Presenters

Leigh Carmichael
Creative Director, Dark Mofo

Leigh Carmichael, the visionary creative director behind Dark Mofo, Hobart’s fastest growing arts and music festival, has been announced as the keynote speaker for the 2018 NSW Regional Events Conference.

Leigh is one of Australia's most influential creative forces, and his work with Mona helped increase Tasmania’s tourism to record levels. Dark Mofo has single-handedly flipped perceptions of business and tourism spend during Tasmania’s winter, traditionally a dead period. In just six years, the festival has developed a formidable reputation, and Leigh’s experience and insights will be extremely beneficial for attendees.

 Leigh Carmichael

Leigh Carmichael


 Craig Swift-McNair

Craig Swift-McNair

Craig Swift-McNair
General Manager of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council

Craig was appointed General Manager of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council (PMHC) in early 2014, following nine years in various management and Director roles within local government. Prior to that Craig had a twenty five year career in the private sector in a range of roles and industries.

Craig is a solutions-focused, results driven, energised leader that enjoys the challenge of creating a vibrant future for the Port Macquarie-Hastings community. To help Craig achieve this, he has the privilege of leading over 500 staff who are dedicated to delivering positive outcomes for the community.

Craig has led the ongoing organisational transformation of PMHC into a leading NSW Council, with Council having been named the most progressive Council in NSW through the winning of the 2017 A.R. Bluett Award, presented by Local Government NSW. This has been achieved through the development of effective and productive working relationships between Councillors, staff and the community. Ensuring the workforce is highly engaged is a critical component in how Council continues to meet the challenges of a large and growing regional community.
 


Jan Willett
Director Events, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet

Jan Willett oversees the production of large, public events including Australia Day, victory celebrations for sporting teams, and commemorative events. She leads the coordination of government services for events and streamlines the working relationship between event organisers and authorities. Jan designs and facilitates event readiness exercises. She is currently leading NSW Government involvement in the 2018 Invictus Games and works on annual events including Vivid Sydney, Sydney New Year’s Eve and Anzac Day. Her team works on regional events including the World Rally Championships in Coffs Harbour and Supercars in Newcastle. 

 Jan Willett

Jan Willett


 Vicky Lowry

Vicky Lowry

Vicky Lowry
General Manager Deni Ute Muster

The Deni Ute Muster will be celebrating its 20th Festival in 2018, established in 1999 with the vision to put Deniliquin on the Map. Over the past 19 Festivals the Deni Ute Muster has become a nationally recognised event that provides the ultimate Australian experience. The Festival attracts been 15,000 and 20,000 people and has become a “must attend event” and a “rite of passage” for Australians from all over the country.

How times have changed since the creation of the Deni Ute Muster in 1999. With the possibility of now attending a festival every weekend in Australia comes the need to be leaders in our field, with profitability a key performance indicator that needs to be met to survive.  

This year will be Vicky Lowry’s fifth year at the Deni Ute Muster, three as finance manager and her second as General Manager. Previous to the Deni Ute Muster employed for 16 years with the Education Department in finance/admin and art teacher with an arts degree majoring in fine arts and visual culture.

Vicky’s time, as General Manager has seen her make some extremely innovative and positive changes to the business. Some of these include the introduction of RFID Wristband Technology, updating Sales systems; and supporting employees to update and streamline procedures.


Thomas B. Staunton
Executive Director, Sold Out National Event Management

Growing up in Sold Out National Event Management (Sold Out Events), Thomas has witnessed and lived first hand, the Sold Out team delivering iconic moments in Australian and international history for 25 years, including: the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, the 40th Anniversary South Pacific Games in Fiji, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, to name but a few.

Thomas has a strong creative sense and applies concept and innovation development to transform brand activations, supported by integrated and effective strategy. Thomas successfully manages active relationships with local, state and federal Government offices; major and regional event facilities and key agencies, enabling clients to leverage Sold Out's holistic network to the benefit of project outcomes. Alongside Kim-Daniel Voss, Sold Out Event’s Managing Director, Thomas cemented the company’s position as one of the leading, award-winning event management companies in Australia, by joining the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Sponsor Family as the Official Event Management Company and an Official Sponsor of the largest event held in Australia this decade.

 Thomas B. Staunton

Thomas B. Staunton


Phil Wishart
Principal Advisor, Major Sports Events | Office of Sport

Phil has a great passion for regional events, having worked in the sport, events and tourism sectors over the past 13 years. Initially working in venue and competition management across the Central Coast and Hunter regions, Phil moved into event management roles in 2014 as Event Coordinator for the Eastern University Games and Operations Manager for the International Children’s Games.

In 2015, Phil was appointed as Regional Event Development Coordinator at Destination NSW. With the ethos that ‘you can’t sell it if you haven’t experienced it’, Phil developed strong relationships with event organisers, councils and regional stakeholders with the goal of enhancing events and promoting visitor experiences across the state.

Over the past 18 months, Phil has transitioned into the role of Principal Advisor - Major Sports Events at the Office of Sport. The team is responsible for working on NSW Government bids for World Championship events and identifying opportunities to maximise the legacy of hosting major sporting events in NSW.

Phil completed a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Management in 2009 and is currently completing his final semester of a Graduate Diploma of Sports Media at UTS. 

 Phil Wishart

Phil Wishart


Rachel Merton
Broken Hill City Council Events Coordinator

Rachel is passionate about delivering exceptional events.  She is a collaborative unit leader who encourages the best in her team.  She prides herself on encouraging others to achieve their best within a supportive team environment.

Broken Hill is the largest western centre in NSW and after moving to the city 18 years ago with her husband, for a maximum of 5 years, Rachel, now with 3 boys, is dedicated to seeing the City thrive as an events destination.

Rachel was a founding member of a newly established dedicated events team in 2014.  From the Queen’s Baton Relay, Governor General visits, conferences, civic events, Australia Day ceremonies, Rachel has been involved in every major event hosted by Broken Hill City Council for over 14 years.

In 2016, Rachel was seconded to the Events Coordinator role and has provided steady leadership throughout an extended refurbishment of the City’s premier multipurpose venue.  The challenges of organising events in the far most western City of NSW are embraced and capitalised on to provide unique and memorable experiences for participants in awe-inspiring locations.

 Rachel Marton

Rachel Marton


Alex Zaccaria
Co-Director, Bolster  


Alex Zaccaria helms Australia’s leading music and entertainment specialist digital agency Bolster, alongside fraternal co-director Anthony. His success is born from an intrinsic understanding of data and the ability to identify meaningful relationships and opportunities within.

Named by B&T as one of 2017’s 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs, Alex is also the founder of socially-geared app Linktree and recently launched content platform LNWY.CO which is widely regarded for its innovative take on publishing.
 

 Alex Zaccaria

Alex Zaccaria


Cathy Treasure
Parkes Elvis Festival Director, Parkes Shire Council  

Life has never been boring for Cathy and June 2016 saw her shake, rattle and roll from Brisbane to the regional town of Parkes to steer one of Australia's most unique events into the future. Bringing 20 years of event experience to Parkes, working on more than 50 events across three continents, Cathy's role is to ensure the sustainability of a highly valued event; Parkes Elvis Festival. 


Highlights of Cathy's career include working on the Sydney 2000 Olympics, ICC Cricket World Cups in Australia, South Africa and the Caribbean, the 2003 IRB Rugby World Cup and the inaugural ICC World Twenty20. Cathy also has a strong regional events background having worked as Marketing and Events Manager for the Entrance Town Centre Management for four years which saw attendance figures for the Central Coast Country Music Festival increase from 8,000 to more than 35,000. 


Cathy will talk about one of the biggest challenges that accompanies a successful event – lack of accommodation! The town of Parkes almost triples it’s population, and with increasing visitation every year, the challenge is a constant one.
 

 Cathy Treasure

Cathy Treasure


Rachel Anderson
Social Media Manager, 2018 NSW Regional Events Conference

Rachel is the social media manager for the 2018 NSW Regional Events Conference. She currently works for a number of freelance clients in the tourism and events industry after more than seven years in local government.

Building destination-focused social media channels was a major focus of her role and her work on growing user-generated content saw the destination’s hashtag grow from almost zero to being populated with more than 13,000 posts. 

Rachel has experience working in a range of council tourism and event roles including event promotion, destination marketing, and administering event grant and membership programs. She was also a finalist in the Young Tourism Professional program at the Australian Regional Tourism Convention in Roma in 2016.
 

 Rachel Anderson

Rachel Anderson


Leanne Clark 
Lismore City Councils Events Officer

Leanne Clark was born and raised in Lismore, Northern NSW.  Leanne is Lismore City Council’s Events Officer, a position she has held since 2002. She is passionate about her region and loves working in the events industry. She is lucky enough to work with an amazing and professional team of tourism and events professionals. Leanne is proud of their dedication and results they achieve for the City.

The Lismore Tourism and Events Team assist with over 36 different events throughout the year. Support provided varies from in-kind event support through to managing entire events such as Lismore Masters Games, Eat the Street Food Festival, Lismore Aviation Expo, Naidoc and Lismore Christmas Carols. 

Leanne spends most of her time away from work with her husband, two boys and their partners and an amazing 5 year granddaughter who keeps everyone on their toes.

 Leanne Clark

Leanne Clark


Huw Phillips 
Airbnb

Huw works in Airbnb's public policy team in Australia and New Zealand. He has previously held positions in the trade union movement, not-for-profits, and the local government sector. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with a first class honours degree in sociology from the University of Sydney. 

 Huw Phillips

Huw Phillips


Mick Colliss 
2018 NSW Regional Events Conference Guest Speaker

Mick Colliss is a gifted story teller with a very funny story to tell. As a young kid, he always dreamed about playing for Australia. In anything. He tried a number of different sports - all without luck. But despite the disappointments and failures, he never lost sight of his goal. Then, at the age of 42, all the hard work, dedication and perseverance paid off when he finally got to wear the green and gold - just not in the way you might think.

Mick’s is a laugh out loud true story about mateship, having a go and never giving up.

 Mick Colliss

Mick Colliss