The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia’s (EEAA) 25th annual Awards for Excellence held on Wednesday night in Melbourne honoured the industry’s highest achieving shows, venues, suppliers, teams and individuals, with special tributes paid to long-time industry champions Malu Barrios and Jo-Anne Kelleway.

At its special 25th anniversary gala event, held at Melbourne Museum, the association’s community celebrated the important role of individuals to the success of the association and the wider business event industry.

International Convention Centre Sydney’s (ICC Sydney) Malu Barrios was named the inaugural winner of the Unsung Hero of the Industry for her contribution over many years and Info Salon Group’s Jo-Anne Kelleway was recognised for her decades of service to the association becoming the 2017 recipient of the Trevor Riddell President’s Award.

EEAA chief executive, Joyce DiMascio, commended the dedication, leadership and invaluable contributions of these two long-time industry women. The new award for Unsung Hero of the Industry attracted three nominees: Malu Barrios from ICC Sydney; Jan van den Berg from Designteam and Eden Fridman from Expo Direct.

“On behalf of the EEAA community, we congratulate Malu Barrios and Jo-Anne Kelleway on their award wins,” Ms DiMascio said.

“Our industry has many talented people – men and women who have dedicated years of service to our sector. Tonight we honour two stand-out women whose contribution is unequalled. They are exemplary role models and most deserving winners.”

Ms Barrios was recognised for her service over the past four decades. Most recently, she played a critical role in supporting the exhibition industry through the challenging three years at the temporary exhibition centre at Glebe Island. She has since transitioned many of those clients to the new ICC Sydney where she has also played a critical role in re-establishing their shows at the new venue.

EEAA President, Spiro Anemogiannis, presented the Trevor Riddell President’s Award to Jo-Anne Kelleway, recognising her service to the association.

“Jo-Anne was one of the association’s first and youngest board members and has been tireless in her commitment to the association over the past 25 years,” Mr Anemogiannis said.
“She is an outstanding advocate for the association always on the lookout for opportunities to build our reputation and connections – and her energy and vitality is unsurpassed.
“I can think of no-one more worthy of this recognition and I am honoured to present her with this award.”

Others honoured at the awards included industry rising star Craig Mather from Ungerboeck Software International, this year’s Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award recipient.
“It’s pleasing to see the number of talented young members coming through our industry. The association is proud to recognise their achievements and to support our future leaders through this award,” Ms DiMascio said.

The other nominees acknowledged as future leaders were Nina Shand from Diversified Communications Australia, Cathy Hammond from Exhibitions and Trade Fairs, and Kiarna Harvey from National Media.

Reed Exhibitions Australia took out this year’s Best Show Award for Reed Gift Fairs Sydney (February 2017). This event was the first to return to the new ICC Sydney and it also won the Best Trade Show over 10,000 square metres.

The inaugural winner of the association’s new Best Innovation in Event Tech Award, was Info Salons for its Konduko Near Field Communication Engagement platform.

Federal Trade Tourism and Investment Minister, Steven Ciobo MP issued a special message for the 25th Anniversary dinner and Awards for Excellence.

“The work that you all do to help boost this sector, to organise events, to organise conferences, is critical to making sure that Australian tourism and business events go from strength-to-strength. I applaud your excellence tonight, you deserve to be celebrated,” the minister said.

Chair of Judges, John Trevillian AM, said: “The quality of entries was once again very high and the judging was the closest it has been. This really is a testament to the success, vitality and excellence of the sector in Australasia.

Mr Trevillian thanked the judges and Members for allowing the Association to shine a light on the industry’s achievements.

“Congratulations to all the winners and finalists and thank you for supporting this important night for our industry. Thank you to the judges for their time and diligence and to our sponsors and partners whose support is invaluable, he said.

The awards dinner was held in the Touring Hall, Museum Spaces, Melbourne Museum. The production partner was Harry the Hirer. The night was hosted by Colin Lane, with the show animation created by The Monkey’s Cobbler and entertainment provided by Belle Musique.