"A focus on innovation, strategy and the customer."

EEAA 2015 Leaders Forum

1 December 2015

The Stables, Royal Randwick Racecourse


The 2015 Leaders Forum program continued to explore key themes raised by our Members this year, during a series of deep-dive workshops. The program included outstanding presentations from leaders inside and outside the exhibition and event industry.

EEAA Chief Executive, Joyce DiMascio said the Association was honoured to have on stage outstanding presenters who shed light on the economic environment, current trends in digital and online communications and also opportunities presented from reforms in the education sector and with the signing of the Free Trade Agreements.

“The feedback from our Members indicates that the forum provided a timely window into opportunities for 2016 and beyond.

“The most powerful take-out for our Members related to discussions regarding growth opportunities for our sector – the economic forecast by one of Australia’s leading economists, Paul Bloxham, in particular provided a healthy outlook in relation to the economy and policy reforms.”

EEAA President, Domenic Genua said that the presentations were highly informative, dynamic and timely.

The forum focussed on the following key themes:
  • Economic environment
  • Infrastructure
  • Marketing
  • Free trade agreements
  • Education and business relationships

Content highlights

A snapshot of the Australian economy – what’s on the horizon for business and consumers in Australia?

Paul Bloxham, Chief Economic, HSCB Bank Australia

Paul kicked off the Forum with an overview of the current economic climate in Australia and internationally. With a deep-dive into equity markets and sectors of the Australian economy, Paul discussed international trends in GDP growth, interest rates, and projected levels of inflation. He said the economic outlook for Australia was extremely positive, off the back of 25 years of consecutive positive GDP growth (and projected continued increase). Australia’s continuity of positive GDP is virtually unrivalled by any other country in the world, he said.

Role of venues and infrastructure in the economic life of cities

Dr Tim Williams, CEO, Committee for Sydney

Geoff Donaghy, President, International Association of Congress Centres and Group Director Convention Centres, AEG Ogden

Dr Tim Williams and Geoff Donaghy delivered an engaging overview that covered the following points: – Tourism hides our business brand. – The ICC (Sydney) is in the right location for success – We will be an Asian city by mid-century. – Cafes, bars and restaurants are factories in the knowledge economy. – The new trends in convention and exhibition centre design and service delivery. – Convergence between conferences and exhibitions.

Getting on top of data driven marketing

Christian Bartens, CEO and Founder, Datalicious

Christian explained how to “fatten the funnel” by targeting influential customers, evolving the marketing story, and implementing cross-channel experiences. Christian’s insight into data analytics pointed to ways businesses could get more out of their marketing.

The “phygital” world – getting out of the vertical shaft and reconnecting with the hearts and minds of our customers

Paul Greenberg, Chief Executive Officer, NORA The Voice of New Retail

Paul explained the importance of a human connection, and generating an emotional response. He said that “today’s WOW is tomorrow’s base-line”. One of the major points he made was that if you are not “emotional” you are detached.

Deep dive – Free Trade Agreements

Michael Growder, Assistant Secretary, FTA Outreach Unit, Free Trade Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Michael delivered a comprehensive presentation about the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) established over the past 12 months by Minister Andrew Robb. He explained how these FTAs would open up new markets for Australian businesses. For more information contact DFAT: [email protected]; [email protected] gov.au; [email protected];[email protected] More information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership can be found here: (dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/tpp/) During the forum we also had the pleasure of hearing from Margaret Bounader, from Austrade.

Deep Dive – Education and training: is there a revolution on the horizon?

Prof. Simon Darcy, Events, Leisure, Sport, Tourism and the Arts Programs, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Melinda Brown, Head of National Industry Engagement, Service Skills Australia

Kathy Herd, Head Teacher – Events, Sydney TAFE Ultimo Boris Kelly, Managing Director, College of Event Management

The panel discussed industry training needs and how best to influence what is being delivered in our tertiary institutions. The panel stressed the importance of getting course content right, giving students good access to industry for internships and ensuring education reforms cater to the needs of the exhibition and events industry.

Panel discussion: Business Environment Forum – 2016 and beyond

Spiro Anemogiannis, Managing Director, Informa Australia

Gary Daly, Managing Director, Exhibitions & Trade Fairs

David Longman, General Manager, Diversified Communications Australia

Greg Rocke, Director, Managing Director, Pregnancy Babies & Children’s Expo

Brian Thomas, Managing Director, Reed Exhibitions Australia The panel of leading organisers returned to the stage for a third time in 2015 to report on the past 12 months and comment on what’s on the horizon. There were comments about the “festivalisation” of events, the convergence of the conference and exhibitions industry, discussions about our time-poor society and the need to constantly surprise, delight and entertain visitors to ensure continuing attendance at events. Solid program content and progression from year-to-year is important to ensure return attendance. Venues play a big role in end-to-end experience, and the exhibitor “backstory” is important for the consumer.

A special thanks to our sponsors and supporting partners