By Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, 20 May, 2020

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) will lead Global Exhibitions Day (#GED2020) celebrating the industry’s contribution to the world economy via an online webinar on 3 June.

#GED2020 is an annual world-wide campaign that was established by UFI, the Global Association for the Exhibition Industry. #GED2020 is supported by more than 40 partner associations and industry professionals, companies and associations from around 90 different countries and regions.

Claudia Sagripanti, EEAA Chief Executive said that the EEAA campaign for #GED2020 will centre on reconnecting with the marketplace and rebuilding buyer confidence post the devastating effect of COVID-19 on the business events industry globally.

“Exhibitions and business events are the key to rebuilding economies, and we will be aiming to highlight the sector’s capability to restart the economy – a top priority for business and Governments in the current climate.” said Ms Sagripanti.

“The business events sector contributes more than $35 billion to GDP, runs over 430,000 events annually and employs more than 229,000 people. The sector is a major contributor to Australia both financially and for its ability to expand marketplaces by bringing together buyers and sellers and offering a platform for launching innovation and new product,” said Ms Sagripanti.

The Australian campaign, led by the EEAA, will centre around three key themes:

  1. To Re-imagine the future of exhibitions
  2. To Re-engage with buyers and sellers, and
  3. To Re-connect with the business events community

The #GED2020 celebration will be a virtual event, staged centrally from the ICC Sydney studios, with a welcome by Geoff Donaghy, Chief Executive Officer, International Convention Centre Sydney. Mark Cochrane, UFI Regional Manager, Asia Pacific, and Managing Director of Business Strategies Group will deliver a keynote address. Dr Vanessa Findlay, Chair of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) will discuss the Federal Government’s progress with the COVID-19 industry response and recovery strategy. They will be joined by a panel of international and Australian industry professionals who will provide commentary on the post COVID-19 operating environment for exhibitions and business events.

The panel will include renowned international industry commentators, Matthias Baur, Founder and Senior Consultant in International Business, Exhibitions and Digital Transformation, MBB-Consulting Group and Debbie Evans, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, Freeman APAC who will provide an update on their territories and deliver their strategic insights on the future for the industry. The panel will be joined by Leighton Wood, Chief Operating Officer, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Rodney Cox, Director, Delaro Pty Ltd will moderate the panel along with Claudia Sagripanti, EEAA Chief Executive.

The webinar will be streamed free of charge to EEAA Members, and non-members.

Events details:

Date: Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Time: 3:30pm Sydney Time (UTC+10)

Registrations are via the EEAA Website.

In previous years, the EEAA Global Exhibitions Day initiatives have included the launch of Phase 1 and 2 of its “A Career for Life’ campaign, targeting teachers, career advisors, parents and students and to inspire more young people to consider a career in the industry. In 2017 and 2018, the EEAA was awarded the Industry Impact Award for success in promoting the industry and for our work in engaging the highest levels of Government by Exhibition World Magazine and UFI.


Mark Cochrane Regional Manager, Asia Pacific, UFI

Mark works with a business intelligence and strategy consulting firm focused on the B2B media industry in Asia – with a particular emphasis on exhibitions and events. Through its relationship with UFI, BSG works with major exhibition organisers, venues and governments across Asia.

Mark has been based in Hong Kong for over 20 years and joined BSG in 2006. Prior to BSG,

Mark worked in a variety of roles primarily focused on B2B media and market research including three years at Global Sources in marketing roles and three years at The Gartner Group as a senior research analyst. Mark earned an MBA from Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management, in 1997. Mark is on the board of the Business Information Industry Association and presents regularly on the exhibition industry at various conferences and events in Asia.

Matthias Tesi Baur, Founder and Senior Consultant in International Business, Exhibitions and Digital Transformation, MBB-Consulting Group

Matthias Tesi Baur is a highly skilled consultant in trade shows, digital transformation and the gourmet food and wine world.

With over 18 years’ experience working for the world’s largest trade show and media companies (Messe Frankfurt, Reed Exhibitions and UBM), he has a rich knowledge and excellent connections in the global exhibition, conference and digital B2B industries.

He has built B2B businesses in many major economies, from the US to Australia, with a special focus on Asia. He has a proven track record in launching new events, and business cases based on extensive market research, as well as implementing event acquisitions, and developing B2B sales, marketing and growth strategies.

He was the global e-Business Director at Reed Exhibitions during his time at UBM, he managed the company’s food ingredients portfolio comprising over 12 trade shows, 20 conferences, a magazine and an online portal.

In addition to running his own consultancy MBB-Media, Matthias lectures at the University DHBW of Ravensburg, Germany in business development and international project management. He is also Chairman of the Digital Innovation Committee, part of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry UFI.

Matthias founded the World Gourmet Society in 2010 – the world’s largest group of food enthusiasts on LinkedIn.

Debbie Evans, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, Freeman APAC

Debbie is an established industry veteran with rich experience across the Asia and Australia regions. With almost 30 years of international experience in the exhibition and events sector, Debbie boasts a strong track record of building and leading high performance and diverse teams across the region to drive strategic goals.

At Freeman, she oversees the four offices across Asia Pacific, including Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. She is in charge of providing strategic insights and growth strategy to continue growing the Freeman business within the region, as well as encouraging a collaborative culture between offices to create the best experiences for Freeman clients.

Before joining Freeman, Debbie was President of Reed Exhibitions in South East Asia and Australia. At RX, she worked through the ranks, joining as a Manager at Reed Gift Fairs to become Group Exhibition Director before assuming the responsibilities of Managing Director for RX Australia in 2008 and then being promoted to President in 2014. As President, Debbie helped the company expand its reach, achieving high growth and market leadership status.

Dr Vanessa Findlay, Chair of the Business Events Council of Australia

Vanessa is a highly experienced and well-respected professional within government, the public and private sectors. She is a co-founder of BrickfielderGE, a specialist government relations agency and was previously a director with Barton Deakin. Vanessa has been a Ministerial Chief of Staff in the Turnbull Government in the trade, tourism and international education portfolios and a Ministerial adviser in the agriculture portfolio during the Howard Government. She also worked at the National Farmers’ Federation as Senior Manager for natural resources (biosecurity, land and water management). She has a history of almost 20 years in the Australian Public Service where she led the trade and market access division with responsibility for negotiating trade protocols with Australia’s global trading partners. She was the Australian Government’s Chief Biosecurity Officer (Plant) and media spokesman on biosecurity. Vanessa holds a Ph. D in immunology. She was appointed as the Chair of the Business Events Council of Australia in March 2020.

Geoff Donaghy, Chief Executive Officer, ICC Sydney

Geoff is CEO of Australia’s premier convention, exhibition and entertainment venue, ICC Sydney. Since opening in December 2013, ICC has been wowing local, national and international visitors with its focus on high-quality, local produce and commitment to service excellence. Geoff is also the director of Convention Centres for leading venue management specialists, ASM Global (Asia Pacific, India & Middle East), and has had a long involvement with major facility projects in Australia, Asia and the Middle East. He is the immediate past president of the International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC) and sits on the executive committee of peak global body, the Joint Meetings Industry council (JMIC).

Geoff is Deputy Chair of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA), the country’s convention and exhibition body, having previously served as Chairman for five years. He has been a member of several industry and Government boards including Queensland’s tourism and event corporations and is currently a member of the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Tourism Restart Taskforce.

Leighton Wood, Chief Operating Officer, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Leighton Wood joined the award-winning Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) in November 2010. As Chief Operating Office and Deputy Chief Executive he oversees a team of more than 800 employees while also overseeing the working relationship with MCEC’s partners, Plenary Group and BGIS. The 90,000 sqm MCEC hosts around 1,500 business, cultural and entertainment events annually, attracting over two million visitors and generating in excess of $1 billion in economic impact for the Victorian economy. Leighton is passionate about customer experience and sustainability and has driven significant reductions in MCEC’s environmental footprint through initiatives such as the introduction of an Energy Management System to the Exhibition Centre; a collaboration with 13 Melbourne organisations to build a wind farm that provides green power for the 20,000sqm expansion; and has chaired MCEC’s Operation Green group. MCEC has reduced its carbon emissions since 2015 by 16% during a period of 68% revenue growth. He currently is a board member of the EEAA. Prior to MCEC, Leighton held a number of senior executive roles for Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, Melbourne Major Events Company and Sport Knowledge Australia.

Rodney Cox, Director, DELARO Pty Ltd

Rodney brings over 25 years’ involvement with our association, including previously serving as EEAA Vice-President. Rodney’s experience includes events ranging from small domestic exhibitions to global congresses, mostly on behalf of industry associations and he has twice headed the Best Show Team winners at the EEAA Awards of Excellence, for the Australian teams that organised LNG 15 Algeria in 2010 and WGC 2015 in France.

As Director at DELARO Pty Ltd Rodney provides professional event services to associations, organisers and suppliers including upcoming conferences and trade shows in South Korea, Russia and China as well as overseeing association bids as far out as 2027.

For more than fifteen years Rodney has lectured at Masters and Undergraduate levels in Event Management at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Claudia Sagripanti, Chief Executive, EEAA

During her career, Claudia worked in events and exhibitions; and more recently in media and digital technology. She was the CEO of Publishers Australia the trade association representing leading B2B and B2C publishers and managed the events and awards of the Australian Data-Driven Marketing Association (ADMA).

Claudia led the development of professional standards in online and mobile advertising in Australia for the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA) and is currently on the advisory board for the International Social Media Association.

Claudia has also worked for Macquarie Bank and more recently with Optus as Business Program Manager delivering digital transformation and new technology pilot projects and developing project management value creation frameworks.


Source: EEAA