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Event Industry Alliance confirms new chair

by Martin Fullard

The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) has announced that its serving vice-chair and MD of EventShaper, Lou Kiwanuka (pictured), has been appointed chair of the Event Industry Alliance (EIA), assuming the role from Dan Thurlow, director of exhibition sales, Scottish Event Campus (SEC) and board member of the Association of Event Venues (AEV).
Kiwanuka said that she believed that EIA has been the “instrumental force” in driving the agenda with Government and coordinating the task of creating guidance and the pilot event over the last seven months.

“The existence of the EIA has meant that all three associations were able to fast track a coordinated approach in the shortest possible time using mechanisms already in place,” she said.

The EIA is the umbrella body of ESSA, AEV, and the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), supporting the development of closer relationships and understanding between organisers, suppliers and venues.

The chair is chosen by annual rotation, from each association chair in turn, and Kiwanuka’s appointment comes in advance of her appointment as ESSA chair on January 1 2021.

Kiwanuka said that the pandemic and the subsequent effects are stretching the resilience of the event industry, adding: “It’s a testament to the work of Dan Thurlow, my predecessor, that the EIA has been able to respond with such speed and decisiveness to circumstances that were, at the start of Dan’s tenure in 2019, almost unthinkable. This pandemic and the subsequent effects are obviously stretching the resilience of the event industry, and the work of the EIA will be ever more essential in ensuring the All Secure Standard and Project Confidence are strong and instrumental in bringing event businesses together behind a common purpose and message.”

Andrew Harrison, ESSA director, described Kiwanuka as a “true positive force in the industry”.

He said: “I am in no doubt that her expertise across all three sectors will be put to good use in these testing times.”

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