Stephanie Selesnick,

Stephanie Selesnick, International Trade Information, Inc.

In its fourth year, UFI’s NGL Grant (Next Generation of Leaders), sponsored by Freeman, identifies and helps develop up-and-coming exhibition industry talent. The program is two parts:

  1. The first has the five NGL Grant recipients presenting their research and thoughts about the exhibition industry’s future in a session at the upcoming UFI Global Congress in Thailand.
  2. The second pairs them up with C-level industry mentors.

These talented exhibition professionals are from all over the world: Carolin von Tippelskirch, Protocol and Corporate Events, Deutsche Messe AG (Germany), Cinzia Zanin, Research and Development, Fondazione Fiera Milano (Italy), Fuad Musafir, Business Development Manager Exhibition and Live Events, Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (Oman), Katie Thompson, Senior Content and Project Manager, The Design Group, informa markets (USA), and Laura Docampo, Head of Digital Transformation, Fira de Barcelona (Spain).

Part 1 of this blog let us get to know a bit about Carolin, Cinzia and Katie. Fuad and Laura’s share some thoughts on being an NGL Grant recipient below.

What made you decide to apply for the NGL Grant? 

Fuad: I have been in the MICE industry for over 8 years and have been exposed to different types of events. I have had many roles in the industry including being a client, an organizer, and a venue partner. I believe that being part of such a prestigious program such as the UFI NGL Grant is going to add to my experience and international network.

Laura: I believe that our sector, events management, needs to adapt to the new digital era. It is necessary to implement digital processes to be more competitive and create a better experience for our customers. I am presently working on this transformation in my current role in Fira Barcelona and would like to share my experience with colleagues from other countries as well as learn from them. This is the most important motivation for me.

What’s the most unexpected thing that has happened as a result of receiving the Grant? 

Fuad: I was very pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was able to make new contacts and friends in the industry. The welcome and level of professionalism of all involved were great.

Laura: It is awesome to be able to share experiences with industry senior professionals as well as the new generation, discussing the present and the future with them. It is really interesting to be part of these conversations.

What are you most looking forward to at the UFI Congress? 

Fuad: To present our thoughts. It’s a great pleasure to have the opportunity to present in front of the industry leaders. I am also looking forward to meeting and learning from previous UFI Congress hosts to understand and prepare for the how the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre can cater to the Congress delegates next year, and truly offer them an event to remember!

Laura: UFI brings together high-level professionals and event organisers, to show the best of themselves and offers us incredible experience from their countries. The opportunity to share knowledge and enjoy different cultures is great.

Can you share a glimpse of what your session will cover – or one thing that surprised you most in the results of your survey/research?

Fuad: My part of the session features going back to the basics and enabling dialogue. I will concentrate on how hospitality can drive successful meetings and exhibitions.

Do you know a talented young exhibition industry professional who would benefit from this program? The 5th NGL Grant applications will be available the first week of November.

Find out more about the UFI Global Congress in Thailand and register here: