Catherine Martin T.D.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Originally from Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, Catherine is the Green Party’s Deputy Leader and T.D. for the constituency of Dublin Rathdown since February 2016. After founding the Oireachtas Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, she was elected as its inaugural Chair in November 2017.
A graduate from NUI Maynooth and a classical singer, Catherine taught English and Music in St Tiernan’s Community School in Dundrum, Dublin, for 16 years prior to being elected to the Dáil. She was a Councillor on Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council from 2014 to 2016, and she served on the boards of the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education Training Board, Dundrum and Stillorgan Colleges of Further Education and St. Tiernan’s Community School.
She lives in Dublin with her husband and three children.
Chief Executive of Fáilte Ireland
Paul Kelly has been the Chief Executive of Fáilte Ireland since 2017. Paul has led Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, through the deepest crisis ever for our country’s tourism industry. His work now is focused on driving the sustained and sustainable recovery of the industry to ensure tourism contributes even more to the economic, social, cultural and environmental future of Ireland. This future will build on Fáilte Ireland’s previous successes including the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, the Dublin brand refresh and The Gathering.
Paul’s leadership has led Fáilte Ireland to be listed in the top 20 best large organisations to work in for three consecutive years and listed in the top 5 most trusted organisations in the country. In 2020 Paul was named as Ireland’s Most Trusted Leader by Great Places to Work. Before his appointment as CEO of Fáilte Ireland, Paul held several management and marketing leadership roles. Raised in a small retail family business, he began his career with Procter & Gamble UK. Paul then went on to senior executive positions with Diageo Ireland, Aviva and the UCD Smurfit Business School. Paul Kelly is a native of Co. Wexford and a Commerce graduate from University College Dublin. He is married and has four children.
President & CEO, PCMA
Sherrif Karamat, CAE, is President and CEO of PCMA and CEMA, the world’s largest community for Business Events Strategists, providing senior-level education, networking, and market intelligence for the global business events industry.
Karamat is a prominent business architect, enabling communities to become a catalyst for economic and social progress, organizational success, and personal and professional development.
Central to furthering economic and social progress are PCMA’s educational and personal development offerings, empowering more people, and actively welcoming everyone, regardless of their ideas, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or cultural background.
He is Immediate Past Chair of the 2023 Events Industry Council’s (EIC) Board of Directors and serves on the Boards for Tourism Diversity Matters, and the US Travel Association. Additionally, Karamat is a member of the George Washington University’s Leadership Council for its Masters in Tourism Administration program.
Chief Strategy Officer, MCI
Oscar Cerezales, based between Barcelona and Singapore, works at MCI Group as Global Executive Vice President.
Oscar has been a Board Member and Trustee of PCMA, a Board member of Saceos, a Founder of MPI chapters, a Board member of the SITE Latam, and a Member of the Education Board of the Latam Association of CVBs.
He has been a plenary speaker at more than 200 conferences in our industry. Also a designer of Summits such as the Economic Summit (Chicago), Business Models for Venues (Belgium), the Leadership Forum (Barcelona), The Innovation Summit (San Francisco) or SMF (Singapore).
Oscar has received global awards such as the MICE Leader from MPI, the 2022 Meetings Industry Leader, and the Chairman Award from PCMA.
Head of Commercial Development, 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. 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’ experience in tourism sales, having worked with companies such as Ryanair, EUJet, the Cliffs of Moher, Shannon Heritage & Shannon Development prior to joining Fáilte Ireland.
Head of Emerging Markets & Business Tourism, Tourism Ireland
A native of Coleraine, David Boyce is currently Head of Business Events at Tourism Ireland based in London.
In a career spanning almost 4 decades David has worked in both New York and London for Tourism Ireland.
In the US he held a position of Vice President of Communications and Advertising, based in the New York office. In this role he ran various consumer advertising and communication campaigns, which he managed and operated using an annual budget of around £9M. Prior to this, David was Senior Vice President of activities for Tourism Northern Ireland US, based the New York. Which he commenced 1991.
In 2005 he returned to the London office where he held the title of Deputy Head of GB. Managing the trade promotions, brand partnerships, golf & publicity.
Before his current role in Business Events, David headed up the Emerging Markets team, working with colleagues & agencies in China, UAE, India and with the Global Inbound Operators in Europe and UK.
Ciara Gallagher has over 20 years’ experience in tourism sales, strategy and destination marketing. Ciara heads up the Meet In Ireland team in Fáilte Ireland, where her remit is to drive sustainable growth in the international conference market to Ireland. Under her leadership, the team focus on the early stages of winning business events for Ireland, identifying and developing business opportunities and providing supports to help trade partners win business events.
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.
Chair of AIPCO
An established event professional, Greg has over 12 years experience in the Conference & Events industry and has been a member of the team in Abbey since January 2015. Greg prides himself on hard-work, diligent research and attention to detail, ensuring that each of these elements form the basis of the proposals and bids he prepares on a daily basis.
As a qualified Digital Event Strategist, Greg has a particular interest in how technology can enhance the delegate experience and on all aspects of meeting design. In recent years, Greg has contributed to education, training and interviews with organisations such as IAPCO, PCMA and EventsAir.
Vice-Chair of AIPCO
Conor joined Conference Partners International in 2023, as the Director of Business Development.
As a former basketball international, Conor’s events background started in the sports industry where he worked for over a decade. Before joining CPI, Conor also worked venue side at one of Ireland’s leading Conference destinations.
Since joining CPI, Conor has also joined the Board of AIPCO and in December was elected as Vice Chair for 2024. With a Commercial and Marketing background, Conor enjoys developing the messaging and impact for Conferences.
Dr Heather McKee
Behaviour Change Specialist
Dr Heather McKee is known as Europe’s leading lifestyle behaviour change specialist, keynote speaker and founder of https://www.drheatherspeaks.com/ Having studied health behaviour change psychology for 10 years, her mission is to offer a sustainable, evidence-based alternative to an industry saturated with quick fixes and health fads.
Globally she has worked with over 100+ companies in 15+ industries to create evidence-based wellness programs, deliver keynote talks on how to create a sustainable lifestyle change and help people find joy in their healthy habits. Past clients include lululemon, booking.com, Starbucks, Rituals, Unilever, HSBC, and Sainsbury’s.
Dr McKee’s research has been published internationally in leading academic journals, as well as featuring in Time magazine, Vogue, Huffington Post, The Times, and LA Times.
Founder, Better Workday
Niamh Moynihan is the founder of Better Workday and author of Remote Working Essentials. She is passionate about helping people be successful at work while avoiding the burnout cycle. Niamh, who has worked with organisations such as Pernod Ricard, ESB, Tourism Ireland, and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, will share practical tips, insights and information to transform your workday.
Co-founder and CEO, #Meet4Impact
Geneviève has over 25 years of global experience in congress management and strategic consultancy for associations and destinations. She works as a content curator, facilitator, speaker and trainer with the association meetings and business tourism industry and is specialized in sustainability and social impact practices. Geneviève is passionate about applying design thinking practices to accompany organizations through innovation. She has founded her current organization, #MEET4IMPACT, in 2019 with the vision of transforming the business tourism industry by generating a movement to create positive societal impact with its actors and their events. #MEET4IMPACT trains professionals and supports DMOs and their association clients in defining, managing, measuring and communicating the societal impacts of their activities. Geneviève has developed an “impact masterclass” for the industry and has co-created the “BE Impactful Framework”, which offers a systematic process for measuring the positive impacts of events. She is also an association executive, acting as Managing Director of the International Society of Limnology since 2018. When not at work, Geneviève is enjoying the great outdoors, sharing happy meals with friends or sailing the seas.
President, SITE Ireland Chapter 2024 & 2025
Marie has over 25 years experience working in Meetings and Incentives both internationally and in Ireland. Using her degree in Environmental Earth Science, she started her conference career working for the Royal Town Planning Institute, putting her degree to use in the events team. In 2000 she moved to Dublin to work in the Destination Management world, operating numerous incentives from all the markets, but primarily North America. In 2008 Marie joined the pre-opening team at Ireland’s first purpose built Convention Centre the CCD in Dublin. Rising to the role of Head of Sales overseeing a sales team responsible for both Corporate and Association business. Her love of Incentives brought her back to the world of Destination Management in 2013 where she was responsible for overseeing Sales, Marketing and Operations. In 2022 Marie joined Wallace Travel as Director of Sales. Her wealth of experience, attention to detail and love of all things Irish shines through with her clients. Marie is currently President of the SITE Ireland Chapter for 2024 and 2025.
Chief Executive, The Convention Centre Dublin
Stephen was appointed Chief Executive of The Convention Centre Dublin (The CCD) in February 2017, Ireland’s National Convention Centre. In December 2017 the venue was first acknowledged as “The World’s Leading Meeting and Convention Centre” by the World Travel Awards, and then again in 2019 and 2022. Stephen has led the business through; a re-financing process, its best performing financial years, COVID-19 and it’s recent sale process.
An honours graduate of Dublin Institute of Technology, Stephen has 25 years experience working in five-star venues across Ireland, the UK and Europe and, before joining The CCD, held the position of General Manager Bewley’s Cafés Ireland. He began his career with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts working across all departments in Dublin and London, before taking up the role as General Manager of the luxurious award winning Nimb Hotel and related facilities in Copenhagen. Here he was responsible for a team of 280 people and managed the hotel and its six high end restaurants and bars, delivering events up to 4,000 people. Stephen recently completed three honours diplomas in; “Strategy & Innovation”, “Organisational Behaviour” and “Business Finance” in the Irish Management Institute (UCC). Since January 2019, Stephen has Chaired Fáilte Ireland’s Business Tourism Working Group (now the Association Conference Group), and he is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the charity Make a Wish Ireland.
He is married to Jackie, with Katie (17) and Cillian (14) their two children. Stephen has a love of fitness, having completed 32 marathons.
Account Manager International Associations, The Convention Centre Dublin
Nathalie joined The CCD in 2016 and is responsible for building client relationships and securing international association conferences for Dublin and The CCD. In addition to her years at Europe’s Leading Meetings and Conference Centre, Nathalie has over 20 years’ experience in hotels, tour operators and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) in both Paris and Dublin. Nathalie was instrumental in securing IFLA’s World Library and Information Congress (1,900 delegates) for The CCD in 2022. She also led the bid for The Slot Conference (IATA) and won it for The CCD in 2023. This business meeting attracted over 1,300 delegates with representatives of well over 300 airports, 250+ airlines and more than 90 sponsors and exhibitors from around the world.
Susan O Keeffe
Group Business Development Manager, Dalata Hotel Group
Susan O Keeffe is the Group Business Development Manager for Dalata Hotel Group, Irelands leading hotel group, with a decade of successful experience in both Sales and Marketing across a large portfolio of hotels. Susan specializes in business development, sales training and development of localised marketing strategies. A strong believer in the power of positive thinking in the workplace, with her passion lying in developing and nurturing a strong pipeline of sales and marketing professionals for the hospitality industry. Susan enjoys a good Netflix binge but can also be found experiencing the delights of afternoon tea.
Chief Executive, ICC Belfast
In 2020 Julia took up her role as Chief Executive of BWUH Ltd, the private limited company established in 2016 to operate ICC Belfast, Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall. The Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall represent the live entertainment brands of two of Belfast’s most iconic venues. ICC Belfast is the conferencing brand representing Northern Ireland’s only purpose-built International Convention Centre. The overarching goal of all three is to win and deliver world class conferences and events so that Belfast becomes a business event and live entertainment hotspot. Over 300,000 patrons are welcomed each year to performances spanning the genres of music, sport, family and comedy.
The vision for the company is to create a world-class stage where people make great things happen, benefitting Belfast and Northern Ireland socially, culturally and economically, today, tomorrow and beyond.
Group Director of Sales and Marketing, The MHL Hotel Collection Pauline Corcoran heads up the Sales and Marketing Teams across all the MHL Hotel Collection, where she has worked for over a decade, and is part of the senior team which have been pivotal to its growth to 13 unique hotels in 2024.
Pauline has worked in the hotel industry for over 35 years, in the UK and Ireland, for both global hotel brands as well as independent hotels, and has extensive experience in the sales, marketing, and revenue aspects of the hotel industry.
Pauline is passionate about supporting her colleagues and each individual business to be the best they can, and loves to nurture and develop new talent in the team. Pauline is a graduate of both DIT Cathal Brugha Street, and Trinity College.
Student – BA in Event Management
Ciara Carolan is a 3rd Year student at Dundalk Institute of Technology studying a BA in Event Management. She is from the Cooley Peninsula in Co. Louth. As part of her course, Ciara has completed a 6-month placement in an International Conference Organisation which is a member of AIPCO where she gained amazing experience in the conference and events department. As part of her placement she travelled to Belgium and Liverpool to deliver large conferences and thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience of planning and coordinating and also the challenges of conference delivery in another country. Her favourite part of conference planning and organising is interacting with the delegates which she hopes to specialise in upon graduation. Ciara is hoping to complete a Level 8 Honours Degree in Event Management on completion of her Level 7. From the experience that she gained, she would love to travel more to gain worldwide experience in the conference and event management industry. She also has a part time job working in the office of a large bus company and has gained many skills working there. Ciara is heavily involved in her local GAA club and played at both underage and junior level. She currently assists in coaching underage girls’ teams.
Managing Partner, SoolNua &Chief Marketing Officer, SITE
Pádraic Gilligan is Chief Marketing Officer at Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), a 2500 member global association, dedicated exclusively to incentive travel.
He is also Managing Partner at SoolNua, a specialist advisory helping destinations, hotels, agencies, associations and venues with marketing, strategy and training for the MICE marketplace.
Patrick Delaney and Pádraic Gilligan started Delaney Marketing Consultants (DMC) in the early 90s. Delaney Marketing eventually became Ireland’s largest Business Events organisation before being acquired by MCI in 2007. Gilligan and Delaney then served as Managing Directors of MCI’s global DMC network and Vice Presidents of Industry Relations until they left MCI to start SoolNua in 2014.
A multi-award winner within the Business Events industry, Pádraic has served as President of SITE (2008), as a Trustee of the SITE Foundation (2017 – 2019) and on the Advisory Boards of several entities, including The Special Event, IHG & the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau. He blogs at Padraicino and is a regular speaker at industry events.