No more sleeps

By CEO, Peter McDonald

We’ve been writing about it for months, but as this edition of MEA Express gets sent to your inbox, there’s a couple of hundred of us events industry folk sitting in the NSW Hunter valley being brought up to speed by a panel discussing the power of global events in Australia. Evolve 2024 is happening now!

The people sitting with and around me, having just been told about trends occurring in the industry overseas that are yet to hit our market but are likely on their way, are absorbing this valuable information to be able to apply as new business practice when they return to their PCs and teams from Friday onward.

There’s nothing for a business quite like the investment of enthusiasm and energy that can only come from first-hand experience of directly transferrable lessons and in person contact with one’s ‘people’ at an industry conference. I think The Castle’s Dennis Denuto summed it up best, “It’s the vibe”.

I’ve had so many people message me their disappointment at their inability to join us this year. As positive as the vibe here right now is, you’re all missed, I assure you. We took things to a new level with our promotional campaign this year to extend the awareness of both MEA and Evolve. We decided to take nothing for granted in terms of assumed knowledge, and it seems we were right to do that.

That’s not to say most people hadn’t heard of us. Its more to say that people were happy to hear from us again and were very positive about what we’re doing for the industry – even if their own work commitments impeded their desire to join us. I’ve received so much expression of hope to be able to join us in 2025, and been advised of intent to plan to make it happen. Great signs of things to come for the business’ 50th anniversary year conference.

This morning’s first timer’s session was well attended and productive. As it did last year, it set a great tone to get things underway. I’m heartened by the participation this session received again this year for a couple of reasons. That there are so many new people becoming involved, and that MEA and Evolve are seen as important by the industry’s employers to support their growth and development, helps reassure that we’re doing something worthwhile. But what’s more, the participation in the session by a number of industry ‘seniors’ who came along to essentially welcome the newcomers and evidence community and belonging. As humans, when we sense security, we can be so much more productive. I’m confident that our first timers won’t be spending time looking over their shoulders.

In my last article I wrote how the program content this year has been largely shaped around 2023 Evolve delegates’ commentary about what a good 2024 program would include. Messaging I’ve received in the past few weeks suggests that their input can only be described as resounding of the industry’s needs. Suffice to say that the 2025 program will likely be heavily influenced by what we’re told by people sitting here in the room with me, but I invite readers who aren’t here but are hopeful of joining us next year to share their thoughts too. Just drop me an email and I’ll add that to the debrief. Anyone who attended Evolve 2023 and experienced the Afterburner session will know exactly how important the debrief is to the mission.

With a mission to lead, empower, and connect individuals and businesses in the Australasian events community to achieve their goals, Evolve plays a key role in MEA’s endeavours to bring that to fruition. We’re listening, so please tell us what you’d like us to hear.

I’d like to acknowledge all of the corporate partners who’ve supported us in bringing Evolve 2024 to you. I’d urge the industry’s support of those businesses as it may be appropriate to yours. Please take a moment to check out who they are on the Evolve 2024 website. In particular I’d like to recognise the substantial contributions made this year by our most major partners Destination NSW, Creative Hire, EventsAir, Scene Change and Ovations.

To our wonderful venue partners, Rydges Resort Hunter Valley and Brokenwood Wines. You’ve both been wonderful to deal with. Anyone looking to take an event to this beautiful part of this great nation would be well served by having a chat with the lovely Alli and Fiona at Rydges Resort and Natalie at Brokenwood.

I’m also grateful to all of our speakers and panellists. We can design a program, but without your invaluable contribution the necessary learning and development is impossible. Thank you all so much.

And last but not least, to the team at TPM Events. Janette and her team have worked alongside MEA for a number of years to bring Evolve to life. I’m sure anyone who’s here would agree that they’ve done another great job this year. I’ve very much appreciated the partnership and support that comes from across their wider team. We’re a lucky industry for the give back they contribute.

Another day and a half of professional and social nourishment awaits us. Everything to look forward to.