The Moderator

Pádraic Gilligan
Managing Partner - SoolNua

With his business partner Patrick Delaney, Pádraic is currently Managing Partner at SoolNua, a specialist agency helping destinations, hotels and venues with marketing, strategy and training for the MICE marketplace. Prior to founding SoolNua, Gilligan was Vice President of Ovation, MCI's global DMC network and Vice President of Industry Relations at MCI.

Following a 13 year career in education, teaching at second and third levels, he started Delaney Marketing Consultants in 1994 with Patrick Delaney. In 2002 Delaney Marketing acquired Ovation and re-branded as Ovation Group. In June 2007 Ovation was acquired by MCI Group and Gilligan led a robust global expansion which saw the establishment of offices at 100 global destinations under the Ovation Global DMC brand.

In 2004 he was elected to the International Board of the SITE and served as international President of this global organisation in 2008. He has won many industry awards including Industry Personality of the Year from Meetings.net in 2009, Destination Management Professional of the Year from ADMEI in 2012 and Changemaker in 2015 with US based MeetingsNet. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the SITE Foundation and on the Advisory Board of the Grow Dublin Taskforce. He is ranked at 14 on the Bizzabo list of global MICE influencers and blogs regularly for EventMB and on his own popular blog, www.padraicino.com

Contact: Pádraic Gilligan Padraic@soolnua.com 353 86 8113134

Speakers


We are delighted to confirm the following speakers:

Ciara Gallagher
Business Tourism and Events, Failte Ireland

Ciara Gallagher has over 20 years' experience in international tourism with particular expertise in tourism sales strategy and destination marketing.

Ciara is currently heading up the Business Tourism and Events Division in Failte Ireland, where her remit is to grow the international MICE market to Ireland. Under her leadership, the team focus on the very early stages of winning an event for Ireland, where they identify and develop business opportunities until they are ready to handover to trade partners to convert.

Ciara has a very strong track record of delivering successful projects, having been chosen as Project Lead on numerous high profile initiatives including The Gathering Ireland 2013, Giro d'Italia 2014 and the International Sports Tourism Initiative.

Ciara has previously won several prestigious awards in the Tourism Sector during her career while holding roles in Failte Ireland.

Ciara is passionate about family, friends, good food and interiors. Her guilty pleasure is a Nespresso and the Irish Times Property Supplement!

Ben Hainsworth
Executive Director, K.I.T. Group GmbH

Ben's career in the association and meetings industry spans over 20 years. His first congress was the World Congress of Cardiology, in Berlin in 1994, he then went on to spend the next 20 years consolidating the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress as one of the world's most prestigious international medical meetings.

Since 2014 he has been an Executive Director at K.I.T. Group GmbH with its international HQ in Berlin, Germany. The group manages a host of international events throughout the world and also manages a number of renowned international medical associations.

As a typical European who thrives in international environments, Ben grew up in the UK, was based in France for many years and now works for clients around the world out of K.I.T.'s Berlin office.

Ben is proud to be a serving on the 2016-19 PCMA Board of Directors and the Best Cities Customer Advisory Board.

Kevin Potts
Chief Operating Office, Irish Rugby Football Union

A Business Studies graduate of Dublin Institute of Technology and Trinity College and is a Chartered Accountant by profession. Kevin worked for KPMG before moving into senior management positions in a number of blue chip companies in the International Financial Services Centre in Dublin. These include; Bank of New York/Mellon and BNP Paribas. Kevin joined the IRFU in 2005, was appointed Director of Operations in 2007 and Chief Operating Officer in 2014. Kevin is a member of St Marys College RFC and has represented Leinster and Ireland A over his playing career.


Andrea Weidinger
Head of Conventions, Hamburg Convention Bureau

With more than 60,000 events and more than two million participants annually, Hamburg confirms its relevance as a convention and congress location in Germany's north. The Hamburg Convention Bureau is in charge to improve these statistics with a focus on international events.

The head of the conventions unit is Andrea Weidinger. She is working for the Hamburg Convention Bureau (HCB) since 2010. Her professional background is focused on the convention sector: Before her start at the HCB in 2010, Andrea was working several years in hotels and the tourism-industry, for example as Director of Sales at the Grand Elysée Hamburg, the city's largest convention hotel. In her role as HCB's authorised signatory, Andrea Weidinger is in close contact with key accounts from the conventions and events industry. Within the HCB's conventions unit, Andrea's tasks include strategic and operational orientation, budget and staff planning as well as efficiency reviews for marketing and communication measures in the international markets.


Roman Muška
Managing Director, Prague Convention Bureau

Roman Muška studied at College of Management Skills and Business Development in Prague, he started his career in MICE segment in 1996 working as Project Manager for the Austrian based company AHR (Agentur für Hotels und Reisen). Afterwards, he moved to finance and administration with the newly established branch of AIMS International in Prague. In 2004 he returned back to project management, working for the congress department at AIMS International where he got promoted to the position of Head of Congress Department. After the fusion of AIMS International and AIM Group companies, which was finalized in 2011, in addition to the Congress Department, he was also responsible for Prague head office as the Country Manager. In 2013, he became a member of the PCB Board of Directors and he was its first Vice President from spring 2015. Since January 2016 he has been fully engaged in the Prague Convention Bureau as its Managing Director.