Spring in the events step

Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director and CEO, rounds up the association’s springtime projects

Every year, March marks the beginning of spring in the Northern hemisphere. A time filled with the promise of things to come, with new beginnings and ideas blossoming.

That’s pretty much what is happening right now at UFI, with things taking shape for the coming months. The application periods for our awards just ended, and the working groups are reviewing the entries they received. Our Next Generation Leadership Grant Programme is still open for applications until 9 April. If you have not already done so, please encourage your best and brightest developing leaders to have a go for one of the NGL Grants (www.ufi.org/ngl).

Spring is also the time when we are producing and preparing UFI’s Regional Conferences around the world. I am back from Kuala Lumpur, where we welcomed more than 220 colleagues for the first Asia-Pacific Regional Conference since 2019. Oh, the energy in the rooms! Next up: Costa Rica, Doha, and Maastricht.


As always, we are looking to evolve and develop these events so that they can serve the changing needs and priorities from you, our members. One of the new projects this year is the ‘Event Directors Summit’ – an additional, by invitation only, programme for 50 show directors that we run just before the European Conference in June in Maastricht to give a platform for new connections and exchanges for this core group in our industry.

Also, we have already opened registration for this year’s UFI Congress, 1–4 November, in Las Vegas, USA at www.uficongress.org. If you need a visa, please sign up early so that we can support you. Also, we have locked in ‘pre-inflation’ room prices, tied to booking dates, so there is another value in registering now. Just like our industry, we will ‘Go Beyond!’ in the States, and I am thrilled by the wide support and backing we are experiencing for this Congress from so many of our colleagues across North America. 

In the UFI team, there are new beginnings as well. We have welcomed a few new colleagues to the team. They bring new ideas, new impulses, and fresh voices to our work. We have decided to add additional positions to the team to bolster our ranks especially around advocacy, collaborations and content.

This is all in line with the recently passed updated UFI strategy that will guide us through the year until 2025 – UFI’s grand jubilee year, as it will mark 100 years of the association.

Spring – always a special time!