Global Certification for the Meetings Industry 

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Upcoming course: CICS Course at ICCASkills Luxembourg Hub on 10-14 June 2024




Ksenija Polla, CMP, CICE

Head of Education and Legacy Programmes, International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)

Ksenija Polla, CMP, CICE, has been working in the field of international association meetings for almost 30 years and her experience ranges from membership recruitment and retention, product development, event management, sales, marketing and relationship development. Ksenija has most recently spearheaded ICCA’s newly launched Certification Programme – ICCASkills. 

Ksenija started her career in Croatia, in the Congress department one of the leading travel agencies at the time, moved to the Zagreb Convention Bureau, where she worked on bidding and site inspections and joined ICCA in 1997, where she started in the Membership Department and has been building the Association Community from September 2013 until December 2020. In January of 2021 Ksenija took on the role of Regional Director for ICCA North America. During her time with ICCA Ksenija played an important role in the education offering of ICCA across all of the events and in developing white papers, which culminated in her leading the new product development of ICCA’s certification programme in 2021 and 2022. In January 2023, Ksenija transitioned to Head of Education and Legacy Programmes of ICCA looking after all education content of ICCA as well as ICCA’s Legacy Initiatives including the Incredible Impacts Awards Programme.

She has also been part of the ICCA 2020 and 2021 Global Hybrid Congress as well as the 2022 in person Congress Programme Committee. This role included a variety of activities surrounding the content development of these events whether in the main location, online or in the hubs. 

In her free time, you can find Ksenija on the golf course following her twins’ rising college golf careers


Christian Mutschlechner, CICE 

Board Member, CONGREX International 

Meeting Industry Consultant

More than 40 years in the meeting industry. Director of the Vienna Convention Bureau from 1991 – 2019 helping it achieve the status of one of the leading bureaus in the world. Christian was responsible for the first city-wide meeting industry statistics and to start with an economical evaluation of the Vienna meeting industry. 

ICCA President 2002 -2006. Lecturer at key industry workshops and training sessions. Founder of AC Forum, an association of leading scientific associations. 


Claire Martin, CICE

Manager of International Conventions 

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre 

Claire is currently Manager of International Conventions at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre in Queensland, Australia. Claire has over fourteen years’ experience in the business events industry and international bidding, starting at the Edinburgh International Convention Centre in Scotland in 2008.  She has experience bidding for four cities internationally as well as working for both convention centres and convention bureaus in Scotland, New Zealand and Australia.


Deanna Varga, BA Tourism, MBA, MAICD, CICE

Founder and CEO, Mayvin Global

Adjunct Associate Professor (Industry) University of Technology of Sydney Meeting Industry Consultant

Deanna Varga is a business events and tourism professional with 25 years’ experience working within the MICE sector.

She specialises in revenue generation and strategy across government, associations, NFP and small to medium enterprises. She has worked for global hotel chains such as Starwood and Accor as well as destination marketing agencies including Business Events Australia (Tourism Australia) and Business Events Sydney (then SCVB).  Her consulting agency (Mayvin Global) has worked with global and national PCOs, convention bureaux and convention centres including Business Events Sarawak, China National Convention Centre, Adelaide Convention Centre, Melbourne Convention Bureau, Northern Territory Business Events, arinex, Destinations International, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board and Darwin Convention Centre. Her agency also specialises in helping associations diversify their revenue streams and clients have included Australian College of Remote and Regional Medicine, Community Early Learning Australia, Women in Gaming & Hospitality Australasia and Community Broadcasting Association. 

Deanna is an Adjunct Professor (Industry) with the University of Technology of Sydney (UTS) and is on the board of the Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine (ASUM), Transport Heritage NSW and Member of the Regional Advisory Board (Asia Pacific) of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).


Eduardo Chaillo, CMP, CMM, CASE, DES, CITP, CICE 

Global General Manager for Latin America, Maritz Global Events

Owner, Global Meetings and Tourism Specialists LLC

Eduardo Chaillo defines himself as a bridge builder within the business events industry;  he has developed his career within the destination marketing, public service, meeting management, and consultancy practices areas. Eduardo has played diverse leadership volunteer roles in global organisations, hotel companies, convention centres, and industry commissions. He has earned industry certifications from organisational members of the Events Industry Council, and has been inducted to the EIC's Hall of Leaders and has been recognised with awards by IMEX, JMIC, PCMA Foundation, and FIEXPO. 


Gary Grimmer, CICE

CEO, GainingEdge

Gary has over 30 years’ experience in the convention industry. In 2004 he founded GainingEdge, a global consulting company that offers advisory services to associations, destinations, convention bureaus and convention and exhibition centre developers.

Gary has consulted on over 100 projects in all parts of the world and was one of the lead consultants on Destination Next, a global study for Destinations International (DI) which defined the future of destination marketing.  He is a former Chairman of the Board of DI and was one of the first six inductees into the inaugural DI Hall of Fame in 2014. He also received the Asia Pacific IMEX Academy Award in 2007. 


Geneviève Leclerc, CMP, CICE

Co-Founder and CEO, #MEET4IMPACT

Geneviève has over 25 years of experience in business events management and consultancy for destinations and event organisers. Geneviève works as a facilitator, speaker, trainer and consultant with the business tourism industry worldwide, and she uses human-centred design and social impact theory to accompany organisations through change and innovation processes. Geneviève leverages her in-depth knowledge of the needs, values, and operation practices of actors in the business events sectors and the community in order to support destination marketing and management organisations who are looking to broaden their vision of what their role is. She has founded her current organisation, #MEET4IMPACT, with the vision of transforming the business tourism industry by generating a movement to create positive societal impact with its actors and their events. #MEET4IMPACT trains professionals and supports DMOs and their association clients in defining, managing, measuring and communicating the societal impacts of their activities. 


Gregg H. Talley, FASAE, CAE, CICE

President & CEO, Talley Management Group, Inc. 

Gregg brings a broad range of experience from more than 30 years within the Association/Event Management Industry. With a degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in international relations, Gregg utilises those skills to manage national and international organisations and boards. Gregg has personally managed hundreds of events globally for associations, societies, corporations and religious organisations including one of the largest convention events in North America, the 50,000+ attendee International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous, a TMG client partner for more than 30 years.

A recognised professional in the field, Gregg consults, speaks and writes regularly on issues within association and event management and business event strategy for organisations and destinations. Gregg holds both the Certified Association Executive (CAE) and the Fellow of the American Society for Association Executives (FASAE) designations. He is past national chair and current member of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and a Board member of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). 


Guy Bigwood, CICE

CEO and Chief Changemaker, Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDS-Movement) 

For the last 15 years, Guy has been delivering award-winning consulting services focused on helping cities, governments, associations and the hospitality industry step up, scale up and speed up their sustainability programmes and operational practices.

He is a recognised expert on creating sustainable destinations, communities and events through multi stakeholder collaboration. Guy is the Managing Director of the Global Destinations Sustainability Movement; a transformation platform that engages, inspires and enables destinations to become more regenerative, flourishing and resilient places to visit, meet and live in. Today over 60 cities are participating in the www.gds.earth.


Inge Krogh Larsen, CICE 

Senior Changemaker: Global Destinations Sustainability Movement

With 25 years professional experience in travel and tourism, senior GDS Changemaker, Inge Krogh Larsen, is on a mission to help the tourism and events industry develop regenerative strategies and understand the need for positive change. 

She fuels her mission with wisdom acquired by working in business and leisure tourism for 11 years. During her time with Visit Aalborg and Inspiring Denmark, she naturally migrated towards sustainability partly nurtured by her employers’ participation in the GDS-Index. Experiencing the changes that happened through cooperation and strategy orchestrated with the GDS-Index as a management tool and a measurement for progress, Inge was soon on a green mission which lead her to a change of career. With a renewed and enlivened career focus on people and planet, Inge became a consultant, and for the last 2,5 years she has supported SMEs and destinations with sustainability consulting and certification. Having been through sustainable destination development herself, Inge knows first-hand what’s needed from both DMOs and sustainability leaders in their progressive journey towards greater regenerative destination management, and how to help them get there. At GDSM Inge is responsible for managing clients in the Nordic region.


Ivo J. Franschitz, CICE

Founder & Owner, ENITED Business Events GmbH

Ivo J. Franschitz owns a Master degree in International Marketing from the Vienna University of Economics and his early career milestones include Senior Marketing & Management positions in the Tourism and Business Events industry. 

Currently he holds a Board member position with EMBA (Event Marketing Board Austria) and with LiveCom Alliance (Pan-European Platform of National LiveCom Associations), served 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).


Jan Lichota, CICE

Managing Director, bestjan services

Communications and PR, visitbrussels

Familiar with tourism, fairs and associations since student times, Jan has been active in associations as Legal Advisor in a trade federation, a Board member of a consumer organisation and member of various scientific networks. Former manager of the Association Bureau at visit.brussels, he is currently working in the destination management organisation's media department. 

Since 2015, he has also been providing research, training, event management, and consulting services in the fields of beer, education, sports, and tourism through his own company. 

In parallel to his professional career, after his degree in Law in Madrid, he also obtained degrees in Belgium in International Relations, Cultural Studies, Business management, as well as an Executive Master in International Associations Management. His areas of interest related to smart cities, tourism, entrepreneurship and economic geography are driving his ongoing PhD research in European Studies at the UNED university in Spain.


Juan José García, MBA, CICE

Global Chief Sales & Marketing Officer,  BCO Congresos 

Juan José is a passionate and dedicated individual, boasting over 36 years of invaluable experience as a seasoned business events professional and consultant. His unwavering passion and unparalleled expertise in the field make him a standout figure.

Career-wise, he holds an MBA degree and is highly skilled in project management. He embarked on his journey in the PCO (Professional Congress Organizer) business back in 1987 and climbed through various pivotal roles within the industry until he settled in his current position as Global Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of BCO Congresos, the congress division of Grupo Barceló. Under his visionary leadership, BCO Congresos has become a globally recognized brand in meetings management, association management, and business events consulting.

Besides the mentioned skills, he is a senior consultant in business development, business strategies, planning and management of bids, destination marketing as well as association management. His multifaceted expertise continues to be a driving force in the industry.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Juan José was honored in 2009 with the "Best Event Organizer" award by the Spanish Association of Hotel Managers.


Prof. Krzysztof Celuch PhD MBA, DBA, CMM, CITE, CIS, HMCC, CED, CICE 

Associate Professor, Nicolaus Copernicus University

Chief Executive Officer, Celuch Consulting

A speaker, a trainer, a business consultant, an academic professor and an entrepreneur, Krzysztof specialises in the event experiences, event marketing and management. His scientific research, trainings and keynotes are all built on knowledge in economics, business psychology, sociology, marketing and cultural studies. He conducts workshops and trainings, give lectures and moderate panel discussions, debates and management meetings. He implements research projects, build strategies and provide business consulting services.

He helps organisations, institutions and companies in the areas of management, communication, motivation and business development, with particular emphasis on the meetings industry (event marketing).


Mark Spivey, CICE

Director of International Sales, Maritim Hotels

Mark's background from the onset involved a 3 year management hotel course at the Excelsior Ernst in Cologne followed working in operations in some of the leading hotels of the world from the Victoria-Jungfrau in Interlaken to the Brenners Park Hotel in Baden-Baden and other stations such as the Cap d'Antibes Eden Roc and the Four Seasons in Philadelphia. 

Later settling into Hotel Sales he worked for the Steigenberger Hotel Group (Deutsche Hospitality) in unit sales, regional sales and country sales. 

Joining the Maritim Group as Director for the UK and Irish markets he focused on the Meetings market. 

Mark heads up the International Sales for all market segments outside of Germany and is a long standing member of all the key Meetings events worldwide with strong ties to ICCA, IMEX and the Convention Bureau of Germany and Holland.


Mike Williams, CICE

Interim CEO / Senior Consultant & Partner, GainingEdge

Meeting Industry Consultant

Mike is a destination and convention and visitor bureau specialist with 30 years’ experience in the tourism and business events industry. Since joining Gaining Edge in 2007 he has been a lead consultant on destination and convention bureau development for clients in Australia, Africa, China, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Qatar, Rwanda, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom & USA. Mike was the lead consultant for establishment and capability strengthening for the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau. This project included the collaboration with a university and research company to undertake an economic impact study and exhibition industry opportunity study.

Mike was also deeply involved in bureau development programmes in Japan, Macao and Thailand. He has also been providing consultancy support for convention centre developments around the globe, including a number within the Asia Pacific region. In addition, Mike oversees GainingEdge's in-market sales representation.


Milos Milovanovic, CICE 

Consultant, GainingEdge

Milos Milovanovic is a GainingEdge consultant, with deep expertise in the activation and development of convention bureaus as well as destination marketing in Europe and Middle East regions. He has over 15 years of experience in the meetings & conventions industry and has consulted many destinations around the world. In GainingEdge, Milos is responsible for the development of research & analysis projects as Managing Director of the GainingEdge Analysis & Research (GEAR) Department. 

Milos is author of the Destination Competitive Index, a global benchmarking tool for international convention destinations, published annually since 2018. He is also author of the Leveraging Intellectual Capital global report, aimed at identifying the relative strengths of destinations in terms of the presence of their local association executives who are leaders in the governing bodies of international associations. 

Prior to joining GainingEdge, Milos was the CEO of the Serbia Convention Bureau since 2007, whereas inaugural CEO he was instrumental in its establishment and development. Milos has a diploma in Economics from the University in Belgrade and Master`s degree from Ecole Centrale Paris.


Patrick Delaney, CICE

Managing Partner, SoolNua

With his business partner Pádraic Gilligan, Patrick Delaney is Managing Partner at SoolNua, a specialist MICE agency helping destinations, hotels, and venues with strategy, marketing, and training based on six decades of expertise as global leaders in the industry. Patrick was the first non-U.S. international president of SITE (Society of Incentive and Travel Executives). He was the only Irish person to be recognised by Conference & Incentive Travel (U.K.) for inclusion in their Power 50 list; a directory of the most inspirational people in the U.K. and Ireland. 

Patrick has been honoured with various awards at the meeting and events industry’s premier shows, including the IMEX Academy Award in 2009, the EIBTM 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted into the Events Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders in 2016 for his outstanding contribution to the industry over a 35-year period. He has spoken at a numerous of industry events, contributing to SITE, The Global Meetings Shows, IBTM World and IMEX, The Meetings Show in the U.K., and ICCA and continues to give regular seminars and lectures across all five continents of the world. Patrick also serves on the advisory board for IBTM World and the Board of Directors of the Washington DC Visitors & Convention Bureau. 


Paul Moxness, CICE

Managing Partner, NorthPoint International 

Paul is Managing Partner at NorthPoint International, a company specialising in hospitality security, safety, resilience, and public-private partnerships. He is also a member of the UN Global Network of Experts on Protection of Vulnerable Targets Against Terrorist Attacks and a faculty member at Okanagan School of Business in Kelowna, Canada. 

Paul authored the ICCASkills section on Risk and Crisis Management and has developed and implemented hospitality and security training programmes around the world for over three decades. 

Previously, Paul had a 31-year career at Radisson Hotel Group where he was awarded a Carlson Fellow, Carlson Companies’ highest individual honour awarded for exemplary results, character, leadership, and dedication.


Paul Vallee, CICE

Executive Consultant, GainingEdge

Paul has more than 30 years in destination sales, marketing and services. He has extensive experience consulting on strategic and destination master planning, organisation development, and industry capacity building. His assignments include providing advisory support in Canada, the U.S., Denmark, Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Panama, and Thailand. He was Managing Director of the BestCities Global Alliance from 2015-2019. 

Paul has served on the boards of Destination International, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, the 2010 Winter Olympic Bid Marketing Committee, and the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Task Force. He has been an invited speaker in Asia, Europe, North America and South America. He has also been a faculty member in international destination marketing at Capilano University.

Interested in becoming one of our instructors or guest instructors? 
Please contact ICCA Education Team: education@iccaworld.org

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