Producers, Managers
and Convenors

2020 Conference Presentations

Day 1

Opening Plenary

Within the business events community, we’ve never experienced a year like 2020. What we do know from this unprecedented year is that as humans we enjoy nothing more than being together and sharing experiences, so therefore when restrictions ease the future should be positive for the business events community. The theme for PCOA20 is centred around the rebound and recovery of our sector. For the foreseeable future, we will have to be flexible in our approach to how events are staged and managed, they will be a combination of in person and hybrid and importantly we all want to stay connected.  We’ve curated a program that will give us all practical tools to assist the community to rebound. Join us for the hybrid event, be with your colleagues in person at one of the hubs around Australia or join virtually, we are flexible in our offering and we encourage you to do the same.


The first session is about recovery of the industry and for us personally. What do we have to do to be match fit. Our next session will give us the tools to get us back on track.

Creative Social Media Marketing Tools to Build Your Event Brand

Jordana Borensztajn, Keynote Speaker, Public Speaking & Presentation Skills Trainer, Humourist & Social Media Strategist

The digital world is noisy and we’re all competing for attention. So how can your event brand rise above the chaos and stand out? In this high-energy, vibrant and entertaining session, Jordana will share fun, creative and easy-to-apply tools and techniques to help you connect with your audience and build your event brand online.

Proudly sponsored by ICMI Speakers & Entertainers

How to turn a first impression into a lasting connection

Dr Ali Walker, Social Scientist & Author

Our first impression can be shaped within seconds of meeting someone. All of us have different styles when we bond with others and this session explores those styles. Discover whether you come across as an authority or a champion; a performer or a joker. If we have made a positive first impression, the key is then to convert this into a genuine and lasting connection. Participants in this session will be given communication strategies to optimise connections and build rapport with others, personally and professionally.

Handout – “First Impressions Profile”

Proudly sponsored by ICMI Speakers & Entertainers

Realising the Value of Virtual/Hybrid Events
Deanna Varga, Managing Director and Founder, Mayvin Global

This session will explore practical tips for realising the value of virtual or hybrid events. During the session we will explore ways to guide clients to understand the value (and costs) of skilled resources and requirements of producing quality hybrid and virtual events and the longer-term benefits of a quality, well produced digital experience. For those that have established the trajectory of ‘free’ webinars and seminars for their associations, this session will explore monetising these ‘free’ viewers and ways to assess which delegates have potential future financial return. Either for the association or future events.

This session will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of realising the value of events – where the platforms for delivery of events have changed, but the skills, credentials and costs to stage them hasn’t.

Selecting the right speaker to make your event a success
Jason Clarke, Director, Minds at Work, 
Andrew Klein, Speaker, Trainer & MC, Barry Markoff, Founder ICMI Speakers & Entertainers, Gina Samuels, General Manager – The Production House Events

Getting the right speakers (both internal and external) for your conference and event is crucial, for both face to face and online events. How do you find the right fit, how do you know if they are everything their marketing material or bio says they are, where do speaker bureaus or agents fit in the mix, is it necessary to have seen them speak in person? These and other speaker seeking questions will be discussed by our speaking panel – made up of 3 industry professionals who each see different sides of the speaker puzzle.Proudly sponsored by ICMI Speakers & Entertainers

FlexFit – future workplace & workforce
Ariane Virtue, Partner & Co-Founder, Flex We Are

For many organisations, the disruption of COVID-19 has rewritten the business case for flexible ways of working. It has also changed the way we view how, when, where and by whom work gets done. As people are our most important asset, we need to remain committed to providing a safe and productive work environment while incorporating key learnings that have emerged while working remotely. The need for creating a ‘FlexFit’ future workforce and workplace has not been impacted but enhanced the need, by COVID-19 for the journey of embedding and normalising flexible work practices.  It has only highlighted the fact that it is possible for your teams to be productive and effective to deliver to their roles, customers and keep their wellness as a top priority. Prior to COVID-19 most organisations were on a journey to try to embed some type of flexible working strategy for different reasons. When COVID-19 overwhelmed us and the wellness of our people was imperative we were thrown into the chaos of how to maintain business continuity and enforce this inflexible work from home approach for our teams. Our employees had to pivot to this inflexible enforced working from home differently, each will have different desires to return or not to the office. Leaders will need to remain vigilant so that in-group and out-groups don’t develop within our teams, organisations and work to ensure that no matter how our teams choose to work, they have equal access to opportunities.

To create workplaces of the future there needs to be a shift of mindset, the modern workplace and workforce has entered a new paradigm. Flexible working is the model enabling organisations to thrive and survive, while they manage this transformational change of managing a hybrid and distributed workforces. This new humanised workplace flexibility is not about saving money, nor long-term social distancing. In the end, it’s an investment in employee well-being, improved productivity and increased profitability. What is not to like about that?

Powerful Strategic Conversations – How can we confidently plan for the future when so much is still unclear?
Rosie Yeo, Strategy Alchemist

Unlocking the power of strategic thinking can help you think more creatively, constructively and clearly when making longer term decisions.  Three key questions will help you plan more confidently and communicate with your clients, suppliers and staff about the path forward.

Jelena Dokic

Day 2

Roadmap to the Future – Phase 2 – Recovery – Facilitated by Nick Bartlett

A panel of our industry partners will come together and outline their roadmap to the future


  • Geoff Donaghy, CEO, International Convention Centre & BECA Deputy Chair
  • Maggie Diasinos, Senior Global Director of Sales, Hyatt Salesforce, Pacific
  • Andrew Klein, Speaker & MC
  • Paula Leishman, Managing Director, Leishman Associates
  • Trevor Gardiner, CEO & Chief Software Architect, Centium

Session includes Q&A

It ain’t over till it’s over – Making the most out of your On-Demand Content
Sara Drury, General Manager, Redback Connect

We’ve all been there – we create compelling online content, and then once it’s over, we send out the recording and hope people watch it. But where is that content hosted? What happens if people want to access it months later? Often, it sits in cyberspace and we lose out on additional revenue streams and maximising our return on investment.

In this session, we will discuss the on-demand options available to you to ensure you make the most out of your content, speakers, and investment. Join to discover:

  • How to build up an online content library
  • How to continue to generate leads and income
  • An overview on the free and paid platforms available to you

How to create more from less!

Contracting the right meeting space – aiming for a win win!
Facilitated by Karen Sainsbury, Managing Director, Cornerstone Events

In this session, we discuss how event managers can work with venues to hold the right meeting space for a variety of scenarios – eg attendees are live on site – but what happens if it turns out to be hybrid, or even virtual with our constantly changing scenarios – and what do we need to be aware of from an insurance perspective….lets work our way through this minefield!!


  • Shaizeen Contractor, Senior Director, Commercial Director – Hilton
  • Anne Gill, Vice President Sales and Distribution – Pacific
  • Jason Holmes, Head of Region, Asia Pacific, H2 Insurance

F&B the future … it’s not all about the boxed lunch

In this session, we discuss creative ways that venues are approaching the Covid safe delivery of catering options – its not all about the boxed lunch!

Facilitated by Nick Bartlett

  • Andrea Stapleton, Operations Manager, SMC Conference & Function Centre
  • Sven J Ullrich, Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency Hotel
  • Lynell Peck, Director of Culinary Services – ICC Sydney
  • Emma Barr, General Manager of Events – Merivale

SEO in a post covid world: What actionable things you need to know
Harry Sanders, Director & Founder, StudioHawk

Given that SEO is evolving at a constant rate, what can you do to get your brand out there? It’s a lot easier than you may think to start leading your industry with content backed by data. Come along to see the exact insights that sold thousands of tickets to events, what makes eCommerce giants like Officeworks & Mecca grow by 30m+ each year, as well as what some of Australia’s largest publishers do to stay current and lead their prospective industries. Stop wasting time doing things you think work and start working on things that you know will.

I wish I had a crystal ball … predicting room blocks
Facilitated by Mary Sparksman, Managing Director, YRD Event Management

  • Jenni Molloy, Regional Revenue Manager QLD & NT, Accor
  • Gina Prior, Account Director, Global Sales, Marriott International

Bestworld, not Westworld: The 3 C’s to Better Leverage Future Business and Conferencing Tools
Mark Carter, Speaker, Trainer, Author

Mark Carter is an international keynote speaker, trainer, author and media contributor specialising in the field of people and behaviour.

He has over 20 years’ experience as a global learning and development professional. His TEDxCasey talk ‘Paws and Effect: how teddy bears increase value perception was the movie trailer for his latest book Add Value.

Proudly sponsored by ICMI Speakers & Entertainers

The Business of Storytelling – how to use stories to win a grant
Bernadette Schwerdt, Speaker, Author & Podcaster

If you’d like to learn how to win one of the many government grants that are coming our way, you need to attend this session. In just 20 minutes, you’ll discover how to craft a series of stories that will add drama, human emotion and urgency to your application. It’s all about the stories you tell.

Bernadette Schwerdt is an expert in the art of crafting stories that get results.  She’ll show you how to convert boring facts into punchy, persuasive and compelling ‘stories’; stories people will listen to, remember and take action on; stories that enable you to have influence and get that all-important grant.

You’ll learn how to:

  • use business stories to add emotion and drama to your grant application
  • turn any fact or statistic into a compelling business story
  • identify the 6 key components of a great story
  • choose the best stories to include in your grant applications

Proudly sponsored by ICMI Speakers & Entertainers

Running Hybrid Events … are PCO’s the new TV producers?
Felicity Verdouw

Clients On Your Side
Gihan Perera, Speaker, Author & Consultant

COVID-19 has changed the way clients want to engage, and the “new” client has different wants and needs – for in-person events, online events, hybrid events, and every other possible combination! The PCOs that will thrive understand how to work side-by-side with their clients to understand their requirements, solve the problems that really matter, and share their expertise to create a memorable experience.

In this 20-minute practical session, Gihan Perera will show you how to:

  • Know what your clients really want from you
  • Create a unique positioning statement that highlights what you – and only you – can offer
  • Build ownership and engagement with clients before, during, and after your event

Proudly sponsored by ICMI Speakers & Entertainers

What does sponsorship look like in a post COVID world?

We are calling on our community to send in your thoughts and ideas on how we can give the kind of ROI required for organisations to continue to support conferences. What are they looking for if we are working in a hybrid world?

The New World of Event Management
Steve Sammartino, Futurist & Author

In our closing session, Steve Sammartino will unpack questions that our industry needs to be asking.

  • What will be the business model of the future
  • What is the role of a PCO
  • What does a career in events management look like
  • What is our brand strategy and who are we?

Proudly sponsored by ICMI Speakers & Entertainers

Conference Presentation Archive