Speaker Bios

Aidan Augustin, Co-Founder & President, Feathr (USA)

Aidan AugustinAidan Augustin is the Co-Founder and President of Feathr, the Event Marketing Cloud. Aidan and the Feathr team are on a mission to help event organizers fully leverage their online reach, unlocking new opportunities for engagement and revenue. A lifelong geek, Aidan's latest fascination is the intersection of “live” with “digital” and how software is changing traditionally high-touch aspects of business. Prior to founding Feathr in late 2011, Aidan studied Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida.

David Boon, General Manager International Business Development, BRUSSELS EXPO (Belgium)

David BoonDavid Boon has joined the Brussels Expo Group in 1994 and is responsible for international business development. Prior to this function he was responsible for a portfolio of events at BFE - Brussels Fairs & Exhibitions, which was a subsidiary in the past from the Brussels Expo Group. Prior to that, David worked in various sales and operation roles within the Brussels expo Group. He has a degree in export management. David has been with the Brussels Expo Group for 21 years.

Mark Brewster, CEO, Explori (UK)

Mark BrewsterMark is CEO and founder of visitor satisfaction research specialists Explori. In this role he works closely with exhibition organisers who know that visitor and exhibitor experience is key to their success. With clients including ITE, Informa, Clarion Events, Reed Exhibitions and Messe Frankfurt, Mark and his team help organisers around the world understand and refine their visitor experience.

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Tony Calanca, Executive Vice President, UBM Advanstar (USA)

Tony CalancaTony Calanca joined Advanstar in 2006 and is responsible for the continued growth and direction for the company’s trade exhibitions in the Fashion, Licensing, Life Sciences, and Powersports and Automotive industries. The most comprehensive, largest and widely recognized apparel trade show in the world is the semi-annual MAGIC Marketplace. At 1.2 million net square feet, MAGIC Marketplace encompasses over 4,000 exhibitors showcasing 5,000 brand names to over 90,000 attendees from 80 countries. Dealer Expo is the largest U.S. trade show in the powersports aftermarket sector, and the International Motorcycle Show Tour reaches a consumer audience of nearly 500,000 enthusiasts each year. Taking place each June, Licensing International is the world’s only U.S.-based event that brings together more than 525 leading licensors and agents with more than 23,000 key decision-makers across all consumer product categories. The Life Sciences Group’s market encompasses the healthcare, dental and veterinary fields, and the group serves these markets through three trade shows and over 120 conferences. Tony has over 30 years experience with large-scale domestic and international trade and consumer exhibitions and conferences. Prior to joining Advanstar, he was Senior Vice President at Reed Exhibitions running a $90 million division. Tony also co-founded a small entrepreneurial trade show firm, Infinity Expo Group, which, combined with his Reed and Advanstar tenures, has given him proven experience with large profile events as well as new launch initiatives. Tony is an active member of the exhibition community as a member of SISO and IAEE, and is a frequent speaker at industry events. An Illinois native, Tony now makes his home in Connecticut (New Canaan) with his wife of 30 years, Pat Dolson (who is the retired President of Reed North America), and their two sons. Tony graduated with a degree in Business from Bradley University in Peoria, IL, where he was a member of the Bradley Braves basketball team. Tony’s other interests include community service (past President of the New Canaan Sports Council, elected member of the Town’s Board of Assessment Appeals), the avid reading of military histories, and enthusiastic support for the Mets, Jets, and Bears.

Etienne Chia, VP, Digital & Strategy, Asia Pacific, Freeman XP (UK)

Etienne ChiaEtienne combines campaign thinking, creative storytelling and cutting-edge technology to help clients achieve their communication and marketing objectives by strategically crafting brand experience platforms that engage audiences in meaningful and measurable ways.
An accomplished communications expert with a multi-disciplinary background in events, PR, advertising and digital, Etienne has a consistent track record of success of leveraging the power of digital to enhance storytelling and live engagements in Asia-Pacific.
Etienne is always strong strategic partner to his clients, helping them to realise the full potential that technology offers by applying ‘design thinking’ to solve complex and high-level business problems.
With a strong sense of purpose, Etienne inspires, guides and empowers our teams to deliver the most effective solutions for clients with the best knowledge, tools and partners.
“I enjoy combining all the different insights gained from my multi-disciplinary experience, to offer a truly integrated view on marketing and communications to help clients address business challenges.”

Tim Cobbold, Chief Executive, UBM plc (UK)

Tim CobboldTim was appointed Chief Executive of UBM in May 2014. UBM is one of the world's leading business-to-business (B2B) events organisers. Previously Tim was the Chief Executive of De La Rue plc, and prior to that was the Chief Executive of Chloride Group plc. Following Emerson Electric’s takeover of Chloride he held a senior position in Emerson, responsible for the Chloride Group of companies. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College, qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse in 1987, and then joined Smiths Group plc (formerly TI Group plc) in 1989 where he held a number of senior financial and operational management positions over an 18 year period.

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Mark Cochrane, Regional Manager, UFI Hong Kong Office

mark cochraneMark Cochrane is the UFI Regional Manager, Asia Pacific. He is also the Managing Director of Business Strategies Group (BSG), a business intelligence and strategy consulting firm focused on the B2B media industry in Asia - with a particular emphasis on exhibitions and events in Asia. Through its consulting practice and its relationship with UFI, BSG works with major exhibition organisers, venues and governments across Asia.

Mark has been based in Hong Kong for 18 years and joined BSG in 2006. Prior to BSG, Mark worked in a variety of roles primarily focused on B2B media and market research including three years at Global Sources in marketing roles and three years at The Gartner Group as a senior research analyst.

Mark earned an MBA from Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management, in 1997. Mark is on the board of the Business Information Industry Association and presents regularly on the exhibition industry at various conferences and events in Asia.

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Christian Druart, Research Manager, UFI (France)

Christian DruartChristian Druart is UFI Research Manager. He also holds the positions of Secretary of the UFI Associations’ Committee and of the UFI Sustainable Development Committee.

Christian Druart holds an Engineering degree from the Ecole Centrale de Nantes and a Master’s degree in Organization from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (France).

Prior to joining UFI in 2007, he worked for the French Embassy in London, Price Waterhouse Management Consultants in London and Paris and the Paris Chamber of Commerce, where he was Deputy Director of the Congress & Exhibition department.

Nick Dugdale-Moore, Business Development Manager, UFI (France)

Nick Dugdale-MooreNick has been working at UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry since 2010. He is responsible for sponsorship and commercial partnerships for all of UFI's global portfolio of events and activities. A fluent speaker of Spanish and Portuguese he also looks after UFI's Latin American Chapter which is actively engaged throughout the region, notably in Mexico and Brazil.

Nick first worked in the exhibition industry when he joined Reed Exhibitions in 2006. Working in the UK division of the International Sales Group (ISG), Nick's team delivered UK exhibitors and national pavilions to Reed's international shows. Often this involved utilising UKTI's TAP programme and working alongside the various industry trade associations (ATO's). Nick also worked on a company-wide sales-effective training programme and management software initiative.

Nick has been the head of the UK Footvolley Association since 2004.

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Jimé Essink, President & CEO, UBM Asia Ltd. (Hong Kong)

jime essinkJimé Essink joined UBM Asia as Chief Executive Officer in November 2007 and was appointed President & Chief Executive Officer in March 2009. He has more than 25 years’ experience of leading and growing B2B media businesses in emerging and developed markets throughout Asia and Europe. Jimé was previously with VNU Exhibitions as CEO of VNU Exhibitions Europe and President of VNU Exhibitions Asia.

Before joining VNU, he spent seven years as Managing Director of Miller Freeman Netherlands (now UBM EMEA), UBM Asia’s sister company in Europe. This office was responsible for the very successful international food ingredients and pharmaceutical ingredients shows in Europe, Asia, South and North America and other international shows in Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the Netherlands. Jimé studied private and commercial law in Utrecht, the Netherlands.


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Mariane Ewbank, Chair of IELA (International Exhibition Logistics Association), (Switzerland)

Mariane EwbankMariane Ewbank; IELA’s Chairwoman, is the director of Fulstandig Shows e Eventos, a full-service transportation and logistics contractor in Brazil. She was employed in the events marketplace for a number of years as an exhibitor, after which she moved over to the organizer side of the industry and managed shows and conferences for another 10 years. Her experiences in the exhibitors’ and organizers’ fields have been tremendous assets in developing and managing Fulstandig where her main focus now is concentrating on the needs and successes of her exhibition clients. Mariane has been elected as Chairwoman of IELA in 2016 and Chair of the Standards and Customs working group of IELA since 2012.


Mykyta Fastovets, CTO, ExpoPlatform (UK)

Mykyta FastovetsMykyta is co-founder and CTO at ExpoPlatform and is responsible for the product vision, product development and user experience. Mykyta holds an MSc in Computer Science from Universite de Limoges, France, and is a PhD candidate in Computer Vision at the University of Surrey, UK. Before joining ExpoPlatform, he was a Technical IP Analyst at Powell Gilbert LLP and has contributed technical expertise to high profile cases such as HTC vs Apple [2012] EWHC 1789. Mykyta has also been involved in multiple R&D projects with the BBC, Adobe Labs, and The Foundry, focused on developing innovative computer vision and machine learning algorithms.


Jennifer Feeney, Account Director, Freeman XP (USA)

jennifer feeneyJennifer Feeney has built more than a decade of expertise in experiential marketing and event production, working with clients across a variety of industries ranging from telecommunications, technology, government and non-profits.

Jennifer started her career as an event manager for San Francisco State University. She spent seven years at Jack Morton Worldwide working in various roles across production, sponsorship fulfillment and account management. Jennifer prides herself on her strong communication skills, collaborative nature and passionate dedication to all projects. She is naturally suited to experiential marketing work with a deep interest in human experience. In her current role at FreemanXP as Account Director, she is committed to ensuring client’s delight and inspiring culture dedicated to high quality work.As a graduate of Kenyon College in Ohio, Jennifer is a Midwesterner at heart but loves the city of San Francisco and her home in the Bay Area. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking in Marin County and cooking.

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Marco Giberti, Founder and CEO, Vesuvio Ventures (USA)

marco gibertiMarco is a successful entrepreneur and investor with more than 25 years of intensive experience in media, technology and the events industry. He is Founder and CEO of Vesuvio Ventures, providing early stage entrepreneurs access to coaching, partnerships, advisory and capital. After several years in a successful career as a corporate executive at Apple, Marco pursued his entrepreneurial ambitions and became:

- Co-Founder and Board Member of Mind Opener, a leading publishing group in Latin America that was later sold to British Pearson Media Group;

- Co-Founder and Board Member of e-mind, an internet and media communications company that was sold to Liberty Media;

- President, CEO and Co-Founder of Mind Trainer, a firm specialized in the organisation of major regional trade-shows and events that was sold to Reed Elsevier after a successful long-term joint venture.

Under Marco’s leadership, Reed Exhibitions Latin America became the leading company in the region with annual revenues over $150M, double digit annual growth, industry record profits, 400+ employees in four different countries in the Americas. Over the course of his business career, Marco has been awarded a number of distinctions in his field; among others, Entrepreneur of the year Award and named one of the top 100 most influential people on the global convention and exhibition business by Trade Show Week magazine.

Marco is a recognized leader in the media, technology and event industries, has sat on various industry and company Boards, and led his companies to numerous industry awards and recognitions. He has lived and worked in the United States and Latin America, and done business in Europe and Asia. He is known for his entrepreneurial, business development and innovation skills in building effective cross-cultural teams and companies achieving significant growth and profitability. Through Vesuvio Ventures, Marco is investing in early stage companies, and complements many of these investments with his advisory services. In this area, he focuses particularly in facilitating Southern Florida and Latin America startup “eco-systems” as well as digital media, edtech, adtech and eventtech related ventures. Marco is a Harvard Business School OPM Graduate, and member of YPO, the Young Presidents Organization and a frequent speaker at industry conferences.

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Ayesha Khanna, Smart Cities and Education Strategy Expert

ayesha khannaAyesha Khanna is an innovation expert advising governments and companies on emerging technologies, industry, smart cities, and future skills. She is Director of Technology Quotient, an advisory firm specialising in building innovation ecosystems for new industries using robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and fintech.

Khanna was Co-Founder of Keys Global, a pioneering education centre whose unique model of "externships" with leading companies provides students the opportunity to apply their skills to critical 21st century industries. In 2014, she served on the Singapore Ministry of Education’s ASPIRE Steering Committee that developed a blueprint for transforming the national higher education system towards innovative industries. She is also the Founder of 21C GIRLS, a nonprofit that provides free coding classes for girls in Singapore. Previously she co-founded the Hybrid Reality Institute, a research and advisory group established to analyse emerging technologies and their social, economic and political implications. She directed the Future Cities Group at the London School of Economics and has been a Faculty Advisor at Singularity University. She has been published and quoted on technology, innovation and smart cities in The New York Times, BusinessWeek, TIME, Newsweek, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Strategy+Business, and Foreign Policy. Khanna also gives executive workshops in fintech trends, and the impact of technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchains. She is the author of Straight Through Processing and co-author of Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization.

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Michael Kruppe, General Manager, SNIEC (China)

Michael Kruppe1986-2002
Manager at Helm Group in Germany, China and Hong Kong
Worldwide Sales/Marketing and Procurement of ingredients and raw material for chemicals, food, pharmaceuticals and steel industry Organizer of exhibitor events worldwide on relevant exhibitions, conferences and forums 2002-2013
General Manager for German and lrish company in China.
Responsible for setting up sales and marketing strategies in China and Asia , mainly for MNC targeting local and international players in the region.
Setting up 2 new large factories and operations in Shanghai.
Continuing to plan and execute shows as an exhibitor. 2014-now
General Manager - SNIEC
Shanghai New lnternational Expo Centre
China's, most successful exhibition centre with annually almost 5mio. visitors, 122,000 exhibitors and an average occupation rate of 70 pct in 2014, covering a total area of 300.000 m2

Adeline Larroque Desages, Exhibition Expert based in the Middle East (Qatar)

Adeline Larroque DesagesAdeline Larroque’s profile is based on several years of International Experience in China, India, USA, Great Britain, Scotland, France and now Qatar. She is currently based in the Middle East. She is strongly experienced in MICE, business events and exhibitions, project management, communication, marketing and institutional relations. She is currently preparing her Doctorate on the calculation variances of Business events’ economic impact across the world. She speaks 5 languages at different levels, is very adaptable and enjoys discovering new cultures and places.

Mother of 2 daughters, she is passionate about life and people. In her spare time, as a certified trainer, she enjoys sharing her passion with little girls and teenagers for Zumba and Rhythmic Gymnastics, discipline in which she obtained a French Gold Medal in 2001.

Paul Lee, Regional Managing Director, COMEXPOSIUM China

Paul LeePaul joined Comexposium in January 2016. Prior to that, Paul was the Senior Vice President (Commercial/Marketing) for Reed Exhibitions Asia Pacific responsible for the region’s business development, mergers and acquisitions and strategic partnerships.

During his 13 years at Reed, Paul has overseen the company organic and inorganic growth in the region. Paul had spent over three years in Beijing as the Deputy MD/CFO for Reed Sinopharm Exhibitions. Paul has previously worked for Singapore Airlines and the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His focus at Comexposium is to accelerate business growth through collaborating with like-minded strategic business partners across Asia to engender mutually beneficial outcomes.

Richard Lowther, Global Human Resources Director, Reed Exhibitions (UK)

Richard LowtherRichard joined Reed Exhibitions in April 2014 as Global Human Resources Director. Prior to this, Richard worked for TomTom NV where he led Human Resources across 35 countries. Richard has a strong track-record of implementing innovative employee related programmes in a number of global businesses including Nokia, Dell Computers and the Oracle Corporation. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, an accredited executive coach and holds an executive MBA from ENPC Business School, Paris.

Vineet Mahajan, General Manager, Reed Exhibitions (India)

Vineet MahajanVineet is the General Manager of Reed Exhibitions in India and is a key pillar of senior management team in India. In his current role he focuses on conducting Joint Ventures/Acquisitions and deriving customer insights into Reed's portfolio of Exhibitions. As part of Reed he was also Managing Director of one of the Joint Ventures in India.

Vineet comes from a management consulting background and has worked with KPMG and PwC in their strategy consulting practice. For close to a decade he has advised cross sectional mix of multi nationals and global private equity funds on their growth strategies, investment strategies and portfolio realignments. Some of his landmark advisory work includes – Successful entry of Kajima Corporation into India, JV between Kentetsu World Express and Gati Limited, Investment of General Atlantic in Fourcee Infrastructure

Vineet earned an MBA from Banaras Hindu University, in 2005 and was awarded gold medal by 11th President of India, Late Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam.

Vineet’s interest areas include running, reading and riding motorcycle.

Chris McCuin, Group Business Development Director, Angus Montgomery (UK)

Chris McCuinChristopher joined Fresh Montgomery at the beginning of 2010 to take over the Directorship of their flagship international Food & Drink event (IFE) and to run the fast growing Processing & Packaging show, Pro2Pac. Christopher comes from a solid international exhibitions background having managed smaller launch events and some of the largest, most established exhibitions throughout Asia and China since 2003. Through comprehensive international business travel he has developed an extensive and active global network of industry and Governmental relationships.

His extended responsibilities of New Business Development for the Montgomery Group covers all industries and continent. Christopher has been instrumental in the Independent Hotel joint venture with Single Market Events and the launch of ‘Food & Hospitality Africa’ in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is involved in all group acquisitions with the ‘W’ show in England and Aidex in Brussels and Kenya from Centaur media plc being the most recent.

His most recent project has been the launch of Montgomery Asia based in Singapore where the first show ‘Speciality & Fine Food Asia’ takes place in July 2017.

Christopher spends much of his time forging new contacts around the world and seeking out business development opportunities wherever they arise to ensure the long term development and growth of the business. He is always interested in new ideas and opportunities for the group wherever they may come from.

Charlie McCurdy, CEO, Global Exhibitions, Informa plc (UK)

Charlie McCurdyCharlie McCurdy is Chief Executive of Informa’s Global Exhibitions division. He has over 25 years’ experience in events and business-to-business media and has held a number of senior executive roles during his career, leading the process of transforming, expanding and creating value at a range of companies. Charlie joined Informa in September 2015. He was previously CEO at George Little Management, one of the leading trade show organisers in the United States, having partnered with Providence Equity Partners to acquire the company in 2011. Prior to this he worked with Spectrum Equity Investors to acquire Canon Communications, a business-to-business events, publishing and online company, and was Canon’s CEO for five years. Earlier in his career Charlie co-founded Primedia, Inc, where he oversaw the acquisition, development and growth of niche media companies serving consumers and businesses. Charlie is currently Chairman of the Society of Independent Show Organizers and a Non-Executive Director at InGo. He holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Pietro Modiano, President, SEA S.p.A. (Italy)

Pietro ModianoPietro Modiano (age 64) joined SEA S.p.A. (the company managing Milan Linate and Malpensa airports) in June 2013, as Chairman; the Assembly of 4 May 2016 renewed his nomination.

He became President of Carlo Tassara in 2008, of Carlo Tassara International in 2009 and of Carlo Tassara France in 2015. He has been Director General of San Paolo IMI from November 2004, and subsequently, from 2007, Director General of Intesa San Paolo. He was also Deputy CEO of Unicredit Group until 2004. His career started in 1977 in the Department of Planning and Economic Research at Credito Italiano. Mr. Modiano holds a degree in Economics at Milan Bocconi University (Magna cum Laude).

José NavarroJosé Navarro Meneses has been the Managing Director of EJ Krause de Mexico since 2007. He is also the Director of Institutional Relations of AMPROFEC, the Mexican association of the exhibition industry and the Vice-Chair of the Latin American Chapter of UFI, the global association of the exhibitions industry. Before joining EJ Krause in 2000, he previously worked for Reed Exhibitions Remex, Exposimex and several service providers in Mexico.

Farokh Shahabi Nezhad, Co-Founder, Eventbox (Iran)

Farokh Shahabi NezhadFarokh Shahabi Nezhad, recipient of the UFI 2016 NGLGrant, is a Product Manager with several years of experience in online businesses & products.

"Think outside the box" is Farokh's approach in both work and life. He loves amazing ideas & teamwork.

He started his professional work at age of 17 as a web developer and co-founded his first online business. Farokh is very passionate about building great ideas and products. He founded, invested, consulted and developed more than 10 startups in 5 countries to this date and worked with various accelerators, incubators and organizations internationally.

Farokh is very interested in working on & organizing wonderful events. He understands the challenges of organizing professional events & providing best solution to these challenges.

He co-founded Eventbox, an All-In-One Event Management Platform, based in Tehran, Iran. “Eventbox vision” is a solution to take away pain of all the digital challenges of an event for the organizers while providing the best experience for the attendees. He's a big TED fan and he's core team member of TEDxTehran & TEDxYouth@Tehran teams.

Farokh is a professional writer and published multiple papers and articles and in 2013 his first book. Whenever he finds some spare time, Farokh is working on another publication, a novel.

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Joey Pather, General Manager, Guangdong Tanzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre (GICEC) (China)

Joey PatherJoey Pather, former Chief Operating Officer at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town has been appointed as General Manager for the Guangdong Tanzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre (GICEC). Joey's extensive experience in hospitality, conferences and exhibitions has positioned himself as a valued and respected leader in the industry. His role at the GICEC will involve establishing a management framework based on best practices that will work towards meeting and exceeding the Centre's financial and operational objectives. He will be responsible for handling relations with all stakeholders as well as maintaining relationships with local and international clients and event organizers. Joey's passion and strategic insight into the industry will enable him to position the GICEC as a world class exhibition facility thus highlighting Foshan as a destination for both business and leisure. Joey will also be managing an upcoming expansion where the Centre plans to expand it's facility by another 50 000 square meters.

Matthias Pollmann, Project Manager interzum, Koelnmesse GmbH (Germany)

Michael PollmannMatthias Pollmann was born in 1983 in Cologne, Germany.

After his studies of Business Administration, he started working in the exhibition industry with an 18-month trainee programme at Koelnmesse GmbH in 2006. During that time, he gained experiences in various fields such as communication, development, marketing, and exhibition services. In 2008, he became Sales Manager for interzum, the world’s leading show for the furniture supplier industry. From 2012 onwards he is responsible for the show as Project Manager. Matthias Pollmann was a participant of International Summer University of Trade Fair Management in 2013 and gained international experiences while working for various international projects of Koelnmesse. He is part of different working groups at the company which focus on the customer journey at trade shows and the impact of digitalisation on the exhibition industry. In his spare time, Matthias Pollmann plays the piano and enjoys running and sailing.

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Jason Popp, Executive Vice President, International GES (USA)

Jason PoppJason Popp, as EVP International, leads GES’ business outside of North America which includes its offices in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, and UAE. The over 750 GES staff based outside of the US focus on executing client projects in exhibitions, congresses, events and exhibits. GES provides all event core contracting services including AV and technical production services through its subsidiary Blitz|GES and data, lead capture and registration services through its subsidiary N200|GES. He is a frequent speaker on topics related to the exhibition industry and global business and has presented to audiences in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, South America, and North America.
With 25 years of international business experience, Jason brings hands-on knowledge of the global marketplace to his role at GES. Jason began his career at Royal Dutch / Shell where he was responsible for Shell’s market entries into the Hungarian and Spanish energy markets. He also spent almost four years in strategy consulting, advising senior management of both blue chip companies and private equity.
Jason earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and a BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He serves on the UFI operations committee and the IAEE international committee.

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Helmut Schwägermann, Veranstaltungsmanagement & Business Events/International Event Management Shanghai (IEMS) / Hochschule Osnabrück, University of Applied Sciences (Germany)

Helmut SchwägermannHelmut Schwägermann is Director of the International Event Research Institute Shanghai/Osnabrück and Professor for Business Management and Event Management at the University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück, Germany. He was heading the study programme Event Management & Business Events in Osnabrück between 2000 and 2014, is founder of the Bachelor Programme International Event Management Shanghai (IEMS) and has been its Programme Director between 2003 and 2015.

Schwägermann is involved in the event industry since more than 35 years. Between 1978 and 1995 he held several management positions at Messe Berlin and was Director of the International Congress Centre ICC Berlin in the 1990-ies. Between 1996 and 2006 he was managing director of ConEcon Management & Marketing GmbH, Berlin, a strategic consultancy company for the international event industry.

Schwägermann has been actively involved in several associations of the event industry, has published numerous articles and is also co-publisher of the Handbook Event Market China (2016).

Benedict Soh, Chairman, Kingsmen Creatives Ltd. (Singapore)

Benedict SohBenedict Soh is an industry veteran with over 40 years of experience in trade shows, events and marketing communications. He is one of two founders of Kingsmen, a leading communication design & production group, with 19 offices across Asia Pacific. Benedict has led an experienced team of professionals behind major trade shows and world-class events in the region. His role today is charting the Group’s strategic direction and exploring new business opportunities.

In 2014, US-based Exhibit Designers & Producers Association (EDPA) conferred the prestigious Hazel Hays Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the trade show industry, in addition to the Lifetime Achievement for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism accorded by the Singapore Tourism Board in 2012. Benedict holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Hull in the UK.

Debra de Sousa , Operations Director, Sandton Convention Centre (South Africa)

Debra de SousaDebra de Sousa is Operations Director at Sandton Convention Centre and was recently selected as one of Meetings’ Top 40 Women in MICE. Debra started her career in the industry in 1989, and has been part of various Hospitality groups such as Sun International, Guvon Group of Hotels, HTA Training, Southern Sun and now Tsogo Sun. She joined Tsogo Sun in 1998 as a Senior Event Coordinator for Sandton Sun and joined Sandton Convention Centre in 2000 as part of the opening team. The Sandton Convention Centre is part of Tsogo Sun which is a South African hotel, gaming and entertainment group. As of June 2014, the group owns 92 hotels in Africa, Seychelles and the Middle East, 14 gaming and entertainment destinations and over 250 conferencing and banqueting facilities.

Debra’s strong leadership skills enabled her to lead the SCC team and take on the role of logistics expert in the successful AU summit, the FOCAC summit, and the Arnold Classic sports festival. Debra was also the key logistics expert for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Miss World and the 2010 World cup. Her expertise in the Events and Exhibition Industry make her a sought after consultant to Industry in South Africa and Internationally

Her strengths include leadership of multicultural teams, strong professional network, Logistics and project management and being able to think on her feet and make instant decisions. She shows great passion for what she does, pays attention to detail, has a wealth of knowledge about the SCC and the hospitality industry, and always shows strong integrity.

Marco Spinger, Director of Global Markets & IT Division, AUMA (Germany)

Marco SpingerMarco Spinger was born in Munich in 1967. He studied law in Kiel and since 1998 he is a certified lawyer. During his post-graduate public service he spent periods in Hanover, Hamburg and Cologne (e. g. in Hamburg at a public broadcasting corporation). Since 1997 he has worked for AUMA Association of the German Trade Fair Industry. He started as Assistant to CEO followed by the post of Manager Legal Affairs. In 2004 he took the position Director of Global Markets Division. The Division Global Markets is in charge of the coordination of the interests of the German industry regarding the Foreign Trade Fair Participation Programme of Germany. This is done in close cooperation with the German industries’ associations and the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Furthermore, the Division Global Markets is marketing German trade fair activities abroad and monitoring the global fair markets. Marco Spinger was member of the juries which determined the idea and design of the German Pavilions at the World Expositions in Japan (2005), Spain (2008), China (2010), the Republic of Korea (2012), Italy (2015), and Kazakhstan (2017). In his position Director Global Markets he is also representing AUMA in the meeting of the 16 German federal states and the federal government, which is called twice a year in order to coordinate and optimize German trade fair participation in foreign countries. In 2016 the IT Department joined the Global Markets Division under the responsibility of Marco Spinger.

Klaus Peter Suhling, Consultant, SUHLING & Cie (Germany)

Klaus Peter SuhlingKlaus-Peter Suhling is an entrepreneur and consultant. His company SUHLING & Cie plans, creates and implements catering projects for trade fairs, events and locations. He has over 25 years of experience and industry knowledge and worked as managing director in German trade fair locations such as Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.

His focus today lies on innovation management, the implementation of new food and catering trends, integration of economical and ecological catering concepts as well as the increase in profitability of processes, customer frequency and turnover per head.

Bart van Bijnen, Global Development Director, N200|GES (USA)

Bart van BijnenBart van Bijnen, Global Development Director, is responsible for expanding N200 | GES into new markets outside Europe. Over the last 10 years Bart grew and transformed N200 from a national company to a global leading SaaS event registration, ticketing and data intelligence company. Today, exhibition organisers across 42 countries utilise N200's software and services to collect, understand and monetize their data.

Bart began his career in the telecommunications industry and from there became an entrepreneur, successfully building and selling three businesses.

Joost van de Kamp, Director of Human Resources – Jaarbeurs, (the Netherlands)

Joost van de KampJoost van de Kamp is Director Human Resources at Jaarbeurs (Netherlands). In this role he also advices the two other companies within the Jaarbeurs group, VNU Exhibitions Asia (Shanghai) and VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacific (Bangkok) on HR related topics.

Joost has a background in HR within different types of companies. He used to work in the hospitality industry (Marriott hotels) as well in the healthcare and retail industry. His specialty lies in the ability to make HR business partner in a changing environment. Making organizations agile to become stronger and even more competitive.

Joost has studied Hotelmanagement, Strategical HR and Change management.

Anbu Varathan, CEO - BIEC Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, (India)

Anbu VarathanV. Anbu is the Chief Executive Officer of Bangalore International Exhibition Centre and Director General and CEO of Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association.

Prior to joining IMTMA, he was with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) heading various key areas of technology / IPR activities.

He is a member of various Industry Committees connected to Capital Goods in India and a Board member of UFI since 2011.

V. Anbu is a Metallurgical Engineer from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and has work experience of 26 years in Industry Associations and Exhibitions and Venue Sectors.

Cliff Wallace, Chairman, Shenyang New World Expo (Management) Ltd; UFI Honorary President (China)

Cliff WallaceCliff is Managing Director of NWS Venue Management Ltd. in Hong Kong, a private company offering consultation related to the design, management and operation of convention and exhibition centres. He also serves as the Chairman of Shenyang New World Expo Management Ltd. and the Vice Chairman of Hong Kong – Shanghai Venue Management (Zhengzhou) Ltd., companies responsible for the management and operation of the Shenyang New World Expo (opening this September in Liaoning Province, PRC) and Zhengzhou International Exhibition & Convention Centre (Henan Province, PRC) respectively. He was Managing Director of Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Ltd. (HML) from May 1995 through June 2012 and remains an active member of the HML board.

Mr. Wallace is an established and proven veteran with over 50 years in the public assembly venue industry. He has been a Certified Facility Executive (CFE) since 1978 and is known internationally for his industry management, administrative, operations, public-relations, planning and consulting expertise. He has consulted on the development, design and operational aspects of numerous facilities in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia.

Mr. Wallace is an Honorary President of UFI having served as UFI’s president in 2008 and on its board between 2002 and 2010. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Convention Center Conference (ICCC) in 2009 and inducted into the Convention Industry Council’s (CIC) Hall of Leaders in 2011 acknowledging him as one of the industry’s outstanding leaders and innovators and one whose contributions have spanned many facets of the industry. He is a past Chairman of the World Council for Venue Management (WCVM) and the Asia Pacific Exhibition and Convention Council (APECC). He was president of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) in 1984-85 and served on its board for 8 years. He is the recipient of the IAVM’s most distinguished Charles A. McElravy Award in 1989 for extraordinary contributions to the IAVM and to the profession of public assembly facility management. He is a member and past Council member of the Venue Management Association (VMA) and has served as a regular instructor at VMA’s Public Venue Management School held annually in Australia.

Xiao Wang, Chief Operating Officer, Shanghai Qingpu Industrial Zone Development (Group) Co., Ltd.

Xiao WangXiao Wang, born in China. Graduated from University of Montreal, Canada with Ph.D degree in speciality of Mechanical Engineering in October of 1994. STA fellow researcher in Japan Atomic Energy Institute from January 1995 to April 1996. Co-founder and Executive Director of Global Enterprise Corporation, Japan from May of 1996 to February of 2005. Vice president of Shanghai Qingpu Industrial Zone Development (Group) Co., Ltd from March of 2005 to October 2014. Chief operating officer of Shanghai Qingpu Industrial Zone Development (Group) Co., Ltd from November of 2014 till now..

Jochen Witt, President & CEO, jwc GmbH (Germany)

jochen wittJochen Witt is President and CEO of jwc GmbH, a management consulting firm. jwc provides consulting services in the areas of strategy and business development, pricing of trade fair services, mergers and acquisitions, planning and construction of venues, as well as business intelligence.

jwc’s clients are publishing companies and trade fair and congress organisers, venue owners, private equity companies, service providers and governments in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America.

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Zhang Yazhu, Vice Presiden, Genertec International Advertising & Exhibition Co., Ltd. & Vice Chairman

Zhang YazhuIn 1989, Mrs Zhang Yazhu graduated from the University of International Business & Economics with the Master’s degree and became a teacher of English there until 1994 when she joined China National Machinery Import & Export Corporation(CMC). In 1996, Mrs. Zhang Yazhu was transferred to CMC International Advertising & Exhibition Co., Ltd. of China National Machinery Import & Export Corporation,which merged into Genertec International Advertising & Exhibition Co., Ltd in 1998. Since 2000, Mrs. Zhang Yazhu, has been appointed General Manager of the International Exhibition Department In 2015, Mrs. Zhang Yazhu becomes the Vice President of Genertec International Advertising & Exhibition Co., Ltd. In 1997, Mrs Zhang Yazhu organized the China Commodities Fair in India in 1997. She has been in charge of the European Showcase of Brands of China since 2004. Mrs. Zhang Yazhu organized Thailand Showcase of Brands of China during the TAPA Show in 2016. Since 2007, Genertec started to organize China International Auto Products Expo (CIAPE). Mrs Zhang Yazhu has been the Vice Chairman of the Organising Committee since. Mrs. Zhang Yazhu has been in charge of international promotion of the exhibition, including international visitor and exhibitor recruitment.

Genertec International Advertising & Exhibition Co., Ltd. has been the exclusive partner of the auto parts exhibition in Thailand, Kazakhstan, Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Peru, and Nigeria and has been organizing a China Pavilion at these exhibitions every year, of which Mrs. Zhang Yazhu is in charge.Genertec will as usual sincerely cooperate with Chinese and international friends from all sectors, so that more Chinese companies will go into the world market and more international companies and products will enter the Chinese market.

David Zhong, President & CEO, VNU Exhibitions Asia (China)

David ZhongMr. Zhong has worked as an exhibition organizer since 1991. He founded VNU Exhibitions Shanghai as the General Manager in 1993. In 2011, VNU partnered with Royal Dutch Jaarbeurs and established VNU Exhibition Shanghai, and Zhong was appointed as a Managing Director. Since 2007, he has been the President of VNU Exhibitions Asia.

Mr. Zhong has organized and run a number of world-famous exhibitions, such as DOMOTEX Asia / CHINAFLOOR, R+T Asia, Pet Fair Asia, Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai and Shanghai Wealth Management EXPO.

VNU Exhibitions Shanghai annually runs 18 exhibitions with coverage over 400,000 m3.