Matthias Schultze in conversation with Carina Bauer, CEO Imex Group about Leadership in Events

No doubt, there are certain established skills and abilities that always apply to leaders: they must be capable of building teams and, in order to succeed in this, they need to really know the people they work with and their respective talents. In that sense, leading means enabling and putting people in the right positions where they can thrive and contribute.

Matthias Schultze talked to Carina Bauer, CEO of Imex Group about leadership in the meetings industry:

Matthias Schultze: Good Morning Carina and thank you for taking time early in the morning to have a quick chat with me. In June the German Convention Bureau is focusing our communications around the topic of leadership, so I am very happy to have the opportunity ask you some questions about what leadership means to you.

First I'd like to know as a well-respected leader yourself, how you define leadership and what are the key ingredients you think go into being or becoming a good leader?

Carina Bauer: I think that there are many different way to lead people. I don't think there is a one size fits all way and I think many different people can be a leader. one of the most important things as a leader is to have a very clear vision and to be able to articulate that well to the people that you are trying to lead. I also think it's very important as a leader to be humble and to see yourself as serving as well the people that you lead. The other thing I would say is that I think you can be a leader in part of the business and in any role -- you don't need to be at the top of an organization in order to lead people and to be a leader. 

Matthias Schultze: Who inspires you, as a person, as a leader in our industry?

Carina Bauer: I think there are a lot of inspiring leaders within our industry and outside. Obviously, I was lucky to grow up with my father Ray Bloom who is a great leader in the industry and I've learned a lot from him. I think another person who definitely has always impressed me and inspired me (who retired recently) is Deborah Sexton -- as a very powerful and well respected female leader in the industry. I saw what she did with really turning around the organization of PCMA to now be one of the most important leadership organizations in the industry. At the same time, I had the ability to work closely with her and her team and I really saw the admiration her team had for her and how she really was able to mentor her team. A large number of her team members came in as young people and developed under her and she really encouraged them to continue with their studies and do their MBAs and other things and she really helped to develop them as leaders as well and I've always thought she's been very inspiring.

Matthias Schultze: What is your advice to people who have just entered our industry - or are entering another industry - and want to become a leader?

Carina Bauer: The first thing I'd say - to go back to the point I made at the beginning- is that you can be a leader at any point in your career and in any role that you take. Because leadership really is about how you articulate your vision and how you take responsibility for what it is that you are doing, and your team is doing. You can be a leader at any point. So I think it's important that people understand when they are coming into any job that it's not always for somebody to tell them what to do, but it's for them to actually say, to think about things, to be proactive and to say can I change this, can I do this, can I take this responsibility and if you can do that and show that you start to develop your leadership qualities. The other thing I would say to people coming into the industry is be prepared to work really hard and to do everything that it takes and not to be too precious about that. They say to learn a musical instrument, to learn a new skill takes about 10,000 hours of practice. Being a leader is also a skill so you need to practice at it and you need to be prepared to put in the hours, and the days, and the work to be successful.

Matthias Schultze: Very interesting, thank you for taking the time to have an espresso with me to talk about leadership. All the best to you and the IMEX Team!

Carina Bauer: Thank You Matthias!