12 Mar 2020

Celebrating Our Leaders on International Women's Day

For over a century International Women's Day has celebrated the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The theme for 2020 embraced #EachforEqual and shared responsibility for driving a gender equal world.

Throughout the month, we will celebrate some of the amazing female leaders in our midst. By sharing their career journey, what they love about their job, triumphs, challenges and advice for pursuing a career in the industry we hope to inspire equality.

We are incredibly fortunate to have such strong leaders in the business events industry who show an undeniable passion for their business events destination.

To further support women in the events sector, Women & Leadership Australia are offering scholarship opportunities for current and aspiring female leaders. READ MORE>  

Katrina Pawley, Marketing and Communications Executive, AACB 

Annaliese has nearly two decades’ experience in strategic destination marketing, communications, economic development and executive leadership across a range of government and corporate organisations. She is also proud and passionate about the Gold Coast and her guiding principle is to build the local community by growing the tourist economy.

What do you love most about your job?

It’s an absolute privilege to be able to promote and represent Gold Coast’s biggest economic sector – tourism – with energy and passion. It is a dream job, in paradise, that I worked hard to attain some 18 months ago. It’s my favourite place to live and work in Australia but I am unashamedly biased.â��

What advice would you give to anyone pursuing a career in the industry?

In my opinion, contributing to creating a sustainable and liveable city and community with a strong economy is something I would classify as success. If you have a passion and resilience to keep going in times of adversity then I would encourage anyone pursuing a career in the industry to back yourself, to do your research and don’t be afraid to be bold.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?

The coronavirus global health crisis is a significant disruptor that is likely to play out over years, not months. This is without a doubt the biggest challenge we have faced as a sector. It has already had a bigger impact than SARS and will be more detrimental than the Global Financial Crisis. I am however confident in the resilience of the sector and I know that we will rise to this challenge and recover.

Marnie has more than 15 years’ experience in senior leadership roles with a strong aptitude for strategic planning. Throughout her career, Marnie achieved success as a sales and marketing professional in both the media and building industries. As CEO of Business Events Tasmania, Marnie 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.

What do you love most about your job?

That would easily be the people. Not only my staff and the industry professionals that we work closely with, but also the passionate group of individuals that make up our Tasmanian tourism and hospitality industries. It’s inspiring to be working alongside people that demonstrate real purpose in what they do.

What advice would you give to anyone pursuing a career in the industry?

I think it’s important to be clear on exactly what type of role that you’re drawn to within this broad industry, this will often align with an individual’s strengths and passion. Doing this will ensure that someone pursuing a career in our industry can focus on the right part of the sector for them.

What's been the greatest achievement in your bureau career so far?

For me, this has been positioning Business Events Tasmania, and the value of our sector, within the Tasmanian Government and the broader Tasmanian business community. 

I’m also proud of my role in breaking out of the status quo and growing the organisation and our valuable staff with a much more limited budget than counterparts working in the leisure tourism sector.

Rosie has been working for Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef since 2010. Prior to this she worked as the Director of Sales at Visions Hotels and Resorts for five years. She has a comprehensive background in hotel management, in operations, HR management, sales and event management. Rosie was also part of the opening team at the Cairns Convention Centre, working in HR and event management.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the variety that it brings. From working with our members on delivering bespoke incentive programs to a city wide partnership to bring large association events to Cairns. Every day is different and requires a different skill set and approach to securing business. I also love the fact that I live and work in a region that is so diverse and can cater for so many different types of events.  

What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?

Subvention funding is the biggest challenge our region faces. Unlike other states who have one major Convention Centre, Queensland has three very significant regions (and convention centres) that all play in the business events space globally and are all competing for state government funding. With a population base of 160,000, and majority of businesses SME's, the option of introducing levies or other funding models is not an option either so we have to be creative in how we address subvention funding particularly for national events. 

Mary joined the Adelaide Convention Bureau team as an Administration and Finance Officer in 2001. In 2008 she was appointed General Manager and guides her team with vision and passion whilst seeking new opportunities for growth, expansion and development to assist in showcasing South Australia to the Business Events industry. Mary is proactive in promoting South Australia and leading the Adelaide Convention Bureau team in encouraging local leaders and Bureau members to utilises its resources in bidding for business events to be hosted in our wonderful state.

What do you love most about your job?

Business events is one of the most exciting industries in which to work. Globally, it provides endless opportunities which have a huge benefit to South Australia which makes it all the more rewarding. It requires passion, commitment and flexibility. Its global nature enables you to learn so much from different people in all walks of life.

We have an amazing team, a group of individuals that come together each day with one purpose.
In my time at the Bureau I have been lucky to work with and have met some inspirational women that want to make a difference for South Australia and South Australians both today and tomorrow.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?

Educating others on the value of business events, the economic benefit they produce in the short and long term and the role of a Bureau in promoting and bringing business events to South Australia. At times it’s challenging, but with challenge comes reward and you never give up on something you love.

What advice would you give to anyone pursuing a career in the industry?

Keep your options open, you need to start somewhere and be willing to work hard and learn as much as you can. Network as much as possible. Business events is such a broad industry and there are many career paths that can take you anywhere. Set your goals and don’t look back! It will reward you, I promise.

Juliet has been working with Brisbane Marketing for over 10 years and currently leads a team generating long-term economic growth for Brisbane through the attraction and support of meetings, conferences and incentives, as well as major events including sporting blockbusters, cultural performance and exhibitions. Having grown up in the tourism industry, Juliet went on to build a career in business events, developing a vast working knowledge of all aspects of event bidding, business development, services and promotion. 

What do you love most about your job?

Getting to shape the city that future generations will inherit, including my own children, is extremely rewarding. Not only do business events grow the economy and create employment opportunities, they act as enablers to drive change within industries. Attracting the right business events to Brisbane in the coming years will assist in accelerating the development of the city’s future growth industries. That is an exciting legacy.â��

What advice would you give to anyone pursuing a career in the industry?

Don’t be afraid to try different things and take the opportunity to work across different aspects of the industry. In my career I have done multiple roles within a venue, a PCO and a Bureau. Having diversity in your career gives you the ability to understand the bigger picture and the empathy to connect with varied stakeholders. And of course, always act with integrity. Although we work globally, our industry is interconnected and your reputation is your greatest asset.     

As the Head of Northern Territory Business Events (NTBE), Rebecca leads a geographically-dispersed team of young, professional women to promote the Northern Territory, to national and global audiences, as a competitive, distinctive and meaningful destination to stage business events. Rebecca joined NTBE in 2009 following a decade-long career in hotels, spanning several brands and continents where she built the foundations of her commercial experience.  

What do you love most about your job?

I feel privileged to work with a team of confident and highly-skilled women who facilitate meaningful connections that have the potential to deliver powerful economic, social and intellectual outcomes for the Northern Territory. I have also been fortunate to witness, first-hand, the profound legacies that business events can leave in a community.

What advice would you give to anyone pursuing a career in the industry?

I encourage anyone pursuing a career in the industry to be open to engaging people from all backgrounds and professions and to learn how to tell stories that will make connections for life.

Kimberley’s tourism career began in Port Douglas. She worked for various local operators before joining the team at Tourism Tropical North Queensland. These days, she holds the role of Marketing and Communications Manager at the Canberra Convention Bureau, promoting the nation’s capital to event planners and meeting organisers nationally and internationally. Kimberley hails from Montreal and before marketing Australian destinations, she was busy marketing the ultimate destination, space, working with astronauts at the Canadian Space Agency.

What do you love most about your job?

I love to be able to not only promote the fantastic institutions, experiences, food and wine available in Canberra, but to also actively change meeting planners’ often outdated perceptions of the capital. Canberra has so much to offer and consistently surprises and delights visitors, and I love having a part in shifting their mindsets and making them fall in love with our city. Our industry is a passionate and dedicated bunch – building relationships with our operators and being able to tell their stories through our wider marketing efforts is one of the best parts of the job!â��

What advice would you give to anyone pursuing a career in the industry?

Don’t limit yourself to your job description – put your hand up to help another team in your organisation or work on a project that’s outside of your usual responsibilities. At worst, you’ll have gained more experience, at best, you’ll have discovered a new career interest or path you may not have initially considered. Always go the extra mile – employers notice and that can only serve you positively as you progress in your career. Make as many connections as you can, while remaining genuine. Our industry is a tight-knit community based on connections and networking, so make sure you build your own network and nurture relationships.â��

Scholarship opportunities for current and aspiring female leaders

Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) work to create deeper awareness and action around gender equity. To reduce barriers, WLA offers scholarship opportunities for women to support their participation in a range of career building leadership development programs.

Scholarships of $2,000 to $5,000 can be applied for by women at all management levels across the events sector. To find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest Form by Friday 3 April 2020.



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