From the CEO


Linda GauntOur industry succession plan is always of vital importance to MEA. Currently we have two great initiatives happening and certainly worth mentioning to members and non-members.

The value of mentoring

Mentoring is valuable because it guarantees a less experienced person the opportunity to liaise with someone who cares about them, and know they are not alone in coping with their day to day worries.
Mentors provide their mentees with an experienced friend who is there to help in any number of situations. Mentors help:
• improve a less experienced person’s self-esteem
• provide support for people trying new experiences
• enable less experienced people to relate well to all kinds of people and help them strengthen communication skills
Above all, mentoring provides support in the workplace by:
• helping less experienced people set career goals and start taking steps to realise them
• providing the opportunity through your mentor to meet industry professionals
• giving an introduction to professional resources and organisations that mentees may not know about
My view is the number of ways mentoring can assist those less experienced is as varied as the people involved in each program.
MEA has just released its NSW mentoring program and is calling for mentors and mentees.
If you would like to be involved in the MEA/BENCHMARQUE Mentoring program in the capacity of a mentor or a mentee please contact MEA and we will provide you with the required information.


The ‘Young MEA’/Y MEA in our industry is our succession plan. MEA has reclassified Y MEA as people 30 years and under who are working with or for a MEA company member.
With great support from Dockside Group in NSW our NSW
Y MEA’s are growing from strength to strength with some functions reaching 100 pax. Y MEA in many of our other states and territories is also going well and we will ensure that they continue to do so.
If your company would like the recognition of supporting our industry succession plan by providing opportunities to develop our young people we would be keen to discuss with you an opportunity to be involved in Victoria, ACT, SA, WA, NT or QLD. By taking the next step and contacting Des Tupua at MEA you are supporting your industry.

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Australian venue manager continues to expand offshore


Strong convention venue management skills have paid dividends for Australian company AEG Ogden.
AEG Ogden cut its teeth on venue management in Australia as Ogden IFC. From its first job managing the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in 1986, AEG Ogden’s “family of facilities” has grown to include purpose-built convention and exhibition centres in Brisbane, Cairns and Darwin, in addition to stadia, entertainment centres, theatres and showgrounds in Brisbane, Newcastle, Perth, Albany, Cairns and Sydney.
The company built a solid reputation based on this experience in Australia and now exports its services in the form of management of venues in the Asia Pacific region. The major international convention and exhibition in Kuala Lumpur came first in 2005, followed in 2011 by an impressive new centre in Qatar. Further venue management contracts are being negotiated in the Middle East, India and Asia.
The group’s expansion has been tied in with Ogden IFC’s decision in December 2007 to join forces with the Anschutz Entertainment Group in the USA to form a joint venture, AEG Ogden.
The Australian-based division oversees the venue management services delivered in the Asia Pacific region and has developed a prominent global reputation for its integrated management systems covering all aspects of venue operation including event planning, event day operation, and the delivery of services in-house where feasible including catering, cleaning, car parking and security.
The company also exports its consultancy services to other venues around the globe.
AEG Ogden director of convention centres, Geoff Donaghy, said that operating world-class centres in Australia had helped cement the company’s reputation overseas.
“With the rise of centres in Asia and the Middle East, we saw an opportunity to further develop our business offshore,” he said.
“We expect this growth to continue to mirror the rise in convention centres throughout the region. It provides a great chance for Australian professionals to export their expertise in the business events market.”

Aussie expert in event technology goes global


Info Salons Australia Pty Ltd started 21 years ago as a small business providing automated registration systems to the emerging exhibition industry. The company growth has mirrored the growth in exhibitions and conferences in Australia, expanding their specialised IT products and services for the business events market.
Success in the Australian market with innovative events technology gave Info Salons confidence to expand into the Asian market, and it now has six overseas offices including Beijing, Shanghai, Macau, Hong Kong, Dubai and London. Together with the Australian operation Info Salons employs 150 permanent staff who have clocked up more than 3500 events in 10 countries. Income from offshore markets has now grown to be almost 40 per cent of the total revenue of the company.
Info Salons develops all its software in-house, including mobile platforms, and offers registration facilities in almost every language. Innovations have included the first tracker tool and registration entry barcode for mobile phones, and more recently have created smartphone applications.
“When we started the company there was no internet, no email and no mobile phones,” said CEO Jo-Anne Kelleway who gained international recognition as winner of a 2004 Global Mobile Award for being the first company to send a barcode to a mobile phone to scan entry into an event.
“When I look back, we’ve come a long way from being the first company to launch magstrip plastic badges in Australia.
“In the past 21 years we’ve seen huge changes in the exhibition industry in Australia. Many of my clients who started out as local businesses are now part of multi-national groups and this has offered us opportunities to extend our services beyond Australia.
“In particular, we have focused our efforts on positioning Info Salons to take advantage of the rapid growth of the exhibition industry in China with the opening of three offices.”
London is Info Salon’s latest move, putting the company in position to leverage off the 2012 Olympics and providing a base for further expansion in Europe.