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Global group of recipients announced for UFI 2022 Next Generation Leadership Grant


UFI, the global association of the exhibition industry, has named the winners of this year’s UFI Next Generation Leadership Grant (NGL), following expert deliberation by a jury of exhibitions industry leaders.

The jury, chaired by UFI president Monica Lee-Müller, met earlier this month to evaluate all qualifying entries submitted from all around the world. The UFI NGL Grant promotes next generation leadership in the exhibition industry, rewarding professionals who show clear initiatives in driving change and innovation in their area of activity. This year, the focus of the NGL project is to develop a new talent narrative for the exhibition industry, a topic of critical importance to the future of our sector.

This year’s winners are:

Monika Baro – project manager at VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. (Thailand)
Daniella Galante – senior digital marketing executive at RX Africa (South Africa)
Joseph (Joe) Kowalsky – show director at Emerald X LLC (USA)
Justine Rabel – key account manager at Eventmaker (France)
Maria Victoria Piñeres – operations manager at Costa Rica Convention Center / Grupo Heroica Volio & Trejos S.A 
Jon Yahirun – customer success manager at Clarion Events (USA)

UFI president Monica Lee-Müller described this year’s grant programme – sponsored by Clarion, dmg events, Emerald, informa markets, RX and Tarsus – as a clear and positive news story in an otherwise complicated period for the exhibition industry. “As the industry continues to face global challenges, developing a dynamic talent narrative for the exhibition industry is of critical importance for the future of the sector. Congratulations to the industry professionals who won this prestigious grant and will have the opportunity to participate in our talent accelerator programme. We look forward to their contributions”, she says.

The jury adds: “Because of the record number of applications, we agreed to award a total of six grants this year. With great pleasure, we would like to congratulate the winners. Their applications were outstanding. We were impressed to see so many motivated and talented applicants from different backgrounds and regions, willing to contribute to developing the talent narrative of our industry. It is a sign of their optimism, as well as our hope for the future of our industry. Thanks again to everyone who participated.”

Spread over a period of 8 months, the programme enables the recipients to share their story on the way in which their leadership, commitment and experience is helping them to achieve success, whilst fulfilling their daily work obligations.
To qualify, applicants must have a maximum of 10 years of work experience within the exhibition industry, and continue to be employed on a full-time basis (within the industry).

About the jury

The jury is chaired by Monica Lee-Müller – UFI president and managing director at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and includes:

Danielle Antes – director, talent acquisition at Emerald Holding, Inc.
Premila Braganza – head of HR at dmg events
Heather Crovo – vice president, HR at Clarion Events North America
Kurt Gamauf – director of HR, global projects at RX Global
Kai Hattendorf – md/ceo at UFI
Tom Humphris – head of HR at Informa Markets
Rachel Wimberly – evp of business development at Tarsus Group


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