Judges

Claire Bastin

Claire Bastin

Senior Venues Manager, The Postal Museum

Bio

Claire is the Senior Venues Manager at the newly opened Postal Museum and Mail Rail. With over 20 years experience in event management, she has spent the last 2 years developing the museum’s events department and launching the two new venue spaces. Claire is currently responsible for leading the event operations team and for the strategic planning and delivery of sales and marketing across both sites. During her previous role as Venue Marketing Manager at 15Hatfields Conference and Events, she also took on the role as Chairperson of Better Bankside Venues Group and was a senior member of South Bank Venues Group. Outside of venue life, Claire is a keen foodie and enjoys going out for weekend brunches! 
Meredith Bevan

Meredith Bevan

General Manager, Hilton London Wembley

Bio

Meredith has over 25 years of experience within the hospitality Industry. Educated in Derbyshire and High Peak Hotel school and a graduate of University of Wales, Cardiff, Meredith spent his formative years with Canadian Pacific Hotels in Alberta; Lonrho Hotels, Africa and with Metropole and Stakis Hotels in the UK before joining Hilton UK & Ireland as a GM in 2002. Working closely with Hilton Worldwide and its key partners, Meredith has held 8 positions of General Manager-ship in the past 14 years including 3 opening GM positions, 1 repositioning and 1 de-branding; and also Director of Operations in the largest Conference and Banqueting Hotel in Europe.

Meredith’s accolades include Best Employer in Hospitality 2012, 13,14 and 15 (Nominee and finalist) and Winner in 2012 and 2103. Director of Operations of the year for Hilton Worldwide in 2011 (Metro Hotels section), Finalist of the Irish Hospitality Institute, Manager of the year, 2007.

Meredith’s foundation of success within the Hospitality sector emanates from the simple formula. Excellent customer service, set within a focus and happy culture of efficient productivity will reap benefits for all stakeholders. Simply put, ‘you are only a good as the last bedroom you provided or the last coffee you served.’

To date, Meredith is the only General Manager to have successfully opened and managed the first & second of only three Hilton Branded Hotel franchises in the UK.

Jason Capper

Jason Capper

Operations Director, Camm & Hooper

Bio

Jason Capper, affectionally know around the Camm & Hooper HQ as ‘The Captain’  he was first lured into the heady world of hospitality from reading Philosophy in the North. Attracted to the bright lights of the big smoke, London at this time was buzzing with the new wave of style bars and cocktail wizards and it was in this environment that JC cut his teeth as bar manger and restaurateur.

Over the next few years, Jason enjoyed heading up a wide range of establishments  in the capital including The Hospital Club and The Charlotte Street & Soho Hotel for Firmdale. All helped to form the his exceptional approach to business and service.

In early 2013 Jason was lured into a brand new venture with entrepreneur Claire Lawson to shake up the events industry by launching Camm & Hooper. The first site was just a stones throw from the Shard called Tanner & Co, this was the latest edition to the Bermondsey Street dining scene. That was five years ago now and Tanner has grown from strength to strength. It has played host to a variety of events from alternative weddings to social media soirees and of course the awesome bottomless brunch. It has also been rumoured that he is behind the behind the Camm & Hooper alter ego, Cornelius Lushington. True that they are never seen in the same place …

As Operations Director he now oversees five Camm & Hooper sites across London, with the two more on the horizon. The Captain’s ethos is an simple one – don’t default to the mundane, be better, be generous and always be a great host who creates fun.  

Yvette Chatwin

Yvette Chatwin

Account Director, Searcys

Bio

Yvette Chatwin manges a portfolio of venues at Searcys including 30 Euston Square, 30 Pavilion Road, Vintners Hall and 10-11 Carlton House Terrace.

With more than 20 years managing venues and catering contracts across London, Yvette 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 five 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.

Karim Le Cloarec

Karim Le Cloarec

General Manager, Searcys at The Gherkin

Bio

 Having always been involved in my family’s restaurant business, I fell in love from a very young age with the hospitality industry. After graduating from catering school, I started my career by working front and back of house in a five star hotel environment. Over the years, I have acquired a vast amount of experience of the hospitality business including a high volume restaurants such as 1 Lombard Street as well as two 2* Restaurants l’Oasis in Cannes, France and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in London.

Currently the General Manager of Searcys at the Gherkin for the last four years after a three year stunt as the Deputy General Manager looking after a large scale events and private dining operation, 70 seated restaurant, 260 seated bar, A private members club and the 87 employees that go with it.

Another prestigious milestone is my participation in the Master of Culinary Arts final 2017.

Alex Darby

Alex Darby

General Manager, Catering, Royal Institute of British Architects

Bio

Having studied hotel management in South Africa, Alex began his career in catering and hospitality at the renowned Kruger Park Lodge, before moving to the UK where he started out at The Runneymede hotel in Egham. After working up to Deputy Restaurant Manager, Alex decided to spend some time sailing private yachts before returning to the industry at the Strand Palace hotel as F&B trainer. In 2006, Alex moved into restaurants starting at Bluebird as Deputy Restaurant manager and then Manager at some smaller privately owned restaurants in London until 2008 when he moved into the contract catering sector. Alex has since helped open and mobilise a variety of venues and contracts in the UK over the past 6 years like British Library, Kew Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts, Fulham Palace and Leeds Castle. In 2014 he took up the post of General Manager at The Royal Institute of British Architecture for Harbour & Jones (now CH&Co). 
Ian Fletcher

Ian Fletcher

General Manager, The Royal Horseguards and One Whitehall Place

Bio

 After studying Hotel Management at Cardiff University, my induction into hotels was via the Trusthouse Forte Graduate Training Programme. I have since held Senior Management roles in both Hilton and IHG and in 2007 joined glh hotels where I have managed The Cumberland, The Tower and The Grosvenor hotels and am presently the General Manager of the 5 star Royal Horseguards Hotel
Lucie Freeman

Lucie Freeman

Head of event operations, Last Word Media

Bio

Lucie Freeman is head of event operations at Last Word Media, joining the company in 2010. Lucie heads up a team of 10 overseeing over 120 events annually worldwide. She has previously worked in 5star hotels in London.
Mark Green

Mark Green

UK Business Development Manager, QEII Centre

Bio

I have been UK Business Development Manager at the QEII for 4years, but my journey to this prestigious role could not have been possible without my initiation into the world of events as an Event Sales Manager/Organiser for more than 15yrs for many of the UK’s largest media houses, running in both the UK and Europe.

Those experiences provided given me an excellent understanding of exactly what it takes to both prepare and deliver great events – from conception to completion.

Being equipped with this invaluable experience has been instrumental in helping me in my role at the QEII, where I take immense pride in using my experience to win new client business and help them deliver both successful and memorable events.

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.

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.
Paul Hewitt

Paul Hewitt

Head of Event Operations, EMAP Publishing Ltd

Bio

Having graduated from the University of Leeds with a history and politics degree, Paul decided to pursue a career within the events industry. In November 2006 Paul joined EMAP’s conference division delivering a variety of event formats both in the UK and internationally across various portfolios. In 2011 Paul was promoted to Senior Event Manager within the awards team and was responsible for their health and local government portfolio. Paul’s proudest achievement within that team was growing the HSJ awards so that by 2014 they sold out the Grosvenor House Hotel. In April 2015 Paul was promoted again to Head of Event Operations and took responsible for their architecture, fashion and building services portfolio including the World Architecture Festival. Paul manages a team of seven delivering an average of 90 events a year of varying formats both in the UK and overseas. 
Mo Issa

Mo Issa

Head of Sales, The Mermaid, London

Bio

 His passion for events began at university and has continued throughout his career. Previous roles included Sales Manager at Novus Leisure and Business Development Manager at Church House Conference Centre.

He leads a team with drive and enthusiasm to deliver sales campaigns which result in achieving the ambitious targets set.

He has a wealth of knowledge in a number of event areas and proactively seeks new business routes to bring a wide variety of events to this high profile, City based venue.

Mo is firmly established within the meetings and events sector and loves to exceed client expectations.

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.
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.
Liberty Lean

Liberty Lean

Operations Director, Old Billingsgate

Bio

Liberty is the Operations Director of Old Billingsgate.  A distinctive Grade II listed building, situated in the heart of the City on the River Thames, Old Billingsgate is capable of holding large events for up to 2,500 people.   Having worked at the venue for over 14 years, Liberty joined Old Billingsgate at the early stages of its arrival on the London venue scene. She is responsible for day to day management of the ever growing venue sales and operations teams as well as overseeing the smooth running and success of the eclectic range of events for which Old Billingsgate is well known. 
Laura May

Laura May

Head of Events , Hanson Wade

Bio

 Laura joined Hanson Wade just over 3 years ago in the role of Head of Event Operations. Laura overseas a team of 9 event professionals and together they are responsible for the venue sourcing and operational delivery of over 130 international events ranging in size and complexity.
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.

In 2017 Green and Fortune launched Sea Containers Events, on London’s South Bank, in the iconic building of the same name.  This premium events venue has panoramic views of London and has had immediate success in its first year.

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 also managing director of Richard Corrigan’s restaurant company.

John was a founding director of the Kings Cross Business Partnership.  He is trustee and chairman of Global Generation, a food, training and sustainability charity.  He also works with Sadler’s Wells Theatre on the catering strategy.

Jonathan Parry

Jonathan Parry

Head of Operations, Swan About

Bio

 Jonathan is Head of Operations for Swan About. Jonathan oversees the events and support teams and is responsible for companies operational delivery.

Swan About creates and delivers bespoke events at London’s finest venues. They are experts when it comes to organising events, whether planning a large-scale corporate gala, a garden party, an intimate, private event or anything in between.

Every year they host bespoke events at iconic London venues including Shakespeare’s Globe, the Royal Horticultural Society, Christchurch Spitalfields and The View From The Shard.

The Swan About catering events team combines the experience and expertise of Swan London, the restaurant group and events company founded in 1999. Swan London has sites in London, Kent and Spain.

Jonathan has been in the events & catering industry for 15 years , starting out with The Admirable Crichton & Jonny Roxburgh helping deliver events worldwide including a Royal wedding in Jordan , the Athens Olympics , The Cresta Run ball in St Moritz and a “sound of music” billionaires birthday week in Salzburg.

From these experiences he found his passion for events which led him to Create Food & party design finishing there as senior event manager with a very much hands on attitude. At Create he gained a huge amount of experience of operating in a large number of established London venues. A highlight being the delivery of the first dinner for 900 guests to have been held at the NHM & a 600 guest sit down dinner at the Saatchi Gallery.

From Create he moved to Oxo2 and oversaw the running of the venue , operational delivery of events and supported a fantastic sales team.

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.
Emma Turner

Emma Turner

Head of Events, Dennis Publishing

Bio

Emma has around 15 years experience in the events industry, and has worked in across the corporate, charity and media sectors.

Emma joined Dennis in 2014 as Marketing Communications Manager and was quickly promoted to Head of Events, responsible for running brand and corporate events across the 36 brands in the portfolio. In her time at Dennis, Emma has launch no less than 12 new events and grown the event revenue for the business by over 27% in under a year. Emma manages a small in-house team of 6, running over 72 event every year.

In her spare time she likes eating out, going to the theatre and running, and was recently part of the support crew for a six woman relay team that ran 341 miles across the Mojave Desert from LA to Las Vegas. 

Murray Wilson

Murray Wilson

General Manager, De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms

Bio

With more than 22 years’ experience in the industry Murray made a u- turn in his career when he changed his focus from Mechanical Engineering to the world of hospitality. He has never looked back. Murray began his career with the Marriott brand and progressed through various roles before venturing south of the Scotland/England border. Murray has now been the General Manager of De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms for 5 years. He has a passion for success and works incredibly hard developing his team. In turn the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms continues to be an extraordinary and iconic events venue in central London. 

Also confirmed

Jackie Boughton, Head of Business Events, Barbican

Melanie Older, General Manager, The Zetter Townhouse, Marylebone