On Monday, December 7, the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) hosted its annual Excellence Awards. The ceremony rewards excellence and professionalism in the world of association events, recognising professional conference organisers and event industry partners for their contributions to the industry. As you may expect, this year was a little different than normal with awards ceremony taking place virtually, allowing the attendees to vote for category winners and view presentations from nominees and winners.

For 2020, an additional award category was added, the Lockdown Hero Award, which recognises the professional conference organisers who have worked against the odds to create events during the COVID era. Millbrook was presented with the special award for its work in facilitating the Imperial College COVID-19 Cardiovascular Conference with two other organisations also recognised as Lockdown Heroes.

The live webinar was Millbrook’s first virtual event, taking place on Thursday, April 2, 2020, with just a 10-day lead time, no budget and the need for a significant global audience. This was important to ensure this vital information on COVID presentation in cardiac patients was shared worldwide to implement change and save lives.

The programme comprised of four highly-engaging sessions featuring 29 talks from 32 members of faculty. Within 10 days, a global audience was generated of over 5,600 participants across all four continents including delegates from Morocco, the USA, India, Norway and Sweden. Post-event, the webinar was made available on-demand and so far has generated a total of 9,300 viewers.

Millbrook managing director Fiona McDonald commented:

During this extraordinary year, Millbrook, like all professional conference organisers needed to evolve for the COVID era. We have learnt how to use multiple virtual event platforms to become self-taught virtual event specialists in a very short time frame.

I am so proud of the work our team has undertaken to ensure that medical education can still take place despite being unable to organise traditional face-to-face conferences. It’s been a huge learning curve, but we are extremely proud that Millbrook has facilitated the sharing of important COVID information to physicians worldwide.”

Barbara Calderwood, ABPCO co-chair, added:

In a remarkable year we expected remarkable entries, and our membership truly delivered.

ABPCO members demonstrated creativity, flexibility and tenacity as they organised events under very different circumstance compared to anything they have done in the past. Thank you to all our members for submitting their entries and well done to our worthy winners, who were chosen through a mixture of audience voting and judges’ marks.

Through the addition of the Lockdown Hero awards we were also able to recognise a new breed of member, those who stepped out of their comfort zone and did something different for their clients, peers and audiences.”

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