The 29th outing of Meetings & Events Australia’s annual conference hit all the right notes in Melbourne recently.

When you have such a disparate group of people, with a variety of disciplines, job descriptions and wants and needs, it must be damn hard to cater to all of them.

But somehow the 29th Meetings & Events Australia annual conference did by offering a range of keynotes, workshops and new additions that had attendees ecstatic with the program (see some of the feedback to MEA on page 38).

It kicked off with a bang at the opening with a Lip Sync Battle created by SongDivision and some very enthusiastic industry contestants, and kept going throughout the two day program.

Keynote presenters courtesy of the Saxton Speakers Bureau were a real highlights and fitted in wonderfully well with the Break Conventions theme.

The Opening Ceremony speaker was the highly sought-after entrepreneur and magician, Vinh Giang. His messages on perspective and influence struck a chord with attendees.

Monday morning, and 2015 Melbourne Cup-winning jockey, Michelle Payne, along with journalist Sara James had the audience enthralled in their ‘Up Close and Personal’ session, receiving a standing ovation for their moving and engrossing sharing of Michelle’s story.

At morning tea, Michelle then had the world-first book signing for Life As I Know It (MUP) which is receiving interest from all over the world.

Mark McCrindle spoke brilliantly the next day on ‘Profiting from Demographic Change’. Mark is a social researcher and demographer, but it’s his deep understanding of social trends and his engaging style that puts him in high demand as a speaker.

Tuesday afternoon and Holly Ransom set the MEA twittersphere alight, getting the whole conference talking.

With her directives to “do something you’re afraid of” and “get into the habit of routinely stepping out of your comfort zone”, her closing keynote on Intergenerational Leadership was a tour de force.

“What a closing!!!” was the verdict of one attendee on Twitter.

In-between the keynotes there was a huge variety of presentations, with something well-suited to every attendee no matter what their area of specialisation.

Nigel Collin’s Six Minutes In The Red Chair that were held at intervals throughout the conference provided chats with some of the business events industry’s leading lights including Jo-anne Kelleway from Infosalons and Lateral Events’ Simon Baggs.

Another real highlight was A Rapid Fire Look At New Stuff To Help Create Better Events which introduced delegates to a dozen new products and current trends. Like the rest of the conference it was a real winner.

The awards night made special mention of the contribution of David Grant to the industry, with his wife Katerina being presented with the Outstanding Contribution Award 2015.