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Photo credit: Jon Savage

BestCities Global Alliance today announce the appointment of new Managing Director, Lesley Williams, as of January 1, 2020. Lesley has been serving as Market Development Director for the past two years. This move follows the recent decision of BestCities to award extending the management contract to GainingEdge.

Lesley takes over from Paul Vallee, who will continue as an executive consultant with GainingEdge, but now on a full-time basis. Playing a leading role in the growth of BestCities’ impact and offerings, Lesley brings a wealth of experience, with more than 25 years in the business tourism and events industry. Having previously worked with the alliance as a partner, Lesley brings with her an in-depth knowledge of the field and understanding of the alliance, along with a vast skill-set including strong leadership and strategic planning.

“I look forward to taking up the position of Managing Director at BestCities, and continuing the work of Paul Vallee in bringing value and impact to the industry.”

Lesley will head up the existing BestCities management team, made up of Nigel Brown, Director of Marketing and Partnerships, Jane Cunningham, Director of International Associations, and Caryn Wong, Alliance Operations. Karen Bolinger, the former CEO of the Melbourne Convention Bureau, will work with Lesley in a strategic advisor capacity. This new appointment comes at an important time for BestCities as the alliance seeks to grow its reputation in helping international associations and destinations build legacies, and building its global footprint through partnerships and knowledge creation.

Lesley Williams, newly appointed Managing Director of BestCities Global Alliance, said: “I, along with the BestCities team, am energised by this opportunity to evolve the alliance’s strategic plan and continue delivering its core purpose – to harness the power of collaboration and community to create positive impact through business events.”

“I look forward to taking up the position of Managing Director at BestCities, and continuing the work of Paul Vallee in bringing value and impact to the industry, and creating my own legacy within the alliance.”

The announcement was made at the fourth annual BestCities Global Forum, taking place in Copenhagen over 8-11 December, where global associations have come together in a landmark programme centred on the theme of ‘Exploring the Congress of the Future – Fortifying Impact.’