By Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, 29 October, 2019

The Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has announced seven nominees for the prestigious EEAA 2019 Awards for Excellence Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award.

The candidates include emerging leaders from across Organisers, Venues and Suppliers who perform a wide-range of roles in the events industry.

EEAA Chief Executive, Joyce DiMascio said the Association has a big commitment to recognising the emerging leaders who will play a key role in shaping the future of the business events industry in Australia.

“The Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award recognises the standout talent in the industry. The 2019 candidates have all been nominated by their employers and highly recommended by clients and colleagues for this prestigious award.” Ms DiMascio said.

All nominees are under 30 years of age and working within the EEAA community. There are seven 2019 Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award nominees:

Tourism Australia is the Platinum partner of the EEAA Young Stars program and will provide scholarship funding for the 2019 winner to attend the 2020 UFI Asia-Pacific Conference taking place in March in Macau and Ungerboeck Software International will again sponsor the Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award.

“We are immensely grateful to our partners, Tourism Australia and Ungerboeck Software International who support this important initiative. For the second year running, Tourism Australia is our key financial supporter of the Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award Scholarship and Ungerboeck Software generously contributes as a major award partner. Their contribution is paramount to the continuation of this award.” said Joyce DiMascio.

Joyce DiMascio congratulated the nominees and commended their employers for shining the light on the talented young people working in the industry.

“We are very proud of the Association’s work that provided these opportunities for young talent. We are very committed to ensuring future leaders are recognised, rewarded and are retained in our industry.” said Joyce DiMascio.

There is a two-step process for selecting the winner – written submissions are closely reviewed against the selection criteria by 3 independent judges, followed by a personal interview with a judging panel.

All candidates will attend the industry gala dinner at Myer Mural Hall in Melbourne on Wednesday, 4 December.


Kay Badakhsh, Host Co Sydney

Kay is the business development manager at Host Co Sydney, a venue located in the grounds of Sydney University. Joining the team in mid-2019, Kay has adopted a customer-first approach, identifying new opportunities and developing a strong sales strategy. Kay applies leadership skills and his passion for the industry in his approach to achieve results. Kay is the President of the EEAA Young Stars Committee and takes an active role to ensure the under 35s have a ‘voice’ in the future of the industry.

Laura Blagys, Reed Exhibitions Australia (RXA)

Laura joined Reed Exhibitions Australia as a marketing manager in 2014. During her five years at RXA, she has made a real impact on her shows and the company as a whole. Laura is a key contributor in driving the event and content strategies that have led to the growth and success of Reed shows including Play World Australia, Oz Comic-Con, PAX Australia and Reed Gift Fairs.

Lakisha Di Valentino, Diversified Communications Australia

Lakisha joined Diversified Communications as the marketing assistant in the Food Portfolio team. She now works across five shows, in a variety of industries and has rapidly grown her skill base to include an active commitment to sustainability. Lakisha champions digital activity and constantly looks for innovations and ways to ensure the digital presence at events is effective. She is part of the Sustainability Committee at Diversified and was a participant in the EEAA Young Stars Sustainability Forum.

Aiden Hippensteel, ICC Sydney

Aiden is an Event Operations Floor Manager at ICC Sydney. He began his at ICC Sydney when it opened in early February 2017. With a double Advanced Diploma of Hospitality and Event Management, Meeting and Event Planning he has quickly established himself as a highly capable Lead Floor Manager and has worked across many of ICC Sydney’s high impact and complex events such as SIBOS, Sydney International Boat Show, Good Food and Wine, Fitness Show, Reed Gift Fairs Sydney and Microsoft.

Katie Ray, AV 24/7

Katie has been working at AV 24/7 for almost four years and during this time she has achieved outstanding results – including tripling her revenue in her second year as an Account Manager. Katie displays a high level of dedication to her clients and her portfolio includes a range of high-profile shows including the Avalon Air Show, PAX, Pacific, ISTH, Land Forces and Telstra Vantage.

Nikki Whitman, Talk2 Media and Events

In a short period of time, Nikki has established herself as one of the industry’s bright young talents. Nikki is the operations manager for the Good Food and Wine Shows across Australia and played a key role in the relaunch of the 2019 Asia-Pacific Incentive Meetings Event (AIME). Nikki is a talented professional with an outstanding ability to bring to life the brand for the show and the partners within each event.

Claudene Yousif, Reed Exhibitions Australia

Claudene has quickly progressed her career with Reed Exhibitions – she takes an intelligent view of finding solutions and is the go-to person for innovation on the event production team. Colleagues and clients continuously commend Claudene’s professionalism, integrity and creativity. She works across a broad portfolio of Reed Exhibitions’ shows, including All-Energy Australia, Beauty Expo Melbourne and Beauty Expo Australia.

The EEAA 2019 Awards for Excellence will be held at Myer Mural Hall in Melbourne on Wednesday, 4 December 2019. Registrations to attend the event are open. Quest NewQuay and Waterfront Apartments Melbourne are offering accommodation discounted rates for attendees.


Source: EEAA