ELIA ND Focus on Executives – Conference Report

In early May, the European Language Industry Association (ELIA) hosted over 70 localization professionals in Dubrovnik, Croatia for ELIA ND Focus on Executives. Six months after attending the ELIA Focus on Project Management event in Porto, Nimdzi Managing Director, Tucker Johnson, was again invited to facilitate one of the two workshop tracks at the Focus on Executives event.

For those readers who have never attended an ELIA focus event, it will be important to provide some background. ELIA events are not what we would call a typical localization conference, and the word “focus” is used intentionally. By focusing on a single aspect of the language services industry, participants are able to get a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the topics. For this event, the focus was on executives, and participants included CEOs, owners, and managers from a variety of different language service providers.

Following an opening reception and dinner on Wednesday night, the conference started in earnest on Thursday morning with an introduction session for the whole group. Badges were picked up, coffee was served, and then the participants were ushered into two separate rooms, each focusing on a separate area:

Tucker Johnson

Leadership and Intelligence, moderated by Tucker Johnson

Customer Acquisition and Growth Strategies, moderated by Richard Brooks

Are you a business leader up-to-date on the latest trends and developments and are you prepared with your organization to anticipate the accelerated changes in our industry?

Throughout the two days in Dubrovnik, we will address a variety of business areas: artificial intelligence, industry trends, technology management, customer engagement, understanding customer business drivers. The future offers opportunities. Plan for them rather than react to them, for example, “local precision at a global scale” and “cross border data flows increasing exponentially” and “markets such as India, SE Asia, and Africa are hotbeds of growth” and more… There are many opportunities for deepening and broadening your service offerings to help customers access and succeed in these markets.

The Customer Acquisition and Growth Strategies track will tap into understanding customer business drivers and aligning your organization with ever-changing customer requirements. How do you as a decision-making executive tackle these business areas and how can your leadership take your company to the next level?

During the two days, we will have peer-to-peer discussions around the challenges of effective and successful customer acquisition and growth strategies.

Topics will include but are not restricted to, customer management, customer engagement and customer retention strategies: which customers to invest in, how to grow existing accounts and maximize revenue as well as giving yourself the competitive edge

Focus on people

The quality and diversity of attendees continue to impress us. In each session, the moderator would start by presenting some theory, research, or topic, which would take up the first 15 minutes or so of the session. Feedback was that the topics presented in both sessions were interesting and thought-provoking (though we admit that we are probably a little bias when it comes to the sessions moderated by Tucker). However, the real magic would happen when the session would inevitably break up into smaller discussion groups.

Focus on common ground

After presenting the theme relevant to the session, the moderator would sit down, and turn the session over to the participants. The larger groups separated into teams of four to six participants, who would share their experience with each other. While the moderator presentations were interesting, to be sure, the real magic happened during the small group discussions.

Each small group contained executives representing different companies, from different companies, and providing different services to different clients. Despite the diversity, everybody seemed to be meeting on common ground and speaking a common language – the language of localization, the language of services, the language of entrepreneurship.

Focus on sharing

If you are familiar with ELIA, you may already be aware of the level of openness, honesty, and transparency that happens at these conferences between companies. While some of the companies represented in Dubrovnik may even compete with each other directly, you would not realize it if you were to overhear the conversations. Participants shared openly and freely with each other about their successes, challenges, strengths, weaknesses, strategy, vision, and much more.

Here at Nimdzi, we are fortunate to be in the position of working with a number of companies inside and outside of the language services industry. Because of this, we sometimes take for granted our understanding of various processes and strategies adopted by different LSPs. However, most company executives don’t have this same privilege. Having the opportunity to meet with peers and discuss challenges openly is an invaluable opportunity for attending LSP executives who learn from each other and benchmark their own teams.

Takeaways from the leadership and intelligence session

The event was great for anyone looking to grow their companies, or to better manage existing growth. Attendees were exposed to new ideas and encouraged to challenge their existing ones. The beauty of ELIA events is that they are not so much about telling the participants what to do or how to do it. They are about building relationships and having meaningful conversations. Sometimes, these conversations lead to answers, sometimes they lead to more questions, but they always lead somewhere.

Has this article piqued your interest? Would like to learn more about ELIA events and other benefits they provide? If so, we encourage you to learn more by visiting elia-association.org.

Pictures courtesy of the ELIA Newsfeed Facebook page.


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