The Meetings Industry Association (mia) has revealed the individual names and teams who have secured a place on its prestigious miaList 2020.
Nominations for the hotly contested list, which has been celebrating the outstanding and passionate individuals in the business meetings and events sector since 2011, once again remained high.
This year’s coveted list, which was revealed at a virtual ceremony sponsored by The Belfry, G3 Events and The Meetings Show features eight individual names, as well as a ‘Leadership’ title, a team and two dedicated COVID-19 honours.
Douglas O’Neill, chief executive of Inntel, secured the Leadership title after impressing the judges with his ability to inspire, motivate and care for his team while managing the impact of the pandemic on the UK’s largest independent meetings and travel management company.
The eight individual names include:
- Adam Loach – The Grand Brighton. His infectious enthusiasm and focus tackling challenges head on, as well as his empathy and leadership made Adam a worthy winner of a place on this year’s miaList.
- Adam Simpson – etc. Venues. Adam’s maturity, considered approach, willingness to except a challenge and considerable people skills impressed the judges, after they were put to great effect for a ground-breaking live hybrid industry event – UK Kickstart 2020.
- Charlie Kelly – Chelsea Football Club. Charlie’s approach to adapt and develop innovative solutions alongside her pragmatic approach, infectious positive attitude and determination to go the extra mile, made her stand out to the judges.
- Claire Heap – Conference Leeds & Visit Leeds. Judges commented that Claire’s ability to rise to the challenge – support destination partners as well as her work repositioning the destination while being a thought leader sharing insightful comments across a range of industry channels was admirable.
- Joanna Lunn – Victory Services Club. The judges felt Joanna was a resilient leader who has successfully accomplished cultural change bringing three disparate departments together to great positive effect and protect the venue through the pandemic.
- Judith Sloane – Meet Cambridge. Judges highlighted Judith’s passion, drive, ‘can do’ attitude, and her ability to step in and take over the management of her team during the pandemic as key attributes.
- Marianne MacKinnon – University of St Andrews. The judges felt Marianne’s leadership approach, which has enabled her to take on extensive additional responsibilities and find solutions to overcome challenges as well as her commitment to building her team, was commendable.
- Rachel Azzopardi – Regent’s Conferences and Events. Her empathy and confident communication skills to ensure that both clients and staff were continually updated throughout the pandemic and her ever positive approach to keep spirits up, set Rachel apart.
Simon Thatcher of Kents Hill Park secured the Extraordinary Performance title after judges unanimously admired his faultless approach, which with three days’ notice, saw him transform his venue into a quarantine centre for families returning from Wuhan.
The Team of the Year was awarded to Lancashire Cricket Club after it demonstrated a united effort, innovation through the use of technology, strategic awareness and operational excellence to safely deliver the first international event back to the UK.
Oddity Events and Marketing received the remaining Extraordinary Performance Award for their pure determination and ability to swiftly adapt, change and reposition their offering to survive the pandemic.
Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia, said: “I’d like to congratulate all of those special individuals and teams who have secured their name on the miaList 2020. This year has been challenging to say the least, so it was fantastic to have the opportunity to celebrate and shine a spotlight on the exceptional and committed talent we have working in the business meetings and events sector. Individually and collectively they have adapted and united as teams going above and beyond the call of duty.”
She added: “I would also like to extend my greatest thanks to our partners, judges and supporters for contributing to the ongoing success of the miaList.”
Nominees were assessed by an esteemed panel of industry stalwarts, including Gill Smillie of Conference Venues Countrywide, Robert Kenward of YOU search & select, Lacy Curtis-Ward of The Lensbury, Amanda Thurlow of ACCA, Paul Southern of Central Hall Westminster, Dan Stevens of Primary and Julie Shorrock of Hotel and Travel Solutions