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About Us | UAE Leadership Team

UAE Leadership Team

Ajay Bhojwani

Managing Director

With a vision to explore untapped potential for congresses and conferences, MCI Middle East continues to expand and is also building new business that is having a positive knock on effect on the development of knowledge hubs in the region. Ajay Bhojwani, Managing Director, Dubai & Abu Dhabi, MCI Middle East shared the story so far.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016, MCI Middle East is taking time to reflect on how the meetings and event industry has evolved and the way the company has developed alongside.

"When we first entered the region we were knocking on doors to hunt down business," said Ajay Bhojwani, Managing Director, Dubai & Abu Dhabi, MCI Middle East. "This worked but it didn't set us apart in the market. We wanted to differentiate ourselves so we invested a lot of time analysing how we could add value to our customers by developing our own events, or assets, as we refer to them. Our first port of call was the healthcare sector, in which we have always been very strong globally. We felt there was a lot of scope for developing related meetings in this region and set about researching areas that were becoming more prominent that would benefit from having a conference or congress as a platform for knowledge sharing."

MCI's research arm, based in China, investigates what diseases are most prevalent in regions around the world together with new drugs being released to help pinpoint areas that may be most suitable.

"We hit upon a statistic that showed the number of people diagnosed with cancer in the UAE is doubling each year, which is why we felt there was a need for a related forum," said Bhojwani. "We started contacting the relevant associations and government entities, as well as prominent pharmaceutical companies, to more traditional flow of corporate business."

Today, MCI Middle East organises up to 200 events annually, which comprises of association conventions, corporate meetings & incentives and government events – 30% percent of which are its own assets – and up to 30 - 40 % of its business take place between September and December. One of the most prominent examples of the asset strategy bearing fruit is the UAE Cancer Congress, which MCI Middle East has grown over six years.

Formerly the UAE Breast Cancer Summit, the first edition was held in 2009 and attended by 109 delegates. Looking at the success and the seeing the burden of cancer continue to rise drastically in the region MCI worked with the medical experts to expand the meeting and helped rebrand the event as the UAE Cancer Congress with a revamped scientific programme that helped to increase revenues by 20 percent year-on-year with an 872 percent hike in delegate attendance, attracting 1,283 delegates by 2014. The latest edition (in 2014) also saw an increase in international participants, with 37 percent of delegates coming from outside of the Middle East and Africa region, including over 40 delegates from China.

"Today, the UAE Cancer Congress is regarded as a 'must-attend' oncology scientific meeting for healthcare professionals from all over the Middle East and South Asia and is successfully growing its international reputation," said Bhojwani. "We are striving to welcome around 3,000 participants by 2020."

The UAE Cancer Congress has two spin off events – one of which is a biennial breast cancer congress that tours Asia Pacific, for which MCI has just signed a six-year deal to host the next three editions in Singapore (in 2016, 2018 and 2020).

It's a significant achievement for the company and a key milestone in its history. Over the past 10 years, we have several events that started off small and today are flagship meetings for the particular industry sector and that is our focus.

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Alexander John

Regional Director - Business Development (India, Middle East & Africa)

An energetic, and enthusiastic person who has a working experience of over 15 years. A career that has spanned across India, UAE and USA. Starting a career with the Taj group of Hotels in India, Alex moved to the Jumeirah Group of hotels, with the highlight of being part of the core opening team of Madinat Jumeirah and Jumeirah Essex House in New York.

Since 2006, Alex moved across to the Global leader in Association Management, Communication and Event Management, the Swiss Based MCI Holding. With over 47 offices across the world, MCI Middle East was a startup and Alex was part of the founding management team.

Alex is now part of the regional office and is responsible for Business Development in the Middle East, India and South Africa.

He has traveled extensively across the globe, nurturing business relationships and expanding business opportunities from around the globe.. His education started in Muscat, Oman and did his bachelor of Commerce from Bangalore University. He completed his MBA from Massey University, New Zealand.

Key management skills and related experience include Proven track record of successfully managing events at the highest levels of government. Creating and implementing strategy; driving innovation; building, developing, leading and motivating teams.

Strategic & operational business management: Creating and successfully implementing corporate strategy. Forming organizational and product strategies at national and international business levels.

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Rakesh Chhetri

Director- Conference Sales

Rakesh Chhetri heads the Conference Sales & Marketing Department at MCI UAE. In this challenging role, Rakesh strives to exceed client expectations every day through strategic engagement, customer insight, and sound market research.

Under Rakesh's experienced leadership, his team executes scores of events every year in the United Arab Emirates, as well as on the international stage. The team ensures project profitability through effective sales & marketing strategies to bring the right partners and sponsors on board, in addition the team acquires over 15000 regional and international delegates per year to our events.

With over a decade of sales & marketing experience within the pharmaceutical industry, service industry and B2B conferences and events, Rakesh is a real asset for MCI UAE. In addition Rakesh also plays a key role internally, especially in terms of recruitment of the right kind of talent and training the existing team.

He's an avid music fan and is the vocalist for the company's in-house band. When on leave, he often takes time out for trekking.

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Kavitha Prabhu

Director Association Management

Kavitha, a native from India living in the Middle East for over 20 years, has had a broad experience of working with corporates and associations locally and internationally. In her current role as Associate Director - Association Management & Consulting, she works with several associations in assisting them in theirexpansion and market entry plans for the Middle East.

Kavitha has an extensive experience in working closely with volunteers and senior Leadership on the development and implementation of international or regional strategies. With her team of association professionals she is responsible for ensuring local relevance and accurate delivery of the programs and benefits of international associations as well as drawing our marketing and business development strategies, product assessment and development, market research, certification and educational programs, membership and chapter relations. Kavitha has a constant appetite of learning and has a bag of innovative concepts and this is very clear with her footprint in Gulf News UAE - the "Fun Drive" concept which still stands as a annual feature. Be it the merchandising concepts for Western Union Financial Services for Middle East and North Africa, she constantly evolved the brand to a household name as it is today in the region

This served the development of industry standards, aiming to ensure best practice throughout the MENA region. Being a very early riser Kavitha enjoys her time in the garden and is fascinated with the concepts of Feng Shui.

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Ann Gadiana

Finance Manager

Ann is a shining star among the fresh faces that have recently joined MCI UAE and heads an experienced team of accounts and finance professionals. She is an experienced CPA, having previously worked with prestigious hotel chains such as the Jumeirah Group and Starwood Hotels and Resorts. With often a mountain of work to climb, Ann stays the course by being pro-active and result oriented. Her team manages financial accounting, monitoring and reporting systems, as well as strategic financial planning, internal control and optimization of the organization's financial resources.

As one of the fastest growing MCI offices, MCI UAE i has to keep track of an increasingly large client base every year, new revenue streams, as well as bigger staff and event related expenses. Despite these challenges, Ann has streamlined the way the finance team works and has achieved smoother processes and time reductions - already winning many hearts.

Away from work, she's a movie buff and likes to read in her spare time.

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Prem Vadassery

Regional Director Operations

As Director of Operations, Prem incorporates almost twenty years of industry experience in handling Middle Eastern destination management, royal and corporate events into MCI's Meetings and Events, PCO and Ovation Arabia. Since becoming part of MCI's team in Dubai, he has streamlined operational procedures to ensure seamless quality assurance standards are kept at their highest level.

Prem has handled key clientele's large events, be their corporate events or medical congresses, across the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, with the largest of these events catering to 12000 people. Responsible for establishing divisional strategic plans, he leads the operational team from event inception to final wrap-up, maximizing resource efficiency and client satisfaction. Prem's well-rounded and genuine understanding of operational set-up and procedure stems from his steady tenure in Oman as well as in MICE at Arabian Adventures (a division of Emirates Airlines), and as Head of Events for the Engineer's Office of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum's private events and royal weddings.

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