Lisa Boch-Andersen, Director of Communications, Congresses and Events, joined the ERTICO team a bit over two years ago in the midst of the pandemic. Since then, she has taken the team through and beyond two ITS Congresses and now in full speed of planning the next ITS European Congress in Lisbon. We are eager to hear more about her past experiences, how this links to her role at ERTICO and, of course, her great passion for positioning and integrated communications.
Talk about your background and experience from the cross-sectorial sectors. How this fits your current role as Director of Communications, Congresses and Events at ERTICO?
I have over 25 years of experience in Brussels, including working for multi-national corporations such as Microsoft, industry organisations, consulting and EU institutions. With my broad cross-sectorial background in energy, climate, health, automotive, technology/ICT and telecoms, I had the opportunity to work across all facets of my trade, from advocacy, CSR, reputation management and branding to marketing, media relations and events.
Before joining ERTICO, I worked as Senior Director of Communications and Marketing at 5GAA in a global capacity, which already gave me an insight into a cross-industry association. So, to the question of why it was particularly interesting to come to an organisation such as ERTICO, with incredible diversity in membership across 8 sectors, the answer is simple: I believe this is where the future of organisations is heading. With a continuous blur of the boundaries of the individual industry verticals and ever more integrated markets and ecosystems, close collaboration and partnerships across all actors and stakeholders is key for success.
Explain more about your passion for positioning and integrated communications. How did this come about?
After working on advocacy, corporate social responsibility, and corporate communication for big corporations as well as smaller entities, positioning and reputation management became a strong passion of mine. In addition, I am passionate about integrated communications and taking a 360-degree approach. This has followed me throughout my career, and it is also one of the reasons why the job at ERTICO piqued my interest. The combination of corporate communications, communications around European-funded projects and innovation, Congresses and events play well to my background and experience. Ultimately, it is all about connecting the dots and about impactful positioning.
Tell us more about the ERTICO Congress team you are leading. How do the Congresses contribute to delivering smarter, safer and more sustainable mobility solutions? What is so unique about these yearly events?
As a recent ERTICO board member said, “The European and Worldwide ITS Congresses are really at the very essence of ERTICO, bringing added value to our ERTICO Partners and stakeholders at large, at the same time, giving life to many projects and platforms and driving deployment forward“. In addition, the Congresses build on collaboration with key host cities around the world.
The Congresses are unique in many ways for me. Firstly, they are very comprehensive, and I believe second to none in terms of offering all of the following key pillars in one single event: A High-Level Programme that tackles the broader topics in the debates with top-notch speakers; and, at the same time, a dedicated Technical Programme with more than 100 individual sessions for European Congresses and up to 200 sessions for World Congresses which I believe is unprecedented. In addition, a state-of-the-art exhibition and, last but not least, live demos and also technical visits available in the proximity of the Congress venues.
Secondly, our Congresses are unique because they bring together all verticals and industry players of this complex ecosystem, including traffic transport, service providers, research, connectivity, vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and public authorities and last but not least, the users. From a thematic perspective, Congresses covers all facets of ITS, whether we talk about topics such as Connected, Cooperative and Automated Mobility, Urban Solutions and Clean and Eco-Mobility or Transport and Logistics.
Finally, Congresses and Communications at ERTICO are driven by an incredible team which I am very proud of leading. In my time with ERTICO – despite long months (years…) of COVID – I believe we have established a tightly knitted team, building on my passion for an integration approach. The team is a mix of new and old-timers, spans 10 Nationalities and all of them are hardworking and skilled at what they do. They have a great spirit and lots of humour, which is essential to the way I like to work.
Looking ahead towards this new year, what are you looking forward to the most?
A big priority for us – which the team is working hard to plan – is the 15th ITS European Congress hosted in the Portuguese city of Lisbon from 22-24 May 2023. As a very topical and relevant host city, Lisbon is on the move, exploring shared mobility solutions and refurbishing their traffic management systems, free of charge bike sharing network for 2023 and high-speed rail project 2050, which will connect to major cities across Spain.
Another big priority for us is leading and preparing for the next ITS World Congress in Dubai 2024, which I am very excited about, as it is the first time ERTICO has organised an ITS World Congress in the broader EMEA region. As it takes up to three years to organise such Worldwide Congress, moving ahead with the planning is a key priority for 2023, working with our partner RTA in Dubai.
To end, could you name a few of your greatest memories at ERTICO and the ITS Congresses so far?
Funnily enough – whilst also one of the hardest things I have pulled off – the organisation of the ITS World Congress in Hamburg is attached to many great memories. Whist organised under full COVID, with loads of uncertainties and, by the way, without meeting my new team in person for the first four months, it was, of course, also hugely rewarding to see that collectively we really did pull it off. We ended up hosting a great Congress with over 13,000 physical participants, the highest number ever seen at a World Congress, and for this, I am very proud. Of course, it goes without saying that this great achievement could not have been done without my fantastic team, ERTICO at large, our co-host and all our external partners and collaborators.
To end, another great memory was the first off-site team event in Pari Daiza late last year, where we gathered the entire ERTICO team for the first time and spent two days connecting face-to-face. This also laid the ground for our cultural journey ‘INSPIRE’ at ERTICO and the renewed strong values where openness and cooperation drive impact through vision and passion.