales stream.

Chris Skeith, chief executive of AEO said: “We couldn’t be happier with the mood and turnout on the day. Delivering valuable content to our members and the industry is paramount.  In an age of burnout, a focus on implementing greater day-to-day efficiencies and working more collaboratively felt like a necessary topic to address. It was well-received too!”

There was a big emphasis on using more sustainable practices as Nalan Emre, chief operating officer, at the IMEX Group, delivered her keynote on ‘A case study of collaboration and success’.

IMEX Group is a company driven by one of its five goals to work more efficiently in a sustainable way.

Emre said: “My keynote address at the event was designed to pass on solid and practical sustainability practices based on our own experience.

“As I said in my address, sustainability is not a sidebar issue any more and I hope event professionals will take action.”

To further promote sustainability, the AEO provided reusable water bottles for delegates to fill up at the water stations and trialled its first vegetarian lunch.

A variety of other topics were covered in each of the three streams, with the day ending in an afternoon panel discussion, which looked at the importance of the relationship between the three functions.

Key areas for improvement across the functions were highlighted as follows:

  • Better planning, so timelines match up across functions for optimum results
  • Communication
  • Understanding each other’s priorities
  • Stopping the blame culture
  • Looking for exhibitor solutions like “sponsorship” together

The session also uncovered the mutual desire to work more closely together, have more empathy, share information, and keep a customer focus.

Molly Hookings
Author: Molly Hookings

Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: