In Focus Sessions

We are delighted to announce that below speakers will be joining us on the Sunshine Coast in September 2017.

In Focus sessions will give you practical ideas to help you deliver various aspects of an event.

Speakers will be added to this page as they are announced.

Creating a Great Delegate Journey Before, During and After Your Business Event

The delegate experience begins from the moment they hear of your event until long after it concludes – for recurring events, it is, in fact, a never-ending cycle. In this session, you will learn how to develop an exceptional delegate experience through all possible touch points – not just on event day – and understand how this will keep your delegates coming back for more and grow attendance for future events.

Lauren Hayward

General Manager, Forum Group Events

Lauren Hayward is the General Manager of Forum Group Events (FGE), an award winning corporate event marketing and management agency, that has over 20 years’ experience in producing innovative, world-class events.

FGE's integrated campaign approach offers an end to end solution for clients' event and marketing objectives. Starting from the initial strategic planning, event marketing and management execution, through to post event activities that will guarantee ROI.

Lauren has extensive experience project managing event campaigns for global corporations such as Dell, Acer Computers and CA Technologies, working with senior managers to help them achieve their desired business outcomes, as well as retail brands such as Gloria Jean's Coffees and various Australian Government departments.

With a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing and a Diploma of Event Management graduating with Distinction, Lauren was also notably awarded the 2013 Australian Event Awards Young Achiever of the Year, as well as the 2013 Meetings and Events Australia Event Manager of the Year and Future Leader Award for 2012.

Lauren was also the Chair of the Meetings and Events Australia NSW networking sub-committee from 2015 to 2016, a MEA committee member for four years, as well as a member of the MEA NSW Branch committee for two years.


Teasing and pleasing the tastebuds: Food and Wine Matching

The food and wine at a business event is one of the few opportunities to add an entirely new dimension to the experience of your event by engaging your attendees’ senses of smell and taste. So, when their brains are exhausted from information overload, don’t miss your chance to enchant their palate with an oasis of beautiful food with just the right wine. Whatever the occasion, don’t leave, ahem, a bitter taste in the mouth – let our culinary expert give you a crash course in how to give your menu and beverage selections – and your event – real pop.

Paul Baker

Head Chef, Botanic Gardens Restaurant - Adelaide

Paul has worked in some of the most exclusive restaurants in Australia, including the iconic Aria & Pello Restaurants in Sydney. He has spent time living and working in the South of France and also the Maldives, but now calls South Australia home.

On a trip to visit his wife's hometown of Adelaide in 2009, he fell in love with the state's abundant produce and the people behind it. This passion for local produce has lead him to become one of the state’s most prolific food ambassadors.

Paul’s inspiration for the restaurant comes from the Botanic Gardens 51 hectares of unique fruit and vegetables allowing the garden to dictate the menu.

The restaurant has received praise from local, national and international media. 2015 saw the restaurant rated one of the Hottest 50 restaurants in the country by the Weekend Australian Magazine and also rated in Gourmet Travelers top 100 restaurants in 2016. On top of this the restaurant has received 3 forks in both the 2016, 2017 Advertiser food guides and awarded Best Contemporary Restaurant 2014, 2015, 2016.

In 2015 Paul’s personal talents were recognized when he was awarded Advertiser Chef of the Year.

This year Paul will cook an exclusive ‘Taste of South Australia’ dinner at the prestigious James Beard House, New York.


To Stream or not to Stream? The paradox of not cannibalising your physical attendance by offering a live stream

Video has long been the most powerful communication tool for corporations, entertainment properties and sporting associations. With the explosion of user generated live video platforms and emerging technologies, such as AR, VR and 360, how do you keep your message consistent, engaging and accessible to your audience? This presentation will help you pick the right solutions.

Conal McCullough

Director, Creo Media

With over 10 years of experience producing professional live streaming video, Conal has been there from the start, back when YouTube was still a twinkle in Google’s eye.

Conal has produced a diverse range of live shoots from sporting events, thought leadership panels, intimate audiences with the Pope, to international CEO announcements and major tech symposiums with more than 700 hours of presentation video being delivered over the two weeks of the Symposium. Live streaming from typical boardroom and conference center locations to the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge or the middle of the Bass Straight, Conal’s previous 10 year stint living and working in over 40 countries as a ‘fixer’ in the oil industry gave him the experience to take on these challenging production projects.

Holding a B.Sc. in Electronic Engineering and a Diploma in Film and Television Production and a passion for all things tech, Conal has the right mix of technical smarts and creative communication to execute your strategy.


How to Avoid Hosting a Boring Famil

On the bus, off the bus, another hotel room, more marketing spiel. Don’t be one of those tedious famil trips. Come to this session to learn how to think outside the box, show your destination at its best and give your visitors an experience they’ll never forget. Expect rave reviews.

Nicole Jervis

Manager, Marketing & Communications, Tourism NT

Having spent a great deal of her career in the tourism and events industry, Nicole is without doubt, a passionate Territorian. Managing the place branding activities of the NT for the business events sector, Nicole has the privilege of staying in touch with the local industry innovations to help spread the word about what the NT has to offer for business events. As a destination, the NT is nothing short of inspiring. The beauty of a business event in the NT is the fact that there is just so much to see and do. The fact that you can continually come back and have a uniquely different experience each time means it is the perfect destination.


Transforming Spaces for Events

There’s nothing worse than a venue which doesn’t…quite…fit. Learn from our expert event stylists about how to make your venue work for you, from little nips and tucks to transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. If you want to learn to think outside the box venue-wise, don’t miss this one.

Caroline Hutchison

General Manager, Backdrops Fantastic Australia

Caroline is an accomplished Corporate Event Manager who has built a successful career within the events industry, currently leading a vibrant and creative team as the General Manager of Backdrops Fantastic Australia. Caroline brings with her over twelve years experience, having started her career in the corporate event world organising all aspects of conferences, awards, and company events.

Three years ago with a desire to delve further behind the scenes and explore the creative and artistic side of events, Caroline traded in her Corporate Event Manager "client" role to join in the vibrant team at Backdrops Fantastic Australia as a "supplier". Having extensive experience as both a client and supplier, Caroline uses this knowledge and understanding to ensure that the creative outcomes provided for clients always align with their event objective - which ultimately is to make the company CEO, Event Organiser and the event as a whole look and feel great to the delegates - of course not necessarily in that order.

Caroline is an active member of the event industry and believes in giving back to the community and industry through volunteering, sponsorship and raising the bar of excellence within the industry. Caroline is a Committee Member for Meetings and Events Australia and is actively involved in and member of Business Chicks, Women In Tourism, Gold Coast Tourism and Burleigh Business Women.

Meredith Lambert

Senior Account Manager, LOUD events

Meredith is a Senior Account Manager at LOUD events, a contemporary event company delivering a wide range of events for over 14 years. From intimate to epic, LOUD specialise in corporate and special events as well as conference and logistical management, offering a unique brand of creativity, quality and value which exceeds their client’s expectations. Delivering over 100 events each year, both in Australia and internationally, LOUD are at the forefront of the industry in producing unforgettable experiences for clients and their guests.

An avid traveller with a penchant for the path less travelled Meredith’s journey has taken her through all walks of life to finally land her in her true calling of events. Striving to acquire an intimate knowledge in all things involving creative production, Meredith completed her Master in Creative Production and Arts Management. With a love for imaginative challenges and diverse events, Meredith has designed intimate high-end dinners with wine pairings to community festivals for 3000 and award dinners that run to the minute.


Cyber Security in Events: How to Avoid Becoming the Next Victim of Cyber Criminals

Website hacks, registration crashes, credit card fraud, personal detail leaks, porn on your social media – there are many potential cyber security issues that can and should be guarded against in the world of events. It doesn’t have to be all technical jargon though – our event oriented cyber security expert will lead you through cyberspace and show you how to secure your online space.

Josh Lemon

Senior Manager, CSIRT, Salesforce

Josh Lemon is the Senior Manager for in their international Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) that is responsible for protecting the company and its customers data from cyber attacks. Prior to this Josh was the CSIRT Manager for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia managing one of the largest dedicated incident response teams in the Australian commercial sector. He has over 10 years of experience in the cyber security industry and has previously worked as a Managing Consult for BAE Systems Applied Intelligence where he managed all technical cyber security services for the Asia Pacific region and oversaw large and complex cyber security investigations and offensive security engagements.

Prior to his time in the cyber security industry Josh spent 10 years in the Events and Entertainment industry. Graduating from NIDA (The National Institute of Dramatic Art) with a Bachelor's degree in Technical Production he went on to work on many national and international events. Some of his highlights include: work as Technical Coordinator on international touring concerts, Technical Director for international musicals, and Technical Coordinator and Consultant on major events including multiple Sydney New Year’s Eve events, World Youth Day 2008, and numerous NSW State Government events. While working in the events industry Josh also spent time consulting with event organisers on how to incorporate reliable and secure technology into their events to streamline operations and better engage audiences.

Josh has since gone on to provide cyber security investigation services and simulated cyber attack services to Government, Law Enforcement, and the Commercial sector. He currently holds multiple international certifications in cyber security and lectures on investigating cyber attacks at Universities in Sydney and to international audiences for the SANS Institute.


The Deadly Sins of Event Technology and How to Avoid Them

To tech or not to tech, that is the question. If you’ve ever wondered whether all the fuss about event technology is really worth the effort it requires, this session will help you to understand how you pick and choose which event tech you use. We will discuss a number of factors including manageability, return on investment as well as the impact on delegate and sponsor experience.

Clifford Fairbrass

Partner Engagement Manager; Sponsorship & Event Manager, McCorkell & Associates

For over ten years, Clifford Fairbrass has excelled in bringing vendors, partners and industry supply chain specialists together to negotiate the delivery of both B2B and B2C events.

In his day to day role at McCorkell & Associates, Clifford is primarily responsible for ensuring the financial viability of some of Australia's largest IT events, and he personally generates upward of AU$3 Million a year in sponsorship agreements.

He is a dealmaker, a tough negotiator, crowd pleaser, budget wrangler, clever marketer and a keen technologist who places the delegate experience above all when orchestrating the best possible outcomes for M&a clients.

Always on the lookout for innovations that will deliver second-to-none event outcomes, Clifford has seen a number of technology trends come and go over the past 10 years and he has some strong advice for when technology truly paves the way for a remarkable event and when it risks getting in the way of your goals.

Clifford's keen insight on what's hot and what's not in the world of event technology is sure to educate, challenge and entertain.


Thinking outside the box: Parrtjima

A festival of light in Alice Springs, Parrtjima uses the latest technology to light up the 300-million-year-old MacDonnell Ranges and the Alice Springs Desert Park with indigenous art. This session explores how technology has allowed a stunning ancient natural landscape to be reinvented for a modern audience, from concept to delivery and all the challenges that went along with it.

Andrew Hopper, General Manager and Director, Northern Territory Major Events Company

Andrew commenced with NT Major Events Company in March 2015. Andrew has a wealth of experience with an extensive record in leading the planning and delivery of major national and international projects and events. Andrew has a proven track record of success in the developmental and implementation of strategic plans and management of revenue and budgetary targets. His experience is gained from private and public sectors. Andrew has effectively delivered business and event outcomes working with organisations of varying sizes managing small and large teams.

Anthony Bastic

CEO & Founder, AGB Events

Anthony Bastic is a global leader in event innovation.

Anthony's acute understanding of what an audience is seeking and his ability to conceive and deliver events that exceed expectation is unequalled. From initial concept to ongoing internationally recognised events, Anthony has bought to life numerous events in several countries.

The Vivid Sydney Light Walk was conceived in 2009 and has grown to become one of the most successful annual public events on the Sydney calendar. Anthony is the Curator of Light and AGB Events produces the Light Walk each year for Destination NSW.

Anthony also created the annual Lights of Christmas projections at St Mary's Cathedral Sydney which is now firmly part of the Christmas tradition in Sydney and more recently introduced The Lights of Boston projection event on the Boston Public Library.

AGB Events have created and produced many public events for the Australian and international Governments including the launch of Oz Fest New Delhi for the Department of Foreign Affairs and produced Asia's first low energy light festival in Singapore.

AGB Events are working with the Northern Territory Major Events Company to design and deliver a new light festival in Alice Springs called Parrtjima - A festival in Light.

Before establishing AGB Events, Anthony held many positions in the Events and creative industry including Public Programs Manager for the Sydney Opera House from 1997-2000, Creative Director for the Sydney 2000 Olympics Live Sites, Creative Director, City Festivities for the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Event Director Melbourne Commonwealth Games, responsible for the planning and management of the Royal Visits, Cultural Programs Manager Centennial Parklands and Protocol and Events Manager, Sydney City Council.


Curating and Producing Conference and Seminar Content

The content of your conference sessions is one of the primary reasons many delegates will register for your event and one of the biggest drivers for those in charge to give the greenlight for attendance. Your content has the opportunity to inspire, spark new ideas, entertain and deliver skills to industry and individuals. Learn how to give your content a lift, keep your delegates engaged, informed and entertained and, very importantly, in your sessions rooms. From lectures, to workshops and roundtables, get tips on how to develop a dynamic program which will give your delegates a bang for their buck.

Simon Relph

Managing Director, VisiBel Group

Since completing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing in 1997, Simon has gone on to have a successful, international career in event management and is invited to chair and emcee a number of conferences and industry trade events.

Simon started on the gritty sales floor of an international conference company selling delegate packages and worked his way up through the industry to take senior management roles in Conference Curation, Event Management and Marketing in Auckland, New Zealand and Los Angeles, U.S.A.

After moving to London, Simon formed a corporate marketing and management consultancy advising some of the leading national charities and FT500 companies on strategies to expand their current portfolio of events and explore strategic partnerships in Europe and Asia to grow profitability.

Upon returning to Australia, Simon worked with Staging Connections as the General Manager for their Cairns office. In 2009, he launched VisiBel Events, once again providing PCO, Event Management and content curation services for some of the leading exhibition companies and associations in Australia.

In his spare time, Simon also studies and teaches Mandarin.