The Program

Evolve 2020’s program creation is well underway. There will be eight track topics that feature content relevant to event professionals.
Over 35 sessions will have specifically chosen subject matter expert speakers from our industry and from the broader business sector.
Click on each track or session to learn more about the speakers and to explore the sessions.

Please note: speakers and session times are subject to change.

Sunday 3 May

9:00 am
6:00 pm
Registration
11:30 am
12:30 pm
Evolve 101
12:00 pm
1:00 pm
Women in AV Discussion

Workshop

Workshop summary

The MEA Evolve 2019 dietary session opened up a hot conversation for many in the industry. It certainly was a dynamic conversation! The ongoing issue for many event professionals from the coalface through to venues, is establishing an understanding of dietary deliverables for both client and delegate. This session will launch the MEA Dietary Guidelines that have been collated over the past 12 months in response to the Evolve 2019 session. These guidelines will provide information for all silos of the industry to use as they set event planning procedures with clients, venues and operational teams. Implementation of policies will be discussed along with a review of key stumbling blocks to ensure the discussion facilitates continuous improvement for all parties.

Key takeaways:

1. Understanding dietary needs across key cultural and medical areas

2. Understanding best practice of dietary management

3. Risk management with dietary requirements

Semillon 2, Crowne Plaza
Nicky Rasmin

National Education Manager, Meetings & Events Australia

Workshop summary

Most people work on building up their financial assets. But how many people work on building up their greatest asset: their brain?

Neuroscience has revealed that we are not passive victims of our genes. We can change the very structure and functioning of our brain through what we do, think and believe. Discover immediately implementable strategies to boost your brain and achieve more than you ever thought possible.

Key takeaways:

1. Sharpen your thinking and problem solving

2. Increase your physical and mental energy

3. Tap into brain potential you never knew you had

4. Reduce your risk of depression, anxiety and Alzheimer’s disease

Semillon 3, Crowne Plaza
Dr Helena Popovic

A leading authority on improving brain function, Dr Helena Popovic is medical doctor, international speaker and best-selling author. Her first book is In Search of My Father - Dementia is no match for a daughter’s determination. It is a warm and humorous account of how we can build a better brain at any age or stage of life. Her second award-winning book is: NeuroSlimming - Let your brain change your body. NeuroSlimming shows people how to shed excess body fat without dieting or deprivation. Her philosophy is that education is more powerful than medication and she believes in slow ageing despite fast living. She is passionate about showing people that great health is not a distant destination - it’s a daily decision.

MEA brings together the experts and industry leading organisations to discuss and debate the impact of the bushfires, floods and COVID19. The events of the first two months of 2020 have been unprecedented, and many businesses that operate in the events sector have been impacted. MEA has invited industry representatives to update and discuss the fallout and how, as an industry we can safeguard and recover from these global and local crises.

Welcome to hell: Coronavirus, the recession and when will the economy recover?

The Australian economy is on the cusp of a recession. But it can be avoided if there is a potent policy response. The jury is out whether what has been delivered so far is enough. Australia hasn’t seen a recession for nearly 30 years. I lived through the last one, was in Treasury in fact, and know what it is like. Should you prepare for a recession? What happens to your business? Your personal finances? Housing? Recessions are game changing, ugly and painful.

Global Impact: Rebuilding the Pipeline

Semillon 1, Crowne Plaza
Michael Matthews

President, Australian Association of Convention Bureaux

Penny Lion

Tourism Australia

Stephen Koukoulas

4:30 pm
5:00 pm
Evolve Expo Opening
5:00 pm
6:30 pm
Evolve Opening Presentation
6:30 pm
9:30 pm
Evolve Welcome Reception
9:30 pm
11:00 pm
ClubMEA

Monday 4 May

7:00 am
9:00 am
Breakfast at Crowne Plaza (includes 'grab and go')
8:00 am
5:00 pm
Registration Open
9:00 am
9:15 am
Welcome
Merlot/Cabernet, Crowne Plaza
Mina Guli

Founder & CEO , Thirst

Mina Guli left her career as a corporate lawyer to become a leading advocate on the global water crisis visiting every continent on the planet and speaking to countless people. She is the founder and CEO of Thirst, a grassroots education and innovation organisation teaching over 1.4 million student graduates to save water. As part of her campaign, Mina completed 40 marathons in 40 days running across six continents. In 2016 she was the first person to run across seven deserts on seven continents in just seven weeks. A few of her notable accomplishments include being named one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence, one of the Top 50 Leading Australians in Asia and one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders by Fortune Magazine. Mina will share her thought-provoking and insightful messages around responsible leadership, finding purpose, driving innovative and sustainable change globally.
10:15 am
10:45 am
Morning Tea in the Evolve Expo

Session summary

Mitch will share his story with mental health from a personal and professional perspective that will include insights around his core thesis of: “the day we feel understood is the day we start to heal”. In this inspirational hour you will learn about the five primary issues facing our society and explore the role of mental health in the workplace; what we can do to improve, destigmatise and normalise its universal nature.

Key takeaways:

1. Tips to implement immediately to improve individual and group mindset

2. Resilience and thriving techniques

3. What to do next after we ask someone the question “RUOK?”

Merlot/Cabernet, Crowne Plaza
Mitch Wallis

Founder , Heart On My Sleeve

Mitch Wallis is an emerging leader in the Millennial generation with a lifelong mission to empower others to overcome suffering and re-imagine the healing potential of the mind through the power of storytelling, conversation and living with authenticity. After working at Microsoft for seven years, Mitch now devotes himself full-time to helping solve the single biggest issue facing current and future generations – mental health. Mitch is the Founder and CEO of Heart On My Sleeve – a worldwide social movement and services provider that is one of the fastest growing mental wellbeing initiatives in Australia. Mitch will tell us a story of what it means to be human.

Track Sessions 1

Session summary

Every event involves risk. The type and level depends on variables such as the activity, the location, scheduling and the number of delegates / participants.  Whatever your event, it is essential you are prepared by managing these risks. Successful organisers manage risk rather than avoid it: They focus on goals and safety, not just compliance. With effective risk management you can minimise the potential costs and liabilities of event planning, leading to a safer, more enjoyable event. It really is as easy as ABC ...

Key takeaways:

1. Why you have to write a risk assessment

2. What to consider in your risk assessment

3. Why you should probably never include walruses in your risk assessments

Semillon 1, Crowne Plaza
Bea Tomlin

Director and Consultant, Beaspoke Safety

Bea's passion for risk and safety was ignited in the early stages of her career, whilst working in the UK as an Operations Manager, and then as an Event Producer. It was during this time that she became particularly focused on safety and compliance and developed the first online exhibitor manual in the UK, in an era where many exhibitors were challenged with email and websites. In 2004, Bea came to Australia for a holiday…. She is now an Australian Citizen, a mum, and runs Beaspoke Safety (V2.0) One of the things about Bea, is that she is not your ‘typical’ safety and risk person, as she strives to make safety and risk engaging and undoing so empower others, so a risk mindset, almost inadvertently, becomes part of the everyday process.

Session summary

20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% in the second year, 50% close their doors after five years and 70% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business. What does it take to get over the ten-year itch? Our panel of company owners will share how their insights and actions how they have survived more than ten years in the events industry.

Semillon 2, Crowne Plaza
Alicia Beachley

CEO, April5

Alicia Beachley is founder and CEO of April5, a leading marketing agency specialising in brand activation, experiential marketing, events and PR. Alicia has over 20 years industry experience and has helped national and global brands create impactful, action-driven marketing campaigns.
Felicity Zadro

Managing Director , Zadro

Keith Wootton

Managing Director, AV1

Session summary

Life is busy... building a career, juggling family, working long hours, trying to stay fit, and it is even tricky fitting in a social life! Everyone wants to be healthy but they do not want an extreme diet, a costly approach, or to be preached at. Interesting research is unveiling how quality nutrition can not only improve our physical body, energy and sleep but also our mental health, brain function, memory, and moods. Michele, explores non-extreme, sustainable changes in our eating habits and will discuss current health issues and serious topics in a light, humorous way.

Key takeaways:

1. Identify the key nutritional factors in a person’s daily routine than impact their physical and mental health-brain clarity, hormones, moods, immune system, weight, sleep and energy to exercise.

2. Identify how stress, even without sugar, can manifest the same physical symptoms on the body and how to modify their risk factors.

3. Identify how sleep can be improved for physical wellbeing, weight loss, and cognitive function.

4. Discover how your wellbeing toolkit can include coffee and wine

Semillon 3, Crowne Plaza
Michele Chevalley Hedge

One of Australia’s leading nutritionists, Michele is a health author and an expert in nutritional medicine, including mental health. Michele links the importance of nutrition, sleep and stress with productivity, energy and vitality in an evidence-based presentation and will share her wisdom and stories of nutritional transformation which will give you goose bumps. She is a great believer in ‘good health does not need an extreme approach, and it can include a bit of coffee and wine’. Michele is no stranger to seeking a well-balanced life. She was a marketing executive who burnt the candle at both ends, so she truly understands the needs of time-poor event professionals who, family or not, want health but not hassle. Michele speaks on behalf of the World Health Organisation, Jamie Oliver Food Ambassador, Cure Cancer Ambassador, Heart Research Ambassador, and was recently announced as practitioner of the Year by her industry body, The Australian Traditional Medicine Society.

Session summary

Stories and storytelling can inspire, influence, motivate and engage people where logic and bullet points may not. Business storytelling is storytelling with a purpose and for results. Whatever it is you are trying to do in business – whether you are leading people, managing change, influencing the board or building your career, storytelling can help you do it better … that’s a guarantee.

Key takeaways:

1. Discover business storytelling – a hot emerging business skill

2. Explore the use of storytelling as an sales tool

3. Identify applications for storytelling within your business

Merlot/Cabernet, Crowne Plaza
Yamini Naidu

Director & Chief Storyteller, Yamini Naidu Consulting

Yamini Naidu is rated among the top three business storytellers globally and is the world’s only economist turned business storyteller moving leaders from spreadsheets to stories. A global citizen, Yamini was born and raised in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and is a gold medallist from University of Bombay and both a scholarship winner and a postgraduate from the London School of Economics.

Session summary

Delivering unique customer experience through technology solutions has become a game changer in the past decade. Think about how we access music, how we watch and consume content, how we travel, how you check in or check out at airports or hotels, how you pay for items or even how you unlock your phone. Technology has given consumers a choice to ‘opt in’ for a better experience making technology the enabler. The use of Biometric technology (Facial recognition, fingerprint, gaze) through AI is fast becoming a unique opportunity to impress and engage customers, providing them through your business a long-lasting positive experience.

Key takeaways:

1. Understand the role biometric technology is playing in changing the customer experience to be immersive and engaging

2. Understand more about privacy and data protection eradicating the fear from clients or risk to your business

3. Learn why biometric technology is a solution for your next event with a recent implementation case study from an Australian venue

Vintage Room, Crowne Plaza
David Borean

Executive General Manager Marketing & Sales

David Borean joined NEC in 2018 as Executive General Manager to lead the Marketing and Communications team and is also responsible for National Direct Sales across Manager Services, Infrastructure & Communications and Safer Cities lines of business. David has wide range of management, sales and operational experience spanning start up e-commerce companies to leading entertainment and marketing companies.

MEA National Awards 2018 Winner – Event of the Year (Incentives & special events)

Verdelho, Crowne Plaza
Natalie Bell

Managing Director, AA&P Events

12:40 pm
1:40 pm
Lunch in the Evolve Expo

Track Sessions 2

Session summary

If negotiating is a big part of your day but you find it challenging to step up to the deals table with confidence this session is for you. Dealing with supplier demands and client expectations is a constant balancing act that can mean things don’t always run smoothly. In this session Sam will share a framework to help you strengthen this skill by understanding the foundations of a good negotiation and the practical applications of it, so you can negotiate with more confidence.

Key takeaways:

1. Learn a framework for good negotiations

2. Pick up some tips and tactics you can implement today

3. Shift your mindset and feel more confident negotiating

Semillon 1, Crowne Plaza
Sam Trattles

Commercial Deals Negotiator, Other Side of the Table

Sam has built a career around negotiation – through marketing, brand, and sponsorship roles over 20 years. She builds capability and confidence by creating strategies that deliver positive business results. Unlocking the value in all your deals. Sam is a straight shooter who is practical and likes to share her knowledge to help others learn to love negotiating (or to at least, not to hate it).

Session summary

For business, the risk of cyber security event is no longer one that causes a slow day, it can easily lead to a CEE (Company Ending Event). But cyber security can be used to grow your business, rather than slowing you down.

In this session I’ll cover how to protect you and your company, break down some of the myths and give you practical tips to take away.

Oh, and it won’t be boring!

Key takeaways:

1. Turning cyber security into part of growing your business

2. Simple actions you can take to protect you and your teams

3. What your clients expect and how to exceed that!

Semillon 2, Crowne Plaza
Craig Davies

Director, GrowthOps

Craig Davies is an Executive Director for Trimantium GrowthOps Ltd and Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee for RightCrowd Ltd. He has spent more than twenty years in cybersecurity working in several fields, including intelligence, infrastructure operations, security architecture and web development. Craig is also CEO of TriSecOps, a specialist cybersecurity firm and is the former CEO for the Federal Government’s AustCyber - The Australian Cyber Security Growth Network, former Head of Security at Atlassian and Chief Security Officer at Cochlear Ltd.

Session summary

Is your gut sensitive, irritable, leaky or inflamed? Are you into prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics, psychobiotics, synbiotics or antibiotics? Why does it matter? Because your body is home to 100 trillion micro-organisms with a combined weight of over 2kg. That’s more than the weight of your brain! Discover the secret life of your gut bacteria and how they impact every aspect of your physical, mental and emotional health.

Key takeaways:

1. What are all those busy bugs doing?

2. How do our gut bacteria communicate with our brain and what are they saying?

3. How to heal your gut and maintain optimal gut health throughout your life.

Semillon 3, Crowne Plaza
Dr Helena Popovic

A leading authority on improving brain function, Dr Helena Popovic is medical doctor, international speaker and best-selling author. Her first book is In Search of My Father - Dementia is no match for a daughter’s determination. It is a warm and humorous account of how we can build a better brain at any age or stage of life. Her second award-winning book is: NeuroSlimming - Let your brain change your body. NeuroSlimming shows people how to shed excess body fat without dieting or deprivation. Her philosophy is that education is more powerful than medication and she believes in slow ageing despite fast living. She is passionate about showing people that great health is not a distant destination - it’s a daily decision.

Session summary

We compete for customers attention. They have less of it every day. Impatience grows also, and your competition is the best online experience your customers have, regardless of the industry. To stand out, you need more than relevance and context. You need a personality. You need to mean something. You need to be compelling and evoking. Digital provides the ability to drive demand, drive awareness. drive engagement. drive results. Practical tips, tricks and war stories on what works and what doesn’t.

Merlot/Cabernet, Crowne Plaza
Aaron Fuller

Head of Product, Qantas Loyalty, Qantas Airways

Bricoleur. Experimentalist. Table Tennis Tragic. Aaron joined Qantas in 2015 as Head Of Marketing for New Ventures, and is currently Head Of Product for Qantas Frequent Flyer where he utilises his deep expertise in data-driven product and marketing plus his passion for customer experience and user centred design. With a Masters of Business, Environment and Marketing, Aaron has launched three new business ventures and understands the value of pace and the cost of going slow. Aaron is an inspirational leader who has served on the Board of the International Mentoring Association from 2009 to 2014 and he teaches and lectures at UNSW.

Session summary

From show floor VR, event data (tracking session scans, booth scans and interactions across the event) to AV (27 projector 195 metre wide screen) and the event operations centre (central monitoring from a security and people flow standpoint). This session will deep dive into how Salesforce bring their company values to life through technology and innovation at the one day event.

Key takeaways:

1. The power event technologies play in attendee experience

2. Bringing company values to life through events and technology

3. The importance of maintaining focus on customer experience

Vintage Room, Crowne Plaza
Stuart Frank

Director, Strategic Events Asia Pacific Salesforce

Stuart is Director of Strategic Events at Salesforce – where he leads event programs delivered throughout the Asia Pacific region – including the annual Salesforce World Tour in Sydney. With over 25 years of experience across a broad spectrum of business to business and business to consumer events throughout the region – Stuart has held roles within associations, PCOs, agencies and for the past 14 years as in-house event lead within global technology organisations.

MEA National Awards 2018 Winner – Corporate Event of the Year

Verdelho, Crowne Plaza
Lauren Hayward

Co-owner & Director, Forum Group Events & Marketing

Track Sessions 3

Session summary

This session is designed to support your development in communication, influence, rapport and self-awareness. Heighten your understanding of social motivators and improve your ability to influence and collaborate with others more effectively. We will also draw from the field of Neuromarketing regarding persuasion and delivering messages with emotional impact through effective story-telling techniques.

Real workplace examples will be utilised for participants in discussions and interactive exercises, with the ability to apply what you have learnt straight away.

Key takeaways:

1. Understand the social motivators model to improve your ability to influence and collaborate with others effectively

2. Differentiate how you communicate and gain buy-in through creating powerful emotional connections through storytelling

3. Receive a stakeholder engagement top six checklist of the key elements to build engagement confidence.

Semillon 1, Crowne Plaza
Vannessa McCamley

Principal Consultant, LinkSuccess

Vannessa McCamley, keynote speaker, facilitator and coach, has earned a reputation for assisting organisations, teams and individuals to achieve impressive results through behavioural change to increase performance, productivity and revenue. Leveraging the latest in Neuroscience for brain based, evidence rich strategies for improving leadership of self and others.

Session summary

We have moved from the era of ‘why’ marketing, to ‘who’ marketing. Learning to brand yourself authentically, both on and offline, is one of the most valuable lessons that will lead you to success. Yet, many of us feel overwhelmed about how to start and know how much of your brand you should share.

Key takeaways:

1. Discover practical tools to turn your personal brand into an asset.

2. Understand the five steps to owning your personal brand.

3. Activating your personal brand within your business and externally to the market.

Semillon 3, Crowne Plaza
Sarah Skeats

Global Partner, The BoB Group

Expert brand strategist Sarah Skeats will present on the ins and outs of turning your profile into an asset. Sarah is a global partner at The BoB Group and has over 20 years’ experience as an expert on brand, specialising in brand strategy, brand communications, employee experience, and business growth. She has worked with companies such as NAB, Telstra, and Microsoft in addition to hundreds of business and business leaders globally, helping them grow and step into their own potential.

Session summary

When it comes to growing a business, building traffic and optimizing for conversion, nothing beats video. In this session we’ll deep dive into the extraordinary world of video marketing, which consistently outperforms word / image based marketing by a factor of 10 or even 100. This dynamic, interactive and highly enjoyable workshop explores the possibilities for you and your business.

Key takeaways:

1. How to grow a YouTube Channel from nothing to 10,000 views a month

2. The secret sauce that doubles your SEO

3. Specific ideas on how to leverage video in your business

Merlot/Cabernet, Crowne Plaza
Tim Levy

CEO, Tim Levy & Associates

Tim Levy is an author, speaker and CEO working with CEOs and entrepreneurs on marketing strategy and mindset. With a degree in Computer Science from the University of NSW, he went on to work with multi-national companies like IBM, Sony and Motorola before deciding to focus on smaller, more responsive businesses. While in the USA he developed a number of business books, online programs and training courses. In 2018 he returned to Australia and continues working with CEOs to optimise marketing opportunities for business growth.

Session summary

Ever felt confused looking over your AV quote? Not quite sure what to ask for? You’re not alone. This session will help unpack some common AV terms and help you make more empowered decisions. We’ll breakdown AV quotes, discuss some common equipment and reveal tips and tricks to add value to your event production. This is a session not to be missed. It’s your opportunity to learn everything you ever wanted to know about AV, but were too afraid to ask.

Key takeaways:

1. Understand how to prepare an AV brief and spec

2. Better understand your AV quote and what questions to ask

3. Understand how to add value to your event production

4. Teasers for some new tech to lookout for

Vintage Room, Crowne Plaza
Toni McAllister

Audio Visual Project Manager, ICC Sydney

After 20+ years in the events industry Toni has a wealth of experience and knowledge to draw from. Her speciality lies in the world of audio visual. She has a unique ability to translate “tech-speak” into everyday language and take the mystery out of the jargon. Her goal is always the best possible customer experience, ensuring that the AV is delivering on the event objective rather than leading with tech for techs sake. Toni is the founder and champion of 'Women in AV', with a mission to encourage young girls and women to seek a career in AV and help create and contribute to a diverse and inclusive culture.

Session summary

For over 20 years, GPJ and IBM have collaborated to deliver events across Australia & New Zealand. Attend this session to learn how, through strong client-agency collaboration, IBM’s flagship Think Summit grew to become a multiple award-winning experience.

Key takeaways:

1. How an agency and client come together to co-create award winning conferences.

2. Using technology to understand more about the audience and creating events that are designed with a customer-first mindset.

3. Building an annual flagship event that builds a community

Verdelho, Crowne Plaza
Felippe Diaz

Business Director, George P. Johnson

Felippe is a Business Director at GPJ Australia and has most recently been named Campaign Asia's 2019 Account Person of the Year. Overseeing a team that delivers over 100 experiences for IBM their business partners and clients across Australia and New Zealand each year, Felippe knows what it takes to build a strong client-agency relationship that delivers results.
Samantha Li

Event Marketing Manager, IBM Australia and New Zealand

Samantha is a Senior Event Marketing Manager at IBM Australia and New Zealand, with a wealth of experience working on signature events. Samantha is recognised for her ability to take complex IT solutions and technical concepts and create compelling, relevant and immersive experiences for clients. Samantha is passionate about the use of technology to solve humankind’s greatest problems and sharing that potential through her work.
3:30 pm
4:00 pm
Afternoon Tea in the Evolve Expo

Session summary

The rate of change, failures and disruptions present ever increasing risks in our personal and corporate lives. Captain de Crespigny discusses the eight Elements of Resilience (Knowledge, Training, Experience, Leadership, Teamwork, Decision Making, Crisis Management and Risk), and how to harness them to keep calm, survive and thrive in face the crises, perfect storms, black swan events.

Key takeaways

1. Harness the Elements of Resilience

2. Become confident, courageous and intrepid

3. Thrive and Survive.

Merlot/Cabernet, Crowne Plaza
Captain Richard de Crespigny

Captain, Qantas

On November 4, 2010, Qantas pilot Captain Richard De Crespigny and his crew flying an Airbus A380 from Singapore to Sydney, suffered an uncontained engine rotor failure. Despite the pressure of the situation, with 440 passengers and 29 crew on the aircraft, Captain De Crespigny and his team managed to safely land the crippled aircraft back at Singapore’s Changi Airport. Captain De Crespigny will reveal the inner workings of handling a crisis, sharing the insights and techniques he has built up over decades in aviation. Sponsored by The Fordham Company.
7:00 pm
10:00 pm
Networking Evening (offsite)
10:30 pm
10:30 pm
ClubMEA - until 1:00 am

Tuesday 5 May

7:00 am
8:30 am
Breakfast at Crowne Plaza (includes 'grab and go')
8:00 am
5:00 pm
Registration Open

Session summary

Imagine the revolutionary thought that robots could be keynote speakers. AI leaders have exactly this vision – that robots can deliver talks and answer audience questions. Could we really have non-biological presenters? These questions will be explored as Dr Catriona Wallace unpacks Artificial Intelligence and the effect that it might have on the events and speaking industry.

1. Artificial Intelligence made easy

2. How AI will augment the events process

3. Robot speakers – how might this work?

Merlot/Cabernet, Crowne Plaza
Dr Catriona Wallace

c/o , Ode Management

One of the world’s most cited experts on Artificial Intelligence, Ethics & Human Rights in technology and Women in Leadership. With a long list of accolades including a PhD in Organisational Behaviour and significant awards, Dr Catriona Wallace has established herself as the innovative go-to expert for optimising customer experience. In 2014, Catriona founded artificial intelligence FinTech Flamingo AI, a company working at the cutting edge of AI technology to provide Cognitive Virtual Assistants for employees and customers. Dr Catriona Wallace will present to delegates the potential new world of AI enhanced events and open all minds to the real possibilities of ‘The Disrupted Event’. Sponsored by ODE Management.
10:00 am
10:30 am
Morning Tea in the Evolve Expo
10:30 am
10:40 am
Welcome

Track Sessions 4

Session summary

How to combine brand, experience and human-centred design thinking to take your event strategy, design, creativity and delivery to the next level.

Events are brands in action and communities in motion. So great events bring brands to life brilliantly and in ways that ignite passion and action in their audiences. This session will explore strategic, creative and design-led ways of thinking that will elevate your events and bring new creative possibilities into view.

Key takeaways:

1. You’ll be helped to rethink the possibilities of events through brand, experience and human lenses

2. Challenge the conventions and limitations that are constraining your current event thinking.

3. Learn new mindsets and skillsets to develop new, value-creating event and experience ideas.

Semillon 1, Crowne Plaza
Matt Jones

Co-Founder & Brand Director, Four Pillars Gin

Matt Jones is a creative strategist, accidental entrepreneur and self-described serial failure. He has an eclectic background, combining economics, politics, brand experience and gin. From 2006 to 2012, Matt was global head of strategy at Jack Morton Worldwide, based in NYC. In 2013, Matt returned to Australia and co-founded Four Pillars Gin, a craft gin business based in Healesville in the Yarra Valley. Today, when he’s not hanging out at the distillery, he’s one of Australia’s most in-demand speakers and thinkers on business, brand, strategy and creativity.

Session summary

If you struggle to express your ideas clearly and quickly in writing, this workshop will give you tips you can put into practice immediately. Discover ways to give your writing more impact and improve your editing skills. Plain English is the accepted way of writing for business; learn how it helps get your message across more effectively.

Key takeaways:

1. Get your readers attention

2. Write with clarity and speed

3. Edit writing and provide meaningful feedback

Semillon 2, Crowne Plaza
Amanda Anker

Senior Facilitator, Business Writing Global

Amanda has a strong passion for written communications. With local and international experience, she has worked in senior management positions in various industries, including the business events sector. Amanda currently consults in marketing communications and delivers courses in business writing skills for Business Writing Global. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business and has completed the Company Directors’ course at the AICD. Amanda is also on the board of a not-for-profit organisation.

Session summary

What does it mean to be a leader? As middle management future leader, how do you skill up from being operational to strategic. What are the skills required to be a leader in the 21st century.

Semillon 3, Crowne Plaza
Sarah Skeats

Global Partner, The BoB Group

Expert brand strategist Sarah Skeats will present on the ins and outs of turning your profile into an asset. Sarah is a global partner at The BoB Group and has over 20 years’ experience as an expert on brand, specialising in brand strategy, brand communications, employee experience, and business growth. She has worked with companies such as NAB, Telstra, and Microsoft in addition to hundreds of business and business leaders globally, helping them grow and step into their own potential.

Session summary

LinkedIn is the perfect platform for businesses and individuals to position themselves and connect with their target audience. With a clever LinkedIn strategy businesses can share their business stories, company culture, track record and industry insights resulting in the generation of real commercial conversations. You will learn the importance of optimise; personalise and socialise.

Key takeaways:

1. You will learn what a ‘best in class’ LinkedIn profile looks like

2. You will learn how to strategically grow a valuable LinkedIn network

3. You will learn effective techniques to help you “find your voice” and stand out from the crowd

Merlot/Cabernet, Crowne Plaza
Lucy Bingle

LinkedIn Marketing Expert

Lucy is a LinkedIn marketing strategist who provides expert LinkedIn consulting services and LinkedIn marketing training globally. Lucy has over 20 years marketing experience and is passionate about helping companies and individuals build brand awareness, thought leadership and connect with their target audience on the LinkedIn platform.

Session summary

What is the difference between making an association event a success compared to corporate or other type of events?

Limited budgets don’t have to mean limited innovation. How can you maximise innovation when faced with a minimal budget? What is best practice to create an amazing delegate experience?

Nicolette Hughes has spent 28 years in working with association events across various industries and you will hear the successes, critical reflections, mistakes and risks from her colourful journey.

Key takeaways:

1. What are some innovative ideas for delivering association events?

2. How can you create excellence and a high standard?

3. How can you leave an event legacy and make each year for an annual event a unique experience?

Verdelho, Crowne Plaza
Nicolette Hughes

Event Strategist, Director , MNH Consulting

With over 28 years’ experience, Nicolette Hughes is an events industry leader and consultant on how to make projects a strategic success. Most recently at the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) where she was Director Product Strategy and Innovation and led the largest pensions event in the world for 1500+ delegates, she is currently a Strategic Advisor to the International Congress of Actuaries (April, Sydney 2022 for 1200+ delegates). Nicolette has won various awards including NSW MEA 2017 Inhouse Event Manager of the Year and is invited regularly to speak at industry events locally and internationally including AIME, ITCMA Bangkok, MEA.

Session summary

Leaders must be aware of the big demographic forces that are shaping the 2020s. Global trends favour investment in Australia. The workforce is hollowing our into winners and losers. How can your business succeed in the new market realities? Simon runs a highly engaging and practical session that mustn’t be missed.

Vintage Room, Crowne Plaza
Simon Kuestenmacher

Co-Founder & Director, The Demographics Group

A rising star globally in the field of data management and demographics, Simon Kuestenmacher is the Co-Founder and Director of The Demographics Group founded by social commentator Bernard Salt AM. He has degrees in geography from leading universities in Berlin and Melbourne and worked for several years as a business consultant with KPMG Australia. Simon frequently presents on Sky News, The Project, newspapers and radio stations across Australia to comment on demographic trends. He writes a monthly column in The Australian newspaper and consults to business and government. Simon will demonstrate how the changing nature of the workforce allows for big growth opportunities in the events industry and what type of workers will succeed in the sector. He will also share how data will help to better target and market events.

Track Sessions 5

Session summary

We live in increasingly diverse societies creating ‘super-diversity’ in the workplace across gender, age, nationality, race and more. Bias affects how organisations make decisions that impact employee engagement, retention, organisational culture, client experience and brand perception. This session will equip you on:

- What is Unconscious Bias?

- Why it happens?

- Types of Bias

- How it shows up at work

- The consequences of UB

- What can you do to disrupt UB in your workplace

Key takeaways:

1. The origin of bias and its importance

2. Understanding and assessing your own bias

3. Ways to move from bias to inclusion

Semillon 1, Crowne Plaza
Anoushka Gungadin

CEO, The Australia India Chamber

Anoushka is the Chief Executive Officer of The Australia India Chamber, founder of GlobalCQ and Non-Executive Director on the Board of the Anglo-African Investments. She is also an International speaker and facilitator on future of work, Cultural Intelligence, inclusive leadership. Anoushka has more than 20 years of work experience across Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe, with global brands like Mondelez, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and l’Oreal.

Session summary

Following on from Part One of Navigating the Leadership Ladder, Sheridan Randell will interview our panel who will share their career paths and what toolkits they used to be where they are today.

Semillon 3, Crowne Plaza
Caleb Bush

Managing Director, George P Johnson

Kirsty Forbes

Director of Meetings & Events, Accor

Natalie Bell

Managing Director, AA&P Events

Sheridan Randall

Content Director , CIM Business Events

Journalist and editor for over a decade with companies including Fairfax and Isentia, Sheridan Randall is content director of CIM Business Events, the industry's most trusted source of breaking news and and in-depth analysis.

Session summary

In 2020 and beyond, customer centric organisations are set to learn more, win bigger, and grow faster than their competitors. As the lines between sales and marketing continually blur, this session will explore the state of the customer revolution and it’s impact on the way businesses function. It will showcase how – by focusing on the customers personality, interests and behaviours, marketers can unlock the critical insights to inform and drive action.

Merlot/Cabernet, Crowne Plaza
Ben Mulligan

Business Director, Transmission Agency

Australian Business Director of global B2B marketing consultancy group Transmission, Ben works alongside the world’s leading technology and corporate brands to find the balance between the art and science marketing. Developing marketing strategies and programs focused upon the end customer that deliver real business impact.

How small commercial radio station identified a niche in the music market which led to the development of possibly one of the largest and the most unique music festivals in the world.

Key takeaways:

1. From Little Things Big Things Grow.

2. Events are key to regional growth.

3. It’s not about the music choice, it is about the experience.

Verdelho, Crowne Plaza
Barry Harley

Festival Director, Tamworth Country Music Festival

For more than 40 years Barry has developed and implemented strategic plans and managed events with marketing groups and publications, and since 2015 with Tamworth Regional Council. Since 1975 Barry has had an integral association with the Tamworth Country Music Festival and was a foundation member of the Country Music Association of Australia in 1990 that influenced positive change within the industry. A deep commitment to the advancing of Tamworth as an all year round country music destination is the cornerstone of his work and he has been instrumental in the delivery of several of Tamworth’s country music attractions.

Session summary

Generations Y and Z will soon comprise more than half of the workforce and so understanding their preferred way of work is essential for effective engagement. In this session, Ashley will give an overview of creating an engaging culture for a multigenerational workforce, and will equip attendees with the knowledge and skills to engage this post-literate, multimodal and tech-savvy generation.

Vintage Room, Crowne Plaza
Ashley Fell

Communications Director, McCrindle

12:20 pm
1:20 pm
Lunch in the Evolve Expo

Session summary

Kirstin will use recent case studies and highly practical advice to provide the audience with an inspiring call to action for how every leader, regardless of their role within an organisation, can use emotional intelligence to be the most effective leader they can be. Using her own experience as a leader with personal examples as well as the latest research, Kirstin helps audience members understand what it means to be an emotionally intelligent leader who is able to build trust and lead courageously while understanding the impact of their decisions on others.

Vintage Room, Crowne Plaza
Kristin Ferguson

Session summary

Simon will emphasise the importance of lifelong learning as our economy is in a state of permanent transformation. Events provide the crucial face to face learning opportunities that are so important in our knowledge driven economy. Simon shows how the changing nature of the workforce allows for big growth opportunities in the events industry and what type of workers will succeed in the sector. He will also share how data will help to better target and market events.

Merlot/Cabernet, Crowne Plaza
Simon Kuestenmacher

Co-Founder & Director, The Demographics Group

A rising star globally in the field of data management and demographics, Simon Kuestenmacher is the Co-Founder and Director of The Demographics Group founded by social commentator Bernard Salt AM. He has degrees in geography from leading universities in Berlin and Melbourne and worked for several years as a business consultant with KPMG Australia. Simon frequently presents on Sky News, The Project, newspapers and radio stations across Australia to comment on demographic trends. He writes a monthly column in The Australian newspaper and consults to business and government. Simon will demonstrate how the changing nature of the workforce allows for big growth opportunities in the events industry and what type of workers will succeed in the sector. He will also share how data will help to better target and market events.
2:05 pm
2:20 pm
Wrap Up
2:20 pm
2:35 pm
Afternoon tea break

Track Sessions 6

Session summary

Want to sell green events but unsure what to offer? Aiming to do more than the usual reduce, reuse, recycle? Join Pat Dwyer as she shares her insights and experience on how to meaningfully adapt your events to manage resources well, and inspire creative offerings around food, setup and overall experience. She will share practical tips and case studies that help you work with your venues, suppliers, bookers and guests so your events are better for people and planet.

Key takeaways:

1. Eco-friendly goes beyond reducing packaging or handing out water tumblers

2. Work out where in event management you have the biggest impact, and manage resources from there

3. Eco friendly events make money – discover the secret.

Semillon 1, Crowne Plaza
Pat Dwyer

Founder, The PurposeBusiness

Pat is passionate about sharing her 20 years of sustainability leadership to help businesses thrive through responsible growth. In 2005, Pat founded The Purpose Business, the network of sustainability experts that helps Asian businesses be a force for good. Previously, she led teams at Shangri-La Hotels and Ayala Land setting new standards in corporate sustainability. Pat is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and sits on the Boards of Enrich and Ignite Impact.

Session summary

Connectivity between workers, customers, government are creating a Virtual World to do business. How do you take advantage of the opportunity? Or is it a threat? A deep dive into the connective tools that shape the future of work. Business performance used to be something left for the accountants, but digital trends are making data backed decisions everyone’s business. See how finance is coming from the back of the office to the front. New business models are re shaping the way traditional cash flow works for business making more businesses get paid, upfront and more regularly, whilst getting better access to the banks.

Semillon 2, Crowne Plaza
David Boyar

The Financial Mentor

2:30 pm
3:30 pm
TBC
Future Leaders

Session summary

There is so much more that goes into pitching a product, service or idea than just preparing a well thought-out proposal. Agency Example takes a strategic and creative approach when it comes to selling. In this session, Andrew will reveal his tips, as well as outline how the agency guides its clients in effectively selling their destination or venue to B2B and B2C audiences.

Key takeaways:

1. Learn how a successful agency approaches pitching its services and ideas to prospective clients

2. Hear and see case studies of how different destinations and venues effectively sell themselves to target audiences

3. Know how to set yourself up for success

Merlot/Cabernet, Crowne Plaza
Andrew Cavallaro

Associate Director, Example

Example’s resident travel and major events expert, Andrew is the master of making every moment a success. Boasting an intercontinental background that encompasses robust marketing strategy and integrated brand launches, Andrew has spent the last decade criss-crossing the globe, starting agencies of his own and crafting some of our most memorable tourism campaigns.
3:30 pm
4:15 pm
Afternoon Tea in the Evolve Expo
4:15 pm
5:30 pm
Plenary: TBC and Evolve 2020 closing and Evolve 2021 destination announcement
Plenary
7:00 pm
11:00 pm
MEA National Awards Dinner
11:00 pm
11:00 pm
ClubMEA - until 2:00 am

Event industry ‘track champions’ have been engaged to provide grassroots insights and expertise to ensure current and relevant session content and best practice.

Thank you to our track champions for their participation:

  • Future Leaders – Natalie Bell (AA&P Events), Jessica Christy (Harry the Hirer) and Zac Leach (ibis Styles East Perth)
  • Event Design & Management – Inge Garofani (DC Conferences), Rochelle Krason and Dorina Martelli (Bankwest)
  • Business Management – Gary Bender (World Corporate Travel), Natalie Bell (Associated Advertising & Promotion)
  • Sales and Marketing – Nicole Bates (Conversion Management), Mary-Jane Devine (Fusion Marketing) and Leanne Zeid (IHG)
  • Best Practice Case Studies – Ian Stuart
  • Wellness and Personal Development – Peter Bliss (Business is Bliss)

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of this country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.
We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and their Elders – past, present and emerging.

REGISTER TO ATTEND