SPEAKERS

Keynote speakers

Jaime Bennett

AIPCO | Conference Partners International

An energetic strategic thinker with her eye on the bigger picture, Jaime embraces the fast pace of life working with her Conference Partners colleagues in motivating international associations to host their future conferences in the city most suited to their needs. Jaime holds a degree in Event Management & has over 12 years’ experience in the conference & events industry. Jaime has held a number of positions in the conference and events industry throughout the UK and Ireland prior to joining Conference Partners. Her previous roles has seen her managing large scale conferences, exhibitions and events throughout the UK, Ireland as well as Hong Kong, China and the US.

Carlo Boersma

Carton House

Having spent 17 years in working in the London Market at Iconic properties such as the London Hilton on Park Lane, The May Fair and the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, Carlo is delighted to return to his home turf in Ireland to reposition Carton House and steer the resort through it’s biggest transformation yet.

Ciara Gallagher

Failte Ireland

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

Ciara heads up the Meet In Ireland Team in Fáilte Ireland, where her remit is to develop the strategy 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 and provide the supports to help trade 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 Fáilte Ireland. Ciara is passionate about family, friends, good food and interiors.

Padraic Gilligan

SoolNua

Pádraic is Managing Partner at SoolNua, a specialist agency helping destinations, hotels and venues with marketing, strategy and training for the MICE marketplace. His company provides marketing services to SITE and Gilligan currently serves as Chief Marketing Officer for the association. Prior to founding SoolNua with his long time collaborator and friend Patrick Delaney, Gilligan was Vice President of Industry Relations at MCI and Managing Director of Ovation, the global DMC founded by Delaney and Gilligan in 1994 and sold to MCI in 2007.

He served as international president of SITE in 2008 and has won many industry awards including DMC Personality of the Year (ADMEI) and Changemaker with US based MeetingsNet. He is a former Trustee of the SITE Foundation and was on FICP’s Hospitality Partner board for 6 years. He blogs regularly at www.padraicino.com

Anthony Kelly

Penguins

Head of marketing for Penguins Events (And New Business Marketing for DRPG) I have a verifiable history of contributing directly to company growth and expansion throughout my career.

Alan Kerins

Inner Winner Institue

Alan Kerins is an elite multi-code athlete, performance coach, public speaker, humanitarian, social entrepreneur and philanthropist. Alan founded The Alan Kerins Projects in 2005 where he has raised multi million euros for many vital and lifesaving projects and programmes for communities all over the world. He has received many awards & acknowledgements for his tireless work for those less fortunate in Africa, Asia & Haiti. The Alan Kerins Projects recently partnered with Self Help Africa.

In addition to these charitable activities, Alan is also a performance consultant, executive coach, public speaker & Trinity College graduate in physiotherapy resulting in a wealth of experience in academic, business and sporting fronts. He has used his broad range of expertise to design, develop and lead the Inner Winner Institute, which offers hugely popular and successful elite leadership, personal and professional development courses in USA, Africa, India and Ireland. Companies such as Aer Lingus, HP, Medtronic, Veolia, Vodafone, INM, Salesforce, Zurich, University of Notre Dame, Penn State University, National University of Galway and UNESCO have engaged with many of Alan’s programmes.

Alan also holds a diploma in Child and Family Support and has collaborated with UNESCO on several global development initiatives. Alan was acknowledged for his great work by receiving an ESB Rehab People of the Year and Galway Person of the Year Awards in 2006 while he was also awarded as one of Ireland’s most outstanding young people.

Alan has the distinction of winning both All-Ireland football and hurling medals for both his County and Club – a feat rarely achieved. Alan holds the unique distinction of having won All-Ireland Club medals in both hurling and football and is the only man in history to do so with different clubs.

Aoife McCrum

SoolNua

Aoife McCrum is the Social Media & Digital Marketing Manager at SoolNua, a specialist MICE agency helping destinations, hotels and venues with strategy, marketing and training based on 6 decades of expertise as global leaders in the industry.

Previously McCrum interned at Ovation Global DMC, the destination management arm of MCI, a global association, communications and event management company. It was here that she worked with the Global Sales & Marketing department and gained her first insight into the MICE industry.

Aoife holds a BA degree in Advertising & Marketing from The Institute of Technology Tallaght. She has a keen interest and experience in the hospitality & service industries after five years of waitressing and working in retail.

Aoife is highly skilled in video and has produced a full suite of destination videos presenting SoolNua’s “alternative” viewpoint on Dublin, Barcelona, Bratislava, Milan and Slovenia amongst others. She coordinated all the on-line and digital marketing elements of the MIMA award winning social media campaign at IMEX Frankfurt 2015 for Croke Park Meetings & Events.

Along with 5 other council members, Aoife launched Meetings+Millennials – a networking initiative for millennials in the Meetings &Events Industry. She designed their website and manages their social media presence.

She is the Director of Social Media & Digital Marketing at the Society for Incentive travel Excellence (SITE) and manages all of the associations social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram).

Aoife is an avid follower of many sports and is an especially passionate Leinster & Manchester United fan. A very prominent figure in Aoife’s life is her dog Nova, the official SoolNua office dog and a regular feature in our social media communications.

Tweet her or follower her on Instagram at @aoifemccrum

Paul Mockler

Fáilte Ireland

Paul heads up the commercial development division at Fáilte Ireland (The National Tourism Development Authority), the State Agency responsible for guiding and supporting the sustainable development of tourism in Ireland.

Paul leads the teams responsible for Growing Overseas Visitors (Business & Leisure) to Ireland and promoting Ireland as a top class MICE (Business Tourism sector) destination under the Meet In Ireland brand. He also leads the Dublin Convention Bureau, Golf Ireland (the brand for promoting Ireland as a world class golf tourism destination), Leisure Business Development and International Trade & Events teams.

Paul has over 20 years of tourism sales experience having worked with companies such as Ryanair, EUJet, the Cliffs of Moher, Shannon Heritage & Shannon Development prior to joining Fáilte Ireland.

Susan Sheahan

Dalata Hotel Group

Dalata Hotel Group is the largest hotel operator in Ireland. We operate the Maldron Hotel brand & Clayton Hotel brand as well as managing a portfolio of partner hotels. We currently operate 44 hotels with and additional 8 currently in construction.

Catherine Toolan

ICC Belfast

From Sligo, Catherine is Chief Executive of ICC Belfast | Waterfront Hall | Ulster Hall. Catherine works closely with Visit Belfast, Tourism NI and other stakeholders to create a sustainable business tourism industry sector that can compete on a global stage. Prior to this Catherine spent over twelve years as Managing Director of Global Sports and Events for Aramark Corporation (a $15B NYSE listed company) overseeing the Summer Olympic and Asian Games in Beijing, Guangzhou, London and Rio de Janeiro. Catherine received the 2010 Business and Finance Asia Pacific/Ireland International Business Person of the Year Award in Hong Kong. Catherine has a BBS in Hospitality Management from Galway Institute of Technology, a MBS in Strategy and Organsiational Psychology from UCD and a Postgraduate Masters in Strategy and Cross Cultural Management from Tsinghua School of Economics, Beijing. Catherine is a Board Member of Visit Belfast and The Asia Ireland Farmleigh Fellowship and is an active member of the Global Irish Economic Forum.

Bert Verdonck

Really Connect

Bert Verdonck is a global LinkedIn expert, an international master trainer and passionate lifehacker. Bert is the author of 8 books, including the Little LinkedIn for Dummies (in Dutch). He also co-authored the best seller How To REALLY Use LinkedIn (www.how-to-really-use-linkedin.com) and The Power of LinkedIn. His most recent book is the Little WhatsApp for Dummies (in Dutch). LinkedIn Learning also published several of his courses on social recruiting.
Bert is also an avid hiker, a genuine lifehacker, an aspiring sailor and a happy chocoholic.