Event Technology Awards 2022 – Judge’s Spotlight: Ksenija Polla

Ksenija Polla, CMP is Regional Director North America at ICCA, the International Congress and Convention Association. She has been working in the field of international association meetings for almost 30 years and her experience ranges from membership recruitment and retention, product development, event management, sales, marketing and relationship development.

Ksenija started her career in Croatia, in the Congress department one of the leading travel agencies at the time, moved to the Zagreb Convention Bureau, where she worked on bidding and site inspections and joined ICCA in 1997, where she started in the Membership Department and has been building the Association Community from September 2013 until December 2020. As of January 2021 Ksenija, is heading the Regional Office for North America.

She has also been part of the ICCA 2020 Global Hybrid Congress organizing committee which was coordinating all activities including the education programme, marketing, sponsorship, logistics and activities and programme of the local hubs.

In her free time you can find Ksenija on the golf course following her twins’ rising college golf careers.

How long have you worked in the events industry?

Over 30 years

What have been the stand-out moments of your career?

Creating awareness of driving change of delegate behaviour and communities through meetings and long-lasting impacts fro destinations.

What do you love most about the Event Industry?

Events are the vehicle of associations and work of associations are crucial for society as they are the ones challenging the status quo and fostering innovation. So, our industry by extension is changing human lives.

What was the last event on which you worked?

ICCA Hybrid Congress 2021 in November with 6 hubs across the globe and digital components

Who has inspired you in your career?

Each and every person I have worked with in my 30 years as I have learned from everybody something, and they have helped shape my career to what it is today. I would fill pages and pages to name them all, but one person definitely stood out and that was my former boss when I first started who helped me understand the industry, meet people and be mindful of people around me, my guiding principle to date and not only in business but also private life.

What do events, such as the ETAs, mean to you?

ETA is showcasing the best of the best and it is important to recognise all the hard work that goes into developing new and out standing event tech. In the last two years tech has progressed lightyears from where we were in 2019 and to be able to see all the amazing achievements in one place and celebrate that innovation is simple extraordinary and ETA should be celebrated alongside the tech companies for providing this unique platform. If I could use a phrase probably well known to a wider audience, I would call ETA the “Oscars” of Event Tech!

What would you like to see in this year’s entries?

New innovation, intuitive engagement features, some more excitement to re-engage with our online audiences and start building online communities which will rival the gaming community.

What is the one piece of technology you can’t afford to live without?

That would have to be my Ipad mini – it houses all my books, fits in my purse, I can make notes, it can function as phone if necessary, I can access websites and see things a bit larger (at my age phones are just too small), and also has my two games I jump on for a sec if I want to decompress before launching myself again into the crazy speed of today’s work environment.