"The think-tank of the exhibition and event industry."

EEAA 2017 Leaders Forum

7-8 June 2017

Australia kicked off Global Exhibitions Day 2017 (GED) with two days of events over 7 and 8 of June including the Association’s prestigious Leaders Forum. The Forum brings together influencers from government, industry and business to discuss the topics, issues and challenges that matter most to the decision makers of the exhibition and event sector. This year saw the addition of two new events including a Global Exhibitions Day Reception and a Mumbrella360 Masterclass session on the Power of Exhibitions and Events.

The two days of events provided valuable opportunities for consolidating the Association’s relationships with government and furthering EEAA’s advocacy agenda. EEAA also gained a new advocate in Canberra in the Hon. Keith Pitt, the Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. NSW Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and Treasurer Jonathan O’Dea’s presence also re-confirmed the ongoing support we receive from the NSW Government.


7 June:

  • Mumbrella360 Masterclass – Hilton Hotel, Sydney
  • Annual General Meeting- International Convention Centre Sydney
  • Global Exhibitions Day Reception – International Convention Centre Sydney

8 June:

  • Leaders Forum – Doltone House – Darling Island Wharf
  • Leaders Forum Dinner – Dockside – L’Aqua, Cockle Bay Wharf, Sydney



The Leaders Forum program featured local and international experts from both within and outside our community. The forum allows for healthy conversations on key topics like the importance of curating experiences for our event attendees, the power of gender equality and diversity for business and the future of the industry through the eyes of our youngest members.



Representatives from major global companies including CRM giant Salesforce, event analytics provider Explori, event registration leader Eventbrite and major tourism industry disrupter Airbnb featured on the program, as well as experts from the digital and experiential marketing community – Fourth Wall, Jomablue and Jack Morton. We also had on stage excellent commentators from our organiser community – National Media, IQPC and Australian Events.

Other topics in the program addressed business performance in the context of workplace diversity and gender equality, driving the talent pool, and the future of the industry from the perspectives of the next generation of leaders.

The Forum covered the following six themes:

  • The power of diversity
  • The power of curation
  • The power of insights
  • Leveraging opportunities
  • Skills, labour and talent

The Power of Diversity
Libby Lyons, Director, Workplace Gender Equality Agency
Presented data gathered by her agency from more than four million Australian employees to highlight the continued gaps in gender equality in this country. Libby was joined on stage by business owner Felicity Zadro, HR practitioner Mathew Paine and multicultural business expert Kaiyu Li to discuss the data in the context of their personal experiences across diverse workplaces.

The Power of Curation
Experts in the experiential and digital marketing community spoke about the power of effective curation to drive brand loyalty and delegate experience, and why it’s critical for events to be thinking about the experience now more than ever. List of speakers include:

  • Oz Dean, Executive Creative Director, Jack Morton
  • Grant Pisani, Managing Director, Fourth Wall
  • Jodie Richmond, Marketer and former Board Member of the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia
  • Stuart Frank, Event Marketing Manager, Asia Pacific Salesforce
  • Sam Lynch, Project Manager Jomablue
  • Phil Silverstone, General Manager Australia and New Zealand, Eventbrite
  • Graeme Caplan, Executive Director, Entegy

The Power of Insights
Rory Govan, Associate Research Director, Explori
Our special guest presenter from the UK discussed the findings of global research into the lifecycle of visitors and exhibitors to shows. The insights presented a compelling profile of visitors and exhibitors to shows and the relationship between satisfaction and loyalty. The session also featured insights from EEAA member organisers Mark Harvey, Bob Carroll and Noel McDermott about the importance of entrepreneurialism in the sector, investment in regional events and the need for greater collaboration between organisers and venues. Sam McDonagh closed the session with a case study on how Airbnb has changed the way people think about accommodation.

Leveraging Opportunities
Monica Armesto, Business Events Australia
Monica talked about the opportunities that members have to access Tourism Australia marketing support through the Advance Program. Members were provided with a comprehensive breakdown of submission criteria and application information to help with their partnership applications. Monica was followed by an in-conversation session with Joyce DiMascio and Steve Steenson on the importance of collaboration for the industry’s success and a way to manage and mitigate risk.

Skills, Labour and Talent
James Moran, CASA Apprenticeship Support Australia
Key issues of recruitment and retention were addressed. James detailed the programs available to members in our industry to help with finding and retaining good quality staff.

The day concluded with the thoughts of our next generation of leaders. In a panel session facilitated by young member Ruchi Ladkani, we saw the future through the eyes of some of the bright talent in our membership. Nicola Bayley (IQPC), Jenna Cali (Informa Australia), James Kennedy (Exhibit Systems) and Dominic Le Roy (Designteam) shared their thoughts on what we can do to ensure a sustainable future for our industry.


The EEAA concluded its annual two-day leadership event on a high with some inspirational words from Dr Adam Fraser and a message of support from the Australian Government.

Those who attended the dinner were treated to a motivating presentation by human performance researcher and consultant Dr Adam Fraser. Dr Fraser, who studies how high-performance cultures can help organisations to thrive in today’s challenging and evolving business landscape. He was followed by Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Honourable Keith Pitt MP, who praised the industry for its contribution to the economy and business life and reinforced the government’s support for the sector.

“Thanks to the exhibition and event industry – it is you that is out there doing the work, it’s you that’s driving the economy. Governments can help you be successful, we can build the structures, but it’s you that takes the risks. So thank you for what you do for all Australians and the people that work in this great country.” he said.

A very special thanks to our sponsors and supporting partners