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Mice Net : June 2009
news MEA conference hits thE spot STORy By Brad Foster PHOTOS COURTESy Of www.eventpix.com.au The 22nd MeA nATionAl ConferenCe hit plenty of high notes and very few low ones in the city of Adelaide. I f there’s one thing MEA delegates know how to do it’s party. Late nights and South Australian wine went hand in hand at this the 22nd national conference for Meetings & Events Australia. But despite a drop or two being drunk over the three days in early April there was also plenty of business sessions conducted with a great army of presenters and keynote speakers on hand to give the 534 delegates the latest insights into the wonderful world of meetings and events. Indeed, there were so many conference streams that choosing which ones to attend was hard work. And, as has been the case with MEA national conferences in recent times, the majority of presenters were sourced from within the industry. Ovations did supply a couple of keynote speakers. Ron McLean and Peter Baines gave keynote presentations on valuing human capital and developing corporate social responsibility. Unfortunately however, their presentations were limited to those who had registered to attend their “master classes” prior to the conference. The big winner was most definitely local girl Gill Hicks, who was sponsored by the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. Gill gave a heartfelt presentation to the entire conference on her experiences during and after the London bombings in 2005 when she lost both her legs and almost her life. 10 mice.net Other hot presenters were David Grant of DG3 who gave delegates an insight into his involvement in the Beijing Olympics, Nigel Collin’s presentation on creativity, and Ian Stuart’s “World Round Up” panel presentation on the current state of play globally. Ian, a former director of ICMS Australasia and now business events consultant, included a great wealth of information from around the world with pre-recorded video interviews from individuals including Bruce Hamilton of MPI, Geoff Donaghy speaking on behalf of the International Association of Convention Centres, and Peter Pecotic of China and Sydney-based Turningpoint Solutions. Panellists for the session included: David Grant of DG3, Ros McLeod of Tour Hosts, Lyn Lewis-Smith from BE Sydney and Leigh Harry from the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (and he is also president of the International Congress and Convention Association). In his pre-recorded video interview Mr McMillan said when the economy gets tough training and meetings come under scrutiny, and unfortunately this had been the case in the U.S. He said the issue had been exacerbated by the media focusing on extravagant incentives and events which they classed as “junkets”, and the U.S. government’s sweeping efforts to reduce spending, of which meetings were an unfortunate casualty. DG3’s David Grant said his experience in recent times was that