MEA Award recipients react to major wins

The winning teams and individuals share their reactions to receiving the industry accolades.

More than 500 event industry professionals tuned in to watch the 2019 Meeting & Events Australia (MEA) Awards on Friday night (29 May), celebrating the state and national winners from the comfort of their own homes.

It was the first time the state and national awards were presented together and the first time it was broadcast in a virtual format.

MEA CEO Robyn Johnson said broadcasting the event from the ICC Sydney Studios was a complex operation.

“Our goal was to make it the benchmark in virtual awards events,” she said.

“We were absolutely delighted with the attendance and the way the industry grasped the opportunity to celebrate with their colleagues virtually. It was an amazing night and a bright moment for the events industry.”

Behind the scenes at the ICC Sydney Studios. Image credit: Oneill Photographics

Winners’ reactions

Destination North Coast NSW took out the award for Regional Destination Marketing Organisation or Bureau, which was a welcome recognition given the challenges faced by the region in recent months.

“Despite all this, demand for our destinations has remained strong demonstrating the diversity of experiences, enviable climate, natural landscapes and colourful communities that our region offers,” said general manager Michael Thurston.

“These assets have proven to be instrumental in the success of our business events program as they have assisted in differentiating the conference experience on the North Coast to those held in metro areas.”

ICC Sydney took out Best Event Venue – Capacity over 1500 and the Event Legacy Award, while food and beverage services manager Marc Singerling was awarded Operational Person of the Year and Platinum Event Professional for the Year.

mea award winners
ICC Sydney’s Marc Singerling celebrates his win. Image credit: Oneill Photographics


ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy said the achievements are a result of hard work and an exceptionally talented team.

“The people at ICC Sydney are at the heart of our world class operations so it is wonderful to see Marc and the team’s work and skills recognised tonight,” he said.

“These awards are a reflection of the hard work, passion and professionalism they put into delivering exceptional events.”

On receiving the national awards for Professional Conference Organisation of the Year, Association Event of the Year (Kellee Butterworth) and Platinum Award for the Event Company of the Year, Arinex CEO Nicole Walker said it was fantastic to see the team’s hard work recognised.

“We enter awards to win but when your name is announced it is quite surreal and you feel honoured and proud to be part of such incredible industry expertise,” she said.

Encore Event Technologies took out two national awards, winning Incentive Event of the Year for the Amway China Leadership Seminar and Special Event of the Year for the Virtuoso Symposium Dinner.

“I want to congratulate the entire events team involved in the creation of both events from concept to execution,” said Encore managing director Tony Chamberlain.

“They pushed the boundaries of technology and creative event design to create experiences that their audiences had never seen before.”

Saxton Speakers was the recipient of the Speakers, Entertainers and Team Builders Award, to which CEO Anne Jamieson congratulated the team.

“Saxton has been a leader in the Australian meeting and events industry for over 50 years and we are thrilled to have these efforts recognised,” she said.

“The Saxton team are dedicated and passionate about this industry, they go above and beyond every day.”

The full list of national MEA Award winners are as follows:


Destination Marketing Awards Category                           
Regional Destination Marketing Organisation or Bureau Destination North Coast
Event Products & Services Category
Audio Visual Services Novatech Creative Event Technology
Banqueting & Catering Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
Event Marketing Milestone Creative Australia
Event Technology Cvent
Speakers, Entertainers and Team Builders Saxton
Specialist Services and Suppliers PBM Safety
Innovation Award Category
Innovation Award Novatech Creative Event Technology
Education Award Category
Education and Training Award TAFE Queensland, Brisbane region
Event Legacy Award Category
Event Legacy Award Legacy Program – SIBOS 2018
Event Professional Awards Category
Event Manager of the Year – Agency Ellen Sexton – Solterbeck Events
In-House Event Manager of the Year – (Association, Corporate or Government) Kath Bailey – Property Council of Australia
MEA Future Leader Kate Nichols – Howard Smith Wharves
Operations Person of the Year Marc Singerling – ICC Sydney
Sales, Marketing or Business Development Person of the Year Kristi Blake – Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific
Event Management Awards Category
Event Agency Forum Group Events & Marketing
Event Management Team – Association ASHM Conference & Events
Event Management Team – Corporate La Trobe University
Event Management Team – Government Programs and Events Team, Department of Education, Queensland
Professional Conference Organisation Arinex
Venue Awards Category
Event Hotel of the Year Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart
Event Venue – Capacity less than 500 National Wine Centre of Australia
Event Venue – Capacity more than 500 and less than 1,500 Howard Smith Wharves
Event Venue – Capacity more than 1,500 ICC Sydney
Events of the Year Category
Association Event of the Year AGOSCI 14th Biennial Conference 2019
Cause Related Event of the Year Paralympics Australia Infinite Possibilities Gala
Corporate Event of the Year UQ Open Day – St Lucia
Exhibition of the Year Get Global
Government Event of the Year SportAccord 2019
Incentives Event of the Year Amway China 2019 Leadership Seminar
Major Event or Festival of the Year Anything But Square Festival
Regional Event of the Year Deni Ute Muster
Special Event of the Year Virtuoso 2019 Symposium Dinner
Platinum Awards
Individual Marc Singerling – ICC Sydney
Company Arinex
Event SportAccord 2019
Outstanding Contribution Award
Trevor Gardiner, Centium Software

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