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Finalists 2017

Richard Davies

Richard Davies

producer, drp

Richard Davies is a producer at drp and began the first six years of his career at drp as a senior show technician, after graduating in Sound Engineering and Production at Birmingham City University. He was an Assistant Producer for a relatively short period of time, before being promoted to a Producer.
As a producer, Rich works within the production team across a wide range of new and existing drp clients on a variety of events, as well as working on his own projects.
In five years’ time, he aims to be a recognised name across the business sector as a well-established and respected Producer, whilst building a skillset and reputation as a project director.
A key goal of his is to own a significant project as project director, with an event planning and pre-production time that spans over 12 months. Additionally, working on projects that involve public facing, external comms is something that would interest him in the future.

Helen Simpson

Helen Simpson

marketing & events director, Emerging Payments Association

Since graduating from the UKCEM in 2014 with a first class honours in Events Management, Helen has delivered events globally both in-house and agency side. She has worked on a number of high profile events, with significant political and social importance, such as the NATO Summit Wales and the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. Her experience includes working on large-scale community and sporting events including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Helen spent a year working in Australia as the senior events adviser for the Department of Premier and Cabinet. She was responsible for delivering community consultation forums with the Aboriginal Community focused on developing a historical treaty agreement between the community and the Victorian Government.
Currently she is the marketing and events director at the Emerging Payments Association responsible for a team of five and 53+ events per year. Helen has delivered events in over 20+ countries (Europe, Asia, Africa, Middle East and The Americas).

Sian Smith

Sian Smith

account director, Sledge

Account director Sian Smith has been with Sledge for five years, and in that time, has worked on a range of proposals and live projects. Having started at Sledge in New Business she has worked her way through the account team broadening her experience within the field, including corporate and internal communications, as well as consumer and experiential.
Managing a range of clients such as HPE, O2, Lidl and international clients including Falcon and Associates as well as an American Private Bank, Sian has successfully delivered a range of national and international events of varying scale.
Having been promoted into account director over six months ago, Sian is currently heading up a number of large international projects and as well as several internal communications projects in the UK.

Ellen Shaw

Ellen Shaw

account manager, WRG Creative Communications

Ellen Shaw started work at WRG shortly after completing her Business Management and Marketing degree in 2015, and during her time with the agency quickly progressed from account executive through to account manager in a little less than 18 months.
During her time at WRG, Ellen has played a pivotal role in growing their Healthcare Communications team and developing key accounts with top pharmaceutical clients. She has managed several projects from creative concept development through to delivery, including peer-to-peer education programmes, live events, immersive experiences and congress exhibitions.
She’s incredibly passionate about creating engaging communications that deliver the ‘wow’ factor, and her creativity, confidence to push boundaries and positive can-do attitude certainly help her to produce truly fantastic events.

Hannah Luffman

Hannah Luffman

managing director, Unicorn Events Ltd.

Hannah Luffman has worked in events for 10 years in both corporate and agency positions before starting Unicorn Events in 2016. Now running a hugely successful European wide agency Hannah is looking to continue expanding Unicorns global footprint and championing women and diversity in the travel and events industry.

Steph Aviss

Steph Aviss

project manager, Avenue Events South Ltd.

Steph Aviss says: “I undertook my university placement at Avenue Events in 2014/15, where I gained a vast amount of experience through both venue finding, and working alongside others in the team on the full end-to-end management process.
“I then returned to Bournemouth University to complete my BA (Hons) in Events Management, achieving a first class degree. This resulted in being offered a graduate position back at Avenue.
“Upon returning, I was swiftly given the responsibility of event lead for our largest event of the year, for approximately 3500-5000 pax. My main responsibilities included; arranging accommodation, co-ordination of satellite events, co-ordination and negotiation of flights/transfers and pre-event communication with industry analysts and press attendees.
“Although this of course had its challenges as with any event, overall it went incredibly well. It was great to gain an insight into an event of this scale, and the client was extremely pleased.”

Drew Forshaw

Drew Forshaw

registration team manager, Capita Travel and Events

Drew Forshaw has been with Capita Travel and Events since 2012, initially joining Venues Event Management prior to its acquisition by Capita plc.
Drew’s responsibilities have grown substantially over the last few years. His overarching remit is to manage Capita’s Events Hubs, taking third party technologies and applying additional value in the form of personalisation, smart use of design and UX enhancements, to create a highly effective events proposition which focuses on delegate experience. This includes managing an ever-growing pipeline of events in terms of delegate apps and registration websites, supporting the delegate registration team on specific event queries, supporting account managers with information and training, and more.
Before taking on responsibility for Capita’s Events Hub, Drew delivered the team building, theming and entertainment requirements of Capita customers’ events. Drew worked in hotels for five years, before moving into the specialist events agency world. With a passion for his discipline, ambition is to grow the role of event technology expert and product owner at Capita.

Rebecca Pryjdun

Rebecca Pryjdun

account manager, NYS Corporate

Rebecca Pryjdun has been with NYS Corporate for almost 18 months and has responsibility for several event clients. She enjoys using her expertise and knowledge to advise clients on how to create the best experiences for their delegates, while helping them achieve their goals and maximise the return for their events budgets.
Rebecca joined NYS Corporate following four years enhancing her skills in hotel events, where she’d grown to know and respect the NYS team as her customer. She moved to the agency from a large independent property where she was senior events manager. She quickly progressed from her first events role, with Hilton Hotels, to supervising an events sales team with Marriott Hotels before moving to the independent venue.
Rebecca studied events management at Leeds Becket University where she focused on social media marketing in events, the subject of her dissertation prior to her 2012 graduation.

Rebecca George

Rebecca George

events executive, NYS Corporate

Rebecca studied events management at Leeds Becket University, with a focus on social media marketing and how it fits into the events world as her dissertation subject and graduated in 2012.
Rebecca has four years of hotel events experience with her first events role at Hilton Hotels, she then moved to working on property at Marriott Hotels supervising the events sales team. This prepared her for the role of senior events manager at an Independent property with the capacity for events of up to 600 delegates.
The opportunity to work for NYS Corporate was a no brainer as they had worked together over the years and Rebecca could tell there was a great team there. Her favourite part of being an account manager is using expertise and knowledge to advise her clients so they can create the best experiences for their delegates and achieve their goals.

Rui Cruz Alves

Rui Cruz Alves

project manager, TFI Group

Rui is an event manager at TFI Group and VP Marketing of the UK chapter of the International Live Events Association (ILEA). With a background in PR and media relations, he decided to use those skills in the event industry, focusing on how to use technology and a creative spin to deliver brand messages.
Rui has worked across the spectrum of events in the past years, from large-scale conferences and public events, to small immersive brand experiences. With ILEA, where he was also VP Membership, he has been involved with several initiatives that aim to promote discussion and drive the industry forward. An assumed enthusiast of his hometown in Portugal, Porto, Rui enjoys the networking and travelling that comes with the job.

Annie Metcalfe

Annie Metcalfe

head of operations, Clear Partners

With broad international work and study experience in England, America, Australia and Hong Kong, Annie has a global vision and is known for her integrity, creativity, drive and commitment to results.
In early 2015, Annie returned from studying in New York to take up a role in the Tournament Guest and Protocol team at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. In 2016 she was appointed Head of Operations for the boutique events agency, Clear Partners, specialising in Incentive Reward Travel.
Annie`s mission is to give her guests those “pinch yourself moments”, whether that means surprising guests with a saxophonist in a ski resort, welcoming a mixologist on to a boat in Ibiza or white water rafting through the Borneo jungle.
To further her self-development Annie will be working at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Always hungry for an adventure, her appetite to keep learning is infectious.

Adas Rudas

Adas Rudas

project manager, FIRST

Adas grew up in Vilnius, Lithuania and in 2011 transferred to London to complete his university degree. He graduated in 2015 with a BA (Hons) Event Management.
Adas joined the FIRST team as project support within a managed services client in August 2015, which was his first full-time job after the graduation. Within six months Adas was promoted to the role of Project Manager and is now responsible for planning and delivering events across the EMEA region including a number of flagship events for the executive office division.
Adas’s future career aspirations are to keep developing his knowledge and Interpersonal skills to become a senior project manager.

Oliver Barton

Oliver Barton

events coordinator, Royal Society of Medicine

Oliver Barton graduated in 2015 and has since gone on to experience many diverse areas of the events industry. Prysm Group gave him the key building blocks of what it takes to organise and operate a successful large-scale event.
After moving to London, Oliver oversaw more than 30 events nationwide in the travel industry, with an aim to expand delegates’ knowledge of the ever-changing regulations in numerous countries.
Recently, he has begun to expand within the medical sector, and is delivering bespoke conferences to a range of medical professionals. Future plans involve further public engagement events, with a focus on mental health and other developing factors in today’s society, and helping to deliver key information around this crucial topic that should no longer be a taboo subject.

Ben Gamble

Ben Gamble

co-founder, Shout About London

Shout About London are the specialist creative agency you have never heard of, but the name on every brand and company’s lips when it comes to events.
Staying tight-lipped, the likes of Sky Media, Redbull & Salesforce are just a few of the clients who would prefer to keep mum.
Many more are clambering to catch a glimpse of the agency that is taking the events world by storm.
Much like the events they create, Shout About are unique and certainly different, with co-founders Stuart Groves and Ben Gamble breaking the tradition of airy ‘eventprofs’ and creatives.
Ben Co-founded Shout About when he was 24 and now at 28, is just getting started getting heard from the crowd and shaking up the industry one Shout at a time.

Steph Eayrs

Steph Eayrs

manager director – story bespoke, Story Events Ltd.

Steph Eayrs has been in the events industry for nine years, having started at a small events company in Northamptonshire during her placement year at University. After this, she moved to London to start working on the Vodafone account’s guest activation programmes for two years.
She then moved to Story Events three and a half years ago, and hasn’t looked back! She joined the team as an Event Manager and has moved up the ranks quickly, really enjoying the problem solving and successes along the way including a Festival in the Sky event at Sushi Samba, events for Waitrose and taking over iconic venues such as the Natural History Museum and St Pauls Cathedral. Now she gets to work with the best team in the industry, creating and producing creative events for Story’s portfolio of clients.

Catrina Da Silva

Catrina Da Silva

senior project manager, Banks Sadler

With an optimistic and social personality, combined with a love for organising pretty much anything (holidays, get-togethers, kitchen cupboards…), Catrina knew she wanted to work in the event industry quite early on and so went on to complete an event management degree at the University of Hertfordshire, graduating with a 1st.
She began working for Banks Sadler shortly after in 2012, on a venue find account and moved across to event management 18 months later.
Since then, she has worked on 52 projects in 19 countries, across 5 continents. Working with some fantastic clients, colleagues and suppliers, Catrina has helped deliver a variety of successful events, from pharmaceutical to sales conferences and incentives. Now a Senior Project Manager, driven by a love of travel, working with new people, across diverse cultures and thriving on challenges, she looks forward to many more opportunities to continue an exciting journey with the company.

Heather Sharp

Heather Sharp

account director, Ashfield Meetings & Events and SPARK THINKING

After graduating with a degree in Event Management, Heather has spent the last seven years working tirelessly to create innovative events, six of those with SPARK THINKING and Ashfield Meetings & Events. Heather has been involved in three awards winning events, showcasing her experience in both operations and account management.
She joined the company as a project executive and was recognised as a rising star, quickly becoming promoted to project manager, account manager and then account director.
Heather is now responsible for the operational delivery for a team of 20 people that work with 15 clients. Her focus is on developing her team’s skills and encouraging collaborative behaviours and creative thinking.
She has delivered a global programme of events for a range of clients in the pharmaceutical, automotive, retail, media and banking sectors.
In her spare time, Heather enjoys fitness, travel and walking her lhasa apso puppy, Hugo.

Sian Downes

Sian Downes

head of marketing & corporate events, Street Soccer Scotland

As head of marketing and corporate events for Street Soccer Scotland, Scotland’s Charity of the Year Sian Downes is responsible for after all major fundraising events including the first ever Gala Dinner hosted in August with Sir Alex Ferguson and all PR and marketing activities surrounding Team Scotland and the Homeless World Cup.
In previous roles Sian has organised numerous large-scale events including corporate award ceremonies and live sporting events.
She has a passion for all sports with a particular interest in football and motorsports.

Chantelle Morris

Chantelle Morris

client event executive, Off Limits Corporate Events

Chantelle Morris says: “I've worked for Off Limits Corporate Events for four and half years and relish every opportunity to turn any client brief into a first-class team building or corporate event. My creativity for events started with my university degree in Creative Writing and has provided me with inspiration to design and write bespoke team building events for clients.
“I started working for Off Limits Events following my degree as a Client Event Executive and I’m now in charge of training new starters within the team. I also enjoy developing key relationships with clients and work hard to maintain good sales figures and exceed client expectations. My team would definitely describe me as a feisty individual and I love interacting and collaborating on new projects. I’m also the biggest Harry Potter geek and have a serious addiction to baking which my team love!”

Chelsea Joyce

Chelsea Joyce

junior project manager, MCI UK

Chelsea is a junior project manager at MCI UK within the PCO department. Chelsea graduated from Bournemouth University in 2013 with a degree in Marketing and joined MCI shortly after. She has a vast amount of knowledge in registration and housing, qualifying as a super-user of MCI’s B-Com registration platform in 2014.
Chelsea has worked on several national and international association congresses ranging from 100 to 4,000 medical professionals for a number of clients such as the British Society of Gastroenterology, International Headache Society and the British Society for Haematology. Chelsea has also had experience within MCI’s corporate sector helping to deliver logistical elements for the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Discover 2015 Meeting at London Excel for 15,000 IT professionals. Employing her talents across all facets of event management, Chelsea enjoys the buzz that surrounds all aspects of the events industry.

Claire Walmsley

Claire Walmsley

head of diversity & inclusion events, Dods

Claire Walmsley graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2013 with a BA in International Relations with French.
Shortly after graduation, she secured a job at the Innovation Enterprise as an International events manager. This role gave Claire her first experience in the conference industry, and she spent her time at IE producing corporate finance, data and strategy conferences across the USA.
In September 2014, Claire joined Dods Group as the content manager for their dedicated events arm, Westminster Briefing. At Dods, Claire has been able to draw on her understanding of the UK policy landscape, alongside her events experience, to rise quickly through the ranks. Following a promotion to senior content manager, Claire found her niche designing and producing conferences with a focus on Diversity & Inclusion, a topic she is passionate about.
Now dead of D&I Events, Claire assumes overall control and direction of the Diversity & Inclusion portfolio. In addition to budgetary and content control, Claire forms and maintains key strategic relationships with government departments and industry stakeholders.

Joanna Axinte

Joanna Axinte

head of Futurize events, Future Leaders Club

Joanna loves to create experiences, to take a thought, a minimal concept and to bring that potential into reality by creating a truly stunning and memorable event. She has worked with various events management agencies, local councils, charities and also sporting venues over the past 10 years.
She is now working in outreach and widening participation at University College Birmingham designing interactive workshops for students and also created Futurize - Future of Learning event in collaboration with Future Leaders Club.
In her spare time she likes to share her experiences and knowledge of the industry, writing for The MICE blog and she has also brought the Evolve Mentoring Programme to the Midlands in partnership with EWL Club UK. She also plans to develop fitness and wellbeing content for events professionals with QHotels later this year.
Joanna loves to travel and discover places by running early in the morning before the start of an event, this is how she gets her energy level up. She’s been seen running in Birmingham, London, Abu Dhabi, Lisbon, Istanbul and many more cities around the world.

Madalina Marincas

Madalina Marincas

project administrator, Opening Doors & Venues

Madalina is an enthusiastic event management & marketing graduate with more than five year’s experience in the conference and events industry. While studying BA Event Management in Birmingham, Madalina had the opportunity to work with Opening Doors & Venues on the delivery of varied conferences and events, which ‘opened the door’ to the conference industry and led to a full-time position within the company in 2014.
At the same time, Madalina joined the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO), with the desire to build on accumulated theoretical knowledge and drive her professional development in the industry. In 2015, OD&V (a small but perfectly formed team of 2) won the ABPCO Excellence Awards for Best Agency Conference Organiser.
Living for the world of events, Madalina holds a Master with Distinction in Marketing for Events, was a passionate 2012 Olympics Games Maker, enjoys sport and the out-doors, and has a keen interest in organising...everything (mainly others!).

Ami Coleman

Ami Coleman

head of events delivery, Blue Hat Teambuilding

Ami Coleman joined Blue Hat Teambuilding more than five years ago as part of the support team. Since then, Ami has become an integral member of the management team having recently been promoted to head of event delivery.
Ami brings a wealth of experience to the industry, working on small to large projects for corporate clients in the UK and Internationally.
During her career, Ami has also been involved with venue management, wedding coordinating and heading up a promotion team at a leading Motorsport Racing Club. Her drive and professionalism doesn’t go unnoticed and she always delivers to a high standard. She is hardworking, passionate and dedicated to inspiring other young event professionals that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

Victoria Walkden

Victoria Walkden

account manager, Grass Roots Meetings & Events

After finishing school as a senior prefect, Victoria went on to study Anthropology and Geography at Oxford Brookes University where, during her final year, she worked for Omega at the 2012 Olympics.
Graduating in 2013, she then secured a role at Grass Roots as conference coordinator, working with a range of clients from the financial, consultancy and advertising sectors. Victoria progressed quickly to become venue procurement consultant within nine months and moved into a senior consultant position in January 2016.
By September 2016 she was asked to work within the offices of one of the company's largest clients, which enabled her to develop her client relationships and account management skills. A year later she was promoted again to account manager.
In her spare time, Victoria enjoys skiing, sailing and travelling, and she is proud to be a member of the CN30 under Thirty.

Hatty Grant

Hatty Grant

assistant events team manager, Royal Society of Medicine

Hatty Grant studied international events management at the University of Brighton before starting work at the Royal Society of Medicine as an events coordinator in 2015. She is now an assistant events team manager in the Academic Department, running conferences for up to 300 delegates and helping to manage a team of coordinators.
Hatty writes an events blog under the title Eventfully Hatty but is often distracted by writing about food instead. She is a keen user of social media and can be found on Twitter and Instagram @hattygrant. She lives in Greenwich and classes herself as a ‘semi-reluctant’ Londoner.

Sophie Darbon

Sophie Darbon

project executive, Penguins

Sophie Darbon says: “Like many people in the industry I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up – in some ways I still don’t! I decided to study Events Management at Bournemouth University and undertook a placement year working at Christ’s Hospital School in West Sussex, organising events taking place on site during academic holidays. This industry year gave me a fantastic grounding to begin my career and since graduating in 2012 I have worked across the world organising events of all shapes and sizes.
“Over the last three years at Penguins my role has involved project coordination for a wide range of corporate events, as well as an increasing focus on Incentive travel and Reward/Recognition events. In 2014 Penguins launched a new website focusing on the incentives market where I played a crucial role in the content and design of the website and have since been working to grow this area of business successfully.
“Penguins has allowed me to widen my horizons both in the office and across the world visiting countries in Asia, Europe and Northern America. Now, I look forward to continuing my development with Penguins and playing an important part in the exciting future for the company which lies ahead.”

Alex Hatton

Alex Hatton

account executive, Top Banana

Alex Hatton, part of the London team at events and communications agency Top Banana, started his career in 2014 after graduating with a first-class Honours degree in Events Management. After spending a year at Top Banana as part of his placement year, Alex re-joined the business as a Production Executive and has since been promoted to Account Executive in 2017, reflecting his hard work and dedication to the job.
Alex’s role at Top Banana is to build long-standing client relationships and immerse himself in the client’s strategy in order to deliver events and communications that make a measurable difference. He has a great ability to build rapport with clients and getting them to push the boundaries and try new things, resulting in some creative and innovative ways to bring content to life, including a 180-degree projection around the room to make a bespoke human Shadow Show performance.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

junior production manager, Penguins

Luke Thomas says: “I set out studying music & sound technology in 2010 and continued my studies at the University of Portsmouth in 2012.


“Since joining Penguins I have developed my skills further, putting into practice the skills gained through my studies and learning from the experience of my colleagues. I have seen first-hand the impact that carefully executed event production has on the delivery of key messages to audiences. At Penguins I am learning how to use more traditional techniques in new and interesting ways combined with the use of the most on trend technologies to deliver impactful communications.
“I am passionate and dedicated to developing my skills and experience, creating and delivering event production services and excited for the opportunities that my new role as Junior Production manager will bring. I look forward to further strengthening and developing brands, engaging audiences and delivering results in line with corporate objectives.”

What the partners say

Judy Elvey

Cvent

“We are passionate about the next generation and the innovation they bring to the industry. We are proud to recognise and encourage rising talent and applaud the inspiring individuals featured.”

Darren Hart

director of sales at Camm & Hooper

“The growth of future leaders is the foundation of our business and is something we are passionate about. We look forward to working closely with the chosen 30.”

ABPCO

"In our 30th year, ABPCO are delighted to support an initiative that highlights the future talent in our industry. Excellence and learning are two of our core values and we look forward to learning more about those individuals making waves as they forge their career across our creative and inspiring industry. What’s more as a reward for their hard work we look forward to welcoming one of the finalists to our annual Chairmen’s Awards in December."

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