Whether you’re an established #EventsProf or just starting out, this complimentary book offers an unrivalled ‘behind-the-scenes’ insight into how this dynamic industry’s most influential people operate.
Debs is in the unusual position of being both artist and entrepreneur, She has a passion for creating meaningful and memorable experiences for people and has founded 5 influential creative companies over the last 15 years.
Recently voted the 3rd most influential person in the UK Events Industry (see here) she is a visionary with the rare ability to both see and inspire others to see the big picture.
As an Installation Artist and Event Producer, she studied Fine Art from 1993-1997 at Central St Martins and Byam Shaw, where she specialised in immersive installations. She began in the events industry by building installations, but soon realised that the whole event could be treated as an immersive installation.
She first made her mark as the Producer of Lost Vagueness (2002-2006), turning it into a ACE funded, touring theatre company. Lost Vagueness was one of the first ever Live Experiential Events, the first to both articulate and deliver notions of storytelling and the dissolution of audience performer boundaries. Highly influential, it inspired contemporary success stories such as Secret Cinema.
Deborah founded Strong & Co in 2006 to enable her to produce exceptional ephemeral events for forward-thinking clients. “Strong & Co is a wonderful little company that allows me to work with select clients to create fantastic artistic visions and to develop daring new projects in-house.”
In 2008, Deborah founded Shangri-La at Glastonbury Festival. As MD and Creative Director she oversaw its development into an experiential event the size of a small town. Described as “legendary” by NME, its cutting edge creativity has inspired a host of younger Producers creating events such as Boomtown. During this time she developed the Arts Council funded Contemporary Art at Festivals tour in 2010, to order to increase the quality of Visual Art at festivals and find new audiences for the arts, impacting on Festival Arts Offers throughout the UK.
2013 saw the birth of a bold and innovative idea – Summerland, a hyper-real tropical paradise designed to bring us all, a bit of warmth in winter. Debs has now stepped down from Shangri-La in order to bring this new baby to life.
She also has had 2 actual babies, now big boys, and is thoroughly enjoying it all.
Nick de Bois
Chairman, UK Events Industry Board
Following his election as the Member of Parliament for Enfield North in 2010, with a majority of 1,692, Nick served on the House of Commons Public Administration Committee from 2010-2011, and the Justice Committee from 2011 onwards. In 2012 he was elected by his fellow Conservative MPs as Secretary of the influential 1922 Committee of backbenchers, which regularly met with senior party figures advising them on the views of Conservative MPs. Nick established and chaired Chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the UK Events Industry which, in 2013, held an inquiry exploring the international competitiveness of the UK events industry.
Following a narrow defeat in the 2015 General Election, Nick took up the position of Chairman on the ‘BackZac2016’ campaign for Zac Goldsmith MP in the London Mayoral contest of May 2016.
Prior to his political career, Nick was Managing Director of Rapiergroup, a full service agency specialising in exhibitions and events which he founded in 1988. He left the company in May 2010 to concentrate on his political career. Today, Rapiergroup project manages and designs exhibitions and events around the world with a staff of over 60.
Chris Baréz Brown
Best-selling author and speaker Chris Baréz Brown has a rather unusual view of the world in that he knows everybody is perfect. As we grow, develop and socialise we can lose touch with that brilliance and often become somebody we’re not. Chris founded his Dorset based company, Upping Your Elvis, in 2009, to help people reconnect with their inner genius and once again become confident in being who they truly are. Although that may seem rather hippie to some, his results produce tangible returns on investment for companies such as Nike, Unilever, MediaCom and ITV, who come back time and again for his unique and energetic approach to transforming their people and their businesses. The Guardian recently described Chris as a long haired, twinkly eyed cross between Richard Branson and a wizard.
Simon Burton presents, writes and consults on effective event marketing, networking and social media around the world. His thoughts on how to get the best from digital media and live events are regularly described as “inspirational” and “energising”.
Simon places new media and event marketing into a real business context. Building businesses through events, PR, and use of social media by are topics close to his heart. He is a widely recognised as a champion for the power of face-to-face marketing.
Simon is a serial entrepreneur himself, having successful launched and sold business in the worlds of media, clean tech, events and social media. He also has several failures to his name!
Building businesses; the challenges and opportunities for business in the digital age and the importance of disruptive entrepreneurs are at the core of his thinking. He has an extensive global network of contacts and business partners in a wide variety of disciplines and industries and holds several no-executive positions.
In his leisure time he can be found watching Arsenal, drinking red wine, walking in the English Countryside, reading books, watching films and playing on his PS4.
Managing Director, Business Strategies Group, Regional Manager in Asia, UFI
Mark Cochrane is the UFI Regional Manager, Asia Pacific 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 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.
Director of Brand and Creative, Clive
Sean Doyle is Director of Brand and Creative at live events and brand communications agency Clive and has 15 years’ experience working in live events.
He started his career in the sporting hospitality sector, before joining a boutique London events agency where he eventually headed up creative and account management. Sean moved to Concerto Group in 2008, where he was pivotal in re-launching live brand communications agency Concerto Live. When the agency became fully independent in 2016, Sean oversaw the rebrand to ‘Clive’ and was appointed to the board of Directors. At Clive, Sean heads up the creative and design team, regularly blogs about live brand communication and curates ‘Inspiration Station Live’ – an event focused on showcasing new technology for the events industry. In 2015 Sean was selected as a judge for the C&IT Awards where he was on the panel for the Internal Comms Event, UK Agency and Global Agency of the Year categories.
Sean has a passion for a creative and design-led approach to communications; making message-delivery more effective and memorable. It’s an approach that has seen him deliver communications conferences, incentives, experiential events and digital projects for some of the world’s best-known brands, across Europe, the US and the Middle East.
Director of Business Tourism and Major Events, London & Partners
Director of Business Tourism and Major Events, Tracy Halliwell joined London & Partners from Visit London, the capital’s global marketing organisation. At London & Partners, Tracy heads up London’s Convention Bureau, managing the event solutions team and a proactive global sales team focused on attracting discretionary business, cultural & sporting events to the capital. At the same time Tracy works with city stakeholders to develop and build London’s business and major events tourism offering.
The Business Tourism team played an integral role during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and Tracy led the team responsible for the Mayors International Hospitality Programme, helping NOC’s and Sponsor‘s deliver their Olympic City programmes, and London & Partners ran the non accredited media centre welcoming over 6000 journalists.
In 2013 Tracy was awarded the Eventia Outstanding Achievement honour and named in the 2013 , 2014 and 2015 Event 100 list of the most influential people in the industry. In 2015 she was named one of the top 25 Women in the meetings Industry by M&IT, USA.
Prior to joining London & Partners Tracy had over 20 years’ experience in senior sales and marketing positions in the tourism industry including Vice-President of Sales EMEA for Millennium and Copthorne Hotels, Global Sales Director for Thistle Hotels (then the largest hotel operator in London), Senior Vice-President Sales & Marketing North America for Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts, as well as numerous property-based Director of Sales & Marketing roles within London and the UK.
Tracy was awarded an MBE for services to business tourism in 2014.
Founder, Sports Optimus
Chris is an experienced sports marketing and commercial executive, having worked for 20 years in the sports industry across brands, rights holders and agencies.
Most recently he was Head of Sponsorship at Vauxhall, managing the relationship with the 4 Home Nations.
His particularly expertise is in developing and commercialising marketing assets around events and for rights owners. He also sits on the Commercial Committee of the Professional Squash Association.
Managing Partner, MCHA Ltd
Simon runs a business consultancy that provides strategic services to the events sector. He spent 10 years as Director of Live Events at COI, working on a number of high profile events for a diverse range of government departments and agencies. He has worked in creative industry management and production roles for over 30 years. Widely recognised as an industry leader, he chaired Eventia, helped create EVCOM and is currently a vice chair of BVEP.
The Experience is the Marketing (Director of Ideas and Innovation) ILEA UK (President)
A long-standing disruptor and thought-leader, Kevin has been an influential player with some of the world’s most respected marketing services groups, including Interpublic, Grey and Saatchi. Working with a vast range of brands, from Adidas to Zumba, he has explored every discipline within the marketing mix.
Although marketing ecosystems may have evolved over the last thirty years, Kevin’s singular focus has remained unchanged. In short, he makes growth happen.
Cutting through the complexity and confusion that tends to inhibit business success, Kevin brings a rare perspective on every touchpoint between a brand and its most valuable audiences, as he targets the strategic objectives of his clients, and finds creative ways to solve their problems.
As an industry visionary, innovative thinker and relationship manager with an unrivalled track-record of success behind him, Kevin’s passion is for harnessing the power of his clients and helping them to achieve their true growth potential.
With a strong belief in the importance of driving engagement, participation and action, Kevin focuses on ensuring that every communications solution involves a memorable and meaningful brand experience. This, he demonstrates as the acting President of ILEA UK and as Director of Ideas and Innovation at his own growth agency, The Experience Is The Marketing. His rules for this are simple: – “Treat people as people, entertain them, educate them, connect them with each other – and be useful in their lives.”
No wonder, then, that he has also been consistently voted one of the most influential people in the UK event industry for five years running. However, his influence extends beyond the UK, and has seen him invited to spread the Gospel of Growth at conferences in Las Vegas, Prague, Moscow, Zagreb, Madrid, St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Austin, Zurich, Barcelona and New Orleans.
Senior Vice President of Sales, Cvent
In 2000, Brian Ludwig joined Cvent shortly after the company was founded. He began his career with the start-up company as a top producing sales executive and was responsible for some of Cvent’s most notable client acquisitions. When the dot-com meltdown hit, Brian played a key role in helping the company turn things around and get back on its feet.
Today, Cvent has become a leading cloud-based enterprise event management platform with more than 1,900 employees worldwide which has helped over 15,000 organisations manage over a million events in more than 100 countries. In August 2013, Cvent raised $135 million during its IPO and is now a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Change under the ticker symbol, “CVT.”
Over the past decade, Brian has worked up the ladder at Cvent and is currently the Senior Vice President of Sales. With his hardwork, perseverance and leadership, he has been able to create two of the company’s most successful global sales divisions. Brian is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction and marketing initiatives for Cvent’s flagship event management solution and CrowdCompass, one of the industry’s leading app provider for corporate and business events.
Brian is sought after as a subject matter expert in the meetings and events industry. He travels across the globe and is often called upon to speak at events and conferences regarding technology trends.
Prior to Cvent, Brian worked as a Regional Sales Director for Lutron Electronics, an industry-leading lighting control systems manufacturer. Brian dramatically grew Lutron’s footprint in the southern part of the United States. Brian’s technical acumen landed him as a regular instructor of architects, engineers, and electrical contractors at Lutron’s training institute.
Brian graduated with an MBA from University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith Business School, where he studied Entrepreneurship and Marketing. He also graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
Vice President, Managing Director, George P. Johnson
Jason Megson is the Vice President, Managing Director of leading global experience marketing agency George P. Johnson.
He is a brand experience expert and evangelist with over 17 years marketing and events experience. Megson developed his career at some of the best independent and networked agencies in the UK and beyond including Ogilvy (WPP) and his own agency We Few London.
Nigel has developed and implemented innovative programmes for over 500 events in 30 countries including three Rugby World Cups and three Cricket World Cups. A founding partner of industry journal Sport Business, Nigel prides himself on his ‘hands-on’ experience of successful event delivery.
Nigel has presented to the IOC, FIFA & SportAccord (amongst others) his thoughts on world-class events.
In addition to his role as Founder of Rushmans, Nigel was contracted as Event Director of the ICC CWC West Indies 2007 Inc with the responsibility of implementing the Event Management, Security, Media Management, Accreditation and Volunteer Programmes for the Cricket World Cup across the nine participating countries in the Caribbean region.
Most recently Nigel had the pleasure and privilege to be Strategic Adviser to the innovative and highly professional team, which made history by winning Qatar the opportunity to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, and has since presented for the Josoor Institute in Doha on what it takes to run a successful Major Sporting Event.
The Rushmans group specialises in various specific areas of event delivery – from Venue Bidding Assessment & Preparation, Event Management, Security Consultancy, Accreditation & Media Management to Rights Brokerage, Temporary Facilities, Scalability and Knowledge & Experience Transfer.
Jason Allan Scott is an award winning event professional, founder and director of a Sales and Marketing consultancy firm specialising in venue sales, an Entrepreneurial consultant, Speaker, Writer, Contributor, Start up impresario, a part of Tim Ferris’s NR set and author of the Eventrepreneur series. Not to mention founding mentor of Fast Forward15 and the Director of Marketing at Large for ILEAUK and lastly a member of MPI.
Voted number 1 on Double Dutch 250 people in Events and top 10% of social media in events in the world.
Scott has worked alongside international and national companies, involved in pulling together the best and most creative ideas for a myriad of projects whilst working on creating more revenue opportunities and training for venues. Scott’s strength is acting as a sounding board and problem solver for the client while defining the brand. Current clients include an iconic London venue, The Bloomsbury Ballroom, The London Cabaret Club, The Event Foundation, Event Academy, Ramorg, Non-Invasives and The Unique Lifestyle Hospitality group to name a few.
He is also well known for his online persona, “Lord Jason Scott” through his columns, blogs and tweets as much as his speaking engagements and hosting of incredible events from The Dark Knight, Mama Mia to Avatar, his longevity within the sector proves his capability.
He is also co-founder of a SaaS product that folk in silicon valley are already calling, “The Uber of events for venues and venues for events!” VenueMe.
Bonny joined Cisco in 2004 after working as a systems engineer in a small security start-up.
He served in various Business Development and marketing roles before joining the event marketing team in 2012 where he has been leading the content program for Cisco Live, managing a team of Cisco professionals responsible for the selection and creation of the educational sessions (breakouts, techtorials, panels, case studies). He has also led Cisco exhibition area, bringing Cisco’s latest innovations and solutions together under a unified experience area.
After the conclusion of Cisco Live 2014, Milan, Bonny was promoted to lead the entire Cisco Live event and has been leading the latest two editions of the event in Milan (Jan 2015) and Berlin (Feb 2016).
Marketing Director, GSMA
Mark Smith is Marketing Director at the GSMA, which represents the interests of nearly 800 mobile operators, uniting them with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, Internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai and the Mobile 360 Series conferences. Mark has more than 20 years’ experience in communications and events and is currently responsible for the GSMA’s media, entertainment and content strategies.
As part of the team to acquire the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event and relocate it from Cannes to Barcelona in 2006, he has seen it grow from 26k visitors to more than 100k at the most recent event in February 2016. He founded the GSMA’s Global Mobile Awards in 1996, now the most industry’s most coveted awards programme. In 2015 he created the MMIX (Mobile Multimedia Innovation eXperience) which is the core media & entertainment programme at MWC and is editor-at-large for Mobile World Live (the GSMA’s on-line community of 250k industry executives). He is also a Director of the Henley Festival, one of the UK’s most prestigious music festivals.
Magician, Speaker and Founder of Unconventional Speakers
Peter Wardell is an experienced, award winning magician and speaker. He developed his performance skills while working as a street magician in London’s Covent Garden and at festivals around the world. Since focusing his talents towards a more commercial marketplace his unique performing style has earned him bookings from many major corporate and private clients.
Peter is one of only a handful of magicians who is comfortable both on stage and in a more intimate performance setting – and he has awards to prove it!
He is the founder of Brandmagic. A company created to help businesses connect with their target audience at live marketing events.
Experience & Awards
Magic Circle Stage Magician of the Year 2010
Magic Circle Close up Magician of the Year 2009
(Peter was the first magician in the history of the Magic Circle to have won BOTH titles).
Carlton Comedy Award Winner 2005
International Magic Close-up Magician of the Year 2001
Member of the Inner Magic Circle (Gold Star)
BEng – Chemical Engineering / Birmingham University
Marcom Director for Events, Microsoft
Björn Wigforss has over 20 years of experience from consultancy, training and events. He’s been responsible for multiple high impact events both as Global Events Director at Nokia and as Marcom Director, Events, at Microsoft.
Björn is a passionate contributor to the development of the events and live communication industry in Europe. He is an Advisory Board member of European Best Event Awards (EuBEA, www.eubeafestival.com) and has served on the jury for the past three years, most recently as jury Vice President (2015). In Finland he has been the Chairman of the Evento Awards jury (www.eventoawards.fi, 2015-2016), and he is the UNICEO President for the Nordics and Baltics region (www.uniceo.org). He is also an Advisory Board member for the Arctic Startup events (www.arcticstartup.com).
Björn has written a series of articles and is often featured as a subject-matter expert at events throughout Europe, often speaking about event effectiveness, the importance of experiential marketing and the role of events within an organisation’s marketing mix.