Australian Cyber Security Centre Conference 2017, Australian Cyber Security Centre - 2017 National Finalist: CIM Magazine Best Meeting or Conference


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 Brenda LaPorte and Peter Rix and new members are added regularly. Register for Updates so we can keep you up to date on new judging appointments.

Joining the Panel

If you would like to offer your industry knowledge and experience as a member of the Industry Judging Panel, please contact us with a summary of your experience and the category that you would like to judge. If a vacancy exists that may be suitable then we will forward your information to the Co-Chairs of Judges for a decision.

Please Note

All members of the Panel must be approved by the Co-Chairs of Judges, who consider the skills, experience and balance of the Panel as a whole. Any decision to not accept an application is therefore not a reflection on the quality of the applicant.

The integrity of the Industry Judging Panel is of paramount importance and, with this in mind, all Judges are required to abide by terms and conditions covering confidentiality, conflicts of interest and the conduct expected of Judges.

The Industry Judging Panel is independent from the production and management of the Australian Event Awards. Members of The Epic Team, the management company appointed to project manage the Event Awards, may not hold a position on the Industry Judging Panel. For more information on the rules and governance, click here.

Brenda LaPorte

Brenda LaPorte

Brenda is a Board Member of Tourism and Events Queensland and Deputy Chair of the Sunshine Coast Events Board. Brenda has extensive experience in the business of sport and major events, providing strategic, project and change management services within the sports, event and entertainment sector.

Brenda has served in previous roles including Chair of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Bathurst 2021 Local Organising Committee and Vice President and Non-Executive Director of the Athletics Australia board.  Her experience includes the creation of Cricket Australia’s newest commercial property the Big Bash League. Prior to this her roles have included the position of General Manager – Project Planning, Risk and Strategy at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and Senior Advisor to the Australian International Sporting Events Secretariat.

Formerly a Partner in global consulting firm Accenture, Brenda holds a Bachelor of Business, a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters of Business – Sport Management.

Peter Rix AM

Peter Rix AM

Peter Rix is a pioneering Australian artist manager and acclaimed event producer.

He commenced Peter Rix Management (‘PRM’) in 1972 and over the ensuing 15 years managed the careers of Marcia Hines, Jon English, Richard Clapton, Mark Holden, the rock band ‘Hush’, Billy Field, Sharon O’Neill, Anne Kirkpatrick and many others.

A total of 48 platinum and 53 gold albums and 35 gold singles were awarded to artists managed by PRM in those days.
By the early 1980s, Peter had become the producer of a number of iconic Australia music events, commencing with the Variety Club’s annual ‘Carols by Candlelight’ concert at Parramatta stadium, Hoadley’s ‘Battle of the Sounds’, the ‘Rock Eisteddfod’ series, the 1979 ‘Concert of the Decade’ on the steps of the Sydney Opera House to an audience of 250,000 people, then onto the legendary ‘Narara Music Festivals’ at Old Sydney Town in 1983 and 1984 along with Rugby League grand final entertainment and State of Origin matches and the early day of Friday Night Football.

There were bicentennial activities in 1988 and the Sydney Olympic Games live sites in 2000, all of this in parallel with a growing client base of Australian corporations and their live corporate activations. They included Toyota Australia, the St George Bank, PwC, Lexus Australia and Coca-Cola.

However, it is Peter Rix’s initiation, creation and chairing of the ARIA Music Awards, in collaboration with his music industry colleagues, from its inception in 1986 and for the following 14 years, that is his most lasting legacy.

The George P. Johnson company of Detroit, Michigan, purchased Peter Rix Management in 2004. With Peter at the helm, first as Managing Director then as Chairman, the business created a proud tradition of delivering unique marketing experiences for some of the globe’s most enduring brands including a 30 year history with Toyota Australia, IBM, Amazon Web Services, SalesForce, Oracle, Optus and Woodside.

Additionally, the company embraced such diverse offerings as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the APRA Music Awards, Sydney Opera House NYE celebrations and the Housing Industry Awards.

After a 14 year career with George P. Johnson, Peter Rix re-established Rix Management on 1 January 2018 and continues the tradition of providing interesting, creative live experiences delivered with his unique personal touch and commercial acumen. His helming of the APRA Music Awards continues.

In 2011, Peter was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Australian Event Awards, and in 2019 was awarded an AM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to music, events and philanthropy. He continues, after 52 years, to manage Marcia Hines, and is the creator/producer of the globally successful and critically acclaimed burlesque, circus/disco show Velvet. This production is currently on stage in Europe and continues to attract sell-out audiences on its Australian tours.

Every new day is an adventure and every new opportunity an iron in the fire!

Stacey Buckley

Stacey Buckley

An accomplished event professional with a successful 24 years in the industry, delivering events for global brands and companies around Australia and Asia Pacific. With a proven track record of delivering successful events, Stacey has been involved in the design, production, and delivery of thousands of business events for high profile international clients and government bodies.

With a strong reputation within the events community, Stacey constantly delivers innovative solutions with a demonstrated deep understanding of event production, contractor management and project delivery.

Stacey is the Owner and Director of The Project Crew, a company focusing on delivering event projects for major corporate brands and has a strong presence across Australia with key clients positioned in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and the Sunshine Coast. Stacey is also a current Board Member for the Major Events Board, Sunshine Coast which supports the region’s investment in new and existing major events.

Peter Jones AM

Peter Jones AM

Peter Jones is one of Australia’s leading event producers, creating and designing special events for over thirty years.

Based in Melbourne, Peter and his team have been the recipient of over thirty-five Meetings & Events Industry Awards, including induction into the Hall of Fame in two separate categories – Special Event Organiser and Public Event of the Year.

In 2010, Peter was awarded the International Special Events Society Michael Milburn Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2012 he was presented with the Outstanding Contribution Award by the Meetings and Events Industry. Only a few years later in 2016, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian Event Awards, also receiving a Certificate of Commendation from the Lord Mayor for twenty-five years of outstanding service to the major events industry in Melbourne at The Melbourne Awards.

Last year he was appointed as a Member in the Order of Australia at the Australia Day Honours for significant service to the tourism and hospitality sector. They particularly highlighted his involvement and influence as an advisor, in event management and to the community.

Peter has continually dedicated a great deal of time to representing and supporting the industry at many levels. He recently stepped down as Chairman of the Victoria Events Industry Council and as a member of the Victoria Tourism Industry Council. He was also a board member of Destination Melbourne, past President of the Melbourne chapter of the International Special Events Society and on the Tourism Australia Business Events Advisory Panel.

Michelle Morris

Michelle Morris

With an impressive work history spanning over 25 years across a wide range of organisations in the sport, major events and tourism sectors, Michelle has a proven track record of success in strategy, bidding, project management, operational planning and the delivery of major sporting events.

Michelle is currently a Principal at MI Associates, an Australian based global business who specialise in venues, events and advisory consultancy across Sports, Art & Culture and Tourism, boasting a clientele of the some of the biggest events and sporting organisations in the world.

Throughout her career, Michelle has been highly sought after for her skills in mega & major events. Michelle has held a CEO role delivering the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games and senior leadership roles leading strategic, project and operational planning for major international events including the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006, Manchester Commonwealth Games 2002 and the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.

Michelle recently led Basketball Australia’s successful development and delivery of the FIBA 2022 Women’s World Cup candidature and bid. She also developed and led the Venue Selection process across 14 host cities in Australia and New Zealand for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Responsible for identifying and securing major events in Victoria, she developed Victoria’s Regional Events Strategy and is currently working with the IOC in Tokyo at the 2021 Olympic Games.

Paula Masselos

Paula Masselos

Paula is the Managing Director of Embrace Society which is a communications agency specialising in hard to reach audiences including CALD, Indigenous, women, youth, LGBTI, aged and disabled. Embrace Society is an acknowledged leader in values based behaviour change, community engagement, advertising and communications, and creative strategy and development.

Paula is a highly experienced and award winning strategist and communicator with a career spanning almost 35 years. She has held a number of senior positions including Director of SBS Radio.

Paula has extensive experience in developing highly successful communication strategies and broad experience in running social issues and community engagement campaigns in a diverse range of areas.

Paula has had numerous appointments to ministerial advisory bodies and sat on many boards including sitting on the Radio Advisory Group of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, Chair of Sydney’s Carnivale Multicultural Arts Festival and served for six years as a Community Relations Commissioner in NSW. She was on the National Women’s Advisory Council and shaped multicultural TV broadcasting as a member of the Ethnic Television Review Panel. Paula has been a Breast Cancer Network of Australia Media Ambassador and participated in the Field of Dreams.

Paula presently chairs many Waverley Council committees including the Arts and Culture Committee, Public Art Committee, RAP Committee, Multicultural ADvisopry Committee, and has close invovlement in the restoration of the iconic Boni Pavilion and the heritage listed Boot Factory which will be a centre of innovation including an Innovation Civic Town Hall for the community.

Meri Took

Meri Took

Penniless muso turned roadie, Meri Took started the first ever event 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 was Production Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Paralympic Games in Sept 2000. 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 was a multi-award-winning company with branches in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
The business has now ceased operations and is being wound down, and Meri remains closely connected to the industry.

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

Simon Balderstone AM

Simon Balderstone AM

Simon is the Founding Director of Ways and Means Consultancy – a consultancy on events, bids, issues management, sustainability and Indigenous programs. He was the Founding Chairman (2002-2023) , and is a Founding Director (2002-) of the Australian Himalayan Foundation and was a member of the successful First Australian Mt. Everest Expedition 1984.
His career has seen him be a journalist; author; trek guide; Ministerial and Prime Ministerial Senior Adviser, through to Board member (1993-5) and a General Manager at SOCOG (1995-2000); as well as Senior Adviser and Executive Editor/Writer for the successful Tokyo Bid for the 2020 (now 2021) Olympic Games. Also,

  • Board Member and Scholar Mentor, ITNewcom Foundation (2013-2019)
  • Member, IOC Evaluation Commissions for the Olympic Games of 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018
  • Strategic Advisor, Media co-ordinator , Garma Festival/Yothu Yindi Foundation(2001-2010)
  • Senior Adviser (Environment, Indigenous Affairs, Sport) to Prime Ministers Hawke and Keating (1990-95), and Senior Adviser to Environment and Sports Minister (1987-90)
  • Winner, UN Global 500 Roll of Honour for Environmental Achievement 2001, for Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Environment program
  • International Olympic Committee (IOC) Adviser (2001-2011), including 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 (1995- 2003)
Derrin Brown

Derrin Brown

Derrin Brown is a critical thinker and creative alchemist of Immersive Environments.

His COVID hiatus creation is The Mandala Social, where he is General Manager and has been working with State Economic Development Authorities on immersive experiential projects. He has spent 23+ years producing international experiences on behalf of commercial entities and through all levels of government, up to and including the United Nations. His work has covered all scales and levels of art, sport, boutique, and major events, always with a musical backing, both inside and out of the proscenium or stadium. He is equally as adept at crafting from scratch in greenfield sites and now has a comprehensive knowledge of shoreline car parks around the Ring of Fire. His focus is always on production quality that is designed to engage all of the senses.

Career highlights include leading teams at Cirque du Soleil, the Sydney Opera House, Princess Cruises and various international governments. His most recent work was at the NOOR Riyadh Festival in KSA which achieve seven Guinness world records.

He has collaborated with Democratic National Committees in the USA on DNC’s and Presidential Election campaigns. Loves working classically, with The Royal Ballet, BRB, Opera Australia and the New York Philharmonic amongst others. FIFA, The Blue Man Group, Merivale, Belvoir, and the Riverside theatres have also benefited from his creativity and leadership. His special event portfolio includes Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, White Night Melbourne, Australia Day on Sydney Harbour, a World Expo and the work he is most proud of, Directing the Independence Day Handover Ceremony for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Independence for the United Nations.

As a leader, optimist and problem solver, Derrin is committed to shaking up the status quo via critical thinking, creativity and innovation, while fully embracing the Purple Flag economy, generally with a quality espresso in hand.

Graham Brown

Graham Brown

Graham Brown is Professor of Tourism in the School of Management at the University of South Australia – which was the first winner of the Education category at the Event Awards. He gained his PhD from Texas A & M University and has worked at universities in England, Canada and Australia. He is particularly interested in the relationship between events and destination management and was actively involved in 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 is in the process of writing a book about Eventscapes which discusses, with a series of case studies, the importance of design for environmental settings when staging events.
Graham Brown has recently published his book, Eventscapes, which directly examines the interrelation between events’ simultaneous dependence on and transformation of the places in which they are held: Read More about the Book

Roger Desailly

Roger Desailly

Roger Desailly is currently the Director of Forte Event Management, a consultancy business that specialises in project and event management services and solutions to rural and regional Australia. He is also the State Manager Qld for the Australian Meat Industry Council, with responsibility, amongst other key member services, for the planning and delivery of regional and state marketing events and competitions for the retail meat industry sector in Queensland.

Holding a Bachelor of Education, an Executive Certificate in Event Management from the University of Technology Sydney, a Major Event Management Professional Development Award from the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney Executive Management Program, and part way through an MBA, he has a wealth of experience in the events industry.

Past roles include Queensland Manager with the Australian Institute of Management, Director of event management consulting company, TrueNorth Event + Project Management, CEO of “Beef Week 2012” Australia’s International Beef Industry Expo and Trade Show, Stadium and Events Manager (Townsville) for the 2003 Rugby World Cup, CEO of Events Cairns and Festival Cairns, Event Director for the Virgin Blue Airlines Corporate Launch in Brisbane in 2001, Human Resources Manager for the 1996 World Junior Championships in Athletics, General Manager of the Australian University Games and Board Member of Capricorn Tourism Major Events Taskforce.

Roger has also freelanced as an event journalist for several major industry, tourism and sporting events, lectured in event management and marketing in both the VET and University sectors over a number of years, sits on a number of event industry, business, rural and regional development and education sector boards and committees and has worked with a wide range of industry organisations, non profit charities, membership based associations and local, state and federal governments on the planning and delivery of major event training, skills and knowledge development initiatives. Roger is currently working on a regional Australian event workforce development project for the agribusiness sector.

Sebastian Flynn

Sebastian Flynn

Sebastian was formerly Managing Director of the National Folk Festival, Canberra from 2010-2013 – delivering four successful events and winning the Canberra and Capital Region Tourism Award for Best Festival Event in 2011 and 2012, a Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) Award for the 2012 festival media as well as a coveted Canberra Critics Circle Award for his programming and theming of ‘For the Fallen’ presented in collaboration with the Australian War Memorial for ANZAC Day 2011.
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.

Formerly Programming and Production Coordinator for BEMAC (Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre) from 2001-2005, Sebastian delivered many successful culturally diverse music performances at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, whilst garnering a broad knowledge and passion for ethnic music and cultural traditions from all over the world.

Sebastian is the founder of the ‘Culture Compass’ – working as a freelance producer and facilitator in the multicultural events and educational arenas.

Sebastian has served as a judging panel member for the highly-coveted national Australian Event Awards for the past eight years.

Kristen Finnigan

Kristen Finnigan

Kristen Finnigan is Director of KFM Events and has over twenty-five years’ experience planning beautiful and memorable events, experiences and celebrations.

Kristen is an experienced event producer specialising in event production, event strategy, event audits, risk & safety management, event training & consulting and partnerships. Based in Tasmania, Kristen is one of the only event-based safety managers in the state, trained specifically to manage risk and safety for events and at event sites.

Originally from Melbourne, Kristen has a strong business background and works with clients from design to execution to deliver successful and engaging events. Kristen’s experience includes events held throughout Tasmania and nationally in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane.

Kristen’s most recent projects include Event Director of the World Transport Games in Perth, Western Australia where over 2000 participants from over 60 countries attended the week-long international event. Kristen was Safety & Risk Manager for the 2022 Special Olympics National Games, and for the Sohn Hearts & Minds Investment Leaders Conference for the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute based in Hobart in 2022. She is also event producer of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards – Tasmania’s largest and most successful business awards event.

Kristen has worked with many large festivals and events throughout Australia, including Tasmania’s well-known winter festival Dark Mofo, plus national festival tours with Fuzzy Events including Listen Out and Field Day, as well as Laneway Festival, Good Things Festival and many others. Also, as event manager at the Qantas Australia Tourism Awards in Launceston, Mona Foma, TasRacing (Australian Horse of the Year Awards), TasRail and other government and non-government organisations and events.

Kristen holds a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety, Certificate of Event WHS Risk Management, Diploma of Leadership and Management, Executive Certificate in Event Management, and an Advanced Diploma in Freelance Journalism.

During the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Kristen identified a gap in the market within Tasmania for qualified event-based safety managers that specialised in risk management, and she completed additional training during her down time to fill that gap. Kristen also worked with Events Tasmania during the pandemic to help develop the Covid-19 event industry guidelines for Tasmanian events to enable them to navigate the changing environment.

Kristen has a strong business background, is an expert trouble-shooter, has excellent attention to detail, and is results focussed with a great sense of urgently. Kristen specialises in delivering large events Australia-wide. Plus, her calm, welcoming and approachable personality makes working with her enjoyable and productive.

Steve Fontanot

Steve Fontanot

As Commercial Managing Director, APAC of Red Havas and Managing Director of Havas Blvd, Steve’s mission is to help strengthen and grow the Group within the APAC region.

Steve is a leading voice in the creation of insight-led PR, brand experience and sponsorship campaigns. His resume includes founding Havas Blvd, founding Chieftain Communications (acquired in 2014), leading Making Waves Australia and driving DDB Australia’s PR, experiential marketing and sponsorship division.

His ongoing mission is to create memorable and authentic brand experiences, that drive engagement and earned media. Steve frequently speaks at government and industry events and has been a judge at numerous industry awards…he’s also won a bunch of them along the way (Spikes, D&AD, AdNews, CommsCon, PRIA, B&T, SABRE, Clios, PR Awards Asia, AGDA, Mumbrella).

Steve has created campaigns for leading brands, including Toyota, Lexus, Nestlé, Samsung, Telstra, Tigerair, Coca-Cola, and eBay, to name a few.

Liz Goodyer

Liz Goodyer

With an exceptional level of creative, production and operational experience in the arts in Australia as well as in the Middle East, China, and the Pacific, Liz’s work spans across theatre, ceremonies and major events. She has held roles from Director of Operations, Head of Production through to Executive Producer.

Recently Liz was the Executive Producer for the 2023 Dubai World Cup Closing Ceremony and Daily Productions and Special Events for the 2020 World Expo Dubai. Prior to this Liz was the Show Producer for 2020 T20 Cricket World Cup Opening Ceremony, 2019 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Sydney, and the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.

Liz started working in Major Events as part of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Ceremonies team and has since gone on to work on international events which include Olympic Games, Pacific Games, Arab Games, major Sporting Event ceremonies and other spectaculars. Other credits include “Clusters of Light” Egypt, 2014, and Baz Luhrmann’s “Strictly Ballroom The Musical” Global Premiere in Sydney.

Ashley Gordon

Ashley Gordon

Ashely co-founded Carillon Conference Management (CCM) with his brother and business partner, Jonathan, in 1985, after holding executive positions with Southern Pacific Hotel Corporation and Lend Lease Leisure.

CCM is now a long established professional conference management company based in Brisbane with representatives and alliances in key markets around the world. Ashley has personally directed many of the 650 major conferences and events managed by CCM for a broad range of clients, from the association, corporate and government sectors.

CCM was presented with the CIM Magazine Best Meeting or Conference Award at the Australian Events Awards in 2013 for managing the largest and most complex scientific congress ever held in Queensland, the 34th International Geological Congress (IGC). IGC was attended by 6012 delegates from 137 countries and featured 3240 guest speakers.

No stranger to international business, Ashley has led numerous industry trade missions and promotional delegations, most notably into Asia, Latin America and Europe. Ashley brings top-level seniority to conferences and skills in negotiation, diplomacy and international relations.

Bill Harris

Bill Harris

Bill has worked in areas such as production, programming, site activation, placemaking and producing, on events and with companies, including: Company B Belvoir Street Theatre, Adelaide Festival of Arts, National Institute of Dramatic Art, Sydney Festival, Global Creatures, Australian National Maritime Museum, Erth Visual & Physical, Carriageworks, Destination NSW, Live Performance Australia, Barangaroo Delivery Authority and the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

Bill is a Patron of Performing Lines Ltd and currently a board member of the Night Time Industries Association.

Alana Hay

Alana Hay

Alana is the founder of Milestone Creative Australia, which specialises in strategy and marketing of major events, festivals, tourism, business events, creative industries and the arts.

Alana has been instrumental in the development and marketing of the largest and most prestigious major events, festivals, precincts, venues, destinations, arts organisations and corporates across Australia. Her 25 year career spans strategic planning, branding, event acquisition and development, tourism and destination marketing. She is passionate about the events industry and loves creating connections between brands and communities. She has a deep understanding of the role events play in creating inclusive, vibrant and shared destinations and communities and tourism and visitation outcomes.

Alana regularly delivers presentations and training to the industry on topics including strategy, tourism, marketing, ticketing major events, event acquisition, event development, social media and digital marketing. She is active in the industry, was on the Board of Directors of Meetings and Events Australia (MEA), is an Accredited Fellow Member of MEA (AFMEA), an Associate of the Australian Marketing Institute and a member of International Festivals and Events Association and owns the ever-expanding Event Professionals Australia Facebook Group.

Tim Jacobs

Tim Jacobs

A native Aussie, Tim Jacobs was born and raised in Melbourne, Victoria. He earned his stripes in his early days in the event industry both on the stage DJing, and behind it in A/V and Tech management. Nearly three decades later, Tim has earned a reputation for his surgical approach to event management, overlay and strategy in multiple sectors of the event industry. With a client list which includes Buckingham Palace, The International Olympic Committee, The Special Olympics, FIFA, The UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs, The Vatican and several other notable sovereign brands, Tim has amassed an enviable wealth of experience in his field that is highly sought after.

Whilst agile project management has become a mantra for Tim, he has developed this method with his own signature into a unique approach which has substantially contributed to the speed at which HQWS are able to respond to client requirements.

Operationally, Tim leads by example and takes a hands on approach which no doubt encourages his team to do the same. Having held numerous senior positions over the years, Tim more recently honed his experience and expertise focused on the Middle East market with his efforts propelling him into the position of COO within the BWS group for the MENA region.

A respected as a veteran of the industry, Tim has proven time and time again that no task is impossible.

Notable relevant projects include:

  • Seconded Consultant to CPC Abu Dhabi – Strategic planning and procurement planning for events – 2013-2015
  • Consultant to Expo 2020 – Overlay budget planning and schedule of accommodation
  • Consultant to FIFA 2022 – Overall master planning and budget estimation
  • Consultant to IOC – Venues and Infrastructure approach for 2020 Agenda
  • Consultant to IOC – Bid analysis of Amity and China Winter bids 2022
  • Consultant to Oman UCI – Bid analysis – infrastructure and overlay planning for UCI Road Championships
  • Special Advisor for Operations and Event Delivery for World Games to the Chairman and the Managing Director of LOC – 2019
  • Project Director State Visit of Queen Elizabeth 11
  • Project Director for the Holy Mass of Pope Francis in Abu Dhabi
Toni Kasch

Toni Kasch

Toni is responsible for producing the annual Queensland Tourism Awards and the Queensland Top Tourism Town Awards. Using her extensive experience within the tourism and aviation industry, Toni delivers key projects and exceptional tourism events for the Queensland Tourism Industry Council.

Previously, Toni has been responsible for the management of exceptional and logistically challenging events at Brisbane Airport since 1992.

During her extensive career Toni has worked with a long list of high-profile global airlines, industry organisations and government partners in the delivery of award winning launch campaigns designed to leverage important relationships and gain valuable international media coverage. Major highlights include event managing the Routes Asia 2018 Conference involving 1200+ global delegates, for which she won two international awards, and a world-class event for the 145th IATA Slot Conference on Brisbane’s new runway for more than 1000 people.
Notably, Toni devises strategies and themes that make each event truly unique through the thoughtful consideration of the values and aspirations of each partner and the skilful application of individual brand elements into the final production. Her superior negotiating and organisational skills has also helped her over-come the many complex restrictions of working in a sterile airport environment, to safely deliver above and beyond the expectations of partners.

Toni studied Event Management at University of Technology NSW and is currently planning the Queensland Tourism Awards 2023 which will be held in Cairns.

Darren Kerr

Darren Kerr

Darren is an international award-winning business communication professional who has been actively engaged as an Agency Head, Executive Producer, Show Caller/Director, International Projects Director, Experiential Marketer, and Creative Strategist in the creative design and delivery of innovative and engaging live communication programs, strategic marketing, authentic brand experiences & integrated digital solutions for a broad range of clients.

Based in London, schooled in Brisbane, skilled in Sydney, and matured in Hong Kong – Darren delivers creative event experiences throughout the world for a curated portfolio of corporate clients and white-glove services on behalf of agency partners.
Notable projects have recently included the Wall Street Journal CEO Summit Tokyo, Huawei product launches in Berlin, Nice and Barcelona, 65th Miss Universe After Party, the launch of the Manila Okada integrated resort, eight successive years producing the President’s Club incentive series for EMC throughout Asia, and the APEC CEO Summit with over twenty heads of state in attendance including President Obama and President Xi Jingping

Producing impactful live event experiences that integrate the live and the digital experiences, he is highly regarded for drawing on his great depth of business theatre fundamentals, strategic marketing expertise, targeted program design creation, eclectic styling senses, and creative storytelling – to achieve powerful results.

His work has been recognised with a number of international awards including Best Event Production, Best Social Event over USD75k, finalist in the Best Export category at the 2010 Australian Event Awards, and in 2013 won the ‘Markies’ Agency of the Year award.

Following consults on COP26 (Glasgow), COP27 (Sharm El-Sheikh) – he is currently honoured to be serving as the Project Director overseeing the design and delivery of COP28 on behalf of the United Nations and the government of the United Arab Emirates.

Andy Lopez

Andy Lopez

Andy Lopez started Out There Productions in 1996. The business group includes event agency OTP Australia, and OTP Major Events, the promoter arm.

Andy has a serious passion for major public celebrations – he loves delivering events with a purpose, and the bigger the crowd the better. The OTP group’s events are enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of Australians every year.

Andy is also a co-owner of the Summernats Car Festival, buying this iconic event in 2009. The Summernats has grown from 75,000 punters to over 110,00 every year, and brings over $30m to the ACT economy. The motoring lifestyle arm of OTP now includes MotorEx, Australia’s leading automotive industry consumer show, the Red CentreNATS, a destination tourism event in Alice Springs that brings $10million to the NT economy, and RockyNats which earned $20million for the Rockhapmton region in its first year.

Hailey Mason

Hailey Mason

Hailey has been in the Events and Event Marketing Industry for 20 years. Starting a career working with sporting governing body, Snowsport GB, quickly moving up to Athlete Coordinator for Winter Olympics 2002. She spent many years in Action Sports managing participation events such as British Ski Championships and The Brits. At this time Hailey was also qualified as a Technical Delegate for the FIS gaining experience in sporting government legislation. On moving to Australia she then worked for EMAP Australia / ACP (now Bauer Media) in the Marketing/Events department across many sporting titles before moving over to the entertainment industry to gain a greater understanding of touring and production.

In 2009 Hailey became National Events Manager for Red Bull Australia organising many mass participation, mass spectator and brand events, predominantly in sport. Leading a team across the country executing all international events held within Australia.

In Late 2011 she started her own agency with clients such as Casio, Pirelli and Total Oil. At this time Hailey met Mito Foundation and with them, created and developed The Bloody Long Walk. The event is now a National tour and has just celebrated it’s 55th event over 8 years bringing in over $18m to the Foundation. Bloody Long Walk were also the first mass participation event in 2020 to gain exemption to host an event over 500 people in SA, QLD, ACT and NSW – Hailey worked with the mass gatherings committee, lobbyists, government departments and other industry partners. In addition, The Shift agency now manage or have managed, Mothers Day Classic (Sydney locations plus one Qld), Wings For Life, Trails For Change and own Meet Me in the South Coast/ Meet Me in the Middle. Clients include Red Bull, Vans, Reebok, Casio, Harley Davidson.

Hailey’s previous agency had been awarded Australian Small Event Management company, plus The Shift has been finalist for Event Management Company of the year 2020 and Hailey has been finalist for Event Producer of the Year four times.

She is now co-host the podcast/webcast The Shift PanelCast, and a Board Member for Australian Mass Participation Sporting Event Alliance.

Abbie McCrisken-Lee

Abbie McCrisken-Lee

Abbie is the Head of Production and Experience at Sight, a Live Experience Agency with offices in both Asia and Australia.

With a background in International VIP events, Special Event Production and brand activations, Abbie’s ability to develop and deliver an incredibly unique and seamless event is second to none. An events specialist with more than 18 years experience, she has honed her skills across an extensive range of events both within Australia and Internationally. Abbie has held roles of Executive Producer in agencies such as George P Johnson and DG Global, managing high value clients such as Google, LinkedIn and Porsche.

Abbie is passionate about creating engaging live experiences for brands that wish to communicate to audiences in a creative way. Her ability to develop creative ideas along with skills in managing the multi-faceted production and logistical elements of large-scale events make her a well-rounded and highly skilled events professional.

Abbie has spent time living in China as well as the East Coast of Australia and now has a base in wonderful Western Australia with her husband, two small children, and an incredibly busy events and travel calendar!

Julie McGraw

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 (MEA).

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 and is the Chair of the MEA PCO Special Interest Group in NSW.

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 a number of industry related conferences and events over the past 20 years.

Kelly-Anne Mott

Kelly-Anne Mott

Kelly-Anne started her events career more than 20 years ago, working for local government in Protocol and Special Events. This diverse role was an excellent opportunity to explore a wide variety of events, including travelling overseas to manage international delegations, and hosting high-level security events for dignitaries such as the US Ambassador and the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. During this time, Kelly-Anne also worked on large-scale community projects with crowds in excess of 150,000 attendees, in conjunction with multiple agencies such as the Department of Defence and the Department of Immigration.

Moving to Brisbane in 2012, Kelly-Anne continued to work for not-for-profit organisations managing markets, art exhibitions, festivals, workshops, and corporate events, collaborating with organisations such as Etsy, Westfield, the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council.

Currently working for the Queensland Hotels Association in an events and partnerships role, Kelly-Anne travels extensively throughout Queensland, and wider Australia, to deliver corporate events, including the annual Awards for Excellence program which received more than 400 submissions across 45 award categories in 2023. Kelly-Anne works with more than 90 partners, including Lion, Carlton & United Breweries, Tabcorp, Hostplus, Keno, IGT, Aristocrat and ALM to strategically value-add to their sponsorship of the organisation with tailored events and campaigns that mutually benefit both parties.

Kelly-Anne manages all aspects of her events, end-to-end, whilst leading a small team. She enjoys collaborating with local event producers and suppliers to bring her ideas to life.

Steve Riethoff

Steve Riethoff

Steve is a communications, media and events professional with over 30 years’ experience in both agency and in-house environments. He has worked across a vast array of industries and organisations including Sydney 2000 Paralympics, Austrade, Invictus Games Sydney 2018, Brickworks, Australian of the Year, Sydney University, Carnival Cruise Lines Australia, Domain, Telstra, Weight Watchers and Woolworths.

Steve is currently Head of Strategic Communications at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Sharyn Sawyer

Sharyn Sawyer

Sharyn has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing, communications, and events management for household name brands including Qantas, Channel 10, Flight Centre, Accor Hotels & Resorts, Brisbane Turf Club, UQ Sport, and various Queensland Government agencies and departments.

Sharyn spent nine years with Queensland Events Corporation, heading corporate communications for the state’s major events attraction agency, which sat within the portfolio of the Premier. The agency invested in an annual calendar of 20+ national and international events and 100+ regional festivals and events.

During this time, she spent three years as head of marketing, establishing the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), an initiative covering 70 countries and areas. APSA partnered with CNN International, FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations, UNESCO, and the Motion Picture Association. Along with the annual awards, APSA produced a filmmakers’ documentary series broadcast on CNN in 200+ countries. In 2008, APSA received a national award for multicultural marketing (export) and, in 2009, APSA was named winner of the Best Marketing category at the inaugural Australian Event Awards.

Sharyn has overseen a long list of high-profile greenfields projects including commercialisation of TMR’s new meetings and training venue, the TransLink Centre for Service Excellence and delivering its 2015 Asia Pacific Cycle Congress, the inaugural QLD Changemaker Awards for the state’s Containers for Change scheme (Oct 2019), and an annual calendar of events, promotions, marketing and sponsorships for Queensland’s largest multisport complex at the University of Queensland (UQ Sport, 2015-2019).

Sharyn currently heads marketing and communications for the Regional Australia Division of major public transport operator, ComfortDelGro Australia (CDC), part of the international ComfortDelGro group.

Dan Simon

Dan Simon

Dan Simon is Head of Creative at Imagination, a leading global brand experience agency. With a strategic and creative mindset, Dan excels at solving complex business problems through bold creativity. His unique background in Installation Art and Commercial Interior Design allows him to craft powerful ideas and transform them into world-class events and experiences while paying meticulous attention to the details.

Throughout his career, Dan has immersed himself in a diverse range of mediums, seamlessly integrating live, physical, and digital channels, making him a highly versatile creative. Whether leading projects or his team, Dan thrives on challenging conventions and pushing boundaries to achieve the highest level of creative excellence. Over the last two decades, Dan has delivered some of Australia’s largest, most immersive, and technology-led events and experiences for renowned global brands, including Telstra, AWS, Samsung, Australia’s Nationbrand, Volkswagen, The Australian War Memorial, The Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, and many others.

Dan is passionate about exploring the boundaries of human experience and technology, in an effort to strengthen our evolving event industry, through heightened collaboration and innovation.

Chris Toward

Chris Toward

Chris is an Award–Winning Event Director, starting his career with IMG and Red Bull, now in his 25th year in the industry. Chris is the co-founder of creative agency The Shift Corp, representing global brands Red Bull, Vans, Reebok, Vodafone, Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, and G-Shock.

The Shift is well known for its “Anything’s Possible” approach across the Sports, Arts & Entertainment, Live Brand Events & Content Special Projects, and Major Public Events landscapes.

The agency recently delivered the ’25 Days To Go’ FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Unity Celebration on the Sydney Harbour Bridge with partners FIFA and Destination NSW.

The Shift Corp were awarded top honours as the Event Management Organisation of the Year, as well as Best Charity or Cause-Related Event at the 2022 Australian Event Awards.

Domonique Wiseman

Domonique Wiseman

Domonique Wiseman has a diverse and unique mix of experience spanning over 20 years in 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 ten 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 Executive Producer, working with International agencies including Jack Morton Worldwide, GPJ and Imagination across the APC region as well as 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 programs for Brisbane Festival, Festival 2018 in addition to leading the creative, strategic and operational development for QRL’s Maroon Festival. She was also the founding Executive Producer of the Bernard Fanning Youngcare Benefit Concert.