History was made on Thursday, 22 October 2020 as SAACI convened its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the form of a Hybrid Event.
A 1st in our Associations’ history and one that will reflect the sign of the time we find ourselves in.
The Associations’ AGM provided not only feedback and reports by the National Chairperson, Kim Roberts, National Treasurer Glenn Van Eck and CEO Glenton De Kock on the financial year of 2019/2020, but insights into the work that the Association has been doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
National Chairperson, Kim Roberts quoted an article – with Simon Senik and Sir Richard Branson, which read: He said it’s all about your mindset – and there’s a difference between being positive and optimistic: “Positivity is blind. Optimism is the undying belief that the future is bright, but it’s not a denial of the current state.” Roberts couldn’t agree more.
She further shared: “Optimism is one of the most important traits to have in business – especially right now. As Simon explained, if you can hold on to your vision in a time of crisis, you are still feeling your way in the dark but at least you have a direction and you’re moving forward.
At the same time, we are driven by hope, optimism, and an unyielding desire to move forward. We crave solutions; the hunger is voracious in nature. Yet, we know that many of the solutions we clung to, only months ago have become antiquated – everything feeling like it was so long ago. We held on because of familiarity, comfort, and because it was expected or maybe easy.
The truth is that even before the pandemic, our industry had many challenges. Now as we accelerate from pause to play to fast forward – we need to make decisions quickly, accurately, and authentically.
Our Association, SAACI, understands both the challenges and opportunities at hand. We have not sugar coated the problems. Instead, we are dedicating our resources to work collectively with our stakeholders and partners to find solutions in order to keep the Business Events Industry informed. Our mission is to help you prepare for what’s next, to offer actionable insights, and guidance.”
Roberts shared the three key strategic areas that the SAACI Board worked on to simplify how we meet the needs of members and deliver more value to members:
- Marketing and Communication
- Learning; and
- Business Modelling
The National chairperson closed out by highlighting that “This isn’t a time for nostalgia for the Business Events Sector. It is a moment for inspiration, originality, and a deeper take on what is important. This moment requires a community – of thinkers, doers, creators, innovators. The SAACI body is this community.
National Treasure Glenn Van Eck provided a review of the financial statements for the year 2019/2020 by highlighting some risks pertaining to the current operating environment of SAACI and possibly, what the financial year 2021/2022 may look like.
The Association has R1 067 259.00 in outstanding membership fees on the current financial year that may not be recovered, and it will probably have low membership income for the 21/22 year as well.
On the financial year 2019/2020 Van Eck noted major changes in income and expenses for 2019/2020 year:
- The substantial investment in the Associations’ website
- The Associations’ training income was substantially down
- Membership income was also down
In sharing the changes that the Association has made to tighten our belts since COVID hit:
- We will work remotely and have not renewed our lease agreement. This will free up significant operational cash going forward.
- The appointment of a service provider for the marketing and communication services will assist the association and manage the budget spend.
- We will pursue an improved learning and development platform that will aid the professionalism and education of event professionals
- We need to identify additional sources of income
The National Treasurer noted that the SAACI Board is mindful of the challenges we members are facing and that work will continue in ensuring that value added services are provided, while work continues on ensuring the sustainability of the Association and the Business Events Industry.
Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo Chief Convention Bureau Officer at South African Tourism, shared the work that the South African National Convention Bureau is working on to ensure that Destination South Africa remains active on the global stage. Review work is been done on the Bid Support Program as well as the National Associations program.
An announcement will be made in the coming weeks on Meetings Africa 2021.
SAACI CEO Glenton De Kock quoted Leonard Bernstein – “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.”
De Kock said that “Time has always been our greatest commodity, and while a plan is something that we had earlier on as an Association, particularly after the Board Strategy session a year ago, it was TIME that felt that it was getting away from us these past months. However, your Associations’ plan was agile and proactive enough to allow to respond to the current needs such as
- Lobbying government on aspect affecting the Business Events Sector
- Activated the discussion that lead to the formation of the much-needed SA Events Council
- Provided content and context to the recovery process of the Business Events Sectors
- Provided input into the Safety Protocols during these past months
He urged members and the industry to keep focusing on innovative ways to remain connected, but to remain positive as we will get through this crisis by working in collaboration, while we remember to take of ourselves while doing so.
He closed out by thanking the SAACI Board for their tireless work, the SAACI Members, partners, Stakeholders and the sponsors of the AGM, namely: South African Convention Bureau, Magnetic Storm, Lumi, CSIR International Convention Center, Olive Conference Center, The Westin, Spier, B&E Conference Center and the City of Johannesburg.