International Conference Services shares insights from their ICS Connects podcast on the future of association management.


In episode 13 of the ICS Connects podcast, Mathias Posch, President of International Conference Services, discusses with Thomas Reiser, Executive Director of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, about the future of association management.

One of the first topics of discussion is the speed at which the COVID-19 pandemic has forced associations around the world to quickly adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding meeting and association management. Reiser believes that associations that fail to adapt or are too slow in doing so will inevitably become a casualty of the changes in the industry.

With travel and medical restrictions keeping international associations from holding in-person events, more and more associations are turning to the virtual space in order to host their meetings. While virtual meetings present a viable alternative, Reiser states that virtual meetings aren’t quite at the level where they can replace in-person meetings – yet.

“A meeting is one of those things that personalise an association, a community – the ability to get together, the ability to see each other, to connect, in a more emotional, personal way,” he says.


While he has yet to see this replicated in a virtual world, he remains hopeful that new virtual technologies and formats will eventually lead to an evolution in the makeup of meetings. He highlights the invaluable networking that takes place at in-person meetings as something which is still missing from virtual events.

“One of the biggest things that (early career professionals) appreciate about being at these meetings is the opportunity to walk up to one of the big professors in the field and have a discussion with them and introduce themselves, to have these more informal networking opportunities… versus virtually, (where) it needs to be a little more curated at this point.”

Posch and Reiser’s conversation goes on to cover a wide range of interesting topics in meeting and association management, including the existential threat to associations and PCOs posed by the pandemic and its effect on the relationship between PCOs and associations. The conversation also proceeds to non-pandemic related topics, such as achieving buy-in from the younger generation and how different generations interact with and appreciate virtual meetings.

Reiser goes on to stress the continued need for global collaboration at a time when travel and medical restrictions have caused many associations to focus inwards, on local or national meetings.

“You don’t solve cancer in Austria, or in the United States. You solve it through global collaboration, through global change.”

Listen to the entirety of Posch and Reiser’s conversation on episode 13 of ICS Connects, available on YouTube, IGTV, and your favourite podcast platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Castbox.

About Thomas Reiser

Thomas Reiser is an Austrian native and has served as as the Executive Director of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) since 2011. In this role as the chief staff person for ISTH, he is responsible for working closely with the ISTH Council to set the Society’s strategy, organisational development, professional execution of ISTH’s programme and initiatives and corporate relations.

Reiser has led over 10 international scientific-medical professional organisations with ultimate responsibility for strategy, fundraising, programmes and meetings around the world. The medical/scientific specialties of the organisations led by Tom include nephrology, osteoporosis, hematology, liver cancer, psychiatry, orthopedics, prosthetics and orthotics and psychiatry. He has also served in senior leadership and account roles in three large international association management companies in the United States and Europe.

About ICS Connects

ICS Connects reveals unscripted insights, forming genuine conversations with global meeting experts. Join Mathias Posch, the host of ICS Connects, and President of International Conference Services, for trending topics and 360-degree meeting views, bridging the connection between associations, convention centres, tourism bureaux, destination marketing organisations, and thought leaders in the MICE industry. Explore emerging ideas, challenges and strategies as we navigate this transformative meeting landscape and continue to move forward in our pursuit to connect people and facilitate change.


Featured image by Octavian Rosca on Unsplash

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