Site President David Sand addresses the Site EMEA Forum 2013 in Antwerp

Site EMEA Forum 2013 - David Sand opening address.jpgGood afternoon ladies and gentlemen from the European Site community and beyond. Special welcome to important dignitaries, chapter leaders, Past Presidents, global board members and members of the media.

For those who don’t know me well, I am an African and very proud of it. Africa is a continent of over a billion people and on the rise. I am not black or brown, as most of my continental brothers and sisters are, and at first glance you may mistake me for European. But when you hear my accent you know that is not true.

My family is a wonderful rainbow mix of color, as my wife Dee and I have adopted two amazing South African boys, Daniel and Nathan. One is mixed race and coffee in color with wiry straight hair, the other is darker and has typical African hair that is difficult to comb. The boys say I am beige not white and my wife is peach with her fair complexion. We are African, it’s fun. We are also fellow family members of the global community.

Just like my family, the professional association Site, that we have all chosen to make our professional home, is rich in color, culture and contrasts. Site has a global DNA, a hard working, professional ethos, where members do business with each other and strive for ethical behaviors that any business person would be proud of. We have members from all over the world, and will continue to grow this diverse and dynamic culture in the years ahead. We care about social issues, we love to give back and we care about the healthy green future of our planet.

The Site EMEA Forum is rich in history and has a distinctly European flair and style that reflects and responds to the needs of our European colleagues. The event that lies ahead will be rich in learning, networking, business dealings and serious, stylish fun.

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Europe is however going through some very challenging economic trading conditions and our members in this community are digging deep into their experience, wisdom and reserves to perservere through to more prosperous times. Some business have not made it, some have lost jobs and have had to reinvent themselves, to find new ways to survive by downsizing, joint ventures or mergers with bigger businesses with deeper pockets and cash reserves. They are also growing in new skills to be able to add more services to the same client. And Europeans are not alone in these challenges.

So has  'pure incentive travel” disappeared in Europe? Is Site no longer relevant as an association? In a recent magazine article with the same title, a very well known editor named one person who believes this to be true! Well friends, the answer is clearly NO, that is not at all true. What has occurred and what we are seeing less of in the MICE high street is the boutique “ Incentive Travel Only” shop. Just like the Butcher, Candlestick Maker and Baker of old.

To adapt, survive and thrive, many organisations today have become multi-skilled service outfits delivering some or all of the MICE  offerings - Meetings, Incentives, Conferences / Congresses, and Events - at quality levels as good, if not better than the single boutique service shop of the past.

So has Site adapted to all this, or is it unable to adapt? YES, for sure Site has been adapting. We are after all a member-driven organisation. A few years back visionary members of the board knew it was time to change. We crafted a new identity and started leading the shift. Site is no longer “ The Society of Incentive Travel Executives” an exclusive boutique association. Site is now THE Professional Association for people in the meetings, events and incentive industry. Site is the global community of professionals dedicated to delivering business results through motivational experiences. Site membership is comprised of professionals that have honed their skills to help client organizations perform at higher levels.

  • By inspiring delegates at meetings and events.
  • By inspiring employees, agents or dealers during an incentive campaign
  • By rewarding winners with exceptional Incentive travel and experiential activities
  • By building brand and employee loyalty with recognition and rewards

This is the new Site and it’s in big demand.

Our education is adapting and evolving to take on this new role and our members are loving this wider professional scope. We embrace the buyers in our community and the supply chain members, who help deliver these important business-focused results, with equal importance.We are more relevant to deliver and better geared for the future than Site has ever been in its 40 year history.

We are proud to have you on board as members and know that together we are shaping a new and exciting future together.

If you are not yet a member I can ensure you that in this professional global association you will.

  • Experience rapid personal growth
  • Grow your business connections faster and further in the world
  • Find a professional home to call your own.

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With that I declare the EMEA Forum 2013  officially open.

David Sand, Site President 2013

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