From the CEO: Be a link in the chain with Kylie and I

In this week's #MEAExpress, MEA CEO Peter McDonald announces the speaker program for Evolve 2022, and encourages everyone to jump aboard the MEA Express – pun intentional – to Melbourne for 29 and 30 June.

Irrespective of the weather nature that day, 6 weeks from today could be called be Vera Lynn Day. Why? Because it’s the day “we’ll meet again”. Whilst we do know where and when, sunny or not after 3 long years Evolve face to face will be back with the welcome function happening that evening as a scene setter for the conference program the following day, which in turn will be a precursor to social chat fest round 2 that night.

Today I’m excited to launch the Evolve 2022 speaker program. Although two sessions remain a work in progress that will be finalised over the next couple of days, it’s not enough reason to hold off sharing what we’ve built any longer.

Under the uniting theme of Building confidence through best practice we’ve assembled a cast of speakers from both within and external to the industry who have some great stories to tell and insights to share.

One of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women (as named by the AFR) – Holly Ransom – will lead the event as MC AND deliver a keynote on empowering both yourself and your team. We’ve also engaged a former Royal Australian Navy Commodore; a descendant of slaves who grew to become a mum of 9 (not a typo!) and state Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award winner; and, an intensive care unit senior staff specialist to impart some learnings upon delegates.

Other wisdom to be shared from beyond the sector will come gained in the context of brands including Disney, QANTAS, R U OK?, and Salesforce to name a few.

But are their messages relevant and applicable to our sector you may ask? Absolutely I say in response.

They’re complemented by industry leaders such as Julia Swanson (Melbourne Convention Bureau), Simon Baggs (Lateral Event Management), Kate Smith (WALDRONSMITH Management), Nicole Walker (Arinex), Ian Whitworth (Scene Change), Belinda Doery (Solterbeck Events) and Damien Hodgkinson (Melbourne International Comedy Festival).

And that’s still not everyone from whom great lessons stood to be learned.

It reminds me of the Visit Melbourne tv ad where the couple goes up to the hotel receptionist asking for suggestions for somewhere to grab a bite, and the ad cuts to quick vision of place after place after place before the guests say that they think “20 is enough”. Because I too could go on.

Ironically Melbourne is where we’ll be for Evolve this year. With tremendous support for the whole event program coming from the Melbourne Convention Bureau, Sofitel Melbourne On Collins is our host venue for this year's conference and they’re going all out to truly Melbourneise the experience. The food, drink, event space and accommodation they’re offering up will be matched only by the atmosphere they’re creating.

We’ve deliberately scheduled the event late in the week to allow people the opportunity to make a long weekend of it should they wish and maybe catch an AFL game at the ‘G or Marvel Stadium (a MEA member venue), head on out to St Kilda beach on the tram, sample a couple of rooftop bars, do a spot of CBD or Queen Victoria market shopping, or experience a few coffees in the laneways Melbourne has become internationally renowned for.

Bottom line: if you’re looking to be professionally developed and culturally developed through a true Melbourne experience, Evolve 2022 won’t disappoint in either context.

I continue to be heartened by the flow of registrations we’re already receiving because it suggests to me that people genuinely want to get their MEA on and be back together. With this new information today, make sure you and your team join the (lengthening) chain now. Hang on, that sounds a bit familiar. What if it was done with a little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul? I know….

Now that you can do it, let's make a chain now
(Come on baby do the locomotion)
Chug-a chug-a motion like a railway train now
(Come on baby do the locomotion)

Do it nice and easy now and don't lose control
A little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul
So come on, come on, do the locomotion with me

Now that I’ve put very early Kylie in your head – you’re welcome, and good luck getting it out – jump aboard the MEA Express – pun intentional – to Melbourne for 29 and 30 June. Click here to register. As she also sings, “It's easier than learning your A B C's”.

Don’t be left on the platform regretful because it’ll be a whole another year before you get the chance again. After 3 years of missing out and so many regrets, can you afford another one? I’m hoping not.


Song – “Locomotion” 

Artist – Kylie Minogue

Album – “Kylie”


Song – “We’ll meet again”

Artist – Vera Lynn

Upcoming Events

29 Jun
Sofitel Melbourne On Collins, VIC
4 Aug
Sofitel Brisbane Central, QLD