Three event professionals have been chosen as finalists for Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia’s (EEAA) 2019 Unsung Hero Award.
The finalists are: Elissa Duke, senior manager planning at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre; Dwane Goodman, head of catering and customer service at Sydney Showground and Felicity Zadro, managing director at Zadro Communications.
EEAA chief executive Joyce DiMascio said the award recognises the industry’s unsung heroes for their service and contribution to exhibitions and events.
“They may be someone who flies below the radar – whatever their role, they are above all passionate and devoted to always going beyond what’s expected to deliver outstanding service,” she said.
DiMascio added the Unsung Hero Award has become one of the most popular categories in the EEAA Awards for Excellence.
“This has become one of our most popular awards as it singles out individuals who have been nominated by their organisation and their peers,” she said.
“Their work impacts the whole industry.”
Meet the finalists
Senior manager planning
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC)
Duke has headed up MCEC’s planning team for four years and is currently on secondment as senior manager of operations. She has lifted customer satisfaction scores to record highs and is developing her team to deliver exceptional experiences for MCEC’s customers. Her philosophy is that coaching, mentoring and developing employees is the cornerstone of success for a manager. Duke has transformed her team’s culture leading to improvements in customer engagement and staff retention.
Head of catering and customer service
Goodman has been nominated for his leadership and outstanding contribution to pioneering the sustainability practices at Sydney Showground. Through planning, executing and delivering food and beverage service across all event categories, he shares best practice with his team and other venues. Goodman has pushed for internal suppliers to use recyclable materials in their packaging and has removed the use of all single-use plastics. His contribution has driven procurement strategies that have made a significant impact in the war on waste in large-scale venues.
Zadro widely known for her strategic insights, business acumen and leading communications initiatives. She has specialised in creating effective marketing and communications strategies designed specifically for the business events industry. Zadro and her team deliver strategic programs that have lifted the competency of the industry in the critical area of marketing and across digital platforms. Her dedication to the events industry spans almost two decades where she has volunteered her time to raise the profile of the sector and shared her expertise.
The winner will be announced at the EEAA Awards for Excellence Gala dinner taking place at Myer Mural Hall in Melbourne on 4 December.