Honorable Najib Balala, EGH, was born in 1967 and is trained in International Urban Management at the University of Toronto, Canada. He underwent the Executive Program for Leaders in Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
CS Balala was early this year re-appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife by H.E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, CGH, President of the Republic of Kenya. He had been appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Tourism in the 2015 Government reshuffle. He moved from the Ministry of Mining, where he was appointed as Kenya’s first Minister in May 2013 and is credited with delivering the Draft Mining Bill in 2014, the first policy and institutional framework review of Kenya’s mining sector since 1940.
Hon. Balala served simultaneously as Member of Parliament for Mvita Constituency, Mombasa, and Kenya’s Minister for Tourism from April 2008 to March 2012, where he delivered the Tourism Bill and gave the sector policy and legal framework geared towards maintaining sustainability. Then, he was elected Chairman of the United Nations World Tourism Organization in 2011 and was voted Best Tourism Minister in Africa in 2009 by Africa Investor (AI).
He is credited with steering Kenya’s tourism sector to recovery following the post-election violence in 2008. He played a significant role in boosting growth and stability in the Kenyan and regional tourism sector, working closely with private and institutional investors, with conservation and regional development agencies to ensure that the economic potential of this vital sector was both prudently and sustainably managed.
Raphael Kuuchi is the IATA Vice President for Africa. He has many years’ experience in air transport management, operations and consulting. After working with an airline in various senior management positions for over a decade, he joined the Nairobi-based African Airlines Association (AFRAA) in 2005, as Commercial Director and later as Director Commercial, Corporate and Industry Affairs. In this capacity, Mr. Kuuchi initiated and oversaw many projects
in airlines business development, commercial operations, IT and communication, liberalization/market access, aero-political/regulatory affairs and training across Africa. Now as Vice President for Africa, Mr. Kuuchi is leading the IATA Africa team in providing support to the growth and development of aviation and working with stakeholders to ensure safe, reliable, competitive and environmentally sustainable aviation business in Africa. Top on his priority list are issues of safety and security, liberalization, reducing the high cost of operations, regulatory harmonization, capacity building, and the environment. Mr. Kuuchi holds an MBA from Henley Management College, UK and a B.Sc. degree in Business Administration. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (FCILT) UK.
Mr. Jeffers Miruka is the founder and 1st president of the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE), a pan-African professional community of association executives, established to serve as the professional voice for those within the Association management profession in the continent of Africa. Jeffers is also currently the CEO of the African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE. He is also the 1st international Scholar of the Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) 2019-2021. DELP is a program run by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) seeking to advance the careers of individuals from under-represented identity groups to advance into the ranks of leadership in the association management profession. In 2017 Mr. Miruka founded the premier African Association Management Company (AFAMCO). Mr. Miruka has traveled extensively around the world as a speaker and MICE consultant
Prof. Githu Muigai has over 35 years’ experience in the practice of law in Kenya and in East Africa. Prof. Muigai holds LLB and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Nairobi and an LLM Degree from Columbia University School of Law, New York. He was called to the Bar in 1985. In addition to the practice of law, he is an Associate Professor of Public law in the School of Law of the University of Nairobi (currently on leave of absence). He has also published extensively in the areas of international law, and human rights and has previously worked as a consultant to various international organizations, including the African Union, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
He has a wide range of areas of practice which include Commercial Litigation and Arbitration, Constitutional and Administrative Law, Information and Communications Technology Law, Insurance and Banking Law, Investments Law, Mergers & Acquisitions Law, Public, and Private International Law, Public Procurement Law.
From August 2008 – September 2011 Prof. Githu Muigai was the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, And Related Intolerance. He has also been a Judge of the African Court of Human & Peoples Rights between 2008 – 2010.
Prof. Muigai has recognized expertise in the areas of justice sector reform generally and Constitutional reform specifically. From the year 2000 to 2005, he was a commissioner to the Constitutional Review Commission where he was specially charged with the legal drafting of the Draft Constitution of the Republic of Kenya. He was a legal adviser and draftsman to the Somali peace process and was involved in drafting the Somali federal Transitional charter.
Prof. Githu Muigai served as Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya from the 29th August 2011 to March 2018.
Asenath Mwithigah is a social development expert with over 10 years of professional experience in working with non-profits organizations nationally, and internationally to strengthen their programming and unlock the organizational potential on Environmental, Social and Governance sectors to contribute to the Development Goals. She is currently the Technical Director of a national youth organization working to document the progress made by young people in Kenya in various sectors contributing to SDGs.
Sharon Newport is the executive director of Door Security & Safety Foundation and vice president of operations for DHI – Door Security & Safety Professionals. Sharon has successfully lead change and growth for the last decade in both of her organizations and is passionate about supporting association executives in becoming successful change leaders.
Sharon is a Certified Association Executive, a graduate of Georgetown University’s Organizational Development and Change Leadership program, a Diversity Executive Leadership Scholar with American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). Sharon volunteers with ASAE on their AMC Professional Advisory Council and is Strategic Partnerships Chair on the Board of Chesapeake Bay Organization Development Network.
Prior to being an association executive, Sharon produced an award-winning documentary film and documentary television for Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and The History Channel. Sharon graduated Magna Cum Laude from the State University of New York at Purchase College with a Bachelor in Fine Arts. After many years of living in Los Angeles and New York, Sharon happily resides in her hometown of Washington, D.C.
Juliet Odhiambo is the Founder of PesaSavvy, a social enterprise that empowers students with financial literacy skills for the 21st Century. She has seven years’ experience in Financial Literacy training and curriculum development. She also has held several roles at Standard
Chartered Bank for eight years. She is a personal finance writer and content creator for financial institutions offering content marketing services for blogs and general social media. Juliet holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance from Kenyatta University and a Master’s degree in International Relations and Development Studies from USIU. She is a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow, a platform that she currently uses to promoting financial literacy skills for the students and youth of Kenya.
Co-Chair - Health Workers For All Coalition
Magda acts as strategic partner of the ICF’s leadership, including the Board and variety of committees and task forces. Specializing in strategic planning, cultural competence, ethics, international affairs and board governance, she also oversees organizational budgets and manages professional staff of the ICF. Magda is also a trained coach – she received her training from the College for Executive Coaching, and also holds a certificate in the Fundamentals of Systemic Coaching.
Magdalena brings over a decade of experience in fundraising, consulting and association management. Prior to joining International Coach Federation in October 2005, Magda held a position of Assistant Director of National Policy and Director of Development and the Council of State Governments, a national association of state officials in all three branches of government. During her tenure at CSG, Magda also worked closely with the USAID’s US-Asia Environmental Program, overseeing the grants program in 11 nations of South-East Asia.
Jacqualine Price Osafo, CAE, is the membership and development director for the Water Quality Association. In that role, Jackie is responsible for recruitment, retention, member benefits, sponsorship, and non-dues revenue for more than 2,500 WQA member companies that serve the water treatment industry. Jackie is the staff liaison for three sections and the Membership Committee. As the staff liaison to the Business Operations Task Force, she is responsible for designing education sessions—identifying speakers and topics—for the association’s annual convention and Boot Camp program.
As a member of the leadership team, Jackie participates in the planning and implementation of WQA’s organizational strategies and is responsible for presenting membership and development updates to the WQA board. Her accomplishments include transforming WQA’s membership model, designing member benefits for different tiers, and developing engagement strategies for WQA’s Premier members—37 member companies that generate 40 percent of the organization’s renewal revenue.
While Jackie was in a previous position at the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, membership increased by 97 percent. She also developed ASGE’s diversity initiatives and programs.
Jackie is currently enrolled in the MBA program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her areas of focus are Innovation: From Creativity to Entrepreneurship and Global Challenges in Business.
As a member of the Association Forum, Jackie has served as a presenter for Forum Forward, Holiday Showcase, and Association 101 and as a cofacilitator for the CAE Study Group. She also served as chair of the Membership SIG, Membership Task Force, and Forum Forward. Jackie has served on ASAE’s Membership Section Council, Membership Development Committee, and CAE Community Outreach Committee. She is the recipient of the Association Forum 2017 Association Professional Achievement Award.
ERIC L. SCHMIDT
• Co-Founder and CEO of EventBank, a cloud-based engagement management software company.
• Founder of China Entrepreneurs, a network of more than 20,000 business professionals.
As CEO of EventBank, Eric Schmidt is focused on delivering cloud solutions that transform the way professional communities enable and enrich relationships. Over the last 15 years, Eric has founded and incubated several companies from the ground up. He maintains substantial experience with venture capital and private equity investments. In less than six years, he developed EventBank from a nascent technology start-up into a leading engagement management software company for associations, chambers, and corporations in more than 40 countries.
Eric is an elected member of AmCham China's Board of Governors (2017, 2018 and 2019)
and is recognized as an authority on digital technologies and business in Asia. He has
been featured in media such as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Baron’s, BBC,
CCTV, China Daily, and numerous other outlets.
Eric once traced Marco Polo’s route from Beijing, China to Venice, Italy by bicycle – he was appreciatively sponsored by Nike and Phillips.
Esmaré currently fulfills the role of Regional Director for Africa for the International Congress and Convention Association. Her key focus is to deliver ICCA services, products and events, for the recruitment and retention of members and for maintaining and enhancing ICCA’s reputation and awareness amongst target markets.
She has extensive experience in the international marketing and sales arena. Before joining ICCA, she managed the International Sales portfolio at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).
Prior to her joining the CTICC she worked at Arabella Starwood South Africa, promoting the 5* Westin Cape Town and the Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa. She was also part of the opening team that started the Cape Town Convention Bureau where she fulfilled the role of promoting Cape Town to the meetings, incentive, conference and exhibition industry with a focus on Association Marketing and Research.
Esmaré is currently a member of SAACI, the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry, and has served on the SAACI National Board as Venues Forum Chair as is currently a Board member of the SAACI Western Cape Chapter. She also serves on the Board of the African Society of Association Executives.
She has been awarded the SAACI Fellowship Award in 2017 as well as the Top 40 Women in MICE in both 2017 and 2015. During her stint at the Cape Town International Convention Centre she was awarded Manager of the Year in 2012.
With over 30 years in the Association/Event management industry, Gregg Talley brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Talley Management Group, Inc. (TMG) which he founded with his partner and father Robert K. Talley. Gregg’s repertoire also includes consulting with nations in developing business events strategies. His contributions to the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) as past Chair, to the Association Management Company Institute (AMCI) as past officer and his current Board Member duties for the Meetings Management Sector of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) highlights Gregg as one of the most sought-after experts in the industry. In between speaking engagements and consulting with organizations