In Conversation With Sanjoy Roy, Immediate Past President, Event And Entertainment Management Association (EEMA)


ES. As the Outgoing President of EEMA who took EEMA to new heights, you leave behind very big shoes to fill in. Could you share with us the major achievements of EEMA under your leadership?
On taking over EEMA I had defined the need of the hour as;

  1. Increase our membership
  2. Be Inclusive and work to bring on board regional associations
  3. Work on major policy issues including:
  4. One window clearance
  5. Standardisation of tenders
  6. Establish EEMA as a policy and business body for the Creative sector and events and entertainment
  7. Work towards being seen as an industry
  8. Help members relook at their business given the economic situation
  9. Bring EEMA’s voice to government.

While a few of these were realised, we did take steps to lead toward the larger goals.

ES. Please look back to your tenure as EEMA President and share with us some throwback moments?
Our legacy will include;

1. The Michael menezes Knowledge series
2. The Michael menezes scholarships
3. The MOU’s we signed with academic institutions to upskill their own students and provide opportunities for those wishing to join this profession
4. Move from the organisation being one that looked at networking opportunity, events and celebrations to policy and business
5. We created an effective health and Safety Protocol
6. Entertainers manual
7. Signed an MOU with the Nani Palkhivala centre for arbitration
8. Look at legal issues around IP’s etc
9. Tried to find more ways to benefit our members, including increasing the very value of their membership.
10. A successful EEMAX, EEMAGINE and a series of other events.

All of this was a collective effort and not necessarily done by me but by Team EEMA and my NEC colleagues.

ES. If you would like to mention 3 biggest learnings which you got as EEMA President, what would they be?
Democracy is a messy business. Elections don’t necessarily throw up the result you wish but it certainly allows for representation and participation.

  1. As President one has to carry all your colleagues with you.
  2. You have to speak with one voice at the head table to be heard and seen and you should do it without fear but with strategy and considered thought.

ES. We are eager to know how did EEMA elections take place during these times? What was the process followed?
This was the first time that the Presidents post was contested for in EEMA. Since 2018 there has been a concentrated effort to streamline our elections and make them efficient, transparent and run it as best practice. An external Chief Election Commissioner was appointed along with 4 election committee members from EEMA. They worked closely to monitor the process, the campaign and the voting methodology which has been conducted online. The votes were by secret ballot and audited by Deloitte.

ES. What do you see the roadmap ahead for the events industry?
I see an opportunity to reboot, reinvent, innovate and activate. In times of crisis you can either lock yourself up or examine the situation in a pragmatic way and lead from the front!
While the world has changed for ever yet agin (the last time for 9/11 ), we are well poised to take up the gauntlet using AR/ VR and the new physical distancing protocol to find effective solutions. Responsible consumption is the need of the hour. An effort to conserve the environment, create a better world for the next generations is vital. Big does not need to get bigger. Niche events, occasions could have a higher value and make for more empathetic exchange of energy. Humans are resilient beings and will invariably find solutions to adapt to the present reality.

ES. Since travel is a key element for events, how do you see the scenario ahead?
Difficult. Travel of yore has mostly ceased. The earliest event or leisure travel will restart is 2021 2/3rd quarter. Local is the new global. This to presents infinite opportunities to create new paradigms and eke out new business opportunities and identify new talent.

ES. What can be the recovery guide for events sector?
The events and entertainment sector will be amongst the first to bounce back. When is the trillion dollar question. Arts and entertainment consumption has gone up 47% since the pandemic. This is good news. The unanswered question is where is the money? Will there be funding/ tickets/ donations for online events.

ES. What do you see as the upcoming trends of your sector?
Niche events
Boutique weddings
Online conferences
Growth of AR/ VR/ AI to create an immersive environment
Growth of chartered flights and rental of boutique islands

ES. Is there any silver lining in this pandemic for the industry?
An opportunity to think innovatively
To convert juggad from make do to make possible
To be market leaders in this sector
To leverage our diversity and creativity

ES. What do you suggest to entrepreneurs who are facing stress in these times?
Hunker down for the long haul
Don’t panic
Conserve cash intelligently
Provide for your eco system
Innovate innovate innovate

ES. Your 3 takes on how to cope in these times?
Carry your team
Lead from the front
Address mental health issues

ES. What will be the future of events
In the short term a mix of digital and smaller live gatherings
In the long term use of AI/AR/VR to create a combination of online and physical programs and events

ES. How do you see tourism gradually opening up and what are your suggestions in this regard?
A much needed correction has kicked in.
Safety protocol was being breached in every context in PCE (pre covid era). Hospitality and Tourism was seen as an automatic money maker with scant regard to experience, return customers, unique memory. Post Covid every traveller will be sought after / looked to and celebrated – every occasion will need to be special.
Even as hotel and airlines open up the opportunities for India will begin to improve but this will depend on;

Our continued response to Covid
Creating better infrastructure for tourism
Correction in world wide rates

ES. Your message to the industry?
There is a crises we are in the midst of. This is a time to band together, work together across sectors, provide solutions and prove opportunities. Its about people, about responsibility and above all about respect, empathy and collective positive action.