Elisabeth Hansa, owner and managing director of ELISABETH HANSA, Support & Strategy On Demand is an accomplished managing director specialising in marketing and business development as well as event management of global meeting industry with 30 years of experience. In September 2015 she found her company, a full service consulting agency dealing with venue development, staff training and feasibility studies for venues. Before she worked in various leading positions in convention centres of all sizes and backgrounds, from small multipurpose venues to mid- sized ones, to the biggest centre in central Europe, the Austria Center in Vienna.
She has extensive experience as advisor for start-ups of convention bureaus, convention centres and venues specialising in meeting industry and since 2009 she also teaches at various universities in Austria, Azerbaijan, China and Vietnam.
Iain Bitran is the Executive Director of The International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) and has overseen the association’s growth since 2003. Iain has organised over 30 international innovation conferences, developing strong networks in the process. He has been involved in many innovation related projects and has also edited and published numerous journal issues and articles in the field of innovation management.
As a business graduate with more than 30 years of experience, Iain has worked with a variety of enterprises and cultures worldwide. Prior to joining ISPIM, Iain co-founded Enterprizer Technologies where he developed decision-support tools for the management community and worked on many projects for national and regional development agencies and for the European Commission and United Nations.
Iain is passionate about events and is a regular speaker at conferences around the world, particularly on the subject of how to develop successful events. He was recently appointed as a MICE Ambassador for the City of Fukuoka in Japan.
Kate is Deputy Managing Director at Bioscientifica Ltd, a PCO, Association Management Company and a biomedical publishing house. Kate started her career in charity fundraising but has spent the last 14 years working in association conferencing. Previously heading up the events team, but now having spent the past 18 months in the role of Deputy MD, Kate is leading the commercial business plans and focusing very much on the strategy for sustainable growth of the events business. Bioscientifica is the wholly owned commercial subsidiary of the UK Society for Endocrinology (hormones to you and me!) and actually Kate is in the unique position of leading the events team of an in-house PCO and a commercial PCO agency managing pan-European biomedical/bioscience conferences.
Kate’s real passions and experience lie in event budget setting and delivery, events strategy and it’s role within biomedical associations’ education and marketing portfolio as well as an unexpected strength found (mostly out of necessity) in event crisis management.
This year Kate is bringing her unique insight and 20 years’ experience to the Board of ABPCO, of which she will became a co-chair in June and Bioscientifica is delighted to have recently been successfully recognised as a IAPCO member.
Clare Beach, PCO and Managing Director of Azura Events Limited is renowned for her hard working enthusiasm, ‘can do’ attitude and attention to detail, and her clients have come to expect nothing else. She set up the business in 2011 after working in logistical and organisational roles in various industries. Her experience in the conference industry has been spent in both commercial as well as not-for-profit organisations. She now focuses entirely on UK Association management and international conference organisation, specialising in becoming an essential part of the volunteer association management team so that they can get on with their own specialist day jobs knowing everything is being taken care of. Recent and upcoming international congress destinations are the UK, Argentina, France, Denmark, Canada and the Czech Republic.
She was elected on to the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) Board in 2014 – 2018 and continues to benefit hugely from the professional, relevant networking and sharing of knowledge that the association provides.
Paul Kennedy MBE
Paul Kennedy MBE is a meetings industry leader and an expert with extensive experience on both the demand and supply sides of the sector. Paul’s experience includes running a multi award winning conference and events centre; a Group Exhibition Director for the world’s largest portfolio of global meetings industry events; a Chairman of a major event industry publishing organisation and now runs his own destination, event and strategic business consultancy. He has served on many boards and inmdustry panels including the Executive of MPI the UNWTO panel which oversaw the basis of the gross economic impact methodology. He previously launched the Meetings Show and for five years co organised Convene. He has advised a number of convention bureaux and national tourist organisations and is currently advising on the development of a major new convention centre in Southern Europe. He has been a speaker in over 20 countries and is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and also the Institute for Leadership and Management.
Trinity Event Solutions was founded by Jacqui Kavanagh in 2006 and now employs 30 people in venue finding, event management and to book group accommodation. A Hotel Manager by trade, she has many years of experience working in hotels and for agencies. Jacqui worked in Ireland and Germany before finally settling in the UK. Educated at the Dublin College of Catering, Jacqui went on to add to her professional qualifications at night by achieving a business studies degree followed by a certificate in marketing (CIM) whilst holding down a Director of Sales role in a hotel.
Jacqui has won many awards for her work including Business Person of the Year for her region and is also a previous winner of the Shine Awards, Business Owner of the Year. However, she will always say her greatest achievement to date is being awarded Investors in People Gold which recognises Trinity’s staff whilst supporting an ethical stance in the community and environment. She is passionate about our industry and has won numerous awards such as Promoting Excellence within the Industry from the HBAA and for their Contribution to the Community.
Giving back has always been Jacqui’s ethos and it is very much the culture of Trinity. She was Chair of the HBAA in 2015 and has sat on the executive board of the Meetings Industry Association (MIA), the board of Meetings Professional International and is a member of IOD. She regularly speaks at industry events and sits on several hotel groups’ and exhibition advisory boards.
Launched last Autumn, Jacqui is also heading up EDGE Venues – designed and built based on years of experience in the meetings and events industry and which provides a comprehensive, easy to use, booking site for all events planners and agencies. EDGE Venues allows venues to promote their venues with the ability to upload unlimited high-quality venue data.
Louise has worked in the events industry since 1985, beginning her career at the Stakis St Ermins Hotel in London. After 11 years working in hotels she joined Ashfield Meetings & Events (Merger of UniversalProcon and WorldEvents) in 1996 as a Project Executive and stayed with the company for over 20 years where her last role was as Business Director. In 2016 Louise decided to take some time off and after six months of pure relaxation she joined Top Banana as Director of Venues, where she implemented systems and processes to support the increase in clients and business. The Venue Sourcing team has grown from 3 pax to 7 pax in 18 months to support the increase in volume. Louise is also actively involved in the HBAA and was Chair of the Association from January 2017 to January 2019.
Paul is Managing Editor of the International Portfolio at leader UK and international meetings industry publishers Mash Media and oversees the monthly titles Conference & Meetings World and Exhibition World, and their related websites www.c-mw.net and www.exhibitionworld.co.uk and their digital products.
Paul has twice been named Meetings & Events Journalist of the Year and was awarded ‘Business Magazine of the Year’ at the PPA Independent Publishers’ Awards for Conference News. He has spoken at numerous industry forums and trade shows including International Confex, EIBTM, The Event Production Show and Conventa. Paul has also contributed to The Guardian and Times newspapers.
Industry forums chaired by Paul include discussions on Brexit, the role of agencies and venues. Paul has led teams that have organised and launched bespoke industry events, including the CN30 under Thirty, an awards recognising young industry professionals in the UK; the Global Event Summit (Chamonix) and sessions on topics including the role of hosted buyers and familiarisation trips in recent times.
Paul who has been in the industry since 2005 and a fluent Russian speaker curated the first MICE forum held at the Russian Economic Forum in St Petersburg attended by many world leaders.
Paul has also edited special interest economic publications for EU-funded initiatives in Eastern Europe and edited a range of magazines covering the emerging markets.
Martin has spent many years in the MICE industry. He now heads up Team Umbrella, a UK based full service agency, specialising in new and upcoming destinations. Additionally, Martin is a founder director of the Alliance of Independent Events Agencies, a UK group with a membership of around 60 agents, set up to give a voice to businesses who represent a large proportion of the UK MICE market. With a background of business innovation, Martin is constantly looking for new ideas and opportunities for business growth.
Alistair Turner is Managing Director of EIGHT PR & Marketing, a specialist creative agency servicing the events industry. Alistair has over 20 years’ experience in the PR and events industries, working closely with the key trade associations as well as the UK government.
In his involvement with the UK government, he was secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Events, and project managed the groups’ Enquiry into the international competitiveness of the UK events industry in 2013. He has also been a government advisor on the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Finally, he has been involved in ministerial briefings on the events industry at Secretary of State Level and below. He was heavily involved with No.10 on its development of the ‘Britain is GREAT’ initiative, and the ‘Events are GREAT’ implementation of that campaign.
Within industry associations, he is currently President of the International Live Event Society (ILEA UK Chapter) and a special advisor to the National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA). He also sits on the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), the umbrella body for the UK events industry.
He is a regular speaker on events and PR at a number of universities including Hertfordshire, MMU, Westminster, Greenwich, Coventry, and St Margret’s. He is also a regular contributor to The Events Academy educational programmes. Alistair is a passionate and highly active advocate for the events industry as a modern form of marketing and business communication.
Dr Elling Hamso
Managing Partner of Event ROI Institute and a leading expert on how to measure results from meetings and events. He spends most of his time as a trainer and consultant to event agencies and corporate event planners across Europe. He is currently a member of the jury of European Best Event Awards (EuBEA), Middle East Awards and a number of national best event award programmes. Conference & Incentive Travel magazine ranked him 5th on their list of the 50 most influential people in the UK meetings and events industry and Eventbranche magazine named him third among the 30 most influential professionals in the meetings and events industry in the Netherlands. He consults and speaks on subjects such as ROI, events industry trends and meeting design. Elling is Management Sciences graduate and holds a Ph.D. in procurement strategy from Manchester University.
Katrin “Kate” Schmitt is the Editor-in-Chief of CIM – Conference & Incentive Management. She returned to CIM in 2017 after seven years break, in which she gained experience in digital as a Social Media Strategist. Her Masters’ Degree “Leadership in Digital Communication” enhances her knowledge in digital transformation, design thinking and agile management methods, among other topics. Kate is #inLovewiththeMeetingsIndustry for 17 years, fascinated by congress centres and the close to 360-degrees know-how of #EventProfs.
With seven years working as an organiser within two of the industry’s leading event management agencies, Adam brings a unique buyer focused perspective to PR and communications for the meetings industry. He used his extensive knowledge of the event planning process gained at those agencies to support the set up of Soaring Worldwide in 2006, which provides bespoke public relations, press and strategic campaign planning and advice to destinations, venues, suppliers, exhibitions and event agencies.
With clients around the world and a love of the meetings industry, Adam is passionate about the effective communication of strategic messages that develop and enhance long term relationships.
In particular Adam has developed a specialism in the association and PCO market through strong working relationships with ABPCO, ICCA and their members as well as having a deep understanding of the PR needs of event focused organisations around the world.
Roger is a Managing Partner at leading independent brand consultancy Heavenly. Heavenly has locations in London, New York, Birmingham and Cardiff. Current and recent clients include: Outfront Media [USA], The Alzheimer’s Society, McKinsey, Translink, West Midland’s Combined Authority, Welsh Water and England Rugby.
Prior to entering the world of consultancy, Roger was Director of Marketing for the Welsh Government and the Wales Tourist Board. He was also CEO of Cardiff & Co.
Roger runs the place branding practice for Heavenly. His recent place clients include: Northern Ireland, Birmingham, Belfast, Cardiff, Atlantic Arc cities, England’s Heartland, Salisbury and the Great West Way. He is a Visiting Professor at Surrey University and was previously Chairman of the Wales Board of the CIM.
He has spoken at many international conferences on branding and marketing generally and on the specialism of Place Branding. He is editor of ‘Destination Brands’- the original and best-selling book on place branding.
Siobhan is an expert on Networking and has spoken extensively on the topic. She has lived and worked in three countries in all of which she found networking and building networks essential for making progress. Following a career spanning 25 years in event management working for national and international companies such as MasterCard Int’l, United Technologies Corporation, Warburg Pincus and Goldman Sachs Siobhan successfully pivoted her career and launched her practice Catseye Coaching Solutions which specialises in career transition. An Irish native, she returned to Ireland in 2015 and launched the Women In Business Network Ireland which currently serves 160 members across 7 counties. Seeing a gap in the market she launched her third business TheNetworkingSummit which successfully delivered its first event in September 2018 to an international audience. Siobhan strongly feels that in creating value for others before looking to extract it, builds a strong and growing society.
David Leslie is a risk management professional specialising in planning for disruptive events. He has a degree in disaster management and works in crisis management, civil protection, business continuity and emergency response. At some of the critical times in the development of civil protection and business continuity in the past 20 years he has been involved in developing and shaping standards and legislation in the UK – the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act and BS 23999 – the business continuity standard that led to ISO 23301 Business Continuity (he is a qualified lead auditor for ISO 23301). He has been involved in the response to several national emergencies in the UK including the hijack of an Afghan plane in 2000 when it was routed to the UK, coastal and river flooding, the foot and mouth outbreak in the UK and several other events.
He works with governmental and commercial organisations delivering projects and leading teams to deliver and improve civil protection, crisis management and business continuity projects. These have included the highly hazardous Sellafield nuclear site, London local government bodies, local authorities, regulated financial companies, insurance companies, defence contractors, and various other companies including manufacturing, defence, distribution, retail and hospitality. The scope of some of these projects has extended to addressing specific risks including product risk, supply chain risk, travel, terrorism and other hazards and threats.
His work has taken him to several countries and he has travelled to far more where he has developed a strong understanding of the cultural variations that can affect the delivery of projects in different environments. David’s approach to the subject matter is to simplify it, cut away the jargon surrounding the subject and focusing on achieving results with practical solutions.
Debora Piovesan, is a native Italian, who specializes for 20 years in the planning, development, management and production of large-scale events. She has worked with major global companies such as Daiichi Sankyo, Merck or Ericsson and as Congress Director in ESOT (European Society for Organ Transplantation). She is now the Head of Events of UNICEO, the main international association for senior corporate events organizers.
Elif Balci Fisunoglu
Elif began her career in the communications field, spending 20 years in various positions in the media, advertising, meeting and hospitality industries, before being appointed as ICCA Regional Director (Europe) in January 2018.
Before joining ICCA, Elif spent 15 years with the Istanbul Convention and Visitors Bureau, where she held senior sales and marketing positions before serving for over three years as General Manager. During this time, she was an extremely active contributor to the ICCA community. She has been a speaker, mentor and regular Congress attendee, chaired ICCA’s Mediterranean Chapter, and regularly participated in Client-Supplier workshops. She also played a major role in the bidding team and Local Host Committee of the 2014 ICCA Congress in Antalya and has hands-on experience of using a wide variety of ICCA’s business tools.
She has held wide spectrum of positions in the meetings and hospitality industry. Such as Corporate Communication Manager positions and national and international hotel chains, General Coordinator of a Tourism Group with hotels, travel agency, DMC and Venue services and facilities.
She has been involved in winning many association Congresses, governmental meetings and international mega event bids for Istanbul from year 2001-2014, including the UEFA 2005 Final Match, Formula 1, IMF World Bank Meeting, World Water Forum, WFNS Congress, Apimondia, EACCI, FDI World Dental Congress.
Currently she is the Regional Director Europe for ICCA- International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) headquartered in Netherlands and in this role the focus is to develop the regional meetings strategy. Elif holds a Master’s in Advertising and Promotion and is currently continuing her academic career writing her PhD thesis about the role strategic communications plays in building a destination’s image.
Anne Dalgaard is an experienced meeting and event planner, who has worked in the meetings industry for the last 20 years. She owns the company EventAnne where she advises on the implementation of experience design in B2B events.
She also teaches meeting and experience design and acts as an advisor for several educational institutions in both Denmark and abroad. Currently, she is the President for Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI), Denmark Chapter.
Anne is a Certified Meeting Manager – the MBA of the meetings industry – and has a degree in experience management.
Thorben Grosser is a seasoned event planner and marketer with more than a decade of experience. Since 2012, he has been leading the European office at EventMobi, one of the world’s major event tech providers with over 10,000 customers in 72 countries.