By Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, 12 November, 2019

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has announced three outstanding finalists for the Unsung Hero Award in the 2019 EEAA Awards for Excellence.

EEAA Chief Executive, Joyce DiMascio said this award recognises the unsung heroes for their service and contribution to the exhibition and events industry and the EEAA community.

“They may be someone who flies below the radar – whatever their role, they are above all passionate and devoted to always going beyond what’s expected to deliver outstanding service. They contribute to achieving overall results, they make things happen and contribute to the success of the industry.” Ms DiMascio said

“This has become one of our most popular awards as it singles out individuals who have been nominated by their organisation and their peers. Their work impacts the whole industry.” Ms DiMascio said.

This year, the three outstanding finalists for this category are:

ELISSA DUKE – Senior Manager Planning, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

DWANE GOODMAN – Head of Catering and Customer Service, Sydney Showground

FELICITY ZADRO – Managing Director, Zadro Communications

About the finalists:

Elissa Duke, Senior Manager Planning, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre – Elissa has headed up MCEC’s planning team for 4 years and is currently on secondment as Senior Manager of Operations. She has lifted customer satisfaction scores to record highs and is developing her team to deliver exceptional experiences for MCEC’s customers. Her philosophy is that coaching, mentoring and developing employees is the cornerstone of success for a Manager and Leader. Elissa has completely transformed her team’s culture leading to improvements in customer engagement and staff retention. To build a high-performance team, Elissa focussed on “mindset” – which flowed through to behavioural change and stronger teamwork.

Dwane Goodman, Head of Catering and Customer Service, Sydney Showground – Dwane has been nominated for his leadership and his outstanding contribution to pioneering the sustainability practices at Sydney Showground. Dwane plans, executes and delivers food and beverage service across all event categories including gala dinners, expos, festivals as well as the Sydney Royal Easter Show. He shares best practice with his team and other venues. Sydney Showground hosts many events with a large ecological footprint and high-volume waste. Dwane has pushed for all internal suppliers to use recyclable materials in their packaging and cutlery and has removed the use of all single-use plastics. His contribution has driven procurement strategies that have made a significant impact in the war on waste in large-scale venues.

Felicity Zadro, Managing Director, Zadro Communications – Felicity is widely known for her strategic insights, business acumen and leading communications initiatives. She has specialised in creating effective marketing and communications strategies designed specifically for the business events industry. Felicity and her team at Zadro have delivered strategic programs that have lifted the competency of the industry in the critical area of marketing and across digital platforms. Felicity’s dedication to the events industry spans almost two decades where she has volunteered her time to raise the profile of the sector and shared her knowledge and expertise. Throughout her career she has worked to ensure exhibitions and events are acknowledged in business and marketing circles helping to advance the recognition of the industry.

“The nominations were reviewed by the judging panel, with each entry separately assessed by three independent judges. The Chair of the judging panel, John Trevillian AM, reported last week that the process was competitive and that the three talented people named as finalists are all worthy of recognition.” Ms DiMascio said.

The winner will be announced at the EEAA Awards for Excellence Gala dinner taking place at Myer Mural Hall in Melbourne, on Wednesday 4 December.

The first Unsung Hero was awarded in 2017 – and the inaugural winner was Malu Barrios, Director of Event Services at ICC Sydney. In 2018, two industry leaders were awarded, Mark Magennis from Decorative Events & Exhibitions (DE&E) and Stephen Steenson from Reed Exhibitions Australia.

This award is open to anyone in the EEAA Membership. The criteria states that the contribution of the individual must be for work that has had a profound impact on the industry.

For the second year running, Quest Apartment Hotels, is the supporting partner of this prestigious award and we thank Paul Constantinou, Quest Founder and Chairman and Anthea Dimitrakapoulos, General Manager Sales for their continued support of this prestigious award.

Anthea Dimitrakopoulos, General Manager Sales for Quest Apartment Hotels said, “We are a proud partner with the EEAA for this Award and honoured to have the opportunity to sponsor again this year. This award aligns closely with the brand values we follow at Quest, inspiring people to meet their goals.”

The EEAA Awards for Excellence are widely supported by the Exhibition and Events industry.

The major partners for 2019 include Fab Frame, Info Salons, Myer Mural Hall, ICC Sydney, Sydney Showground and Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre along with our major award partners Tourism Australia, Ungerboeck Software International, Quest Apartments Hotels, Skills IQ and Agility Fairs and Events as well as a host of supporting partners.

Registrations are open to attend the Gala Dinner at Myer Mural Hall in Melbourne – individual tickets and tables of 10 can be booked here.

The EEAA 2019 partners include:


Myer Mural Hall

Info Salons Group

Tourism Australia

Ungerboeck Software International

Agility Fairs & Events

International Convention Centre Sydney

Quest Apartment Hotels

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Sydney Showground

Skills IQ

Harry the Hirer

Gaming Technologies Association

TMC Productions

Quality Control Entertainment

Event Crew Australia

Homepix Photography

Cloudprint Group



Source: EEAA