By Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia , 14 June, 2019

EEAA Leaders Forum, Global Exhibitions Day Dinner, Conference, Annual General Meeting and Closing Reception
5-6 June


The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has wrapped up its five events for Global Exhibitions Day (#GED19) with a strong call out to the industry to make ecological sustainability a major priority as well as career development and talent acquisition.

EEAA Chief Executive, Joyce DiMascio said that #GED19 focussed on three key messages for the industry including the importance of the sector to the economy, exhibitions as an effective and sustainable way of doing business and promoting a “A career for life” in business events.

“These themes were embedded in the program from start to finish and they resonated strongly with delegates and partners from across the industry,” she said.

“In order for our industry to continue to grow and contribute to the economy, it’s vital that we attract a broad range of talent with the right set of skills. Sustainable business practices are at the core of what many emerging leaders look for from their employers – and the business events sector must commit to taking real steps to reducing our impact on the environment by cutting our waste output and looking at procurement with conscious regard for sustainability.” Ms DiMascio said.

The Association used the gathering of its industry leaders to report back on its work in developing a Sustainability Framework for the whole industry.

Details were announced of several key developments including the appointment of Edge Environment as its sustainability advisors and a new partnership with Tourism Australia to support the Sustainability initiative.

Chair of the EEAA’s Environmental Sustainability Working Group, Leighton Wood reported back to the industry on EEAA’s work over the past 12 months and foreshadowed the next stages of EEAA’s leadership work.

Edge Environment will develop a strategic roadmap for the next 12-24 months with the aim of significantly reducing the footprint of the event industry. Within this plan, Edge Environment will also highlight best practice guidelines and KPIs.

At the 2019 Leaders Forum and Conference and Global Exhibitions Day dinner the Association outlined a new partnership with Tourism Australia that will address ecological sustainability and career development and talent acquisition. In addition to the Tourism Australia partnership, the EEAA welcomed ‘food waste warrior’ Katy Barfield.

“A highlight of the speaker line-up at the EEAA Conference was Katy Barfield, founder of Yume Food, who detailed her inspirational journey to create Australia’s first surplus food online marketplace.”

The EEAA will work with Yume Food, to educate the industry on how to include surplus food in their procurement policies,” said Ms DiMascio. “We were pleased to lead by example and source some of the food served at our conference from the Yume platform.”

EEAA President, Spiro Anemogiannis welcomed Tourism Australia’s support for EEAA sustainability initiative and also its commitment to the EEAA Young Stars Program.

“This partnership will help the Association deliver a critical initiative that will strengthen Australia’s reputation on the world stage.”

John O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Tourism Australia said, “Our partnership with EEAA is a key part of Tourism Australia’s business events strategy, and recognises the importance of the exhibitions sector to both the business events sector and Australia’s visitor economy.

“Tourism Australia partners with EEAA on two specific initiatives: we are a proud sponsor of the Young Stars program and the Richard Geddes Young Achievers Award. And on Wednesday at the EEAA Leaders Forum, we announced an extension to our partnership to become a partner for the Champions of Sustainability program for the year ahead.

“Our strengthened partnership with EEAA is not just about bringing exhibitions to Australia but also about supporting a strong and sustainable future for our business events industry,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Another practical highlight and proof that the EEAA is leading the way in industry sustainability, was the launch of phase two of the Careers for Life campaign on Global Exhibitions Day, which includes a booklet and a video.

“It takes all types of people, with all kinds of skills to create an event. There are many different roles from front-of-house to behind the scenes and each requires a different set of skills along with passion and commitment. The Exhibitions and Business events industry offers ‘A career for life’.” Ms DiMascio said.

The ‘A career for life’ campaign spotlights 10 people with vastly different careers including a digital engineer, a motion graphic designer and digital specialist and animation producer, a financial director, head of new business and operations managers from EEAA member organisations.

“The two-day Leaders Forum and Conference program featured an impressive line-up of speakers from within and outside the industry, including two international keynote presenters – Stephanie Selesnick from the USA and Margaret Ma Connolly from Informa Markets in Asia. Along with Allan Briggs, a reputation and issues management specialist, John O’Sullivan from Tourism Australia, Katy Barfield from Yume Food, Christian Von Reventlow from Telstra and Paul Bloxham from HSBC,” said Ms DiMascio.

EEAA members also presented powerful insights into how their businesses performed over the last 12 months and what we can expect to see for the future, including an update from key organisers, Rodney Cox from Delaro, Timothy Collett from Specialised Events and Regine Vandenberg from Exhibitions and Events Australia. Along with a panel of emerging leaders who unpacked the key challenges and opportunities for the industry for the future.

“International Organiser, Margaret Ma Connolly, delivered an insightful keynote presentation on the relationship between talent, innovation and sustainability.

Ms Connolly heads Informa Markets in Asia, the fastest growing region in the world. She addressed the challenges associated with attracting and retaining the right workforce for the future and provided tactical advice for the audience referring to her work in merging the workforces of UBM and Informa following the historic acquisition announced in January 2018,” said Ms DiMascio.

Ms Connolly said: “I was delighted to accept the invitation to present at the EEAA Leaders Forum and Conference. I was surprised at the deep level of thought process and interaction of the attendees. We have a lot in common with the Australian industry – the focus on talent, career development and the importance of ecological and business sustainability. The forum provides a platform for sharing good ideas and inspiration from each other and to me that is the true value of the event.”

Stephanie Selesnick, CEM, President, International Trade Information from the United States presented two keynote presentations and a ‘fireside’ chat with EEAA emerging leaders. Ms Selesnick presented a range of insights and global industry comparisons and explored the hot topics including innovation, sustainability, partnerships, festivalisation and technology.

The EEAA Leaders Forum was followed by the EEAA Global Exhibitions Day Dinner and the EEAA Conference the following day featuring a series of workshops that allowed participants the chance to explore the leading topics for the industry.

Click here to view EEAA 2019 Leaders Forum and Global Exhibitions Day Dinner gallery

Click here to view EEAA 2019 Conference, AGM and Closing Reception gallery


The EEAA Leaders Forum and Conference was held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on June 5 and 6.

With two of the key themes for this year’s event focussing on environmental sustainability and talent acquisition, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre was an exemplary host, having implemented a number of industry benchmark sustainability initiatives including the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP) and career training programs.

The EEAA 2019 Leaders Forum and Conference is made possible by collaborating with key industry suppliers including Quest Apartment Hotels as principal partner and accommodation partner; Skills IQ as sponsor for the Global Exhibitions Day Dinner; major partner, International Convention Centre Sydney along with session partners Aventri ; Perth Convention Bureau; Agility Fairs and Events and Sydney Showground.

In addition, specialist suppliers included FabFrame who developed all event signage, O-tix for online registration, Harry the Hirer who supplied furniture and created a new networking area, Sprintr by AV1 for supply of onsite event registration kiosks and the development of the EEAA’s first event App. Homepix photography photographed all elements of the two day event and The Monkey’s Cobbler provided the animation for the ‘A career for life’ video.


Australia was the first country to kick-off the worldwide celebration for Global Exhibitions Day 2019 #GED19, marking the occasion with the launch of Phase Two of the ‘A career for life’ campaign and its sustainability initiative.

#GED19 is an opportunity for the industry to celebrate the Power of Exhibitions – and business events and the sector’s contribution to economic development, trade and export, careers and employment, visitation and knowledge sharing. The EEAA activities were anchored around the key messages of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) for Global Exhibitions Day, which are:

  • Exhibitions are a large global industry
  • Exhibitions are an effective and sustainable way of doing business
  • Exhibitions can contribute to a sustainable world
  • The exhibition industry offers a variety of job opportunities


  • The Hon. Bruce Baird AM was recognised for his support of the EEAA’s advocacy work in the business events sector. He was presented the EEAA 2019 Global Exhibitions Day Award. Mr Baird is a regular speaker at EEAA events and has provided valuable insights to Australia’s political landscape. Mr Baird was the first senior Australian political figure to attend IMEX, the worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events and he led the Australian bid to host the Sydney 2000 Olympic games and is a strong and positive advocate for the industry and especially for the Association.
  • The Association was pleased to welcome Danny Pearson MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier of Victoria and the Hon. David Hodgett MP Shadow Minister for Sport Tourism and Major Events and Peter King represented the Hon. Martin Pakula MP Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events.
  • Former Board Members – Debbie Evans formerly from Reed Exhibitions; Jim Delahunty from ExpoNet and Bob Moore formerly of Agility were also recognised for their service to the Association and awarded Life Membership of the Association.
  • Joanne Kelleway and Peter Thorpe who did not stand for re-election to the EEAA Board were honoured for their many years of service to the Association.


  • Leighton Wood, Chief Operating Officer, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Chair of the EEAA Sustainability Working Group and EEAA Board member presented a report back on the work completed to date in creating a road map for the industry to follow into the future. Focussing on best practice benchmarking, the sustainability road map will follow principles that include collaboration, cost awareness and education, clarity and measurement.
  • Katy Barfield, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Yume Food delivered a thought-provoking presentation on how she became a ‘Food Waste Warrior’ to creating an online surplus food marketplace for businesses in order to combat large scale food waste that plagues the western world.
  • Edge Environment has been appointed to work with the EEAA to develop a sustainability framework for the business events sector.
  • Tourism Australia will extend its partnership with the EEAA and support the EEAA on the Champions of Sustainability program for the year ahead.
  • EEAA embedded sustainability practices in its own event delivery from actions taken in relation to venue choice, marketing of the event, food served and other procurement choices.


The EEAA Annual General Meeting and appointment of the EEAA Board took place on Thursday 6 June, immediately following the conclusion of the conference. The EEAA Board comprises:

Organiser representatives:

President: Spiro Anemogiannis – Managing Director, Informa Australia

David Longman – General Manager, Diversified Communications Australia

Matt Pearce – Director, Talk2 Media & Events

Brian Thomas – Managing Director, Reed Exhibitions Australia

Association Organiser representative:

Chris Muir – Chief Executive Officer, Gaming Technologies Association

Venue representatives:

Treasurer: Robert O’Keeffe – General Manager, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre

Secretary: Helen Mantellato – Business Development Manager, International Convention Centre Sydney

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

Nigel Keen – General Manager, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre

Supplier representatives:

Paul Elliott – State Manager, NSW, Harry the Hirer

Shaun Rae – Managing Director, ExpoNet

Chris Schlueter – Product Manager, Sprintr by AV1

Felicity Zadro – Manager Director, Zadro Agency

Nigel Keen, General Manager of Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre was elected to the EEAA Board to represent the Venue category and Chris Schlueter, Product Manager at Sprintr by AV1 was elected to represent the Supplier category. Chris Muir, Chief Executive Officer of Gaming Technologies Association was also elected in his own right.


For further details of the EEAA 2019 Leaders Forum and Conference outcomes, visit the EEAA Website

The EEAA Leaders Forum and Conference consisted of five major events:

  • Wednesday, June 5 – EEAA 2019 Leaders Forum
  • Wednesday, June 5 – EEAA 2019 Global Exhibitions Day Dinner
  • Thursday, June 6 – EEAA 2019 Conference
  • Thursday, June 6 – EEAA Annual General Meeting
  • Thursday, June 6 – EEAA Annual General Meeting Networking Reception

Source: EEAA