"Since joining the program, I have met some truly amazing people and made some great connections."

Young Stars Program

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) supports and nurtures the growth and development of the industry’s future leaders through its Young Stars Program.

Young Stars Program

The EEAA Young Stars Program gives the Association’s youngest members a platform to share their views, ideas and experiences, as well as to have a bigger voice in the work of the Association. Launched in 2012, the program offers a tier of activities tailored specifically to engage under 35-year-olds within the Association’s membership with the aim of building a strong community, ensuring the sustainability of the Association, as well as for nurturing young talent in the world of exhibitions and events.

The program gives its members the opportunity to be involved in:

  • the Young Stars and Leaders Meet-Up Series, which provides networking opportunities, face-to-face mentoring and advice from industry leaders
  • personal and professional development seminars on topics such as personal brands, leadership, negotiation and presentation skills
  • specially designed workshops delivered as part of EEAA’s annual conference
  • forums where Young Stars can have their say on industry topics
  • Events where Young Stars are given a direct communication pipeline to senior industry leaders and EEAA Board Members
  • the EEAA Awards for Excellence, with a category dedicated to the industry’s young achievers

The Young Stars Program is generously supported by Tourism Australia, which became the program’s inaugural Platinum Partner in mid-2016, and Ungerboeck Software International as the program’s Gold Partner.

Upcoming EEAA Young Stars Events

Click here to view the upcoming EEAA events including any scheduled Young Stars events.

Meet the EEAA Young Stars Committee

The EEAA Young Stars Program has a dedicated volunteer committee of Young Stars at the helm to assist the Association with creating opportunities for younger workers in exhibitions and events to learn and develop.

If you would like to a part of the committee and help steer the Young Stars Program, email Emily Leung on [email protected].

Chair of the Committee

Roslyn du Plooy

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Committee members

Lakisha Di Valentino

Diversified Communications

Amrita Dip

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Jess Fox

Adelaide Convention Centre

Aiden Hippensteel

International Convention Centre Sydney

Trish Jacoby


Jasmine Pohl

Adelaide Convention Centre

Nikki Witman

Talk2 Media & Events

Meet the EEAA Young Stars mentors

Since the launch of the Young Stars Program in July 2012, EEAA has provided exclusive opportunities for our young members to be mentored by industry leaders. They include:

Beverley Parker

ICC SydneyDirector of Business Development

Minnie Constan

Fine Food ExhibitionsEvent Director

Paul Constantinou

Quest Apartment HotelsChairman and founder

John Trevillian

NSW GovernmentFormer Executive Director of Protocol and Special Events

David Elia


Harvey Lister

AEG OgdenChairman and CEO

Julia Erben

Reed ExhibitionsEvent Director

Kate Smith

Waldronsmith ManagementManaging Director

Christopher Barlow

Melbourne Convention BureauChairman

Penny Lion

Business Events AustraliaGeneral Manager

Debbie Evans

Asia Pacific at Freeman APACManaging Director

Peter Rix

George P. Johnson (Australia)Managing Director

Craig Sheridan APM

Counter Terrorism Consultant

Matt Pearce

Talk2 Media and EventsOrganiser member

Guy Blomberg

ReedPOPContent Manager

Paul Baker


Helen Mantellato

International Convention Centre SydneyVenue member

Recognising the industry’s young achievers

The EEAA is dedicated to recognising and celebrating excellence in the industry. This commitment extends to honouring the industry’s rising stars as part of its annual Awards for Excellence program. The Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award acknowledges and rewards young employees who have excelled in their work, attitude, leadership and commitment – in other words our industry’s future leaders.

In 2019, seven nominations were received for the Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award and was won by Aiden Hippensteel from ICC Sydney and both Nikki Witman and Lakisha Di Valentino received commendations. Aiden was recognised for his outstanding organisation, leadership, communication and interpersonal skills. His volunteer work with the Rural Fire Service was also commended for adding to his leadership skills and maturity. Aiden received a major scholarship, sponsored by Tourism Australia, to attend the Asia-Pacific Conference of The Global Association for the Exhibition Industry (UFI), to be held in Macau in March 2020.

In 2018, the winner of the annual Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award was Georgie Chapman-Burgess, Operations Manager, Exhibitions and Trade Fairs (ETF). Ms Chapman-Burgess traveled in Tokyo in March, 2019. About the experience attending the UFI Asia-Pacific Conference, Ms Chapman-Burgess said, “The experience was insightful. UFI is not just an Association, but a community that supports and collaborates with its Members together to achieve their goals.

“The biggest take-outs of the conference were, the war on talent development, the message being to hire potential over experience, the importance to build and establish relationships with international contractors and suppliers and joining the discussion on current industry challenges and recognising industry achievements.” Ms Chapman-Burgess said.

Ms Chapman-Burgess joined a panel of young leaders at the EEAA 2019 Leaders Forum, discussing industry challenges and opportunities and what she learnt in Tokyo on 5 June 2019.

The scholarship is part of an expanded partnership between Tourism Australia and the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) to support the careers of young people working in our industry.

“I feel extremely honoured to have an opportunity to meet industry professionals that are supportive and encouraging in developing young leaders. Thank you EEAA, Tourism Australia and Ungerboeck for your continual investment and support for the young leaders of this industry.” Ms Chapman-Burgess said.

2019 award recipient

Aiden Hippensteel

International Convention Centre Sydney

2018 award recipient

Georgie Chapman-Burgess

Exhibitions and Trade Fairs

2017 award recipient

Craig Mather

Ungerboeck International

2016 award recipients

Anne-Marie Mina

Exhibitions and Trade Fairs

James Kennedy

Exhibit Systems

2015 award recipients

Stephanie Bleakley

Diversified Communications Australia

Daniel Condon