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2016 Speakers


2016 Speaker Profiles  
Listed In Alphabetical Order Of First Names  
  Adeline Larroque Desages
MICE Expert based in the Middle East


Adeline has more than 11 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 speaks five languages at different levels, is very adaptable and enjoys discovering new cultures and places. In 2016, she won the UFI’s Next Generation Leadership programme and she is on her way to preparing her Doctorate on the calculation variances of the economic impact of business events across the world.

    Topic: Keynote Address: The Past, Present & Future of MICE
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  Alwin Zecha
Chairman & Founder,
Pacific Leisure Group


Alwin leads the Pacific Leisure Group, which he founded as a destination management company in 1961. Today, Pacific Leisure Group is a comprehensive travel marketing, sales, promotion, distributions and event management organisation with offices in 25 countries. Alwin holds the honour of being the only World President Emeritus of International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA). He was formerly a two-term President of ICCA and of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), where he is also an Honourary Permanent Director and Life Member. 

    Topic: Keynote Address: The Past, Present & Future of MICE
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  Ashwin Gunasekeran
Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau


Ashwin is the Chief Executive Officer of Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB), the first State Convention Bureau in Northern Malaysia set up in 2016 to develop and grow its Business Events industry. Prior to joining PCEB, he was the Assistant Vice President of Group Sales & Marketing of Destination Resorts And Hotels Sdn Bhd, and was the Director of Sales at Lone Pine Hotel from 2010 to 2012. A born and bred Penangite, Ashwin worked for the Penang Tourism Action Council upon obtaining his Master’s degree in International Tourism from IMI University, Switzerland. An industry veteran of over 13 years, he brings to PCEB his accrued experience in tourism and hospitality management, revenue analysis, yield management, business development and business tourism.

    Topic: Outsourcing Strategies for Association Meetings | Association Day Forum 1
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  Gary Grimmer


Gary has over 30 years' experience in the convention industry. He has consulted Houston, Vancouver, Yokohama, Tokyo, Macau, and the countries of South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Serbia on development of convention and meetings industries. He was a member of Beijing Dongcheng's International Advisory Council and currently serves on Destination DC's (Washington) Client Advisory Board. His convention centre consulting experience includes market feasibility, demand analysis, facility scoping, design review, site review, and operational consultation for convention centre developments in Nigeria, Oman, Malaysia, Mexico and Australia. He also served on the London International Convention Centre Commission which developed recommendations on a proposed new convention centre for London, UK. While he is both Australian and American, he is originally from the United States where he was CEO at bureaus in Portland, Oregon and Albuquerque, New Mexico and Vice President of the Boston, Massachusetts bureau. Gary is a former Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (now DMAI) and former Chairman of the Business Events Council of Australia. In 2014 he was one of the first six inductees into the inaugural DMAI Hall of Fame. Earlier, in 2007, he received the IMEX Academy for Asia Pacific Award. Today, his consultancy GainingEdge which he founded in 2004 is one of the most well-known in the business, and with clients from around the world.

    Topic: Keynote Address: The Past, Present & Future of MICE
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  Hoy Phireak
Deputy Director-General,
Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia


Mr Phireak is currently Deputy Director-General, Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia. He was Chairman of Technical Referent Group for Cambodia and Chairman of ASEAN Tourism Integration and Budget Committee (2013-2014). He has also lectured on MICE Management and Resort Management at private universities in Phnom Penh and has authored several books on business plans and tourism impact. Mr Phireak holds a Masters Degree in Tourism Management and completed a joint research programme in tourism management as a Ph.D candidate.

    Topic: Emerging ASEAN | ASEAN MICE Forum 1
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  Hugo Slimbrouck
Director of Strategic Partnerships,
Ovation Global DMC
, Belgium


Hugo has chalked up almost 40 years of sales and marketing experience working in international hotel groups, convention bureau management, destination management, corporate meetings, professional conference organising, association management and incentive travel. He joined the MCI Group in 2006 as a senior management team member of the Ovation Global DMC team. Hugo presently manages the MCI / Ovation Strategic Partnership with destination services in mor than 40 countries where Ovation does not have a wholly owned office  but where clients are interested to hold group meetings, events, conferences and incentives. A Past President of SITE, Hugo was elected to the international board for two conescutive three-year terms since 2002, and has been a permanent representative of SITE within KMIC (Joint Meetings Industry Council). In 2010, MPI Belgium named Hugo the Meetings Industry Personaloty of the Year and in 2013 he was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award. Hugo is a regular speaker at meetings industry events around the world on the topics of destination services, destination marketing and sales, incentive travel and other related subjects.

    Topic: Storytelling: A Sales Pro's Most Powerful Sales Tool (Part 1 & 2) | Campfire Knowledge Session 2 & 3
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  Joost de Meyer
Chairman & CEO,
First Incentive Travel


Joost spent the firs 25 years of his tourism career in the Dutch travel trade, primarily in management positions for various Dutch and German tour operators. Moving to Florida in 1997, he founded Florint Vacations, a property management company for vacation homes in the Orlando area. Later he became a partner in First Incentive Travel and at the beginning of 2000, Joost and his wife Iris become owners of First Incentive Travel. The clients of First Incentive Travel are international corporate groups travelling to the USA. First Incentive Travel has offices in Orlando (HQ), New York, San Francisco, Miami and Las Vegas. In 2009, Joost and Iris added First Incentive Travel International to their portfolio, which concentrates on outgoing incentive travel programmes for American corporations,with offices in Indianapolis and Baltimore. Joost was named 'Member of the Year' at the Site International Conference 2005 held in Toronto. He is an active participant on the Site Florida & Caribbean Board, was a member of the International Board of Directors of Site from January 2007 to December 2010 and was the host committee chair for the 2013 Site Global conference in Orlando. He is a Certified Incentive Travel Executive (CITE), Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS) and Certified Meeting Manager (CMM).

    Topic: The Development of the Cruise Market in Asia | Campfire Knowledge Session 4
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  Julia Rahman Douglas
Managing Editor,
MICE in Asia


Julia is the publisher and managing editor of the magazine MICE in Asia which she initiated in 2006 together with some of her writer friends as a medium to report on the meetings and conventions industry in Asia, and news of business events from this part of the world. She still remains the driver of the magazine that is now in its 10th year of publication. Also an entrepreneur, Julia runs several other businesses dealing in event management, production of halal foods and business and financial services of wealth management and investment.  After several years of studying and living in United States, she returned to Asia, choosing Malaysia as the base for her business.

    Topic: Emerging ASEAN | ASEAN MICE Forum 1
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  Kitty Wong
World PCO Alliance I/O K&A International


Co-founder of K&A International, Kitty has been a convention organiser for over 25 years, turning events into roaring successes with her organisation skills, passion for creativity and attention to detail. Under her leadership, K&A International has become the premier convention organiser in Taiwan. Kitty is also President of the World PCO Alliance, a network of over 20 partners committed to providing leadership in meetings management.

    Topic: Outsourcing Strategies for Association Meetings | Association Day Forum 1
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  Marcel Ewals
Director of Strategic Development,


Marcel is the Director for Strategic Development at MCI Asia-Pacific. He has been in the convention and trade show industry for more than 20 years in Asia and has developed and managed hundreds of meetings. He has been a self-starter, managed his own companies for 17 years in the Philippines and Thailand and was Managing Director at Kenes Asia before joining the global MCI Group. Graduated from a Swiss Hotel Management School, he enjoys the service industry and considers the convention industry as an economic and social development branch vital to every country that is host.

    Topic: Outsourcing Strategies for Association Meetings | Association Day Forum 1
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  Mark Cochrane
Regional Manager, Asia Pacific


Mark is the Regional Manager, Asia Pacific for UFI and 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 19 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. He is on the board of the Business Information Industry Association and presents regularly on the exhibition industry at various conferences and events in Asia.

    Topic: ASEAN, A Rising Star For Exhibitions | ASEAN MICE Forum 3
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  Nicolette Hughes
Director Product Strategy and Innovation,
Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia


Nicolette has over 20 years' experience in organising national and international events throughout Asia-Pacific, all within not-for-profit businesses and associations. She is currently the Director, Conference and International Events for the Association of Superannuation Funds (ASFA), a national association representing superannuation funds, trustees and through them, the members of funds. Since joining ASFA in 2004, Nicolette has enjoyed various senior event roles demonstrating success in developing sponsorship, member engagement and loyalty programmes, strategic partnerships. She has been Project Director on various complex event projects with teams of up to 60 staff and volunteers, as well as led teams delivering 100+ events annually.

    Topic: Outsourcing Strategies for Association Meetings | Association Day Forum 1
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  Noor Ahmad Hamid
Regional Director, Asia Pacific,


Noor has been the Regional Director, Asia Pacific of ICCA since 2009. Prior to joining ICCA, he began his career in tourism marketing with the national tourist authority - Tourism Malaysia where he handled and oversaw international and domestic tourism promotion, media hospitality, meeting & incentive projects and event organisation. After 16 years with Tourism Malaysia, he joined the business sector in event management, sponsorship and innovative tourism projects, a background that uniquely helps him understand ICCA members' vast range of business cultures and working environments. In his current role, Noor is a vital ambassador for ICCA, representing the organisation at numerous national and regional meeting forums. In addition, he provides training workshops and leads educational seminars in bidding and marketing. He also sits on the Founding Advisory Board and serves as Ambassador for the ASAE Great Ideas in Association Management Conference Asia Pacific.

    Topic: Second Wave of MICE Cities | ASEAN MICE Forum 2
           Wooing Association Meetings: A Destination Perspective | Association Day Forum 2
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  Professor Supakorn Rojananin
President of Local Organising Committee,
World Congress of Surgery 2015, Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Thailand


Prof Supakorn is Faculty Consultant, Division of Head-Neck and Breast Surgery, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital at Mahidol University. He serves as President of the International College of Surgeons, Thailand Section (2016-17) and represented the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Thailand as the President of the Local Organising Committee of the World Congress of Surgery 2015 that was held in Bangkok, Thailand.  

    Topic: Outsourcing Strategies for Association Meetings | Association Day Forum 1
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  Richard Holmes
International Director of Meetings,
International League Against Epilepsy


Richard has been involved in congress management for many years. He served as a member of the IBE and ILAE executive committees from 1993 - 1999. He was the Treasurer of IBE from 1993 - 1999, and President of IBE from 1997 - 1999. He has served on many international conference committees and has a full understanding of these meetings. Through his position on the association's executive committees he was instrumental in the creation of European conferences on Epilepsy and brought the 1st Epilepsy and Society conference to Dublin in 1990. He also brought the largest medical conference to Ireland in 1997, when the 22nd International Congres was held in Dublin - this congress attracted over 5,000 delegates. When the ILAE and IBE set up its own congress secretariat office, Richard was appointed International Director of Meetings. He and his team now manage biennial meetings in Latin America, Africa, Middle East, Asia/ Oceania and three meetings in Europe (Research, Medical and Social Issues). In addition, he also organises the International Epilepsy Congress. Richard is a founding member and Past President (2000 - 2005) of the Associations Conference Forum (AC Forum), an amalgamation of 25 of the largest medical conferences in the world. 

    Topic: Outsourcing Strategies for Association Meetings | Association Day Forum 1
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  Robert Cotter
International Editor,
Kongres Magazine


Alongside his work as International Editor for Kongres Magazine, Rob has been a regular contributor to MPI's One+ and The Meeting Professional magazines, Biz Events Asia of Singapore, IAVM's Facility Manager magazine in the USA and Eventbiz in Japan. He attends international MICE events to seek out best practices and to share this with the international meetings community. 



    Topic: Keynote Address: The Past, Present & Future of MICE
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  Sumate Sudasna
Thailand Incentive & Convention Association (TICA)


Sumate began his career in the hospitality industry in 1974 at leading hotels in Bangkok, starting at the Dusit Thani. In 1982, he joined Diethelm Travel as Incentive and Convention Manager and has since been in the destination management and professional convention organising business. He has been on the TICA board of directors since its early years and is the current President of the association, being the first from the private sector. He was previously awarded World Incentive Travel Personality for Asia (1993) by the organisers of IT&ME and EIBTM and named SITE Member of the Year 1995. The company he founded in 1988, Conference & Destination Management (CDM) serves the incentive market worldwide, and also functions as a full service Professional Congress Organiser, servicing international meeting events in Thailand.

    Topic: Emerging ASEAN | ASEAN MICE Forum 1
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  William Boivin
Manager, Society Relations, Asia-Pacific,
CFA Institute


In his role, William is responsible for overseeing CFA Institute's partnership with CFA societies, acting as account manager and consultant for CFA Societies' Boards of Directors in developing their country-wide mission, strategic objectives, project pipeline, organisational structure, budgets, governance and management. He has six years of experience in the association management and consulting industry and has held positions in both trade and professional associations. Prior to joining CFA Institute in Hong Kong, William was based in Singapore and responsible for developing chapter relations for the Project Management Institute (PMI) in the Southeast Asia and Australasia regions.


    Topic: Establishing Compents for Growth | Association Day Forum 4
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  Wim Desloovere
Association Bureau, Visit Brussels


Wim is a 15-year senior professional in events and meetings. He leads Association Bureau’s efforts to engage and support international associations in establishing a presence in Brussels. Association Bureau is a new initiative designed to support Visit Brussels’ objective of strengthening the city’s position as the association hub of the world. Prior to Association Bureau, Wim was Project & Business Development Manager with Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry and was Director, Events of Roularta Media Group.

    Topic: Wooing Association Meetings: A Destination Perspective | Association Day Forum 2
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