Click the button below to view the full presentation of the Update on the Business Tourism Landscape by Paul Mockler, Head of Commercial Development, Fáilte Ireland
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.
Minister for Finance
Michael McGrath is a TD for Cork South Central and is currently the Minister for Finance in the Government of Ireland. He previously served as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform from 2020 to 2022. Before entering national politics, Michael served in local government in Cork for eight years. He was elected to Dáil Éireann at the first attempt in 2007 and has been re-elected in every election since.
Michael secured a Bachelor of Commerce degree (Economics major) from University College Cork and went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG in Cork City. Before going into politics full time, Michael held senior positions in both the private sector and public sector. He is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland and has served on that body’s Audit, Risk and Finance Committee. Michael has also undertaken studies with the London School of Economics and Political Science.
In his time in Dáil Éireann, Michael has served on a number of Oireachtas committees including the Finance Committee, the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry, the European Affairs Committee and the Public Accounts Committee. As Minister for Finance, Michael is responsible for leading the Department in the achievement of the government’s economic, fiscal and financial policy goals, having regard to the Programme for Government.
The Minister for Finance has a key role in decisions made across government, and is Ireland’s representative at the Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings of European Finance Ministers. As Ireland’s Minister for Finance, Minister McGrath is a Governor of a number of international bodies that Ireland is a member of, including the European Investment Bank, the IMF, the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
CEO of KENES and President of IAPCO
Ori Lahav joined Kenes in 2013 as VP Marketing, bringing more than 15 years of marketing experience to the management team. Ori’s expertise includes implementing marketing strategies, ATL/BTL and leading digital campaigns in online/social media channels. He began his career in the communications industry, where he held marketing positions at Internet, voice and mobile telecom providers. This was followed by a senior role in the automotive sector with a start-up that raised US$ 900M to manufacture electric cars. After 4 years in Kenes Group, Ori moved to manage the Client Accounts & Operations business unit. At the beginning of 2017, Ori also became an IAPCO Council Member (IAPCO – the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers), currently, serves as the association’s President. Ori was announced as Kenes Group’s CEO at the beginning of 2022. His appointment marks the first time a CEO is not from a family member in 57 years. Lahav was recognised by event professionals in the Eventex Top 100 Most Influential People in the industry for four consecutive years. In addition, Ori speaks at different industry events: IAPCO EDGE Seminars, PCMA Convening Leaders, ICCA World Congress, Event Innovation summit, IMEX and more. Ori holds a BA in Statistics from the University of Haifa and an MBA from the University of Derby, UK.
CEO IMEX Group
A passionate and dedicated leader, Carina Bauer is the CEO of the IMEX Group – an organisation responsible for organising the leading global trade shows for the international business events industry. Carina is passionate about the business events sector and its impact on the world, taking a particular interest in issues around sustainability, diversity and inclusion and mentoring the leaders of tomorrow. Carina also takes a keen interest in leadership development and organisational best practice.
Throughout her career, Carina has been an active member of the meetings industry. She is currently Chair of the AEO Council and the EIA, and is Past President of the SITE Foundation (2020). She has previously served on the Board of the MPI UK Chapter and on global committees for MPI and PCMA.
Having graduated from Oxford University, UK, with a degree in politics, philosophy and economics, and following a short stint in retail and catering, she joined the business events industry in 2002 as the Marketing and Operations Director for IMEX Frankfurt as part of the original launch team for the exhibition. Following the expansion of the IMEX brand into America in 2009, Carina was appointed CEO of the IMEX Group.
Head of Business Events at VisitScotland, PCMA Board
Neil Brownlee is Head of Business Events at VisitScotland, leading a team of 10 dedicated business event specialists. Reporting into the Scottish Government, he is responsible for the development and implementation of the business events strategy at a national level for Scotland. Neil works closely with the city convention bureau of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, and Aberdeen as well as the main convention centres in Scotland. More recently the new “Policy Driven Model” has raised business events to a higher strategic level within Scotland, aligning with the Scottish Government’s ambitions for the country across more than 40 policy areas.
With over 30 years’ experience in the international hospitality and business events industry, Neil joined VisitScotland in 2008. His career prior to that included business development with Sodexo; Director of Sales & Marketing at Rocco Forte Hotels and revenue development with Le Meridien Hotels in the USA.
Neil is on the current Board of Directors and Trustees of PCMA, where he is also Chair of the Finance Committee & Secretary-Treasurer. He has spoken at many industry forums, including the UN World Tourism Organisation General Assembly, in Chengdu, China.
Chief Strategy Officer, Cpl Group.
Barry is Chief Strategy Officer of Cpl Group & head of the future of work institute. He is a thought leader on the future of work, strategic design, and business creativity. Recently he was recognised as a top 50 global influencer on the future of work. Over the past 25 years, he has worked globally with some of the world’s most respected organisations and is a frequent author and speaker at numerous client and external events.
As head of the future of work institute, Barry leads a multidisciplinary team working globally to question, explore and design future work solutions with organisations. So, he isn’t just a speaker but is actively pushing the frontiers of the future of work every day in the real world.
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.
Nicola established CPI in 1998 and is a passionate advocate for the Global Meetings Industry at home and abroad. For over five years, she represented UK and Irish PCOs on the board of the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO), the international accrediting body for PCOs. Nicola is the current European Director of Education for IAPCO and the founder and Chair of the Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers (AIPCO).
The core values which underpin Nicola’s approach are quality, trust and integrity. Having personally run more than 300 national and international conferences, Nicola takes a hands-on approach to her business. She is a leading lateral thinker with an innovative approach to problem-solving and delivery. Nicky’s vision is matched by her sense of fun – it would not be unusual to come across her in one of Dublin’s famous cocktail bars entertaining a client group with her finely tuned piano skills. No surprise given her BA in Music from University College Dublin.
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 and promoting Ireland as a top-class business events 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’ 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.
Manager of Meet in Ireland, Fáilte 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 business events 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.
SITE Ireland President
Arthur McGauran is the General Manager of Custom Ireland, and President for the SITE Ireland Chapter for 2022 & 2023. Arthur joined the tourism industry almost 20 years’ ago, learning the ropes in the Four Seasons Hotels in London & Dublin, and then moving onto Carton House Hotel.
Arthur left hotels in 2008, moving to roles is the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre & Kildare Village and in 2016 crossed into the world of DMCs by joining Ovation Ireland. He has been in the role of General Manager of Custom Ireland since 2019, and took on the Presidency of SITE Ireland at the beginning of the year.
Manager – Dublin Convention Bureau & Convention Bureaux of Ireland
I have managed Fáilte Ireland’s Dublin Convention Bureau for seven and a half years, seeing confirmed business double in that period before the effects of the pandemic. That success and experience has also given me a responsibility for the Convention Bureaux in Cork, Kerry, Shannon Region and Galway. Before moving into the business events sector, I worked on the leisure tourism side of our industry in rural and urban DMOs from 1999. My early career involved welding equipment but I left that after an incident involving nuclear submarines – ask me about that some day!
Initially a sceptic around our need to address the climate crisis within our industry, I grasped a deeper understanding of our need for urgent action in 2017 and have been leading our own industry’s charge to more sustainable practices since. Away from the desk I coach U14s rugby and enjoy football, golf and running.
Together with her family and a team of 250 great people, Elaina runs the award-winning, 4-star, Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel & Spa in Adare, Co. Limerick.
Following 2 years as president of the Irish Hotels Federation during the pandemic, Elaina was recently appointed as the 20thchairperson of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation. ITIC is the representative body of the Irish tourism sector and works with government, agencies, tourist boards, the EU and other organisations whose activities impact on tourism.
Elaina is a graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and has worked in Switzerland, the UK & USA.
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.
Group Business Development Manager, Dalata Hotel Group
Susan O Keeffe is the Group Business Development Manager for Dalata Hotel Group, Ireland’s leading hotel group, with a decade of successful experience in both Sales and Marketing across a large portfolio of hotels. Susan specialises in business development, sales training and the 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.
General Manager, Carton House, A Fairmont Managed Hotel
Martin is a 31-year veteran of the Hospitality industry and has been General Manager at Carton House, a Fairmont Managed Hotel since April 2021. Before this, Martin was General Manager of the Conrad in Dublin for 13 years. Other General Managerial roles were in the Royal Marine Dun Laoghaire, the Grand Canal Hotel and DGM Jurys Ballsbridge. Martin has also enjoyed stints in London and the US with Jurys Doyle and Hilton.
Martin is a Past President of the IHI, a National Council Member of the IHF and is on the advisory board of the IHF Hospitality Skillnet. He is an Avid GAA (Mayo for SAM) fan, and a Leinster and Irish Rugby supporter who also likes running, cycling and golf in his spare time!