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The Conference Collective podcast

Welcome to ‘The Conference Collective', a podcast brought to you by The Professional Conference Organisers Association (PCOA) and hosted by our very own, Libbie Ray. 'The Conference Collective' celebrates the best in innovation and leadership from those who are creating positive change in the business events industry.

This podcast series provides listeners with behind the scenes access to some of the key innovators in our industry as they share their honest and raw insights. It highlights how collaboration, innovation and resilience are at the core of the events industry and the reasons we have managed to survive through the most challenging time our industry has faced. Get ready to learn more about the brave new world of the business events industry.


MAY 13, 2024

Episode 22

Embracing Change and 2024 Event Predictions with Michael Fleck

Join us on The Conference Collective as Michael Fleck guides us through the dynamic landscape of business events in 2024. Michael delves into the importance of not just talking about sustainability but implementing policies and practices that create a lasting impact and emphasises the need for events to be 'real,' resonating with audiences regardless of their format.

APR 22, 2024

Episode 21

Feeding Change with Rachel Hibble of OzHarvest

In this episode of The Conference Collective, we're joined by Rachel Hibble, who takes us on her inspiring career journey with OzHarvest, a leading organisation in the fight against food waste. Rachel shares insights into OzHarvest's current and future plans, shedding light on the profound impact of food waste on our environment. Delve into practical tips as Rachel discusses how organisations can play a pivotal role in reducing food waste and gain valuable insights into implementing sustainable practices on both event and organisational levels. The conversation further extends beyond the professional sphere, with Rachel offering actionable advice on how individuals can make a difference in their own households. Join us for a thought-provoking exploration of how OzHarvest and Rachel Hibble are driving positive change and paving the way for a more sustainable future.

APR 2, 2024

Episode 20

The past, present, and future of The PCOA: A Conversation with Barry Neame

Join us on The Conference Collective Podcast as we sit down with Barry Neame, PCOA president, to discuss the association's plans for 2024 and beyond. Barry shares insights into the future of PCOA, outlining upcoming initiatives and goals, while sharing details about this year's focus on helping members navigate contract negotiations. Explore the pivotal role The PCOA plays in supporting the broader event industry, from fostering the next generation of event organisers, to providing crucial assistance for professionals and businesses within the field. Barry further sheds light on the collective strength that a unified voice brings to the industry, emphasising the power of collaboration over individual efforts. Tune in to the episode to find out more about PCOA member benefits and hear more of Barry’s career journey.

MAR 13, 2024

Episode 19

Innovate, Connect, and Challenge: Crafting Unforgettable Events with Mykel Dixon

On this episode of The Conference Collective, Mykel Dixon shares his insights on creating standout events that resonate with attendees. From challenging norms to embracing innovation, Mykel discusses the power of simplicity, creative thinking, and the courage to take risks. Discover how to connect with your audience, switch up your event, and gain practical advice for speakers and MCs, while learning about the need for us to break free from conventional event structures.

NOV 13, 2023

Episode 18

Making the most of your event photographer with Helen Oswald

In this episode of The Conference Collective Podcast we welcome Helen Oswald who shares her top tips on capturing prominent moments from your next event. Helen discusses how to maximise staging and what design features will have a positive impact on photograph composition. Helens warns you on common mistakes event organisers make that can detract from your images while shedding light on how an event photographer can add value for your sponsors and enhance your brand. Helen further shares ways in which event imagery can be used in marketing and promotional efforts in the future to get added value from your photographer.

OCT 31, 2023

Episode 17

Creating innovative and sustainable exhibition stands with Belinda Meredith

In this episode of The Conference Collective Podcast we welcome Belinda Meredith who discusses the significant waste problems in the exhibition and event space along with the sustainability practices that event organisers, stand builders, and exhibitors can implement to combat this. Belinda also draws attention to the impact that an event’s venue has upon stand design and further highlights the benefits of innovation when designing your exhibition booth.

OCT 16, 2023

Episode 16

From The King to KISS - Making sh*t happen with Liliana Sanelli

In this episode of The Conference Collective Podcast we welcome Liliana Sanelli who takes us through the process of creating and implementing The Legacy Centenary Torch Relay 2023 event for Legacy Australia. Liliana sheds light on the challenges the team faced throughout both the planning and execution stages of the event, along with how she managed to keep the team motivated across this large international project. Liliana further shares with us a few of her core memories while working on the event, from meeting The King to partnering with the band KISS.

OCT 5, 2023

Episode 15

How event marketing has changed and what this means for you with Adrian Smith

In this episode of The Conference Collective Podcast we welcome Adrian Smith, director of Cor Comms, who discusses his top marketing tips for your event. Adrian sheds light on how social media platforms have shifted the ways in which marketing content is produced, highlighting the need to create different forms of the same piece of content to suit the needs of the variety of platforms available. Adrian further talks about focusing marketing budget into content production and creation rather than securing prime slots or paid reach. Adrian also shares his experience working on various viral campaigns and how these ideas came to be.

SEP 23, 2023

Episode 14

Tips and challenges to delivering international events with Denise Broeren

In this episode of The Conference Collective Podcast we welcome Denise Broeren, Co-Director of Think Business Events. Denise shares her journey in the events industry and sheds light on her experience working on the 2022 WFOT Congress. Denise further discusses the challenges that come with hosting international events and how she managed to overcome any cultural differences that were experienced during the WFOT Congress in Paris.

SEP 7, 2023

Episode 13

How event technologies can enhance your event with Chris Ridd

In this episode of The Conference Collective Podcast we welcome Chris Ridd, CEO of EventsAir. Chris discusses how industry trends have shaped and are continuing to shape EventAir’s strategy along with how event organisers can effectively implement event technology. Chris sheds light on the importance of data safety and further shares tips on how to engage a virtual and hybrid event audience.

AUG 28, 2023

Episode 12

How To Make Your Event More Sustainable And Finding Your Purpose With Anne-Marie Quinn

In this episode of The Conference Collective Podcast we welcome Anne-Marie Quinn, Managing Director at All Occasions Group. Anne-Marie shares her experience with discovering a sense of purpose, both personally, and within her business. Anne-Marie further highlights how her environmental beliefs channel into the ways she runs her business and provides guidance and tips on how to run your events more sustainably. Anne-Marie also sheds light on how she fosters growth within her team and is hopeful for the future of the events industry.

NOV 1, 2022

Episode 11

Making the most of your event MC and optimising speaker presentations with Andrew Klein

In this episode of ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, Andrew Klein sheds light on how event organisers can create a better conference experience for attendees through changing the traditional agenda timeline and switching to shorter presentation sessions. Andrew also discusses the ways in which an MC can elevate your event and when an MC may not be worth your while.

OCT 17, 2022

Episode 10

Diving into the Metaverse and creating smarter events with Chris Schlueter

In this episode of ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, Chris Schlueter sheds light on how businesses can create more engaging events through registration techniques and innovative event features. Chris also discusses the impact that the Metaverse will have on the business event industry going forwards in a digitally switched on world.

OCT 6, 2022

Episode 9

How food can be used to open conversations and reconnect teams with Sharon Natoli

In this episode of ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, Sharon Natoli discusses how she helps individuals, teams and leaders build team connection, confidence and culture by running events over food and facilitated conversation. Sharon highlights how opening up conversations, both during events and in the workplace, leads to greater comfort and productivity among attendees and employees.

SEP 20, 2022

Episode 8

How Luna Park overcame the longest closure in its history with Gary Manuel

In this episode of ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, Gary Manuel discusses how Luna Park used COVID-19 closures to plan for the expansion of the park. Gary brings to light how Luna Park Venues are coming back to pre Pandemic guest numbers and how they are preparing their venues for the re-emergence of live events.

SEP 6, 2022

Episode 7

How the event industry has adapted to life during and after the pandemic with Adrienne Readings

In this episode of ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, Adrienne Readings discusses how the business event industry has shifted towards collaboration in light of some of the hardest years the industry has faced. Adrienne talks about changes that venues have had to put in place and how they are moving forward as Australia opens back up to the live event world.

AUG 25, 2022

Episode 6

Working towards a sustainable future with Professor Veena Sahajwalla

In this episode of ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, Professor Veena Sahajwalla sheds light on how we can implement everyday solutions to create a global shift towards sustainability. Professor Sahajwalla discusses her work inventing new recycling processes for materials that conventionally are not recycled and also talks about her sustainability trends for the near future.

AUG 8, 2022

Episode 5

How New Zealand worked together to overcome lockdowns to events with Arna Wahl Davies

In this episode of ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, Arna Wahl Davies discusses how lockdowns across New Zealand throughout the Pandemic forced the business events industry to come together and implement new ideas and strategies in order to survive. Arna highlights how this collaboration within the industry has lead to a positive approach to events starting up again and forecasts that this united approach is likely to continue going forwards.

JUL 19, 2022

Episode 4

What it means to be a PCO Councillor with Paula Leishman

In this episode of ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, Paula Leishman sheds light on what it means to be a PCO Councillor and how to be a successful event manager. Paula discusses why certification is important and how it helps businesses gain trust within the community.

JUL 6, 2022

Episode 3

The role of event industry bodies with Dr Leo Jago OAM

In this episode of ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, Dr Leo Jago OAM reveals how he found himself in his role at BECA and what the OAM process is like. Dr Jago discusses industry staff shortages and how isolations are impacting event teams while sharing his predictions and trends for the future of the business event industry.

Jun 20, 2022

Episode 2

How changes to the aviation industry will impact your event with Matthew Findlay

In this episode of ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, Matthew Findlay sheds light on some of the challenges the aviation industry has faced as a result of the Pandemic. Matthew takes us through how these challenges have changed the status quo for the business events industry when it comes to event related travel, and what trends and changes we should expect in the future.

JUN 6, 2022

Episode 1

Journey to becoming a professional event speaker with Michael McQueen

In this episode of ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, Michael McQueen discusses his motivations for joining the business events industry and takes us through his journey to becoming a professional event speaker. Michael sheds light on some of the challenges he has faced throughout his career while sharing his views on current and future trends within the industry.