Organisers, Producers, Managers and Convenors

The PCO Association is the leading body representing the interests of Professional Conference Organisers and Event Managers in Australia and New Zealand.

The Association aims to increase the standard of professionalism of its members and promote a better understanding of the roles, functions and contributions of Professional Conference Organisers and Event Managers in the conference and event sector.

In 2015 an MOU was signed with the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers.  It is hoped to expand our Asian network in 2017 to give members access to inbound and outbound business opportunities while developing a peer to peer network of meetings industry professionals in the Asia Pacific Region.

Benefits of membership

Use of the PCOA member logo

Online learning – join our 30 minute knowledge sharing webinars

Accreditation program for individuals and companies

Connect on our social media platforms

Sign up for our blogs sharing the latest on industry trends

Regular e-newsletters and member offers

Discounted registration fees at our annual industry Conference

Opportunity to have a voice on issues that affect your business, position or career

Collaborate with event planners in Special Industry Groups

Networking opportunity with other industry professionals

Conference & exhibition insurance rebate with H2 Insurance Solutions

Opportunity to advertise a position vacant on the PCO website at a discount rate (Job must be within the Meeting & Events Industry)

Providing a voice for Members on the (BECA) Business Events Council of Australia board

Members Login

Members can login to the website to update their details and view past webinars from 2015/1016/2017.  If you have not received your login details in recent days, please try to reset your password here.  If you are still experiencing difficulties, contact the secretariat.



Barry Neame – PCO-DIR, CEM, PCO Assoc. President

Director, Consec – Conference Management

barryneameBarry Neame is a Director of Consec – Conference Management and has extensive project management event management experience spanning over twelve years in business.

He has a sound understanding of the logistical issues associated with planning and managing events as well as an understanding of international protocols and has been commended for his sound strategic and organisational planning skills.

Barry is a current board member of the Canberra Convention Bureau and has played a role in contributing to the focus group that advised on the redevelopment of the National Convention Centre.

Maxine Tod, Director of Business Partnerships

maxine-todMaxine brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously worked for 13 years as International and Domestic Business Development Manager, Palazzo Versace.

Maxine worked from December 1999 to September 2000 on the pre-opening of Palazzo Versace, the world’s first full fashion-branded hotel. When the hotel opened Maxine became an integral part of the sales and marketing team, remaining with Palazzo Versace for the following 12 years. Her responsibilities as a business development manager covered domestic and international MICE business, attending trade shows, and hosting domestic and international media familiarity tours.

Maxine has continued to expand her contacts within the industry by working in a liaison role for Tourism Events Queensland, helping showcase the attractions Queensland offers by touring with travel groups and media.

Administration & Accreditation Manager

CindyFor the past four years Cindy has worked at AST Management as an Event Manager. She has run a number of successful Conferences in areas such as mental health, urban design and sustainability.

Prior to Cindy’s role with AST Management she worked in meetings and events roles in a hotel environment for more than 12 years. Cindy is focused, dedicated and hands-on, with proven customer service achievements that have seen her receive awards including employee of the year on two occasions for business support.

Cindy, a New Zealander, has worked in Australia for more than 20 years at destinations including Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania and Hamilton Island. The Gold Coast has been her home for the past 16 years.

NSW – Karen Sainsbury, CEM, PCO-DIR

Managing Director, Cornerstone Events


Karen is a founder and Managing Director of Cornerstone Events. She has a unique ability to really understand what a customer needs, and takes the time to get to know their business – Karen is extremely passionate about delivering what is promised, and ensures every little detail is covered.

Karen’s career has seen her achieve a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, work in both Education and Private Hospital Industry, as well as a strong background in Hospitality. In the hotel industry, she has managed to win two national industry awards leading her teams to success, both as a Director of Sales, then as a General Manager. Her business acumen leading large hotel based teams and national committees within the Accor Network gives Cornerstone a unique edge and value add to its customers.

Karen is an accredited meeting professional with the Professional Conference Organisers Association Australia and New Zealand and is also the NSW Councillor on the PCOA Board.

QLD – Mary Sparksman CEM, PCO-DIR

Director, YRD

marysparksmanMary is the founding director of YRD, a prominent Australian Professional Conference Organiser since 1995. Mary’s career in Hospitality and Event Management began over 30 years ago when she was the National Sales Director for a five star hotel.

YRD organisers and manages events and conferences throughout Australia and New Zealand and has successfully completed over 500 such engagements for State, Federal and local governments, scientific, educational, medical, legal, business and professional services organisations.

Mary is a member of the Sofitel (MICE) Advisory Board and she regularly leads or lectures University, training or other educational organisation forums on the management and organisation of events and conferences including the operation of and training on specialist software.

VIC – Mike Pickford CEM, PCO-DIR

Managing Director ASN Events 

mike-pickfordASN Events was formed by Mike Pickford and Simon Monk in 1990. After initially running the Great Australian Science Show and the Country Living Show, both public education events, the Directors changed the company direction in 1996 at the request of some of their clients and have since become nationally recognized for their event and conference management skills. The company specializes in bringing ideas to fruition.

Mike’s career has been varied but a common feature is his ability to implement innovative ideas and projects into successful outcomes. Be it working for others or creating new companies from start, his scientific and educational training has complemented his vision and practical skills to ensure great outcomes for all involved.

SA – Anne-Marie Quinn CEM, PCO-DIR

Director, All Occasions Group

annemarieqAnne-Marie is the Managing Director of All Occasions Group and has developed the company since its inception in 1998.

She has built the organisation over the past 13 years to a staff of 18 and has attracted a very impressive range of major national and international clients. All Occasions Group is a true South Australian success story, offering award winning conference, event and travel management services.

Anne-Marie is a current board member of the Adelaide Convention Bureau and a past committee member of MEA South Australia. She regularly presents to audiences at industry functions and is a guest lecturer to students studying at the International College of Hotel

TAS – Paula Leishman CEM, PCO-DIR

Managing Director, Leishman Associates

paula-leishman-sml-2Paula Leishman is the founder and Managing Director of Leishman Associates, a conference, event and association management business with offices in Hobart and Melbourne.

Having been involved in the events industry for over 20 years, she has relevant experience in the staging of major public events, corporate events and the management of associations for the not-for-profit sector.

Employing a team of 17, with a  long list of established clients, the company manages 25-30 events annually in Tasmania, nationally and internationally.

Leishman Associates has been built on a reputation of delivering outstanding events underpinned by the company motto conference management – it’s all about people.

WA – Alison Petrie, PCO-DIR

Managing Director, Encanta Event Management

Alison Petrie SmlAlison Petrie is Managing Director and co-owner of Encanta Event Management (previously trading as EECW), a market leading PCOA Certified Event Management Company, based in Melbourne and Perth. The company manages and organises conferences and events all over Australia and Asia.

Her association with the professional conference and event management sector stretches back 30 years having previously established and grown successful businesses in the PCO space. She has also held senior management and leadership roles with both the Hilton and Starwood Hotel Groups. This provides invaluable insight as she continues to develop Encanta Event Management into an even stronger event management company, having experience as both client and supplier.

She is a strong advocate of the PCOA and especially its accreditation program.

NZ – Janet Matheson, CEM, PCO-DIR

Managing Director, Conferences & Events Ltd

janet-mathesonJanet entered the world of conferencing working in London in the 1970′s.  She established Conferences & Events Ltd in New Zealand in 1991. With over two decades of experience producing conferences for professional associations and government, her role now includes leading and inspiring her team and clients to raise the bar so that each conference exceeds expectations and delegates go home with new ideas, learning and motivation.

PCOA Conference

‘PCOs Back to Where it Began’pco-conf

It’s back to the future for the PCOA (Professional Conference Organisers Association) conference this year when it returns to the city where it all started 10 years ago.

More than 400 meeting professionals are expected to attend the event at Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from 26 to 28 November along with 60 trade exhibitors.

PCO Associate president Barry Neame announced the conference destination at AIME (AsiaPacific Incetives & Meetings Expo) in Melbourne and says this year’s theme of MEETING Beyond Tomorrow will focus on future opportunities and examine industry growth and development. It will address the challenges faced by the dynamic conferencing, events and meetings industry.

Martin Winter, CEO Gold Coast Tourism says having the conference return to the Gold Coast on its 10th anniversary will be a Segway to the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Barry Neames, PCO Association; Martin Winter, Gold Coast Tourism and Adrienne Reading, Gold Coast Convention Centre (ably assisted by Commonwealth Games mascot, Borobi the koala

‘Courtesy of meeting Newz’




PCOA is an integral member of the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA), a formalised umbrella structure for the key industry associations operating in the Australian business events sector to develop industry positions on issues of common interest and communicate those views to government and relevant agencies. BECA also provides a forum for the industry associations to exchange information and cooperate on appropriate matters, with a view to strengthening and growing the business events sector in Australia.

ABCHow the Trump travel bans could be a bonus for Australian tourism and business.

He was elected on a platform of creating millions of jobs for those left behind by globalisation, but so far Donald Trump’s policies appear to be having the opposite effect.

But for every loser there’s a winner and Australia’s $30 billion business conferencing industry could be in a lucrative box seat.

Article published by ABC News