So much has been written about Millennials in the work place and their personal attributes, we wondered: do those generational generalizations go across cultures?

Who better to ask then Carina Bauer, CEO of U.K.–based IMEX Group, the exhibition company that organizes both IMEX in Frankfurt, an annual trade show for meeting, incentive, convention, and exhibition organizers, and its American counterpart, which will be held October 14–16 in Las Vegas. The show’s signature is its hosted buyer program, which invites meeting professionals from all over the world to meet in one-on-one appointments with industry suppliers on the trade show floor. The qualified planners’ costs are covered once accepted into the hosted buyer program.

But another signature of the show and the IMEX Group, one not as well known, is its IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum. And it’s one Bauer is extremely proud of.

We recently spoke by phone with Bauer, whose birthday happens to fall just outside the millennial range.

MeetingsNet: The Future Leaders program marked its 10th anniversary in 2013, and more than 6,000 students have passed through it. Those are significant milestones. Tell us why you began the program and how it has developed and evolved over the years.
Carina Bauer: The IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum is a year-round program, which is jointly run by IMEX, Meeting Professionals International, and MCI. Students studying meetings and conventions, tourism, or hospitality at university or college are invited to attend. Forums typically take place as part of a larger meetings industry conference, such as MPI, and they are held in 15 or more locations around the world every year.

We have held them in nearly 20 different countries including Thailand, Italy, China, and South Africa. Locations for 2014 have included Turkey, Africa, Slovenia, and North America, including during MPI’s WEC, just held in Minneapolis. The largest forums take place during IMEX shows in Frankfurt and Las Vegas, with more than 100 students participating in a two-day program.

We developed the Future Leaders Forum to encourage the best and brightest university students to plan for a career in the global meetings and events industry. The first forum took place at IMEX in Frankfurt in April 2003. In 2005 IMEX partnered with MPI to deliver forums around the world. In 2012 we welcomed MCI as another partner.