OIC Group: The Importance of Trust and Partnership in Association Management

16th Dec, 2020

The OIC Group supports and manages scientific associations. An example is the European Glaucoma Society (EGS), with which the group has a solid multi-year successful partnership.

At the helm of OIC Group, the new generation led by the managing directors Irene Serio and Nicola Testai are bringing fresh energy and new ideas to lead the company forward for the future. As a Professional Congress Organizer (PCO) with over four decades of experience, knowledge and expertise, and one of the very first PCOs in Italy, OIC Group’s core business is organizing and managing events and congresses of all sizes across the globe.  

Over these years, OIC Group has established itself as a leader, as a key player in the Meetings Industry: this has been the result of careful strategic planning, investment in human capital and meeting technology as well as an overreaching desire to deliver to their clients and stakeholders quality and the highest of standards in the plethora of services that are offered. 

The company is based in Florence, the heart of Italy, with over one hundred professionals coming from different educational backgrounds, offering a vast variety of skills and knowledge. The teams are enriched by being diverse, multicultural and multidisciplinary. OIC Group has heavily invested in staff training and professional development by having staff members participate in world-class education and training seminars held by IAPCO (International Association Professional Congress Organizers) as well as PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association). 

OIC Group’s Mission is to ‘Create value for our clients by anticipating trends and working on unique solutions for our Client’s success’, this is the motor, energy and drive behind how the company works.  

“We achieve this result with our longstanding and our new clients by taking the time to understand and grasp their vision”- says Nicola Testai, Chief Executive Officer at OIC Group – “and then through our seamless teamwork, knowledge and skills, we ensure that the vision becomes an all-round unique and memorable congress which exceeds expectations. We believe in the importance of face-to face meetings and creating a partnership with all our Clients, this is how we work”. 

The objective is certainly to assist and support delegates and all stakeholders, but there is also an evident desire to go beyond: by talking to Senior Account Managers in the company you can clearly perceive how important it is for them to understand the Client’s un-met needs, how they take on a role of advisor with a very hands-on pro-active approach. 

As a PCO, there are a whole range of services that OIC Group offers, from the more standard ones such as Registration & Abstract management, in which the company is introducing a range of new platforms and technologies in all shapes and formats to respond to Client and Association needs, to digital communication activities, as well as offering Clients full Association Management services. In recent years OIC Group launched a Communication agency in Milan, this move gives end to end support to the core business with a new angle and perspective on technologically and digitally advanced communication projects, which is certainly a plus for Clients. 


In the ever-changing landscape of Meetings and Congresses, Association Management services are of paramount importance. The bottom line is the quality of the partnerships that are carefully built with the Associations, the partnership needs to be built on that essential ingredient: trust. 

The Associations need to trust that they’re not just in good hands, but in the best hands. This is the solid foundation which sustains a winning strategy. If trust and a solid partnership-foundation have been built, it will facilitate moving seamlessly forward with all the various aspects of Association Management; such as building the membership base or working on a communication plan and strategy to create awareness and visibility. Through careful analysis, trust, understanding and partnership, we will ensure that the Association moves from the shadow to the spotlight. The teams in OIC Group are there to support and guide the Client in a planned and structured manner, offering insight, expertise and inspiring ideas. 

“We have teams that can acknowledge and fully embrace the Association’s needs” – states Testai – “Our specialist staff analyse the Association’s status quo, and begin working on the actionable steps to achieve both the short and long term goals; they need to look after the Association and strategically understand how each step will align to the Association’s long-term vision, and how the Association can and will reach its full potential. This is powered by creating partnerships and building... guess what? Trust”. 

OIC Group manages on a regular basis several Italian and international Associations: the list is made of Associations from a variety of medical fields such as cardiology, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, oncology and dental hygienists, just to name a few. Some of the most important Societies with which OIC Group has partnered over the years are GISE (Italian Association of Interventional Cardiology), SIGASCOT (Italian Society of Arthroscopy, Knee, Upper Limb, Sport, Cartilage and Orthopaedic Technologies), AO Spine (the global academic spine community) and the EGS (European Glaucoma Society). 

During these past months, Italy endured a strict lockdown in spring 2020 and is at present facing a new ‘softer lockdown’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The European Glaucoma biennial 3500-person Congress, was due to take place in May 2020 in Brussels, due to the pandemic it was initially rescheduled for new dates in December 2020, this switch was in itself an achievement as most Congresses and events were moved to 2021.

The EGS congress was in a second moment planned as a hybrid event, it was being carefully designed and mapped-out and all was moving forward, until once again in recent weeks the second wave of Covid-19 hit. As a result of national and international government recommendations and newly released decrees across much of the world, and in particular in Europe even the hybrid format has needed to switch once again to fully virtual.

The evolution of the European Glaucoma Society congress has over an eight-month stretch changed format three times, and shall now be taking place in December 2020, but in a new Virtual format. These are the times; this is the absolute ‘new normal’. These changes and the evolution of this congress from residential - to hybrid - to virtual were and are all stages in which the OIC Account Manager and supporting team are working in total partnership and synergy with the Client.

Most importantly the new virtual format will still offer its delegates the high-end quality program which is expected from one of the most important scientific societies in this field in the world, not only but through the fully virtual event, the potential audience is and can be truly global.

Trust and foundation-partnership have been solid and in place from the start of this journey with the EGS Client, they have been the key ingredients which have allowed all parties involved to move forwards.

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