IN SAFE HANDS

Our team is dedicated to ensuring that your event doesn’t just live up to expectations, but exceeds them.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT TEAM

Amanda Ferguson - Head of Business Development

Amanda has 20+ years’ experience working at a national and international level in Business Events across public and private sector, and academia. A graduate of Heriot Watt University in International Business & Languages, she speaks fluent German and has a strong global outlook. Having worked for 12+ years promoting Scotland and Edinburgh as a conference destination, she is a passionate advocate for the value of business events in generating economic impact and driving innovation and progress within the knowledge economy.

Outside of work Amanda is happiest exploring Scotland, whether running, rock climbing or walking her dogs.

Gordon Dow - Business Development Manager, Conference & Events

Gordon has 20+ years’ experience working within the Hospitality and Events Sector which has included leading banqueting, operational, hotel reservations and front of house teams. Gordon has worked within the University for over 10 years supporting sales and business development across all products and services. He currently leads on key sector research, account development, key client relations and contributing to the business development strategy. With a passion for the knowledge economy, he is inspired by the connections, shared learnings, ideas and breakthrough discussions that can be sparked at conferences and events.

Outside of work Gordon enjoys the great outdoors in particular long walks, forest bathing and kayaking.

Sarah McLean - Business Development Manager, Accommodation

A passionate ambassador for the Scottish hospitality, tourism and events sector, Sarah has a wealth of experience in hospitality and events and has worked with global brands such as Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Worldwide and IHG. In 2019, Sarah graduated with an MSc in International Festival and Events Management from Edinburgh Napier University.

Outside of work Sarah enjoys spending time with her two children and going on long walks with her cockapoo, Cooper

Dawn Patton - Business Development Executive

With almost 10 years in the hospitality industry, and a wedding planning background, Dawn prides herself in her exceptionally organised and detailed approach to managing events of any size and loves creating and building client relationships. In her current role, Dawn has not only created opportunities and been involved in external and internal events but also researched businesses, individuals and industry trends to identify new business.

Outside of work Dawn enjoys spending time with her young daughter and is partial to a French Martini. Travelling is another of Dawn’s passions and, after graduating from Edinburgh Napier University, took a 6-month break to spend time exploring Thailand and Australia.

EVENTS TEAM

Claire Pryde - Head of Conference and Events

Claire has 20+ years of experience working within the Hospitality and Events Sector, primarily in managing the Conference and Events teams at several venues in Edinburgh and across the UK. A graduate of Heriot Watt University with a BSc in Information Technology and of Napier University with an MSc in Tourism and Hospitality Management she has successfully delivered large volumes of events across a variety of sectors. Claire is driven by building strong relations with clients as well as other industry professionals.

Outside of work, Claire likes spending time with her stepdaughters, walking and travelling and is looking forward to welcoming the newest family member home soon, her puppy, Richard.

Cassie Mesouani - Conference and Events Manager

Cassie joined the team in 2015 and has over 15 years of experience working in the events industry. She has organised both national and international events over her career for a variety of sectors including public, private, association, academia and law. With a passion for building strong collaborative working relationships with all her clients, Cassie enjoys planning and growing an event to realise its full potential – and of course the gratification of a successful event with happy delegates.

Outside of work Cassie loves running around after her three young children and being out and about with a latte in hand.

Rachel Foot - Conference and Events Manager

Rachel has over six years of experience working in the industry, planning and managing a wide variety of conferences and events across Edinburgh. A graduate of Queen Margaret University with a BA (Hons) in Events Management, she has a keen eye for detail and is passionate about creating successful and memorable experiences for all of her clients, whether that is an intimate dinner or a four-day international conference.

Outside of work, Rachel is happiest when travelling to new places, testing out new restaurants and listening to ‘true-crime’ podcasts.

Tracy Marshall - Conference and Events Manager

Tracy joined the team in 2021 with over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality & events industry.  She has worked for global brands including Rocco Forte, Hilton and IHG, delivering a variety of successful events from weddings and charity events to large international conferences. Tracy relishes the variety of the role and is really driven by building strong, long-lasting client relationships.

In her free time, Tracy likes spending time with her husband and 2 children and has found a new love of wild water swimming.

Sian Cusack - Conference and Events Coordinator

Sian has worked in hospitality for over 15 years. She joined Edinburgh First in 2017 as part of the Hotel Reservations Team where she was responsible for group accommodation, including summer schools and international sporting events. At the end of 2021, Sian brought her eye for detail and relationship building skills to the Events team.

Outside of work, Sian manages the rugby teams that her two young sons play in.