Supriya Shakya

NAME: Supriya Shakya
ROLE: Head of Digital
COMPANY: Reed Exhibitions Australia

Engineer and Head of Digital at Reed Exhibitions Australia, Supriya Shakya is no stranger to adversity, breaking down stereotypes and triumphing in a male-dominated field.

Supriya has transformed the exhibition world, leading some of the most innovative technical solutions in the industry. In 2018, a product created and launched under her leadership received the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) Award for Excellence for Best Innovation in Event Technology. Recently she was listed under the RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools, Group Innovation Honour Roll.

Her resume is nothing short of impressive. However, Supriya explains that she has faced plenty of set-backs. Supriya studied Engineering in Nepal before moving to Sydney, Australia to complete a Masters in IT. Coming into Australia on a student visa, Supriya found it difficult to find a job in technology.

“I didn’t have any Australian work experience and I was on a visa with limited work permit. There is also a bit of stigma coming from a non-English speaking country. It was quite hard to break that.” Supriya says.

Supriya says she received countless rejections.

“When I first started applying for jobs, I got more than 50 rejections. Getting rejected was really hard but it was such a learning curve as well.” She says.

“We turn a concept into an operational reality. That’s what my job is. It’s creative, challenging and there’s so much innovation you can do around events.”

Supriya started her career as a software engineer and subsequently joined Reed Exhibitions Australia as eBusiness Manager before her current role as Head of Digital.

Reed Exhibitions is a global leading event organiser, running over 500 events from 40 offices in 30 countries. In Australia, Reed Exhibitions runs over 25 events each year from trade, retail and consumer exhibitions to conferences and meetings.

As Head of Digital, Supriya is the “ideas person”, combining important technical skills with creative, innovative thinking to see how digital can add value across the company both for customers and internal users.

Supriya’s role has a lot of contact with different parts of her organisation. She could be working on application of digital products or addressing challenges within the business and show team.

On other days, she could be liaising with the marketing director or brainstorming new ideas and their proof of concepts with the technology team.

Supriya also works closely with Reed’s international offices, usually discussing enterprise solutions and their implementation in Australia.

Although the deadlines are stressful, she says they are motivating and the events are rewarding.

“I love that I can “see” a solution that’s been worked on.” She says.