On the move

Meetings Industry Association (mia) interviews newly appointed MD of Belfast Waterfront


The mia catches up with Catherine Toolan who has been recently appointed as Managing Director of Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall Ltd.

Catherine, congratulations on your new appointment. So what attracted you to apply for the top job at Northern Ireland’s premiere venues, Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall?

Thank you. I saw the MD role as a natural progression of my career and one that will allow me to fully utilise my skills and extensive experience. My key specialism, and one which I thrive on, is managing large scale complex projects which I’m sure will prove invaluable with the recent opening of Belfast Waterfront’s fantastic new 7,000m2 conference facility.

Behind every reputable venue lies a very passionate and highly driven team and the team at Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall is exceptional. I believe success is not down to any one person, teamwork achieves the greatest success and I look forward to leading the team on their next stage of a very exciting journey to becoming a world-class conference centre. I’m keen to build upon their achievements to date and embrace their ideas to help us shine on the world stage. We want to ensure we understand fully the marketplace in which we operate and develop our own set of competitive advantages.

Pivotal to achieving this will be growing our profile globally as well as building our international clientele. With over 10 years managing global sports projects for Aramark in Beijing, Guangzhou, London, and most recently in Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympic Games, I hope to utilise my international business experience to compliment all the local skills we have.

You have only taken up your new position, but what are your immediate priorities?

Like anyone starting a new job, my immediate priority will be to get up to speed on all the key projects. £29.5m was invested in the new extension to enable us to cater for up to 5,000 delegates at any one time. We have invested heavily in new systems to enable us to wow our clients and to work smarter. And as a Six Sigma Green Belt Specialist, I’m keen to ensure our existing processes are efficient and streamlined which will ultimately benefit both our clients and my team.

In addition, I would like to gain a deep understanding of our clients and their requirements so I will be spending time with our key clients to ensure we are capturing their needs and ultimately exceeding their expectations.

So what is next for Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall Ltd?

Our sales team led by Susie McCullough are focusing on developing a really strong local and international sales pipeline which enables us to grow and reinvest in our business to attract delegates to our city and Belfast Waterfront.

It’s a very exciting and busy time at Belfast Waterfront Ulster Hall. With our brand new conference facility and Amadeus, a new catering partner on board, you can expect to see many new and exciting services on offer



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