Looking Back: IPBN's Annual Conferences and New Sectors

Reflections on this year's highlights

As the year draws nearer to its end, the IPBN is taking a look back at 2022 to review some of the year's most memorable highlights. This week, we focus our attention on how the IPBN enlarged the sectors of its conferences to support more of our members and give them the opportunity to share and grow with the network. Since its inception, the IPBN has taken the concept of going green seriously with our annual St. Patrick's Day Sustainability Conference and has, for the last three years, arranged the Business Success Award, with a fourth edition already on the horizon in January 2023. However this year, we have been working hard to broaden our reach when it comes to conferences and seminars to spotlight other sectors that are present and thriving within the network. 

In September, the IPBN held its first Tourism Conference at the Universidade Europeia (UE) to look toward Portugal's future as a destination for both holidaymakers and digital nomads. Our official conference partners Tourism of Portugal and Visit Portugal in Ireland and our media partner TNews worked tirelessly alongside the IPBN to ensure that the event was a memorable one. Special guest keynote speakers H.E. Ralph Victory, Ambassador of Ireland to Portugal, Luis Araujo, President Turismo de Portugal, and Hélia Gonçalves Pereira, Rector Universidade Europeia set the tone for innovation and disruption with a focus on staying organized and inspired. The first panel discussion, moderated by IPBN Chair Geoffrey Graham, consisted of Luis Rodrigues, CEO of the SATA Group, Francisco Teixeira, CEO and Owner of Melair IR of the Royal Caribbean Group, and John Bergin, Director SkyTours Travel and Golfbreaks.ie while the second panel, moderated by former IPBN Chair Aoife Healy, shined the spotlight on Mark Fenelon, CEO of Clink Hostels, Filipe Santiago, Senior Partner at BlueShift, and Sofia Borda de Água de Almeida, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality at the Universidade Europeia. In closing, Catarina Romão Gonçalves, Deputy Director General of the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC), Nuno Alexandre of the HPA Group, and Joana Glória, Lagos Digital Nomads CEO & Founder each took the stage to present their companies and explain what their expectations are for the sector and how they are preparing for the future.

In October, the IPBN organized its first Agri Business Conference thanks to the IPBN Algarve committee and IPBN conference partners Tourism de Algarve and Tourism of Portugal in Ireland. The network took the opportunity to focus on Sustainable Development Goal 15 (SDG 15) or rather, "Life on Land," by organizing a review of organic farming, forestry, and water supply in the region. André Menitra Matos, the Executive Quality Director at our conference host, the Vila Vita Parc Resort and Spa was on the first panel discussion, joined by Nuno Neto, Director de Património e Produção Florestal at The Navigator Company, John Paul Prior, Director of Sales Strategy and Technical Development at Farmony, Filipa Almeida of Herdade dos Grous and moderated by IPBN Algarve Committee member Brian Shanahan. The panel was followed by several case studies presented by IPBN members and local producers Michael Stock from Quinta dos Vales, Vanda Lopes, CEO and Founder of Algarve Treasures, Ana Oliveira from Bees in Tube, and finally, Mara Mourinho from Quinta dos Três Irmãos, Frutas Mourinho.

In September and November respectively, the IPBN also held a Tech Seminar in the Algarve and an IT and Tech Talent Seminar in Porto!

The Algarve event was held at Xerem Fusion Cuisine in Albufeira and focused on the growing Tech ecosystem for digital nomads and full-time residents of the region featuring the 2021 Portuguese Tech Award Winner 2021 and founder of C-MORE Beyond the Obvious Carolina Almeida Cruz  and a panel discussion moderated by Carolyn McKeown, Director at Shebang Events & PR Management with Edgard Marcondes, co-founder of Invest Portugal and Joana Glória, founder of Lagos Digital Nomads. The second panel, moderated by IPBN member and Director of Global Operations for MadeIn Web e Mobile, Carlos Justino, featured Jody Temple White, Strategic Advisor and Citizen Developer, IPBN Board member Mario Gago of Pink Room, and Victor Levy, an expert in Blockchain Technology.

The Porto event was arranged by the IPBN Porto Committee in partnership with Invest Porto and the City of Porto at the Porto Innovation Hub with special guest speaker Pedro Moura, CMO at Landing Jobs. Next, IPBN Member and Project Manager Portugal at Aspira IT, Rachael Milne, shared her experience and journey in recruiting in Portugal. She shared her humorous spin on her journey setting up Aspira Portugal over the last 12 months. Her observations included how quickly the IT resourcing market has changed, how Portugal as a Nearshore resourcing market is fast becoming the number one location in Europe for IT companies, and the importance of knowing your staff from the shoulders down. She recommended looking for an 80% skill match and making your job attractive by using that 20% skill gap to put together a self-development plan and managing remote workers with a Country Manager who can act as a cultural conduit, among other insightful tips.

Stay tuned for more of our annual highlight re-cap over the next month. We are always striving to do our very best to expand our service and are so far thrilled to have been of help to the network in promoting business and expanding trade between Ireland and Portugal. 

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