IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum



The brightest future minds

The Future Leaders Forum is jointly run by IMEX, MPI (Meeting Professionals International) and MCI. It’s been developed to harness the imagination of the most promising students and encourage them to join the meetings and incentive travel industry.

About the Future Leaders Forum

Forums are designed to provide budding meeting industry professionals with a packed educational programme including inspirational sessions from industry experts on key topics, an insightful international and regional overview of the meetings industry, round table discussions for further questions and debates and a chance to network and make valuable contacts within the indusrty.

Over 125 Forums have taken place and around 7,000 students (June 2015) have passed through the programme since its launch in 2003. 90% of students surveyed have said they are "likely to enter the industry as a result of attending" a Forum.  

World Map 2016

Forums typically take place as part of a larger meetings industry conference or trade show in 12 or more locations around the world every year.The largest Forums take place during IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America in Las Vegas, with over 100 students participating in a two day programme.

Forum  at IMEX in Frankfurt: Wednesday 20 - Thursday 21 April 2016

With a focus on soft skills for career success, the 100 Future Leaders representing 20 universities in 10 countries learnt about creativity and engagement techniques for culturally diverse audiences, from industry experts. After a session on networking, the students were able to put theory into practice at a reception sponsored by the Sheraton Hotel Offenbach. On day two Making new Connections was also theme. The students met selected exhibitors on the show floor and had career chats with a variety of industry experts.

The winner of the International University Challenge, Karolina Widawska, was announced during the Gala Dinner.

IMEX would like to say a special thank you to our supporters - Starwood Hotels who invited the Future Leaders to a drinks reception. IAEE coordinated the visit to the show floor. Marriott supports the International University Challenge.

“I actually got even more inspired and motivated in pursuing a career in the industry. The people I met at IMEX and especially the speakers were so fascinating. Now I have a broader knowledge of what I can expect and what the industry is really about.” - Participant at IMEX in Frankfurt 2016

Starwood MILogo Horiz Color

Forum at IMEX America - Las Vegas 

Forum at IMEX America: Wednesday 19 – Thursday 20 October 2016

The Forum at IMEX America brings together students from all across the USA, Canada and Mexico to take part in this outstanding career development opportunity. The two day educational programme covers inspiring sessions by experienced industry professionals, appointments with selected exhibitors on the show floor and many networking opportunities.

Students attending the Future Leaders Forum at IMEX America will meet and learn from meetings industry leaders about many topics relevant to their career interests, including:  

  • The future of the meetings industry.
  • Strategies for success in a global, culturally diverse economy.  
  • Tactics to establish and advance a professional career in today’s competitive environment

International University Challenge

 IUC15 Judges Finalists

The challenge was created in 2009 to encourage students to showcase their ideas and talent based on a fictitious brief. The final is held at IMEX in Frankfurt where the regional winners of six selected forums will compete for the grand prize (the MPI Foundation Student Scholarship Award and participation in an MPI conference of choice) sponsored by the MPI Foundation and Marriott International.

More about the International University Challenge and past winners. 

Further Questions?

Do you have any further questions, please check out the FAQ section or contact us.

Upcoming Forums 2016 

Date Main Event Location
19 January 2016 Conventa Ljubljana, Slovenia
7 February 2016 MPI European Meetings and Events Conference Copenhagen, Denmark
22 February 2016 Meetings Africa Johannesburg, South Africa
2 March 2016 COCAL Congress  Guadalajara, Mexico
18 March 2016 Meetings Week Poland  Warsaw, Poland
31 March 2016 Federcongressi&eventi Convention  Bologna, Italy
7 April 2016 IT&CM China  Shanghai, China
20 - 21 April 2016 IMEX in Frankfurt  Frankfurt, Germany
11 June 2016 MPI World Education Congress  Atlantic City, USA
12 July 2016 World Meetings Forum  Monterrey, Mexico
27 - 28 September 2016 IT&CM Asia  Bangkok, Thailand
19 - 20 October 2016 IMEX America  Las Vegas, USA












“I learnt, I networked, I had fun. The event taught me a lot and I met different kinds of people who were all so friendly and willing to share their knowledge.”

(Participant at Meetings Africa 2016)








Success stories, Career Development and Resources

 The Future Leaders Forum has delivered many success stories such as Jason Zhang, now a Senior Account Manager at MCI Group, in Shanghai and Paola Silk, Global Hospitality Leader at Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel and Suites. Take a look at our Future Leaders case studies, read about their experiences and pick up some great tips.


Success Stories


I have been a speaker on several occasions and have found it very motivating to work and introduce these young people to the meetings industry and a job opportunity in a sector many of them did not even know existed. These people have the energy and the fresh minds we are looking for and they represent an important talent pool.

Hugo Slimbrouck, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Ovation Global DMC


Contact Us

Sarah Skavron

Please contact Sarah Skavron at IMEX if you have any questions about the Future Leaders Forum programme or how to apply.

Sarah Skavron, Knowledge and Events Executive, IMEX Group

Tel: +44 1273 224930


Frequently Asked Questions

Future Leader Forum 14

Student registration

I am interested in attending a IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum (FLF)

FLF, how can I register?

  • We usually invite students from local universities but always encourage the participation of proactive students. Please contact the FLF team for more information.

What are the requirements to attend the FLF?

  • You must be a student of courses related to the Meetings and Events Industry and you have not attended a FLF before. We recommend that a participation is most valuable if you are in your final year of education. 

I am not a student anymore. Can I participate?

  •  Priority is given to students but if places are still available, young professionals in the first years of employment are welcome to apply

I do not study hospitality management, event management or tourism management, can I still participate?

  • If you have a strong interest in the meetings and events industry and plan to start your career in this field, you can contact the FLF team to check if places are still available.

I have already attended a forum before but I would like to attend another forum at another event. Is this possible?

  • Priority is given to first-time attendees but in certain cases we consider a repeated participation in the forum, for example if it is held in a different country or if you want to share your experience of what happened after the forum. Please contact the FLF team to discuss your case.


What is the dress code?

  • There is no dress code for the forum but we recommend business-casual, for example what you would wear to a job interview.

Will I receive a certificate?

  • Yes, we will provide certificates of attendance at the end of the forum.

Do you have any tips to follow up with new connections after the forum?

  • You can make many impactful connections at the forum and we recommend that you follow up with everybody you met after the forum. Please find some inspiration and follow up tips in our Inspiration section.

Can I get a job at the FLF?

  • Please note that FLF is not a job fair. The participating speakers and industry professionals are not necessarily looking for new staff but they might be able to put you in contact with potential employers. Please be mindful when you ask about employment possibilities and try to be clear about your goal and your background. 

What are the benefits of attending?

  • You can network with and get practical industry insight from experienced experts. Many of our speakers have been recognised with awards or belong to the most influential industry leaders. We aim to provide a programme that leaves you feel more inspired and more motivated to take the next step towards your career goal and offer the opportunity to meet with like-minded people.


How much does the registration cost?

  • The registration to the forum is generally free of cost for participating students. Depending on the related industry event, there might be special discounts for students to take part in the main event and social functions.

Is accommodation and transportation cost included?

  • Accommodation and transportation costs normally need to be covered by the participants themselves.

Will there be lunch or other breaks included?

  • Coffee breaks and lunch will be provided (thanks to sponsors) unless stated otherwise in the programme


We are always looking for new topics and speakers – please contact Sarah Skavron  and tell us more about your session ideas.

  •  How can my students attend the future leaders forum?

The application process for each forum depends on the main event and requirements given by the local organising committees. If you are interested in a participation in the forums, please contact us for more specific information.

  •   Are there any guidelines on how to select students for the forum?

There are no designated guidelines but we consider the most important selection criteria to be the motivation of the students. Priority should be given to those students who are highly motivated to start a career in the meetings industry and who would benefit from this inspiration and networking opportunity.

Organisers and industry professionals

  •  I would like to support the FLF – how can I get involved?

There are several ways to get involved, both onsite at the forums or online – for example delivering a session, giving career advice in smaller groups, sharing case studies and other information resources or sponsorship opportunities. Please contact us to discuss further details.

  • How can I hold a session at forum?

We are always looking for new speakers and new topics that are relevant for the participants of the forums. If you already have a concrete idea for a session or if you are generally interested, please contact us for more information.

  • My organisation is looking for new talent. How can I recruit future leaders forum participate?

We are happy to forward any information about work experience opportunities and job descriptions to previous forum participants and help you spread the word. 








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