March 8, 2022 | By Nicole Walker, President of the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA)

“Those that have stayed in the events industry – it’s in their heart and blood,” says Amrita Dip, in Retail Operations at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).

These are the passionate words of one of EEAA’s Emerging Leaders who shared with EEAA recently why the exhibitions and events industry is such a great environment to work in. Despite the challenges over the past few years, many people have decided to stick it out, knowing the light at the end of the tunnel would come.

We spoke with five of our female Emerging Leaders: Amrita Dip from Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre; Amy Saleh at Hannover Fairs Australia; Aqilah Ilyas with Harry the hirer; Jasmine Pohl at Adelaide Convention Centre and Lakisha Di Valentino from Diversified Communications Australia, about their experience in the events industry and inspiring the next generation of female leaders.

The group has big plans for the EEAA Emerging Leaders program, wanting it to be a platform to recruit the next generation but also give them a head start in the industry by building their network and educating them on how to be successful. The way they see the industry is inspirational.

An open door of opportunities

There are various ways to enter the industry; whether you’re like Aqilah, inspired by The Wedding Planner or if you’re like Lakisha and usually perform on a stage but want to learn about the behind-the-scenes – there is a way in.

The events industry is like none other and offers a multitude of opportunities allowing you to grow and develop your skillset. Where you start isn’t where you’ll end up as you make new connections and are exposed to all the different areas of the industry. Amy puts it well when she says, “You get as much out of your industry as you put in” – if you roll up your sleeves and get involved great opportunities will come your way.

This is a great time to get involved and take advantage of the opportunity to take an industry to the next level.

The rewards far outweigh the challenges

“It is a fast paced and dynamic industry. It’s challenging but is also very rewarding. You get such a great skillset from the industry,” says Jasmine, Exhibitions Project Manager at Adelaide Convention Centre.

This is something all our Emerging Leaders agreed upon – at times it can be tough but the joy of delivering a great event is like nothing else. The dynamic nature of the industry and having “no two days the same” is what makes the industry such fun.

The challenges are a pull factor for the industry as it allows you to rapidly build your skills and be prepared for anything. The group jokingly say they sound crazy, but I think we can all agree the pressure is addictive. 

Join a collaborative environment

“We want to make it work for you, so you have every opportunity to come in and succeed,” says Lakisha, Marketing Coordinator at Diversified Communications Australia.

There are so many great mentors in the industry keen to share their knowledge and expertise with the next generation of leaders. The events industry has many fierce female leaders who inspire the younger generations and prove gender is no boundary for success if you’re willing to work hard.

The industry offers flexibility with a hugely supportive environment. Aqilah has seen this first-hand – as a mother she has always felt support from her organisation and clients when it comes to juggling work and family life.

Like any industry there is still more to learn and do to achieve greater equality in the workplace however, our Emerging Leaders are ready to keep the industry moving.

Making a real impact

The United Nation’s theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow. There is no doubt the events industry has a huge role to play in meeting climate goals as an industry that traditionally produced significant waste.

According to our Emerging Leaders, the industry is taking environmental issues more seriously and is actively taking steps to implement sustainable measures into the standard workflow of organisations. Sustainability committees and officers are becoming the norm and their role is to push teams to be more conscious of waste and proactively think about how things can be reused.

There are so many great initiatives out there and the industry is looking to embrace them and change the traditional ways of running events. The group believe if sustainability measures become the norm in organisations this will flow onto the events they produce.

Emerging Leaders ready to drive the industry

The industry has been hit hard but it has dusted itself off and is ready to get on with the job of producing great events. The Emerging Leaders know this can’t be done alone – “when the venue is successful, so too are the suppliers, organisers and the client – it’s a cycle,” says Amrita.

Our industry is changing, the younger generation is conscious they will one day lead the industry, so they are already putting their mark and owning this space. I am confident the industry will continue to prosper with their fresh energy, not afraid to shake things up.