Past presidents share their 10-year journey leading EEMA

EEMA was formed ten years ago with one thought of bringing the event and entertainment industry together and protecting its key rights. It started as a group of 8-10 people who came together to bring about change within the industry. The first task for them was to engage the entire ecosystem and have them invested in EEMA’s vision. Its founding members worked relentlessly towards growing their member partners. Ten years later what began as a congregation of multiple companies stand together today as one.


We spoke to the leadership of EEMA, Michael Menezes (presidency term 2007- 2010), Brian Tellis (presidency term 2010- 2014) and Sabbas Joseph (presidency term 2014- Present). Who took us through EEMA’s incredible 10-year journey graph.

“It all started as a desire to come together to fight the music licensing industry who were seen to be demanding unjust and irrational copyright fees for using music in events. It led to the first EEMA Convention in Goa in 2008 that saw 300 stalwarts of the industry come together. The rest as they say is history”, reminisced Michael Menezes, EEMA’s founder president.

Over the past years EEMA drove many big changes that have helped the event and entertainment industry grow stronger. With multiple challenges to tackle within the industry both internally and externally, there was a need for an association to come into play to bring everyone together with a “solution oriented approach” and have a clear vision when it came to achieving key milestones.

We requested Brian Tellis to share his views on how EEMA has contributed towards the overall structuring and growth of the industry in the past 10 years. “Bringing the community together gave us a sense of purpose which led to systems and processes being set in place. These processes went a long way in determining how we do business. Over a period of time this helped the industry take shape and have a structure. At a time when people hesitated calling the event industry an ‘industry’, we started focusing on research and retrieving crucial information. We launched our first white paper, if I remember it correctly, around five or six years ago. This white book intended on throwing light on key trends, information, insights on the rapidly growing event and entertainment industry in India. This was the missing piece. An essential and important element that opened everyone’s eyes to our industry.”

Talking about engagement with other external factors he adds, “Communicating with the world at large has become easier over the years considering now we are perceived as a unified voice. We have initiated dialogues with state governments and central authorities. While licensing and permits are still a problem, we have initiated the conversation for single window clearances and access to state-owned venues. Today engagement and recognition of supply-chain is far more too”

Speaking in the same vein says Michael Menezes, “EEMA’s annual EEMAGINE convention and EEMAX Global Awards have become landmark events for the industry. And under the able leadership of its current President, Sabbas Joseph, it is now building great associations with the global event industry.” Stressing on the significance of the industry convention Tellis adds, “As an association it was very important for EEMA to celebrate who we are which led to expanding the existing awards and conference to a larger scale. The scale of the 10th edition of EEMAGINE and EEMAX is shining proof of how far we have come as a community. Another important development has been the recognition of supply-chain in the events business. Most recently Spotlight Awards have connected the supply chain with the music industry. That is another incredible initiative by EEMA to recognize key vendors, without whom this industry would be incomplete.”

Beaming with pride on the occasion of ten years, serving his second term as EEMA president Sabbas Joseph states, “EEMA started out as individual companies, and now we are one entity. We’ve become strong, more dependable, a force that cares about the entire industry. We can safely say while EEMA has contributed in more than many ways to bring strong changes within the industry, introducing white paper and single-window clearance for licensing could be one of the two big changes to make a note of. We were also the first ones to drive the right implementation of GST’s into event & entertainment industry”.

One of the biggest changes that EEMA has gone through during the past few years is to bring everyone together, and build a support system under the leadership of Sabbas Joseph. The past 10 years have resulted in shaping, structuring and growing the events entertainment industry, which wouldn't have been possible without EEMA’s vision, and execution of the key solutions, and fighting all the battles.

A passionate and motivated Joseph expresses, “EEMA is going all out to ensure the industry is backed by the right pillars it needs. Recent efforts made for women empowerment, safety, one-window clearances, tax, laws, youth empowerment, skilling and a lot more are being implemented into the community of events and entertainment. The introduction of national advisory council and national executive council has resulted in changing the entire paradigm. Being an industry that is giving employment to 10 million people, EEMA has a big responsibility on its shoulders to ensure an aligned vision and consistent growth. Even though the industry’s growth in the last decade has been phenomenal, there is ample room for growth and EEMA will pull out all the stops to lead the way to the top”.

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EEMA michael menezes Brian Tellis Sabbas Joseph

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