Gary Grimmer - CEO
Gary has over 30 years’ experience in the convention industry. He has consulted Houston, Vancouver, Yokohama, Tokyo, Macau, and the countries of South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Serbia on development of convention and meetings industries. He was a member of Beijing Dongcheng's International Meetings Advisory Council and currently serves on Destination DC's (Washington) Client Advisory Board.
His convention centre consulting experience includes market feasibility, demand analysis, facility scoping, design review, site review, and operational consultation for convention centre developments in Nigeria, Oman, Malaysia, Mexico and Australia. He also served on the London International Convention Centre Commission which developed recommendations on a proposed new convention centre for London, United Kingdom.
While he is both Australian and American, he is originally from the United States where he was CEO at bureaus in Portland, Oregon and Albuquerque, New Mexico and Vice President of the Boston, Massachusetts bureau. Gary is a former Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau [now Destinations International and formerly known as DMAI)] and former Chairman of the Business Events Council of Australia. In 2014 he was one of the first six inductees into the inaugural Destinations International (fka DMAI) Hall of Fame in 2014.
Earlier, in 2007, he received the IMEX Academy for Asia Pacific Award.Email Gary Grimmer
Mike Williams - Senior Partner
Mike is a destination and convention bureau specialist with 30 years’ experience in the industry. He has consulted in Australia, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Serbia and South Africa. Mike was the lead consultant for establishment and capability strengthening for the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau. He has also been the Lead Consultant for proposed new convention facilities in 3 Australian cities.
Mike served as General Manager Sales for the Melbourne Convention & Visitors Bureau. He also worked in senior marketing roles with Tourism Australia helping establish their presence in the Asia market and overseeing travel trade development in the United Kingdom and Ireland. He was also instrumental in the development of the AIME tradeshow and the world’s first BestCities Global Alliance. Mike is also a past National President of Meetings and Events of Australia and was ranked as one of the most influential people in the Australian business events industry by mice.net.Email Mike Williams
Rod Kamleshwaran - Partner & COO
Rod leads our Convention & Exhibition Centre advisory team. He has provided advice including operational reviews, feasibility studies, design reviews, pre-opening planning, operator selection and contract negotiation for projects in Australia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Nigeria and Norway.
Rod has 20 years of experience in senior roles in hospitality and the corporate sector. He was previously at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) as a regional CFO. He started his career at PwC where he was involved with numerous feasibility studies.
Rod has an MBA and a Bachelor of Commerce, and is also a Chartered Accountant.Email Rod Kamleshwaran
Partner & COO
Jane Vong Holmes - Senior Manager – Asia
Jane joined GainingEdge in 2009 and consults across the Asia region on a range of challenges and opportunities facing the conventions and meetings industry. Jane has been part of the consulting team for projects in China, Japan, Malaysia, Macao, Korea, Thailand and Indonesia. Jane also managed the very successful BestCities Global Alliance on behalf of GainingEdge for 6 years.
Jane was previously the Regional Director for ICCA based in Malaysia and in 2013 was honoured with the IMEX Academy Award for outstanding contribution to the industry.Email Jane Vong Holmes
Jane Vong Holmes
Senior Manager – Asia
Paul Vallee - Executive Consultant – Americas
Paul is Executive Consultant – Americas, with GainingEdge. He has provided consulting advice in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Panama, and Thailand, and has been an invited speaker in Europe, North America and South America.
Paul is also Managing Director of the BestCities Global Alliance, the world’s leading partnership of convention bureaus. He provides strategic leadership and is responsible for the performance of the Alliance on behalf of the 12 partners on six continents.
Prior to his current role, Paul spent more than 25 years in destination sales, marketing and services management. He has extensive experience managing complex organizations, strategic planning with diverse stakeholders, and destination master planning.
Paul has served on the boards of Destination Marketing Association International, the 2010 Winter Olympic Bid Marketing Committee, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, and the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Task Force. He is also a faculty member in international destination marketing at Capilano University.Email Paul Vallee
Executive Consultant – Americas
Bruce Redor - Partner - Europe, Middle East & Africa
Based in Paris, Bruce Redor is an Anglo-American who has seen his international career develop over a 25-year period in a variety of sectors within the hospitality and services industries. He has led several consulting projects across Europe, Russia and South Africa.
Bruce has Master's degree from U.C. Berkeley and came to France as Director of Marketing at the American Hospital of Paris. He then joined the CEGOS Consulting Group in Paris, leading projects in strategic planning and marketing for multi-national corporations.
Bruce was a member of the management team that built and operated EuroDisney in Paris, where he set up and ran the successful business unit for meetings and incentives: Disneyland Paris Business Solutions.
He was also the CEO of the Lyon Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he was instrumental in turning the city into one of Europe's leading business-travel and leisure destinations.Email Bruce Redor
Partner - Europe, Middle East & Africa
Debbie Canavan - Director of Finance
Debbie has held the position of Director of Finance for the company for the past 8 years.
Prior to that she was Administrator of the Sandringham Soccer Club in Melbourne Australia. In that position she was responsible for all aspects of management of the 800+ member club including membership and registration, fundraising, website development, and club finances.Email Debbie Canavan
Director of Finance
Nigel Brown - Project Manager
Nigel is responsible for a number of projects at GainingEdge ranging from IT projects, such as the implementation of the Best Events Centre for BestCities Global Alliance, business development for the Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) and support for the Japan Global MICE Cities project, a project with the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) & the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) to name but a few.
Nigel started his career at the head office of the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) in Amsterdam. He was part of the event organizing team of the association and served 7 years organizing a host of events on all continents. During his tenure he gained extensive project management skills and was responsible for implementing new technologies at ICCA events. Prior to joining GainingEdge Nigel worked as Project Manager for Singex Exhibition Ventures, the event organizing arm of the Singapore EXPO. During his period at Singex he gained experience working on trade & consumer shows and conferences. This all-round experience has given him insights into both the client and supplier side of the events industry and is put to good use at GainingEdge.
Nigel holds a Bachelor of Hotel Administration, Bachelor of European Hospitality Management from the Hotelschool The Hague and a culinary diploma from the Amsterdam College of Hotel and Gastronomy.Email Nigel Brown
Esther Ng - Business Development Manager- South East Asia
With close to 25 years’ experience in the tourism, hospitality and business events market Esther joined the Travel Industry as Corporate Sales Manager handling bids for Business Event, Incentives and Leisure travel and was also operationally involve in the event management.
During this time Esther secured an extensive network of multinational clients within South East Asia. She is a meticulous organizer and believes good service comes from a humble altitude and not just strict performance of a duty
In 1998 Esther set up her own company representing hotels in SE Asia and Australia seeking to create more market awareness specifically on Business Events and Incentive Travel targeting the Travel Industry and Corporate companies in Singapore & Malaysia.
With her passion in people relationship and providing good service she now spends her free time mentoring the young joining the hospitality industry . Esther has a certification as an ACTA trainer (Advance Certificate in Training)Email Esther Ng
Business Development Manager- South East Asia
Caryn Wong - Management Assistant
Based in Kuala Lumpur, Caryn joined GainingEdge as its Management Assistant in July 2012. She provides management support to the company's Corporate Office and also works closely with GainingEdge's Asian Office to build and manage its Asian clientele.
Prior to joining GainingEdge, Caryn worked for one of Malaysia's leading destination management company and professional congress organiser where she served as a personal assistant to the Group Managing Director of Asian Overland Services Tours and Travel and AOS Conventions & Events for 14 years. Earlier in her career, Caryn has worked as a Secretary to the Owner/Accountant of a Malaysian based accounting firm which later became internationally affiliated and provided administration support in a property development company.Email Caryn Wong
Jackie Caldwell - Business Development Manager
Jackie, originally from Sydney, is now based in Melbourne and has been part of the Gaining Edge team since 2012 as the Australia/New Zealand representative for the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau. This role involves marketing the many unique MICE offerings in Malaysia to companies in Australia seeking an offshore destination for their meeting or incentive.
Prior to joining Gaining Edge, Jackie spent her early years managing conferences, exhibitions and events for some of the major PCOs in Australia. In more recent times she worked in business development roles including five years at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, where she started the renowned Club Melbourne ambassadors program.
Jackie's passion is travelling, meeting new people and learning about the many different cultures around the world. When home, she loves to spend time with family and friends, cooking, entertaining, wining and dining! When relaxing she's loves to read, go to the movies and dance.Email Jackie Caldwell
Business Development Manager
Faye Langley - Business Development Manager
Based in Sydney, Faye joined GainingEdge in March 2010. Her current projects include Australia/New Zealand representation of Malaysia and business development consultancy for Yokohama. Previously, Faye has provided clients with research and business development consultancy for Serbia and Daegu. In addition, she has been involved in a wide range of consultancy projects within Australia, Asia, Europe, North America and South Africa.
Prior to joining GainingEdge she served as the Business Development Executive, in the international sales team at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. She was responsible for helping and encouraging national and international associations to bring their conferences to Sydney. Earlier in her career Faye worked in the sales team at the Melbourne Convention Bureau (formerly Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau).
Faye holds a Bachelor of Business (Tourism) from LaTrobe University.Email Faye Langley
Business Development Manager
Richa Kansal - Consultant
Based in Delhi, India, Richa joined GainingEdge as a Consultant in April 2017. An MBA from Esade Business School, Spain, she joined Boston Consulting Group as a Consultant after graduation. She brings with her an industry experience of over 5 years with some of her past works including consulting, research and trend analysis. Prior to her MBA, she worked as an Assistant Manager in Deloitte India’s Transfer Pricing division and also with a research firm publishing reports on the Indian infrastructure sectors. She is also an M.A. in Economics from Delhi School of Economics.Email Richa Kansal
Jane Cunningham - Business Development Manager
Based in Stockholm, Jane joined GainingEdge December 2009 and has been doing Business Development for BestCities Global Alliance since then. Before joining GainingEdge Jane was the Sales Director for Congrex UK, an international professional conference organisation. Prior to that, she spent five years at the EICC (Edinburgh International Conference Centre) in Association Sales. Before returning to Scotland Jane worked in Dubai for Le Meridien Hotel as a Sales Manager.
Jane studied French, Italian and Tourism and after college she spent a number of years overseas working in the hospitality and tourism industry. She was an active member of ICCA and was on the ICCA UK & Ireland committee.Email Jane Cunningham
Business Development Manager
Molly Doheny - Business Development Manager
Based in Glasgow, Scotland, Molly is a Business Development Consultant for South Africa. She is responsible for sourcing and securing international association meetings business headquartered in Europe, for South Africa.
Molly previously headed up the Glasgow Convention Bureau. During her time there the Bureau won the M&IT Award for Best UK Convention Bureau 6 times, and The ICCA marketing award twice. Molly Served as Scottish Chair of the British Association of Conference Destinations and was an active member of DMAI’s European Council.
She has held a variety of roles including Account Director at Shandwick-Webber and Director of Marketing for Atlantic Pacific Tours. In 2012, Molly was awarded an honorary degree from the University of West London and is a visiting professor in travel and tourism at that institution.Email Molly Doheny
Business Development Manager
Lesley Williams - Consultant
Working in international sales and marketing for over 25 years, Lesley Williams has headed up the Business Tourism arm of Marketing Edinburgh, for the last 7 years before joining GainingEdge.
Leading 8 specialists in the Convention Edinburgh team, Lesley’s priority focus within the role is the sourcing and securing of successful bids for international and national conferences for Scotland’s Capital City. The result of which has seen Edinburgh rise to 27 in the latest in the ICCA World Rankings and the city host a record breaking 65,000 delegates at 208 conventions in 2014-15.
Also responsible for the strategic development of Convention Edinburgh, recent highlights include securing external funding to take Edinburgh to IMEX America in 2014 for the first time, to launch the city’s first integrated digital campaign, to the North American market.
Very active in Scottish business tourism industry, Lesley sits on a number of committees focused on raising the profile of Scotland as a world leading conference destination. This includes an active role as both Committee member and Chair for two years, in the creation and running of the Annual Business Tourism for Scotland, a conference that attracts over 300 industry professionals.
Lesley is also Deputy Chair of Business Tourism for Scotland – a group dedicated to the delivery of the National Tourism Strategy, aiming to grow business tourism in Scotland from £1.9bn to £2.3bn by 2020.
Previous experience includes business development for international hotel chains and prestigious caterers and eight years as Director of Sales at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), playing a key role in taking EICC into operational profit in 2003 through the development of key international and national association and corporate business.
Lesley participates fully in the wider tourism arena sitting on international tourism committees and sits as Chair of ICCA UK and Ireland Chapter. With Edinburgh being a founding partner of the BestCities Global Alliance, Lesley plays an active part in the alliance helping shape strategy and business development.Email Lesley Williams
Milos Milovanovic - Consultant
Based in Belgrade, Milos Milovanovic is a GainingEdge Consultant with expertise in activation and development of convention bureaus and destination marketing in emerging regions. He has close to 10 years experience in the meeting and conventions industry.
Prior to joining Gaining Edge, Milos was the CEO of the Serbia Convention Bureau since 2007, where as inaugural CEO he was instrumental in its establishment and development. Under his leadership the bureau has made constant progress in International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rankings making the top 50 globally.
Serbia, as one of the exciting and emerging Eastern European convention destinations, is now in the global limelight. It has made constant progress and represents one of the fastest growing meetings destinations globally.
Milos has BA in Economics from the University in Belgrade and Master`s degree from Ecole Centrale Paris. In his previous career as project management specialist he has worked with universities, business associations, international donors and AID agencies creating a number of educational and training programs in the hospitality and meeting industry.Email Milos Milovanovic
Dennis Campbell - Senior Manager - Sales Support
Based in Phoenix, AZ, USA, Dennis oversees convention/meetings lead and bid development efforts for our North America clients. Dennis also coaches destination marketing organizations on how to move the needle in their sales operation efficiencies (improve conversion ratio) and convention venues for improving their revenue stream and vendor performance. His has been recognized as a top marketing executive by the American Marketing Association (NM Chapter). Dennis recently completed a Master Certificate program at Cornell University for hospitality management.
Dennis’ tourism & marketing credentials bridge multiple disciplines, having served as an Area Marketing Manager with Southwest Airlines Co., Vice President of Sales & Marketing with the Albuquerque, New Mexico Convention & Visitors Bureau, and General Manager of the New Mexico State Fair Grounds.(6th largest in the USA). His expertise includes complex convention bid preparation, contract negotiations, sales team leadership/training, convention centre and large event venue management, vendor contracts, and breakout brand architecture, all with a keen focus for effective destination marketing platforms. To date, Dennis is the only CVB executive ever to be recognized by mayoral decree in the City of Albuquerque for contributions to economic growth through tourism.Email Dennis Campbell
Senior Manager - Sales Support
Alicia Yao Hong - Business Development Consultant
Based in Beijing, China, Alicia is a Business Development Consultant for South Africa. She is responsible for supporting South Africa National Convention Bureau’s goal to build South Africa’s profile as a business events destination and help grow business sourced from China.
Alicia is a member of Site, MPI, PCMA and ICCA and had her professional training for PCO by IAPCO. She has had successful events delivery and supplier relations experience as it relates to event marketing and creative services. Alicia had 30 years working experience in CITS with full management and sales skills in leisure travel, luxury travel, business travel, incentive programmes, corporate meetings & events, international association conferences, international exhibitions & trade shows and city promotional events. Alicia is experienced in creativity and design, marketing and promotion, bidding documents preparation, logistic and operation management as well as being a special columnist of M.I.C.E China Magazine.
Alicia is now the General Manager of IME Consulting Co., Ltd, the only ICCA member in China which is focusing on destination promotion and marketing consultancy. She is a moderator of IT&CM China, CIBTM, CMIC (China Meetings Industry Convention), China International Meeting Industry Week Chengdu Summit and Chongqing Summit. Alicia Yao is the vice Chairman of Site China Chapter and deputy general secretary of China M.I.C.E Committee.Email Alicia Yao Hong
Alicia Yao Hong
Business Development Consultant
Olivia Jia - Business Development Manager
Based in Beijing, China, Olivia is a Business Development Manager for South Africa. She is responsible for supporting South Africa National Convention Bureau’s goal to build South Africa’s profile as a business events destination and help grow business sourced from China.
Olivia has broad experience in international business development and event consultation. Prior to working for Gaining Edge, Olivia served as the marketing executive of the International Business Development Department of China National Convention Center. She was responsible for preparing Annual Department International Promotional Activities Plan and Annual International Advertising Plan.
Olivia holds Master of Applied Economics from Ohio University and Bachelor of Economics from Xiamen University.Email Olivia Jia
Business Development Manager
Vishalakshi Vuyyala - Business Development Consultant
Based in Hyderabad, India, Vishala is a Business Development Consultant for South Africa. She is responsible for supporting South Africa National Convention Bureau to source and secure corporate, incentive and association meetings business from India.
With nearly 10 years of experience, Vishala was fortunate to work with Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC), India’s first purpose built Convention Centre and Hyderabad Convention Visitors Bureau (HCVB), India’s first regional Convention Visitors Bureau. Being part of such initiatives gave her an opportunity to closely witness the meetings industry growth in India and how it is shaping up as one of the emerging markets in Asia.
Vishala’s core specialities include convention centre sales and marketing, destination/city marketing, bid preparations, and government liaison. She is a Management Graduate with a specialised diploma in Meetings Management. She has also completed a certificate programme in handling “ International Conventions” from IBC Asia, Singapore.
In addition to her mainstream activities, Vishala actively works for the education and empowerment of rural youth. She spends her freetime time in mentoring, guiding, training young professionals/students.Email Vishalakshi Vuyyala
Business Development Consultant
Shogo Kaneda - Associate, Japan
Shogo had worked for Korean DMC based in Tokyo to start his career in MICE industry then joined MICE consulting/media company in Tokyo.
He has provided destination marketing consulting (CVBs) and business development consulting (industry suppliers). He is Korean Japanese and has broad network in Japan and Korea MICE industry.
So far He has been working with representative convention bureaus such as TCEB (Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau), Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau, Malaysia Convention Bureau, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Meet Taiwan (TAITRA), Korea MICE Bureau, SCIB (Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau) and other national/regional bureaus in Japan and Korea market.Email Shogo Kaneda
As an associate of GainingEdge, now he is in charge of project management for Asia Pacific and North America representative project of Tokyo Convention Bureau.