Meet the Venues of Excellence Board Members
Venues of Excellence has a very distinguished and experienced board of directors who are industry professionals and venue leaders.
Chief Executive Officer – Mandy Jennings, Venues of Excellence
Treasurer – Barry Stonham, Retired
Board Director – Stewart Elsmore, Managing Director, Venue Cranfield
Board Director – Kay England, Chief Executive, Imago Venues
Board Director – Steve Crawford, Centre Director, College Court
Board Director – Martin Garside, Head of Conferencing and Space, Said Business School
Board Director – Nicole Sadd, CEO, Rothamsted Enterprises
Board Director – Marc Webster, Commercial Director, Whittlebury Park
Board Director – Richard Smith, Sales Director, Wyboston Lakes Resort
Board Director – Paul Bartlett, Director, Warwick Conferences
Get to know the experts
Venues of Excellence is a unique and diverse organisation made up of industry experts and specialists, dedicated to ensuring that the consortium represents the best independent venues in the UK. Each member of the team plays an important role in ensuring Venues of Excellence continues to live up to its name.
Mandy Jennings offers over 30 years sales & marketing experience in hotel and conference centres including senior sales positions with Thistle, Forte & Le Meridien, Marriott Hotels and in particular offers Venues of Excellence her extensive knowledge gained as Group Sales Director for the De Vere Group and Principal Hayley Hotels and Conference Centres.
Mandy set up her own company, Paje Consultancy over 11 years ago which now is a successful consultancy and hospitality training business. She has worked with Venues of Excellence since 2015 as Executive Director, and taken the organisation from strength to strength, including being awarded the “Best Representation Company 2020” at the CHS Awards.
She was delighted to purchase Venues of Excellence in May 2021 and is responsible for the strategic direction for Venues of Excellence and guidance for all the key functions including marketing, sales and venue find service, signing up new venue members, learning and development and a full membership engagement programme.
The Venues of Excellence team have a great knowledge of the hospitality and skills that they share with our members.
The Business Development concentrate working with venue sales team to gain business as well as positioning Venues of Excellence with key agencies inviting member venues to joint presentations. The team also manage our sales focus groups to create proactive strategies for key market sectors.
Our free venue finding service works closely with our venues to deliver business from a range of clients and is a key area within the organisation.
Our membership manager is your key contact for anything around your membership and benefits. She arranges all of our member forums, sales and marketing workshops as well as planning our annual conference. The Learning and Development academy is a great asset to your organisation and offers exclusive packages to member venues and we can also bespoke course for your own venue teams.
Marketing and Social Media shares all your news and ours with the industry. From networking events to exhibition stand share, we can help position your venue with key conference and event planners. Through our Preferred Partner Programme our marketing team work to bring great opportunities to work with a range of partners who provide services and products to the hospitality sector.
In addition to your Venues of Excellence membership benefits, our expert team offer a range of bespoke services to venues on a project basis.
Nicola is responsible for researching and targeting new clients and developing the client relationships for the Venues of Excellence members.
Nicola offers vast experience in sales and the development of new business including senior sales roles for Principal Hotels, Handpicked Hotels, Arcadian, Forte Heritage and latterly she was Head of Sales Development for De Vere Hotels.
Nicola has worked with Mandy Jennings for the past six years developing new business for their clients and working closely on the training and conference market projects.
Joanne’s role focusses on assisting members to increase sales through individually targeted projects whilst promoting the growth of the organisation as a whole.
Joanne has been in customer focussed roles throughout her hospitality career. Having started out with Queens Moat House Hotels, she worked her way up from Reservations Manager to Area Sales Manager for London. She subsequently held Director of Sales and Key Account roles within the Forte Heritage and Macdonald Hotel Groups. She also has experience working on various projects, including event management and working for a mystery shopping company, assisting in the assessment of hotel and conference sales teams.
Michelle is responsible for the engagement and management of our membership, where she prioritises, nurtures and develops the relationships with our members and the Venues of Excellence team to ensure that the best possible return on investment and member satisfaction is achieved. Michelle arranges member events across the year, along with the Annual Conference.
Michelle brings a diverse range of skills to the team encompassing all aspects of venue & event management, international hotel sales and corporate hospitality. During her career, Michelle has worked in proactive sales roles for Forte, Heritage and MacDonald Hotel Group.
Maria is one of our Venue Finding Consultants with a passion for delivering excellent customer service.
Maria originally joined Venues of Excellence in October 2015 as Sales Co-ordinator. Maria has a degree in Tourism Management and has travelled widely, experiencing the hospitality industry from very different jobs and perspectives. Once settled in the UK Maria progressed at Hellidon Lakes Golf & Spa Hotel, providing experience in meetings, events and customer relationships. Maria is driven by a love for learning and delivering excellence in all she does. She is eager to deal with all our incoming enquiries from clients and support the sales activities placing business with our member venues.
One of our exceptional Venue Find Consultants, Sarah is passionate about really getting under the skin of client enquiries and finding the perfect solution.
Sarah has over 20 years’ experience within the Hospitality Industry and shares our passion for delivering excellent customer service. Her career began at The Belfry as a Duty Manager and then as Special Event Sales Manager. She then worked at a well-known booking agency as a Venue Finding Consultant and later worked as Reservations Manager. Sarah then moved to the role of Sales Manager for Handpicked Hotels at New Hall Hotel in Sutton Coldfield. After a career break to raise her two sons, Sarah joined a reservations company in 2015 as Cluster Manager dealing with 4 & 5 star properties across the UK.
Annette is one of our Venue Find Consultants and is passionate about providing excellent customer relationship management.
Annette brings with her vast experience in sales and business development within the hospitality industry. Originally from Warwickshire, her career spans over 18 years and began in Event and Conference Coordination for Radisson Edwardian Hotels at Heathrow. Annette has worked for several hotel groups as Sales Manager and Director of Sales & Marketing, including Hilton and Radisson Blu in Leeds until she returned to the Midlands working for Principal and The Hotel Collection.
“We have some fantastic members and I enjoy actively selling and promoting them whilst working with a very proactive team at Venues of Excellence”
Lucy organises and co-ordinates the Learning & Development Academy for Venues of Excellence which provides a broad range of open and bespoke training courses specifically for conference & events hotels and venues. This involves engaging with members to understand their needs, liaising with trainers, organising virtual and classroom sessions, communicating information about the academy to the membership and organising bespoke training for members.
Beginning her career in sales in the hospitality and conference sector, Lucy has held senior sales roles and latterly ran her own hotel business and is experienced at managing and developing a team, training, coaching and mentoring. Her passion is supporting businesses to maximise the talents of their teams to achieve their business aims.
Christine works with us on a freelance basis managing some of our key Marketing Projects throughout the year. With over 30 years in the Hospitality Industry, Christine has a wealth of sales, marketing and PR experience to share with the team.
Throughout her career, Christine has held a number of senior sales and marketing roles within the four and five-star market in Hotels and Venues across the UK.
Her knowledge spans broadly from private elite events, luxury loyalty programmes to fundraising charities. Her knowledge of the MICE market is significant having worked with Conference Aston, Kents Hill Park and Whittlebury Hall Hotel and Spa before setting up Oomph Sales and Marketing in 2013.
Over the years, Christine has been part of the Venues of Excellence consortia working on various focus groups, and in her role as Interim Marketing Manager managed the project to rebrand Conference Centres of Excellence to Venues of Excellence.
Christine continues to work with Venues of Excellence on marketing projects and the Preferred Partner Programme