New Council Officers and President-Elect Announced at the IAPCO AM&GA in Ljubljana

Ginevra De Bellis, Department Head of International Relations and Bid Management at OIC Group has been named the 2024 recipient of the IAPCO Hero Award.
5th Mar, 2024

The New IAPCO Council - L to R: Nicola Testai (OIC Group), Ajay Bhojwani (MCI Group UAE), Limor Cunia (Kenes Group), Jimena Ruiz (BTC Americas), Sarah Markey-Hamm (ICMS) - IAPCO President, Sissi Lygnou (AFEA Congress) - IAPCO President-Elect, Ellen Franck (Meetagain AB), Stephen Noble (The Conference Company)

The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) announced the election of new Council Officers and President-Elect at the conclusion of its 2024 Annual Meeting and General Assembly (AM&GA) in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The newly elected Council Officers and President-Elect bring a wealth of experience and expertise to their roles, the following individuals were voted onto the Council by IAPCO member delegates:

  • Ajay Bhojwani - Regional Managing Director (Middle East and Africa), MCI Group (UAE), President, The Events Group (TEG), Ambassador, IAPCO and The Iceberg
  • Limor Cunia - Vice President, Clients & Operations, Kenes Group
  • Ellen Franck - Key Account Manager, Meetagain AB
  • Stephen Noble - Manager (APAC), The Conference Company
  • Jimena Ruiz - Chief of Staff, BTC Americas

In addition to the Council Officers, Sissi Lygnou, CEO of AFEA CONGRESS S.A. was announced as the President-Elect. Sissi has served on the IAPCO Council since 2021 and was re-elected at the 2023 AM&GA in Jerusalem. Sissi currently chairs the IAPCO Advocacy and Publications Committee and will succeed current President Sarah Markey-Hamm at the 2025 AM&GA in Taipei, Taiwan.

“I am honoured to be elected as President-Elect and look forward to working alongside the President and new Council Officers and the entire IAPCO team,” commented Sissi. “Together, we will strive to further elevate the professional standards of the PCO industry and advocate for the vital role of PCOs in the global business events landscape.”

"We are thrilled to welcome the new Council Officers and President-Elect to their respective positions," said Sarah Markey-Hamm, IAPCO President. "Their extensive experience, diverse perspectives and dedication will be invaluable assets as we navigate the evolving landscape of the business events industry and help propel IAPCO forward in its mission to shape the future of the international meetings and events industry."

The newly elected Council Officers will work closely with the President and IAPCO headquarters team to lead the association in achieving its strategic goals and serving the needs of its members.

The IAPCO AM&GA is a premier annual event bringing together leading PCOs and industry partners from around the world to discuss industry trends, share best practices and build valuable connections. This year's event in Ljubljana provided a platform for IAPCO to showcase the dynamism and innovation of the Slovenian meetings industry while facilitating collaboration and knowledge exchange among its members and partners.

On the final day of the AM&GA, Ginevra De Bellis, Department Head of International Relations and Bid Management at OIC Group has been named the 2024 recipient of the prestigious International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) Hero Award.

The IAPCO Hero Award, one of three unique Driving Excellence Awards presented by IAPCO annually, recognises individuals who exemplify excellence and dedication in the events management industry. Supported by IAPCO Destination Partners, the Hero Award acknowledges team members who demonstrate exceptional leadership, innovation and contribution within their organisations.

Ginevra was nominated by her team for her outstanding leadership and contributions to the success of OIC Group. As Department Head, she oversees the implementation and execution of bids, trains and onboards new team members and serves as the company's ambassador across the international associative sector. Her exceptional leadership skills have created a positive and supportive working environment, fostering trust among staff and clients alike. Ginevra's commitment to quality and teamwork has made her an invaluable asset to OIC Group.

Upon receiving the award, Ginevra expressed her gratitude, stating, “Winning this award is a dream come true, it is the achievement of an important goal that confirms my passion and commitment to the industry and stimulates me to keep growing the dedication to my team and clients. I think there are no insurmountable barriers, I always try to be a catalyst for change, prioritising quality and teamwork.”

The 2024 IAPCO Hero Award winner Ginevra De Bellis with the IAPCO Destination Partner representatives present at the IAPCO AM&GA in Ljubljana

Ginevra, who holds a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology and a Master's in Business Administration, has consistently demonstrated exceptional talent in business development, public speaking, and project management since joining OIC Group in 2016.

Commending Ginevra for her positive influence at the company, Nicola Testai, CEO of OIC Group said, “Ginevra’s ability to facilitate discussions on industry trends and problem-solving highlights her role as an enabler, especially at events where she represents OIC. “Her international perspective not only enriches the corporate culture but also acts as a pioneer for exploration and professional growth among employees.”

Commenting on Ginevra's achievements, IAPCO President Sarah Markey-Hamm said, "Ginevra exemplifies the spirit of excellence and dedication that defines the IAPCO Hero Award. Her passion and commitment to her work, along with her unwavering support for her team and clients, set a remarkable example for all professionals in our field."

As the recipient of the IAPCO Hero Award, Ginevra received the prestigious Hero Award trophy and an education bursary, which includes travel and accommodation to attend the IAPCO Annual Meeting in Taipei, Taiwan from 20- 3 February 2025.

The IAPCO Hero Award celebrates individuals nominated by colleagues, clients, or suppliers within an IAPCO PCO company. Nominations are sought annually from across the IAPCO member community.

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