Where continuity meets innovation
With three generations working together, today, Ega Worldwide Congresses & Events expands its horizons with a major reorganization, bringing in new professionals from the worlds of communications and sports
Continuity is a family tradition, taking root more than 50 years ago in Rome when Emma Aru—a pioneer in the meeting industry—founded Ega. A lot has happened since then: today, Ega Worldwide Congresses & Events is one of the best-known Italian event organizers in Italy, with offices across the country and around the world. In recent years, the company has been under the leadership of Emma and her daughter, Claudia Maria Golinelli, who is vice president of the company: “I was born and raised in the world of congresses and in the family business that I now guide. It wasn’t easy to step into the shoes of an extraordinary leader like my mother, but the training I received and my teaching at Rome’s Tor Vergata University certainly helped. I’m a full professor of economics and tourism management at the important international university and it’s there that so many stimulating dialogues have begun—both with colleagues and students—to offer me new viewpoints.”
So much has changed in the MICE world over the past five decades. What was once a nearly artisanal sector—based solely on the abilities of individuals—has now become a bona fide industry, as Golinelli explains: “Now, being at the helm of a company like Ega puts you in a far more complicated and challenging environment, where you have to deal with bureaucracy, technology and finance on a daily basis in order to implement various strategies: participating in public and private tenders, building alliances, evaluating business support tools, planning and managing events in a safe and sustainable way, not to mention communication, technology and— of course—the careful management of business plans, contracts, guarantees and cash flows. And, of course, taking on enormous business risks, given the unpredictability of economic returns—as the pandemic has taught us.
Entrepreneurial skills and the empathy fostered in the working group have transformed Ega into the structured and complex company that we’ve come to see behind the organization of extremely important events, such as: Expo Milan 2015 and Post Expo Milan 2016, the 2017 G7 Summit in Taormina, Matera European Capital of Culture 2019, the 2021 G20 Summit in Rome (working alongside the Triumph Group), and the Italy Pavilion at Expo Dubai, on display until March 2022.
DEVELOPMENTS AND PROSPECTS
At Ega, our secret to innovation lies in three generations of family management. As part of the company’s reorganization, Claudia’s son, Gaetano Maria Dieni, and her brother, Alberto Zamboni, have joined the team, working respectively as head of marketing and communication and head of operations—in charge of doling out assignments to project managers, monitoring budgets and managing the most delicate client relations.
Harnessing his experience in the field, Gaetano joined the company in 2015 after brilliantly passing the test of managing Open Theatre events during Expo Milan 2015. In 2021, it was Alberto’s turn. His training in law and years of dedication to sport make him a well-known figure in the athletic world, with very special skills. A former professional rugby player, he then held strategic roles within the FIGC and UEFA (see the box: A Life in Sports). He himself talks about the move, speaking to us from Dubai, where he is currently working on the Expo project. “At the beginning of 2021, when I understood that my time in athletic associations was coming to an end, I accepted Claudia’s invitation to join Ega to develop the sports market—a great challenge that I accepted with enthusiasm.” Ega can already boast excellent experience in organizing sporting events, like the BNL International Tennis Championships for the past decade, the 1990 World Cup in Italy, the first Il Moro Challenge, and the Golden Gala, just to name a few. Antonio adds: “We also recently managed the spectator service management project for EUFA Euro 2020. Through our network, we then created a working group dedicated to sport and we’re about to launch a new brand. We’re really on a roll and I won’t hide the fact that we’d love to be part of the 2026 Olympics in Milan and Cortina!”
A LIFE IN SPORTS: ALBERTO ZAMBONI INTRODUCES HIMSELF
I started out as a rugby player, with about 150 games in Serie A, and then seven seasons of beach rugby—a sport I’m also a three-time European champion in.
In 2011, after getting my degree in law, I started the FIFA master’s course in law and sports management before joining the Italian Football Federation’s UEFA Club Licensing Office that manages relations between UEFA and Italian clubs that play at the European level to organize the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europe League.
In 2015, I was appointed head of the secretariat of the Managers’ Commission (the federal body responsible for organizing professional training for sports managers). In this role, we organized about twenty workshops a year.
In 2016, following a nomination by the FIGC, I was appointed UEFA Venue Director to coordinate the sporting aspects of UEFA matches on site.
I’ve also taken on various tasks in many parallel projects such as the European Under-21 Championships in 2019 and the candidacy for UEFA Euro 2020.
Today, I’m ready for a new challenge with Ega.