EDUCATION Bachelor’s degree in applied biology, Cardiff University; master of philosophy in research, University of Wales.
MY FIRST JOB Research technician doing research into inflammation in kidney disease in a research institute in Cardiff.
MY PREVIOUS THREE JOBS Vice president of a postgraduate society, organizing events for postgraduates. I was interested in inflammation, so I moved to Southampton to become a research assistant, doing research into meningitis. All through my research career, I was organizing events, bringing together people in a formal or social setting to discuss their research. I decided to give up research and move more into the field of event organization; hence I moved to Brussels to work for ECCO as the scientific program coordinator, supporting scientific committees to develop their programs for ECCO’s and member societies’ conferences.
WHAT I DO I am now the head of the congress unit, managing a team of 10 people. My role is to oversee the congresses that we organize and ensure that there is adequate staffing for the events, managing the contractual agreements and supporting the development of the team. One of my main roles is to manage the organization of our own Congress. I develop the strategic plan with the committees, manage the budget, and oversee the smooth running of the Congress with the team.
MOST INFLUENCED IN MY CAREER BY One of the most influential people in my career is Michel Ballieu, [ECCO’s] previous CEO.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM HIM He encouraged me to be innovative and come up with new ideas.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT MY JOB There are a couple of things. One is being part of a great team. The team brings so much energy and drive, always looking to improve what we do. On a personal level — having the knowledge that organizing cancer events, which help to educate the doctors and nurses, will improve the lives of the cancer patient.
MY NEXT BIG CAREER GOAL This would be to manage an association. I already do it on a small level, as I am the secretary general of EBC [European Breast Cancer] Council. But to manage a larger association with a bigger staff would be interesting.
MY ADVICE FOR YOUNG MEETING PROFESSIONALS Learn as much as you can. Always look beyond what you are doing, finding ways of improving what you do. There are a lot of ongoing changes in the meetings industry. We are moving more and more into digitalization, and this opens up a whole new way of thinking, of organizing congresses. Stay one step ahead.