October 19, 2022 | By Joyce DiMascio | UTS Pro-Chancellor Tony Tobin with Lyn Lewis-Smith

Strong collaboration between universities and the business events sector, especially convention bureaux, has been a growing global trend.

Last week, one of our industry’s own leaders was recognised for her contribution to one of Australia’s leading academic institutions.

CEO of BESydney Lyn Lewis Smith was made a Fellow of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in recognition of her service to the institution.

An honorary fellowship was conferred by the UTS Council recognising Lewis-Smith’s commitment to UTS through her considerable service to the UTS Business School, including extensive joint research projects, and her outstanding contribution to business and the broader community.

Lewis-Smith was invited to deliver the UTS Occasional Address during the university’s spring graduation event held on October 11, in which 700 students and guests celebrated the conferral of degrees from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Lewis-Smith said she was humbled to be become a Fellow of the University (honoris causa).

“It has been a profound honour to work with the esteemed members of the UTS Business School Board and faculty over the past 15 years and I am incredibly thankful for their acknowledgement of my contribution.

“Those who know me, know I am committed to lifelong learning and passionate about education because I’ve seen it shape so many lives for the better, including my own.”

In her address to new graduates, she encouraged them to take opportunities and maintain their intellectual curiosity and desire for learning. She said this was a trademark of a true leader.

She also encouraged students to maintain their connection to UTS and Sydney, no matter where their career took them in the world.

“The key message here for all of you, is to find purpose in what you do. Never stop seeking new answers, and when you can’t find them elsewhere – create them yourself.

“Just because you can’t find a current solution, it doesn’t mean one can’t be found. It just means no one else has had your unique perspective and applied themselves with a passion to find a solution.”

“I’ve had a great career with some wonderful opportunities come my way but what gets me out of bed every morning is purpose: it’s working in an industry that has such a huge impact in so many areas.”

She said what had become clear to her over the years was the connection between commerce and academia – where people and organisations come together in a place to share, curate and commercialise ideas. This is when innovation happens and the future is made, she said.

“My final plea to each one of you: no matter what you do next, I want you to ‘lean in’. To maintain your curiosity and be bold in seeking answers. Importantly, be future focused and think global – never confine yourself to the geographic or subject bubble in your immediate vicinity – find a bigger bubble no matter what career path you choose,” she said

Lewis-Smith’s address also referred to the research collaboration between BESydney and UTS which has helped to change the way the business events industry’s impact is viewed.

“Our findings were ground-breaking and have changed the way cities and governments all around the world now view and value the global meetings industry – for its social impact not just its economic impact.”