Event Tech Awards 2021: Meet the Judges – Mariska Kesteloo


Entrepreneur, public speaker, author and current board member of the European Advisory Council of Meetings Professional International. Mariska has more than 20years working experience in tourism and the meetings and events industry.

Passionate about storytelling, Mariska founded her company Word of MICE in 2017. Her company connects the meetings and events industry with the right influencer, to tell and spread the story of the suppliers in an authentic, creative and professional way.

She is convinced of the impact and potential of B2B influencer marketing and her mission is to create a global active community of influencers, content creators and ambassadors. She is a visionary, forward thinking entrepreneur and loves new challenges.

  • What experience can you draw upon to successfully judge the ETAs?

I have been working as an event organiser and match maker in the world of start-ups, seeing start-ups pitching, and receiving feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, investors and mentors. Next, I was recruiting experienced entrepreneurs to coach and to mentor (young) entrepreneurs. This experience has created the foundation for my start-up, and which I will use during my role as a judge.

  • How long have you worked in the events industry and what keeps you interested in it?

I started almost 10 years ago in the events industry. It’s dynamic, evolving and never ever a dull moment, that’s what I like the most about the industry. And of course the passionate people.

  • Best (and worst?) moments working in the events industry?

Best: the people that I have meet during my career in the industry.

Worst: At the early the start of 2020 I had to cancel all my travels and speaking opportunities for personal reasons, I was devastated and so emotional. I had finally build up my company and it was running after lots of ups and downs. And not knowing that only 1 event took place due to the pandemic.

  • Favourite piece of tech for work and personal life?

Difficult to say, but one thing that stood out was the launch of Skype and I start using it since 2005. Living and working abroad this tool was so easy to use and to stay in touch with your family and friends. Of course, technology has evolved a lot since the past years.

  • What’s your go-to piece of tech when working on an event and why?

If I look it from my point of view, which is marketing. I would say LinkedIn; so easy to publish your event and to create visibility and awareness for your activities, and more important to involve others to participate. And free of charge. And the perfect platform to do business.

  • What was the last event on which you worked?

The Singapore Spotlight Series together with our client Singapore Tourism Board based in the UK.

  • From your experience, what’s the best way to utilise tech at an event?

Like Ashanti said in the last interview, know your purpose. First why are you organising an event, and what would you like to get out of the event. After, you can start making your choice for the right platform and technology.

  • We all learn from our mistakes! What was the biggest lesson you learned from a mistake since being in the industry?

I have made tons of mistakes, and I’m still learning every day. Especially being a pioneer myself, I’m learning everyday more about B2B influencer marketing and creating our own path. I would say, never ever be afraid to ask for help or support.

  • What are you most looking forward to at the ETAs?

I’m looking for the originality and creativity of the projects and also to emeet the other great judges. It remains a teamwork.

  • What do events, such as the ETAs, mean to you? Why is it important to recognise the achievements of tech companies?

First of all proud to be part of the team of judges. Next, it’s very important that we support entrepreneurs in our industry and beyond. It’s crucial to give the support and recognition they deserve, and especially in these challenging times. We need more entrepreneurs and role models in our industry.

  • If you could only use one piece of tech when working on an event, what would that be?

Never ever forget that humans part of your event. You can choose fantastic technology but if it’s too complicated to work with, you will never reach your goal.

The Event Technology Awards celebrate excellence in event technology. Entries are open now, find out more info here

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