Joyce Dimascio, chief executive Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia
The Business Events sector is an important driver of the national economy and I have spent many years spearheading the engagement with Government about the importance of our sector. A lot of what I do on behalf of our industry is to communicate to a broad range of stakeholders why it is important to have a vibrant Business Events sector. In the Federal Government environment, it’s a case of steady and slow wins the race as no Government or Opposition appears to be in favour of pouring money into programs that specifically support our sectors. We must keep up the engagement, continually making the business case for why it is important to create a business and policy environment that allows our sector to prosper. It’s been more than five years since I joined EEAA and in that time we have made tremendous strides forward advocating for the whole Business Events industry. It’s been a steady path focussed on building the profile of our industry, our members and of course our Association. We’ve reached an important milestone at EEAA – we are in sound financial shape, we a focussed and highly respected in the most senior levels of Government and business. Today, we are well on our way to be the strongest member-based voice for the Business Events sector. Next month, I will be on stage at the 2016 Australian Chamber Business Leaders Summit in Canberra along with leaders from political and business life. This signals another major breakthrough for our industry. In the greatest circles of influence, we have made our way from the periphery to the centre – from one-way messages and communications, to dialogue and relationship building. Through our advocacy campaigns, we have achieved the highest levels of Government, business and industry engagement. For example, the EEAA has been supported by state and federal governments in each of its events and initiatives held this year, as well as firstever involvement from business leaders, such as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s CEOS, James Pearson and Kate Carnell before him. Earlier this month we welcomed Tourism Australia to our Young Stars Program as the inaugural Platinum Partner, and in June former Senator Richard Colbeck and NSW Parliamentary Secretary Jonathan O’dea joined our Leaders Forum and the first worldwide Global Exhibitions Day effort, to name a few. As proud as we are of our achievements we also know that our job is not done. We have an ambitious agenda ahead of us. In the coming year, EEAA hopes to mirror the success it has had in promoting the Power of Exhibitions to drive the economy in a new phase of the campaign, which will promote the Power of Exhibitions as a valuable and powerful marketing channel. It’s a new audience and a big challenge. Meanwhile, we have a full plate over the next couple of months as we near year’s end. We are revamping our online shopfront and member portal, have made our call for submissions for our annual Awards for Excellence and are headlong into planning for our annual conference at the end of the year. Certainly, our job is not done because complacency is not in our DNA. We will continue to work hard to ensure the Business Events sector has a strong Association that is effective and focussed.