The third instalment of Forces of Change, co-created by Marina Bay Sands and BEAM, brought 50 corporate, association and event agency professionals together in person to network and discuss how success might shape up in 2022.

Forces of Change is an intimate peer-to-peer ideation and learning experience for business events industry leaders. It provides a safe space for participants to share their thoughts and best practices and reimagine the industry’s future with their peers.

Held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre on Friday, 4 March 2022, the event saw two groups of participants (corporate end-users and agencies) share their perspectives on 2021 while learning about trends, engagement techniques, data literacy, and recipes for peak performance from guest speakers. Those topics were decided based on feedback from the previous Forces of Change sessions. If you’ve missed them, be sure to check out Forces of Change 1 and Forces of Change 2.

Event agencies mulled over how hybrid events will continue to dominate the meetings and events experience even as in-person events return and international borders reopen. They also explored the likelihood of metaverse entering the hybrid event space in their roundtable discussions.

It is no longer of value for us to be within our own heads or industry or company. That’s no longer enough. For us to be better as an industry, I think it’s important to hear from diverse perspectives. Being able to understand and acknowledge the different challenges and priorities of industry partners, and then empathise with them enhances the way we work together and improve the industry.

Katherine Kay, Events Marketing Lead, APAC, Meta (Facebook).

Florence Chua, MD of PCMA APAC, presented three trends relevant to the APAC region: Omni-channel engagement, focus on well-being, re-imagining physical space.

One of the key points Chua made was that while hybrid events are here to stay, no one actually attends one. She goes on to explain that people either attend the physical or virtual meeting, never in between. “Omni-channel is where you start consuming content coming through social media, online or on-demand and face-to-face at the same time, which encompasses how we consume information, how we inform, engage and persuade moving forward,” Chua says.

For me, trends come and go, but I think the key importance of people having events is meeting face to face, that personal connection. Obviously, technology is a really good tool. Still, it is how we create the content and how we use technology to engage people and make it a better and greater experience for those who are experiencing it online. We cannot forget that. It’s not just about how high-tech it is but what elements you bring in. Moving forward, I think small and hybrid events are the way to go, and remember, nothing can replace face-to-face events and events is all about connecting people.

Stephanie Ong, MD, Faces of Singapore.

I think it’s great to have agencies and corporates in one room to talk and collaborate and work on how we can make events better moving forward, not just the learning points that we’ve had during the past two years of the pandemic but also how we are also able to take all that learning and not go back to the way it was before. The biggest takeaway for me is to make sure that we don’t digress when we start doing more in-person events and move towards hybrid and keep evolving.

Mizuho Hara, Partnership Director, GEVME.

Event professionals are often stretched thin with the demands that come with this line of work. That is especially so for leaders who’ve had to bear the toll that the last two years has taken on them. Master Leadership Coach Mary Barrett brought the event to a thought-provoking conclusion by introducing the four states of mind – or the “cultivating well-being rooms” as she calls them – that leaders can enter when feeling imbalanced to restore “flow” and focus. They comprise the Connection Room (friends, family, community), the Physical Room (eat, sleep, exercise), the Spiritual Room (nature, cook, meditate), and the Cognitive Room (read, teach, learn). At the centre of it all is ‘Breathe’. Barrett elaborates: “You are human beings and you know you can’t pour from an empty cup, so how are you looking after your own well-being?”

It was an amazing experience being among a community of thought leaders. The topics really resonated with me and those on my table. We had great discussions. In terms of alignment, there are a lot of things to take back to the team and think about, and hopefully, we can build something together for the benefit of the industry.

Andrew Chia, Business Lead, PICO Group.

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Gina Sin

Author Gina Sin

A sales & marketing professional at her core, Gina has found her passion in writing, particularly in crafting an important part of the communication circle, and enhancing experiences, whether singular or shared. An expert in digital media, partnership activation, and in executing the readability and searchability of websites, Gina combines her skills in sales, marketing and copywriting into her everyday.

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