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 2016 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.

The advantages of membership

Providing training webinars and online learning programs.

Member rates for the annual industry conference – a cutting edge event.

Working with supplier Business Partners to build strong B2B relationships.

Updates on industry trends that assist you to benchmark your performance and knowledge.

Lobbying Governments to support the sector and understand its value to the economy.

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

Assisting members to recognise opportunities to advance careers or grow your business in the sector.

Providing information to assist those who plan, manage, produce, convene or co-ordinate meetings or events.

Providing an arbitration process to assist with the settlement of disputes with suppliers, clients or attendees.

Working with other industry bodies on projects of mutual interest to the respective memberships.

Members Login

Members can login to the website to update their details and view past webinars from 2015/1016.  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.

Peter Sugg, PCO-DIR, CEM, PCO Assoc. Secretary

Managing Director, AST ManagPsuggement Pty Ltd

Peter launched AST Management Pty Ltd in 1992, following a career in airline and hotel marketing and management. He is a former board member of the Brisbane Convention Bureau and Chairman of the Australian Conference and Events Bureau. He serves on four Association Boards and is the Honorary CEO of The Australian and New Zealand Mental Heatlh Association.

AST Management has managed Conferences, Associations and Education Programs for over 25 years in the Association, “Not for Profit” and Government sectors. The company is recognised for its emphasis on quality outcomes, financial value, systems management, experienced staff and value adding through the use of technology and new marketing mediums.

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

Director, HOT Events Australia

karen-sainsburyKaren Sainsbury is a Director of HOT Events Australia.  Karen originally trained as a school teacher, though after a few years of teaching was lured to the hospitality and tourism industry.

Joining Accor in 1998, Karen was Director of Sales and Marketing at Novotel Twin Waters, her last role prior to opening HOT Events Pty Ltd in Australia with business partner Natalie Brumniach, was as General Manager at Novotel Manly Pacific, a role she held for 5 years.

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


Brisbane proved to be a stunning destination for the 9th Annual PCOA Conference and Exhibition, held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, 27 to 29 November 2016.

The Conference commenced on Sunday with six informative and interactive workshops and two Special Interest Group meetings. This followed with the Welcome Reception, including roving entertainment throughout the trade exhibition of 60.

The Official Conference opened on Monday morning with our Master of Ceremonies, Warwick Merry who had over 400 attendees dancing in their seats. We heard from Air NZ’s Jenni Martin, who gave us an Aviation update in the region followed by Gihan Perera, a brilliant futurist and business consultant, who challenged us all to consider the ‘Future of Conferences’. This exciting opening session was the launching pad for the following two days of incredibly talented and experienced speakers.

On Monday evening the attendees were transported by coach to Howard Smith Wharves for the Networking Function, where an amazing array of food and beverages were served while we all enjoyed the beautiful views of the Story Bridge and cityscape. This memorable evening was full of entertainment with the finale being a fireworks extravaganza.

The PCO Association would like to sincerely thank the conference speakers, sponsors and exhibitors who played a major role in making this a highly successful, productive and memorable conference.

The Association would also like to thank our growing number of business partners, who have continued to provide great support.

The 2017 Conference destination will be announced in the New Year.