Get to know MEA’s new CEO, Peter McDonald

Spice quizzed the new CEO on future plans, the importance of education and his most memorable event.

Meetings & Events Australia’s (MEA) new chief executive officer, Peter McDonald, has “hit the ground sprinting” since starting in the role last week.

Following the announcement, Spice News caught up with the new CEO to find out a little more about him and what his plans are for the business events industry.

Congratulations on the new role Peter, what are you looking forward to most about your role as CEO at MEA?

I hope that ultimately time will show that I made a difference for the better for MEA, its members and partners,and the Australian events sector. The pandemic has affected everyone, everywhere. We’re an innately social species, and it has stifled our capacity to behave as our natural selves. I’m looking forward to supporting and being part of the events sector as it blooms from the current dormancy. Get ready readers. It’s gonna be big.

You’re a strong advocate for education, why is education and upskilling so crucial for the event industry right now?

The pandemic has taught us that no matter what we think we know, there’s always more to learn. Learning is growth. As awful as some historical world events have been, knowledge that’s benefitted future generations has come from each of them. This time will be no different. Our sector has been heavily shaken by COVID, so education and upskilling in risk management alone will help better insulate and prepare industry businesses and practitioners come the next hurdle.

I also believe that people form perceptions of others’ capabilities based on what they’ve done in the past. I believe we should more be considered based on what we’re capable of. Education and upskilling provide tangible evidence of that. Someone may be capable of being an absolute star, but they’ve never been provided the opportunity. Their holding a qualification, such as for this sector MEA’s Diploma of Event Management, can set them apart from the rest by empowering them with the capacity to both talk and walk the talk.

What do the next few months look like for you as you settle into the role?

Plainly and simply, busy. I’ve needed to hit the ground sprinting. There’s much to do and a lot of expectation to try to meet. In partnership with the board, I’m keen to ensure we consolidate and MEA is positioned for growth. I’ll be working to warrant that our value proposition across both membership and education is solid and delivered upon and that relationships with members, students and key stakeholders are strong.

I’m passionate about brand, so I want to spend some time reviewing our position in that context. I’ll also be endeavouring to help government understand the stress the sector is under and how through its investment and industry supportive policies, programs and initiatives, greater returns for the economy and electorate may be reaped.

What’s one of the most memorable events you’ve ever attended?

I’m a dad of daughters. Been to many a dance eisteddfod in my time. But when my girls – as part of their performing arts academy – performed in a Disneyland ‘Diamond Celebration’ Main Street Parade a few years back, a memory I’ll never forget was created. All pride and emotion aside, it was one of the most polished and atmospheric events I’ve witnessed. Disney really know what they’re doing.

When restrictions ease again, what’s on your travel bucket list?

I’m yet to get to Uluru. I’d really like to do that. I’ve also always wanted to go to Rome, and to pay my respects at Gallipoli and Anzac Cove in Turkey. I’m quite partial to Star Wars. When I was at Disneyland they were constructing the Star Wars ‘land’, so I’d really like to take a trip in light speed to that far, far away galaxy. Very keen to get back to New York one day too.

More reading

Meetings & Events Australia announces new CEO
MEA announces 2021 Ungerboeck Young Professional Scholarship winners
COVID restrictions are changing again, here’s what you need to know

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