Our Board

Michael Matthews
President

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

Michael joined CCB from 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 25 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.

 

Julia Swanson
Vice President

Julia Swanson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB). 

Since joining MCB in 2010, Julia has led the business development, bidding, convention servicing, research and Government relations teams on the successful acquisition and delivery of some of the world’s largest and most prestigious business events. She has personally led the bids for some of the most highly acclaimed global medical conferences including the International AIDS Conference 2014, World Congress of Cardiology 2014 and the World Congress of Nephrology 2019. 

Prior to joining MCB, Julia was the Area Director of Sales and Marketing VIC/SA/WA with IHG (InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels) overseeing the Sales and Marketing performance of 8 hotels as well as new hotel openings across the region.

 

Marnie Craig
Treasurer 

As Chief Executive Officer of Business Events Tasmania, Marnie 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.

Marnie Craig 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 a strong operational leader, Marnie managed the Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) Western Australia business interests, which included a large event portfolio.

In 2012, Marnie moved to Tasmania and commenced as the National Marketing and Communications Project Manager for the HIA. In this role Marnie led the optimisation of business and marketing strategies across the organisation, driving change management projects to effectively implement new business methodologies.

 

Damien Kitto
Board Member - Past President

Damien Kitto has worked in the visitor economy for more than 18 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.

 

Lyn Lewis-Smith
Board Member - Past President

Lyn is the immediate Past President of AACB and Chief Executive Officer of Business Events Sydney, the organisation which provides customised specialist bidding services, partnering with a diverse range of public and private stakeholders, to secure international business events for Sydney, Australia and global communities. In the last five years under Lyn’s leadership, BESydney has secured events generating commercial outcomes greater than $1 billion.

Lyn has more than 20 years’ experience leading complex businesses spanning Tourism, Sport, Trade and Public Private Partnerships. Lyn is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Business School Advisory Board Member for UTS, Chair of the Committee for Sydney’s Liveability/Loveability Taskforce, Co-Chair of DestinationNEXT and Co-Chair of the Host Steering Committee for the Global Summit of Women Sydney 2018. Lyn is a non-Executive Director for the Women’s Resilience Centre and a member of the International Women’s Forum and Minerva Network.

In March 2017, Lyn was a finalist in the Premier’s NSW Business Woman of the Year awards. In October 2016, Lyn was named in the Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry by Meetings and Conventions magazine.  Lyn was a State finalist in the NSW Telstra Business Women’s Awards 2015, in the For Purpose and Social Enterprise category and in June 2015 named “25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry” by Successful Meetings.

In 2013, Lyn co-authored the paper “Determining Business Events Legacies beyond the Tourism spend: An Australian Case Study Approach”, which was published in the highest ranking academic journal in the field of event management.

 

Juliet Alabaster
Board Member

Juliet was appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer of Brisbane Economic Development Agency (Brisbane EDA) in 2021. Juliet has a strong tourism, hospitality, conference and business events background having worked at Brisbane EDA since 2008.

As Interim Chief Executive Officer, Juliet is focussed on delivering high-quality outcomes, supporting the Brisbane EDA’s vision to grow the City’s economy through a portfolio of economic development strategies that support local business, drive demand for Brisbane as an exciting tourist destination, create growth and trade opportunities, and ultimately help provide a better quality of life for businesses and residents throughout the City of Brisbane.

 

Patricia O’Callaghan
Board Member

Patricia has held significant senior executive positions over the past 15 years and was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Destination Gold Coast (DCG) in 2020.

With extensive experience in strategy development, advocacy, corporate communications, Government, stakeholder and media relations and marketing, Patricia has a proven record of working with communities to convert strategy into tangible outcomes.  

 

Gareth Martin
Board Member

Gareth was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Business Events Perth (BEP) in July 2019, having been with the organisation for 11 years.

As a leader, Gareth focuses on open communication and building genuine relationships at all levels with clients, stakeholders and his team, to foster their engagement in a shared vision and successful business outcomes. This approach has enabled significant and repeated successes across multiple organisations in the WA Tourism, Resource and Pharmaceutical sectors.

The Business Events sector faces significant market competition and increasing challenges globally. Gareth has a commercial focus to seek progressive and creative solutions toward strategic planning to execute organisation goals and secure increased opportunities for Business Events in Australia.

 

Rebecca McCaig
Board Member

As the Head of Northern Territory Business Events (NTBE), Rebecca leads a geographically-dispersed team 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. 

Rebecca’s role was created to support the NTBE’s strategy to identify new business event opportunities by leveraging the Northern Territory’s strength industries. Rebecca achieves this by building compelling business cases to attract Business Events which will provide economic and social benefits to the NT.

 

Mark Olsen
Board Member

Mark is Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Tropical North Queensland, parent organisation to Business Events Cairns and Great Barrier Reef

Mark has recently joined Tourism Tropical North Queensland as the CEO after 25 years in the tourism and hospitality industry.  From washing dishes to national and international strategy development.

Mark has worked in over 70 countries with a focus on sustainable tourism, experience development, destination strategy including aviation and access, commercial operations and feasibility and consumer marketing.

 

Matt Stoeckel
Board Member

Matt is the Chief Executive Officer of Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) joining the organisation in the beginning of 2021. Matt has an extensive experience in tourism management and destination marketing both overseas and in Australia. 

Prior to Visit Sunshine Coast, Matt headed up Tourism Fiji for close to 5 years and supported the destination to achieve consistent, sustainable growth for that period. 

Before Tourism Fiji, Matt worked in various roles across the tourism industry, where he specialised in destination marketing. Matt is passionate about tourism, with a focus on delivering outstanding outcomes for the region through effective destination management.  

 

Postal Address
PO Box 5094, Kingston, ACT 2604
Physical Address
Level 3, 24 Brisbane Avenue
Barton, ACT 2600
Telephone 1300 692222