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’s objectives are 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 and other practitioners in the conference and event sector.

Benefits of Membership

Online learning – 30-minute knowledge sharing webinars (14 per year). Non-members are charged $25.00 per webinar. Minimum value to members of $350.00 per year.
Discounted registration fees at our annual industry conference. A saving of over 20% on standard fees.
Accreditation program for individuals and companies – PCOA Accreditation provides individuals and businesses with a set of standards that are recognised as the minimum standard level of service and business practices. Accreditation provides status within industry and with clients.
Access to a request for proposal (RFP) document developed by PCOA accommodation subcommittee with the support of our accommodation business partners.
Conference & exhibition insurance rebate of 5% with H2 Insurance Solutions. Rebate refunded to your bank account by PCOA twice yearly.
24/7 access to our members section – a trusted resource which includes an on demand archive of over 60 webinars.
Use of PCOA member logo. Demonstrates you are part of our community.

Opportunity to advertise employment vacancies on the PCOA website. Jobs must be within the business events sector. Value $247.50 per month, per advertisement.
Regular e-newsletters and member offers from our Business Partners.
Providing a voice for Members on the (BECA) Business Events Council of Australia board.
Opportunity to have a voice on issues that affect your business, position or career.
Collaborate with event planners in Special Industry Groups at PCOA conferences.
Networking opportunity with other industry professionals at the PCOA conference.
Connect with what’s happening in the PCOA world on our social media platforms.
Sign up for our blogs sharing the latest on industry trends.

Industry Association Membership is tax deductible.

Download our Membership Benefits document.


About our Industry

The business events industry is a powerful demonstrated facilitator of:

  • Job generation across Australia
  • International trade opportunities
  • Regional development and tourism pathways
  • Soft diplomacy
  • Go-to-market strategies for new products and services (especially from regional areas)
  • Knowledge sharing: research, new technologies and partnership creation

Members Login

Members can login to the website to update their details and view past webinars from 2015/2016/2017/2018.  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.


Conference 2019 Photos

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

Director, Consec – Conference and Event Management

Barry Neame is a Director of Consec – Conference and Event Management and has extensive project management event management experience spanning over 30 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.

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

Director, Consec – Conference and Event Management

Barry Neame is a Director of Consec – Conference and Event 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.

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 – Renee Bennett CEM, PCO-DIR

Managing Director, Encanta Event Management

Renee Bennett, Managing Director of Encanta Event Management, has been involved in the business events industry for over 20 years.

Based in Perth, Renee started her journey at Congress West as an Event Coordinator, working her way through all the event management career milestones until appointed Director of Events of EECW in 2007. In 2015 she purchased the company along with a business partner and changed the name to Encanta Event Management.

A devoted mother to Grace (9) and Max (5), she fully understands the continuing challenge of maintaining a busy work and home life, whilst running a national business and managing a varied and large client portfolio. Thankfully, she is ably supported by a wonderful understanding husband.

Renee is highly respected and well known in the events industry having managed major events all over Australia and Asia, and in fact delivered the first conference to be held at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre when it first opened. She is also a past member of the Perth Convention Bureau Board.

NZ – Arna Wahl Davies, CEM, PCO-DIR

Director, Composition Ltd

Arna has been involved in the hospitality, event management, and professional conference organising industry her whole career.

Raised within her family restaurants, she then went onto gaining professional qualification, and in her younger days, spent many years working within restaurant kitchens as a chef (she believes this was a great perspective to have, later as a PCO).

From there the world of hotels, and event management beckoned, and she cut her teeth working for a couple of international hotel chains. After this, she worked for a New Zealand leading PCO for over seven years. Learning the art and craft of being a PCO.

Over a decade ago, she partnered with Nerida Ramsay to form Composition. A Professional Conference Organising company, which proudly manages mid to large-size conference throughout New Zealand.

Arna is passionate about the business events sector. Knowing the industry is filled with hard-working, amazing personalities, and she is delighted to be a part of it.


PCO Association Business Partners


Government Support

Visit the Government Support page for information on Government support for the Business Events sector.



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.