Christian Vasquez, Director – The American Institute of Architects Middle East
Christian Vasquez is project architect and business development executive at National Engineering Bureau (a top architectural & engineering consultant based in Dubai). Born in Manila, he acquired his bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Far Eastern University in 2004. Christian is one of the directors at the American Institute of Architects Middle East. CTBUH Board of Trustees has named Christian as the Country (U.A.E.) Representative at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in 2017. He has been awarded Future Cities’ Young Architect of the Year in 2016. He is also the current president of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Dubai Chapter. Currently the UAP has over 38,000 members within the Philippines and abroad.
Esra Lemmens, Ambassador – APID
Esra Lemmens is an Elevation Expert at her namesake, The Esra Lemmens Agency and build her career on discretion and focuses on empowering contemporary Designers and Artist across the globe accomplishing clear business perspectives. In May 2018 Esra Lemmens was appointed one of the APID Ambassadors not solely due to her prominence in the design scene, but mainly because of the level of active participation and extent to which Esra has helped the region meet its design goals. APID, the non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting the development of the architecture and design community, hosts the 13th instalment of the Biannual IFI Congress set to take place in 2019. Esra and her team of ambassadors aim to contribute with their knowledge and expertise to this international platform that overlooks the exchange of information, advancement through research and education in the field of architecture and interior design. Lemmens’ main role is to incorporate the objectives of both the IFI and APID. That is to say, it will improve a society’s experience using advanced design methods that implement an attitude of sustainability and establish better guidelines when it comes to designing experience-oriented spaces while intend to improve the education system for aspiring designers who are soon to join the field by maximizing their exposure to its professional aspects.
Hani Asfour, Dean – Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI)
The MIT and Harvard-trained architect was an Adjunct Faculty member at the Lebanese American University in Beirut prior to joining DIDI. Asfour’s academic experience also includes teaching positions at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Northeastern University, American University of Beirut and American University of Sharjah. He was recently named as one of the region’s most influential 50 architects by Middle East Architect magazine. As a practicing designer with over 20 years of experience, Asfour combines a mix of design expertise with entrepreneurship skills and academic depth, allowing him to combine practical and theoretical approaches in his teaching methods at DIDI. Asfour holds a Master of Architecture with Distinction from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Science in Art and Design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Janet McAvinnie, CBIFM – The British Institute of Facilities Management
Janet McAvinnie, Senior Regional Property Services Manager for Gulf and leading on IFM delivery across META (Middle East / Turkey and Africa for General Electric. A Dubai based, Senior Corporate Operations & Real Estate professional with extensive experience across the Middle East region. Self-motivated, political and strategic thinker, passionate about the workplace design and innovation. On a volunteer basis Janet was appointed Chair for BIFM UAE in April of this year and is leading the BIFM committee in the UAE to bring awareness on best practice and education across the FM sector in the UAE.
Kate Rube, Vice President, Market Solutions – The International Well Building Institute (IWBI)
With expertise in active design, urban planning, and policymaking, Kate brings extensive experience in project management, policy development, and training to her position on the Technical Solutions team. Prior to joining IWBI, Kate was Senior Director, Delos Solutions at Delos. In this role she consulted with organizations in the US and globally to drive their successful adoption of WELL. Prior to Delos, Kate was Vice President at Project for Public Spaces, where she helped cities create plans to improve walkability, activate public spaces, and create safer, more vibrant streets. Kate also served as the Active Design National Training Manager for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where her work helped lead to the creation of new active living programs in several cities. Earlier in her career, Kate was the Policy Director of Smart Growth America, and the Assistant Field Director at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Kate received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in Urban and Environmental Planning, with a minor in Environmental Science. She has a Master’s in Community Planning from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Master’s in Civil Engineering from the City College of and a Master’s in Civil Engineering from the City College of New York.
Lucy Bolton, Assistant Professor in Business Psychology – Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus
Lucy is Programme Director for the MSc Business Psychology / Coaching at Heriot Watt Dubai Campus. She lectures on various courses on the MSc in Business Psychology including courses on Coaching Psychology, Coaching Psychology Practice, Social and Organisational Change, Diversity and Research Methods. In addition to these, she teaches qualitative research methods and generational diversity at undergraduate level. Lucy also supervises MSc dissertations on various topics related to Business Psychology. Lucy’s research interests are in the areas of generational differences in the workplace, in particular the younger generations’ (’Generation Y’) socialisation into organisations, their work values and career orientations. Lucy has also conducted research in the areas of change management, workspace design, socio-technical systems, job design, employability and knowledge management, working with a number of global organisations incuding, Rolls-Royce, Bentley Motors, Marks and Spencer, the National Health Service (NHS), REED-NCFE, and the UK Government Office of Science. Lucy has presented her research over the years at a number of international conferences including, the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP), European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP), Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE), and the Academy of Management (AOM). Lucy is a Chartered Psychologist and a trained Occupational Test User (OTU) (Ability and Personality) with the British Psychological Society, being certified in Trait, TEIQue and NEO-PI-R.
Chris Morley, Head of Design – Herman Miller Middle East and Africa
Chris Morley, Head of Design MEA, is responsible for leading the creative direction of Herman Miller in the Middle East and Africa region, including Herman Miller’s large-scale projects, dealer spaces, and exhibitions. Chris joined Herman Miller in 1997 as the Regional Design Manager, and during his 19 years with the company he has held various design-focused roles. In 1999, he moved to the UAE, where he now leads the design team at Herman Miller’s regional design centre in Dubai. Chris is a regular advisor on the design of installations through large multi-national developments, across a range of sectors including banking, hospitality, healthcare and education. Chris is a graduate of Leeds Metropolitan University, England, with a BA in Furniture Design.
Laurence Brick, Managing Director and Co-Founder - Platform
An authority on contemporary African design, Laurence Brick is the Managing Director and co-founder of Platform, a creative agency that designs, creates and curates museum experiences, hospitality destinations, retail outlets and concepts. Platform benefits from Laurence’s depth of experience in lifestyle retail as the co-founder of premium homeware brand and chainstore Loads of Living. Under Laurence’s leadership, Platform developed and continues to curate the museum shop for the V&A Waterfront’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. Platform also redesigned the visitor journey and retail experience for the South African Mint Museum and re- launched Africa’s largest custom-weave company, MONN. In addition to client-led projects, Platform provides ongoing creative direction for the annual award-winning product design showcase, 100% Design South Africa, and has done so since inception. As Creative Director for 100% Design South Africa, Laurence guides the event in conjunction with show partner Reed Exhibitions. As a member of the board of The Guild Group’s Design Foundation, a role Laurence has held since 2013, he nurtures new and established talent in South Africa’s design industry. He is a co-founder of the Business of Design conference aimed at up-skilling small business owners in the design sector. Laurence maintains a high media profile and is often called upon for his industry insights and opinion.