U.K. Conference Icon Fay Pannell Dies

Fay Pannell, co-founder of the International Association of Professional Conference Organisers (IAPCO), died peacefully on Sept. 8, 2013, IAPCO reported yesterday.

According to the organization, which she helped start in 1968, Pannell was the first professional conference organizer to establish a conference planning business in the United Kingdom, earning her the nickname “the first lady of conference organization.”

“Fay initially started her business supplying staff and interpreters for international events throughout Europe. Gradually she undertook more and more of the services for her clients until she formed her company,” IAPCO said in a statement. “Fay went on to establish herself as the leading expert in the field and the person to go to for large international association conferences.”

Pannell — who was “indefatigable” in her support for the meetings industry, according to IAPCO — retired in 1978, but remained active, earning her honors degree from Lord Putnam in Versailles at the age of 90. Her funeral will take place Oct. 2 in Hampshire, United Kingdom.

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