Exhibition World Issue 4 | Page 18

UFI Next Generation Leaders

UFI : The Next Generation

At June ’ s UFI European Conference , held in Maastricht , The Netherlands , Catie Owen had the chance to meet the young professionals boldly changing the exhibition industry : the UFI Next Generation Leadership Grant winners
FI ’ s annually awarded


Next Generation Leadership ( NGL ) Grant is now proudly in its seventh edition , continuing its mission to award the crème de la crème of the industry ’ s up-andcomers with mentorship and networking with leading expo executives .
Announced in May , this year ’ s cohort was selected from many diverse entries by an international jury chaired by UFI president , Michael Duck . Qualifying applicants had a maximum of 10 years of work experience within the industry , including their current role .
“ The UFI NGL grant has aimed since its inception to foster the next generation of professionals who are looking to find an exciting career in the exhibition industry ,” Duck commented when the winners were revealed .
The line up The 2023 Grant winners are :
· Elizabeth George – senior lead , Content and Programming , HIMSS , US
· Tehchad Kittiboonya – international sales manager , VNU Asia Pacific , Thailand
· Aya Moatamed – data analyst , Informa Markets , Egypt
· Amy Saleh – operations director , Hannover Fairs , Australia
· Otero Finiti – UK Spread over six months , the grant winners will work on an assigned project under the guidance of the UFI team , NGL alumni , and industry leaders , which will be presented at the UFI Global Congress in Las Vegas 1-4 November .
Having kicked off at this year ’ s UFI European Conference in Maastricht , 2023 ’ s project is to write a blueprint for carrying out events that help industries evolve , businesses develop , and participants benefit personally from attending . “ The theme of the NGL Grant is carefully chosen keeping in mind topics of critical importance to the future of our industry ,” Duck explained .
“ It ’ s a nice and broad topic ,” commented Saleh after the project ’ s kick-off workshop . “ It ’ s amazing to see that , despite how broad it is and how diverse our ( the winners ’) backgrounds are , we all can collaborate and pull out the same underlying themes .” Moatamed noted a similar feeling : “ I ’ m expecting tons of arguing , discussions , and ideas because we all come from different backgrounds , regions , and different perspectives – and I ’ m very excited to get started .”
The winners had previously only met on Zoom before coming together in Maastricht . “ It ’ s a great idea to get all five of us in the room ,” explained George . “ Now we can see everybody in person , hear ideas out , and start to form our project for November .” For Finiti , finally meeting her farflung cohort was a great experience : “ They ’ re all such bright people , and the kick-off workshop was incredible because we finally had a chance to meet and share ideas .”
One common factor among the Grant winners was how they were introduced to the programme in the first place . For most of them , it was a senior colleague who pushed them in the right direction and through any self-doubts . Moatamed had not heard of the scheme before a senior colleague suggested it . “ I want to learn more about the industry from experts and my peers , so I applied ,”
18 Issue 4 2023 www . exhibitionworld . co . uk