Inspirational Congress

On October 22nd the city of Ostend will host an inspirational day filled to the brim with, keynote speakers, networking with interesting people and inspiring ideas for your next meeting or event. So put on your goggles and prepare for a real deep dive at the Ostend Inspirational Congress, held at Kursaal Oostende.

  • 08h00 - 08h50 Welcome & Registration
  • 08h50 - 09h00 Introduction by Moderator Samme Allen
  • 09h00 - 09h10 Welcome by the Mayor of Ostend – Bart Tommelein
  • 09h15 - 10h15 Tom Palmaerts - Fascinated by the combination of long term thinking and contemporary cultural shifts in the meeting industry
  • 10h15 - 10h45 Samme Allen talks about the meeting and congress experience through 'Create tomorrow's Heritage' with Evelyne Bardyn
  • 10h45 - 11h00 Networking Coffee Break – Connect at the Inspirational Wall
  • 11h10 - 11h50 Gerrit Jessen - Event Design with the Event Canvas - How Changemakers use the Event Canvas Methodology
  • 12h00 - 12h30 Deep Dive moment
  • 12h30 - 14h00 Networking Lunch -  Connect at the Inspirational Wall
  • 14h15 - 15h30 Break out session A: Freek Stevens - Social Media for Sub contractors
    • social media - content creation - web psychology - review marketing - community management
  • 14h15 - 15h30 Break out session B: Pieter Jan Jordaens - Blue energy and offshore wind for Associations and MICE industry
    • Learn about wind energy technology & market trends analysis, Business development & Innovation, RD&I, Offshore wind energy, Cold climate wind energy, Climate chamber testing, Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), Innovation projects, R&D test infrastructure, Renewable energy technologies, Electro-mechanical engineering, Partnering, Start-ups
  • 15h30 - 15h45 Fun Moment with Moderator Samme Allen
  • 15h45 - 16h15 Peter Craeymeersch - How we are making Ostend future Proof 2020
  • 16h15 - 17h30 Recap – Thank you + closure drink

A big thank you to our sponsors: 


Thank you for the support: MPI BELGIUM


Samme Allen – Moderator

She is passionate about gender equality, diversity and wellbeing as drivers of business success. With global experience of working with corporate clients such as pharmaceutical companies, to medical associations, societies and trade shows, Samme works on a diverse range of events around the world with the ability to tackle sensitive topics, manage energetic debates and address cross cultural issues all within pressurized and time sensitive environments. Samme is an active contributor on national television & media around women’s health and with natural high energy, positivity and a reputation for getting the best out of people, she is a natural choice for events including sales conferences, annual conventions, strategy sessions and corporate away days. With vast business acumen and knowledge of meeting architecture and design, Samme has a wide-ranging understanding of not just how to get the very best out of her client’s events, but also how to structure content to ensure the very best return on their investment.

Tom Palmaerts (Keynote speaker) – Trendwolves
Tom Palmaerts is trendwatcher and managing partner at Trendwolves, a full service trend and implementation agency with a focus on young consumers and modern families.He is a worldwide keynote speaker and trend consultant. Working for brands like Callebaut, Samsonite, Clariant, Bacardi, Toyota, Conway and Devan. In 2008 Tom Palmaerts was awarded “Youth trend specialist of the year” by the Dutch trendwatching platform Second Sight, as a result of his drive, originality & passion. In September 2013 Tom Palmaerts received the award Trendwatcher of The Year 13-14. The jury explained: "He is activating and can bring things in motion.” In 2015 he published a book ‘Futures’ (Lannoo, Dutch) together with Herman Konings and Joeri Van den Bergh. Today Tom Palmaerts is fascinated by the combination of long term thinking and contemporary cultural shifts. Trendwolves guides companies that create the future. Topics are: 2030, young female muslims, megacities, phygital retail, food, mobility, work, modern tribes, generation Z, a future mindset and a future mindset company.


Evelyne Bardyn

Evelyne, Senior Manager of VISITFLANDERS Convention Bureau, started working at the Convention Bureau for Flanders & Brussels in 2003, where she was actively involved in the promotion of Flanders as a Meetings Destination, through B2B initiatives around the world, from London to Beijing. She was elected ‘Young professional of the Year’ by Meetings Professional International in 2006, which stimulated her to pursue her career in Business Tourism. After obtaining a Master Degree in Tourism Management at the Catholic University in Leuven in 2010, she took over the management of the Convention Bureau in 2013, and unrolled a new strategy to attract more Association Congresses, linked to the economic growth sectors and the touristic assets of the region. To execute this strategy she established a new co-creation partnership with the City Convention Bureaus in the region, extended the team with Association Experts and developed it to a Global MICE team, with association representatives in 10 markets around the world.


Gerrit Jessen
Many organizations struggle to create effective, impactful events. Do you and your team sometimes feel you run your events on autopilot and have no real control over the desired outcome? Do you wish to innovate your event and don’t know how? Applying the EventCanvas™ Methodology will make sure everyone is on the same page and ready to articulate the value creation of the event. The 3-step methodology is easily learned and applied. It enables event organizers to get a grip on how their event creates value and to measure success through predictable behavior change. 

[Gerrit Jessen, CMP CMM CED] Gerrit Jessen, CED CMM CMP is a seasoned entrepreneur, mentor, trainer and advisor for the international meetings industry. The last 25 years he has successfully lead and motivated teams to achieve personal and organizational success. From 2009 until 2016 he headed the growth of MCI in Germany from 30 to 130 talents. Currently he serves on the Board of the German Convention Bureau and was a member of the MPI International Board of Directors until 2017. He closely followed the creation of the EventCanvas™ and served as a sounding board for the creators Ruud Janssen and Roel Frissen. He is a trained Certified Event Designer, holds keynotes, leads workshops and seminars about using the EventCanvas™ Methodology to change desired behavior of stakeholders and create more meaningful meetings. His mantra: Listen to understand, not to answer.

Freek Stevens
Freek’s love for social media reached a peak while he was part of the staff at the Scouts and Gidsen Vlaanderen. The skills which he developed there evolved even further while working for other youth and non-profit organisations. Next to his passion for non-profit he has also broadened his digital knowledge in the private sector as a digital marketeer. His knowledge of SEO, SEA, Customer Journey and digital strategy are a great addition to his job as a social media manager. As a board member of VLCM he's on top of everything social!



Pieter Jan Jordaens
Pieter Jan joined Sirris (Belgian technology center – ) in 2010 as a project leader. Since then he has been responsible to built-up and roll-out ‘OWI-Lab’ ( ) which is the Belgian research, development and innovation lab for wind energy. This platform is supporting innovation within the full value chain of wind energy but is focusing on the emerging sector of offshore wind energy and wind energy in harsh environments as ‘cold climate wind energy’. The aim is to reduce investment and O&M costs, and make the technology efficient and reliable as possible to compete with traditional energy sources .

PJ focused on developing the innovation and test services of the lab as business developer. Specifically on topics as ‘climate chamber testing’ of wind turbine components for offshore, cold, hot, and tropical climates the OWI-Lab team has built-up international recognition. One of the largest climatic test facilities in Europe was built up in the port of Antwerp to test and demonstrate the ability of wind turbine machinery to operate in harsh conditions worldwide in which they are currently installed. In cooperation with the university of Brussel (VUB) also an RD&I trajectory was set-up on the topic of structural health monitoring (SHM), structural integrity and the use of big data for (offshore) wind turbine applications. OWI-Lab has been one of the first actors in the offshore wind energy value chain in addressing the SHM topic. Also a spin-out company was set-up as a valorization result of the R&D trajectory.

Currently PJ is involved in different innovation projects as cluster manager of the Innovation Cluster on Offshore Energy in Flanders ( to further reduce the LCOE of (offshore) wind energy, but also wave & tidal energy applications. This ranges from the use and application of drones and robotics for improved inspections, the implementation of smart sensing and big data analytics, development of new materials and coatings,… to supporting business cases of start-up companies active in the offshore energy sector.

Before joining Sirris, Pieter Jan obtained a Master's degree in Electro-Mechanical Engineering at the International University College Group T (now KUL) in Leuven. After that he studied the International Postgraduate Programme in Entrepreneurial Engineering. He is still active at KU Leuven as president of the Technovation Hub vzw ( ) which is a cluster of innovative student projects.

Peter Craeymeersch
Peter Craeymeersch has been working for the tourist board of Ostend since 1997, of which the past 18 years as general manager. He stood at the cradle of the implementation of various new events in the city. His input was essential in attracting a wide range  of international productions (e.g. Cirque du Soleil) to Ostend. Under his leadership the services of the Ostend tourist board were further developed and professionalized. He is responsible for the development of the strategic policy plan for tourism in Ostend. In addition, he is also general manager of Kursaal Oostende as well as founder of  FFO, the Ostend film festival.       

Inspirational Congress