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Meetings Industry Association honours talent with miaList 2019

The Meetings Industry Association (mia) has revealed the names on its 2019 miaList roll of honour.

The annual miaList is designed to celebrate outstanding and passionate members of the meetings, hospitality and events industry who go above and beyond the call of duty.

This year’s miaList, sponsored by Epson, features 10 names, dedicated Leadership and One to Watch honours, as well as two team titles, which were revealed at an awards lunch at the Park Plaza London Riverbank on Thursday 28 November.

Stuart Johnson, managing director at Brown’s Hotel, was awarded the Leadership title. The hotelier has worked at Claridge’s, Cliveden, The Connaught and The Savoy, where he was the youngest hotel manager at 32 and has carved out a successful career as a hotelier, notably working hard to attract more people into the industry.

Johnson was named Hotelier of the Year in the Catey Awards 2012 and Hotelier of the Year in the European Hospitality Awards in 2013. He is also a member of the Master Innholders where he has served as chairman and other industry bodies such as Springboard and the Institute of Hospitality.

The One to Watch honour was secured by Yasmin Okerika from The Grand Brighton. Judges said she was warm, personable and commercially astute, qualities which made her ‘great at her job’. They also praised her focus and ability to tackle challenges and the fact that her team had described her as ‘instrumental’ to its success.

The 10 names that made this year’s 2019 miaList are:

• Alex Penn – Event Exeter, chosen for making an impact on the business and going ‘above and beyond’ to ensure clients receive a seamless service.
• Andrew Dixon – The Grand York. The chef’s determined mindset, fearlessness and commitment to the vision of the hotel’s cookery school impressed judges.
• Caroline Bull – CTT Venues. Judges praised Caroline’s development of a hands-on culture within the company, her determination and commitment to talent development.
• Ben Chatburn – Pavilions of Harrogate, who stood out for his ‘engaging, enthusiastic and passionate’ approach to his venue.
• Lucy Ann Clarke – Manchester Central. Lucy demonstrated an ability to extract the best in everyone, said judges, who noted her integral part in introducing forward-thinking sustainability initiatives to her venue.
• James Hunter – Hawthorn. The enthusiasm displayed by James for his work and Hawthorn stood out in his interview as did his passion for providing creative events and his unwavering support for his team.
• Jenny Harding – Trinity Event Solutions. Judges said Jenny ‘ticked all the boxes’ for the miaList, noting her exemplary commitment to staff and passion for achieving ‘best in class management standards’.
• Jo Kenny – Lime Venue Portfolio, was dubbed a ‘trailblazer within the event industry’ for her use of tech to maximise the ability of the work force, developing innovative ideas into practical solutions and for ‘giving back’ to the industry and charity.
• Jessica Winskill – The Grand York. Judges said Jessica is a ‘shining example’ of how hard work and determination can get you to where you want to be.
• Wendy Alders – Intercontinental London Park Lane. Wendy’s experience, professionalism, knowledge and great eye for detail impressed judges as did her ability to break through many glass ceilings. “Many women in the industry have a lot to thank her for forging the way for them,” they said.

The team awards, sponsored by Core Process, featured two categories – Best Agency/Supplier and Best Venue and were chosen from a shortlist of 13 across both categories.

The Best Agency/Supplier title was awarded to Primary, which demonstrated collaboration, team engagement and passion to achieve ‘great things’, while the Victory Services Club won the Venue award. Judges praised the club’s strong team culture and said that everyone’s contribution had resulted in high client retention.

Nominees were assessed by a panel of industry stalwarts, including Gill Smillie of Conference Venues Countrywide, Mark Gallen of MG Sales Performance, Robert Kenward of YOU search & select, Lacy Curtis-Ward of The Lensbury, Amanda Thurlow of ACCA, Paul Southern of Central Hall Westminster and Julie Shorrock of Hotel and Travel Solutions.

Kay England, chair of the mia said: “Congratulations to the individuals and teams finding themselves on the miaList 2019. The miaList is a fantastic way to shine a spotlight on the incredible and inspiring talent found within the industry and this year we are fortunate to be able to honour some exceptional individuals and teams whose dedication, innovation, leadership and commitment to the industry knows no bounds.”

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia, said: “We are thrilled to once again be commending the outstanding talent we have working in this wonderful industry. As we celebrate the eighth year of the miaList I’d like to congratulate everyone who has secured their name on this year’s prestigious roll of honour and extend my greatest thanks to our partners, judges and supporters for contributing to the ongoing success of the miaList.”