May 4, 2021 | By Joyce DiMascio

The business events industry has lost one of its own with the news of the sudden death of industry stalwart Michelle Papas on the weekend.

Michelle passed away following an unexpected coronary episode.

It started out as an ordinary Saturday morning for Michelle and her husband, Kirk who were enjoying Sydney’s beautiful autumn weather. But soon after midday, Michelle had died with doctors unable to save her life.

Such is the dreadful consequence of the biggest silent killer of so many women.

Michelle’s (also known as Paps) career is steeped in the business events and destination marketing sectors representing products and experiences across Australia.

Her most recent role was as Event Director of Luxperience. Michelle was associated with the luxury travel showcase for over eight years. She is also known for her representation and marketing work for a broad range of clients which she serviced through her own company, The Experience Quotient. Earlier in her career, Michelle worked for the South Australian Tourism Commission, Shangri-La and Sheraton on the Park in sales, especially in the inbound market.

Michelle’s passing strikes at the heart of the business events industry where she was much loved and respected.

Her dear friend and colleague, Helen Logas described her as a veteran of the travel industry whose contribution will be “valued eternally”.

She was particularly important in recognising the importance of luxury products and experiences in the industry. Logas said her skills covered tourism commissions, hotels, technology and, of course, trade events.

For my part, Michelle always stood out for her elegant professionalism over the decades that I knew her. Warm, competent and so adaptable, she was involved in some of the most important events of the business events industry – whether as an exhibitor at AIME or in the later part of her career, as the Event Director of Luxperience.

Her vast network of industry friends and colleagues are shattered at this untimely news and we send our deepest condolences to her husband, Kirk Fitis and her family and friends. Michelle and Kirk were married in Greece in 2018. It was a fairytale and the couple were overjoyed at having gotten together later in life.

Vale Michelle Papas. Farewell beautiful – your industry friends will miss you and always remember that smile that lit up the room.