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Speakers and Panellists

We are populating as speakers and panellists are fully confirmed.

For a list of invited speakers and panellists please reference the programme.

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Steve Heap, Chairman of Events Industry Forum, General Secretary, of Association of Festival Organisers
Steve Heap has been the general secretary of the AFO since its formation in 1987. He is also the director of Mrs Casey Music and a co-director of Towersey Festival. He has more than 40 years' experience in the festival and events industry and is currently chairman of the Events Industry Forum (EIF).
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Clare Breigal, CEO, World Netball

Clare has been the executive lead of World Netball since 2013, she has driven the development and implementation of the federation's strategic plan including the rebrand in 2021.

As a board member of Sport Liverpool, Clare oversees the delivery of Liverpool's major sports events and bidding for future events.

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Bev Ward, Bid Consultant (Host Cities), The Football Association

Bev led the original bid for England to host the Women's Euros in 2022, which ultimately brought success for English women's football. She was also the lead on managing the host cities throughout the delivery of the Women's Euro and is now a consultant on a bid to host it again in 2028.

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Eric Stuart, Chair, UKCMA

Eric is the director of Gentian Events, Chair of the United Kingdom Crowd Management Association (UKCMA) and Chair of the Global Crowd Management Alliance (GCMA). He is also a board member of the Events Industry Forum (EIF).

He is a Crowd Safety Manager for events ranging from music festivals to Edinburgh Hogmanay and is also engaged with crowd management at complex ‘crowded space’ environments across the US, Canada and UK.

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Chris Barrett, Editor, Mash Media Group
Chris is an experienced writer and editor who creates compelling editorial, PR and marketing content across multiple platforms.
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Daniel Gidney, CEO, Lancashire County Cricket Club
20 year veteran of leisure and entertainment industries. In addition to this large scale facilities management and catering through PFI projects.
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James Price, Head of Communications , Emirates Old Trafford
James has worked at Emirates Old Trafford since 2015, in that time he has been part of the team that delivered the ICC Cricket World Cup, Ashes Tests, The One Love Concert after the Manchester Bombings and the behind-closed-doors, bio secure international cricket at Emirates Old Trafford
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Chris Thompson, CEO, You Smart Thing
As CEO Chris lead the vision and strategy for 'You. Smart. Thing.', and an amazing team of talented individuals! We enhance visitor experience and engagement by guiding people to destinations, venues, and events the smart way: personalised; accessible; sustainable.
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Joe Cusdin, CEO, Iventis
Joe is the founder of Iventis, a collaborative event mapping platform, following 10 years working with major events. He is a leading technical expert in the event industry, specialising in GIS, Crowd Modelling and Software Development. He’s worked across the world in major events including London 2012, the Baku European Games 2015, and Dubai Expo 2020.
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Ken Scott MBE, Head of Inspectorate, Sports Ground Safety Authority
Ken has been Head of Inspectorate at the SGSA since 2016. He has been involved in local government, including being chair of the Safety Advisory Group for Sunderland Football Club.
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Rick Stainton, Founder, The Power of Events and CEO of Smyle Creative
Rick oversees the growth strategy of Smyle Group, a 100 strong team based in London. It owns leading creative agency Smyle, that delivers live and video projects for some of the top global brands in a range of sectors including IT, Telco and Media. 
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Richard Bate, Chief Safety & Sustainability Officer, E Bike Grand Prix
Richard is the Chief Safety and Sustainability Officer for the E Bike Grand Prix, which is also part of the Cube International Group. He has become an accomplished Global Safety Leader, Vice President and Chartered Member of the Royal Institution of Occupational Health & Safety. Richard also has over 30 years of experience in safety leadership roles in the sport, music and major global events industry, that included 3 Olympic Games.
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Dimitris Drakoulis, Managing Partner, Thridium 

Dimitris works on technology for the protection of crowds in stadia and large event infrastructures. This includes the specialisation of the evacuation of stadia in response to crises and threats.

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Chris Burr, Managing Director G4S Events, G4S

Chris has over 12 years exeprience in the security and events industry. He has experience in leading teams across a broad geographical remit and wide customer base. He has also been successful in delivering events in line with customer and internal business objectives. 

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Jon Drape, Director, Engine 4

Jon is a Director at Engine No. 4, music festival and event production specialists. Their current client list includes Parklife, Kendal Calling, The Warehouse Project and Snowbombing among others. 

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Tom Sammes, Head of Strategy at The Jockey Club

Tom has been able to combine creative flair with strong analytical skills to break down complex problems and come up with innovative solutions to deliver business objectives. He has also had previous experience as part of the European Tour as strategy and business development manager.

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Steve Davies, Operations Director, Lancashire County Cricket Club

Steve has been in the events industry for over 10 years. Before working for Lancashire CCC he was working for Merlin Entertainments, where he held roles such as head of operations at Alton Towers and operations director at Chessington World of Adventures.

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Pippa Strasser - Ganderton, Product Director, ATPI Halo

Pippa is spearheading the delivery of ATPI's sustainable travel approach by managing all aspects of their carbo reduction portfolio. She is also leading the global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Steering Group for ATPI. This has involved bringing together expertise from key areas of the business in order to define the forward-think TMC's sustainability path.

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Trudy Lindblade, Chief Executive Officer, Glasgow 2023 UC World Championships

Trudy is the Chief Executive Officer of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships and joined the organisation in October 2020.

 

Having spent more than 20 years leading, planning, and delivering major international events in Australia and around the world, Trudy has a strong background and experience working on complex large-scale major events working with governments, local organising committees, event hosts and international and national sports federations in the process to support government ambitions to deliver positive economic and social outcomes.

 

Her experience in cycling events spans over 12 years, including senior roles at the 2010 UCI Road World Championships, the first UCI Road World Championships to be held in the southern hemisphere, Event Director for the 2012 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, and General Manager of Australia Cycling Events, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cycling Australia that was responsible for major cycling event delivery. 

 

Prior to joining the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championship, Trudy worked for leading events acquisition organisation, Victorian Major Events Company, now Visit Victoria from 2013 to 2020. During this time, she played a pivotal role in the feasibility, creation, and delivery of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. First held in 2015, this event now features the opening UCI WorldTour one-day races for men and women as well as participation events for people of all ages and abilities. 

 

In addition to her cycling credentials, Trudy worked on a range of acquisition projects most notably she was a member of the team who secured Melbourne’s bid for the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup matches as well as Liverpool Football Club’s first appearance in Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2013. 

 

Prior to her work in cycling, Trudy spent over eight years working in Australian and international cricket, including heading up the Event Management Department for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup head quartered in Kingston, Jamaica, where matches were played in venues across multiple countries in the West Indies.

 

As Chief Executive of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championship, Trudy has overall executive responsibility for the planning and delivery of the event, which will take place in Glasgow and across Scotland in August 2023, combining 13 UCI World Championships into one mega event for the first time.

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Sarah Bickerton, Director of Event Delivery and Operations, Manchester Central

With a successful career in the events industry spanning 20 years, Sarah has extensive experience in and a passion for hosting major events. She has held senior positions at Manchester Central for more than 11 years and oversees event delivery and service to ensure all aspects are delivered to the highest of standards.

Sarah and the events team work closely with all clients to plan and host unique events collaboratively, often on a world stage. This has included a range of high profile events including political party conferences, concerts and live TV shows such as the X Factor final.

Manchester Central hosts and manages a vast array of events, welcoming over half a million visitors to the city each year. Sarah enjoys working in the fast paced environment of a major conference venue, tailoring requirements exactly to the needs of a variety of clients.

As an expert in the delivery of events for one of the UK's largest international convention centres, Sarah is keen for Manchester Central to play its part in leading the way for the sector. She has an interest in operational delivery excellence, sustainability, innovation and future trends.

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Stephane Bazire, Head of Business, Sustainability & Partnerships, Silverstone

Stephane has specialised in event & venue management and sustainability development through his work on the ATP Tour, Extreme Barcelona Urban Festival and project management for Nissan Europe, Circuit of Barcelona-Catalonia and World Roller Games.

Currently he is working to drive forward the journey towards Carbon Net Zero at one of the worlds most iconic circuits, Silverstone.

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Michael Emery, CEO, Joymo

Michael is the CEO of a streaming platform, in Joymo, that prioritises grassroots sports and is available for clubs, athletes, coaches and fans.

The Joymo platform allows users to film using their own camera equipment, as well as generate revenue through ticket sales and advertising opportunities as well.

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Craig Mathie, Managing Director, Bournemouth 7's Festival

Craig heads up a team that delivers one of the UK's favourite, multi-award-winning sport and music festival in the form of Bournemouth 7's. It welcomes 30,000 people each year across 3 days, with 100 live acts and DJ's.

Craig also  looks after the health and safety planning making sure there are minimal risks across the weekend. He is also responsible for the day to day project management of the festival as well as coordinating the teams efforts to deliver the event.

Alex Mendis, Risk Advisor, Sport & Entertainment, Miller Insurance

Alex is working closely with professional sport clubs, associations, governing bodies, high profile sports and entertainment organisations to advise them on identifying and managing risks that they are going to face.

He has had a wealth of insurance experience across a variety of industries and products, since retiring from professional cricket through injury in his early twenties.

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Graeme Nicholson, Regional Sales Director, Heineken UK

Graeme has a wide range of experience in sales, New Business and account management. He has helped strike partnerships between Heineken and a number of large sporting clubs such as Manchester City and Lancashire Cricket Club.

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Rahul Bissoonauth, UK Director, Yunus Sports Hub

As Director of Business Development Rahul is responsible for offering strategy and fundraising consultancy to socially minded organisations. These organisations will be primarily based within sports, education and social housing sectors.

Rahul also helps shape the growth strategy and delivers on increasingly ambitious new business targets at Oaks.

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Philip Atkins, CEO, Off to Work

Philip is the founder and CEO of Off to Work, the idea behind Off to Work was that something better could be added to the industry in terms of the quality of the staff that were being brought into it and the way that they are dealt with.

With over 25 years in the hospitality industry behind him, Philip remains hugely passionate about that and the events industry and is looking to create additional synergy between Off to Work and their clients at every opportunity.

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Victoria Brookes, Senior Security Manager, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Victoria is an experienced staffing and workforce manager within the sport and entertainment industry, and she specialises in safety and security.

She has previously worked at Lords Cricket Ground before moving to work on the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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Peter Swordy, Director, Health Safety and Compliance, London Stadium

Peter has an extensive experience around manging major events at various sporting stadia around the UK. This includes Selhurst Park, Carrow Road and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

For the past 3 years he has worked as the director of Health and Safety at the London Stadium, implementing public access trauma kits to give members of the public easy access to first aid tools if they are needed in an emergency.

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Sue Storey, CEO, Badminton England

Before joining Badminton England Sue was the Chief Executive at Volleyball England, where she provided leadership in the development of a ten year strategy, secured an increase in funding, improved commercial income and helped drive an increase in junior participation across the country.

Before this she spent a number of years at the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) and made a significant contribution to improving safety, security and service at major sports venues across the UK. 

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Gareth Lloyd, UK Sponsorship Sales Director, ASM Global

Before working for ASM Global Gareth was the Head of Partnerships for Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022. Here he was responsible for leading the team who developed the innovative and very successful partnerships for the Commonwealth Games.

Gareth has a number of years experience in the sports, events and venues industry, while specialising in creating mutually beneficial partnerships between brands and rights holders.

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Alex Balfour, Former Head of Content, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Alex has been a highly successful senior executive with a world class record in creating, building and growing digital media in sport. Previous experiences including creating and managing the official digital channels for London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics, developed and implemented a digital commercial strategy for the UEFA Champions League and other UEFA club competitions and helped develop the Guardian newspapers first politics website.

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James Robinson, Managing Director, Limelight Sports Club

James has been been working as part of mass participation events for the past 10 years this includes The Great Run Company, Lagardère Sports and WME-IMG. In his past roles he has been involved with World Triathlon Series, ITU World Championships as well as over 30 more annual international events.

Now as part of Limelight Sports Club they have acquired IMG Mass Participation and Virgin Sport. This has resulted in an increase in turnover and gross profit in the last 2 years.

Eoghan Gill, Director of Strategy, Foamhand

James has been been working as part of mass participation events for the past 10 years this includes The Great Run Company, Lagardère Sports and WME-IMG. In his past roles he has been involved with World Triathlon Series, ITU World Championships as well as over 30 more annual international events.

Now as part of Limelight Sports Club they have acquired IMG Mass Participation and Virgin Sport. This has resulted in an increase in turnover and gross profit in the last 2 years.

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Phil Davies, Head of Safety and Security, ECB

Phil has over a decade working in safety and security moving from the Lancashire  Constabulary to the ECB. 

At the the ECB he has been responsible, as Head of Security for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 and most recently the Head of Safety and Security for the ECB. He has also worked on the The Ashes in 2019, ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 and also the the lead planner and COVID-19 enforcer for the ECB's International Summer in 2019.

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Rupert Daniels, Director of Services and Skills, Department of International Trade

As Director of Services and Skills at the Department for International Trade, Rupert is responsible for helping UK organisations grow globally by developing their export capabilities and attracting inward investment. His portfolio covers diverse sectors including Digital Commerce, Creative Industries, Education, Consumer and Luxury Goods, Financial, Professional and Business services, and Sport. This combined team will number around 80 Civil Servants based in London and across the U.K. 
 
In Government, Rupert delivered the 2021 Trade and Agriculture Commission to Parliament and is the Chair of Trade Advisory Groups (TAG’s) in Creative Industries and Consumer Goods & Retail, and co-chairs the Sports Advisory Group. Within DGET, he is responsible for cross-cutting campaigns and events and acts as the SRO for International Trade Week. 

Rupert joined the Civil Service just over 2 years ago from Cambridge University Press where he spent 7 years building their global, digital brand as the Global Marketing Board Director. Rupert joined Cambridge University Press from Arsenal Football Club, where he was the global Partnerships Director. Prior to this he was a founder in a start-up digital and mobile marketing agency and worked in Switzerland for 8 years with FIFA; running websites, sponsorship, film, television, and music operations for three world cups, Ballon d’Or and many other related sporting events. He has over 20 years of global experience across, sales, marketing, media, digital, data and branding. 
 
Finally, Rupert started his career as a lecturer in sport science at Cambridge Regional College and Anglia Ruskin University and holds an MBA from the University of Liverpool. 

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Emma Holling, Festival Director & Event Manager, Underneath The Stars Festival

Emma is the Festival Director and Event Manager for the Underneath the Stars Festival in Yorkshire that is all about art and music.

Emma is  involved in the running of the festival which includes over 400 volunteers, a number of international artists and thousands of attendees over the course of 3 days at the beginning of August.

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Jonathan Gregory, Commercial Director, The Goodwood Group

Jonathan is the Commercial Director for the Goodwood Group, but has past experiences in the same role for the Bahrain International Circuit and Leicester City Football Club.

Jonathans commercial experience has been gained across the sports and entertainment industries working for rights holders, governing bodies, venues and events. 

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Iain Reid, Chief Executive, Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022

Iain is the Chief Executive for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022. He oversaw the the establishment of the Organising Committee as well as the early stages of planning and delivery of the Games.

Iain had previously served as CFO and Company Secretary for Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 from 2009 to 2015. The event procured almost £250m worth of goods and services as well has getting 1,500 staff on board and exceeded all attendance and commercial targets.

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Diane McLeod, Head of Workforce and Volunteering, London Marathon

Diane is the Head of Workforce and Volunteering for the London Marathon, but also has previous experiences at multi sport events including London 2012, Glasgow 2014 and Baku 2015. 

Diane has been able to successfully oversee the strategic planning and coordination of workforce operations across all areas of multi sport events.   

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Goc O'Callaghan, Experience Analyst, Crowd Dynamics International

Goc is the Experience Analyst at Crowd Dynamics International where she quantifies experience through an extensive experience design and analysis, ensuring legacy for event and entertainment environments and benefits for owners and operators.

Goc is also the founder and festival director for ArcTanGent, which is an award-winning, critically-acclaimed independent festival which focuses on experimental rock music, attracting an international crowd of 12,000 people every August.

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Graham Dames, Business Development Manager: Events Infrastructure,
Sunbelt Rentals

Graham is the Business Development Manager for Sunbelt Rentals and has two decades of experience in sales and customer based roles. He is ensuring that businesses are operating commercially to deliver events-based projects of all shapes and sizes around the UK and Europe.

Grahams other areas of speciality will include supporting tenders and looking to build long lasting partnerships with both new and existing clients.

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James Dean, Director UK Strategy and Commercial, ESL Gaming

James is the  Director of UK Strategy and Commercial for ESL Gaming. ESL operates the UK's longest running national esports tournament, the ESL Premiership. This spans across four gaming titles and ESL still holds records for the largest ever online audience for a UK esports tournament.

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Jon Dutton, Chief Executive Officer, Rugby League World Cup

John is the Chief Executive Officer of the Rugby League World Cup for 2022 after leaving his post as the RFL Director of Projects and People. He led the successful bid for the tournament which included a £25m funding award from HM Government.

He has also previously served in roles for the PGA European Golf Tour, Manchester FA and ran his own sports consultancy company. 

Claire O'Neil, Co Founder, A Greener Festival

Claire Co founded the A Greener Festival in 2006, which looks to set the standard for green events across the UK. The A Greener Festival now delivers sustainable events training globally, consults with major music and events organisations on their sustainability strategy and actions.

Claire was also the Director of Sustainability for HM The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Pageant. She is also currently the event producer for the Green Events &? innovations Conference.

Shaun Whatling, CEO, Redmandarin

Shaun, for the last 14 years, has worked with a number of Europe's 100 biggest businesses. In the last decade he has also helped consolidate Redmandarin and their Olympic Consulting IP and had 5 Tokyo Partner clients.

Shaun is an expert at helping clients find smart solutions which help achieve business objectives, cots less and delver added value to the business and their bottom line.

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Jonathan North, Digital and Content Lead, MMC/Lords Ground

Jonathan is the Digital and Content Lead for the MMC, where he is skilled in digital strategy and content creation. Before this he was the Digital Communications Manager at UK Sport, Watford FC and Paralympics GB during Tokyo 2020.

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Ronan Moore, Managing Director, uTRAC Online

Ronan has over 15 years in the live events industry working across production, management and stage building. He is now the Managing Director of uTRAC Online, which is an online workforce management system for the temporary labour provision industry.