The Future is now: How to be a challenger in your role?

Management support professionals need to have a good knowledge about their company and the business they work for in order to be able to provide the best support to their executives.

During the past years, we improved our skills with themes like Change Management, Self-Development, Business Ethics and The Digital Age. Which leads up to the knowledge that our future is finally here. Even better: The Future is Now.

This means that the time has come to enhance our soft skills: emotional intelligence, leadership, communication, adaptability, innovativeness, resilience, creativity and finally and perhaps most important: our personality.
Because in the end, a job is a job. However, you is you. We management support professionals will always do our job from our heart, in a human way.

Over the past years, we often heard that digitalization was going to take over our jobs. Some of us embraced it, some of us panicked.
However, there was no need for panic. But there is one thing certain: you have to be a challenger.

As Anouk Silvestrini - IMA Switzerland - wrote :"What is a challenger? It is a courageous provocateur and disruptor of the status quo. A challenger is a kind of truth-teller, saying what they know by instinct with this fresh twist that often characterizes them. Indeed, they naturally “feel the gap in the vision path” because they are focused on improvement and growth. A challenger is a natural “builder” although they can sometimes shake people and things up to the point of total chaos. The challenger may not know exactly how the vision will come out, yet they deeply feel and know when there is a lack of alignment with the desired outcome. In a meeting or a group setting, an alternative perspective will usually come from the challenger, may them play an active part in the conversation or step up with an idea while sitting silent in the corner of the room.

Thus, if you are always looking at the bigger picture and questioning how and why things are done, you may well be a challenger.

Finally, a Challenger is the positive antidote to the Persecutor in the Karpman Drama Triangle. By being comfortable in new situations and focused when facing uncertainty, the Challenger can produce creative and diverse responses. By being able to naturally feel and express different points of view, the Challenger widens the range of “right or wrong thinking”.

Do you think you are a challenger? Do you fully express your contribution within your workplace? Do you make yourself heard as you should to help people making the right decisions and taking the right steps to efficiency and success?"

Therefore come and listen to our 45th Annual Conference where we tackle this theme using the below topics:

  • Innovation that sticks
    By Lars Sudmann

  • Digitalis: how to reinvent yourself in digital age
    By Thierry Geerts

  • The Game Changing Assistant
    By Andrea Macarie

  • Anatomy of a Future Leader – How to stay relevant in the future
    By Ishtar Touailat

  • Detour: Winning When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan
    By Courtney Clark

Our Speakers

  • Lars Sudmann

    Lars is an advisor, keynote speaker and executive trainer on leadership, strategy, innovation and communication for global corporations and their leaders. He is the owner of Sudmann & Company, a consulting and management training network.

    Lars is drawing on his business experience (e.g. as CFO Belgium of Procter & Gamble) as well as consulting expertise with Fortune500 companies to help companies achieve better business and organizational results.

    Lars Sudmann supports executive teams in times of change, strategic redirection, performance improvement, and turnaround both as an advisor as well as an operational/interim manager. Additionally, Lars spends his time analyzing what makes businesses and individuals successful, e.g. as lecturer at the universities of Braunschweig (business leadership), Lüneburg (organizational change & virtual teams) as well as the RWTH Aachen University (innovation in communication). He also frequently shares these insights at conferences in Europe, the US and Asia. He is the 6-times Belgian and 2-times European Champion of Public Speaking and you can watch his appearance at the famous TEDx conference at

  • Ishtar Touailat

    CEO & Founder Futuristas
    Touailat is a truly motivational person, having made a huge impact through social media. She is an experienced public speaker at both national and international events, ranging from board rooms to venue arenas covering subjects from AI and business acceleration to diversity and equality.

    Ishtar Touailat is an praised entrepreneur who has made an impact through her many companies, creating platforms to share insights on entrepreneurship, technology and social skills. Touailat’s latest movement, FUTURISTAS, is created with the mission of equality in all fields. This is done by supplying knowledge and insights from the forefront of tech, entrepreneurship and business disruption to women of different occupations, backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses.

    Touailat has previously started and managed businesses such as Student competence (Studentkompetens), Startup Bootcamp and Women in Business Accelerate. She also started The Startup course, Europe’s largest startup course with 2000 participants every year during seven years – which means Touailat have educated and drilled 14 000 persons with ambitions of becoming entrepreneurs in total. On behalf of the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, Touailat founded the Innovation Office at Stockholm University in 2013 with the mission to commercialize research progress. She was responsible for supporting several hundred students’ and researchers’ innovations and business ideas every year. She left the Innovation Office in 2017 when she was headhunted for the position as Head of Innovation Incubator of Data-Driven Business at Tieto, Europe’s largest IT company.

    Touailat is an experienced public speaker at both national and international events, ranging from boardrooms to venue arena. Featured in both national and international medias such as: The Guardian, New York Times, Huffington Post, BBC, Swedish Television. Awards in selection:
    - Global Women Achiever Award, 2019
    - Future Female Leader of the Year, 2018
    - Future Leader of the Year, 2018
    - Sweden’s most powerful Business Woman, 2018
    - Sweden’s Super Talent, 2017
    - IT Woman of the Year, 2016
    - Sweden’s Top Innovation Talent, 2015

  • Courtney Clark

    Courtney Clark is the luckiest unlucky person in the world.

    After a series of major struggles beginning in her mid-20s, she has built two successful businesses and is the author of two books, including her most recent book "The Successful Struggle: Powerful Techniques to Achieve Accelerated Resilience".
    She works with people who want to adapt faster and achieve more, and has spoken worldwide to organizations like Procter & Gamble, Dell, S&P, Humana, Cisco, and Cardinal Health.

  • Thierry Geerts

    Thierry Geerts is father of 4 children and graduated as Solvay Business Engineer at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 1989. After his studies, he started working as auditor for Coopers & Lybrand (now PWC), but quite soon his passion for media, online marketing and innovation led him to management and board positions at, among others, Corelio Publishing, Radio Nostalgie, Clickx and Passe-Partout. In 2008, he became CEO of Corelio Business Development and Arkafund.

    Since 2011, he is Country Director of Google Belgium-Luxembourg and as such he is positioned in the heart of the digital revolution, marketing and innovative entrepreneurship. He’s member of the “Digital Minds for Belgium” and “AI4Belgium” Expert group of Deputy Prime Minister De Croo, “Le Conseil du Digital” of Walloon Minister of Economy and of the board of IAB Europe.

    He’s the author of “Digitalis, how to reinvent our world” (NL/FR June’18 – ENG Jan’19).

  • Andrea Macarie

    Currently Operations Manager at Telefonica Alpha, Europe’s first moonshot factory created by Telefonica to address some of the world’s biggest and most intractable challenges, by conceiving and delivering radical solutions and breakthrough technology.

    Before taking on this role, Andrea had partnered with some of the most brilliant Execs on the Spanish market for over a decade.

    A former multi-award winning EA, Andrea is a broad generalist with a passion for creative problem solving, building high performing teams & setting up agile processes. Andrea holds a BA in Translation and Interpreting, a Postgraduate diploma in Marketing and is a proud facilitator of Oxford Leadership’s Self Managing Leadership program at the Telefonica corporate university. Fluent in 5 languages, she writes and talks about a variety of topics she has formal training and/or practical experience in, such as innovation, change management, design thinking, self-leadership and corporate culture.


Noëlle Goris

Noëlle Goris is a Business Executive, with 20+ years of Beauty FMCG and Luxury category expertise at Procter & Gamble and Coty, in a wide spectrum of markets and across different economies. She joined Coty in 2017, to take on her current role as General Manager Coty Luxury Europe Export markets, a natural fit for her given her background and her passion for the Beauty industry.

Noëlle was born in Belgium, in the Flemish part of the country, where she also completed her studies with a degree in Law (Catholic University of Leuven) and a MBA (Solvay Business School). During her university years she had the opportunity to study in Sweden (Lund University), which unlocked her strong interest in a multi-national career. Today, Noëlle lives in Switzerland with her husband Timothy, and their 2 sons. In her spare moments she supports her sons in their sailing competition, or enjoys spending time at the local music festivals or restaurants with friends. She is a can-do lady, with high energy & passion, combined with a generous smile.

Annual Conference Program



Plenary session

12:30 - 13:30
Lunch and Trade Fair

Plenary session


Convinced to join us

Member early bird ----------- € 375
Member regular rate -------- € 475

Non-member early bird ------ €475
Non-member regular rate --- € 575

Early bird: until August 15th.



Crowne Plaza Hotel

At this moment the room block is expired. The hotel will provide rooms at the Best Available Rate, subject to availability

A stylish hotel located next to Geneva Airport with modern business facilities and convenient transport links to the city centre.

Located within Genève Aéroport commercial zone, Crowne Plaza® Geneva hotel runs a free shuttle service to and from Geneva Airport. At the airport there's also a railway station, and all our guests receive a free pass for use on public transport. The hotel has easy access to the motorway and we offer secure underground parking.

Business travellers can take advantage of our 24-hour Business Centre, spacious events centre and free WiFi. Our 18 function rooms have capacity for up to 800 people. Crowne Plaza® Geneva hotel is Completely Connected, ensuring that you have access to power whenever you need it. Our Fast & Fresh meal options keep you focused and productive.

Visitor attractions such as Geneva’s historic old town, picturesque lakeside promenade and the world-famous Geneva Water Fountain are a 15-minute drive away. The city centre boasts many high-end boutiques and the hotel is a short stroll from the Balexert Centre, Geneva’s largest shopping mall.

City tax of CHF 4 per day and per person Wifi and American buffet breakfast included Check-in after 2 pm and check out before 12.00

Welcome Reception and Dinners

  • Welcome Reception

    Thursday 17th

    18.30 - 19:15
    Crowne Plaza

  • Welcome Dinner

    Thursday 17th

    19:15 - 22:30
    Bains des Pâquis

    Typical Swiss Meal.
    ONLY Cheese Fondue available.
    Transport by public transport.

    The restaurant and buffet La Buvette des Bains is situated at the most popular beach for many citizens of Geneva - Bains des Pâquis. Located at the peninsula in the middle of Geneva Lake, just next to Grand Hotel Kempinski, it offers you the beautiful view on the lake, the center of Geneva and Jet d'Eau. The restaurant is known from September to April to only serve Cheese Fondue Gala Dinner Tours

  • Gala Dinner – 45th Anniversary

    Friday 18th

    19:30 - 01:00
    Crowne Plaza

    Let’s celebrate our 45th Anniversary with our gala and a dress to impress code.

  • AGM Lunch

    Saturday 19th

    Crowne Plaza

Special Offer

Discounted travel with Lufthansa Group Partner Airlines

Lufthansa Group Partner Airlines offer a comprehensive global route network linking major cities around the world. We offer special prices and conditions to participants, visitors, exhibitors, invited guests as well as employees of the Contracting partner and their travel companions.

To make a reservation please click here and enter the access code NLZQDKO in the "Offer for discounted flights" area. This will open an online booking platform that will automatically calculate the discount offered or provide you with an even better offer if another promotional fare is available.


Pop-ups must be enabled otherwise the booking platform window will not open. These promotional fares are also available through your IATA / ARC travel agent. Travel agents can obtain ticketing instructions by sending an email to and providing the access code as a reference.

Platinum Sponsors

  • Châteauform’

    With around sixty locations in Europe, the Châteauform’ group meets all the needs of meetings, seminars and corporate events. Châteauform’s unique concept, its all-inclusive packages and its values of conviviality, generosity, flexibility, freedom, natural, gentleness, kindness, simplicity and high-tech have made the group a success since its creation in 1996.

  • Trafo Baden Congress & Hotels

    The Trafo Baden Congress & Hotels is located just 15 minutes from Zürich, 30 minutes from Zürich Airport, immediately at Baden Train station. Originally a transformer assembly hall dating back to the 1920s, Trafo Baden offers 4,000 sq.m of event space as an exceptional setting for congresses, seminars, gala dinners and exhibitions. A first-class catering service and two hotels (3+4) complete this extraordinary convention package.

  • TravelPerk

    TravelPerk is the business travel platform of the future. TravelPerk’s all-in-one platform gives travelers the freedom they want whilst providing companies with the control they need. The result is saved time, money, and hassle for everyone. TravelPerk has the world’s largest travel inventory alongside powerful management features, 24/7 customer support, state-of-the-art technology and consumer-grade design, all of which is enabling companies worldwide to get the most out of their travel.

  • WhyNote

    WhyNote is a Swiss stationery brand created in 2014. Their aim is to develop innovative stationery products that are both fun and respectful for our planet. High-end and versatile, the products adapt to the needs of a wide audience. They are suitable for both personal and professional use. Intuitive, the products know how to be clever and convey two essential values in our time: ecology and innovation.

    “The best way to predict the future is to create it.“ – Peter Drucker

Silver Sponsors

  • Swiss Event 24

    We are your Event´s Passport, we act as your Entertainment consultants, providing you access to the major sporting events, concerts and cultural events worldwide.

    Our work philosophy is based on a personalized and close relationship with our clients. That's why you will always find a tailor-made proposal for you.

  • La Réserve Hotel SPA & Villa

    Experience a different vision of luxury at La Réserve.

    To all IMA 45th Annual Conference we offer a special rate if you are planning to extend your Geneva stay. Discover more here.

  • Grand Hotel Karel V

    A 5-star boutique hotel in the city center of Utrecht. A place where medieval charm and modern luxury come together. With its 121 exceptional suites, restaurants, gardens and 13 function rooms, we offer everything to enjoy a special stay in the Netherlands.

Thank you to our Partners

For more information click here

- Radisson Loyalty Management
- Thalys

- In-Act
- Brussels Airlines
- TravelPerk

Coty Perfumery tour

Thursday 17th (AM & PM)

Visit the R&D Lab of Coty and discover how a perfume is created.

Geneva Walking tour

Come and discover some Geneva well known on 19th Afternoon. You will be able to see the Water fountain, the old town, the main shopping street, some hidden streets and many other places.