Senior team

Samir Zaveri

Founder, President, and CEO

Samir has over 40 years of experience in the international education sector and has lived in Brazil, Switzerland, the United States and the UK. He has been responsible for launching and organising some of the most important international education events in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North, and South America. He is considered an expert in the field of international education and regularly speaks at major events and conferences such as NAFSA.

He also has strong relationships with almost every major scholarship globally and country education marketing agencies and works closely with international departments of various Ministries of Education across the world. Samir is a strong advocate for the international high school guidance community and leads THE & BMI’s initiative to increase the profile and highlight the importance of university and college counsellors in international education.

🥘Food: Seafood, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian and French
🗺️Holiday: Brazil, Colombia, Thailand and Australia

📽️Film: The Godfather, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Airplane
🌐 Languages: English & Portuguese               📍Based in London

Sangin Zaveri

Chief Operating Officer

Sangin is a versatile entrepreneur and articulate communicator with considerable financial planning, sales, marketing, and management skills coupled with a sound business and IT-related background. He has wide-ranging experience in business and strategic planning, drafting business cases and contracts as well as project and bid management. Confident and tenacious, Sangin is known for his strong ability to structure work, develop and implement new ideas, and meet deadlines. His past successes included setting up and selling several publishing and business ventures in the UK and USA. Outside of work, Sangin is a caring husband and father of two children.

🥘Food: Thai, Chinese and Pizza too
🗺️Holiday: Thailand

📽️Film: Gandhi, Killing Fields, The Hangover, and The Blues Brothers
🌐 Languages: English & Gujarati                  📍Based in London

Rupert Merrick 

Chief Strategy Officer

Rupert has dedicated his career to international media channels that allow organisations and individuals to connect with a world of opportunity. Beyond his 20 years with BMI, Rupert gained valuable experience while working at TIME Magazine and Working In ltd, where he was responsible for running the world’s largest websites and international skilled migration exhibitions for Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Rupert is passionate about helping clients and governments with market entry strategies, as well as supporting and developing the BMI team so they can provide clients with world-class experiences. A frequent traveller himself, Rupert appreciates the value of making international travel to events not only successful, but enjoyable and stress-free.

🥘Food: All things seafood
🗺️Holiday: Anywhere by the beach

📽️Film: Pulp Fiction             🌐 Languages: English         📍Based in London

Philippe Person

Director – Latin America 

Originally from France, Philippe has been living in Colombia for over 30 years and has run numerous businesses all across Latin America, primarily in the education industry. Creative and audacious, he launched the first education fair in Colombia at the age of 25 but was convinced by Samir to join BMI to grow BMI’s events in other countries and cities across Latin America. Philippe also plays a key role in building successful local partnerships and alliances, and oversees the relationship with several national European education promotion agencies.

🥘Food: Pasta
🗺️Holiday: Ibiza

📽️Film: Blade Runner
🌐 Languages: French, Spanish & English                  📍Based in Bogota

Regional Managers

Spencer Hawkes

Sales Director

Although Spencer first met Samir when he was 18 years old, it wasn’t until 1991 when he was finally persuaded to join the company. A charismatic and kind-hearted leader, Spencer is well known for his hospitality ever since hosting the first BMI Brazil Party in his own hotel suite at NAFSA Vancouver 1997!

These days, clients and students alike will always find him offering a warm welcome at the event entrances, or helping attendees carry boxes of brochures to their stands. Spencer especially loves experiencing the local culture of a destination with clients and swapping insider tips on where to explore next.

🥘Food: Brazilian churrascaria BBQ (with a Caipiroska)
🗺️Holiday: Walberswick in England. A beautiful village that he has visited every year since he was 10.
📽️Film: Blues Brothers         🌐 Languages: English & Spanish                                   
📍Based in London

Jerome Lamiscarre De Sousa

Regional Director – Canada, Europe & UK

With over 16 years of experience in organising international events around the globe, Jerome has played a key role in ensuring the success of BMI’s events and client satisfaction. Since 2013, he has been working closely with education institutions in Canada, Europe, and the UK to share his knowledge and advice in developing multi-channel recruitment strategies. Jerome is keen to ensure clients receive a high return on investment when building marketing campaigns, and enjoys customising options to suit all budgets and recruitment regions.

When he’s not at his desk or in an airplane, you can find Jerome whipping up something fantastic in the kitchen or putting his green thumb to work in the garden.

🥘Food: He loves Indian food and any vegan meal he can find around the world
🗺️Holiday: Brazil, Colombia, and of course Portugal
📽️Film: Empire of the Sun
🌐 Languages: French, Portuguese &  English           📍Based in London

Sera Browne

Regional Manager – Middle East & India 

In 2017, Sera was among the first members of the team who opened BMI’s Dubai’s office, and three years later, she moved to Belgium where she continues to look after the Middle East, India and Belgium markets. Her experience in the Gulf has been particularly valuable when advising clients on which cities and strategies will work best for their institution’s goals. Sera also enjoys helping clients with all their logistical needs during the lead-up to events, and providing hands-on support and guidance.

🥘Food: She’s a foodie! But Chinese is her favourite
🗺️Holiday: Seychelles 

📽️Film: Shawshank Redemption, Hachi and Mrs. Doubtfire
🌐 Languages: Hindi & English                  📍Based in Brussels

Luke Grover

Regional Manager – Asia & Pacific

Luke joined BMI in 2014 and was plunged into the deep end with a trip to NAFSA within weeks of starting. Education runs in his blood, with all his relatives working as teachers or lecturers. Such was his devotion to the role (and responsibility for the Asia Pacific market), Luke used to spend many nights working alone in the BMI London office and catching a sunrise bus home for some sleep! Luckily, he now works from beautiful Sydney and enjoys more regular business hours.

At events, Luke especially loves working with country groups to create visually impressive pavilions. On a smaller scale, he’s equally happy to bring a bottle of water to a client who is too busy to leave their booth – a frequent occurrence given the bustling nature of BMI’s student fairs!

🥘Food: Mexican, especially tacos
🗺️Holiday: Fiji

📽️Film: The never-ending story     🌐 Languages: English     📍Based in Sydney

André Izquierdo

Regional Manager – Spain, Portugal, South Africa & Latin America

Coming from a strong background in business development and client relations, Andre started working at BMI in 2013. Originally focused on the outbound Brazilian market, his role has expanded over the years to include several continents and maximise his trilingual skills.

One of the things he loves most is meeting – and exceeding – client expectations when coordinating country group representation or assisting first-time attendees. The size and diversity of the international education industry is something that Andre is particularly passionate about! 

🥘Food: Brazilian, especially Moqueca
🗺️Holiday: He loves all kinds of holidays in the countryside

📽️Film: Interstellar
🌐 Languages: Portuguese, Spanish, and English           📍Based in London

William Spellman

Regional Manager – US & UK

Two months after joining BMI in 2016, Will’s Spanish skills were put to the test as he headed off to BMI’s popular Expo Estudiante event series in Colombia. Not long thereafter, his dance moves were equally tested when he arrived on the scene at the NAFSA Conference and BMI’s famous Brazil Party.

After passing both challenges with flying colours, the rest, as they say, is history. Since he started working for BMI, Will has been to the UAE for industry events more times than his own wife (who grew up and still has family there)! Beyond the frequent flyer bonus programmes, Will appreciates the opportunity to connect with clients on a personal level and create a strong network of contacts around the globe.

🥘Food: Slow cooked chilli con carne
🗺️Holiday: Latin America, always!

📽️Film: Dumb & Dumber       🌐 Languages: English & Spanish
📍Based in London

Rikesh Patel

Regional Manager – USA

Rikesh joined BMI in 2018 and was well placed to run BMI’s digital marketing initiatives when the pandemic hit! After supporting universities all around the world for two years, he now concentrates on helping American-based institutions with their international student recruitment activities. Prior to BMI, Rikesh worked in the UK secondary school sector on teacher recruitment, and has always had his heart set on a career within the industry, inspired by his relatives who are teachers or heavily involved in education. 

Rikesh especially loves providing honest advice for clients and recommending the best solutions to aid their recruitment strategy in key markets around the globe. For him, it’s all about long-term relationships and being as transparent as possible.

🥘Food: Jerk chicken
🗺️Holiday: He loves all kinds of holidays but his favourite is San Francisco

📽️Film: Star Wars Return of the Jedi
🌐 Languages: English           📍Based in London