Sergey Alexeev_February 2016

Blogger: Sergey Alexeev, UFI President

New and alternative ideas and different mindsets, with a strong will to drive change and innovation!

This is the reason why UFI established the Next Generation Leadership (NGL) Grant, providing an ideal occasion for up to five grantees to join the industry’s global stage at the upcoming 2016 UFI Congress in Shanghai.

The response to the first NGL Grant has been overwhelming. We received many great applications – from a total of 16 countries – and we could have awarded the grant to most of them. A very hard decision had to be taken to select five bright potential future leaders.



It was my honour, and at the same time a great challenge, to lead the jury into selecting the five winners. I would like to thank my peer jurors Enrica Baccini, Chair of the UFI Education Committee and Chief Research and Development Officer at Fondazione Fiera Milano, Julian Baker, Group Strategy Director at Reed Exhibitions, Kai Hattendorf, UFI Managing Director, and Angela Herberholz, UFI Marketing and Communications Manager, for their dedication to supporting this exciting project. In addition to the careful review of each individual entry by all jury members, we spent several hours debating on the highly qualitative entries, before coming to a consensus.

It is my very great pleasure to announce the five selected winner:

Group all 5Photo from left to right: Jennifer Feeney, Account Director, Freeman XP (USA); Vineet Mahajan, General Manager, Reed India (India);Farokh Shahabi Nezhad, Co-Founder, Eventbox (Iran);Adeline Larroque Desages, Acting Head of Exhibition Planning and Organisation Section, Qatar Tourism Authority (Qatar) and Matthias Pollmann, Project Manager interzum, Koelnmesse GmbH (Germany).

This grant shows just how full of talent our industry truly is and I am very pleased that we are able to award this inaugural NGL Grant to such a talented group of people from five different countries.

The grant-winning entries tackle a broad range of issues, from disruptive technology all the way through to optimising customer experiences at exhibitions. This will add up to a fascinating dialogue with our industry’s leaders – in Shanghai and beyond.

Earlier this month the grantees meet in Paris for a two-day workshop at the UFI Headquarters. They exchanged their views on the future of the exhibition industry and started working on their joint session for the UFI Congress, to be held in Shanghai from 9-12 November, 2016 #ufishanghai.

I would like to extend my gratitude to Reed Exhibitions, without whom the NGL Grant would not have been possible.