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Session 8: Reinvention & the role of destinations

Highlights and deeper discussion on the hottest topics raised during Dubai Association Centre’s online event held in December 2021.  What does a truly perfect partnership with a destination look like?  What kind of institutional support is required or offered, what kind of strategic advice would be valuable, how might risk-sharing operate, for example? Destination support means far more than helping to host international conferences in a city!  At best, it is a strategic alignment that creates long-term benefit for key knowledge or economic sectors in that city, that assists the association to deliver its mission throughout that region, and that creates new network links to help generate new knowledge and solutions.

Moderator: Genevieve Leclerc, Co-Founder & CEO, #Meet4Impact


21 February 2022


3:45 pm - 4:45 pm




  • Dianna Steinbach
    Dianna Steinbach
    Vice President, Corporate Development, ISSA - The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association

    Dianna Steinbach is the Vice President of Corporate Development for ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, a 99-year-old, US-based organisation.
    Under Steinbach’s leadership, ISSA’s international operations grew from two people overseeing European activities and one European exhibition alliance, to expanded operations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Oceania, including joint ventures in China, Korea and Italy. ISSA’s portfolio of exhibitions now include the US, Africa, Australia, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and Russia, with symposiums in China, India and Thailand.
    For the last 19 years, Steinbach has focused on helping ISSA and related industry associations and exhibition providers identify new trends, strategically plan, develop business alliances, connect with customers and position themselves for the greatest success.
    Steinbach is a Board Member and the Programming Chair for the European Society of Association Executives (ESAE). She is a faculty member for the Membership Marketing School and has been a member of the IBTM World Association Leaders Forum Advisory Board. Steinbach also has been a speaker for the International Congress and Conventions Association (ICCA), UFI Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, IMEX Association Focus Conference and other international association and event leadership events.
    She worked on the team that first enabled ISSA’s US show to enter the Trade Show Executives Gold 100, has presented at the Lippman Connects Large Show Roundtable in the US, been a member of exhibition committees for RAI Amsterdam, and participated in customer-based strategy sessions for the Las Vegas Convention Center.
    Prior to her time in association management, Steinbach was the owner of ClarityPoint consulting firm, as well as a former editor for Trade Press Media and a reporter for the Association Press.

  • Ella Robertson McKay
    Ella Robertson McKay
    Managing Director, One Young World

    Ella Robertson McKay is the Managing Director of One Young World, the global forum for young leaders. Ella oversees the annual One Young World Summit which has taken place in ten different cities across the world, from Bangkok to Bogota. Since its inception in 2010, One Young World has impacted the lives of 30 million+ people. Ella is the co-author of How To Make A Difference – the authoritative handbook to activism; she has also written for Prospect, City AM, Glamour Magazine and The Telegraph. Ella read English Literature at Balliol College Oxford and began a law training contract with a Magic Circle firm before changing track and pursuing a career in the third sector. She is a school Governor at two schools, a primary and a secondary, and is training to be a Childline Counsellor. Ella stood for election in the Scottish Parliamentary Elections in 2021; she was on the Scottish International Debating team and was recently featured in British Vogue for her activism in getting more women into politics and was on the Management Today/Daily Telegraph list of 35 Women Under 35 in 2019

  • Geneviève Leclerc
    Geneviève Leclerc
    Co-founder and CEO #Meet4Impact

    Geneviève has over 25 years of global experience in congress management and consultancy for associations. She works as a content curator, facilitator, speaker and trainer with the association meetings industry and is specialized in sustainability and social impact practices. She is also the Managing Director of the International Society of Limnology.

    Geneviève is passionate about applying design thinking practices to accompany organizations through innovation. She has founded her current organization, #Meet4Impact, in 2019 and her work focuses on achieving greater social impact for large events. She has developed an “impact masterclass” for the industry and has co-created a framework that empowers organizations and offers a systematic process for creating and measuring the positive impacts of conferences. When not at work, Geneviève is enjoying the great outdoors or sailing the seas.

  • Senthil Gopinath
    Senthil Gopinath
    Chief Executive Officer – ICCA

    Senthil has over 20 years’ experience in the meetings, association and leisure industry. He has held wide spectrum of positions in the meetings industry. Such as CEO of Convention Bureau of Sri Lanka, Vice President of Kuoni. He moved to Dubai in 2006 and has been working for Congress Solutions International, the Professional Congress Organizer (PCO) arm of Emirates Group, eventually holding responsibility for wide ranging business development, sales and operations functions for some of the largest international meetings held in the UAE and the Region.
    A passionate strategist. Being creative and adaptable to the constantly changing environment are his key strengths. Always aims at professionalism and focuses on achieving the organizational objectives and financial goals
    Academically Senthil holds a European Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master’s in Business Administration (UK). Currently reading for PHD. Senthil has been working with the global association and business tourism fraternity for more than two decades and has in depth knowledge on global association and business tourism segment development. At present Senthil is the CEO of International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) – Global Meetings Industry Association headquartered in Netherlands. Winner of Global Business Events Strategist of the year awarded by PCMA – USA.
    ICCA -the International Congress and Convention Association- is the global community and knowledge hub for the international association meetings industry.
    ICCA represents the main specialists in organizing, transporting, and accommodating international meetings and events, and comprises over 1,150-member companies and organizations in over 100 countries worldwide. ICCA specializes in the international association meetings sector, offering unrivalled data, communication channels, and business development opportunities.

  • Steen Jakobsen
    Steen Jakobsen
    Assistant vice president, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET)

    Steen Jakobsen is assistant vice president at Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) where he oversees Dubai Business Events & City Operations – the official convention bureau of Dubai. Prior to joining DET in 2013, Steen held a role as director of Copenhagen Convention Bureau for 8 years.

    Steen served on the Board of Directors of International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) from 2008 – 2014. He also served on the Board of Directors of Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC). From 2003 – 2007, Steen was chair of BestCities Global Alliance and today he serves on the Board of Directors of BestCities Global Alliance.

    Steen sits on the Executive Committee of Dubai Association Centre which is an initiative between DET, Dubai Chambers and Dubai World Trade Centre supporting international associations establish themselves in Dubai.

    Steen holds a Master degree in Commerce and Commercial Law from Copenhagen Business School and the University of Sheffield.

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