David Vaughton FIH is Managing Director of EEF Venues, a group of three venues; Woodland Grange in Leamington Spa, Broadway House in Westminster and Engineers’ House in Bristol, all of which are members of Venues of Excellence.
David has over 30 years of general management experience in hotels, conference centres and stadia. Over the last 15 years David has established Woodland Grange as a reputable, high performing venue, and successfully launched the EEF Venues group in 2009, with responsibility for the growth strategy for the group. David has been heavily involved with Venues of Excellence over the last 14 years, having served previously as a board director and vice-chair on two occasions. Following the successful rebranding of the consortium, David views its continuing strategic focus as one of growth and promotion of excellence in the meetings sector. A critical driver to underpin the consortium’s continuing success will be return on investment to support members in the achievement of their objectives.
Mandy Jennings offers over 25 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 7 years ago which now is a successful business and she is delighted to be working in partnership with Venues of Excellence in the position of Executive Director and is a member of the Board. Mandy is responsible for the strategic direction for Venues of Excellence and guidance for all the key functions including sales, venue find service, marketing, signing up new venue members and a full membership engagement programme.
Senior Business Development Manager
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. She has worked with Mandy Jennings for the past five years developing new business for their clients and working closely on the training and conference market projects. Nicola is responsible for researching and targeting new clients and developing the client relationships for the Venues of Excellence venue members.
Joanne da Silva
Business Development Manager
Joanne’s career has been in customer focussed roles within the hospitality industry. Having started out with Queens Moat House Hotels, she worked her way up from Reservations Manager in Nottingham, via conference and events roles to Area Sales Manager for London.
She subsequently held Director of Sales and Key Account roles within the Forte Heritage and Macdonald Hotel Groups. Whilst taking a career break to have children, she continued to ‘keep her hand in’, working on various projects, including event management, bespoke sales projects for hotels and a training company, also working for a mystery shopping company, assisting in the assessment of hotel and conference sales teams. Joanne’s role with Venues of Excellence will focus on assisting members to increase sales through individually targeted projects whilst promoting the growth of the organisation as a whole.
Michelle brings a diverse range of skills to the team encompassing all aspects of venue & event management, international hotel sales and corporate hospitality through to more recent specific membership services experience. Michelle has worked for Forte at Heathrow in a proactive sales role in addition to Heritage, MacDonald Hotels and the National Trust. Michelle’s focus will be to prioritise, nurture and develop the relationships with our members and the Venues of Excellence team to ensure that the best possible return on investment across all areas is achieved.
Team Leader - Venue Finding Consultant
Maria joined Venues of Excellence in October 2015 as Sales Co-ordinator. Before coming to the UK, Maria finished her degree in Tourism Management and had the chance to travel and experience the hospitality industry from very different jobs and perspectives. Once settled in UK Maria progressed at Hellidon Lakes Golf & Spa Hotel, which provide her with a great deal of experience in meetings, events and customer relationships. Driven by the passion of delivering excellent customer service and a love for learning, Maria is eager to deal with all our incoming enquiries from clients and support the sales activities placing business with our member venues. “I am very excited to belong to the team at Venues of Excellence, and it will be my pleasure to help as much as I can to our members and clients to achieve their goals.”
Venue Finding Consultant
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 as Reservations Manager before going to work as Sales Manager for Handpicked Hotels at New Hall Hotel in Sutton Coldfield. Sarah then had a career break to raise her two sons and went back to work for a Reservations company in 2015 as Cluster Manager dealing with 4 & 5 star properties across the UK. Sarah says “I am delighted to be joining the Venues of Excellence team as a Venue Finding Consultant and am really looking forward to visiting our fantastic venues in the not-too-distant future.”
Venue Finding Consultant
Annette joins Venues of Excellence with a 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. Her passion lies with providing excellent customer relationship management and she joins the organisation after having a career break to raise a family.
“I am joining the team at a very exciting time. We have some fantastic members and I look forward to actively selling and promoting them whilst working with a very proactive team at Venues of Excellence”
Digital Marketing Consultant
Caroline has over 15 years’ experience in marketing and works with Venues of Excellence in the specialist area of digital marketing. After working in senior marketing roles for National Express, Halfords and Interstate Hotels and Resorts, Caroline set up Imbue Marketing in 2018, a consultancy providing practical and strategic marketing support to businesses.
Caroline is delighted to be working with Venues of Excellence as part of an ongoing digital transformation project. This strategic direction will see the organisation develop its presence online to drive growth and promote industry excellence. Caroline will be responsible for the direct marketing programme and website development.
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 fund raising 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 has managed the project to rebrand Conference Centres of Excellence to Venues of Excellence.