Getting to grips with GRIF

by Patrick Ryan | Published 10 months ago

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Jennifer Pettinger-Haines is managing director, Middle East, for Bench Events, organisers of the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF), the annual meeting place for the international restaurant investment community. Visit:


Jennifer.PettingerWho is the person who has inspired you most in your career? I have been very fortunate in that putting together events such as AHIC & the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) has given me amazing access to people who are really, really good at what they do and I genuinely find their passion and drive inspiring on an almost daily basis.  However, I have to say that Susan Harmsworth MBE, the chairman and founder of ESPA has always been my benchmark.  She is such an accomplished entrepreneur and business leader.   Early on in my time at Bench I spent some time with her and advice she gave me has always stuck with me.   Now she is on the Global Advisory Board for Bench Events and I am looking forward to working with her in a more formal capacity.

What is the biggest challenge of your role? The hospitality industry moves at such a fast-pace that there is always so much interesting content I want to include in the programme but there is only so much time over the course of the conference.

What is your favourite aspect of your role? Meeting such interesting people who are all excellent at their jobs and very passionate about what they do.  Almost everyone I deal with is in the industry because they love it which I find incredibly inspiring.

What personal ambitions would you still like to fulfil? I am determined to learn Spanish! Bench Events recently acquired 50% of the South America Hotel Investment Conference which last year held events in Cuba, Buenos Aires and Costa Rica.  I would love to be able to work in these markets and take the opportunity to travel around the region. Pero mi español es muy malo.


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