Taking inspiration and instruction from the people she meets, Emma’s passion for event management already sees her winning awards and opening doors to a successful future.

Name: Emma Rutledge
Age: 33
Position: Senior Event Manager
Organisation: Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre


I didn’t plan to work in events but I was always very organised, which is a good starting point for a career in this industry. I started my working life in restaurants when I was 18 and a little while later, in 2005, was fortunate enough to secure a job at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

My first role at the centre was as an on-stand functions coordinator, managing the catering requirements for exhibitors at public and trade shows. Within a year I was made an event manager, so I was able to build up my experience and work on larger accounts. I was constantly inspired by the people I met. There are so many people in the events industry who have years and years of experience, who live and breathe events and just love the industry. You can often see this just by talking to them.
Enthusiasm is so important if you want to work in this industry. You have to be passionate about events because our jobs are not always easy and you have to love what you do.
Since 2012, I’ve been a senior event manager, which is a great job as I look after the events team on a day-to-day basis, so I’ve been able to build my people management skills.
Every day is different and I get to meet and work with an incredibly diverse range of products, suppliers and people, which is what I like most about this job. No one event is ever the same and I love the new and challenging events that make us think outside the square.

When I won the MEA’s National Event Manager Award in May earlier this year I couldn’t believe it. It was such an honour to be recognised by the industry. Achieving the highest individual submission score to also win the Professional of the Year category just exceeded all my expectations.
The awards mark a truly memorable year for me, ahead of the centre’s closure and redevelopment. It is going to be a sad time – our venue holds so many memories for a lot of people. But we still have a lot of exciting and new events to come this year as we celebrate the centre’s 25th anniversary, so we will definitely end on a high. And it will be amazing when the new convention centre is built, cementing Sydney as Australia’s leading international destination for events.
I am very excited about the future. The closure of the centre will open new doors for me and I would love to move into a different area of the events sector. m

Supervisor’s comment:

Since Emma joined the centre eight years ago, she has always been able to connect with people. This, along with her honest and straightforward approach, has made her a natural leader. In her present role as senior event manager, Emma deals with some of the centre’s largest accounts as well as major events, and is well respected for her knowledge, experience and enthusiasm. I know Emma will continue to progress her career and will go onto bigger and better things.
Dale King, manager events, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre