2013 IELA Winter Seminar, Zurich

The 2013 Winter Seminar continued its established history of providing IELA members´ operations staff with an exciting, memorable experience. The Winter Seminar was held January 16th - 20th, again in Zurich, Switzerland. IELA´s experience from previous Winter Seminars truly influenced the unique character of this year´s edition as classroom sessions and networking opportunities ignited a special synergy among the student participants.

The 2013 Winter Seminar was attended by 29 students from 21 IELA member companies and represented 15 countries. This worldwide coverage certainly added a varied, multi-national and interesting elements to the discussions and educational process. The students´ work experience ranged from new-to-the business to seasoned veteran.

As in previous Winter Seminar formats (which has also become typical for most IELA events), the first evening began with a welcoming reception to allow students, presenters and Board members an opportunity to mingle and get to know each other. This process of greeting everyone was continued the following morning when the now well-established »speed dating« session provided a formal structure of face-to-face discussions. Students were allowed 4 minutes to speak with a fellow student participant before moving on to the next person. Within a short period of time, all students had an opportunity to talk individually with one another. Remarkably, once again the students remarked on their evaluation form that the speed dating session was a favorite among all other activities.

In addition to the »speed dating« session were a number of demanding classroom style seminars from Thursday through Saturday afternoon. All presentations were a combination of lecture time and student participation exercises. Topics included: the History of IELA that was presented by Bob Moore, Application of Tariffs presented by Achim Lotzwick, Marketing presented by Kay Lohe, IELA Standards and Practices presented by Mariane Ewbank, Domestic/Site Agent Responsibilities presented by Emmanuel Pitchelu, Export Agent Responsibilities presented by Jim Callaghan, and the 3-part Customs Workshop featuring the USA, India and China presented respectively by Brad Watson, Ravinder Sethi and Lisa Xu. As a guest speaker, Hellmut Sito Schlingensiepen provided a unique presentation »Corporate Visual Recognition.« IELA was also honored to have Petra Lassahn of Reed Exhibitions Germany as a presenter for the first time at a Winter Seminar.

All presenters were urged to deliver their topics in a highly interactive format and to involve student participation as much as possible. The half-day Customs Workshop provided an in-depth exploration into customs and handling issues in the USA, India and China. The students were divided into 3 country groups to examine and solve a case study project on their assigned area of the world. Then each group presented their findings to the remaining audience and answered questions relating to their solution. The brainstorming the evening before the Friday morning workshop by each group also became a tremendous networking experience as everyone began realizing similarities and differences in their job responsibilities regardless of the part of the world they were coming from. Another highlight of the Winter Seminar was an excursion around the Zurich Fairgrounds with a close look at the logistical environment during the build-up of a major trade show in this important exhibition complex. The tour was directed by Daniel Bataller, the manager of Gondrand´s exhibition department in Zurich - and the local IELA member. Dani also supplied a tremendous amount of support to the success of the Winter Seminar by coordinating all meeting room arrangements, students´ housing needs, lunch requirements and the day-in-the-snow arrangement. His assistance contributed very much to the overall success of the event and IELA owes him a gracious thank you for his efforts.


All students were given an exam as a final exercise and review at the Winter Seminar. The student with the highest score on this exam is also awarded as the »Best Student« of the event. This year´s recipient of the honor of being named Best Student is Mohd Rasyid Bin Abdullah of R.E. Rogers (Malaysia). We applaud Rasyid for his efforts and accomplishment. And we look forward to meeting him as our guest at an IELA General Assembly in Munich in June.

IELA is proud to announce that the winner of their 2013 Winter Seminar´s Best Student Award is Mohd Rasyid Bin Abdullah of R. E. Rogers (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.! Our sincere congratulations to Rasyid for his terrific efforts and participation at the Winter Seminar.

Winter Seminar 2013 - Testimonials

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the Seminar. It has been a while since I had attended a training, but the experience was refreshing and excellent. I learned a lot, particularly via the practical exercises, and by shared experience from all the trainers/lecturers. I believe every operation personnel should attend this. All the lecturers were phenomenal, well experienced and certainly created a very nice learning environment.  The seminar has presented a wealth of knowledge in an easy to digest format.
    At the end of the day, not only did we gain the knowledge but also made new friends and new business connections with all the participants. I would strongly recommend this course to both novice and experienced operational people in our industry. And in addition much of the knowledge gained has been passed on to the staff in my department.
    Mohd Rasyid Bin Abdullah, R.E.Rogers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

  • I thoroughly enjoyed my opportunity to participate in the IELA 2013 Winter Seminar. The course outline was great and the lecturers were all captivating. The knowledge and different perspective I was able to gain during this course has definitely helped further my confidence within the industry - this was also a wonderful opportunity to meet my peers and develop my network within the Exhibition Freight Forwarding Industry.
    Shanade Collins, Agility - Fairs & Events, Australia
  • I really enjoyed the experience the speakers shared with us. It was great to get an in depth look at different aspects of what we do, and also a glimpse into areas we may not directly be involved in.
    I especially enjoyed the visit by the organizer.  This really helped me to better understand the process and how it affects the shows and agents.
    It was also beneficial to hear from people just like you, involved in the day to day tasks and solutions they offered for different scenarios. Practical and usable information.
    I truly enjoyed this experience and made some new friends, can´t have too many of those!
    It was nice to spend time outside of class, socializing and getting to know people you may work with many miles away.
    Jennifer Harris, TWI Group Inc., USA

  • I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the IELA Winter Seminar in January 2013. Even after being in the Tradeshow industry for just over 17 years, I found the winter seminar to be a great learning experience.  It gave me the opportunity to meet with many people that I have only dealt with via email or by telephone for several years, making our connections that much more solid.  I also met many new individuals, some of whom have since reached out to me for assistance when shipping to my part of the globe. On a personal level, the IELA Winter Seminar encouraged me to push myself outside of my own comfort zone and become a leader within the class. Taking charge in group situations by guiding the group and ensuring task objectives were completed.  As well as frequently presenting task results in front of the entire class.  The seminars given each day were very informative and were created to engage the students and generate active participation. In my opinion, no matter how many years you have been in the tradeshow industry, a week at the IELA Winter Seminar can not only help your understanding of tradeshow logistics, it could lead you down a path towards personal growth and development.
    Jacqueline Horner, TWI Group Inc., Canada


  •  I found the Winter Seminar 2013 a very enjoyable experience, meet some great contacts and learnt many valuable things that are and will continue to be of great benefit to both my employer and my career.
    I did have a reasonable amount of industry knowledge prior to attending the seminar but though the training groups I was able to build on this knowledge and become a lot more confident in the decisions I make.
    Christian Andrews, European International Fairs Ltd., UK

More information:

Participants List

IELA Winter Seminar Photos:
2013 Day in the Snow
2013 IELA Winter Seminar

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