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The Faculty

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Lone Alletorp Callard
Head of Research

Wonderful Copenhagen

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Nalan Emre
Chief Operating Officer

IMEX Group

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Christian Funk
Editor

tw tagungswirtschaft - m+a report

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Barbara Jamison
Head of Business Development Europe

London & Partners

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Lone Alletorp Callard

Lone Alletorp Callard has effectively worked with tourism all her life and also studied tourism. Being from a small and very touristic coastal village in the north of Denmark, she has, from an early age, been aware of tourists and the effect of tourism on a community. She studied Tourism Management in England and has a bachelor (BSc) and a master (MSc) in tourism management from the Universities of Plymouth and Sheffield Hallam University respectively. She has worked with almost all aspects of tourism from being a waiter in restaurants in the local village, to theme parks in both England and Denmark, to consultancy work in a big American consultancy company and to now being Head of Research in Wonderful Copenhagen. One thing, however, that has always interested her, wherever she has been working, is research, knowledge and data and how you can learn from it and perform better.

 

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Nalan Emre

Nalan Emre, Organising Director, IMEX Group has been involved in the exhibition industry since 1995. Nalan began her career as Project Manager for a trade show company based in Munich, Germany. During her six years with the company she planned, organised and supervised trade and consumer shows in various German cities. In April 2001 Nalan moved to the USA to work for Hall-Erickson, Inc. in Chicago, USA supporting the organisation of The Motivation Show – at the time, the world's largest incentive merchandise and travel show. From there she joined the IMEX Group as Organising Manager and was an integral part of the launch team for the first IMEX in Frankfurt exhibition that took place in April 2003. Nalan was promoted to Organising Director in 2004. In 2011 she was again a key member of the launch team for IMEX America taking place in Las Vegas, USA.
Nalan is also involved in the development of the IMEX Group’s overall strategy. She works alongside all internal teams to continuously develop, innovate and implement a strategy for continued success. Nalan is a strong mentor and coach – assisting staff in implementing best practices within the business. Nalan has become a high-profile advocate for the business and regularly takes part in events and exhibitions to represent and market the IMEX brand.

 

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Christian Funk

Christian Funk is editor at the German trade publication tw tagungswirtschaft. tw tagungswirtschaft as practice-oriented professional and business publication is a reliable partner to MICE deciders. Christian is writing about current trends and topics in the meetings industry since 2011.

 

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Barbara Jamison

Barbara Jamison Heads up the European Business Team at London & Partners (London Convention Bureau), the Mayor’s official promotional agency for London.
Barbara’s experience in the industry has covered every aspect of tourism in Global markets... youth and educational tourism, tour operating, Destination and Event Management, Major Events including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to currently promoting London for Business Tourism/Events and Foreign Direct Investment.
«I believe relationships, education and knowledge sharing are key to our industry and I am delighted to become one of the ECM Faculty. The last few years in London has been such an exciting time building up to 2012 with the Jubilee and the Olympics. The merger of London & Partners (tourism, inward investment and education) has enhanced the work we do as a City and provided us with a much more joined up approach to really capitalise on the Legacy of the Games. Exciting projects such as Tech City and the Crick Institute for Bio Science research means I can move forward and promote my home City, London with even more passion.» Barbara lived and worked in France and Germany in the hospitality and wine industry and speaks both languages fluently as is the current Site GB Chapter President.
In June 2019, Barbara was elected ECM Vice-President dedicated to City Marketing.

 

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Sam Johnston
Manager

Dublin Convention Bureau

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Cain Leathem
Exercise & Nutrition Consultant

IMEX Group

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Sissi Lygnou
CEO Operations & Devt. PCO Services

AFEA Travel & Congress Services

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Heike Mahmoud, CMP
Chief Operating Officer

CCH - Congress Center Hamburg

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Sam Johnston

Sam Johnston has worked in DMOs since 1999, both rural and urban. Initially he was in leisure tourism but made the move to MICE in 2010 and haven’t looked back. His early career involved welding equipment but left that after an incident involving nuclear submarines - ask him about that some day!
He has led the Bureau since 2014, delivering growth of confirmed business by over 25% in that time. He is currently highlighting the need for greater attention to sustainability issues within the meetings industry in Ireland. Favourite thing to do in Dublin - Walking into the Long Room of the Old Library at Trinity College still gives him a shiver - he just thinks it is such a spectacular space. He loves a good pint of Guinness and there are no shortage of great spots to enjoy it in Dublin. To get a perfect pint with a creamy head after the correct pour is so enjoyable.
In June 2019, Sam was elected ECM Vice-President dedicated to the Meetings Industry.

 

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Cain Leathem

Cain Leathem is one of Britain’s leading Exercise and Nutrition Consultants having studied extensively aspects of the human body, exercise and nutrition, biomechanics, phlebotomy, DNA assessment, Neuro Linguistic Programming among many other related disciplines. As a Senior Associate of the Royal Society of Medicine he prides himself on furthering his education and the sharing of this knowledge. As a multi award winning practitioner he still strives to learn The Truth and share more of that education with others. His regimes often challenge the concepts that many believe to be true, often enforced upon us by inaccuracies offered up in the media. He encourages health within the workplace and offers businesses advice on how to best maximise efficiency (and therefore profit) through the wellness and vitality of their employees. Cain is a member of the Professional Speaking Association and speaks on all matters of health and optimal being. His expertise in this field has taken him worldwide including 15 years with the ECM Summer School. Cain is also a qualified NLP Master Practitioner and utilises this skill to motivate his clients and audiences alike and to help instil a positive mood state in all the people that he meets.

 

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Sissi Lygnou

Sissi Lygnou was born in Athens, in 1978.
In 1996, she graduated from the German School of Athens, qualified with the German Diploma “Abitur”. She has studied Business Administration and Economics at the University of Regensburg (1996-2001), in Bavaria – Germany, and completed her studies with a dissertation on the field of Tourism with the title “Tourism Development in the European Union – The Economic Aspect”. She has taken active participation in 3 “European Youth Parliament” Projects in Ireland, Germany and Denmark.
In November 2001, she returned to Greece, where she started her working experience in the Public Relations, Culture & Events Department of the ATHENS 2004 Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games. In February 2004, she was promoted to the Communications Department of the Committee and was assigned with the role of the Communications Manager for the Olympic & Paralympic Village until October 2004.
In November 2004, she continued with her career, as a stakeholder at the “family owned” Company AFEA Travel & Congress Services, where she was appointed Manager of the Congress & Events Department. In 2018, she was promoted to the position of CEO, Operations & Development - PCO Services of AFEA, a role that she serves until today.
She has been member of the Board of Directors of HAPCO (Hellenic Association of Professional Congress Organizers) since 2009 and until today, in the position of the Secretary General. In May 2009, she was appointed Special Secretary of EFAPCO (European Association of Professional Congress Organizers), and kept that role until December 2018. She has represented AFEA in various projects and committees of IAPCO (International Association of Professional Congress Organizers). She is an active member of Advisory Boards dealing with the development of the country’s Meetings Industry.
She speaks English and German fluently and has a basic knowledge of Spanish. In her free time, she likes to attend dance classes and participates in various dance competitions.

 

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Heike Mahmoud, CMP

Heike Mahmoud has been the COO and authorized signatory of the CCH Congress Center Hamburg, a division of Hamburg Messe und Congress, since March 2018. Her task is to position the New CCH to one of the leading Congress Centers in Europe. After an extensive construction phase/redesign, the New CCH will re-open in 2020. The aim is to double the number of congresses and participants within the next years.
Heike has in-depth management experience in worldwide sales and marketing for the global Meetings Industry. With 17 years of leadership experience as Director Conventions, she has founded, built and developed the Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin. Under her leadership, Berlin became no1 in the global ICCA-Ranking 2015, the booking volume of congresses in Berlin could more than tripled. She established global networks with representatives in London, New York, Sao Paulo, Beijing and with «BestCities Global Alliance».
Heike is very involved and active in International Meetings Industry Networks: former Board member of European Cities Marketing and Vice President Meetings Industry, Executive Board of BestCities Global Alliance, Past President of MPI and Site Germany Chapter. In 2015, she was nominated by the magazine Meetings & Conventions to be one of the world’s 25 most influential women in the global Meetings Industry.

 

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Pier Paolo Mariotti, CDME
Meeting Manager

EURAC Research Bolzano

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Kristin McGrath, CDME
Vice-President Sales, Services & Sports

Visit Albuquerque

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Christian Mutschlechner
former Director

Vienna Convention Bureau

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Miguel Neves, CMP
Chief Social Strategist

Miguelseven.com

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Pier Paolo Mariotti, CDME

Pier Paolo Mariotti was born in the heart of the Alps. Graduated in Economics and business administration at Università degli Studi di Verona. Worked as photojournalist and travelled extensively in South East Asia for several European and Asian publishers. Speaks fluently Italian, German, English and basic French and Chinese. In 1994, he came back to Italy with his family: wife Rosanna and the daughters Irina and Costanza. Works for the South Tyrol Convention Bureau. In 1999 sets up the Torino Convention Bureau. Founder and director of “IT Meetings and Incentives in Italy.” Since 2003, works as Meeting Manager at EURAC Research and is the managing director of the EURAC and TIS Convention Center. CMM (Certified Meeting Manager) and CMP (Certified Meeting Professional). Active in MPI (Meeting Professional International) where he served as Italia Chapter President and Member of the European Council. Responsible for Certification programme and board member in Federcongressi (Italian meeting industry council and member of the “Italia for Events” National committee for the international promotion of the Italian meeting industry. Member of the APEX international Green Meetings and Events Committee for the Convention Industry Council. Since 2011, Pier Paolo is Course Director of ECM Summer School and since 2016 of the ECM Academy. Since 2017 Pier Paolo became CDME, (Certified Destination Management Executive).

 

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Kristin McGrath, CDME

Kristin McGrath joined Visit Albuquerque as the organization’s vice president of sales, services and sports in June 2017. McGrath has 20+ years experience in destination marketing and management and has served in similar roles at both Richmond Region Tourism in Virginia and the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau in Rhode Island.
McGrath oversees the sales, services and sports divisions, which are responsible for generating qualified meeting, convention, sports and group tour leads that are distributed to Albuquerque’s hotels, the Albuquerque Convention Center and area event and sports facilities. In her role, she guides the destination sales team to turn those leads into definite business for Albuquerque, and to ensure that the groups have successful and unforgettable meetings and events in New Mexico’s largest city.
McGrath achieved her Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) credential in 2010. She has been an active member of Destination International for over a decade and has served in a number of volunteer leadership roles, including co-chair of the Education Committee (2011-2013) and a board member of the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (2012-2017). In 2018 she started her first term as a member of the CDME board of directors.
Kristin considers herself a life-long learner and describes her perfect day as one spent sitting in the sunshine at the beach with her husband David S. Bernstein and a good book.

 

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Christian Mutschlechner

1971 - 1977 - University Studies Economy and Languages (French, Italian)
1977 - Free-lance at conventions organised in Vienna
1978 - 1980 - INTERCONVENTION, PCO daughter company of Austrian Airlines, Staff member, organizing meetings in Vienna
1980 - 1984 - CONFERENCE MANAGEMENT (PCO company based in Vienna), junior share holder organizing meetings up to 7000 delegates in Vienna and Budapest
1985 - 1987 - VIENNA TOURIST BOARD Sales Promotion and Convention Department
1988 - 1990 - Deputy Director, Sales Promotion and Convention Dept.
1991 - January 2019 Director of the restructured VIENNA CONVENTION BUREAU (one of the four departments of the Vienna Tourist Board)
Since April 2019 - Member of the Board of Directors at Congrex
Was President of Austrian Convention Bureau Since 2009, President of EFCT and ICCA and is in the Advisory Board of several organisations. He was awarded Lorenzo de Medici-Award 2004, was Reed Travel Exhibitions Meeting Industry Personality of the Year 2008 and received several other prestigious awards.

 

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Miguel Neves, CMP

Miguel Neves is a passionate social media advocate and experienced events professional who consults, trains and speaks on digital marketing and event technology.
Miguel has focused on online engagement in the events industry since 2009. From 2011 to 2017 he led the strategic implementation of the IMEX Group’s social media presence. In 2017 Miguel created miguelseven.com, where he helps event professionals develop a truly social presence on social media.
Miguel holds a master’s degree in Conference and Events Management from the University of Westminster and sits on both Meeting Professionals International’s International Board of Directors and the Events Industry Council’s Industry Insights Committee.

 

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James Rees
Executive Director | ExCeL London

President | ICCA

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Mathias Sondermann
Senior Director Head of Technology

& LoB Events | SAP

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Dennis Speet
Chief Operating Officer

ICCA

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Daniel Waigl
Executive Director

CIRSE

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James Rees

James has 25 years’ experience in event organisation and major venue management. He began as a conference organiser for UK-based Water Research Centre organising national and international events then made a move into venue management, joining Wembley Stadium Ltd as an event manager across Wembley’s Stadium, Arena and Conference & Exhibition Centre venues, managing international conferences and exhibitions, concerts for artists such as Madonna and Michael Jackson and also the FA Cup. After 3 years he moved into a commercial role, focusing on the exhibition and conference side of the business.
Subsequent roles included London Arena as Sales & Marketing Director then Hilton International as Director of Hilton Direct.
He is now responsible for the Sales & Marketing Strategy for the Conference & Events Division of ExCeL London which has become globally recognised in the congress and convention industry.
As a venue owned by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), he is also responsible for helping to promote ADNEC to international event planners to host their events in the Middle East region.

 

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Mathias Sondermann

Mathias Sondermann is Senior Director, Global Events, at SAP SE, based out of the SAP Global Headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. In this role he is responsible for Technology and Cloud Business Global Events of SAP, with a team of dedicated and passionate event experts, for thousands of customers and partners worldwide. These events include the SAP TechEd, SAP Ariba LIVE and SuccessConnect series.
Mathias has been in the events industry since 1998 and held several positions in leading German agencies. Before joining SAP in 2008, he was Executive Events Manager for an American software company.
SAP is the world’s largest provider of enterprise application software – founded in 1972. We serve some of the most amazing customers – and we always have exciting projects on the go. Our mission is to Run Simple, and we’re big on using our technological and business know-how to make the world a better place.

 

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Dennis Speet

Dennis Speet has worked for a variety of suppliers in the meetings industry (beach hotel, tour operators Sunair and Unitravel) from 1992 after starting his career in general tourism marketing. He has been working for ICCA since July 1996 in his home country, the Netherlands, and now is responsible for defining and implementing ICCA’s strategic objectives at its Head Office in Amsterdam and regional offices in Europe, Malaysia, South Africa, Uruguay, UAE and the USA. Married with two daughters, Dennis has contributed to a significant growth and expansion of member services in the meetings industry’s most global trade association. Dennis lists his interests as travel, food, wine, squash, handball and music and is passionate about the creation and implementation of new ideas.

 

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Daniel Waigl

Daniel Waigl has been involved in association and congress management since 1997. He started his career at the European Congress of Radiology where he was trained and where he served in different positions including head of marketing and communication before he left. In 2004 he was appointed the Executive Director of CIRSE. CIRSE is an educational and scientific association aiming to improve patient care through the support of teaching, science, research and clinical practice in the field of cardiovascular and interventional radiology.