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The City Nation Place line-up reinstated the Asia Pacific region, as the centre for cutting-edge initiatives and innovative case-studies, leading to stimulating discussions and new networking opportunities and collaborations globally
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Todd Babiak worked for a decade helping organizations and places build brands and strategies. He did it by uncovering a common narrative, and using it to inspire unity and action. Like all consultants, he sometimes wondered why his clients didn’t do everything he suggested. When one of his clients, the State of Tasmania, was looking for someone to lead the story and strategy work Todd had completed, he leapt into implementation. Today he is learning a lot about the real world as CEO of Brand Tasmania.
Deepak Bagla has a professional career of over three decades, starting with the World Bank in Washington DC. In 1989 he joined Citibank Global Corporate and Investment Banking team and held several responsibilities across Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. In 2007 he joined Private Equity to start an India dedicated fund for core infrastructure.
Mr. Bagla is currently Managing Director & CEO of Invest India, the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency promoted by the Government of India. Invest India is also the execution agency for Government of India’s Start-up initiative.
He is a special invitee on the official Bilateral CEO’s Forum and a member of the Venture Capital Investment Committee of the US $ 1.5 billion “Fund of Funds for Start-ups” established under the Prime Minister’s Startup India action plan. He is also a member of the Ministry of Finance steering Committee on Fintech and a Member of the High-Level committee of the Atal Innovation Mission responsible for establishing and scaling up incubators and tinkering labs across India.
Mr Bagla has a Bachelor’s degree with Honors in Economics from St Stephens College, New Delhi and a dual Masters in International Diplomacy and International Trade and Finance from The School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Washington DC.
Karen Bolinger is a dynamic and experienced strategist and executive leader in the international events, travel, tourism and hospitality services sector.
Karen has made a significant contribution to the visitor economies of several Australian and international cities, and has a unique track record of bringing industry, government policy makers, funders and service organisations together to collaborate and deliver outstanding public value outcomes.
Karen brings a human-centred, engagement rich approach to her work, combined with commercial nous and a comprehensive understanding of Destination Marketing Organisation operating models, business development and market growth strategies.
Karen’s contribution to the sector locally and globally was recognised when Karen was awarded the 2019 Outstanding Contribution to the industry by the Tourism Accommodation Association and 2018 Joint Meetings Industry Council Unity Award, which recognises individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the business events industry globally. In addition, in 2017 Karen was named in Meetings and Convention Magazine as one of the top 25 leading women in business events globally and a finalist in the 2016 CEO Magazine, Hospitality and Tourism Executive of the Year.
Karen is passionate about the tourism sector becoming a force for economic and social change, re-imagining the way tourism can create more cohesive and inclusive communities, and more vibrant and resilient economies, locally and internationally.
Karen is a champion for women in the workplace and is a founding member on the committee for Not In My Workplace (NIMW), a collective of senior female leaders working together to assist boards and senior management bodies to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. Karen is currently on a “gap” year taking a career break to rejuvenate and rediscover her passion.
Nick Hill was appointed Chief Executive of Auckland Unlimited in October 2020, following three years at the helm of Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development.
Nick has extensive experience across the private and public sector. This includes the Chief Executive role with the Commerce Commission, and leading the formation of Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC, now known as Sport New Zealand).
He also has significant experience in the energy sector, having worked 10 years with ECNZ and Fletcher Energy in New Zealand, and with Santos in Australia.
Before joining ATEED, Nick was a Partner of specialist New Zealand public policy and management consulting firm Martin Jenkins – which he joined in 2011 to establish the firm’s Auckland practice.
As Assistant Chief Executive (Marketing Group) of the Singapore Tourism Board, Ms Lynette Pang is responsible for building the Singapore destination brand globally and helms the international marketing efforts, driving the consumer-centric and yield-driven approach to marketing.
Her role as ACE Marketing gives her responsibility for brand strategy and global campaigns, corporate and consumer communications, marketing partnerships, digital and content, industry marketing, agency management and marketing capability development.
In her previous role as Executive Director, Arts & Entertainment, Lynette w as responsible for the strategic development of the Arts and Entertainment sectors for tourism contribution.
She also held a concurrent position as Executive Director, F1 &Sports, overseeing the growth of sports tourism. Lynette had also managed the Enrichment (Healthcare and Education) portfolio in STB previously.
Before joining STB, Lynette was General Manager at leading theatre company,Singapore Repertory Theatre and held marketing leadership positions at Yahoo! Asia and at film distributor, Warner Bros. Theatrical.
She started her marketing career at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising where she worked on the Singapore Tourism Board account. Lynette graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Artsin English Literature and Sociology and completed an Honours in EnglishLiterature. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Singapore International Film Festival and Arts House Limited.
Dr. Dhananjay Regmi, born in 1975 in Syangja District in the western part of Nepal, is an eminent mountain geomorphologist and glaciologist of Nepal. He obtained his PhD in Environmental Earth Science from Hokkaido University, Japan in 2006. Then, he served as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow for the Global Land Project, NODAL office in Sapporo, Japan. He completed a three-month Post-Doctoral course on Dendrochronological Research in Arizona University, USA as a Haury Fellow.
Well known tourism entrepreneur, Dr. Regmi has also been working as an adjunct professor in the Central Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Tribhuvan University, Nepal and also as a Vice-Chairperson of Nepal Geographical Society. He has been involved in the field of climate change and ecological restoration activities as a President of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) Nepal chapter. In addition, as a Chairperson of Himalayan Research Expedition (HRE) and The Himalayan Research Center (HRC) Nepal, he is has been working for the betterment of the livelihood of the high mountain people through his intensive research activities in the Nepal Himalaya.
Dr. Regmi has served as a technical advisor, Glaciologist and Glacier Lake Expert for the Imja Lake Lowering project. He has published several papers about the geomorphological changes and tourism, landslide and floods, earthquake and its impacts, glacier lake outburst flood etc. He has devoted significant time in his career for the promotion of sustainable tourism in Nepal.
Shri Sanjeev Sanyal is currently the Principal Economic Advisor to the Government of India and also serves as the Co-Chair of the G-20 Framework Working Group. He also represents India on a number of international forums.
Prior to joining the government in February 2017, he spent over two decades in the financial sector and was Global Strategist & Managing Director at Deutsche Bank. He was named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010. Shri Sanyal is also a well-known urban theorist and writer. In 2007, he was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship for his work on urban dynamics. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University, Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, Singapore, a Senior Fellow of the World Wide Fund for Nature, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London, and an Honorary Professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. In 2015-16, he served in the Future City Sub-Committee of the Singapore government tasked with building a long-term vision for the city-state.
Shri Sanyal attended Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi and Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar (1992-95). His best-selling books include Land of the Seven Rivers, The Indian Renaissance, India in the Age of Ideas, and The Ocean of Churn, all published by Penguin. In addition, he had published around 200 articles, columns and reports in leading national/international publications.
Mr. Jens Thraenhart | Executive Director of Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
Jens Thraenhart was appointed by the six tourism ministries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, and China to head the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO). With more than 25 years of experience, Mr. Thraenhart has headed digital and marketing strategy teams at organizations including Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and the Canadian Tourism Commission. Recognized as a China expert, he co-founded award-winning Chinese Travel Marketing agency Dragon Trail in 2008, as well as China Travel Trends. He has consulted for the Asian Development Bank, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), and other international organizations. Educated at Cornell University with a Masters of Management in Hospitality, and currently pursuing his doctorate at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Mr. Thraenhart was named as one of the travel industry’s top 100 rising stars by Travel Agent Magazine in 2003, as one of HSMAI’s 25 Most Extraordinary Sales and Marketing Minds in Hospitality and Travel in 2004 and 2005, and one of the Top 20 Extraordinary Minds in European Travel in 2014. He currently serves as the 2nd Vice Chair of the Board of the Affiliate Members of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Bloom Consulting CEO
Since 2003 Mr. Torres has been advising Countries in the field of Nation Branding and City Branding, working directly with heads of state, directors of National Tourism Organizations and Investment Promotion Agencies.
His clients include Countries, Regions and Cities such as Australia, Costa Rica, Israel, Jamaica, Poland, Sweden, Stockholm and many others spread across all five continents.
Mr. Torres collaborates directly with the World Economic Forum in the matters of Nation Branding and is a guest speaker in some of the most prestigious universities in USA and Europe, such as HARVARD, the London Business School, Stockholm School of Economics and many others, being interviewed by The Economist, BBC, Guardian and CNN.
Since 2011 his company performs a global research project called the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking and most recently the Digital Country Index and the Digital City Index
Edith Wong is Chief Marketing Officer at Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), a government department tasked to attract, facilitate and retain foreign direct investment into Hong Kong. The department works with companies of all sizes, from startups and SMEs to multinationals, and supports them in every stage from planning, setting up to promotion and expansion.
She joined Invest HK in 2005 and took up the CMO position in 2015. Her division oversees content marketing, events, public relations, social media, market intelligence and strategic research. Her teams work closely with 31 offices in key markets worldwide to reach out to potential investors and to strengthen and promote Hong Kong’s status as Asia’s premier business location. Recent campaigns launched and spearheaded by Invest HK include the StartmeupHK Festival and Hong Kong Fintech Week.
Prior to joining Invest HK, Edith worked with the Airport Authority Hong Kong and Hong Kong Productivity Council.
Muhammad Azmi Zulkifli is the Chief Executive Officer of InvestKL.
In his current role as Chief Executive Officer, he leads the team to identify, facilitate, and develop solutions for MNCs to locate their high value regional hubs in Greater KL and Malaysia. The focus sectors include oil & gas, healthcare, FMCG, business and financial services. To date, the InvestKL team led by Azmi has successfully brought in more than 90 MNCs to set up regional headquarters or hubs in Greater KL.
He joined InvestKL in 2012 as Director of Investor Relations for Europe.
Prior to InvestKL, Azmi has over 16 years' experience in leadership and management positions spanning commercial business, business transformation and operations with MISC Berhad, a subsidiary of Petronas. HE participated in MISC's business transformation initiatives and was part of a leadership team to re-engineer, develop and commission a global ICT system throughout MISC offices globally.
Azmi holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA. Azmi has attended Petronas Management Training programs as well as participated in several Executive Management programs under Harvard Business School and Dale Carnegie training.