Beyond Bias: Breaking Business Barriers

13 – 14 JUNE 2023, MECC Maastricht, The Netherlands

Open to all exhibition industry professionals.

About the Summit

The Women in Exhibitions Network is proud to announce that the first ever world summit will take place at the MECC Maastricht on the

13 – 14 June 2023.

We are all guilty of bias and stereotyping, and this summit is specifically designed to identify and overcome these biases; to take back our power and seize our full potential as professionals and industry leaders.

The summit will precede the UFI European Conference that will take place from 14 – 16 June 2023.

Who will attend?

Women and men in exhibitions representing organizers, service providers, venue operators at all different levels (junior, middle and senior) from different countries.

Participants will have the opportunity to listen, learn, exchange and provide support for one another. This event is open to all, irrespective of gender, creed, age etc.


Women in Exhibitions

The Women in Exhibitions Network was set up in 2018 to fulfill the mission of empowering women in the industry whilst helping to nurture the next generation of female leaders.

This community is the result of a joint effort of inspirational female leaders from our industry who are our founding members and ambassadors.

The Women in Exhibitions Network welcomes as members professionals representing exhibition organisers, venues and suppliers in the event industry whose business is related to the organisation and facilitation of exhibitions or trade fairs.

With chapters in UK, The Netherlands, North America and DACH region, the community is a growing voice in promoting diversity and inclusion in an innovative industry.



13 June 2023

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Networking Lunch

1:30 pm – 2:15 pm
Panel discussion: Route to leadership: navigating the roadblocks

A panel of senior female leaders will share the details of their own journeys to a senior management role, covering the challenges en route. This includes difficulties in plotting that path with fewer role models than their male counterparts and frequently less internal networking opportunities.


The speakers will also address how to be an authentic leader, training and development & mentoring opportunities, and how to help ensure work/life balance.


Martha Donato, Founder & President, Mad Event Management
Laura Purdy, General Manager, Exhibition Place, Toronto

Other speakers to be announced

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm
Presentation followed by a discussion: Trends session

What are the current stats on diversity for our industry? What are the trends? But most importantly of all, how can we be more diverse and inclusive?


During this session, Ashanti Bentil-Dhue will share some key information and takeaways on how to be more diverse and inclusive, including: the mistakes that are being made, a framework for more diversity and what your peers are doing to ensure better representation of women & minority groups.


This presentation will include an interactive discussion with the audience.

3:15 pm – 3:45 pm
Networking refreshments

4:00 pm – 4:45 pm
Panel Discussion: Intergenerational Exchange

Young, middle management and C-level panellists will discuss together their perceptions of the exhibition industry, and the challenges and opportunities that they encounter.


They will also share their suggestions on how to make our industry more inclusive, and how they perceive the future of this industry.

4:45 pm – 5:45 pm
Workshop: Creating Diversity in events delivery

As event professionals we need to consider how to make our events more inclusive to our audiences. What are the steps which need to be taken to increase inclusivity at our events?


For example, we need to consider a much wider potential audience by engaging with different communities, accommodating diverse needs, reflecting on our marketing and fostering a welcoming environment.


7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Networking Dinner

A lovely seated dinner awaits us at Restaurant De Pastory in Cadier en Keer. To empower the networking opportunities, we will bring together the delegates of the UFI HR Forum and WIE World Summit to this wonderful networking dinner.


Busses depart at 7:15 from NH and Van der Valk Hotels.

14 June 2023

8:30 am – 9:00 am
Welcome refreshments

9:00 am – 9:30 am
Session: Surprise guest!

Appearances can be deceiving, and we all stand in judgement on occasions!


During this session we will have the pleasure of meeting someone who took a very different journey in life.

9:30 am – 10:15 am
What’s the next generation looking for: attracting, retaining and facilitating talent

The sector is potentially heading for a recruitment cliff and it’s likely to remain an employees’ market.  How can the sector present itself as an appealing career option for young people?  A panel of aspiring female leaders from the sector will debate on what they are looking for to support their career progression, what brought them to the sector in the first place, and what needs to happen in order to keep them there?


How do these younger generations build networks and who are their role models?  This session will help us understand their perspective and hence what the sector needs to be doing to attract aspiring talent.


With: Justine Rabel, Int’l Key Account Manager, Eventmaker


Other speakers to be announced

10:15 am – 10:45 am
Networking refreshments

10:45 am – 11:30 am
Panel discussion: Sometimes things don’t go according to plan

Setbacks are a fact of life, but many of us have trouble dealing with them! We all suffer on occasions from imposter syndrome, vulnerability and….fear. How can we best manage these negative emotions to better overcome the obstacles that life throws at us?



Alison Jackson, Group Managing Director at the Nineteen Group


Other speakers to be announced

11:30 am – 12:15 pm
Learning from one another

There are various stereotypes linked to male and female behaviour, and women often find themselves in a double-bind situation wherein they have to adopt male behaviour to progress. In addition, women sometimes cite their confidence & willingness to ask for promotion as a barrier to career progression. What advice can men and women share to overcome these barriers and help build healthier, more diverse workplaces?

12:15 am – 12:30 am
Wrap up by the moderator

A big thank you to all the speakers and the participants!

12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Networking Lunch

Our International Sponsors

The Women in Exhibitions (WIE) sponsorship programme offers organisations a great opportunity to support the WIE network, and hence make a difference!


Venue and Travel

Located in the south of the Netherlands, the city of Maastricht is at the Heart of Europe. Because of its central location, Maastricht is easily accessible by plane, car or train.