Q&A: Silke Calder, AIME event director

The new director tells all about her journey to Australia and offers a sneak peek into next year's show.

In the Summer edition of Spice Magazine, we caught up with the new director of the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME),  head of the transformed hybrid show in 2021.

Here, Silke Calder tells all about her recent journey to Australia, how she dealt with Melbourne’s lockdown and what’s in store for AIME 2021.

Q: Tell us about your journey to arrive in Australia this year to join Talk2 Media & Events and the AIME team? 

A: Well, where do I start? It has been an unforgettable experience. Moving house with two children is a lot of work, especially when it’s an  international move during a global pandemic. From packing boxes, working from home full-time during Germany’s first lockdown and homeschooling, it wasn’t an easy task to say the least. It was also such a surreal experience flying Qatar Airways with only a handful of other passengers and staff looking like they were going into an operating theatre with their protective gear – as if we were on a set for a science fiction film!

After landing, we were placed straight on a bus and headed into quarantine for two weeks in central Melbourne. I then started my new role as event director for AIME and now, as we near the new year, I’m buzzing with excitement on how the event will help revive and rebuild both our community and industry.

Q: Has it been a challenging transition given the remote working arrangements in place?

A: The pandemic has certainly tested all of us, and while it has its challenges every now and then, I feel fortunate to have been welcomed with such warm arms into the Talk2 Media & Events team (virtually!). I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in person when we set foot in the office, hopefully in the near future, but for now, we’re finding lots of creative ways to keep engaged and in touch through video calls.

Q: What are you most excited about in your new role?

A: Coming back to Melbourne was always part of the plan. I’ve long admired the great minds in Melbourne’s events industry and also the dynamic culture here. It’s so rewarding that, in my new role at AIME, I will be leading the rebuild and revival of both domestic and international markets.

Q: AIME 2021 comes at a crucial time for the events industry – why is it more important than ever for it to go ahead?

A: AIME 2020 was the last industry event to happen before the pandemic spread globally and AIME 2021 is now going to be the first hybrid event for the industry to meet again. AIME has always kicked off the business events calendar and now we are planning the event to also supercharge business in 2021 and beyond. It’s a huge responsibility but one we are honoured to take on.

Q: Tell us about AIME’s new online platform and what’s on offer?

A: AIME Online (aime.delegateconnect.co) has been created through a new partnership with tech leaders Delegate Connect. On top of launching our first hybrid model with virtual experience, we have also launched a cutting-edge algorithm to match meetings and connections better than ever. Outside of creating meaningful connections, the platform also  ensures that users will have an engaging experience and receive ROI in networking, business meetings and the much-anticipated Knowledge Program.

Q: Networking is one of the most highly anticipated parts of AIME. Can delegates expect networking events in 2021?

A: Absolutely, they can. While we have remodelled our hybrid event we have not changed AIME’s DNA and mission. We understand that meaningful connections are also created outside business meetings, and while we like to keep some of our networking function details a surprise, we can confirm that delegates attending in person in Melbourne will still have access to our welcome evening and networking
breaks on the show floor. We are also planning engaging networking opportunities via AIME Online that our entire community, whether
attending locally or globally can participate in. We are so excited to see you all there, whether physically or virtually, to get business back on track.

AIME, the annual trade event for the meetings and event industry, will return to Melbourne on 15-17 March 2021, while AIME Online will run on 15-26 March 2021. aime.com.au


This interview with Silke Calder originally appeared in the Summer issue of Spice Magazine.
Read the issue below and subscribe to receive future issues.

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