New-Bees Programme

New-Bees Programme

Meet the faces behind ICCA’s New-Bees programme! ICCA places huge importance on giving First time attendees at the ICCA Congress a very warm welcome. Each year, just before the ICCA Congress begins, the New-bees are invited to join a specialised session that aims to prepare them for success. Jam-packed full of helpful advice that is delivered from member to member, the programme has been delivered to over 3,000 delegates since it initially began and is designed with care to help them network, do business, learn, and maximise the benefits of attending their first ICCA Congress.

At the centre of the entire programme are the people we couldn’t do it without: our mentors, an amazing group of ICCA members and #ICCAFriends who are Congress veterans and want to help support and steer our new-bees as they join the ICCA Family.
Let’s get social by using the following hashtags: #ICCANewBee #ICCAMentorBee #LetsGetBuzzing #ICCA2021

The New-bees programme is sponsored by

Meet the mentors

Aigars Smiltans

Meetings & Events Ambassador of Riga City CVB at Investment and Tourism agency of Riga | LiveRiga

ICCA Congresses is a unique platform where experts of the Meeting industry get together to exchange the latest industry’ trends and developments.

My experience with the Meetings & Events industry started in the beginning of ‘90s, when I was a team member of a Non-governmental Education organization and where I was in charge of planning and organizing educational seminars and conferences around Latvia. The second part of the ‘90’s was dedicated to the Marketing communication agency and supervising worldwide known accounts such as SAS, NOKIA Mobile, MARS, P&G, Coca Cola.

I joined the travel industry with a swap of the century and started my journey at one of the largest DMC in the Baltic Sea region Via Hansa as Commercial & Procurement Director with main duties to contract hotels throughout Baltic States, Russia, Finland, and Poland. It didn’t take long, as I was also involved in the daily operation of the FIT department and Guaranteed departures tour development. Time flies by and with the change of companies, accepting new challenges, I agree to accept a call to join Latvia Tours Con-ex Group and lead Change management, building-up Pan Baltic Network, and develop a new strategy for companies Incentive & Event departments. Since Latvia Tours Con-ex Group time my work was more connected to the Meetings & Events industry world!

Since November of 2010, I have had the privilege and honour to build up and develop from scratch the new MEET RIGA brand. To take it through a different path of evolution as many other Convention bureaus around the world and to establish MEET RIGA as the official Riga City convention bureau.

Sharing is caring! I’m not afraid to share my knowledge and expertise with the younger generation, so they can break through and join the Meetings & Events industry’s circles!

Alushca Ritchie

Founding Board Member at ICCIRA International Cultural & Creative Industries Regulatory Authority

Alushca has always had a passion for travel and tourism. Having been introduced to travel in her teenage years, the bug bit and she has since visited 44 countries. Although she comes from the Engineering sector, she found herself drawn to working for and with the Tourism sector. She found a way to use her passion towards this people-driven career. She has always had a strong focus on volunteering and mentorship and has managed to merge these two in the tourism field.

Following two years on the Executive Board of the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA), Alushca was voted in as President. She is currently serving her 5th year as WFTGA President, and with 15 years experience in Tourism, Alushca brings her experience and passion as both Tourist Guide and that of the Association Industry to the WFTGA.

Her experience in Tourism includes working for several associations, serving on the Board as Director for Cape Town Tourism (Destination marketing company) for six years, Vice-Chairperson of Women in Tourism, Past President of SKAL International Winelands, and has worked for the South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA). She is currently a founding Board Member of International Cultural and Creative Industries (ICCIRA).

Her passion for the Food and Wine industry led her into Tourist Guiding and is an active qualified Gastronomy Tourist Guide in Cape Town, South Africa. She has completed several courses and studies in Wine Tourism, Tourism, and Business Management, Association Management, and is a registered Assessor, Moderator, and Facilitator. She continues to volunteer her time to Associations, NPOs, SMMEs and has a strong focus on mentorship for Women in tourism and Tourist Guides.

Carlos de Sebastián

Association Relations Director Latin America, MCI Group

Graduated in Business Administration and in Advertising, as well as a Master in Commercial and Marketing Management. He is a professional with 31 years of experience in commercial and sales, marketing, operation, and production of events, and as managing director. During his first 8 professional years worked in Luxury Companies related to jewelry (De Beers, Ebel, St Dupont). Since then, has been involved in the Meetings and Еvents Industry, with a special focus on congresses, many scientific/medical subjects, so he ́s updated on health and pharma/medical device fields. Started in this Industryinhe ́s family company in Madrid, Spain. TILESAOPC, specialized in the organization of congresses and events. After going through operations and commercial positions for 8 years, he took over as Managing Director and maintained this position12 for years. In 2009 they merged with an international company(Kenes Group), and he continued as Managing Director for Spain and Latamuntil2019, as he also assumed the role for the expansion of the group in Latin America. Throughout his career, Carlos participated in the achievement of more than 900 national, regional or international events between 200 and 14.000 participants. Since 2019, based in Bogotá, is the association Relations Director for Latinamericain a multinational corporation(MCI Group)known as one of the most important companies worldwide in engagement and marketing, which also produces events of all kinds and sizes.

Henrik von Arnold

Spokesperson at ACF – Audite Cogitare Facite

I was born in Sweden in the early 50’s. After a variegated professional life I got involved with the business event industry in the end of the 80’s, as project manager for different major city events and a couple of international business events.

From 1997 to 2007 I was the team leader for the Gothenburg Convention Bureau, Sweden, and after a short break I held the same position at the Stockholm Convention Bureau until 2014.

Since then I have been working closely with ENITED Business Events in Vienna, where I also live since 2007, acting as a senior consultant mainly focusing on supporting destinations in their business events strategies.

I am married to Ulrike von Arnold. I have three children and six grandchildren, and a “bonus child” through Ulrike.

Ivo J. Franschitz

Founder & Owner of ENITED business events

A good while ago, already during my university years, I have entered the business events world, good hooked to it, and never really wanted to leave again.

In 1998, my partner Rosa and I followed the dream to become entrepreneurs, and ENITED business events was born. Since then, we have been developing, growing and changing our company into a professional consultancy firm in the international world of business events & live communication. And I still love what I do.

Since 1999 I have been involved with a number of national and international educational institutions, and sharing his experience and knowledge through a variety of speaking engagements.

My passion for this industry also led to a Board member position with EMBA (Event Marketing Board Austria) and with LiveCom Alliance (Pan-European Platform of National LiveCom Associations), to serve as a committee member of PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association), as well as being an active member of ICCA (International Congress & Convention Association) and of 27NAMES (European Network of Leading LiveCom Agencies).

My first encounter with the ICCA world was the ICCA congress in Victoria, Canada, in 2008. And from the first moment on, it felt like joining a “family” of peers & friends.

Joining the great ICCA mentor team for the third time this year, I want to share, support and encourage all the first timers, to have that unique and wonderful experience I had 13 years ago.

Jeffers Miruka

Co-founder and president of the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE)

Mr. Jeffers Miruka is the co-founder and president of the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE). AfSAE is a pan-African professional community of association executives that is the association industry’s voice in Africa.

Mr. Miruka is also the Executive Director of the African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE), a Nairobi based association of agricultural and development economists with over 2000 members. He is the Director of Communications at the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE), with headquarters in Toronto.

Jeffers is a co-founder and partner of the Africa Association Management Company (AFAMCO), a premier Association Management Company in Africa. He also serves as the secretary and board member of the Association for Kenya Business Events (AKBE), as well as a member of the Research Committee with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).
He is a well-known association executive and contributes to several MICE and association webinars and conferences. Mr. Miruka is the 2019 recipient of the Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) at the Center for Association Leadership in Washington, DC.

Keiko Nishimoto

Lecturer of Ristumeikan University and also a Senior Researcher of MICE Research Institute (Congrès Group)

Keiko Nishimoto is a lecturer of Ristumeikan University and also a
senior researcher of MICE Research Institute (Congrès Group). She has
been working as a meeting planner at PCOs for 20 years.

Keiko was awarded Doctor of Management Science from Kyoto University in
2020, with the research titled “Value creation over time: the
application of IIRC integrated reporting framework to demonstrate the
value of MICE business”. She is the first PhD with solid background in
meetings industry in Japan, and will teach MICE management at several
universities from 2021.

As an ICCA member, Keiko currently represents Ristumeikan University,
and has been served as a Deputy Chair / Treasurer of Asia Pacific
Chapter since 2016. She also serves as a member of academic advisory
committee for ICCASkills from this year.

Kirsten Rudbeck

Head of Convention at DestinationFyn Convention Bureau

The ICCA Congress this year will be my 5th ICCA World Congress and my third time as a mentor for the first-timers. To me, the ICCA congresses are among the highlights of the year – it is food for the brain: So many key learnings, inspirations, great talks, and people to meet within the same field as yourself and yet doing things in many different ways – to me, working in a small team in a small country, this is a great inspiration. With COVID-19 and disruption in the meetings industry now is more relevant than ever to meet in person for good talks and great examples to be shared.

I work as Head of Convention at DestinationFyn Convention Bureau and have been working in the meeting industry for 13 years.

To me, this is not a job – this is a passion!

I am fortunate to work for a destination big enough to deliver what it takes to host international events and congresses, and small enough for a unique collaboration and where there is room for me to dive deep and truly get involved in the congresses; exploring the opportunities for impact, legacy and leveraging the opportunities that arise of congresses happening in the destination – benefitting research, businesses and society – locally and internationally. I am eager to create value beyond the meeting itself – This is where the magic happens!

I feel honored to be a part of the FTA mentor team and to have the chance to contribute to ICCA and the Industry. I hope you will find the ICCA Congress as a great opportunity to expand your knowledge and start building your global network of colleagues and friends and widen your horizon.

I am so excited that we can finally meet in person again and look forward to seeing those of you participating at the European hub very soon!

Margarita Aquino Guerrero

Head of the Permanent Secretariat of FIAS.

She was born in San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, on November 12, 1952.

She graduated in Librarianship from CDEP University, Postgraduate at INTEC, Executive Secretariat and Diploma in Human Resources from the Dominican-American University; Teacher Qualification at UTESA

At the Central Bank, she started as Executive Secretary.

She was president of the Dominican Association of Secretaries and of the Inter-American Federation of Associations of Secretaries (FIAS).

Currently, she holds the position of Head of the Permanent Secretariat of FIAS.

Mkunde Senyagwa Mushi

Director of Conferences and Marketing at the Arusha ICC Tanzania

Mkunde Senyagwa Mushi, Director of Conferences and Marketing at the Arusha ICC Tanzania. I have been attending ICCA Congresses  since 2010.

Professor Alan Dilani, Ph.D.

Founder of the International Academy for Design and Health (IADH) and the journal, World Health Design.

Dr. Dilani is a global authority on interdisciplinary research regarding the interaction between design and health. Dilani is a founder of the International Academy for Design and Health (IADH) and the journal, World Health Design. He has been engaged worldwide in several universities in the field of Design and Health developing a “Salutogenic Design Program”, in both medical and design institutions. He holds a Master of Architecture in Environmental Design from the Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, and a Ph.D. in Health Facility Design from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. His research center developed at the Karolinska Institute, Medical University, a multidisciplinary research approach, led to a new design theory called “Salutogenic Design” that not only fosters functional efficiency in building infrastructure but also improves health processes. He has designed all typologies of healthcare facilities and has been served as an advisor for several Ministries of Health around the world developing briefing with a vision of a Salutogenic approach to healthcare design. He is the author of 16 books and numerous articles in the field of Design and Health. Dr. Dilani has been awarded in 2010 from the American Institute of Architect, Academy of Architecture for Health for his promotion of high-quality design research and in 2017 he received the first Fellowship of Academy for Design and Health in the city hall of Vienna.

Alan Dilani – salutogenic champion, Dr. Alan Dilani is Professor of Architecture/Public Health, and Founder of the International Academy for Design & Health Dr. Dilani’s design theory Salutogenic design reflects Aaron Antonovsky’s Salutogenesis health theory, which posits that life’s experiences– understood as more or less comprehensible, manageable and meaningful,– shape one’s sense of coherence which in turn helps each person successfully mobilize resources to cope with life’s stressors and manage life’s tension – leading to health promotion. Dilani asserts that this definition of health and the “theory of health” that underlies it, lead to a coherent design method and approach. He describes how to design uninformed by salutogenic theory causes unnecessary stress while emphasizing the importance of a stress-prevention design approach for the built environment and urban design. His Theory of Salutogenic Design is an ecological health-promoting design method. He presents not only theory but practice examples that demonstrate the significant role that natural building materials and nature play in salutogenic design, as well as the psychological impact of views and choice and personal growth. Dilani brings to the conversation on urban design his experience of founding a multi-disciplinary international sharing and learning organization. He has brought together scientists, policymakers, industry experts as well as designers and building owners from across the globe to discuss principles and application of ecological and salutogenic design approaches in support of sustainable development in a healthy urban post corona society. By combining a theoretical understanding of ecological and salutogenic design with practical case studies of its successful application in healthcare, education, workplace, and urban settings, he is moving this important, health-promoting approach forward.

Rosa Blanca Reyero Miguelez

Owner & Senior Consultant of ENITED business events

I landed in the world of events by chance when I came to Vienna from Venice and it was love at first sight. That was 28 years ago and I still love my job.

23 years ago, my partner Ivo and I decided to start our own company, and since then we run our company ENITED business events, by sharing the idea of excellence.

True to our claim, we provide expertise, knowledge, and experiences in the business event field with a 360° approach, through our own developed Excellent. C Model, with three core areas: Competence, Consulting, and Coordination.

My first ICCA Congress was in Vancouver Island, in the beautiful city of Victoria, and since then I have only been unable to participate in two editions due to work commitments. I can’t wait to participate in the 2021 edition and I am very happy to be able to live the experience in Cartagena.

This will be my second time as a mentor, and I hope to be able to facilitate the entry into the ICCA family for the first-timers. It helped me a lot in my first participation, so I didn’t feel like a fish out of water. Whenever I can, I will gladly contribute to making the new participants feel from the first day as part of this big ICCA family and enjoy the congress.

Sarah Fleming

Managing Director and owner, Sarah Fleming Associates (SFA)

Managing Director and owner of Sarah Fleming Associates (SFA), Sarah has over 25 years of experience in the Meetings Industry. She was a board director of a leading UK PCO for ten years where she handled numerous large, high-profile events all over the world. Sarah was one of the first people to become an Iceberg Project Ambassador and is a strong supporter in its vital role as a knowledge hub for advocacy and a critical component in the industry response to the Covid19 pandemic.

Sarah has been offering consultancy services to the Meeting Industry since 2004 and in 2010 set up SFA Connect, a company offering outsourced research and lead generation consultancy and services supporting national tourism agencies, convention bureau, destination marketing organizations, and convention centres.

Through her work as a PCO for clients such as the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, the World Summit on Television for Children, BP, Inchcape, Shell, and Sybase, plus numerous Trade Associations (including FIABCI, RCGP, WONCA, and UITP), she gained an in-depth understanding of all aspects of Associations and event sales, marketing, finance, and logistics, in the UK, continental Europe, the USA, and Asia. She now has a competent, dedicated team of experienced researchers who can handle multiple client projects. Sarah’s company has an excellent track record of researching industry sectors and city knowledge hubs and successfully generating sector-appropriate leads to consistently deliver ROI for her clients.

Sigurjóna Sverrisdóttir

Sigurjóna Sverrisdóttir took over as Managing Director of Meet in Reykjavík – Reykjavík Convention Bureau in August 2019. Sigurjóna has been with Meet in Reykjavík since the beginning of 2012, most recently as Director of Exhibitions and Events. She has an MBA from the University of Iceland and a BA in Acting from Iceland Academy of the Arts.
Sigurjóna says that she looks forward to the months ahead. „There is a good reason for our optimism: MICE visitors continue to elevate the Icelandic economy. Last year, we welcomed an estimated 135,000 international MICE travelers. The number has been growing steadily since the opening of Harpa Conference Hall and Convention Centre in 2011, with a 14.4% average annual growth. We have also been climbing the ICCA country and city rankings; this year, Reykjavík moved up 30 places on the worldwide ranking from the previous year. We are very proud of this success.“
Sigurjona tells us about her experience at ICCA Congresses. „My first congress was Antalya in 2014. Every time I come back from the congress I am full of new ideas and new perspectives on how to adjust our work processes.“

Silke Schlinnertz

Head of Growth at Euroheat & Power

Silke is a “do-it-all” who loves to empower people and set up new innovative initiatives. She is Head of Growth at Euroheat & Power, where she intensively works together on event and marketing, creating the best experience for all stakeholders. Her role includes overseeing and management of the association’s administration as well as strengthening its relationships with members & partners. Ever since the start of her career, she has been part of the association world and covers marketing, member relations, and organizes events around the globe.

Silke worked for several associations since 2000 and joined Euroheat & Power in March 2011 from Colloquium Brussels, where she was a Professional Congress Organiser. Silke was appointed to the role of Head of Operations, Communications and Events at Euroheat & Power (the international association for District Heating and Cooling) in January 2014, having previously occupied the position of Communications and Events Manager. Prior to Colloquium, Silke worked for different associations such as SEMI, where she was in charge of the SEMICON Europe & Russia Trade Shows; the European Wind Energy Association, where she lead the events and marketing team; and UITP – Advancing Public Transport, where she began her career.

She currently serves on the Boardroom magazine advisory board and completed in January 2019 the Executive Master In International Association Management at Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management. In 2018 she made it to the Successful Meetings’ annual list of the 25 most influential people in the meetings industry.

Steve Mackenzie

Executive Vice President, Ungerboeck

Steve has 37 years of experience within the Hospitality and Events industry, 28 years focused on the technology side of the business.

He worked in some of the most luxurious resorts in the world before establishing himself as a world-leading expert in the event technology field, holding management roles in tech companies such as Micros-Fidelio, Ungerboeck Software, Aventri and is currently Executive Vice President at the newly announced merger between EventBooking and Ungerboeck, the world’s leading venue management software companies.

Currently, Steve is the North American Chair for the International Convention & Congress Association (ICCA), is also Chair of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) Strategic Leadership & Resources Committee, on the Board of Regents (and an Instructor) for IAVM’s Venue Management School, a member of IAVM’s Cyber Security committee, and an instructor at the Venue Management Association’s (VMA) Australian Venue Management School.

Over the past 25 years, Steve has spoken in over 20 countries on topics related to the industry, with a focus on technology.

Sus Nygaard

International Senior Sales Manager, Bella Center Copenhagen