Who said Gen Y was lazy, uncommunicative, and expected their employees to jump through hoops to satisfy them? Not this bunch of business event up-and-comers. Over the following pages we profile some of our brightest young ones to watch. No poaching please.


Lauren-HaywardLauren Hayward (25)

Account manager @ Forum Group Events
Has completed a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in Marketing) at university and a Diploma in Events Management. Was awarded the 2013 Young Achiever of the Year at the Australian Event Awards (November 2013), and was 2012 NSW Winner, YMEA Future Leader – Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) (April 2012).

As account manager I am responsible for working closely with managing directors and sales and marketing managers of tier one global corporate organisations, particularly within the IT industry, offering strategic input and collaboration on all event marketing activities. I manage the entire process: from initial strategic consultation, through to event marketing and promotion, overseeing a team of event coordinators and event assistants to manage the event execution, as well as post event follow-up and ROI. I have worked on the execution of a multitude of projects for various clients both nationally and overseas.

In less than 12 months as account management I ensured the success of more than 65 events.

Goals for the future are to continually expand my horizons and take on any new opportunity that comes my way. Every experience, every person you meet can teach you something and that is the approach I take to my career development. I do think that ultimately one day I will have my own business, however I also have a passion for teaching and writing so it would be great to be able to incorporate that somewhere as well. Who knows what the future holds!

When I’m not working… Travel, spending time with friends and family, being outdoors, attending live events and music concerts, as well as any type of creative outlet such as dancing, drawing, reading and writing.


Lenita-DrivasLenita Drivas (22)

Private event sales / school formal coordinator @ Dockside Group
Has completed a Diploma of Marketing and Bachelor of Business major in Event Management at the APM Business College. Was named Outstanding Performer of the Year for Dockside Group in 2013.

I am the primary contact for all private and school formal enquiries. It is my responsibility to qualify all enquiries within these market segments, conduct site inspections across all venues and restaurants within our portfolio, and coordinate all logistics for each of these events. In 2013, I executed 165 events across our three venues and four restaurants.
The greatest achievement throughout my career thus far was the successful execution of several school formals over the five week high season. Throughout November and the first half of December, it was my sole responsibility to coordinate 104 formals across our portfolio, including being onsite for all meet and greets to ensure client expectations had been met and exceeded. The greatest satisfaction I receive from my role is to know that I have contributed to the success of each of my client’s events.

In the short term I endeavour to maintain knowledge of market changes and trends by following industry publications and engaging with industry colleagues through networking activities. As a long term goal I endeavour to progress in a sales direction, with an interest in corporate reactive sales as well as leading a team.

When I’m not working… I thoroughly enjoy being surrounded by my family and friends, indulging in worldly travels and soaking up what various cultures have to offer. I am happiest when having the opportunity to live life to the fullest and embracing each opportunity as it comes my way.


Isidorees-AchilleusIsidorees Achilleus (24)

Business development executive @ Sarawak Convention Bureau
Has undertaken numerous specialist courses relating to her current work.

My main role in the bureau is to win [convention] bids. In order to win those bids, you need a team, which I am part of. Having started out as a researcher, my role was to source potential local hosts, which can sometimes be a challenge as business events are still relatively new here. Now I work with clients to develop the bid (if a bid is required) right up to when the conference is held and after to get feedback on the event. Even though research is a small element of the bigger picture, it is the most crucial to the success of a bid.
My greatest achievement is my contribution towards SCB’s success overall. As a Sarawakian native, it is a humbling, yet proud, moment to see fellow colleagues win international convention bids and to contribute to the development and progress of the state.

There are many things I can be proud of, but winning the bid for the 12th Asian & Oceanic Society of Regional Anaesthesia & Pain Medicine Congress back in 2011 has been a highlight.
I hope to take on a bigger role within the bureau, and eventually the industry, while exploring new skills that I’ve yet to learn.

When I’m not working I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. Aside from that, my family call me “The Shelf Inspector” because I enjoy stolling through the many aisles in the supermarket to check out any new products or goods that I could try.


Christie-KnoxChristie Knox (27)

Sales manager @ EPICURE at Hawthorn Arts Centre
Completed a double diploma in Hospitality and Event Management at Swinburne TAFE. In 2013 was awarded the YMEA Future Leader award, and in 2009 received the MEA Young Professional scholarship.

From our new venue at the Hawthorn Arts Centre, I look after all event sales and event management. From the initial enquiry through to the final follow-up, I partner with clients in all aspects of the planning and development of small and large scale events. I am also the YMEA Co-Chair (Victoria), working with our committee of industry professionals to support and conduct networking events for young professionals.

My greatest achievement is being awarded the sales manager role for EPICURE at Hawthorn Arts Centre. This position embodies all of my achievements over the past six years, having successfully worked in different roles within the events industry with the goal of one day achieving the sales manager position. I strive every day to learn more and be a better colleague, event manager and person.

My work future looks very exciting! As a committed and dedicated person I plan to continue achieving the outcomes required by the business and to satisfy my own ambitions of attaining a senior management position.

When I’m not working… I love food! Food is a large part of my job and I love everything about it! You’ll often see me reading about it, talking about it and planning my next food journey. Just don’t ask me to cook, my cooking skills extend as far as tacos from Old El Paso!


Megan-Ftouni-(Nee-Adams)Megan Ftouni (nee Adams) (27)

Senior client relationship manager @ Atlantic Group [v] of Companies
Completed Event Management at William Angliss (and currently conducts sessional classes in Event Management at William Angliss and Event Management Planning with Fitzwilliam Institute). Worked in event management in the UK. Awarded Atlantic Group [v]’s 2013 Employee of the Year Award, and 2012 MEA Special Event of the Year Award.

Our team embraces challenges, often managing multiple events on any one day. My day-to-day roles include being the assistant manager of a department inclusive of five event managers and two administration consultants; event logistics, specialising in large corporate events, gala dinners and VIP weddings; coordination of internal and external department communication and logistics; and sourcing and management of external suppliers. As a senior event manager, I am also responsible for financial reporting, post event reporting and providing assistance to the executive manager of events.

I have been responsible for delivering some of Melbourne’s most popular events. Notable events I have managed in the past two years include L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, Screen Producers Association of Australia Conference, the award winning By Design Event Group Corporate Showcase, gala dinners and weddings.

An intrinsic part of our core business is to go above and beyond what is required. With the 1000 that we stage annually at Central Pier, Docklands, I’ve had a really good opportunity to work with a range of individuals and businesses. However, no matter how diverse my projects are, the skills I need to succeed are the same. It is all about listening and observing. There is so much that clients will say to you without words. Their likes, dislikes, nerves and so on, will all be conveyed by the way they act. In this sense, event management is often more about people management and going above and beyond the call of duty, every time, in order to better understand and build relationships with clients.

When I’m not working… I am very social and always surround myself with family and friends. I love hosting friends for dinner and playing in the kitchen. I often get inspired by the diverse food and event innovation happening at work that I love trying them at home in a relaxed environment!


Laura-ValentineLaura Valentine (25)

Senior account coordinator @ Zadro Communications
Has completed a Bachelor of Communications specialising in Media and Intercultural Relations at Griffith University. Was awarded the NSW Meetings & Events Australia Young Professional Scholarship in 2012.

As a senior account coordinator at Zadro Communications, I support the development of client communication strategies and manage the implementation of communication plans across public relations, e-marketing, digital services and social media. I work across a variety of industries including meetings and events, associations, architecture and construction, and professional services, and am especially passionate about the value of communication for all event stakeholders.

We often work on launching new venues and new products and services, and the highlight is seeing real results after a period of time. Through public relations campaigns, social media and digital marketing we aim to build awareness, and being able to look back and see the impact our marketing and communications activities have on the success of that business is certainly the most rewarding thing.

My goals for the future revolve around continuing to deliver current and future clients tangible results that have a real impact on the success of their business.
When I’m not at work, you can usually find me having a drink with friends – to check out the latest Sydney venues, of course!


Sam-McNeilSam McNeill (28)

Creative director @ Song Division
Attends entrepreneurship and marketing summits, most recently Siimon Reynolds’ Fortune Institute. Was recently recognised by the Professional Convention Management Association in its Twenty in their 20s Future Leaders’ Program (which includes an all expenses paid trip to attend the PCMA  conference in Boston).

I am responsible for sales and marketing for Song Division in the Asia Pacific region as well as designing unique proposals that are aligned to the client’s needs, timings and desired outcomes. I also assist in the execution of client meetings and events as an MC or facilitator.

I am really proud of all the CSR and not for profit work we do at Song Division. In 2013 we ran and sponsored over half a dozen events for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), Reconciliation Australia, The Cerebral Palsy Alliance and the McGrath Foundation, to name just a few. Actually witnessing the power of music changing people’s lives is really as good as it gets for me!

Goals for the future include exploring new regions, creating new products, working overseas – spreading the good word about the power of music – and sharing this amazing company with the world. In January I flew from a summit in Boston straight to Melbourne for an event then straight to Sydney for another. I worked with around 4000 people and travelled about 22,000 kilometres in three days.

When I’m not working… This is pretty sad, but I am basically a music fanatic. Listening, writing, recording and performing is what I love doing both at work and in my own time. Apart from that, I love the sun and the ocean…. and music. Did I mention music?


JessicaJessica Lunney (22)

Event planner @ Victoria Park
Completed a Diploma of Events and presently completing a Bachelor of Business, majoring in marketing, externally through the University of Southern Queensland. Has won internal awards and contributed to Victoria Park securing the MEA Queensland and National Best Specialty Venue for the past two years.

My role at Victoria Park consists of striving to deliver high quality events to our clients. I take each of my assigned clients from enquiry through the entire booking process, ensuring their event objectives are achieved.  My greatest [career] achievement is my progrssion from office coordinator through to event stylist and now an event planner. I have had the opportunity to demonstrate my creativity, grow professionally and work within a fantastic team.

I would relish the chance to use my event experience and my passion for marketing within a senior role. A goal of mine has always been to travel and work overseas and interstate, widening my knowledge of the global market.

When I’m not working I enjoy exploring north and south beaches with friends and family, playing team sports and discovering new restaurants and cafes, tasting the menu one dish at a time.


VanessaVanessa Rydon (24)

Event planner @ Victoria Park
Has completed a Bachelor of International Hotel and Tourism Management majoring in Event Management at the University of Queensland.

My role involves working alongside my business development manager and taking care of her clients – generally large corporate organisations. My role involves working with the client to create the bigger picture through menu selections, beverages, set up, liaising with suppliers and working with other internal departments, such as the styling team, to create a memorable experience.

My greatest achievement thus far has been advancing from my role as receptionist to event planner in three months. Being trusted with the responsibility of looking after large-scale events for VIP clients gave me a great deal of confidence that my team and management had faith in my ability to execute these events.

It is really important to me to always keep learning and challenging myself. I am still finding my feet in my new role and Victoria Park has provided me with a fantastic platform to grow. I would love to work in another city and have always been very interested in the idea of working for a large not for profit organisation.

When I’m not working I like to go out with friends, catch up with my family, go on beach trips, to the markets, or the movies. I never realised how much I valued my weekends until I started full time work!


JaqJacqueline Moore (25)

Senior event planner @ Victoria Park
Completed a Bachelor of Business majoring in Event Management at the University of Queensland.

I service existing clients and establish new clients. This involves preparing and adjusting event quotations, conducting site inspections, creating contracts, invoices and run sheets. I liaise with various internal departments within the venue, along with the client, to ensure event objectives are achieved. In terms of creating an event, I work closely with the client to finalise the menu and beverage selection, theming, running schedules, final numbers, floor plans, price and payment. My attention to detail, time management skills and love of events plays a vital part in the foundation for Victoria Park’s success. It would be great to utilise my experience at Victoria Park and work overseas. I specialise mostly in weddings, however, long term I would love to be involved with large scale concerts and fashion shows both within Australia and overseas.
When I’m not working… I enjoy catching up with friends over sushi or coffee (or both!).


Vanessa-ChristVanessa Christ (24)

Sales and events coordinator @ Sydney Cricket Ground and Allianz Stadium (SCG Events)
Has completed a Bachelor of Tourism Management degree sub-majoring in Marketing and Events Management and completed three internships (Mardi Gras, Single Market Events and Penrith City Council).

I coordinate corporate, private and special events for corporate clients, SCG members, sporting codes such as Cricket NSW and The Sydney Swans, and events for the SCG Trust itself. At the moment we are building on our strengths as a team and preparing for the opening of the new Noble, Bradman and Messenger Stands, which will feature a new members’ dining room with a capacity to seat 700 guests.

I have been in this role for only four months and feel as though my greatest achievement thus far has been my ability to ‘hit the ground running’! I adapted to the working environment, built long lasting relationships with my colleagues and integrated effective means of communication between the corporate sales team, operations team and kitchen to ensure we are all working as a united front. I’d like to think I provide my colleagues with solutions, rather than adding to anyone’s problems.

A day in my heels could involve conducting a site inspection for a valued client from one side of one stadium through to the other, followed by an interactive client menu-tasting; finding a solution when the sprinklers suddenly turn on at the field of play; and responding to calls when a client wishes to photograph their corporate team within the Allianz Stadium Grandstand (which involves seeking approval from the SCG Trust media contact).

I hope to further develop my skills set, learn from experienced colleagues and continue to develop in my current role, especially as we move into a new phase with the our new event-spaces opening in May 2014. I hope to be a successful corporate event sales manager within a luxury venue collection one day – the sky is the limit!
When I’m not working… I practise and perform samba with an established Brazilian dance company for social and corporate events – not our clients’ events of course!


Alexandra-DaviesAlexandra Davies (29)

Business Development Manager – MICE @ Australian Turf Club
Has a Bachelors Degree in Hospitality & Business Management from the University of Birmingham. Was a finalist in the EEAA Awards For Excellence – Best Venue Team.

My main responsibilities at the Australian Turf Club are to target and secure new meetings and incentives business for more than 300 non-race days across all four of the ATC venues. Additionally, I am responsible for forging lasting and trusted relationships with my clients by obtaining a comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of their organisation, its client base and event requirements. My daily duties include hosting site inspections, visiting clients and showing off our outstanding ATC properties.

One of my greatest achievements at the Australian Turf Club was in 2013 when I was able to secure a brand new piece of business which allowed all four of our venues to meet their entire month’s budget in just one day. In addition to winning this exceptional event, I’m proud of the fact that I was able to build such a strong relationship from scratch. This was a result of determined business development which has now lead to a strong relationship with a client that has the potential to be a long term partner of the ATC.

Outside of working hours I’m proud to represent the EEAA Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) as a member of the Young Stars committee. Additionally am delighted to have been selected as a mentor for the MEA 2013/2014 mentoring program which allows me to give back to such an awesome industry!

When I’m not working… Having grown up riding horses and show jumping, I love to spend as much time at the races as I can – in fact I can’t wait for the BMW Sydney Carnival at Rosehill Gardens and Randwick Racecourse in March and April. Apart from this I love to spend quality time with my family and friends, usually at the pub or the beach!


JonathanAdlerJonathan Adler (25)

Business Development Executive – Race Day Sales @ Australian Turf Club
Has undertaken an IT course at university as well as completing RSA and RGC (Responsible Gaming Certificate).

My main responsibilities include managing and developing new business and direct sales activities for race days and special events for the Australian Turf Club’s four major race courses in the Sydney Metropolitan precinct. Being the first point of contact for Royal Randwick, Rosehill Gardens, Canterbury Park and Warwick Farm for race day private functions gives me the opportunity to prospect and foster working relationships with executives from large multi-national companies on a regular basis. The role also gives me the opportunity to take part in strategic meetings regarding pricing for packages during both carnival and non-carnival days.

My greatest achievement to date would be securing a non-race day function for more than 500 people in the first few months of starting at the Australian Turf Club. Since confirming this nationally recognized charity dinner event for 2014, I have been able to confirm in excess of $450,000 in both race day and non-race day bookings since beginning my new role five months ago.

My short term goal is to be a business development manager working for the Australian Turf Club in the race day sales team, taking on the management of larger clients and entire race days. My long term goal is to one day be general manager of sales and sponsorship for a large sporting organisation either nationally or internationally – I’ve given myself 10 years to get to this point.

When I’m not working… Away from working at the races, I love playing golf and travelling. My most recent trip was to Thailand and Singapore and I hope to be visiting again in the not too distant future.