August 4, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

With Australians dominating the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) Future Shapers program, which recently wrapped up its first iteration, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) head of sales Stephanie Martin has revealed what she learned from the program.

“Diversity and cross-functional teams are key,” says Martin.

“Diverse thought and leadership is what creates great things. To quote Cathy O’Dowd, one of our incredible speakers, ‘You need a small group of people who have a HUGE vision’. I really feel the inaugural Future Shapers cohort really embodied this given our varied experience, navigating through time zones and our day jobs.

“Listening to our people and customers continues to be king. We carry great responsibility in ensuring our customers are able to continue to meet and achieve their desired event outcomes which are tied to legacy, sustainability and, of course, revenue generating activities to support our business and theirs in their continued operations.

“In terms of our people, events have returned quicker than expected and we have all had to  continue to monitor and measure the health and wellbeing of our people. We also know so many have left our industry so we need to continue coming together to ensure our career paths remain attractive and desirable to the current and future generations,” Martin says.

The Future Shapers program, which is taking in its next round of applications in September, comprised a lecture series, mentoring and an industry challenge, where the program participants worked together to propose solutions to industry problems or shortfalls.

From the mentoring element, one learning really stood out for Martin.

“Bigger is not better, it’s smaller and smarter,” she says.

Martin will be on the taskforce which oversees the next intake of the Future Shapers program, with member centres able to nominate up to two senior leaders to take part.