Who's on the Panel

The awards are judged by an independent panel of judges who are representative of all areas of the industry by sector and by geography. Members of this panel choose to contribute on a voluntary basis and will remain entirely separate from the ownership structure of the awards.

The panel is led by Sandy Hollway and new members are added regularly. Register for Updates so we can keep you up to date on new judging appointments.

Sandy Hollway AO, Chair of Judges

Since his role as CEO of the Sydney Organising Committee for the 2000 Olympic Games, Sandy Hollway has provided high level advice to other events around the world. These include the Beijing and London Olympics, the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games, the Cricket World Cup and APEC.

Prior to joining SOCOG in February 1997, Mr Hollway has been an Australian diplomat, Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Hawke, and Head of two Commonwealth Government Departments - Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs; and Industry, Science and Technology. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the centenary of Anzac.

Mr Hollway is passionate about promoting the export of Australia's world-class products and services in major events and sports and has led delegations of Australian companies pursuing business opportunities in this field.

Meg Bailey

Award-winning Owner and Director of Event Projects, Meg Bailey has spent 20 years working at the pinnacle of event management and production, both nationally and internationally.

Employed for 10 years by one of Australia's most acclaimed special event companies, David Grant Special Events (dgse), she established the company's New York offices and built enviable relationships with global brands Sports Illustrated and NBC, staging events across the USA - including the coveted Super Bowl "Super Swimsuit Parties" in California, Texas and Florida.

Meg's experience spans four Olympic Games, staging some of the Games most glamourous events – including the legendary Sports Illustrated Olympic Parties - attended by over 3500 celebrities, royalty and medal winning athletes.

More recently she has joined forces with long-time colleague Emma Lydiard, to create one of Australia's most creative, dedicated and polished event agencies - Event Projects. Meg and Emma's remarkable reputation for innovative brand responses and seamless event delivery has seen them develop a remarkable client portfolio containing some of Australia's most respected blue chip companies.

Simon Balderstone AM

  • The Director, Ways and Means Consultancy Pty Ltd - writer, consultant on events, bids, issues management, sustainability and Indigenous programs
  • Founding Chairman, Director, Australian Himalayan Foundation (2002-)
  • Adviser, and Executive Editor/Writer, for successful Tokyo Bid for 2020 Olympic Games
  • International Olympic Committee (IOC) Adviser (2001-2011)
  • Member, IOC Evaluation Commissions for the Olympic Games of 2008 (in 2000-2001); 2012 (2004-5); 2014 (2006-7); 2016 (2008-9) and 2018 (2010-2011)
  • General Manager (Executive Office) , SOCOG - Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (1995-2000)
  • Senior Adviser (Environment, Indigenous Affairs, Sport) to Prime Ministers Hawke and Keating(1990-95), and Senior Adviser to Environment and Sports Minister
  • Member of SOCOG Board (1993-5)
  • Winner, UN Global 500 Roll of Honour for Environmental Achievement 2001, for Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Environment program (Manager)
  • Expert advisor to IOC for Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and Athens 2004 Games
  • Advisor to Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games Organising Committees
  • Board Director, Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World (1995- 2003), and ITNewcom Foundation (2012-)
  • Advisor, Yothu Yindi Foundation/Garma Festival (2001-2010)
  • Author, Seeing is Believing (1994), story of Fred Hollows and his work
  • Co-author, Events that Shaped Australia (2006)
  • Author, Kakadu; A Heritage for the Future (1986)
  • Member, First Australian Mt. Everest Expedition 1984

Elizabeth Bindon-Bonney

A long career in the event industry specializing in the organization and management of national and international business events, primarily in the association and incentive market, has equipped Liz well in her move into the education space.

Her particular interest is in feasibility studies, strategic planning, the development of event concepts and design, marketing strategies, risk management and event sustainability. In the role of Advanced Skills Lecturer Liz is responsible for academic leadership, the work integrated learning program, development and maintenance of industry partnerships and event traineeships.

The key focus of Liz's teaching activities, in collaboration with students, is the development of feasibility of event concepts as a driver of change, brand recognition and income generation for the not-for-profit sector. The philosophy is to foster both critical and creative thinking and build a sense of social responsibility and awareness in the student cohort.

Liz has completed a Master of Education and currently studying her Doctorate of Education.

Acknowledgement of Liz's contribution to the event industry includes: board representation for Meetings and Events Australia and the Perth Convention Bureau, Chair of Meetings and Events Australia (MEA, WA), and Vice-President of the Events Industry Association. She is also a member of the Events Industry Advisory Group with FutureNow, the Western Australian Training Council for the Creative and Leisure Industries which are a collective of Arts and Culture; Tourism, Hospitality and Events; Information Communications Technology; Media; Printing; and Sport, Recreation and Racing.

Graham Brown

Graham Brown is Professor of Tourism in the School of Management at the University of South Australia - which was the winner of the Education category at the first Event Awards in 2009. He gained his PhD from Texas A & M University and has worked at universities in England, Canada and Australia. He is interested in the relationship between events and destination management and was an active participant of the New South Wales government's Tourism Olympic Forum prior to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. More recently, he has conducted studies at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games, the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the Tour Down Under in South Australia. He has been an invited speaker at major international event conferences and is a member of the editorial board for leading journals.

Heath Campanaro

Heath is a communications expert with a diverse background of marketing roles, both in Australia and in the UK.

Beginning his career in Account Service, then Planning and finally Creative, Heath became one of Australia’s youngest Creative Directors at just 28, and the General Manager of Imagination at 30.

Since then he has led projects across experiential, direct, digital, advertising, sponsorship and internal culture change projects.

Heath has been with Imagination for 10 years and is now a Director of the Australian business, helping to grow the team into one of Australia’s most respected integrated agencies, with over 100 staff in Sydney and Melbourne.

Heath has worked with a range of clients across most segments, including the City of Sydney, the Royal Australian Navy, Commonwealth Bank, Ford, Telstra, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Diageo, AMP, American Express & Panasonic just to name a few.

Heath is currently the Creative Director for the Imagination Creative Team working with the City of Sydney on the 2011-16 Sydney New Year’s Eve events, as well as being the Project Director for the Royal Australian Navy’s International Fleet Review Spectacular. He is currently the Project Director for the Centenary of Anzac Touring Exhibition, the flagship project for the WW1 Centenary commemoration.

Scott Crebbin

Scott is a communications and events specialist with over 23 years’ experience. He is the Director of the communications agency Platform6, which he established in 2015. Platform6 clients come from both the public and private sectors, specialising in event and government communications.

Scott has worked on some of the world’s biggest sporting and cultural events including the Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Manchester Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and four Rugby World Cups.

He has consulted extensively to the New South Wales Government on the delivery, government coordination and issues management for many of the state’s major events including New Year’s Eve celebrations, Sydney Festival First Night, APEC and the Oprah Winfrey visit. He has worked directly on numerous events including the Sydney Harbour Bridge 75th Anniversary celebrations, Anzac Day commemorations, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Gough Whitlam Memorial Service in Sydney.

Scott has also held positions as Communications Manager for both the Football Federation Australia and the Darling Harbour Authority, Media Adviser for the Sydney Olympic Games and as the Marketing and Communications Manager for the International Olympic Committee based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Kate Dezarnaulds

Kate is Head of Partnerships for TEDxSydney. She has degrees in art history and business, and a career that has roamed the commercial and not-for-profit arts landscape. She has 15 years experience in marketing and business development roles with organisations like Sotheby's, ArtBank, Art Month Sydney, Sydney Festival & Bundanon Trust. She is a Board Director for Underbelly Arts, National Trust of Australia (NSW) and recently completed a term on the Shoalhaven Tourism Board.

Wayne Evans

Wayne has been organising events for the past 36 years. His experience commenced in a voluntary capacity starting with an Air Spectacular in Ballarat in 1979, and then as part of his career over the past 24 years. As a professional fundraiser his specialty is organising events that provide a strong net return for the charity or organisation.

Wayne is currently working on Science meets Business and Science meets Parliament events in Sydney and Canberra for Science & Technology Australia and recently organised the fundraising and volunteer coordination of the inaugural Q1 Sea to Sky Stairclimb Challenge on the Gold Coast.

Wayne's interest in events extends to festivals where he has held the positions of Chairman of the Werribee Weerama Festival in Victoria and Chairman of the Tuggeranong Community Festival in the ACT.

Wayne's event organisation has been recognised with awards from the Fundraising Institute of Australia at national and state level and in 2005, had Board responsibility for the National Awards Portfolio.

He has been fortunate to receive awards from then Governor-General Major General Michael Jeffery in 2005 and then Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce in 2009 for contributions to the Snowy Hydro SouthCare Helicopter Service.

Sebastian Flynn

Sebastian Flynn is currently Manager, Events & Communications, for the Multicultural Development Association (MDA Ltd), based in Brisbane.

He was appointed Managing Director of the National Folk Festival, Canberra in February 2010 – delivering four events from 2010 - 2013, winning the Canberra and Capital Region Tourism Award for Best Festival Event in 2011, a Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) Award for the 2012 festival media and the 2012 Canberra Capital Tourism Award.

Sebastian was Director of the Queensland Multicultural Festival from 2006-2009 – delivering four highly successful events on behalf of Queensland Government, with an audience of up to 65,000 people. He was also responsible for the Premier’s Multicultural Photographic Awards, Queensland Multicultural Awards, Diversity Rocks Education program, Diversity Writes Literary Event and Diversity Talks on ABC Radio.

Sebastian was Programming and Production Coordinator for BEMAC (Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre) from 2001-2005, delivering many successful culturally diverse music performances at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

Steve Fontanot

Steve Fontanot founded Chieftain Communications to build an agency that would house events, marketing and digital specialists in order to create seamless delivery to his multi-national client list.

In his role as CEO & CD, Steve is tasked with expanding the agency into markets across Asia, US, LATAM and Europe. In 2014 he partially sold Chieftain to the global communications company, Creata Group, in order to further its expansion strategy.

Steve has specialised in events, non-traditional and youth marketing in a variety of agencies over the years, including leading the Australian office of the world's first experiential agency. He was also tasked with creating DDB's experiential marketing and events division, which grew significantly under his leadership.

Steve's ongoing passion is creating events, whether it be a product launch for a few hundred people, right up to large-scale outdoor events. He is committed to driving the credibility of the events industry and its importance to the Australian market.

Steve is frequently asked to speak at government and industry events on the areas of events, experiential marketing, youth marketing and social media. He has been a judge at a variety of industry awards over the years. His work has won a number of industry awards.

Steve has been entrusted to create events for some of the biggest brands in the world, including ASUS, eBay, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Nestle, TigerAir, Staples, Huawei and Singapore Tourism Board, to name a few.

Glen-Marie Frost

A passionate and creative visionary leader with proven business acumen and broad management experience across multiple disciplines and industries, Glen-Marie combines a unique ability to create excitement around abstract ideas with savvy business acumen and to build effective teams and inspire exceptional achievement. She is an experienced negotiator with a proven record of engagement in aligning diverse stakeholders.

She established two of her own communications agencies – Glen-Marie North & Associates and Glen-Marie Management Group, specialising in business, media, communication, major events, image, branding, marketing and community.

Ms Frost has worked with a wide range of Australian and international companies and brands, including Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Bank, Hyatt Hotels, Emirates Airlines and Argyle Diamond Mines. Ms Frost has also held senior positions at De Beers as the Executive in Charge of Australasia and as the General Manager Communications, Corporate and Community Relations for the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, where she was responsible for taking the Olympic Games to the Australian people and creating Welcome the World, an initiative that brought Sydneysiders and stakeholders together as hosts to welcome the world’s visitors.

Bill Harris

Bill is a graduate of the University of Melbourne (Commerce) and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (Technical Production). Following a period as resident Production Manager at Belvoir Street Theatre, Bill took on the Production Management role for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Arts Festivals.

As Production Director for the 2002 Adelaide Festival of Arts, Bill’s role incorporated the creation and development of new Australian and international productions, together with the inclusion of several community based projects.

In mid 2002, Bill returned to NIDA as Head of the Production course, fulfilling a desire and commitment to the training of young people in the Arts.

As Head of Programming at Sydney Festival from 2007-2012, Bill was instrumental in the sourcing and delivery of major Festival works and produced events such as Festival First Night, Movers and Shakers dance series, Smoke and Mirrors, Dawn Chorus and Trocadero Dance Palace. Following Sydney Festival, Bill was appointed Executive Producer for Global Creatures, where he was responsible for leading the Producing and Production teams in the delivery and management of the world premiere season of the stage musical, King Kong. Following Kong, Bill has worked on a contract basis for companies and events including: Erth Visual & Physical, Carriageworks, City Recital Hall, Adelaide Festival, Live Performance Australia and is currently acting Program Director with the Barangaroo Delivery Authority.

Dr Rob Harris

Dr Rob Harris is a former Director of the Australian Centre for Event Management, at the University of Technology Sydney where he also co-ordinated the Master of Management (Event Management). Rob has been involved in event management education and training for over 18 years and is a co-author of the texts Festival and Special Event Management and Event Management. Additionally, he has acted as a consultant for a variety of organisations associated with the events field including Arts ACT, Events Tasmania, Events NSW and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority. Rob was also a foundation director of the Festivals and Events Association of Australia, and presently serves on the editorial boards of the academic journals Event Management and the International Journal of Event and Festival Management.

Craig Hassall AM

Craig Hassall has worked in the performing arts for over 28 years and has recently been appointed CEO of the Royal Albert Hall. Prior to this, he was the Chief Executive of Opera Australia, the national opera company. Prior to Opera Australia, he worked in London for almost nine years, firstly as CEO of English National Ballet, the national touring ballet company of the UK. Following this, Craig was Chief Operating Officer of Raymond Gubbay Ltd, responsible for new business and collaborative ventures in the commercial field of classical music, opera and ballet. He also consulted on cultural aspects of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Craig was awarded an AM of the Order of Australia for services to the arts in the Australia Day Honours 2016. He has served on many boards and is currently on the board of C4RD—Centre for Recent Drawing, London and LIFT, the London International Festival of Theatre.

Di Henry OAM

Di Henry is an internationally awarded Producer and Director of Events, Exhibitions, Operations, Media Campaigns and Marketing.

Di has acquired over 25 years of experience in creating and delivering a diverse range of culturally and sporting significant events. She is recognised internationally as an innovative, dynamic and results driven professional. Her advice is consistently sought by large organising committees and companies around the world.

In 2001 with the Queens Honours at Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded Di Henry the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to the Event Industry. In the same year, Juan Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee, presented Di with The Olympic Order for producing the Best Olympic Torch Relay ever staged (Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch Relay). Last year at the inaugural Australian Event Awards Di received the award for the Best Export Event for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay. Di Henry is Australia's most awarded Event Producer.

Di began her career as an Art Director in film and television in the eighties before establishing herself in the Arts, Event and Sports management fields. Di has also worked in over 92 countries; extensively in Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Canada specialising in major large-scale public events and operations; including 14 Olympic Torch and Commonwealth Games Baton Relays, Games Ceremonies and Cultural Events, World Cups events and operations. Over the last 16 years Di has been responsible for over 1,000 large scale outdoor public celebrations across 80 countries.

Di has been described by her senior executives as a unique, multi-skilled, visionary, achieved by the fact that she is not only a strategic thinker with commercial acumen but an operational master. Di recognises the value in establishing complimentary management teams that can transform vision into reality. The cornerstone of Di's success in these industries has been her belief that the ability to excel depends on integrity, research, imagination, skill, diversity and teamwork.

Peter Jones

Over the past 25 years, Peter Jones Special Events has seen Peter head up a team which has produced more than 1,200 events. He has made significant contributions to the industry at large, including as former Chairman of the Victoria Events Industry Council, former board member of Destination Melbourne, past President of the Melbourne chapter of the International Special Events Society, as a lecturer at various event management courses and as a judge of the Australian Event Awards. PJSE is also a member of the Victoria Tourism Industry Council.

In 2016, Peter Jones was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian Event Awards.

Stuart Katzen

Stuart Katzen is the owner and director of Eventify.

Stuart began his career as an actor and director in New York and has designed and delivered hundreds of events over the last 20 years.

Stuart is an accomplished event producer and designer, entertainment and film and video director.

His range of skills allows him to understand and translate the message each client wants to communicate. As a consummate story teller, Stuart has an ability to tell his clients story in way that engages and delights audiences and keeps them coming back for more.

Stuart has worked with a variety of clients both around Australia and overseas and designed and produced events for the likes of Michelle Bridges, the Law Society of NSW, Mad Mex, CBA, Smirnoff, Epson and Theiss John Holland, just to name a few.

Stuart also speaks on events nationally and internationally and writes a quarterly column on events for mice.net magazine.

Glen Lehman CSEP

Glen has a background of over three decades in the theatre and entertainment industries. He is the only Australian qualified as a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) for life. The George Washington University and the International Special Events Society bestows this title.

Before starting his own company in 1981 (Lehman & Associates), he worked for both Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet, developing their successful promotional and marketing campaigns.

Over this time Glen has worked with many of Australia’s leading companies and organisations helping them to plan and organise positive motivational outcomes for their social function, conferences, launches & training events.

Cameron Little

Cameron Little is an environmental scientist and management specialist with two decades of experience within the environment, sustainability and corporate social responsibility sectors. He has been providing pioneering sustainability support for the Australian events industry for the last ten years including policy and sustainable event management systems, supply chain and waste management procedures, community education and engagement.

Interesting projects Cameron is working on include establishing the Blue Mountains as a ‘Low Carbon Tourism Region of Excellence’ with an initial focus on iconic venues and attractions, a new ‘Green Kitchens Program’ for commercial kitchens, establishment of large scale composting facilities for Charles Sturt University, and delivering Sustainable Event and Sustainable Event Auditor Training programs. Cameron is National Judge for the Australian Sustainable Cities Awards and is providing sustainability support for the 2013 City to Surf and for a grouping of seven wineries in the NSW Hunter Valley Region.

Andy Lopez

Andy Lopez started Out There Productions in 1996. With his business and creative partner Andrew Bee, OTP has produced a range of spectacular major events around Australia.

Andy has a serious passion for major public celebrations – he loves producing events with a purpose, and the bigger the crowd the better. Often working in front of audiences in the tens and hundreds of thousands, the OTP group's events are enjoyed by over 300,000 Australians every year.

With his partners Andrew Bee and Dominic McCormack, Andy is the co-owner of the Summernats Car Festival, Australia’s Favourite Event in 2013. They have reinvented and reinvented the Nats overseeing an increase from 78,000 attendees to well over 100,000 attendees in 6 years, bringing $20m to the ACT economy. In 2015 they launched a brand new event with the NT Government, the Red CentreNATS in Alice Springs, which smashed expectations in its first year with an economic impact of $12m.

Scott Maidment

Scott Maidment has over 25 years’ experience in the events and performing arts industries. He is the founding director of Strut & Fret, which produces and manages theatre, artists, events, festivals and venues.

Scott has produced events for many of Australia’s major festivals, including the Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne Festivals, Brisbane International Film Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the Adelaide Fringe Festival, in addition to international festivals and events in Edinburgh, London, Brussels, Munich, Bogota and many more. He has also delivered major events for local and state governments Australia-wide.

In addition, Scott conceived and directed many of Strut & Fret’s award winning productions including Blanc de Blanc, Fear & Delight, LIMBO, Cantina, Tom Tom Crew, Feasting on Flesh and The Secret Death of Salvador Dali.

Paula Masselos

Paula is a proven Senior Executive who has held high profile positions in community, corporate and government sectors. An original, creative and strategic thinker, Paula has broad experience across a range of sectors nationally and internationally. She has a strong reputation in collaborative leadership, compassionate reform and with an innovative solutions orientation. She builds cohesive and healthy teams while being highly results focussed. She is an energetic, passionate advocate for progressive and responsible change.

Julie McGraw

Julie McGraw is the Managing Director of GEMS Event Management Australia. With over 25 years’ experience in the events industry, including the management of more than 150 conferences and special events, Julie was awarded National Meetings Manager of the Year for 2015 and 2016 by Meetings and Events Australia.

She has an Executive Certificate in Event Management (with Distinction) from the University of Technology Sydney and holds various professional accreditations in event management in Australia.

With a career that began in the hospitality industry, Julie has worked for organisations such as Qantas, Sheraton Asia/Pacific and Ritz Carlton as well as consulting for a range of hotel chains. She has lectured in hotel management at both William Blue Hotel Management School and Macleay College and presented at the Professional Conference Organisers’ National Conference in 2008.

John Moore

John Moore is a globally recognised specialist in consumer and brand marketing. His career highlights include Head of Marketing for the highly successful Sydney 2000 Olympic Games where he was responsible for the image and identity of the Games, the marketing and sponsorship programs, and created new benchmarks for retailing and merchandise - The Sydney 2000 Olympic Stores. John previously worked as Vice President for Warner Bros Consumer Products Asia Pacific division, Deputy Chairman of the TTF Board, CEO Asia Pacific for the Nuance Group one of the world’s largest travel retailers, and has had a long and successful association with the major event and tourism industry. John joined Global Brands in 2006 in a welcome return to the big event brand marketing and eventually founded Excalibre Insights in 2012, a boutique brand strategy and marketing consultancy whose clients include 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the Australian Olympic Committee, Sydney Motorsport Park, Western Sydney Parklands Trust and UrbanGrowth NSW.

Kate Roffey

Kate Roffey has over two decades’ experience working across the commercial, government and not-for-profit sectors.

She is the former CEO of the Committee for Melbourne, an advocacy organisation taking a strategic view on how to improve Melbourne for all of its residents, furthering its cause through challenging current thinking, fostering innovative thought leadership and engaging in informed commentary. Prior to this, she held positions as the Manager of the Melbourne Park Redevelopment for Tennis Australia, a major infrastructure undertaking to ensure Melbourne retains the Grand Slam event until at least 2036, and as the CEO of VicSport, advocating for the sporting and recreation sector across the state.

Kate is currently on the Board of Directors for both the Melbourne Football Club and Melbourne University Sport. She is also Chair of the Enterprise Maribyrnong Committee and a member of the Ministerial Freight Advisory Council.

Noel Staunton

Noel Staunton is a creative director and producer with a breadth of experience across productions and special events in the arts sector.

As Artistic Director of the Brisbane Festival between 2010 and 2014, his festivals were described as “a series of grand adventures”. He instigated major changes to the running and wider perception of the festival, which resulted in a three-fold increase in ticket sales.

Previous to his time at the Brisbane Festival, he held various roles both in Australia and internationally, including as Opera Technical Director at the English National Opera, Technical Director at Opera Australia and CEO of Sydney Dance Company.

In 1999, he founded Bazmark Live with acclaimed Australian director Baz Luhrmann, going on to be the Executive Producer on a range of live theatrical events which were staged all around the world, including in Cannes, London, Sydney and on Broadway.

Meri Took

Penniless muso turned roadie, Meri Took started the first ever crewing service in Sydney in 1978. Meri toured the world for many years with the cream of rock royalty including Neil Young, Elton John, INXS, The Police, Elvis Costello and Cold Chisel in Lighting and Production Management Roles.

Meri was Technical Director and Designer for the launch of the Apple Macintosh in Hawaii in 1983, and has since worked on thousands of corporate events. He is known for his vast experience, his staging of successful events, exceptional project management skills and a matchless attention to detail. His Australian production company, Production Techniques, was a ground breaking industry leader in the late eighties.

In 1990 Meri identified a gap in the Australian market for rental theatrical drapes and stage risers. Starting with a dozen drapes, some second hand risers, and a strong commitment to service excellence, Staging Rentals was born.

Staging Rentals & Construction Services is a multi-award winning company renowned for its results. With the motto, ‘you’re only as good as your last gig’ Meri’s dedication to creating spectacular events for happy customers has never changed.

In 2015, Meri was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian Event Awards.

He is currently touring Australia as a Production Manager for Velvet.

John Trevillian AM

John Trevillian has been a national and international leader in the development of the major events industry for over 20 years. He was the first person inducted into the Festival and Events Association Hall of Fame in 2003 and he was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian Event Awards in 2014.

In a career spanning both the government and non-government sectors, John has played major roles in the delivery or coordination of a number of high profile major events that have been “firsts” for Australia in terms of scale and scope: the 1988 Bicentenary; the Centenary of Federation; the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games; and the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup 2015.

John has also shaped and developed some of our much loved national events through his leadership of government coordination services for events such as Sydney’s New Year’s Eve, Sydney’s Mardi Gras, Australia Day celebrations and the City to Surf Fun Run.

As testimony to the range of John’s experience in major events, roles he has played in support of visiting dignitaries including Royal Visits, Heads of State and Guests of Government, and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Christopher Reeve, have added to the reputation Sydney has rightly earned as a leading host of major international events. His long standing commitment to charities such as Fred Hollows Foundation and the Special Olympics has seen him play a leading role in delivering highly successful fund-raising events for many causes.

John’s extraordinary commitment to serving his community was recognised in 1995 when he was awarded an AM in the Order of Australia for service to the community. He was subsequently awarded the Order of the Golden Rings from the International Olympic Committee for service to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in 2000; and a Centenary Medal for service to the Australian community in 2001.

Mark Wallage

Mark is the Creative Director of Concept Event Management and has been producing major events for almost 30 years.

Known for his skill as a live event director and show caller, Mark worked on the sports presentation teams for the Sydney and Beijing Olympics, the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games in Doha in 2006.

He has also created stunning opening ceremonies for a variety of international congresses in Australia and throughout the Asia Pacific region.

In addition, he has written and directed hundreds of hours of television commercials, training films and other media for clients around the world.

Pamela Wheat

Pamela Wheat has created and produced hundreds of events for up to 8000 guests for opening ceremonies, themed parties and awards nights.

Formerly an Advertising Agency Television Producer she has produced events for over 30 years for corporations, national and international associations. Following 14 years as Producer of Special Events at ICMS Australasia, she became General Manager of Directions Events, with major clients being high end corporations. She attained the CSEP (Certified Special Event Professional 2002-2012), was a guest lecturer for the UTS Events Management courses, and served on the board of ISES. She works as a freelance consultant on projects which have included the NSW Tourism Awards, the National Travel Industry Awards and the OzHarvest CEO CookOff 2015.

Barry Wilkins OAM CFEE

Barry has been an active Festival and Special Events Producer, Director and Consultant, Tourism and Arts Administrator and Manager for nearly 50 years - 23 of them as the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Ballarat Begonia Festival Association Ltd in Victoria (from 1969 - 1992). He also spent 18 years as Manager Festivals & Events, Tourism and the Arts at The District Council of Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills.

Barry retired from full time employment in the tourism, arts and event industries at the age of 70, and moved back to Victoria to reside at Bacchus Marsh, where he still advises and supports community events and festivals in a voluntary capacity. He is also the Musical Director and Conductor of the 50 member Moorabool Light orchestra, based at Bacchus Marsh.

Barry has consulted for a significant number of regional festivals and events throughout Victoria and South Australia over his long special events career. He was a Founding Member and Vice-President of the AVF (Association of Victorian Festivals) and the Founding President of the South Australian Festivals and Events Association.

Barry is Australia's Official Representative to IFEA World, based in Boise USA (International Festivals and Events Association) a position he has held since 1984. He served 3 terms on the IFEA International Board of Directors and was the inaugural Chair of International Development. He is a Life Member of IFEA and in 2000 in New Orleans was inducted into the IFEA Hall of Fame.

In 1992 Barry was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, in the Australia Day Honours, for services to the festivals and event industry, tourism, the arts & community.

Ericc Winton

Events Strategist and Business – creating defining moments

What a privilege and pleasure it is to be a Judge for the Australian Event Awards.

Ericc works with clients locally and internationally, re-energising them and setting new pathways. His experience spans conferences and exhibitions, sports events, festivals, tourism and cultural activities, with special knowhow in the global events arena. Ericc works with companies who are themselves engaged in events delivery and with event owners, organisers, host governments and sponsors. Getting traction, identifying new and emerging opportunities, finding project partners are examples of his work to improve clients’ performance and quality of their product and service. Ericc is recognised in Australia and internationally as a ‘go-to’ major events person and has a strong track-record of effective results. He has represented and worked with governments in the planning and implementation of international sporting events.

Ericc has expertise that includes concept development, business planning, marketing, branding, managing risk; plus, in relation to mega-events, commercial management, coordination/integration and legacy development.

Ericc has impressive local and international networks. His “Back on the Block” events business intelligence newsletter is widely known. He is a contributing writer to various journals, has been featured in newspapers and has spoken by invitation at international conferences and universities.

Ericc’s company is New Millennium Business, based in Sydney.

Domonique Wiseman

Domonique Wiseman has a diverse and unique mix of experience spanning over 15 years in the the strategic development and implementation of major events and creative brand experiences across the arts, government, tourism, not for profit, sporting and corporate sectors. She also has over eight years’ experience in Senior Management roles running event agencies and departments both in Australia and New Zealand.

She has enjoyed a successful career as a freelance Senior Producer, working with International agencies including Jack Morton Worldwide, Precinct and Imagination and delivering many high profile events for the Queensland Government, Brisbane Lions AFC and major business in Australia and overseas. In the festival space she has held the position of Operations Manager of the Queensland Multicultural Festival and produced several events and programs for Brisbane Festival. She was also the founding Producer of the Bernard Fanning Youngcare Benefit Concert.

Domonique is currently the Festival Manager for Queensland Rugby League, leading the creative, strategic and operational development of a new initiative.

Shani Wood

Shani Wood’s experience in producing some of Australia’s largest major events ensures that she has the highest levels of competency in project management, strategic planning, team-building, recruitment and people management, production, operations and logistics, conceptual development and realisation of creative vision, funding and financial management systems, sponsorship, risk management and authorities and stakeholder consultation and management.

Shani Wood has built a career in managing Australia’s largest major public and corporate events over the last 17 years. Companies she has worked with include Nomad Two Worlds, Wesfarmers, Perth Fashion Festival, Christmas Pageant (Perth), RAC, WA Signature Dish, Northam Avon Descent Association, Truffle Kerfuffle, Fortescue Metals Group, ATCO Australia, Western Australian Government and WAPOL.

Shani has extensive education, training and professional speaking experience. She has lectured in Special Event Management at Edith Cowan University and been guest speaker at many forums, workshops, courses and conferences across Australia and Asia for local and international Government, education and tourism organisations. In 2010 she was Mentor for the Young Australian Tourism Association Mentor Program.

Acknowledgement of Shani’s contribution to the Australian events industry includes a Prime Minister’s Centenary of Federation Medal, board representation for the Western Australia Events Industry Association and National Festival and Events Association, and the National Event Educators Forum where she represented Western Australia. In 2009 Shani was awarded the Event Manager of the Year in the Australian Event Awards.