Judges

Yvette Chatwin

Yvette Chatwin

General Manager, 30 Euston Square

Bio

With more than 20 years managing venues and catering contracts across London, Yvette Chatwin has a track record for delivering excellence and success.  She is best known for her work at 30 Euston Square, the home of the Royal College of General Practitioners, which she launched three years ago to the global meetings market.

With a career that started in restaurants operated by the Roux Brothers as well as Searcys and Leith’s, she has extensive knowledge of both retail and commercial hospitality that allows her to continually develop the Euston Square brand, maintaining its position as a landmark venue within the capital.

Emma Hatt

Emma Hatt

Head of Events, The Hurlingham Club

Bio

Emma established her events career over 13 years ago, and has since managed some of the most prestigious venues and events in London. Managing the Sales and Operations teams across multiple sites, as well as successfully implanting creative and profitable venue marketing strategies. Emma has worked within 5* Luxury Hotels, Historic Venues and currently Heads up the Event Teams at The Exclusive Hurlingham Club, which, with a capacity of up to 1200 guests, hosts some of the most impressive and notable events in the industry calendar.
Nick Kenton

Nick Kenton

Head of Sales, Meetings & Events and Hospitality, Lord’s Cricket Ground

Bio

Nick has worked in sporting venues for over 12 years including roles at Twickenham and Emirates Stadium. Nick started working for the MCC at Lord’s Cricket Ground back in 2011 as Sales Manager for Meetings and Events. After a successful period of growth within non match-day events he was promoted back in May 2013 to head up the sales division for both Meetings & Events and Match day hospitality. Lord’s known as ‘The Home of Cricket’ hosts around 500 external events every year and will host up to 2500 hospitality guests each day for the upcoming England v. South Africa Investec Test Match this summer.
John Nugent

John Nugent

Founder and Chief Executive, Green & Fortune

Bio

In 2008 John launched Green & Fortune and Kings Place Events which coincided with the opening of Kings Place, in Kings Cross London.  In this time, Kings Place Events has established itself as one of London’s premium venues for conferencing, hospitality and events.  The company also has a Café brand of its own name within its portfolio as well as the restaurant, bar and private dining business, Rotunda.  Earlier this year Green and Fortune launched Sea Containers Events, on London’s South Bank, in the iconic building of the same name.  This premium events venue with panoramic views of London.

Earlier this year Green & Fortune announced a partnership with Ogilvy & Mather Group UK to launch hospitality and event services at Sea Containers on London’s South Bank.

Prior to launching Green & Fortune John was Chief Executive of Searcys, taking it from a two site focused business to a large and significant operator in the bespoke end of the food service and events sector.  He was previously managing director of Richard Corrigan’s restaurant company and currently works on a number of employment initiatives based around youth and local unemployment in the Kings Cross, Camden and Islington area.  He is a trustee of Global Generation, a food, training and sustainability charity.  He also works with Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

Steve Sayer

Steve Sayer

Commercial Director, O2

Bio

Steve joined The O2 in July 2014 from Manchester City Football Club, where he was previously operations director.  Building a wealth of experience having been with the club for 17 years, Steve oversaw the transformation of the Club’s match day operations, positioning the Etihad Stadium as the leading sporting venue for partner integration, hospitality innovation, public catering, family provision and fan engagement.

As commercial director at The O2 Steve will help the world’s no 1 music venue achieve its vision to become the world’s leading entertainment destination. He has responsibility for leading several of The O2’s commercial endeavours, including corporate hire of the venue’s multiple event spaces, strategic new business development, event day revenue streams and the popular attraction and team build activity Up at The O2. In addition, Steve oversees all venue catering and the on-site retail partners.

James Varah

James Varah

Commercial Director, The Brewery

Bio

James is Commercial Director of The Brewery, one of London’s leading corporate event venues. Having graduated from Exeter University, he began his career with Initial Style Conferences, before taking on a sales role with Whitbread, working at The Brewery in 2004. During the last ten years, he has risen through the ranks at the City venue, with the business changing hands twice in this period, first forming part of the Earls Court & Olympia venue group, before coming under private ownership in 2012. James and his team have successfully evolved the venue’s brand and offering to achieve record levels of sales growth over the last three years. The venue now hosts 500 events per year, primarily derived from the media, financial and technology sectors, with attendance ranging from 18 to 1,800 people. His role now sees him oversee all sales, marketing, revenue management, supplier relationships and event delivery. James won an Acorn Award from The Caterer in 2009, recognising him as one of the Top 30 under 30 in the hospitality industry. 
Alicia Duncan

Alicia Duncan

General Manager, The Mermaid

Bio

Alicia is General Manager of The Mermaid and the River Rooms, an iconic venue in the City of London.  She began her career in hospitality and venue management with Smollensky’s and Novus Leisure.  A dynamic and inspirational General Manager, leading a team of 20, Alicia is highly focused and an expert at building strong, committed teams through the implementation of core skills and ongoing training.  She’s not afraid to think out of the box and go that extra mile for clients whilst maintaining strong commercial acumen
Guy Hilton

Guy Hilton

General Manager, Waldorf Hilton

Bio

As General Manager of The Waldorf Hilton, Guy Hilton is overseeing one of London’s most iconic hotels. With considerable industry experience and proven leadership expertise in hotel operations, sales and staff development, he has been charged with moving this famous establishment forward. Joining in October 2016, The Waldorf is his sixth Hilton property, following time at Leeds, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Brighton and Gatwick – all as General Manager. He held his first General Manager position at the age of 28 at the Royal Hotel in Llangollen, going on to lead a series of impressive hospitality innovations and advancements. Beyond hotel life, he likes the challenge of marathons and triathlons.
Elliot Moore

Elliot Moore

General Manager - Catering, The Kia Oval

Bio

Having studied hospitality and catering management at Brighton College, Elliott embarked on a management training scheme with Thistle Hotels where he was successful in obtaining the position of Head of Conference and Events at the Kensington Palace Hotel in London. After 5 years within the hotel sector, Elliott moved into contract catering working at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Highbury Stadium, The Emirates Stadium, The O2 Arena, The American Express Stadium and The Ageas Bowl in a variety of senior management roles before taking up the post of General Manager at The Kia Oval. During his time with Compass, Elliot has travelled extensively and helped open and mobilise a variety of events and contracts in the UK, Europe and in the USA.
David Pegler

David Pegler

CEO, Excel London

Bio

David Pegler graduated from Loughborough University in 1983. His career has spanned 28 years in the exhibitions, publishing and media business at the highest level, including companies such as Blenheim Exhibitions, Miller Freeman, Imark Communications Europe and UKIP Media & Events. David joined ExCeL London in November 2008 as MD and was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in January 2013. Outside work David Pegler was a very successful rugby player, having Captained England Rugby Union teams at every level from English schools U16 through to England “A”, as well as Captain of Wasps and London Irish Rugby Clubs.
Sean Spencer

Sean Spencer

Head of Venues and Facilities, IET

Bio

 Sean has working in the hospitality and events industry for 32 years  with large group , private and niche operators  these have included Virgin Hotels , De Vere Hotels , Elite Hotels , SAGA Group , Leeds Castle, Merchant Inns  and the last six years at The Institution of Engineering and Technology . Over the years I developed  a passion for the buildings ,  their history and how they link into the USPs and culture of an organisation and its teams .  Especially when it comes to large multi £million redevelopments like Luton Hoo, Hotel, Golf and Spa and Savoy Place.
Sam Wilson

Sam Wilson

General Manager, The Roof Gardens

Bio

Sam Wilson is General Manager at The Roof Gardens, and is responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of the venue. Originally from Ayrshire in Scotland, Sam joined the team 100ft above Kensington after having held Deputy General Manager and GM positions at hotels and venues across the UK and in London. Sam is a keen photographer in her spare time, so you’ll often find her trying to get the perfect snap of our flamingo’s or the sunset from Babylon’s Terrace!
Tracy Halliwell

Tracy Halliwell

Director of Business Tourism & Major Events , London & Partners

Bio

Tracy Halliwell heads up London’s Convention Bureau, managing the event solutions team and a global sales team focused on attracting discretionary business, cultural & sporting events to the capital. At the same time Tracy works with city stakeholders to develop and build London’s business and major events tourism offering.

Prior to joining London & Partners Tracy had over 20 years’ experience in senior sales and marketing positions in the tourism industry. She has worked with Millennium and Copthorne Hotels, Thistle Hotels, Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts and has held numerous property-based Director of Sales & Marketing roles within London and the UK.

Tracy was awarded an MBE for services to business tourism in 2014.

Stephen Lawrence

Stephen Lawrence

Managing Director, Battersea Evolution

Bio

Stephen is Managing Director of Battersea Evolution and seasonal venue projects at Smart Group. Battersea Evolution is a semi-permanent structure located in the beautiful Battersea Park, and caters for a wide variety of events ranging from the Decorative Art and Textile Fair and Ski Show to the Sports Industry and Publican Awards. Stephen oversees the passionate team and is responsible for sales and operational delivery at Battersea Evolution as well as Smart Group Christmas venues at Finsbury Square and Willows Farm. Prior to Smart, Stephen was Managing Director at Ultimate Experience, a division of Concerto Group, where he worked for 20 years and was integral in developing the summer and winter venue portfolio.
Chris Morris

Chris Morris

Managing Director, Twickenham Experience

Bio

Chris is the Managing Director of Twickenham Experience Limited, a joint venture between the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Compass Group Plc., which manages and operates conferences and events, corporate hospitality and all food and beverage services at Twickenham Stadium, the Home of England Rugby. Chris sits on the Senior Management Group of the RFU. Prior to joining Twickenham Experience Chris was Managing Director of the UK Sports Division of Compass Group Plc., the world’s largest provider of food and support services and before that UK Sales and Marketing Director of Jack Morton Worldwide, the global experiential marketing agency.
Jonathan Read

Jonathan Read

Commercial Director, Tobacco Dock

Bio

Jonathan is the Commercial Director of Tobacco Dock and relaunched the area as a live events destination with his business partner, Patrick Donovan, in 2012. Prior to this Jonathan spent over 20 years in live events and brand communications both agency and client-side, producing product launches, leading brand experience programmes and activating sponsorship in over 30 countries for brands including AMD, General Motors, SanDisk, Johnson & Johnson, LG, Guinness and Grey Goose. He is a member of EVCOM and the Marketing Society.

Tobacco Dock is a community for the ideas generation. Equidistant from The City, Tech City and the cultural heart of London the setting combines progressive spaces against an architecturally significant backdrop. We encourage the sharing of information, a place where people congregate and ideas are exchanged.

Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor

CEO, QEII Centre

Bio

Mark Taylor is CEO of the Queen Elizabeth II Centre (QEII), a premier purpose-built events venue in Westminster. Mark has over 30 years of experience of events, venues and the tourism sector.  He started his career working in Sales for Club Med followed by the Sydney Convention and Visitors Bureau where he became Assistant Director. Mark moved to the UK in 1990 where he took up the role of Marketing Manager, Wembley Convention and Exhibition Centre and subsequently of Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena before securing the role of Director of Sales and Marketing for Wembley International. Mark then spent 16 years in the arts sector firstly at the Barbican as Commercial and Buildings Director and then Chief Executive of the Wales Millennium Centre before joining the QEII in April 2013.

Since his arrival in 2013, Mark has been taking the QEII Centre on a journey of revitalisation and rejuvenation, both physically and philosophically, working with his team to evolve the brand and deliver the ambition to become London’s finest specialist events venue.  Leading the Centre through a major capital investment programme, he has re-established the Centre’s ‘wow factor’, transforming the reputation, appearance and performance of the QEII. His commercial prowess has seen the Centre achieve its best financial results in a decade and the Centre is now attracting an increasingly diverse portfolio of clients and events.   Mark’s commitment and drive to modernise the Centre was rewarded when he won the miaList Leadership Award 2015, an accolade for which he was nominated by the QEII staff.