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Our Purpose

‘Creating an impact’ is at the heart of everything we do. We enable growth by facilitating deal opportunities. As curators and change agents, we deliver high-level networking and thought leadership for hospitality investment and aviation.


Our Values

Passion

Passion

We are passionately committed to the industries we serve.

Innovation

Innovation

We embrace innovation and facilitate engagement.

Client-centric

Client-centric

We put our client at the heart of everything we do.

Care

Care

We care about the communities we serve.

Fun

Fun

We deliver valuable experiences and have a lot of fun.

The Bench Team

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Jonathan Worsley

Chairman, Bench Events, Board Director, STR

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Jonathan Worsley

Chairman, Bench Events, Board Director, STR

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, is one of the founders and organisers of multiple leading international conferences for the hotel investment industry, including the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, the International Hotel Investment Forum and more recently the Saudi Hotel Investment Conference.      

In 2016, Jonathan and his team entered Latin America partnering with SAHIC which has been organising the leading conference for the industry for over 10 years and this year the main event will be held in Medellin, Colombia.  

Bench Events has also branched out into the related fields of aviation and F&B, with the Aviation Development Conference (AviaDev) and The Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) now in their fourth year.

In 1997, Jonathan was one of the founders of the annual International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, a conference he subsequently organised for 19 years, which today attracts over 2,000 delegates. Earlier in his career, Jonathan worked for real estate consultants CBRE & Hotel Partners, hotel advisors PKF and hotel operator Forte & Holiday Inns. 

Jonathan sits as a shareholder and board director of STR, a global benchmarking company with over 50,000 participating hotels following the merger of The Bench, STR and Deloitte’s Hotel Benchmark. He sits on the board of Hotel Swaps, which allows participating members to swap hotel rooms with other members around the globe and is an investor in TripTease, the tech start-up that enables hotels to increase direct sales and aims to defeat rate disparity.

Jonathan and his colleagues are actively involved raising money for the communities in which Bench Events works. They raised more than £200,000 for TUSK, Cancer Research and the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation by participating in the Kili Madness challenge and breaking the World Record for the highest game of cricket ever played on top of Kilimanjaro. In 2016, Jonathan cycled from Amsterdam to Berlin with nine others for the opening of IHIF and raised funds for the Anne Frank Trust and Future Talent.  More recently, the team has bought a goat herd in Uganda to support a young farmer which will help support the livelihood of his family and the community. 

Jonathan is a Trustee of Future Talent, a charity that provides financial support to gifted young musicians in need of financial assistance to pursue their dreams and talent.  He is also a supporter of the Youth Career Initiative which educates students in the hospitality industry.    

T: +44 (0)20 3318 5800 Ext. 5
M: +44 (0)7770 584739
E: jonathan.worsley@benchevents.com

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Matthew Weihs

Managing Director

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Matthew Weihs

Managing Director

Matthew Weihs is Managing Director of Bench Events. Within this role he focuses on the development of new business opportunities and sales for Bench Events and partners, whilst also supporting the direction of the business and providing commercial support for new product launches.

With over 15 years' experience in B2B conferencing with Guardian News and Media, IQPC and now Bench Events his main responsibilities have been to business develop and manage sales across the portfolio of events.  In 2012 he successfully founded and launched the African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) and in 2013 he launched the Morocco Tourism Investment Forum (MTIF) - an invitation only event for the industry. For 2015 he was instrumental in launching the Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (MR&H) the newest of the products in the portfolio.  

Named as the Director of the African Chapter of Destination Develop, a full service marketing platform for our investment customers, he continues to strive to provide the best services that will deliver the high standards our customers expect.  

T: +44 (0)20 3318 5800 Ext. 3
M: +44 (0)7858 511012
E: matthew.weihs@benchevents.com

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Jennifer Pettinger

Head of Production and Managing Director, Middle East

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Jennifer Pettinger

Head of Production and Managing Director, Middle East

Since joining the Bench Events team in 2008, Jennifer has been an integral part of growing the events portfolio.  In 2013 she introduced the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) Regional Briefings Series, expanding AHIC’s presence throughout the region and in 2014 launched the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) in Dubai. When not at a conference bossing around the hotel industry’s movers and shakers, Jennifer is working tirelessly to bring hotel and restaurant investors scintillating conference sessions. During her time with Bench, she has amassed a large number of air miles, running conferences on most continents. In doing so she has taken full advantage of exploring the shopping, nightlife and restaurants on offer from Kigali to Casablanca as she firmly believes the world is there to be explored. One of her proudest achievements is being a part of the Bench Events Mt Kili Madness team which broke the World Record for the highest game of cricket ever played raising over £200,000 for charity. Currently residing in Dubai she has lived on four continents but will always call Sydney home.

M: +971 (0)558 840 145
E: jennifer.pettinger@benchevents.com

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Ali Shahid

Marketing Director

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Ali Shahid

Marketing Director

Ali heads up marketing strategy, brand management and content distribution across Bench Events. Working closely with event directors, he plays a key role in developing marketing systems and infrastructure while deploying new digital campaigns for key products across priority markets.

With over 10 years' experience in international B2B marketing, Ali has delivered high ROI marketing for several categories of events including: trade shows, leadership conferences, investment forums and professional training. Passionate about working in teams - he has recruited, trained and managed more than 35 marketing managers and executives in his career.

M: +971 (0)50 920 7595
E: ali.shahid@benchevents.com

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Jon Howell

Managing Director, AviaDev

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Jon Howell

Managing Director, AviaDev

Jon joined Bench Events in July 2015. He holds a Marketing and Management degree from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is based in Manchester, England. He has over 15 years’ experience in the travel and tourism sector, with particular expertise in the B2B events sector, specifically in the field of aviation.  In 2016, Jon was appointed to the position of Global Ambassador for the Gorilla Organization, in recognition of his fundraising efforts.

T: +44 161 818 8469
M: +44 7752207064
E: jon.howell@benchevents.com

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Sally Marwaha

Event Director

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Sally Marwaha

Event Director

With more than 20 years’ experience in conferences and events, Sallys specialities include event management, marketing communications, budget management and logistics. Sally is currently managing the Forum sur l’Investissement Hotelier Africain (FIHA), aswell as supporting the development and launch of new events across the Bench Events portfolio. Sally joined Bench Events in 2008 to launch the Russia Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference and has also been involved in launching the Asia Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference and the Iran Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference which took place for the first time in Tehran in February 2017.

T: +44 (0)20 3318 5800 Ext. 7
M: +44 (0)7815 081926
E: sally.marwaha@benchevents.com

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Mala Patel

Event Director

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Mala Patel

Event Director

Mala is responsible for supporting the development and launch of new events across the Bench Events portfolio.  With over 18 years of event management experience; she is an expert at delivering on many different formats of business-to-business events and in her career has led the logistics teams for hosted buyer events as well as conferences. In her previous role as Head of Production she delivered high profile public policy conferences, working with top governmental officials.

Since joining Bench Events, Mala has worked on client partnered events; the Morocco Tourism Investment Forum (MTIF) and The Hospitality & Tourism Summit.  She has successfully managed the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) which is now in its 4th year and taken ownership of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF)driving and growing the event as the must attend event in Africa.  In 2016, she launched AviaDev in 2016 alongside Jon Howell to add the aviation industry to this growing portfolio of events, Mala continues to develop new events and strategies to take Bench Events further into the African and the Middle Eastern markets.

T: +44 (0)20 3318 5800 Ext. 8
M: +44 (0)7930 573621
E: mala.patel@benchevents.com

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Sacha Serikoff

Programme Director

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Sacha Serikoff

Programme Director

Sacha joined the Bench Events team in June 2015.  In her current role, she is involved with content development and programming for selected conferences.

Originally from Geneva, Switzerland, she graduated from the University of St Andrews with a Master in International Relations and Russian.  She spent a year working in the wine trade in London before moving to a hospitality consulting company based in Lausanne, where she focused on developing Executive Education programmes. In her spare time, Sacha enjoys horse riding, golf, and travelling.

M: +254 792 650 662
E: sacha.serikoff@benchevents.com

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Jean Perrochon

Commercial Director

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Jean Perrochon

Commercial Director

As Commercial Director, Jean Perrochon is responsible for developing sponsorship and new business revenues across Bench Event's international portfolio. He is passionate about nurturing commercial opportunities to drive local and international investments worldwide.

Jean has over 18 years' experience across a range of sectors, working for some of the world's best-known media brands and with development agencies and major businesses worldwide.

Bilingual in French and English, Jean was raised in Côte D'Ivoire and England. He has worked closely with government organisations and investors in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

In his spare time he enjoys exploring the world with his wife and two young sons, watching Arsenal FC, French rugby and sampling global cuisine.

M: +44 7815 473018
E: jean.perrochon@benchevents.com

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Annie Santo

Event Manager

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Annie Santo

Event Manager

Annie has been a member of the Bench Events team since February 2013.  Originally from New Zealand she spent 12 and a half years working in London for JPMorgan in a variety of areas including, Equity Derivatives Group Accounting Team, UK Finance and Interest Rates Derivatives Middle Office Trade Support. Annie is currently residing in Dubai.  She is is focusing on speaker liaison for and programming support for the Arabian Hotel Investment Forum, in particular the regional briefings.

M: +971 5586 92841
E: annie.santo@benchevents.com

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Juraj Toth

Aviation Development Director, AviaDev Europe

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Juraj Toth

Aviation Development Director, AviaDev Europe

Juraj is a passionate aviation marketer who believes flying is a force of good. He is based in Košice, Slovakia where he worked for the local airport for 7 years. He built the marketing department from scratch and was responsible for creating and implementing marketing strategies that totally repositioned the airport. Juraj played a leading role within the airport team focused on air service development that managed to bring several new airlines to Košice. He is experienced in airport management, aviation marketing, media relations and event organization.

M: +421 918 111 701
E: juraj.toth@aviationdevelop.com

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Ged Brown

Aviation Development Director, AviaDev

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Ged Brown

Aviation Development Director, AviaDev

Ged Brown is the Aviation Development Director of AviaDev.  He joined the team in May 2018 and has over 20 years experience developing business relationships in the global travel and tourism industry having held senior management positions at Thomas Cook, MyTravel, TUI and Kuoni. He more recently sat on the senior management board at UBM routes for 10 years, during which time he pioneered and promoted the role of tourism authorities in the air service development process as well as managing the host city selection process for all events.

A self-confessed travel addict, Ged frequently presents at several travel industry events throughout the year and regularly writes articles and publications on the industry.

M: +44 7572 612602
E: ged.brown@aviationdevelop.com

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Toni Ukachukwu

Aviation Development Director, AviaDev Africa

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Toni Ukachukwu

Aviation Development Director, AviaDev Africa

Toni is an experienced aviation, travel and tourism management professional with international exposure. He has more than 12 years’ experience and has provided strategic and people leadership for leading hospitality and aviation businesses in emerging markets, Virgin Nigeria being one of them.Toni founded Aviators Africa, a media and integrated marketing company with focus on the Aviation industry in Africa.He was head hunted in 2017 to provide a turn around strategy for Afro Tourism, a travel and tourism company as the CEO.

Toni’s contribution to the corporate travel industry earned him the post as a regional manager for Africa Business Travel Association (ABTA) based in Johanneburg South Africa.

M: +234 8037157444
E: toni.ukachukwu@benchevents.com

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Muhammad Ahmed

Management Trainee – Marketing

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Muhammad Ahmed

Management Trainee – Marketing

E: muhammad.ahmed@benchevents.com

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Mina Khan

Management Trainee – Marketing

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Mina Khan

Management Trainee – Marketing

E: mina.khan@benchevents.com

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Anna Kucharska

Database Manager

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Anna Kucharska

Database Manager

Anna works as the Database Manager for Bench Events and oversees an extensive database covering the key executives from the hotel, tourism and restaurant investment industry in the EMEA. Anna is a Marketing Specialist with a passion for database management and research and holds a Master degree in Psychology.

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Simon Edwards

Head of Design

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Simon Edwards

Head of Design

Simon is responsible for brand implementation and continuity across the Bench Events portfolio, extending from printed collateral to digital. Originally from Chester, England, and now living and working from central France, he has a huge amount of experience working in many sectors of the design industry, from world-famous luxury hotels and resorts to high-end consumer goods, including brand, product, and interior design.

E: simon@onedotsix.com

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Carla Andrews

Accounts

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Carla Andrews

Accounts

Carla joined the Bench Events team in November 2017 via her current employer Stephenson Smart based in Norfolk, England. Her role is to keep the day-to-day accounts for the business up-to-date for both Bench Events UK and Middle East, as well as assisting the team with any financial related matters, such as expense claims, supplier payments, etc. Also collaborates with the Chairman in producing the annual budget, rolling forecasts and cash flow statements.

Originally from Portugal, Carla has been living in England since 2002. In her spare time Carla loves to travel and enjoys camping, walking and skiing. She has been a volunteer with Girlguiding for nearly 10 years and is a keen Brownie and Guide leader.

E: accounts@benchevents.com

The SAHIC Team

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Arturo Garcia Rosa

President & Founder

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Arturo Garcia Rosa

President & Founder

With more than 35 years of experience in hospitality, Arturo is regarded as one of the leading authorities and advisors in the hotel, travel and tourism industries in Latin America. He is also highly regarded as an exceptional professional and superior mentor. His publications, articles, and presentations reflect his passionate interest in keeping current with industry developments, particularly in his beloved South America, as well as his profound insights, vision, and in-depth knowledge of the industry.

Arturo’s career is as extensive as it is prestigious in the hospitality sector in Latin America; he was President & Managing Director of Buenos Aires’ renowned Alvear Palace Hotel from 1984 to 1995, where he led the project to rebrand and reposition one of most iconic hotels in the world.

He also served as President of Welcome Argentina (1992-1994) and was Founder and CEO of Destino Argentina (2003-2005), a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote Argentina as a travel destination. Arturo was also the force and brainpower behind the Argentina 2010 Travel & Tourism Plan, the first-ever destination marketing strategic plan for the country.

Over the years, Arturo has been involved in consulting and advisory services throughout all of Latin America. In 1995 he founded RHC Latin America (www.rhc.la), one of the most respected consulting firms based in the region. In addition to his role as consultant, he has become increasingly involved as a speaker at major industry conferences around the world. His observations, insights and opinions are frequently published in business, consumer and trade publications worldwide and valued among industry leaders.

In 2008 Arturo founded SAHIC – the premier Latin American investment conference organizer, which annually hosts the South American Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference – the only event of its kind in the region, aimed at promoting hotel and tourism developments and related real-estate projects in this part of the world.

More recently, he has been extensively and passionately working for the development of the industry in Cuba. He was responsible for making possible the first formal meetings between American and Cuban hotel companies, a milestone in the history of the island and an accomplished mission for a professional with one aim: making the world a better place through tourism.

E: agrosa@sahic.com

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Florencia Rufino

Managing Director

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Florencia Rufino

Managing Director

Florencia joined SAHIC in 2017. Her career, with more than 25 years in the hospitality sector, began at the Alvear Palace Hotel. In that prestigious hotel, she had the opportunity to train with “Great Teachers”, among them Mr. Arturo Garcia Rosa, President & Manager Director in that period. There she assumed responsibilities in Food & Beverage and Public Relations Departments. 

For six years, she was Director of Food & Beverage Department at the Hotel Emperador Buenos Aires and for more than 10 years, she assumed the responsibility of being Manager of Ristorante BICE - Buenos Aires - positioning the brand among the Best Italian Restaurants in the City.

Florence has extensive experience in Operations. Their strength lies in the Events Planning & Organization, in Training the Work Teams and offering the best Customer Service.

Convinced that there are no limits ... “Because if you believe it, you can do it”

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Pablo Garcia Rosa

Business Development Manager

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Pablo Garcia Rosa

Business Development Manager

As Business Development Manager at SAHIC, Pablo focuses on sales management. 

His main responsibility is to develop and maintain relationships with existing and potential sponsorship clients aiming at keeping sponsors satisfied and very well treated by developing authentic experiences, as well as bringing new sponsors to the conference.

Pablo is also responsible for CRM for marketing and sales actions. Pablo joined SAHIC in 2015.

Prior to SAHIC, Pablo worked for the HVS office in Argentina for 11 years, first in the operations department and in 2012 after gaining experience in the hospitality industry, he joined the Consulting and Valuation team where he performed market research studies and strategic planning for hotels and mixed-use projects in several countries in South America. 

T: +54 11 5217 4544
M: +54 9 11 4195 6701
E: pgrosa@sahic.com

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Mariela Cababie

Marketing Manager

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Mariela Cababie

Marketing Manager

As Marketing Manager at SAHIC, Mariela is responsible for the marketing and communication strategy and for all the actions for the event promotion through the different channels and communications platforms. 

From 2014 to 2018 she acted as Event Manager SAHIC being in charge of the organization and production of the event. She has collaborated with the planning and operations of the conference in every edition since its inception in 2008. 

With over 15 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Mariela worked in the HVS team in Argentina, where she performed Human Resources advisory, strategic planning, market research, feasibility studies in several countries in South America. During this period, she also assumed internal operations responsibilities such as the planning and organization of the HVS Global Summit 2011 held in Buenos Aires. 

Prior to this experience she has worked at the Kempinski Hotels in Buenos Aires as Human Resources Manager and Hotel Manager of one of the properties.

T: +54 11 5217 4541
M: +54 9 11 5579 2906
E: mcababie@sahic.com

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Veronica Bracchi

Finance Manager

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Veronica Bracchi

Finance Manager

Veronica joined SAHIC as Administration & Finance Coordinator in 2012, assuming responsibility for the overall conference budget and registrations management, among others. She also serves as Personal Assistant to Arturo Garcia Rosa, President & Founder of SAHIC.

Veronica has extensive experience in the hospitality industry. She worked for Starwood Hotel & Resorts for more than 8-years, where she successfully served as Area Manager for suppliers’ payment, and then assumed a role on the General Accounting area, performing duties related to tax payment, Cash Flow, Monthly Budget, intercompany controls and account analysis for two of its properties in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She also participated in the start up and operations of luxury independent hotels in the region.

T: +54 11 5217 4544
E: vbracchi@sahic.com

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Graciana Garcia Iribarne

Strategic Advisor

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Graciana Garcia Iribarne

Strategic Advisor

After 10 years of her leading role as Vice President SAHIC, Graciana became Strategic Advisor for SAHIC, as from January 2018. Within this new role she will provide critical expertise and knowledge of the business, while being her main task the design of the events program, content development and speakers selection. 

With over 25 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, she held a number of key positions in hotel operations for prestigious international hotel companies such as Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. During that time, she took part in numerous hotel openings in the region, gaining valuable leadership skills.

Graciana worked in hospitality consultancy in South America for almost 10 years. During her five-year tenure as Managing Director of HVS Buenos Aires office, she particularly gained experience in strategic planning and hotel & tourism development in Latin American markets.

Graciana is part of SAHIC since its inception. Working closely with Arturo Garcia Rosa, President & Founder, in the launch of the first edition of the conference in 2008, she was part of the initial team which laid the foundations for the premier hotel investment conference in Latin America.

M: +54 911 4147 7519
E: mggiribarne@sahic.com

Our events annually bring together hotel and tourism representatives from 79 countries

The Bench team image wall

the Bench team