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What's new at this year's Airmic conference?

Susi Ozkurt is Airmic's event manager
Susi Ozkurt is Airmic's event manager

Susi Ozkurt has been organising annual conferences for Airmic since 2010 - and has seen quite a few changes over the years. So, what can we expect this time in Liverpool?

The fundamental purpose of the Airmic conference is the same as it has always been and probably always will - to bring together many different types of risk professional for three days of seminars, plenary sessions, debates, informal networking and social occasions. Except that nowadays it is much bigger than it used to be - so much so that we've outgrown some of our old favourite venues like Bournemouth and Brighton. This year looks like setting yet another record.

The numbers are important because the opportunity to meet a wide range of different delegates and learn from each other is what makes our conferences a must for so many professionals. Indeed, many of the people attending in Liverpool will be experts in their own fields, just as much as those giving the talks.

One innovation this year is that we have introduced the Airmic HUB. It's a mini-theatre, which will be showing a series of twenty-minute talks under three broad headings: hot topics, thought leadership and technology. No booking - you'll find it near the Airmic stand in the exhibition hall.

On the subject of the exhibition hall, my advice is to allow plenty of time to explore it. It has grown over the years from being a side show to becoming an Aladdin's cave, and a must for anyone with an interest in risk management.

Another change you'll notice is that we have a risk leadership panel on the opening day. It's the same idea as the traditional insurance one (chaired again by the BBC news presenter Huw Edwards), but with an ERM focus.

I would also recommend the Wednesday interactive plenary session with jazz musician Alex Steel. What has jazz got to do with risk management? Well, the main focus will be on using music to help people develop new thoughts processes, new ways of seeing things and new ways of collaboration. He's had rave reviews from those who have experienced him.

A relatively recent innovation is an event held by fastTrack for those at the early stages of their risk careers. It has proved a popular addition to the conference.

This year will also see the first-ever early-morning Airmic yoga session, running parallel with the 5k fun run. The yoga is already fully booked. What does it say about Airmic members that so many of them are happy to rise at the crack of dawn, quite possibly after a late night, to contort themselves in this way?

My final piece of advice is: don't forget the conference app. It'll help you find your way around the conference centre and send your reminders whenever one of the sessions you've booked to attend is about to begin.

Oh, and one another thing: whatever you do and whatever your reason for attending, do make sure you enjoy yourself.

Susi Ozkurt, conference manager

You might also like to read Kate Wallin's guide for first-time conference-goers published in May's Airmic News.