Belfast event manager joins global events community championing positive culture

Laurel Gray.
Laurel Gray. Laurel Gray.

AN event manager at the ICC at Belfast's Waterfront has been selected as one of 12 global industry professionals to lead an international events community.

Laurel Gray, senior event manager at ICC Belfast is now part of The Future Shapers Programme led by the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) which runs over 12 months and involves masterclasses as well as addressing industry challenges.

Laurel attended AIPC’s Annual Conference in Luxembourg recently as part of the appointment along with other representatives from some of the world’s top-performing convention centres.

While there she presented a whitepaper to senior event leaders from more than 50 countries on a new industry concept - E:QUAL - co-created in collaboration with Future Shapers peers to help raise standards of health, wellbeing, welfare, safety, recruitment, and training for event professionals.

She said her experience in the recent 2023 SistersIN Celebration Event – a leadership and career development programme connecting schools with businesses committed to empowering female leaders of the future helped her prepare for the new concept.

"This ignited my passion to advocate for diversity and inclusion so it was a proud moment to work with my peers to develop the E:QUAL concept, the first global community for event professionals promoting a culture of care that has the potential to create thriving workplace environments. The global events industry is valued at £800 billion. By 2028 the market is expected to reach heights of £2 trillion but this won’t be possible without a healthy, happy, and sustained workforce,” she said.

Chief Executive of ICC Belfast, Julia Corkey said: “We are tremendously proud of Laurel. She truly understands ICC Belfast’s vision and is committed to delivering for Northern Ireland economically, socially and culturally. Our people are our best asset in this journey and, as Laurel and the wider team behind E:QUAL demonstrate, being truly world-class requires workplaces across the industry to adopt a culture where everyone feels represented, encouraged and valued.”