Writer, Hotelier, TV Personality,
Hospitality Expo 2024 Ambassador
Irish Hotelier and TV personality Noel Cunningham has a distinguished career in Hotel Catering and Tourism. He has worked on some of the great ocean-going liners and is well acquainted with the grand hotels of the world.
Now working as Ambassador to the award-winning Harvey’s Point Hotel, which he once managed, Noel was awarded “Donegal Person of the Year in 2022. Noel brings his charm, wit and wealth of industry experience to the Hospitality Expo.
Catch Noel on the Hospitality Stage throughout HEX24
Marc is managing director of DTA Marketing, a well-established marketing and training consultancy in Dublin. Prior to joining DTA Marketing (20 years ago) he held senior marketing positions with Superquinn, Securicor, Deloitte and AIB.
He is a member and Graduate (Grad MMII) of the Marketing Institute of Ireland (formally vice chairman) and is an elected Fellow (FIHI) and former council member of the Irish Hospitality Institute. He regularly gives seminars on marketing, selling and customer care.
Marc has assisted over 400 companies with their marketing and staff development and he addresses over 2,000 people annually at conferences and workshops. Marc has been instrumental in creating the agendas for Hospitality Expo 2024
Catch Marc at the Hospitality Stage for the finance panel discussion, and on the Tech & Innovation Stage throughout the Expo.
Project Pal AI
Declan is an industry leader in project delivery and change management and is ranked in the top 10 Thought Leaders in project management by Thinkers 360. He is the co-author of an award-winning, best-selling book – Humology: How to put humans back at the heart of technology. Declan has an honours degree in Artificial Intelligence and is currently studying AI for Business at Oxford University. His new start-up, Project Pal AI, is an AI-enabled project management tool that improves the quality and consistency of communications and reporting for project management professionals while providing significant productivity savings
Business Post Group
Gillian Nelis is managing editor of the Business Post Media Group, and editor of Food&Wine magazine. She has more than 25 years of experience in journalism, and has worked across news, features, property, lifestyle and more.
She has been the Business Post Magazine’s restaurant critic for eight years, and in 2021, presented the sold out Food&Wine Restaurant of the Year Award, for which she was chair of the judging panel.
Gillian joins us on day two of the Hospitality Expo for “Food Trends & Developments” on the Hospitality Stage.
SPEAKERS & PANELLISTS
Irish Hospitality Institute
Daragh O’Neill was appointed as 30th President of the Irish Hospitality Institute in 2023 and is the general manager of The Talbot Hotel Stillorgan (formerly Stillorgan Park Hotel). A graduate of Hotel & Catering Management at the Dublin College of Catering (TU Dublin & Trinity College Dublin). He then travelled to the USA and gained 8 years’ experience with Medallion Hotels in Texas where he assumed his first general manager’s position. He returned to Ireland in 1998 to take up the position of general manager of The Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick. In 2008 he returned to Dublin to assume his current post.
Daragh is passionate about the investment in people working in the hospitality industry. He firmly believes in providing his team with the necessary training and skills required for their overall success within the industry. In 2023 the Talbot Hotel Stillorgan has been recognized as a “Great Place to Work” and has also received the Failte Ireland Employer Excellence award. His team at the Talbot Hotel has also been previously recognized by the AA of Ireland when it was awarded the Annual Courtesy and Care award.”
Irish Hotels Federation
A native of Strokestown, Co Roscommon, Denyse Campbell is General Manager of the Maldron Hotel Dublin Airport. After graduating from the College of Catering in Cathal Brugha Street, she began her career as a hotelier with the Hilton Group in the United States. Following a period with Jurys in the UK, she returned to Ireland where she worked for several independent hotels and groups. In 2015, she joined Dalata Hotel Group, spending several years at the Clayton Ballsbridge before assuming her current role at the Maldron Hotel Dublin Airport in 2018.
Denyse was appointed 39th President of the Irish Hotels Federation in has been an active member of the IHF since 2006 and has served as Secretary and Chair of the Dublin branch, National Vice President on two separate occasions and as a member of the National Council and Management Committee. As Chair of the IHF’s Marketing Group she oversaw the launch of the immensely successful ‘Go Anywhere Gift Card’, the official gift card of the Irish Hotels Federation.
Gerardo Larios Rizo
Head of Hospitality Sector
for Corporate & Commercial Banking
Bank of Ireland
Gerardo Larios Riza is the Head of Hospitality Sector for Bank of Ireland which he joined in November 2012 after a 15 year career in the hospitality sector which included roles with Dalata and Radisson in Ireland as well as hotels and restaurants in Mexico and Switzerland. In his current role, he is responsible for the overall lending proposition to the hospitality sector for Bank of Ireland including lending to hotels, bars and restaurants.
Associate Director | Travel, Hospitality and Leisure Advisory Team
Breda McEnaney is a highly qualified hospitality and tourism professional with over 30 years of industry experience across Europe, Middle East and Africa. Breda has a background in hotel management, strategic planning, brand development and marketing strategy. Breda has worked on a wide variety of hotel and destination resort development projects, assessing market opportunities and bran partners. During her consulting career in PwC, CROWE and now Deloitte she has carried out a wide range of viability assessments and negotiated HMAs and Franchise agreements. Breda’s strong track record includes successfully repositioning global hospitality brands and advising public and private sector bodies on strategic, commercial, and financial aspects.
Director Hotels Tourism Leisure
Weldon Mather has over thirty years’ experience in the hotel, tourism, and leisure industry. During his career he has advised across a wide range of projects and asset management assignments, playing a crucial role in the development of the Irish HTL sector. He is a Chartered Surveyor, a Management Accountant, and a Certified Hotel Asset Manager (Cornell). Before joining Crowe, he held the position of Head of Accommodation Development in Fáilte Ireland, where he was responsible for accommodation development, capacity growth and national quality and standards.
Sean & Elaine Lally
Owners, Hotel Woodstock
Sean and Elaine Lally are the co-owners of Hotel Woodstock in Ennis with the Choice Hotel Group.
Sean is original from Galway and studied Hotel Management in Galway working with The Forte Group for 10 years and his first GM position was in the Imperial in Cork , followed by 18 years in Limerick managing the Royal George Hotel, Opening the Clarion Hotel and the Clarion Hotel Suites and moving to the Limerick Strand Hotel before moving to Hotel Woodstock in 2016.
Elaine who is originally from Bunratty also went to Galway and studied hospitality and worked as a consultant for a number of years in hospitality and was the first employee of the Choice Hotel Group before joining Sean in Hotel Woodstock in 2016.
David O’Halloran & Martin Buckley
Lifeboat Inn, Cork
David O Halloran & Martin Buckley are the owners of The Lifeboat Inn. You may know them on social media as @the_lads_from_the_lifeboat where they have gained a strong online following in the past year posting cooking videos & showing a behind the scenes look at running a hospitality business.
The Lifeboat Inn is an award winning gastropub with a waterfront garden on the Wild Atlantic Way in West Cork. The lads will be talking about using social media as a tool to build a business.
Chief E- commerce Officer,
Great National Hotels & Resorts
Christopher Kenny is Chief E-Commerce Officer with Great National Hotels. He is a Masters’s graduate of TU Dublin with over 20 years of hospitality experience. His career is marked by working with some of Ireland’s foremost hotels including the Moran Hotels, Slieve Russell Hotel, and Staycity in Sales, Marketing, and Digital Transformation roles. He has an understanding of guest behaviour with a passion for delivering unparalleled guest journeys.
Digital Marketing Consultant & Co-Founder
Escalate Digital Marketing
Having worked in the Bar & Hospitality industry for years, and then with some of Ireland’s biggest digital agencies, Aaron saw the gap for a marketing agency which focused on the unique needs of the hospitality industry. Along with Andy, Aaron co-founded Escalate in 2014.
The power of social media is second to none in helping you to achieve your business goals, so get ahead of the curve and learn what the world of social media has in store for businesses in 2024.
Ross O’Neill gained his front line experience in one of Ireland’s most exclusive 5 Star Resorts and his passion for great Customer Experience and Employee Engagement never left him. Since then, he has added years of experience with a top Change Management Consultancy – supporting blue-chip and SME organisations develop a high-performance culture. He has a strong belief in the intrinsic link between high employee engagement and great customer service and has built a reputation for a no-nonsense, practical approach to everything I do. He has helped many great brands increase financial results through an improved high-performance culture, with the complete focus being on Employee Engagement.
Founder & MD,
Louise Lally Training Academy
Louise Lally is the founder of The Training Academy. having worked in leadership roles within the Retail sector for 15 years, she saw a gap in how leadership teams were being trained in managing staff performance, feedback and difficult conversations. Louise was mentoring and coaching for many years in these areas with leadership teams and felt that there is more support needed to give a better experience and performance process to those new in management roles and needing training to cope better when dealing with people management.
Her team works with organisational leadership teams that need support in creating training in performance management, coaching and team conflict. Each training programme is custom built and designed for each organisation they work with from Retail, Pharmaceutical, Banking to Hospitality. They work alongside HR departments by supporting the L&D function of a business.
Director of Risk, People & Culture
The Wright Group
Ronan Galligan is head of People and Culture for the company. He encourages & moulds teams be the best versions of themselves. He believes in education that encourages building strong teams, this is evident in our award in 2023 for Training & Upskilling.
Ronan works on two of the main pillars of the company, People & Culture, Diversity & Inclusion and is also the head of the company’s Health and Safety team, ensuring all our colleagues have a safe place to work.
He believes that health, including physical and mental health, is important for all the team and he drives our Health Assured App to encourage this.
Guy Thompson has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Guy Thompson currently holds the position of Hotel Director – Irish Hotels at FBD Hotels & Resorts. Originally hailing from the UK, Guy possesses a National Diploma, Higher National Diploma, and a Degree in Hotel Business Management. His career in management spans various roles across the UK, including Deputy General Manager at a 120-bedroom resort property for Principal Hotels and involvement in specific projects under the Operations Director’s purview.
In response to the growing hotel portfolio, including Faithlegg Hotel, The Heritage Hotel, Castleknock Hotel, Killashee Hotel, La Cala Resort, and Sunset Beach Club in Spain, FBD Hotels & Resorts underwent organisational restructuring at the end of 2023. Consequently, Guy Thompson assumed the role of Hotel Director – Irish Hotels on January 1st, 2024, taking on full responsibility for all Irish operations. This strategic move aims to enhance consistency and synergy among FBD’s Irish Hotels under Guy’s capable leadership.
Chef & Owner,
McNean House Restaurant
One of Ireland’s premier chefs, Neven Maguire was born and reared in Blacklion, County Caven. Neven studied catering at the nearby Fermanagh College in Enniskillen. He then trained in in some of the world’s top restaurants including Arzac, San Sebastian, Spain (3 Michelin Stars) and Restaurant Léa Linster, Luxembourg (1 Michelin Star). He took over as Head Chef/Owner of MacNean House & Restaurant in 2001.
No stranger to our TV screens, Neven has written many cookbooks and contributes to a wide range of publications including a weekly column in The Farmers Journal
Restaurants Association of Ireland
Adrian Cummins is the CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland – the representative body for Ireland’s food-led hospitality industry with over 3,000 member restaurants, cafés and gastropubs – and also the Treasurer of the European umbrella hospitality organisation Hotrec. Prior to this, Adrian was CEO of both the Irish Hospitality Institute and of the Marketing English in Ireland organisation.
Wellness Chef & Culinary Advisor
With a media career spanning almost a decade, Aisling Larkin reaches over 300,000 people weekly through TV, radio, social media and podcast appearances. What a lot of people don’t know is Aisling spent the last decade travelling the world and learning about best practices in global food models, training in the psychology and physiology of feeding, and being only a handful of people in Europe trained in the MB-EAT Mindful Eating Programme. As well as completing her M.Sc in Culinary Innovation and FDP. Her recent additions of training in Workplace Wellness at TU and Organisational Leadership with Oxford’s Saïd Business School.
Aisling has the privilege of having a knowledgeable, broad and expert background with expertise as a tv cook, food media broadcaster, educator, feeding therapist, mindful eating coach, keynote speaker, and food & wellness consultant (Workplace Wellness at TU and Organisational Leadership with Oxford’s Saïd Business School).
Group Operations Director at Moriarty Group
Chair of the LVA
Laura Moriarty is Group Operations Director at Moriarty Group, a family-owned business that operates in the retail and hospitality sectors in Ireland. She has spent over 25 years in the food and beverage industry, hospitality, and grocery retail sectors. As the Group Operations Director, she is responsible for the overall management of both industries within the group, which employs over 500 staff across two hotels and several stores. She is the Chair of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), the representative body for Dublin pub owners. She is passionate about delivering excellence and innovation in the retail and hospitality sectors.
Executive Chef at Croke Park
Ruairi Boyce, the culinary virtuoso at Croke Park Stadium, elevates the dining experience to new heights every day of the week. As the Executive Chef, Ruairi infuses brilliance and creativity into every dish, setting the standard for stadium food innovation. His passion for culinary excellence is not only evident in his creations but also mirrored by the exceptionally talented team at Aramark that he leads.
Together, Ruairi and his team are on a mission to transform the perception of stadium food, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in event catering and sustainable culinary practices. The commitment to excellence is not only seen in the delectable flavors that grace the plates but also in the dedication to sourcing the finest ingredients.
Ruairi Boyce and his award-winning team have pioneered the “50 Mile Menu” concept, redefining the meaning of locally sourced ingredients. This initiative has not only delighted the taste buds of stadium-goers but has also established a profound connection between the stadium kitchen and the local farming community. Constantly exploring new ideas and collaborating with artisan suppliers, Ruairi’s team ensures that every dish tells a story of quality, sustainability, and the vibrant flavors of the region.
Under Ruairi Boyce’s culinary leadership, Croke Park Stadium has become a culinary destination where food is not just a necessity but an integral part of the overall experience, reflecting the commitment to excellence and innovation in every bite.
Operations & Sustainability Executive Croke Park
Colin O’Brien stands at the forefront of Croke Park Stadium’s commitment to environmental responsibility and operational excellence as the Operations & Sustainability Executive. With a keen focus on sustainability, Colin is dedicated to implementing and managing the stadium’s groundbreaking initiatives that push the boundaries of environmental stewardship.
In his role, Colin takes charge of overseeing and implementing an integrated management system encompassing four ISO standards. These standards cover critical areas, including Environmental Management, Energy Management, and Sustainable Events. Through meticulous planning and strategic execution, Colin ensures that Croke Park not only meets but exceeds international benchmarks for sustainability in sports and events.
As a Sustainability Officer, Colin is not just a leader within the stadium; he is a champion for change in the wider community. His initiatives extend beyond the stadium gates, fostering a culture of awareness and responsibility. By actively engaging with stakeholders and implementing innovative solutions, Colin O’Brien contributes to Croke Park’s legacy as a sustainability trailblazer in the realm of sports and entertainment.
With Colin O’Brien at the helm, Croke Park not only entertains and thrills but does so with a deep commitment to sustainability, setting a benchmark for stadiums around the world to follow.
Head of Venue Business
Since January 2012, Marie Smyth has been an integral part of the historic Croke Park Stadium, currently serving as the Head of Venue Business. With a career spanning over a decade at this iconic Irish venue, Marie has played a key role in shaping and enhancing the stadium’s corporate offerings.
In her capacity as the Head of Venue Business, Marie spearheads sales initiatives and coordinates a myriad of activities for Croke Park Premium, showcasing her strategic acumen in the competitive events and hospitality industry. Her responsibilities extend to overseeing Meeting & Events, where she ensures seamless coordination and execution of diverse gatherings.
Leading a dynamic team, Marie manages a wide array of clients, ranging from internal and external to national and international, including corporate and association clients.
Marie Smyth’s tenure at Croke Park Stadium is characterized by her unwavering commitment to excellence, her strategic vision for business development, and her passion for creating memorable experiences in one of Ireland’s most iconic venues.
New Payment Innovations
Once dubbed the “British Bill Gates,” entrepreneur Carl Churchill made his first million before he was 20. Since then, he’s established several successful businesses in FinTech, telecoms, and even a rum distillery.
Motivated by the opportunity to solve complex challenges for the benefit of businesses and consumers alike, Carl is one of the founders and CEO of Dublin-based New Payment Innovation. For the past ten years, NPI has supported Irish businesses in getting better access to payment technology. As a champion of SMEs, Carl is committed to making it easier for consumers to pay and businesses to get paid.
Gas Networks Ireland
Aaron Morris joined Gas Networks Ireland in August 2023 as a business development technical consultant. Aaron provides technical support to the connections teams in residential, Small Medium Enterprises (SME) and the Large Industrial & Commercial (LIC) sectors focusing on biomethane, BioCNG and hydrogen to decarbonise the network. Prior to joining Gas Networks Ireland, Aaron was a Design Engineer at Unitherm Heating Systems Ltd. Aaron holds an Honours Degree in Energy Engineering which he obtained in 2019 from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, now known as Atlantic Technological University.
Group Marketing Manager
Natasha Rahman is an experienced speaker passionate about empowering individuals and organisations through the power of effective marketing. With expertise in marketing and communications, she delivers engaging talks on digital strategies, personal branding, and leadership. Natasha’s dynamic presence, combined with her ability to simplify complex concepts, makes her a sought-after speaker. Committed to continuous learning, she stays updated on industry trends to ensure her ideas and concepts stay relevant and impactful. Through her authentic approach and focus on inspiring positive change, Natasha encourages audiences to embrace growth sustainably and achieve their goals with confidence.
Hospitality Solutions Director
Kevin a native of Castlebar in County Mayo joined CBE in June 2003 deploying, supporting, and training customers on CBE’s technology. Having held the position of International Product Manager where he was key to delivering various CBE hospitality innovations to global markets, Kevin was promoted to CBE Hospitality Solutions Director in 2024.
Public Affairs Executive
Restaurants Association of Ireland
‘Adam Hallissey is the Public Affairs Executive at the Restaurants Association of Ireland. His background is in politics and journalism.’
In 1998, Tara and her husband Brian embarked on a journey in the food industry by founding Mange Tout, an esteemed fine dining restaurant. Over time, their passion for providing exceptional culinary experiences led them to expand their business into event catering, eventually establishing 8 SI Cafés across Leinster.
While building and managing their ventures, Tara and Brian recognised an unaddressed need in the market for a professional hospitality staffing company. This realization inspired them to create The CaterWaiter, which swiftly evolved into a prominent recruitment firm serving prestigious clients like, William Fry, Google, Aramark, and more. In 2019, they successfully sold this business, cementing their reputation in the industry.
In 2021, driven by their commitment to sustainability and effective kitchen management, Tara, Brian, and their son collaborated to digitize a valuable internal tool they had developed over the span of 25 years: Prepsheets.com. As an innovative digital recipe management platform, Prepsheets.com helps hospitality businesses minimize kitchen waste, meet preferred margins, ensure accurate allergen information, and even provide calorie information to customers when needed.
Prepsheets.com won Best Foodservice Technology Product – Back of House at CATEX 2023, and is a HPSU Enterprise Ireland supported company.