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June 2021Dubai, UAE
Judges Panel


IAEE – MENA Chapter Chairperson and CEO
1st Arabia Trade Shows & Conferences

Founder and CEO of 1st Arabia Exhibitions and Conferences Organizers and a consultant for the MICE Industry, based in Saudi Arabia, and have other branches in Jordan, Dubai, and Bulgaria. Specialized in Meetings – Incentives – Conferences – Exhibitions & Event Management. The advisor & consultant for the Saudi national program, and a past managing director of the Saudi Events Management Academy – Conference & Exhibitions. He has venue management experience, his highly developed communication skills and talents for managing complex projects with a demonstrated ability to prioritize and multitask, he has single handily managed the most important projects regionally and internationally. His Company stands among the top in the list of MICE companies in KSA. He is the Chairman of the Middle East & North Africa Chapter of the International Organization of Exhibition and Events (IAEE), and a member of the following international associations: Ufi, ICCA, MPI, and PCMA.

Bruno Vitanza

Managing Director
SUBSONIC Event Services

Bruno’s career in technical event production spans multiple regions, from South America, Europe and the Middle-East. He has been involved in events encompassing all scales and levels of complexity. From project engineer to technical director to now production company owner, Bruno’s enduring passion for all things event production continues to expand.

Daniel During

Managing Director
Thomas Klein International

The founder and Principal Managing director of TKI, Daniel G. During was born in Argentina, moved to Europe as a teenager and obtained his Hotel Bachelor’s degree in France in 1986.


Novo Cinemas

Since taking on the role in 2013, Debbie has turned Novo Cinemas into the household entertainment brand it is today, offering more than just a venue to watch movies, but an immersive state-of-the-art destination for a variety of entertainment options through strategic partnerships and organic growth. The UAE based cinema chain operates across the GCC region including the UAE and Bahrain, with further expansion plans to continue across the region in the coming years including KSA and Oman.

Gerasimos Efthymiatos

Head of AV Accoustics / Partner
Salt – TS

Gerasimos Efthymiatos is partner and head of AV for SALT-TS Dubai, as well as the owner of T&A in Greece and Cyprus. His professional interests include the combined Audio/ Acoustics designs, as well as special Audiovisual projects and his experience spans over 25 years. He is dual AVIXA CTS certified and Member of U.K. Institute of Acoustics.

Holger Walter

CEO / Managing Director
MEEN the Middle East Event Network

Holger started his career in 1990 as a professional Laserist with his own company in Germany. He created hundreds of international multimedia shows and installations all over the planet. Since 2015 Holger Walter is the founder and CEO of MEEN The Middle East Event Network in the UAE that represents several leading event companies from Europe in the region. MEEN´s focus is on permanent and rental based visual experiences using projection mapping, Lasers and fountains. As well Holger is the Event Technology Director of T|H|E Technology, partner of HiLights Group, in Dubai.

Kevin Brown

Director, Planning & Management, Programming
Expo 2020

Kevin Brown has over 25 years’ experience in Senior Management positions whilst delivering major events around the world.

Previously he worked as Head of Local and International Events for Birmingham City Council, UK for six years and thereafter Director of the Iconic Spectaculars Project at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

He has worked in the UAE for the last 6 years on both agency side and for Governmental bodies. Notably leading Dubai Fitness Challenge in its first two editions for DTCM and now as Director of Planning and Management for Programming at Expo 2020.

Lisa Pennington

Chief Event Delivery Officer

Lisa is a Subject Matter Expert in the world of event and project management with now 27 years global experience from all sides of the industry from being Head of Events for a Global Sports Brand, to setting up and running her own turnkey solution Event Agency and for the last 7 years being a Strategic Consultant assisting organisations (Government, Corporate, Sporting and Agencies) to design, develop and implement Event Strategies, Event Calendars and Annual Plans to achieve organisation objectives. Structure and build teams to deliver events, as well as design and implement event functions, standard operating processes and procedures to ISO 9001 quality standards and technology systems to streamline SOPs and Project Management.

Malcolm Giles

Technical Director
ASN Global Middle East Coca-Cola Arena

Technical & Production Director for ASM Global Middle East at the Coca-Cola Arena. Malcolm manages the venue’s technical and production requirements for incoming events. With a career spanning 30 years working as a Sound Engineer, Audio Systems Engineer, Production Manager and Site Manager on international tours and festivals. Over the past 10 years Malcolm has brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the event industry in the Middle East and now heads up the Technical and Production Department for Dubai’s state-of-the-art arena. The region’s biggest and first indoor purpose-built Arena which is owned by Meraas and operated by ASM Global.

Mark Satchell

Group Chief Operating Officer
All Entertainment Group

Mark Satchell is Group Chief Operating Officer of All Entertainment Group (AEG) and is an accomplished Senior Executive with a demonstrable record of achievement in the theatrical, events, festival and venue management sectors.
Previous to working within AEG, Mark was Chief Executive Officer of Squares Event and regional General Manager of Live Nation Middle East, predominantly focusing on venue development and venue management within the Middle East.

After working in London’s West End Theatres for many years, Mark had the opportunity to come to the middle east to join a creative team as Operations and Programs Director for the iThra Knowledge program for Saudi Aramco.

Now in his seventh year working in the Middle East, Mark’s mission is to ensure AEG plays a significant part in the growth and success story of Saudi Arabia, and its ambitious vision 2030. In particular transferring knowledge to a new generation of young and talented Saudi Nationals. Building a bright and sustainable future within the entertainment and events industry.

Matthias Maurer

Managing Director
Global Sunshine Production

Matthias has led an impressive career as a Production and Broadcast Specialist in his more than 25 years in the industry.

He has extensive experience of large-scale events and high-profile projects, installing and leading cross-functional teams with the right players and qualification in order to achieve success for each project. Solution-orientated with excellent communication skills and a drive for perfection. Proactive and willing to work hard to achieve the goals – either as part of the team or on an individual basis.

Matthias currently plays a major role in the creative lead across multiple projects at The Diriyah Gate Development Authority while simultaneously creating its organizational structure within the events and entertainment department.

Maxine English

Park Lane Live

Maxine English, Partner of Park Lane Live who has dedicated over twenty years of her career ensuring that the UAE is firmly established in the global arena of showcasing local and international talent. Maxine’s experience in entertainment and theatre management is unparalleled in the region, with a unique and diverse skill set featuring everything from government events and theatrical production to “Triple A “artists rock and pop showcase concerts.

Maxine’s experience in Events, Communications, Entertainment and Theatre management is unparalleled in the region, with over 20+ industry awards to her name. Exceptional leadership skills and a track record of success. Maxine has worked in the region for over 20 years now, and has been responsible not only for some of the key events across the Emirates but the constant development of the industry. Leading her to be awarded a Golden Visa in recognition of her commitment to the UAE and its Arts, Culture and Events industry. The visa is in recognition of English’s over 20 years of dedicated career in organising big-ticket entertainment and art events, ranging from Flash Entertainment to Theatre by QE2, a brand that she conceptualized and brought to life.

Maxine now heads up Park Lane Live, her own Events, Communications, Content & Talent agency, delivering concepts, creative, event and production management and talent across the region.

Mike Smith

Grown-Up Solutions

In the region since 2008, Mike has worked in full-time roles for Action Impact, Blink Experience and Showforce in various production and management roles, winning a couple of Middle East Event Awards along the way. A few years ago, he set up Grown-Up Solutions and now helps his clients to work smarter, better and more profitably. Most recently, Mike became a partner in Global Infusion Group’s regional office, bringing world-class event, crew and artist catering services to the Middle East.

Naji El Haddad

Regional Manager, MEA

Over his 14 years career, Naji has built a very strong industry knowledge in the exhibitions, summits and sustainability industries leading one of the largest sustainability summit & expo in the MENA region.

Part of his role, Naji has curated a number of strategic partnerships with private and public sector organizations including World Bank, European Commission, UNDP, UNIDO, Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry in Japan (METI), Ministry of Energy in India, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), World Energy Congress, Total, Standard Chartered Bank, among many others.

Naji currently takes on the role of Regional Manager for UFI, the Global Association for the Exhibition Industry, in the Middle East & Africa region – in addition to being an independent event consultant.

Naji holds a Master Degree in International Business from Geneva Business School – Abu Dhabi Campus.

Oliver Wood

Executive Director
Holla Sonic

Oliver (Olly) Wood has over 20 year’s experience in the event industry, starting in his late teens with EMI Records in London through to his role in 2020 as Founder and Executive Director of Holla Sonic delivering music and entertainment strategy, production and creative across the world from his base in the UAE. Olly has worked alongside some of the world’s biggest brands from VICE to Universal Music Group, Tencent to Cirque Du Soleil; his role in shaping the reputation of the UAE as a creative entertainment hub has led him to win numerous industry awards as well as achieving great personal success, and over 40m streams worldwide, as part of electronic DJ and production duo, Hollaphonic.”

Ray Tinston

Executive Director
The Experience Middle East

Ray has over 18 years international experience as an organiser of events ranging from leading B2B exhibitions to conferences and B2C activations. His strategic consultancy offers: venue management, strategy development and implementation, sales, marketing and operations for associations, organisers, tourism departments and venue owners.

Shane Manning

Managing Director
TECS Event Services

SHANE MANNING – Owner/Founder & Head Rigger of TECS Event Services and Owner/Founder of High and Wired Events LLC.

Shane is a highly enthusiastic and experienced rigger/project manager with a capacity to be able to adapt to any situation and deliver without fail.

His 20+years in the event industry ensures he brings a wealth of knowledge to any event – large or small. He’s been an integral team member on many of the region’s large scale events for the past 16+ years. Shane definitely leads with a “can-do” attitude. His reliability, dependability and professionalism have ensured that he and TECS/H&W are the first choice for any event.

Silvio Liedtke

Landmark Leisure

Landmark Leisure since 2010. Since then, Silvio has transformed the Leisure Division into one of the fastest growing and most respected indoor leisure and entertainment businesses across India and the MENA Region. Under his leadership and vision, the company offers a wide range of entertainment and play centric options to its guests at its various concepts of entertainment for young and old in indoor venues, Fun City – which is the flagship brand of the division, Fun Ville, Fun Block, Fun Works, Tridom and Jumble, unique entertainment concepts which cater to more than 50 million loyal customers every year across its 93 venues in MENA Region and India!

With his vast background of leading world class customer centric hospitality businesses, whether for MAF here in the GCC or Legoland and Bourne Leisure in the UK: Silvio is strongly equipped to continue Landmark Leisure’s evolution and growth going forward. As founding member and VICE president of MENALAC (Middle East and North Africa Leisure and Attractions Council) Silvio also serves his industry in a voluntary capacity for the benefit of its businesses and its customers. As Chairman of the events committee Silvio also holds significant experience in dealing and collaborating in organizing major events.

Sonia Thomas

Chief Operations Officer
UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry

Sonia Thomas, UFI Director Operations/COO, has been part of UFI since September 2006 (www.ufi.org). A member of the senior management of the association, she works closely with the CEO on the strategic development, and is in charge of the UFI governing bodies (including legal aspects) and UFI membership, whilst overseeing the HR management and UFI’s overseas offices.

Sonia has a B.A. Honours Degree in Hospitality Management, and started her career in the hotel industry. She then worked at the International Hotel & Restaurant Association and at Arthur Andersen, where she was in charge of the European IT projects. Her most recent position before UFI was at a Paris based American law firm as HR and Administration Manager. She has two daughters and enjoys writing fiction: she recently completed two 10-week courses with Oxford University to perfect her creative writing skills. Sonia is also a certified team coach. In June 2019 she obtained a Master’s Degree with Distinction from Dauphine University in Paris.

Sophie Heymann

Director, Corporate Events CEMEA

Sophie has 15 years’ experience creating and delivering high profile events and sponsorships across the globe. Currently, Head of Events CEMEA at Visa and most recently at Nomura in London, Sophie has a diverse range of expertise, developed both agency side and in-house, for clients such as Unilever, Diageo, ExxonMobil, LVMH and Formula One. Prior to moving to Dubai, Sophie was chair of the Strategic Events Network in London, a networking group for senior event professionals in the banking, professional services and legal industries.

Stefan Wieland

Senior Consultant Director
SQRD. Consultancy LLC

Stefan Wieland has been in the Event Industry for 25years – started originally as an event technician in Europe, he switched into event production before the Millennium and has ever since worked on regional & international large scale events when moving into the UAE in the year 2000.

Since a few years stefan heads up a specialised consultancy supporting the international events & AV industry, he is engaged in knowledge transfer, legacy setting and advisory to governmental, educational and private organisation.

As a keen networker, he is participating as a speaker and judge at several international exhibitions and award programs.

Tatiana Antonelli Abella

Founder and Managing Director

Tatiana moved to the UAE in 2005. Having studied Architecture and Urban Planning in Italy, she felt she was at the right place at the right time in order to support sustainable development and help raise awareness among the local community: curb pollution, conserve natural resources and reduce the impact on the environment.

Her passion for Sustainability led her to found Goumbook in 2009, creating the first ‘green’ information resource and ‘eco’ directory for the MENA Region. Her commitment to the Environment blossomed into a sense of duty towards the community and today she sits on the Engage Committee, under Dubai Chamber of Commerce’s umbrella and acts as an advisor to events such as Art Dubai or the Emirates Literature Festival to help them be more sustainable. Since 2012 she has been proud to be a judge of the Gulf Capital SME Awards for the ‘Most Sustainable Business of the Year’.

Nowshir Engineer

SM Productions Events LLC

An industry veteran with over 16 years of UAE experience he is widely recognized as a pioneer in the Event and Entertainment education industry – he established the global institution EMDI which trained over 20,000 students across 3 countries and 16 centers/franchises. He was also the founder of India’s most recognized event platform – EVENTFAQS.com

He currently serves on the leadership team of LINKVIVA as Director of Partnerships and handles special projects and partnerships for the organization. He works closely with the creative and pitch team to ensure projects are won, and then works hand in hand with the production and operation team to ensure excellence is delivered. He is instrumental in bringing on board partners and resources and growing the business.