The UFI NGL Grant promotes next-generation leadership in the exhibition industry — rewarding professionals who show clear initiatives in driving change and innovation in their area of activity.
UFI has named the winners of this year’s UFI Next Generation Leadership Grant (NGL), following expert deliberation by a jury of exhibitions industry leaders.
The jury, chaired by UFI President Monica Lee-Müller, met earlier this month to evaluate all qualifying entries submitted from all around the world. The UFI NGL Grant promotes next generation leadership in the exhibition industry, rewarding professionals who show clear initiatives in driving change and innovation in their area of activity. This year, the focus of the NGL project is to develop a new talent narrative for the exhibition industry, a topic of critical importance to the future of our sector.
This year’s winners are:
Monika Baro – Project Manager at VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. (Thailand)
Daniella Galante – Digital Marketing & Creative Manager at RX Africa (South Africa)
Joseph (Joe) Kowalsky – Show Director at Emerald X LLC (USA)
Justine Rabel – Key Account Manager at Eventmaker (France)
Maria Victoria Piñeres – Operations Manager at Costa Rica Convention Center / Grupo Heroica Volio & Trejos S.A (Costa Rica)
Jon Yahirun – Customer Success Manager at Clarion Events (USA)
Six candidates have won NGL grants.
- Selected candidates from around the world will enter an eight month-long project with other talented individuals in the industry, beginning in April 2022 and culminating with a group presentation at the UFI Global Congress in Oman in November 2022
- This year, the focus will be on developing a dynamic talent narrative for the exhibition industry — a topic of critical importance for the future of our sector
- The narrative has been developed and perfected through group calls, discussions with industry leaders, support from the UFI team, and an in-person workshop during the UFI European Conference on 4-6 May in Poznań, Poland
- Previous NGL grant winners find that this programme takes about three hours per month of their time
2022 NGL Grant sponsors:
Articles on the UFI Blog:
- Lou Kiwanuka, The Shaper Group, The Ops Nest, mentor 2020/2021, Mentoring within the UFI programme link
- Stephanie Selesnick, International Trade Information, Inc, Interview with the NGL grant winners 2019/2020 part 1 & part 2
- Cinzia Zanin and J. Alexis Zamudio, former NGL winner, The Next Generation to do list for 2022
What the participants say:
“The NGL mentorship program is important as a support network to groom the intelligence. Especially during the tough time at the pandemics, the mentor-mentee conversations keep the ideas flowing and guild the vision towards a better industry’s future. The value is immense.” –Eddie Choi, Managing Partner at Mills Design, Singapore, mentor 2020/2021
“UFI Next Generation Leadership grant successfully offers an opportunity to complement one’s lifelong learning passion. Additionally, connecting with a like-minded mentor – sometimes from a different discipline – just accentuates the whole experience.” –Vijay Sharma, Head: Partnership & Business Development, Koelnmesse, Singapore, mentee 2020/2021
Previous years’ participants
2022 NGL GRANT
Winners: Monika Baro – Project Manager at VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. (Thailand); Daniella Galante – Senior Digital Marketing Executive at RX Africa (South Africa); Joseph (Joe) Kowalsky – Show Director at Emerald X LLC (USA); Justine Rabel – Key Account Manager at Eventmaker (France); Maria Victoria Piñeres – Operations Manager at Costa Rica Convention Center / Grupo Heroica Volio & Trejos S.A (Costa Rica) and Jon Yahirun – Customer Success Manager at Clarion Events (USA)
2020 NGL GRANT
Winners: Alexis Zamudio, Event Manager, Finnovista/Facebook (Mexico); Christina Rabl, Project Manager, Messe München GmbH (Germany), Erika Karlsson, Project Manager, ELMIA (Sweden), Matthew Funge, Managing Director & Founder, You Stand Builder Ltd. (UK); Vijay Sharma, Head: Partnership & Business Developpment, Koelnmesse Pte. Ltd. ( Singapore)
Mentors: Chris Preston, Managing Director EMEA, Freeman (UK); Eddie Choi, Managing Partner, Mills (Singapore); Garcia Newell, Regional Business Development Director – Fairs & Events Europe, Agility (UK); Laura Barrera, Group Show Director, Tarsus México (Mexico); Lou Kiwanuka, Director, The Shaper Group (UK).
UFI thanks the mentors for their support the 2020 NGL GRANT.
2019 NGL Grant
Winners: 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 | Global Exhibitions Informa (USA); Laura Docampo, Head of Digital Transformation, Fira de Barcelona (Spain).
2018 NGL Grant
Winners: Lilian Burgardt, Head of Digital Products for Brazil with Informa (Brazil); Glen Foulstone, Senior Project Manager, GES (UK); Miranda Martin, Portfolio Director, Niche events with Fresh Montgomery (UK); Maria Tsedeviyn, Head of Advertising, Design and Internet Division Marketing, Advertising and PR Department, Expoforum International (Russia).
2017 NGL Grant
Winners: Selin Cakici, Vice-Chair of the board, HKF TRADE FAIRS (Turkey); Katharina Keupp, Project Consultant, Messe Munich (Germany); Neo Mohlatlole, Business Development Director, Seven Colours Communications (South Africa); Thomas Revell, Sustainability Manager, GES (UK) and Diana Salman, HR Strategic Change Manager, IFP Expo (Lebanon).
2016 NGL Grant
Winners: Adeline Larroque Desages, Acting Head of Exhibition Planning and Organisation Section, Qatar Tourism Authority (Qatar); Jennifer Feeney, Account Director, Freeman XP (USA); Vineet Mahajan, General Manager, Reed India (India); Farokh Shahabi Nezhad, Co-Founder, Eventbox (Iran) and Matthias Pollmann, Project Manager interzum, Koelnmesse GmbH (Germany).