Our Board

Committee of Management: 




Lyn Lewis-Smith

Lyn is current President of AACB and leads Business Events Sydney global team of experts, which is responsible for delivering business events that generate economic returns and benefits beyond tourism to Sydney and New South Wales (NSW).  

Lyn brings more than 20 years of experience in marketing, business development and tourism across the public and private sectors. In her CEO role at BESydney, Lyn works closely with high-level public and private sector stakeholders, developing and driving the company’s strategic vision, and leading a global team of 50 professionals that spans Europe, North America and Asia.

During Lyn’s tenure at BESydney, the bureau has confirmed more than $1.7 billion worth of business events for Sydney and NSW. Lyn has also been the driving force behind progressing BESydney’s research into the greater impact and outputs of business events to industry and the economy, guiding the company’s Asia growth strategy and the development of the BESydney Ambassador and Future Leaders Programs. 

In 2013, Lyn co-authored the article Determining Business Events Legacies beyond the Tourism spend: An Australian Case Study Approach, which was published in the highest-ranked academic journal in the field of event management. Lyn is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and her board and committee appointments include:

  • President - Australian Association of Convention Bureaux
  • Director - Business Events Council of Australia
  • President - Sydney First, Sydney Business Chamber
  • Councillor - NSW Business Chamber
  • Parramatta Park Trustee
  • UTS Business School Advisory Board Member
  • City of Sydney Retail Advisory Board Member
  • Brand Sydney Steering Committee - nominated by NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events

Lyn was a state finalist for the NSW Telstra Business Women’s Awards 2015, in the category For Purpose and Social Enterprise.

In June 2015, Lyn was named “25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry” by Successful Meetings, the premier meetings magazine in North America.


Karen Bolinger
Vice President 

Karen joined Melbourne Convention Bureau as Chief Executive Officer in November, 2011. She is past Treasurer of AACB.

Karen has more than 20 years of industry experience. She has a strong background in branded sales and marketing across a diverse range of sectors, and has developed robust relationships within the business events industry.

Prior to commencing her role at MCB, Karen was the General Manager of Strategy and Marketing at the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) and in addition, she has also held various roles at: Staging Connections Group Limited; the Sydney Convention and Visitors Bureau (SCVB); Sheraton on the Park, Sydney; and Renaissance Sydney Hotel.

Karen is Chair of the BestCities Global Alliance and ICCA Australia. She also sits on the Victorian Advisory Board for the Starlight Foundation and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Stuart Nettlefold

Stuart is Chief Executive Officer of Business Events Tasmania and the current Vice President of the Australian Association of Convention Bureaux (AACB).

As CEO of BET, Stuart oversees the organisation and works closely with industry and stakeholders, focusing on the on-going strategic development of the sector which reaps broad economic benefits for the state of Tasmania.

In late 2013 he was elected Vice President of  AACB and enjoys working with his National counterparts in developing the profile and strategic intent of the business events sector nationally and internationally.

Prior to his current role at BET Stuart headed up Wine Tasmania (the peak body for the Tasmanian wine sector). He still enoys a glass or two of premium cool climate Tasmanian Pinot Noir.

Stuart is a passionate Tasmanian and is excited about Tasmania’s future as a business events destination.

In 2013, Stuart graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors course (GAICD) and in 2000 completed a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) at Deakin University to complement his Diploma in Hospitality Management (Drysdale House, Hobart- 1984).

Damien Kitto
Immediate Past President

Damien Kitto has worked in the visitor economy for more than 15 years in various roles including infrastructure development and more recently as an executive with a successful track record of facilitating collaboration across private and public sectors to position Adelaide, South Australia as a Destination of Choice and win major events.

Damien has been Chief Executive Officer of the Adelaide Convention Bureau since 2008 and in this time has worked with the business events sector to grow its high yield economic contribution to the visitor economy and key state industries.

Damien has previously held the roles of President of the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux and Deputy Chair of the Business Events Council of Australia. He has provided strong leadership with a clear strategic focus for the Australian and South Australian business events sector.


John Aitken
Board Member

As Chief Executive Officer of Brisbane Marketing, the city's economic development board, John Aitken is an industry leader with proven success in leading city-wide economic development strategies and projects.

Prior to this role John was responsible for some of Australia's largest major events and iconic celebrations.

He is a member of a number of prominent boards and committees including: Australia Trade Coast, Australian Association of Convention Bureaus, Brisbane City Council Sister Cities Advisory Group, Queensland Exploration Council and the Brisbane City Council's Mall Advisory Committee.

Between 1980 and 2007, John's major events company delivered more than 1000 events including Brisbane's Riverfestival, raising over $200 million in revenue via sponsorship, government funding and sales, attracting more than 25 million people to enjoy his work.

Before joining Brisbane Marketing, John was General Manager Events and Marketing for Australia's oldest event tradition, the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Patricia O’Callaghan
Board Member

As Chief Executive Officer of Townsville Enterprise Limited (TEL), Patricia O’Callaghan is assisting driving the vision for Townsville North Queensland to be widely recognised as the economic hub for Northern Australia.

Patricia O’Callaghan has been successful in developing and establishing strategic partnerships throughout North West Queensland and has previously been responsible for designing and implementing media campaigns, not for profit membership initiatives, and key economic development projects throughout the region.

Patricia offers 10 years of successful project management, marketing, economic development and public relations experience combined with a three year degree in Business majoring in Public Relations and Marketing.

Patricia is the recipient of the 2014 Australian Institute of Management – Young Manager of the Year Award for Queensland.

Townsville Enterprise is the peak Economic Development Organisation, Regional Tourism Organisation, and Convention Bureau for the North Queensland Region. A not-for-profit, apolitical, membership based organisation, advised and influenced by a Board of Directors and Strategic Advisory Committees, the organisation’s mission is “To achieve sustainable economic and lifestyle benefits for the region and Australia.”


Martin Winter
Board Member

Martin commenced his career in the tourism industry in 1972 and has since held senior executive positions in Europe, South America and Australia.

For the past seven years he has been Chief Executive Officer of Gold Coast Tourism Corporation, parent organisation to Gold Coast Business Eventsand prior to this, he was Chief Executive Officer of the Adelaide Convention & Tourism Authority. Before joining the Authority, Martin was Europe-based as International Vice President Marketing for Le Cordon Blue, the Paris - headquartered hotel and gastronomy sector multinational.

He is a former Professor in tourism at the National University of Brazil, and amongst numerous other offices has been Chairman of the Adelaide Institute of TAFE Council; President of the Australian Association of Convention Bureaus; Chairman of the Regional Tourism Board of South Australia; Chairman of Conventions Australia; Chairman of ICCA Asia/Pacific; Chairman of Regional Tourism Queensland, and a government appointee to the board of DestinationQ. Away from the industry Martin also sits on the Gold Coast Broadwater Authority Board.

Martin has an honors Arts degree and Masters degree in Management. His career has been widely recognized internationally including from Mexico’s Anahuac University and most recently was a 2014 inductee into the IMEX Academy in Frankfurt for contribution to the global meetings, incentive, convention and exhibition sector. Closer to home in 2011 Martin was an Alumnus of the Year at Southern Cross University.

On a more topical note, Martin has also worked with the Greek National Tourist Organisation – but well before the current crisis developed.


Michael Matthews
Board Member

Michael is Chief Executive Officer at the Canberra Convention Bureau (CCB) joining the organisation in October 2015.

Michael joined CCB after spending the past 14 years in Canada, most recently as Executive Director for Meetings & Conventions Prince Edward Island, a not-for-profit membership based organisation representing the Province for Marketing, Sales and Product Development.  Previous roles encompassed hotel sales, operations and food and beverage in hotel brands that include Delta Hotels & Resorts, IHG, Marriott, Renaissance and Fairmont, in Canada, Australia and the UK. 

Michael has more than 20 years of industry experience including tourism education with an MBA from the University of Guelph (2006) and previous studies in Tourism at Ryde TAFE (1994). Michael’s MBA major paper studied the impact mega events such as the Olympics have on the host cities lodging sector and tourism infrastructure.

Prior to commencing his role at CCB, Michael was part of the Executive with the Destination Marketing Association of Canada (DMAC) and has also held several marketing, industry and curriculum advisory roles.

Alex de Waal
Board Member

Alex de Waal is CEO of Tourism Tropical North Queensland, parent organisation to Business Events Cairns and Great Barrier Reef.

Alex has a strong background in tourism and business, turning Sunlover Holidays into a profitable business when he was Executive General Manager in 2003-2005. 

As Tourism Queensland's Executive Director of Marketing in 1996-2003 he developed the brief for the State's most successful brand campaign, 'Where Else But Queensland'.

During this time he served on the TTNQ board as the TQ representative from 1999 to 2003.

Mr de Waal left the tourism industry in 2005 to purchase Copelands and Pickers, a Brisbane-based canvas and PVC product manufacturer. In the space of four years he doubled the turnover and turned it into an award-winning company before selling it.

He then took on the role of CEO and Managing Director of the First 5 Minutes Group, a Brisbane-based training company.

Highlights of Mr de Waal's tourism industry career include:

  • Establishing destination brands for developed and emerging destinations across the State to highlight the diversity of the Queensland brand.
  • The highest ever level of consumer awareness and preference for Queensland's destination brands as measured by the Roy Morgan Tracking Survey.
  • The vision of creating a national platform for digital tourism information on Australia and the creation of the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse to deliver on this vision.




Simon Latchford
Board Member

Simon Latchford is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC).

Commencing with VSC in January 2015 as Director of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships, Simon was appointed to the role of CEO in August 2016.

Simon has a strong background in tourism management, industry development, aviation, marketing, branding, events and special high profile projects. He has held senior positions in the marketing and strategic development of leading destinations such as the Whitsundays, regional Victoria and formerly as the Group Marketing and Destination Development Manager for Margaret River Tourism in Western Australia.

As CEO, Simon is responsible for the strategic, financial and operational management of the organisation and is directly responsible to the Chairman and Board of Directors. Simon plays a key strategic role driving key marketing strategies in support of the development of a strong regional brand quantifiable by an increase in business events visitation and spend for Sunshine Coast tourism operators. Simon is also a member of the Sunshine Coast Major Events Board.

Business Events Sunshine Coast (BESC) is the convention bureau for the Sunshine Coast. It sits as a dedicated unit within VSC, the regional tourism organisation for the Sunshine Coast.

Angela Collard 
Board Member  

Angela is the Executive Director of Tourism NT, a government instrumentality which also includes the Northern Territory Convention Bureau, responsible for marketing the Northern Territory as a desirable holiday and business events destination, and facilitating the sustainable growth of the tourism industry.

Angela has over 20 years’ experience in senior management positions within the public sector, predominantly in tourism, including valuable knowledge gained while working at the Australian Tourist Commission in London.

Holding a Master of Business Administration (Executive) from RMIT, Angela provides strategic leadership to the teams undertaking integrated marketing and promotional activities including brand positioning and cooperative arrangements with airlines and key distribution partners within the travel trade and business events sector; destination development initiatives focussing on investment attraction, aviation route development and enhanced infrastructure, product and tourism experiences; and building and maintaining effective working relationships across the public sector and within private enterprise for the benefit of the Northern Territory tourism industry including those with Regional Tourism Organisations. 

Craig Turner 

Board Member

Tourism Whitsundays’ CEO Craig Turner started working in hospitality in 1995, spending eight years working for Fantasea Cruises as operations manager and then as director of sales & marketing. He was also deputy chairman of the Tourism Whitsundays board at this time and, after studying marketing at Monash University, became Tourism Whitsundays’ marketing manager, in 2005. He was then Bowen Shire Council’s tourism manager, before spending two years running Airlie Cove Resort and Van Park.

In 2010, Craig set up catering company Chef’s Cuisine, while continuing to run the Bowen Subway Restaurant, which he’d bought in 2003. He then built the Proserpine Subway Restaurant and bought a shopping complex in Bowen, where he set up a Red Rooster. 

In May 2016, Craig became CEO of Tourism Whitsundays, where he is focussed on increasing visitation, generating increased length of stay and driving visitor spend in region. Craig aims to deliver return on investment for all stakeholders, while adhering to Best Practice, maintaining professional standards and marketing the region to the world efficiently.

His goals are to see Tourism Whitsundays become one of the leading RTOs in Queensland, create enduring commercial success for operators and ensure the environment everyone treasures is maintained.


Postal Address
PO Box 6308, O’Connor, ACT 2602
Physical Address
c/- Canberra Business Chamber
Ground Floor, 216 Northbourne Avenue
Braddon ACT 2612
Telephone 1300 692222