The Meetings Industry Association’s chief executive, Jane Longhurst, has been named M&IT Personality of the Year in recognition of her commitment to the business meetings and events sector, ahead of her retirement next month.
Since commencing the mia leadership role in 2004, Longhurst has been championing the business meetings and events sector, collaborating with and uniting the many different parts of the industry, advocating best practice to raise industry standards launching the AIM accreditation scheme, while also celebrating talent with initiatives such as the prestigious miaList.
Her determined leadership has resulted in the mia becoming one of the sector’s fastest growing associations after taking membership from 320 to a thriving 800 plus.
During last week’s presentation, the M&IT Award judges commended her commitment to the sector and in particular her role during the pandemic. This has seen her working around the clock leading a simultaneous government, media and member relations strategy providing insight, clarity and guidance alongside a comprehensive suite of business support tools that have been signposted by government.
It was a busy week for the mia as Longhurst’s award followed hot on the heels of the mia team also securing a Best Association Team Bronze at the Association Excellence Awards.
The judges recognised the mia’s “highly responsive strategy to support sector membership,” and felt the team showed “resilience and an innovative approach to the huge challenges during COVID”.
They were also impressed by the mia’s collaboration with Government and said it was “excellent to be able to retain so many members in such difficult circumstances” and “to remain buoyant was quite an achievement”.
Longhurst said: “Last week was certainly one to remember. I was truly shocked and delighted in equal measure to have received the M&IT Personality of the Year title on Friday evening. There are so many incredible people in the industry who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic pulling out every stop in support of the sector, so to have been singled out is very humbling.”
Upon receiving the award, she dedicated the title to the mia team. “As everything we have achieved as an association is the result of brilliant and seamless teamwork, I was delighted that we also secured a team title at the Association Excellence Awards.
“It has been one of the darkest times for our sector and, while we knew from all of the positive feedback and high member retention rates that the mia’s unwavering commitment to support and provide clarity to the industry was making a difference, these awards really are the icing on the cake.”