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The Faculty

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Carina Bauer
CEO

IMEX Group

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Guy Bigwood
Managing Director & Chief

Changemaker | GDS Movement

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Christian Boergen
Editor | Conference &

Incentive Management magazine

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Angela Graun
Senior Director, Head of Meetings and

Events EMEA | Radisson Hotel Group

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Carina Bauer

Having graduated from Oxford University, UK, in Politics, Philosophy and Economics in 1998, Carina began her career in retail and catering, in the newly established GoodBean Coffee – a family owned chain of coffee shops located throughout the South of England. As Managing Director, Carina was in charge of the running of the business which grew to 13 stores in three years and was sold to a publicly listed company in December 2001.
An avid skier, Carina enjoyed a short break working in a ski resort in Italy, before entering the meetings industry in 2002 as the Marketing and Operations Director for IMEX in Frankfurt as part of the original launch team for the exhibition.
Following the expansion of the IMEX brand into America in 2009, Carina was appointed CEO of the IMEX Group. In this role, Carina is responsible for all aspects of the business.
Throughout her career, Carina has been an active member of the meetings industry. She was Chair of the Marketing Committee for MPI’s European Meetings & Events Conference, London (2008), has served on the Board of the MPI UK Chapter, the MPI International Multicultural Committee and on PCMA’s Global and Advocacy Taskforces. She is currently President of the SITE Foundation and serves on the AEO Council.
Carina lives on the south coast of the UK, near to the IMEX Group office in Brighton, called "London-by-the-Sea" for its cosmopolitan nature and youth culture.
She enjoys spending time with her family (she's a mother to two boys), and is a keen climber and skier, hitting the slopes with friends and family when she can.


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Guy Bigwood

For the last 15 years, Guy has been delivering award-winning consulting services focused on helping cities, governments, associations and the hospitality industry step up, scale up and speed up their sustainability programmes and operational practices. He is the Managing Director of the Global Destinations Sustainability Movement; a transformation platform that engages, inspires and enables destinations to become more regenerative, flourishing and resilient places to visit, meet and live in.
Previously Guy was the President of the Green Meeting Industry Council, and from 2006 to 2018 was the Sustainability Director of MCI, the world’s largest association management, communications and events agency. Guy’s pioneering work has been recognised with 22 sustainability awards including the prestigious Events Industry Council Pacesetter Award, the IMEX-EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award, the UNWTO Innovation Award. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and teaches Regenerative Leadership at the Esade Business School in Barcelona.


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Christian Boergen

Since September 2017, Christian is editor of the business magazine CIM - Conference & Incentive Management. Since more than 5 years he is also partner of SRT, Germany's biggest bureau of travel writers. Christian has been working freelance from Germany with his Wiesbaden Office for Media Communications since September 2007.

He also has a background in public relations, being Head of Communications of the Association for the of German Travel Agents and Tour Operators (DRV) from 2001 till 2004 and Manager of Media Relations for the Federal Association of German Tourism Industry (BTW), both in Berlin, from 2002 till 2004.

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Angela Graun

Angela has been appointment last year in August as Senior Director, Head of Meetings and Events EMEA for the Radisson Hotel Group to support the 5 years plan of the company especially for the Meeting business. Responsible for executing Meetings and Events process improvement and implementing sales innovation across the Radisson Hotel Group in order to drive revenue performance and sales operations excellence. Before, Angela worked four years as Area Director E-Commerce, Marketing & Communication and nine years as Area Director Revenue Development for the area Central & Southern Europe. She joined the Radisson Hotel Group in August 2003 as Director Sales & Marketing opening the Radisson Blu Hotel in Berlin. Before, Angela worked as Director Sales & Marketing for Dolce International in the Netherlands and in several Sales positions for the InterContinental Group and for Linder Hotels in Germany. When asking for the ‘best moment’ Angela would answer: “Being a Trainer for Supervisors delivering the trainings. I once received an email from a former waiter who participated in a training session but left the company. Some years later he wrote that I inspired him to start his own business and he opened a little Bistro in Hamburg and invited me to come along. This is what I cherish most – being able to inspire people!”


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Barbara Jamison
Head of Tourism Europe

London & Partners

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Sam Johnston
Manager

Dublin Convention Bureau

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Silke Lauermann
Category Procurement Management

for Marketing & Travel | SAP

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Cain Leathem
Exercise & Nutrition Consultant

IMEX Group and GB Fitness

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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

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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Silke Lauermann

Silke Lauermann is an experienced Strategic Lead for Event procurement at SAP and loves helping teams plan, optimize and realize Event strategies and initiatives. No surprise that the travel enthusiast started her career in the Travel Industry, gaining experiences in Sales, Key Account Management, Accounting, Travel Management and Global Hotel Sourcing. While developing sourcing strategies, supplier and spend management for Marketing Events is her primary job function by day, Silke also enjoys hiking, ballroom dancing and Yoga.


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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
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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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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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

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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Harry Mirpuri
Director Research & Insights

London & Partners

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Christian Mutschlechner
Member of the Board of Directors

Congrex Switzerland

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Miguel Neves, CMP
Chief Social Strategist

Miguelseven.com

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Riccardo Pizzuti
Sales & Marketing Manager

Roma&Lazio Convention Bureau

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Harry Mirpuri

Harry Mirpuri is the Director, Research & Insights at London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotion agency. His day job is to help ensure London remains an attractive place to study, visit and set up a business.
Harry also has the honour of chairing the ECM Research & Statistics Knowledge Group, sharing and learning from this community of extremely intelligent and inspirational data gurus.
Harry has a strong background in research innovation and is a big believer in forging strong partnerships with agencies and trying new approaches. He loves being part of ECM to learn, make amazing friendships and cycle around our beautiful host cities.


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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 is an experienced event professional and passionate social media advocate who regularly speaks, consults, and trains teams on online community management, digital strategy and event technology.
Miguel started his career as a planner and since 2009 he has focused on event technology and online communication. From 2011 to 2017 he played an important part in developing the IMEX Group’s digital content and social media presence. Since 2017 Miguel has worked independently helping organisations to develop digital communication strategies.
Miguel holds a masters degree in Conference and Events Management from the University of Westminster and is certified as a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and a Digital Event Strategist (DES). He sits on the International Board of Directors of Meeting Professionals International and is past-Chair of Events Industry Council’s Industry Insights Committee.


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Riccardo Pizzuti

Born 34 years ago onto an Island in the middle of a river, I work for the Roma and Lazio Convention Bureau as Sales and Marketing Manager. I’ve been a Basketball player for long time, graduated in Science of Tourism, I’ve been working for PCO’s and International Hotels. I’m a DJ now and ski lover. I’ve been loving and living in Roma for the last 20 years, the Eternal City which is now ready to support you organizing your events on the territory. How? Thanks to Roma and Lazio Convention Bureau, of course: our mission is to promote the Destination, encourage Organizations to consider Rome as a possibility for their business. We work very close to the Public Institutions, to the market and to the 128 Members. This is why we are the One Stop Shop you will need to come to ROMA&LAZIO!


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Annamaria Ruffini
President & CEO

Events In & Out

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Mathias Sondermann
Senior Director Head of Events

Programs & Experience | SAP

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Katarina Thorstensson
Smart Tourism & Sustainability

Strategist | Göteborg & Co

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Marco van Itterzon
Director Research

ICCA

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Annamaria Ruffini

Annamaria Ruffini is the founder, President and CEO of the Incentive House and Dmc Events In & Out, based in Rome - Italy. She has a long experience in the Meeting & Events industry having been involved in the motivation and incentive industry since 1986.
She has been a SITE member since 1996, and she chaired the Italy Chapter in 2009-2010. In 2011 she was given, in recognition for holding «the highest standard of excellence in creating or executing motivational events», the SITE Master Motivator Award; in the same year she secured herself the Global Award of the World Travel Market, for her outstanding contribution to the Italian tourism.
In Italy she is known also for her hands-on manual "Ecoeventi", the very only Italian booklet about theories and practices of eco-sustainable incentive trips, conventions, trade fair and team-building meetings. For this book, co-authored with two industry colleagues, she's been given the "Green tourism national award" in 2010.
She’s been elected in the International Board of Directors of SITE 2013-2015, and for the second turn 2016-2019.
Annamaria Ruffini was elected SITE President in 2018. She has been instrumental in launching the first ever co-hosted international event in Rome, the SITE + MPI Global Forum 2018 and for signing the Global MICE Collaborative of the 3 associations SITE, MPI and IAEE.
During her SITE Presidency Annamaria Ruffini launched at IMEX Frankfurt in May 2018, Women in Leadership, an initiative to powerfully change the lives of women in the global MICE industry by advocating for women in leadership, raising awareness on equality, furthering education, supporting entrepreneurship and being a catalyst for personal and professional growth and leadership development.
Annamaria Ruffini has been recognized among the 25 Most Influential People in the Incentive Industry in 2018.
She is Keynote Speaker in Meeting and Incentive Travel Industry Events and Conferences worldwide culminating in 2019 by addressing the Italian Senate on the topic of the Incentive Travel. The Senate is one of the two houses that make up the Italian Parliament. This was first time that a Business Events association was invited to address the assembly.


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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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Katarina Thorstensson

Ms. Katarina Thorstensson is an experienced sustainability strategist, advisor and moderator with a deep interest in sustainable growth in destinations and building bridges to achieve results. She has many years of experience in leading and developing the sustainability work within the tourism industry in Gothenburg, Sweden. As a result, Gothenburg has been named world leader by Global Destination Sustainability Index 2016 – 2018. She was also leading the city’s candidature for European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020.
Ms. Thorstensson has a bachelor’s degree and has been Head of Sustainability and Senior Advisor of several meetings and events, e.g. the Associations World Congress, FEI European Championships, Euroskills, European Athletics Indoor Championships to mention a few. She is president of the Swedish Network for Sustainable Tourism & Events and a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Gothenburg and at international symposiums.


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Marco van Itterzon

Marco van Itterzon, a qualified English teacher aged 55, joined ICCA in 1990. As Director Research he heads a team of 13 full-time researchers in Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur and Montevideo.
“The work gives me the opportunity to try to improve the exchange of information between ICCA members. The balancing act trying to maintain both quality and quantity in our database is a never-ending challenge.”


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Daniel Waigl
Executive Director

CIRSE

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Mina Zoulovits
Lawyer

Zoulovits Kontogeorgou Law Firm

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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.


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Mina Zoulovits

Mina Zoulovits is a Lawyer, LL.M., Partner at Zoulovits-Kontogeorgou Law Firm. She is an expert with vast consulting experience on legal issues related to Digital Transformation of private companies, as well as the public sector. She deals with complex strategic legal matters for a series of clients from diverse market fields such as cosmetics, tobacco, fashion industry, petroleum, transportation, electric equipment, Platforms, Applications, Physical Archiving etc.
She has acquired vast expertise in the area of data protection and privacy law, having being practicing for more than 18 years on issues ranging from compliance assessments, strategic decision making, implementation of procedures, drafting of key legal documents (Notifications to DPAs, privacy notices to data subjects, consent forms, data processing agreements, data transfer agreements, BCRs, standard contractual clauses, Privacy Policies, Employees Privacy Data Policies etc) to incident handling as well as representing clients in hearings before the local DPA.
At the same time, Mina has consulted the local government on e-government related issues that include complicated issues of security, privacy, digital signature and dematerialization of administration documents.
She was a member of the law-making committees for the implementation of Directives 2011/83/EU and 2013/11/EU and the amendment of law 2251/1994 (law 4512/2018) on consumer protection as well as the drafting of the Consumer Code for Distance Sales. She recently took part as a legal advisor for GRECA (Greek E-Commerce Association) in the law-making committee for the implementation of Regulation 2019/1150/EU (P2B Regulation) on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of platforms and search engines.
She has been actively teaching for more than a decade, both to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as various other educational programmes, in Greece and abroad (IST College under the auspices of the University of Hardfordshire, AIT under the auspices of Carnegie Mellon, Eltrun of Economic University of Athens, Excelixis etc).
She also participates in expert and multistakeholder committees such as the Multistakeholder Group of the European Commission to support the application of GDPR and she frequently acts as an evaluator and reviewer of Horizon 2020 and CEF Telecom projects.


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