Meet Our Speakers

Oscar Cerezales

Executive Vice President, MCI Group

Born in Barcelona and based in Singapore, Oscar Cerezales has more than 25 years of experience in this industry. He currently works at MCI Group as Global Executive Vice President. 

MCI Group is dedicated to empower corporations, associations, and governments to activate their employees, channel partners, customers, and members. Creating face-to-face, hybrid and digital experiences. With 61 offices, different brands (Dorier being one of them) in 31 countries, and 2,500 talents, MCI organises more than 7,000 events per year. 

Also, Oscar is chair of the Professional Convention Management Association Advisory Board, Board member of Saceos, founder of MPI Chapters (Meetings Professional International), ex Latam Board member at SITE. 

Oscar has been a professor at universities in Barcelona, London, and Milan. In addition to collaborating with various industry publications and curates several industry conferences.

Avinash Chandarana

With a degree in Business, an Executive Certificate in Global Management from INSEAD Business School and a recognised Fellowship awarded by the Learning and Performance Institute for contributions to the Learning Profession, Avinash started his MCI career in 1998 as Talent and Development Director for MCI Brussels.  In 2008, as MCI Group’s Global Learning and Development Director, he established MCI Institute, MCI’s in-house global knowledge and learning centre of excellence offering a portfolio of learning programmes, virtual and face to face to its worldwide talent base.

More recently, Avinash has spearheaded the digital transformation of MCI’s learning strategy by integrating Artificial Intelligence and pioneering digital solutions to create a personalised Learner Experience (LX) centred ecosystem within the organisation. His depth of expertise in ‘Andragogy’ (Adult Learning) over the past decade combined with a passion for the neuroscience of learning has recently played a pivotal role in the evolution of designing and deploying effective online/digital programmes and event solutions.

As a self-confessed ‘global nomad,’ he was born in Uganda, Africa and has since lived in multiple locations in the United States, Europe and currently resides in Hong Kong.

Patricia Cheong

Managing Director, International Conference Services

With more than 20 years of experience in the business events sector, Patricia is a firm believer of the power of business events to transform the people and places it serves. She believes in the need for humans to interact with one another for organizations to rebuild and regroup. Nothing can substitute the creativity and energy that ignites when groups of like-minded people come together to connect, brainstorm and to strategize. Events play this critical role of sparking creativity, generating ideas and inspiration, and connecting people to facilitate positive change in the world.

As Managing Director for Asia at International Conference Services (ICS), Patricia is responsible for driving the company’s ongoing growth in Asia’s event management industry. Based in Singapore, she leads the team in providing boutique-style support, service, and consultation to clients in managing their international meetings here in Asia.

Prior to this, Patricia was the Associate Director, Development for PCMA, where she was instrumental in growing the association’s presence and footprint in the Asia Pacific region.  Before this, she led the creation and strategic development of the conference division at Singapore Press Holdings as General Manager; in addition to a number of other management roles in events, sales, and account management.

Simon Crowe

President, International Congress of Psychology 2028

Professor Crowe is the President of the International Congress of Psychology meeting in Melbourne 2028. He is the inaugural Chair of the Asia Pacific Psychology Alliance (2019-2023), and is also a member of the executive committee of the International Union of Psychological science (2016 – 2024). He is a past President of the Australian Psychological Society (APS: 2010-2012) and is currently a member of the Board (2020-2023) and current Vice President of the APS. He is an Honorary Fellow of the APS, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Neuropsychology (US) and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Professor Crowe maintains strong research programs into the neuropsychology of neuropsychiatric disorders and a variety of neuropsychological assessment issues. He has published three monographs, more than 140 refereed journal articles and numerous book chapters, conference presentations, notes, and commentaries. He continues to conduct and extensive practice in the area of medico-legal disputation and is an independent neuropsychological examiner for the Victoria, Workcover Authority, Corrections Victoria, the Children’s Court Clinic, and the Transport Accident Commission in Victoria.

Ginevra Debellis

Business Coordinator, OIC Group

Ginevra De Bellis was born and grew up in the UK, she is bilingual and bi-cultural; British-Italian. She studied Psychology at the University of Rome, specializing in Group dynamics and techniques within the field of Clinical psychology. She has published numerous academic articles in the UK, Italy and Spain. Alongside her degree in Psychology, Ginevra pursued her studies in London this time in Business administration and achieved her MBA in 2014.

Ginevra has been working as a consultant, and enjoys combining her background in psychology with her business knowledge, aiming to add an innovative and creative touch to make a difference in projects that she is involved in. She has been working in the meetings industry for four years as a business coordinator for OIC Group, her focus being on new business and international bids. 

Stephen Noble

Asia Pacific Manager, The Conference Company

Stephen Noble has over 18 years’ conference, expo and event management experience and is a key member of The Conference Company’s senior management team. Stephen joined The Conference Company (New Zealand) in 2007 as a Conference Manager after many years working in the professional sporting world. He has led the Conference and Events team and was instrumental in the growth of the company’s operations throughout the region. Based in Sydney as Manager Asia-Pacific he draws daily on this extensive hands‐on conference management know‐how to lead The Conference Company’s operations in Asia and Australia. He has worked extensively with clients in New Zealand and Australia in successful bid outcomes for international or Asia-Pacific meetings. Stephen is an IAPCO Ambassador, a member of IAPCO Training Academy faculty and in 2019 he was voted one of The 100 Most Influential People in the Event Industry globally.

Mathias Posch

President and Chairman, International Conference Services

Mathias is President and Chairman of ICS, International Conference Services since 2007. With its Headquarters in Vancouver, Canada and branch offices in Toronto, Miami, London, Vienna, Barcelona, Singapore and Tokyo, the company manages conferences around the globe – in 38 countries on 6 continents thus far. Mathias is also the Immediate Past President of IAPCO, the International Association for Professional Congress Organizers,  as well as the Chair of the IAPCO Training Academy and as such oversees all educational activities of the organization. He is a respected industry expert and has been invited to speak at numerous international and national conferences around the globe. Further he also serves on a number of Advisory Boards and consults international scientific and medical associations on their global strategy. 

Marko Sanovic

Director of Business Development, Melbourne Convention Bureau

Marko Sanovic is a business events industry professional with over seven years’ experience bidding for International Association events in a highly competitive global environment. He currently leads Melbourne Convention Bureau’s business development strategy, focusing on the acquisition of national and international association events. Marko has held business development and project management roles spanning government, private, and not-for profit organisations in Australia and abroad.

 

Julia Swanson

Chief Executive Officer, Melbourne Convention Bureau

Julia is a passionate and driven tourism and business events professional with over 20 years’ experience. Since joining MCB in 2010, Julia has led the business development, bidding, convention servicing, research and Government relations teams on the successful acquisition and delivery of some of the world’s largest and most prestigious business events. She has personally led the bids for some of the most highly acclaimed global medical conferences including the International AIDS Conference 2014, World Congress of Cardiology 2014 and the World Congress of Nephrology 2019.

In August 2021, Julia was appointed Vice President of the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB), a demonstration of her leadership and expertise in the business events industry in Australia. She is also currently on the Board of the BestCities Global Alliance.

Prior to MCB, Julia held the role of Area Director of Sales and Marketing VIC/SA/WA with IHG (InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels) overseeing the sales and marketing performance for 8 hotels as well as new hotel openings across the region. Julia holds a Bachelor of Business (Catering and Hotel Management) and a Masters of Business (Hospitality and Tourism Marketing). Her sales experience includes 13 years of experience in a number of international hotel chains.

Jan Tonkin

Managing Director, The Conference Company

Jan has worked in the meetings business all her professional life, both in the UK and New Zealand. She founded The Conference Company in 1990 and today is the hands-on managing director of the busy company which has offices in Auckland and Sydney. Her team organises meetings of all shapes and sizes throughout Australasia and Asia, with particular expertise in association conferences and their exhibitions, government meetings, and awards programmes. 

Her other hat is that of educator and leader in the international meetings world. She helped design and launch IAPCO’s EDGE series of regional seminars and its WebEDGE programme and remains actively involved in the Association’s Training Academy.

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Nicole Walker

Chief Executive Officer, Arinex

Nicole Walker has a depth of expertise in event management, marketing, and production. Nicole has a thorough understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the current environment focused on business model diversification to achieve results. Nicole holds degrees in Event and Business Management with strong leadership qualities that transformed Arinex into a leading DCO (Digital Conference Organisation) in 2020. Nicole ensures award-winning technologies are aligned to achieve strategic client outcomes focusing on developing and utilising quality virtual and digital platforms to optimise delegate satisfaction. Nicole’s expertise is highly regarded and she willingly shares her knowledge at speaker engagements in Australia and globally.   

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