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Speaker Biographies

Summer Eventia 2011

Ben Atherton, London 2012 Programme Manager, Cisco Systems UK

Ben Atherton is one of the London 2012 marketing managers for Cisco Systems UK, responsible for the strategy, design and execution of Cisco’s executive hosting programme during the Games.  Cisco is the official network infrastructure provider of The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

Previously, Ben was the European Cisco Expo & Event Strategy Manager and joined Cisco after 10 years working in global event marketing at Nortel and Avaya.  

For the last three years Ben has focused on events within the Olympic environment and led corporate programmes in both Beijing and Vancouver. 

Cllr Rodney Berman, Leader, Cardiff Council 

Rodney was born and brought up in Glasgow, where he gained both a BSc and PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Glasgow. 

He moved to Cardiff in 1994 to take up a research fellowship at the University of Wales College of Medicine. When the National Assembly for Wales was established in 1999, he became senior researcher to the Liberal Democrat group, latterly on a part-time basis. During his time there, the Liberal Democrats entered government in a partnership administration with Labour. 

First elected to Cardiff County Council in 1999 to represent the inner-city ward of Plasnewydd, he became Leader of the Opposition the following year. 

He was elected Leader of the Council in July 2004 when the Liberal Democrats became the largest party on the Council. 

Since 2004 he has also served as the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrat Group on the Welsh Local Government Association, and currently serves as the Association’s spokesperson on finance. In July 2005, he was elected for a two-year term as President of the Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities – an influential network of more than 40 cities in 5 EU states along the Atlantic seaboard. 

In December 2006, Rodney was awarded the title “Local Politician of the Year” at the ITV Wales/Wales Yearbook Political Awards, whilst the Cardiff Liberal Democrat Council Group as a whole was named “Liberal Democrat Council Group of the Year” in March 2007. 

Rodney has been an active member of his party since his teenage years and was also involved in student politics in Glasgow where he served for three years on the Student Representative Council. In his spare time now, he enjoys going to the cinema, photography, hill-walking and travelling. He is steadily ticking off most of Europe's capital cities. 

Politically, his main interests are the environment, community regeneration and striving for more responsive and listening government. 

Simon Burton, Commercial Director, 360 Creative Event Services 

Simon Burton is Commercial Director of 360 Creative Event Services. His career has included roles within event organisers, service suppliers and event PR. He has worked for some of the biggest names in the event industry, as well as launching and selling his own successful exhibition and PR businesses. He brings a  uniquely integrated perspective to bear on the challenges the live marketing industries face. 

Simon is passionate about effectively combining event marketing, business development and social media. His thoughts on how to get the best from live events are regularly described as "inspirational" and "energising".  Exhibition News once described him as “The passionate voice of the UK event industry. Ten minutes in his company and you’ll believe in the awesome power of live events.”

Simon places events into a wider marketing context. Creative events, event PR, and use of social media and technology are some of his key areas of interest  - always with a focus on practical, achievable results. In short; pragmatic event creativity. 

Whatever kind of events you run and whatever your organisation’s size Simon’s presentation will pump you full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm. As likely to draw on examples of his beloved Arsenal, the Simpsons, music, manga, popular culture or C18th French literature, Simon places face to face marketing in its context in the modern digital world. Plus he’s very funny. 

Staci Clark, Global Marketing Manager, Cisco Live 

As global marketing manager for Cisco Live, Staci oversees the planning and execution of attendee and partner marketing programs for Cisco’s largest in-person and virtual user conference events. Managing a diverse portfolio of marketing programs and tactics, Staci and her team combine market intelligence with campaign data to identify historical and emerging trends that influence the behaviors and motivations of her target audience. Through the use of engagement marketing – including community-based programs leveraging Cisco Live’s industry-leading virtual conference platform – Staci has driven double-digit increases in onsite attendance, virtual participation, and partner revenue for Cisco Live. 

Prior to joining Cisco, Staci was Vice President of Client Services for WingateWeb (now part of Active Events). Staci has also held marketing management positions in corporate communications and product marketing for various enterprise software providers, including J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Oracle. 

Tim Clark, Director, Velvet Software Ltd 

Tim is a Director of Velvet Software Ltd. Velvet have been producing software for the conference and events industry since 1998, most notably ConferenceBookings.co.uk; the on-line group accommodation booking system, Chaser BUREAU; the RFP enquiry handling system, and reg.istrations.com. 

Velvet's software is in use by hotels, accommodation booking agents, over forty UK destinations in addition to Eventia and  VisitScotland who use the Chaser HUB system to distribute enquiries to destinations, venues and suppliers. 

Tim has a passion for software with over ten years' experience working with conference industry clients. He will be presenting the exciting new features of the ConferenceBookings system that are being rolled out to hotels, agents and destinations, in addition to a review of the new Chaser system.

Gareth Crowder, Head of Procurement, Zibrant 

Gareth has been with Zibrant for over 9 years in varying roles across operational delivery and account management.  Over the last three years Gareth has managed the Procurement delivery for Zibrant, including shaping the strategy for the management of global suppliers.  The consultative and dynamic approach to working with suppliers focuses on gaining the best return on investment from any supplier interaction and ensuring streamlined and efficient business transactions.  

Peter Ducker, Executive Director, Hotel Booking Agents Association 

Peter has previously owned, run and sold a successful Hotel Booking Agency and held senior sales and marketing positions in hotel companies. He is Executive Director of the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA), chairs the Hotel Carbon Index Company. and advises hotels on matters relating to sales, marketing and distribution. 

He is a member of the Institute of Hospitality Executive Council.  

Chris Elmitt, Managing Director, Crystal Interactive 

A qualified teacher, Chris Elmitt has spent the last fifteen years deploying his classroom management skills in the commercial world, facilitating group discussions on topics ranging from business strategy, stem cell research and consultation on government policy. Chris is Managing Director of audience engagement specialists, Crystal Interactive. 


Richard Foulkes, Director of Special Events & Productions, Imagination 

Richard Foulkes is Director of Special Events & Productions at Imagination, one of the world's leading independent integrated communications agencies.  

With over 30 years' experience working with leading brands Imagination is renowned for unexpected ideas that liberate creativity. 

Joining Imagination from the Theatre in 1982, Richard was instrumental in establishing the company’s Technical and Production strategy for its event and exhibition activities. 

Moving on from that challenge, he became an influential member of Imagination’s client facing Brand Communications Group, where he was responsible for initiating and implementing face-to-face and marketing projects for a diversity of blue-chip clients including Warner Brothers, Ford, Coca-Cola, Orange and Guinness. 

In 1999, Richard was invited to join the Imagination Board of Directors as Director of Special Events & Productions. 

Since then Richard has worked on an international scale delivering bespoke events and large scale brand campaigns. 

Richard is a keen advocate for ‘experiential marketing’ and has been published in a wide range of International journals including Special Event, Event Magazine, RSVP and Marketing Magazine. 

Richard was President of the International Special Event Society (ISES) UK Chapter until July 2011. He remains actively involved in (ISES) as past-president of the chapter, and has recently been elected to the  US based International board of governors. 

Steve Girdler – Director of London 2012 Partnership, Adecco Group

Adecco, the largest recruitment company in the world, is a sponsor of and Official Recruitment Services Provider to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Steve has overall responsibility for Adecco’s involvement with London 2012 including the recruitment then outplacement of 2,000 permanent and 4,000 temporary staff; the people who will make the games happen in a little over a year. 

Steve’s early career was in sales and marketing roles within the professional services and recruitment sectors He joined Adecco in May 2009 from Kelly Services where he was Director of Marketing.  Before that he was Chief Operating Officer for KMPG’s  Real Estate Advisory business. 

Nick Grandvoinet, Vice President Sales, EMEA, InterContinental Hotels Group plc 

Nick Grandvoinet became Vice President Sales EMEA for InterContinental Hotels Group, in 2006. 

Nick has functional responsibility for sales, both on and above property, across EMEA, covering the three key sales segments of Business Travel, Leisure and Meetings & Events.  Additionally, Nick is responsible for IHG’s sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics.

Nick first role was as a graduate trainee with Marks and Spencer and he then built his sales career across the Accor Group, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, and Avis Europe plc.  

Holding increasingly senior sales leadership roles, at a national and then international level, Nick’s experience covers new business acquisition, account management, partnership marketing and developing sales strategy.  

Holding a BA (Hons) degree in History, Nick’s interests include, film, the theatre and running.  He is married with two daughters. 

Sharyn Hadfield - Global Head of Events, Linklaters. 

Sharyn has worked in the events industry for almost 20 years, starting her career in the marketing department at Christian Dior. 

Sharyn has worked on every conceivable type of event, from major exhibitions; incentive campaigns involving hiring mig jets, ferraris and even necker island; major commercial conferences for the likes of the Metropolitan Police; ski events for top bankers; to high profile A list parties for the likes of Elton John. 

Sharyn has spent the last ten years working both  'agency side' and in the corporate sector, primarily for the large investment banks, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Barclays Capital and Citi Bank, before joining Linklaters in June 2009 as Global Head of Events. 

David Hornby, Founder & Managing Director, WHY NOT 

David Hornby is the Founder & Managing Director of WHY NOT, a commercial consultancy network.  He lead the England 2018 World Cup bid in the areas of accommodation, hospitality, ticketing and fan festivals for the bid. He is also working for a number of brands and on other projects including; Red Bull and the next phase of development at The O2 with AEG Europe.  He is also a Director of Jamie Oliver’s events catering company Fabulous Feasts and a non-executive director of Smyle, a fully integrated events production company. 

David left Visit London in May 2009 after six exciting years with the company as Commercial Director.  He was responsible for the organisations Private Sector incomes across its sponsorship, membership and digital platforms along with the business tourism element of Visit London’s marketing and sales activity.  Business tourism income accounts for roughly 30% of the capital’s £15 billion visitor income and a quarter of all visits (currently approximately 26 million overnight visits a year). 

During his time at Visit London, he has led the redevelopment of the London Convention Bureau into a dynamic sales, marketing and venue enquiry service, which is now winning significantly more business for London.

David also led the establishment for the first time of a Major Events bidding team for London.  “Events for London” is the UK capital’s official major events team. Created in 2007, Events for London is a partnership between the Mayor of London, the London Development Agency and Visit London and is tasked with attracting, developing and staging major sporting and cultural events. Visit London’s team leads on strategic planning, bid development and leveraging events for the capital. Events for London; is one of the first legacies of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

David spent the previous 15 years of his career working in the hotel sector. Immediately before Visit London, he worked for Thistle Hotels for six years, most recently as Director of Meetings and Events, where he was responsible for overall strategic management and direction of the function. He has also worked for the Marriott, DeVere and Intercontinental groups. 

David was also involved with the London 2012 Olympics bid.  He led the Visit London support for the bid, and was part of the team that presented to IOC members during the evaluation committee visit to London and was also part of the winning team in Singapore. 

David is currently a Vice President of Site and has served on the international board for 4 years and a strategic advisor to the ISES UK board.  He was until recently the European Chair and Board Member of Destination Marketing Association Intl. and has been a Chapter board member of MPI and ICCA. 

Simon Hughes, Director Live Events, COI

Simon Hughes joined COI in 2002.  Since then he has been involved in a number of high profile events for a diverse range of Government Departments and Agencies.

He and his team have helped to deliver events such as the G20 London Summit, celebrations for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee weekend, the New Year’s Eve firework display in London and a host of seminars, conferences and roadshows around the U.K.  He has also been involved in designing and delivering numerous  public consultations such as GM Nation, the BBC Charter review process for DCMS, the National Pensions Debate for DWP and the recent Nuclear Sites Consultation for DECC. 

In his current role he still manages to utilise his production and delivery skills on a regular basis, running high profile events such as senior management conferences, stakeholder meetings and major public engagement sessions including the 9 historic regional Cabinet meetings held outside London for the last administration.  COI has recently seen a reduction in staffing of some 40% across the organisation and is facing a fundamental review of the role of direct government communications.

Before joining COI he spent over twenty years working in event production.  He is passionate about getting the end-to-end production process right for live events.  He believes that bringing people together to share ideas, learning and experience remains one of the most powerful communication tools available today.

Brian Kirsch BA FCII, Chartered Insurance Broker, Managing Director, Event Assured 

Brian has been a member of the ITMA/Eventia board since 2000, and now chairs the Regulation Committee. Brian has been an insurance broker since graduating in Industrial Economics from the University of Nottingham in 1973. He was a double prize winner when completing his Fellowship of the Chartered Insurance Institute in 1975. 

Brian was involved in politics from his teenage years through to 1997 when he stood for Parliament in Nottingham South. He has retired from active politics to concentrate on running his company, Event Assured, which specialises in providing insurance services to the events sector.

Anthony Miller, Global Strategic Director, Active Network Events 

Responsible for global strategy, Anthony works closely with Active Network Events’ clients to drive results through expanded reach, extended lifecycle and increased attendance at events. This is achieved by increasing engagement with event communities through live, social, mobile and virtual channels, using Active Network’s technology to create an ongoing dialogue between organisations and their target audiences. 

Anthony has spent much of his career to date working with marketing, sales and event teams to deliver strategic digital and live campaigns for clients such as Shell, Google, salesforce.com, HP, the Saudi Arabian Government and Deloitte. 

Anthony is an expert in digital event technology with a passion for driving business value through improving the effectiveness and efficiency of live communications. He is also a well-known speaker and thought leader within the global meetings and events sector, presenting regularly at industry conferences, tradeshows and webinars. 

Anthony has been described as someone who “not only understands the bigger picture, but also has the ability to communicate and engage with people at all levels”. He has also been referred to as a “strategic thinker who brings value to partnerships by considering every stakeholder’s perspective and working effectively to bring diverse agendas together”.

Paul Miller, Managing Director, SPECTRA

Paul Miller started his career at the Royal Household in Buckingham Palace after finishing his studies in hotel and catering management. After 4 years in Royal service and a period of work abroad, he started his career in the incentive travel industry in 1988 with a London-based Destination Management Company. 

He has been involved with prestigious incentives and meetings in the UK, including Young President’s Organisation, and the American Bar Association (9,000 people) with distinguished guests and politicians in attendance and has a broad knowledge and experience within the incentive industry. 

After becoming a Site Global member in 1999, he was elected to the GB Chapter board in 2003 and served as its President in 2005 and 2006.  He was voted Site Member of the Year in 2006 and was Chair of the International Conference in 2008 and currently serves on the International Board of Directors as Member at Large on the executive committee. 

Paul joined SPECTRA’s Board of Directors in 2005 - SPECTRA is a full-service Destination Management Company, with offices in London and Edinburgh – created in 1951. SPECTRA handles business events: incentives, association and corporate meetings, conventions and deluxe special interest group programmes. 

Emma Nielsen, Deputy Head of Events, Barclays UK

Emma is Deputy Head of Events for Barclays UK Retail Bank where she leads a team delivering events for colleagues and customers.  Emma’s events career began in Hong Kong with The Economist before entering financial services with Credit Suisse, as head of the Asia-Pacific events team. Next followed a move to Los Angeles where she produced experiential events for an automotive agency, before returning to the UK and joining Barclays in 2008. 

Douglas O'Neill, Managing Director, Inntel

In 2001, after 6 years as a high-flying solicitor, Douglas O’Neill made a dramatic career change to work for his family’s firm, Inntel, a leading UK provider of hotel accommodation, conference solutions, event management and business travel services. 

Having graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a degree in Business Law and a legal practice course, the first key moment in O’Neill’s career came when he moved to Jersey to train as a solicitor with law firm Theodore Goddard. In 1998, he returned to London and began to specialise in taxation law, which included dealing with several high profile clients and small profitable companies. 

The significant step in his career came in 2001 when O’Neill decided to leave his law practice to become Business Development Manager at Inntel, the company his father James O’Neill, now chairman, had started from his sitting room in 1984.  

Today O’Neill is Managing Director of Inntel, which employs over 100 staff at its headquarters in Feering , Essex.  Since he took over the business, annual turnover has grown 176% in the past 8 years and is now over £45 million. Inntel’s clients are some of the UK’s largest organisations including Lloyds Banking Group, HMV/Waterstones, Transport for London and FirstGroup. 

Inntel is a family owned business, although only Douglas works in the company. O’Neill is a typical family business leader who can see beyond the short term; “My goal is to provide customer service and make a profit, but there isn’t the great driver to make a profit that there would be if I was answerable to shareholders. I do think the drive for profit can sometimes over-reach the drive to provide customer service.” 

“I am proud to have developed and grown our family business. Having a legal background has greatly influenced my management style, I like to explore and question decisions and appreciate that everything has an impact. When managing a company it is essential to ensure all potential positive and negative impacts have been considered,” he adds. 

In his spare time O’Neill enjoys running marathons, 12 to date, to raise money for local charities, including St Helena Hospice in Colchester and children’s hospice, Little Havens in Southend. He is also a keen on and off road cyclist and recently completed a 214 mile coast-to-coast off-road cycle ride.

Eric Olson, General Manager, Active Network Events division

In this role he is responsible for driving the global strategy and P&L for the company’s business-to-business  events solutions, which serve corporations, associations and tradeshow and expo companies.  These  include event management and marketing technologies. During his tenure, he has grown the Mid-Market Events business by more than 200%.

Before joining Active, Eric was VP of Marketing & Media at DEI, a prominent training and seminar company that specialized in online courses, virtual events and live workshops. Over seven years he helped grow that company from less than $10 million annually to more than $140 million, primarily through expansion of its events portfolio. Before that, Eric worked as a journalist, covering technology and special features for Northern Colorado Business Report.

Eric speaks at events around the world on the use of technology in event marketing, conferences and meetings.  He is a graduate of Colorado State University. In his spare time Eric is a skier and a very slow triathlete.

Dale Parmenter, Group Managing Director – drpgroup

Dale has been in the presentation and communication industry for 34 years. He left school with one goal to run his own business, after just 3 years the opportunity arose and Dale took it, operating at first from a small outbuilding at his parents home. 

Today the drpgroup is recognised as one of the leading presentation and communication companies in the UK. The drpteam comprises of over 100 specialists across two locations in Worcestershire and London. The company offers a range of in-house communication solutions, from video, events, digital media and print. 

Dale is actively involved with key corporate clients such as Sainsbury’s and Thomas Cook, Lloyds Banking Group, he works at a senior level assisting in the development of communication strategies and creating presentation vehicles. Clients find his wealth of experience and knowledge invaluable in creating solutions that are bespoke to an organisation and are effective. 

The drpgroup has just celebrated its 30th Anniversary, 2010 the company collected 34 industry awards. The drpgroup also appeared in the 2011 Sunday Times best 100 companies to work for list, for the second year running, with Dale scoring a top ten score of 93% with the team.

Hamish Pringle, Director General, IPA 

Hamish Pringle is Director General of the IPA, the trade association for leading UK advertising, media and marketing communications agencies. 

Amongst other organisations he represents the IPA on the Advertising Association Council, the Advertising Standards Boards of Finance, and the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board. 

During his 26-year career Hamish worked at ten UK agencies for more than thirty companies on over fifty brands. 

He is the co-author or author of: ‘Brand Spirit’, ‘Brand Manners’, ‘Celebrity Sells’, and ‘Brand Immortality’.  ‘Spending Advertising Money in the Digital Age’, co-authored with Jim Marshall of Aegis, will be published in December 2011. 

Mark Riches, Managing Director, First Protocol 

As architect of the operational infrastructure at First Protocol, Mark has a regard for performance across the business delivering excellence to First Protocol’s Fortune 500 clients. Based from London and working across the New York and Los Angeles offices, he leads on FP’s global outsourced contracts, and delivers a seamless and integrated event marketing solution to all his clients wherever based.  Mark advises clients on how to bring forward fit for purpose live communication solutions, drawing upon his 25 years extensive events and communications experience. 

Mark's early background is in hotel and venue management, where by the age of 25 he had opened three hotels in Australasia. Following this he returned to London to open Spencer House and then launch a successful hospitality recruitment company. He is a naturally inclusive leader who communicates easily and builds long-term rapports and respect with his peers, clients and stakeholders alike. His strong CSR initiatives include being Chairman of Lambeth Council’s Enterprise Board, being a Trustee of Jubilee Garden’s on London’s Southbank, and is a Mentor for the London Development Agency's Mentoring and Master Classes programme. 

In his mid 40s, Mark lives in deepest South London with his wife Sue and a black Labrador called Bill. During his free time he chases his passion for food and wine. 

Didier Scaillet – MPI Chief Development Officer 

Didier joined MPI on a full-time basis in 2000 and currently serves as Chief Development Officer. Based in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg at the MPI EMEA office, Scaillet is responsible for the expansion of the MPI community and value propositions into new regions and countries as well as, on a global basis, MPI new products and services development, knowledge management and the MPI Foundation. Previously Vice-President of Global Development, he led the opening of new offices in Singapore and Doha, the launch of MPI first educational conference in the Middle East in April 2008 in Dubai and alliances to create MPI’s first chapters in Asia and Latin America. 

From 2000 to 2006, Didier Scaillet was Director of European Operations and Global Development. His duties included the membership administration of over 1,800 members; the leadership of the MPI Foundation Europe fundraising and project management activities; co-ordination of Chapters strategic board retreats and monitoring of operations. Key achievements while holding this position include a 20% average annual growth of European membership and a 25% annual growth in revenues. At the same time Didier Scaillet was in charge of the team leadership for the European conference and the European Chapter Leaders’ Forum and the establishment of strategic partnerships with supplier organisations.

In 1994 he started as Conference Coordinator at GIC Management S.A. (now part of the MCI Group), in Brussels, Belgium. He was then appointed Conference and Membership Manager before becoming Partner and promoted Associate Director.

Didier Scaillet holds a B.Sc. in Hotel & Hospitality Management and a Master Degree in Economics. He is fluent in French and English as well as having a good command of Dutch and German.

Deborah Sexton, President & CEO, Professional Convention Management Association 

Deborah Sexton joined the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) in March, 2005 as President and CEO. In conjunction with this role, she also serves as President of the PCMA Education Foundation. 

A 30-year veteran of the meetings and convention industry, Sexton previously served as President of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau (CCTB). She joined the CCTB in 1994 as Vice President of Sales and Services, and under her leadership, the Bureau's sales team broke all former sales production figures and the services department successfully expanded the benefits available to customers. In February of 2000, she was promoted to Executive Vice President, where she oversaw the Bureau's membership, sales, and services departments, and then became president in February 2002. 

Prior to joining the CCTB, Sexton was principal for Sexton Hospitality Services, a sales and marketing consulting firm for hotel management companies. From 1987-1989, she was Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Coastal Hotel Group. Throughout her career, she also has held sales and marketing positions with Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, the Hyatt Regency Chicago and the Midland Hotel Chicago. 

Sexton currently serves the Convention Industry Council (CIC) as Chair of the Board. She also is an active member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the International Association for Expositions and Events, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). She formerly served on the Foundation Board of Trustees of both ASAE and DMAI, and was an officer of the Board of Directors of MPI. In addition to the MPI Board term, Sexton served a second term on the MPI Board Executive Committee. Sexton is an ASAE Fellow. 

Sexton advances her commitment to industry education by serving on the Advisory Boards of both the University of Central Florida, Rosen College of Hospitality and the Kendall College, a Chicago institution dedicated to hospitality and the culinary arts. 

She has received much industry recognition, including being named one of Meeting News' 25 most powerful people in the meetings industry in 2008, 2007, 2005 and 2004. Also in 2008 she was named one of Tradeshow Week's 100 most influential people in the exhibition industry and she was inducted into the BizBash Chicago Hall of Fame. In 2010 she received the highly coveted Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) Outstanding Contribution International Award for best practice and overall commitment to the industry. 

In 2007, Sexton received the MPI Chicago Area Chapter's (MPI-CAC) highest honor, the Kathy Osterman Award, she was one of the 2006 New York Society of Association Executives Woman Meeting Industry Stars, and earned the MPI-CAC Presidents Award in 1990. Sexton was also recognized by the Chicago Hospitality Community Hotel Woman of the Year Award in 1988 and the Chicago Society of Association Executives (now Association Forum of Chicagoland) Distinguished Service Award in 1986. 

Stephen Vaughan, Managing Director, London 2012 

Following the announcement in October 2009 of Thomas Cook being an Official Supporter to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, Stephen moved into the newly created role of Managing Director, in February 2010  where he now leads Thomas Cook’s involvement.  He has overall responsibility for delivery of the Commercial and Brand proposition for Thomas Cook’s London 2012 business. 

Early in his career, Stephen worked as an overseas representative, and then further developed his travel expertise through UK based roles in Tour Operating, Retail and the Specialist Businesses. Notably, he was previously Managing Director of Club 18-30 and the Big events Group. He subsequently held the role of Head of Sales and Commercial for the Thomas Cook Dynamic Packaging brand ‘Flexibletrips’ and was heavily involved in the creation and rollout of the brand to the market place.  

In April 2009, Stephen was voted ‘Young Business Man of the Year’ by travel’s Hall of Fame committee. 

Stephen gained his Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Loughborough University in 2007.  He enjoys most sports including football, golf and squash. 

Sam Wilson, director, EcoEvents Ltd

Sam Wilson is director at EcoEvents - specialists in the application of pragmatic sustainability practices in the events industry. 

As well as getting people to understand the benefits of applied sustainability, she is the innovator behind BS8901 and ISO14001 combined certification  and is adept at taking clients successfully through to certification whilst making sure that benefits are bottom line driven.

Sam is passionate about sustainability and has a knack of being about to communicate and simplify what it means and how to implement it. Sam is an Eventia spokesperson for sustainability and assisted drpgroup to become the first communication and events agency in the world to achieve this combined accredited certification. Her growing number of clients include leading events agency RPM and a number of principle LOCOG contractors, who are required to evidence their sustainability performance throughout their work on the 2012 Games.

Sam has been in the events industry for over ten years – but previous to this she trained in social psychology and social biology, and also modeled internationally with Select Model Management in London and Milan.

Host Sponsor

  • Cardiff

Venue Sponsor

  • Mercure Hotels

Headline Sponsor

  • drpgroup

Platinum Sponsor

  • accor


  • IHG


  • Active Network


  • Hunt&Palmer
  • Celtic Manor
  • Spanish Tourist Board
  • Ellicis Hotels


  • Stage Electrics
  • Event Assured
  • Air Partner
  • Gallowglass
  • DeVere

Media Supporters

  • Stand Out
  • Event Magazine
  • M&IT
  • C&IT
  • Conference News