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January 11, 2009

WINNING POST:The MEETINGS:review Personality of the Year 2008

Responding to demand, the MEETINGS:review team has honoured a key meetings industry personality with the web channel’s first accolade in the run up to The Freddies 2009. Ian Whiteling reports…

The meetings industry would be nothing without you – the people who are involved in it day-in, day-out. So following requests from our viewers for MEETINGS:review to acknowledge the contributions of people and organisations that have made outstanding contributions to the industry, we are launching our own annual awards The Freddies – our version of The Oscars, named after the company behind MEETINGS:review, Fred Productions.

Awards categories will be announced in April, with voting open until December 2009, followed by a Gala Dinner in January 2010 where the winners will be announced and the Freddies handed out.

The decision on which people or companies are to receive Freddies will be decided on in part by votes cast by our expert panel, together with those received from you, our viewers.

Personality of the Year
One category, Personality of the Year, will be voted on entirely by our viewing audience, but to set the ball rolling we thought we’d let the MEETINGS:review team choose its 2008 winner.

Our 2008 MEETINGS:review Personality of the Year set up a destination management company (DMC) 15 years ago, developing it into the first global, wholly owned DMC, with offices in 14 key destinations around Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America.

But more than blazing an innovative and successful trail in his chosen field, our Personality of the Year 2008 has also ensured that he and his company have played and continue to play key roles in industry associations locally, nationally and internationally, making a significant contribution to the development of the meetings industry as a whole.

Key relationships
As stressed earlier, people are the key to the meetings industry and everything our 2008 winner has done has focused on building key relationships both internally within his company and externally with clients and suppliers.

It also says a lot about this particular individual that these relationships have been based on honesty and commitment, or as his company’s mission statement puts it: “People and relationships are the DNA of Ovation Group. Through our openness, passion and expertise we develop your vision and make it happen!”

Yes, the MEETINGS:review Personality of the Year 2008 is Padraic Gilligan, managing director of Ovation Global DMC and president of SITE, who was recently described by the incentive travel association’s chief executive Brenda Anderson as displaying both “integrity and authenticity”.

Standing Ovation
Gilligan launched Ovation in the early 1990s in Ireland with Patrick Delaney. Initially a two-man operation, the company’s niche activity rapidly earned its reputation as Ireland’s premier DMC operator, growing to a 50-plus award-winning organisation with full destination management service offices across the globe.

Padraic Gilligan: MEETINGS:review's Personality of the Year 2008

As a sign of his commitment to supporting the meetings and incentive travel industry, Gilligan is the third member of the Ovation management team to become president of SITE, following his co-founder Delaney in 1992 and Hugo Slimbrouck in 2007.

The standards Gilligan has laid down, both professionally and personally, have benefited both the DMC sector and the industry as a whole, and we congratulate him on becoming the first MEETINGS:review Personality of the Year.

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