The Team

  • Gary Grimmer

    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.

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    Gary Grimmer

    CEO

    Australia

  • Mike Williams

    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.

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    Mike Williams

    Senior Partner

    Australia

  • Rod Kamleshwaran

    Rod Kamleshwaran - Partner & COO

    Rod leads our Convention & Exhibition Centre Development advisory practice.

    Rod’s expertise is in development advisory and asset management of Convention & Exhibition Centres. Having advised on projects across all continents he brings a broad global perspective. Some of his engagements include Australia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway and Singapore.

    His advisory experience includes feasibility studies, design reviews, and operator selection. He has advised new developments and existing venues. He has over 20 years of experience in this industry. He started at PwC where he was involved with many feasibility studies. As a regional CFO at IHG he was involved in development and asset management of hotels and venues. Rod is an MBA and a Chartered Accountant.

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    Rod Kamleshwaran

    Partner & COO

    Australia

  • Jane Vong Holmes

    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.

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    Jane Vong Holmes

    Senior Manager – Asia

    Malaysia

  • Paul Vallee

    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.

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    Paul Vallee

    Executive Consultant – Americas

    Canada

  • Bruce Redor

    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.

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    Bruce Redor

    Partner - Europe, Middle East & Africa

    France

  • Debbie Canavan

    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.

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    Debbie Canavan

    Director of Finance

    Australia

  • Nigel Brown

    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.

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    Nigel Brown

    Project Manager

    Singapore

  • Esther Ng

    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)

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    Esther Ng

    Business Development Manager- South East Asia

    Singapore

  • Caryn Wong

    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.

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    Caryn Wong

    Management Assistant

    Malaysia

  • Jackie Caldwell

    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.

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    Jackie Caldwell

    Business Development Manager

    Australia

  • Faye Langley

    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.

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    Faye Langley

    Business Development Manager

    Australia

  • Louise White

    Louise White - Business Development Manager - NSW

    Based in Sydney, Louise is the Business Development Manager for the Australian Grand Prix Corporation who manage two of Australia’s major sporting events, the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Melbourne and the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Phillip Island in Victoria.

    The role involves sourcing and securing corporate hospitality and sponsorship business for both events from the corporate market as well as incentive companies.

    Prior to joining Gaining Edge, Louise has spent many years in the hospitality industry working in roles within hotels and professional conference organisers in the UK and Australia including being part of the pre-opening sales team for the iconic Hilton Sydney.

    More recently Louise founded and continues to run White Social - specialists in social media for association conferences working with organisations such as the Urological Society of Australia & New Zealand, Meetings & Events Australia, International Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons and Multicultural NSW.

    Louise has a great network of contacts cultivated over the years and a strong history of bringing clients with her wherever she goes. Louise is an experienced relationship builder, sales and marketing devotee, has international experience and contacts and is a passionate motor sport enthusiast.

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    Louise White

    Business Development Manager - NSW

    Australia

  • Jane Cunningham

    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.

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    Jane Cunningham

    Business Development Manager

    Sweden

  • Lesley Williams

    Lesley Williams - Business Development 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 was to source and secure successful bids for international and national conferences for Edinburgh, the result of which saw Edinburgh rise to 27 in the ICCA World Rankings.

    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 included an active role as both Committee member and Chair for two years, in the creation of the Annual Business Tourism for Scotland, a conference that attracted over 300 industry professionals.

    Lesley participates fully in the wider tourism arena sitting on international tourism committees. She is currently Chair of ICCA UK and Ireland Chapter where her aim is to ensure ICCAUK&I grows from strength to strength and continues to deliver for its members through an inspiring education programme and through business development opportunities.

    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.

    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.

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    Lesley Williams

    Business Development Consultant

    United Kingdom

  • Milos Milovanovic

    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.

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    Milos Milovanovic

    Consultant

    Serbia

  • Dennis Campbell

    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.

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    Dennis Campbell

    Senior Manager - Sales Support

    USA

  • Philippa Durrant

    Philippa Durrant - Director - Business Development, North America

    Philippa Durrant has over 20 years of experience working in the North American MICE market. She has represented international Destination Management Companies since 1996. In 2012 Philippa opened Arena Destination Marketing for the purpose of representing the city of Cannes and expanded the client base to include Association Management Companies and Associations that operate internationally. Most recently Philippa has worked with destinations across Europe and Asia including Vienna, Barcelona, London, Tokyo. Philippa has partnered with GainingEdge to provide in market representation services for GE clientele.

    Philippa has a team of Sales and Marketing professionals who travel throughout the USA and Canada and attend all major trade shows representing our various destinations.

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    Philippa Durrant

    Director - Business Development, North America

    USA

Affiliates

  • Alicia Yao Hong

    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.

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    Alicia Yao Hong

    Business Development Consultant

    China

  • Olivia Jia

    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.

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    Olivia Jia

    Business Development Manager

    China

  • Vishalakshi Vuyyala

    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.

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    Vishalakshi Vuyyala

    Business Development Consultant

    India

  • Shogo Kaneda

    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.
    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.

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    Shogo Kaneda

    Associate, Japan

    Japan

  • Molly Doheny

    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.

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    Molly Doheny

    Business Development Manager

    United Kingdom