Conference Partners International win IAPCO’s Driving Excellence – Innovation Award

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The IAPCO Innovation Award recognises and celebrates those at the forefront of innovation, helping to raise the standards of professionalism across the meetings industry. It serves as a platform to showcase the work of these trailblazers and encourages further innovation within the events sector.

Finding creative solutions to overcome the frequent challenges encountered when organising an international congress is a day-to-day occurrence. The Innovation Award recognises those who use their initiative to find innovative solutions to overcome these challenges.


Claire Smyth, Director of Sales and Marketing at Conference Partners International (CPI) was announced the winner of the coveted 2024 IAPCO Innovation Award, supported by IMEX.

The IAPCO award, part of IAPCO’s Driving Excellence Awards Programme was presented at the IMEX Frankfurt Gala Dinner on Wednesday, 15th May by Sissi Lignou, IAPCO President-Elect and President and CEO of AFEA Congress. The Innovation Award recognises and celebrates those at the forefront of innovation, raising the standards of professionalism within the meetings industry.

Claire’s winning entry addressed the challenge faced by One Young World, a forum for young leaders when they brought their 2023 Summit to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Part of the motivation for choosing Belfast was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, a pivotal moment in the region’s peace process. Claire impressed the judging panel with her creative and impactful approach to connecting the 2023 One Young World Summit with the city of Belfast.

Under Claire’s leadership, CPI engaged both exhibitors and local street artists to create bespoke artwork that formed a connection between the Summit, commercial exhibitors and the local community. Every exhibitor hung a unique piece of artwork, each identifying a key theme around modern Belfast and the role of peace and reconciliation. Additionally, CPI organised a Community Dine Around, allowing delegates to experience firsthand the impact of peace on local communities affected by the Troubles.

The innovative initiatives led by Claire resulted in multiple positive outcomes, including increased engagement between delegates and exhibitors, a deeper connection to Belfast City and meaningful participation from local artists and communities.

“Winning the IAPCO Innovation Award is a significant honour and privilege for me,” said Claire Smyth. “It signifies CPI’s dedication to pushing boundaries and fostering creativity. Being acknowledged for an innovation that emanates from the heart is truly rewarding. This award is a testament to the hard work and commitment of every member of the CPI team, who continuously drive such innovations forward.”

Nicola McGrane, CEO of Conference Partners International, commended Claire’s achievement, stating, “Claire’s innovative solution exemplifies our passion for delivering events that create lasting value. This recognition has not only validated our relentless pursuit of excellence and boosted our reputation in the industry but has also energised our team, sparking creativity and fostering a culture of innovation to propel us to new heights of success. We are immensely grateful for this honour and remain inspired to continue revolutionising our industry with cutting-edge solutions that make a lasting difference.”

IAPCO President-Elect, Sissi Lignou praising Claire on her win commented, “We’re delighted to recognise Claire’s outstanding achievement. Her creativity showcases the power of collaborative problem-solving within the meetings industry and the special care provided to our clients by IAPCO PCOs.”

As the 2024 Innovation Award winner, Claire will receive a complimentary registration to attend IAPCO’s 2025 Annual Meeting in Taipei, Taiwan. Her innovative solution to events management will also be featured in the upcoming edition of IAPCO’s ‘The PCO’ magazine, inspiring meeting professionals worldwide.

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