UFI’s 2020 Next Generation Leadership Grant Receipts Unveiled

April 21, 2020

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has named the winners of this year’s UFI Next Generation Leadership Grant (NGL).

The jury, chaired by UFI President Mary Larkin, met earlier this month to evaluate all qualifying entries submitted from around the world.

The UFI NGL Grant promotes emerging leadership in the global exhibition industry and is awarded to professionals demonstrating a clear drive towards change and innovation.

Here are this year’s winners:

  • Alexis Zamudio, Events Manager, FINNOVISTA (Mexico);
  • Christina Rabl, Conference Manager Command Control at Messe München (Germany);
  • Erika Karlsson, Project Manager at ELMIA (Sweden);
  • Matthew Funge, Managing Director & Founder of Your Stand Builder (UK); and
  • Vijay Sharma, Head: Partnerships & Business Development, Koelnmesse (Singapore).

UFI President Mary Larkin described this year’s grant program – sponsored by Comexposium – as a clear and positive news story in an otherwise complicated period for the exhibition industry. 

“These are turbulent times for our industry, and strong leadership such as we have seen from the recipients of this year’s grant will count towards the recovery as we emerge on the other side, with all the fresh challenges that we will face,” she said.

Renaud Hamaide, President of Comexposium, said: “We are delighted to support any program that encourages development in this wonderful industry, as is clearly the case with the UFI NGL Grant. The foremost program of its kind, the grant takes an innovative approach to the development of talent that will ultimately help forge the path of our industry for the future.”

Spread over a period of 18 months, the program enables up to five grant 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). They must also be willing and able to work on the program.  

Commenting on their role on the 2020 NGL Grant jury, 2019 grant winner Fuad Musafir, Business Development Manager Exhibition and Live Events at OCEC (Oman) said: "Being a former winner of the UFI NGL Grant made my involvement in this year's jury a very rewarding experience. While I had insight into the bids from 2019's eventual winners, I did not realize until now the breadth and quality of the applications that UFI receives each year. It's fair to say there is a lot of untapped talent and creativity in this industry." 
About the jury
The jury is chaired by Mary Larkin – UFI President and President at Diversified Communications USA (USA) and includes Fuad Musafir – 2019 NGL Grant winner and Business Development Manager Exhibition & Live Events at OECE (Oman); Caitlin Read – Group Communications Director at Comexposium (France), Kai Hattendorf – UFI MD and CEO (France); Angela Herberholz – Program Manager Education Working Groups at UFI (France).

For more information please visit the UFI website here:


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