We've been very busy lining up speakers to inspire and share their knowledge on all things regional events. Take a look and see who's up on stage in Dubbo. You can also check out the full program here.

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Patrick J Kidd OBE, Invictus Games

Patrick Kidd has been employed as a principle consultant in Deloitte since leaving the Australian Army in early 2015 and was seconded by them to be the CEO of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 in December 2016 after winning the bid to host the Games.  He led the planning and delivery of the Games leading a team of over 140 full time staff and 1000 volunteers. 

Before joining Deloitte Patrick had a 30-year career in the British and Australian defence forces during which he has extensive experience working with people from many different nations and leading teams in highly complex and uncertain environments; his operational service has included time in the Balkans, Middle East and Asia. While finalising the wind up of the 2018 Invictus Games, he now leads the development of Deloitte event’s practice which supports organising commits to plan and deliver events with purpose.   

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Peter Jones AM

Peter Jones is one of Australia’s leading event producers, creating and designing special events for over thirty years. Based in Melbourne, Peter and his team have been the recipient of over thirty-five Meetings & Events Industry Awards, including induction into the Hall of Fame in two separate categories – Special Event Organiser and Public Event of the Year.

In 2010, Peter was awarded the International Special Events Society Michael Milburn Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2012 he was presented with the Outstanding Contribution Award by the Meetings and Events Industry. Only a few years later in 2016, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian Event Awards, also receiving a Certificate of Commendation from the Lord Mayor for twenty-five years of outstanding service to the major events industry in Melbourne at The Melbourne Awards.

Last year he was appointed as a Member in the Order of Australia at the Australia Day Honours for significant service to the tourism and hospitality sector. They particularly highlighted his involvement and influence as an advisor, in event management and to the community.

Peter has continually dedicated a great deal of time to representing and supporting the industry at many levels. He recently stepped down as Chairman of the Victoria Events Industry Council and as a member of the Victoria Tourism Industry Council. He was also a board member of Destination Melbourne, past President of the Melbourne chapter of the International Special Events Society and on the Tourism Australia Business Events Advisory Panel.

Currently Peter is working on events with the AFL, Victoria Racing Club, Tourism Australia and the PGA Tour of America for the upcoming President’s Cup.

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Greg Donovan, Managing Director, Big Run Events

Greg Donovan is an event organiser specialising in unique outback events, including being the founder of the Birdsville Big Red Bash.

In 2013 Greg started an event called the Big Red Run in the Simpson Desert near Birdsville, Australia’s first and only multi stage desert running event. Since then the six editions of the run have raised over $1.1m for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Before Greg’s foray into desert and outback based events he had a “real job” as a senior insurance executive.

About The Birdsville Big Red Bash

To celebrate the first Big Red Run in 2013 Greg organised for John Williamson to come and perform for the runners and volunteers. It was a mesmerising experience hearing music in the desert on top of the Big Red Dune, so Greg decided to explore the opportunity of staging a small music festival in the desert. In 2014 a 2 day music festival called the Big Red Bash was established.

The Birdsville Big Red Bash is recognised as the world’s most remote music festival and is situated at the foot of the iconic Big Red Dune in the Simpson Desert, 35 km west of Birdsville. From its humble beginnings in 2013 of a singalong around the campfire for a few hundred people, the festival has since grown into Australia’s largest outback event with three days of music featuring a huge line up of some of Australia’s most iconic artists, attracting a sell-out crowd over 9,000.

Thousands of people camp in caravans, camper trailers, tents, swags and anything else on the dry lake bed under the gaze of the 40 metre high dune which forms an amazing stage backdrop.

In 2018 the event generated 127,400 visitor nights and over $11.5m in additional tourism spending and economic benefits to a very broad region of outback and regional Australia.

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Wendy muffet, Grazing Down the Lachlan

Wendy Muffet is committed to building resilient regional communities and co- founded Grazing Down the Lachlan as part of a bigger vision for building a vibrant tourism economy in Forbes and the wider Central West region in NSW.

In her other life Wendy is a farmer and accommodation providore with expertise in small business management, regenerative farming practices, hospitality, web-based value adding and teaching.

Over four decades, in partnership with her husband Kim and family, Wendy successfully operated Taroona Pastoral Company, a broad acre mixed farm in the central west of NSW. Wendy’s current business, Girragirra Green Living, is a multi -award winning boutique accommodation and organic farming enterprise on the banks of the Lachlan River near Forbes.

Wendy has filled numerous honorary positions, all with the goal of building resilient, vibrant rural communities. Most recently she was Chair of CentaCare Wilcannia Forbes, Inaugural Chair of the East Trigalana community bore, inaugural member of the Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute Advisory Board and Chair of the Capital Development Committee of the Board of All Saints’ College.

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Alana is a passionate and experienced event industry member and is a specialist event strategist and marketer.

With a career in the events industry spanning 25 years, she has a deep understanding of events and the role they play in branding, community activation and social engagement. She brings interesting angles, ideas, spontaneity and creativity to every project. 

Her Agency, Milestone Creative Australia, specialises in major events, business events, festivals, arts and tourism marketing, providing creative, digital media, comms and experience marketing. They celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2018.

Milestone recently won the 2018 MEA National award for Event Marketing and Alana Hay won the national award for Marketing, Sales and Business Development Person of the Year. Alana is on the Board of Directors of the Meetings and Events Association of Australia (MEA) and is an Accredited Fellow Member of Meetings & Events Australia (AFMEA) and a member of the Australian Institute of Marketing. 

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Josie Howard, Dubbo Regional Council

Josie Howard has a well-rounded experience spanning destination marketing, new resident and skills attraction, economic development, major events attraction and event support. As Manager of Economic Development and Marketing at Dubbo Regional Council, Josie leads a multi-faceted team in the major service centre of the Dubbo Region, which is home to over 51,000 people (and thousands of exotic animals in the world class Taronga Western Plains Zoo).

Josie and her team work independently and in collaboration with local industry to deliver destination marketing campaigns for the Dubbo Region and major economic development initiatives. They also focus on supporting events within the region and the economic impacts and opportunities they create for a region’s economy.

In October 2018 Dubbo was host to the Royal Visit by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Josie was the key Dubbo Regional Council contact for the event. Josie and a varied team across the Dubbo Regional Council worked within a compressed, 4 week timeline to create and deliver a secure event attended by approximately 12,000 members of the public eager to catch a glimpse of Harry & Meghan, all while the world’s media watched closely. Logistics of this event included liaisons with 3 levels of government and Kensington Palace and various levels of security and police, along with creative community and business engagement and of course the moment when the heavens opened and more rain than Dubbo had seen in months poured down on the Duke and Duchess.

Josie will also give insight into how the event team worked to provide opportunities to local industry to leverage the publicity of the event and capitalise Dubbo’s time in the world media spotlight.

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Mark grentell

Born and raised in Wagga Wagga, Mark Grentell is a proud local product. He directed, co-wrote and co-produced the cult Australian film Backyard Ashes, and has directed a number of projects for clients including Macquarie University, The Professional Standards Council and UNSW.

In 2018 Mark released his second feature film, The Merger. The Centrepiece Gala screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival, the film was also selected for the prestigious Cinefest Oz Film Award and has received critical acclaim at festivals worldwide. 

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Pete DocwrA, Executive Events Solutions

Pete Docwra has been involved in planning and managing safety, security and risk at government and community events since 2007 including the Deni Ute Muster, the Trundle Abba Festival, Confest, SouthFest, Rainbow Serpent as well as meetings for world leaders such as the G20 and APEC in Australia, the Middle East, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. His session will provide practical advice on how to address the new NSW Government event planning requirements for safety and security.

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Richard Woodward

Richard Woodward facilitates strategy workshops and planning days, and trains business development teams helping event organisers to attract the right sponsors and partners to their events and the right events to their venues.

Richard works with people that have a passion for their business, organisation or cause and who are committed to improvement. Since setting up in 2004 he has worked with leading players in the arts, culture, charity, health, environment, sport, tourism, event, education, association, government and business sectors.

Leading event organisers Richard has worked with in the last three years include Museum of Contemporary Art, National Museum of Australia, Biennale of Sydney, Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands, Fairfax Events, Diversified Communications, Taronga Zoo, CanTeen, Cerebral Palsy Alliance and St.Vincents’ Curran Foundation.

Richard has also previously undertaken workshops and spoken at regional events conferences for Tourism and Events Queensland and Outback Queensland Tourism.

Prior to starting his own business in 2004, Richard held senior marketing, business development and sponsorship roles in Australia and the UK for Commonwealth Bank, KPMG, RAC, Stadium Australia and the Sydney Opera House and has worked on both sides of sponsorship including National Sponsorship Manager at CBA.

Richard is the author of ‘Business Development That Works’ (2013) and ‘How to Attract and Retain Sponsors and Partners’ (2017).


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Krista Hauritz

With a love of travel, celebrations, and a genuine curiosity for people and places, Krista has lived, worked and breathed regional tourism and events for over twenty five years.

A multi- tourism award winner, Krista has held senior positions in the industry, including Tourism & Events Queensland and Regional Tourism Organisations and is listed in the Who’s Who of Queensland and Who’s Who of Australian Women.

From volunteering at Woodford Folk Festival to promoting the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the USA, Krista and her team work with regions and events on strategic direction, strategies, business planning and marketing. 

They have helped to bring the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers and Mount Isa Rodeo to gold at the National Tourism Awards in 2019, with Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers entering the Hall of Fame following three consecutive wins at the national level.

The team develop regional tourism and event strategies, most recently developing strategies for Capricorn Coast (QLD), Central Australia (NT), Atherton Tablelands (QLD), Latrobe City Council (VIC), Gladstone Region (QLD) and Mildura (VIC).

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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 14 years. Initially working in venue and competition management across the Central Coast and Hunter regions, Phil moved into event management roles in before taking on the role as Regional Event Development Coordinator at Destination NSW for two years.

With the ethos that ‘you can’t sell it if you haven’t experienced it’, Phil has developed strong relationships with event organisers, councils and regional stakeholders through attendance at over 50 regional events in his previous and current roles, with the goal of enhancing events and promoting visitor experiences across the state.

In his current role as Principal Advisor - Major Sports Events at the Office of Sport, Phil’s team work with state and national sporting organisations, local government and venue owners to bid for World Championship events and identify opportunities to maximise the legacy of hosting major sporting events in NSW.

Phil completed his Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Management in 2009 and Graduate Diploma in Sports Media in 2018 at the University of Technology, Sydney. He enjoys surfing, mountain biking and music, but is less than elite when it comes to performing these activities!

Phil returns for his third year as MC of the Regional Events Conference and is looking forward to seeing a great mix of new and old faces in the crowd.