Meet the nominees for the EEAA Young Achiever Award

The winner will jet off to Macau to attend the UFI Asia-Pacific Conference in 2020.

The Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has revealed the seven nominees for the EEAA 2019 Awards for Excellence Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award.

Sponsored by Ungerboeck Software International, the awards recognise emerging leaders from event organisers, venues and suppliers who perform a wide range of roles in the events industry.

As platinum partner of the EEAA Young Stars program, Tourism Australia will provide scholarship funding for the 2019 winner to attend the 2020 UFI Asia-Pacific Conference in Macau.

The 2019 Richard Geddes Young Achiever Award nominees are:

Nikki Whitman, Talk2 Media and Events

In a short period of time, Nikki has established herself as one of the industry’s bright young talents. Nikki is the operations manager for the Good Food and Wine Shows across Australia and played a key role in the relaunch of the 2019 Asia-Pacific Incentive Meetings Event (AIME). Nikki is a talented professional with an outstanding ability to bring to life the brand for the show and the partners within each event.

Kay Badakhsh, Host Co Sydney

Kay is the business development manager at Host Co Sydney, a venue located in the grounds of Sydney University. Joining the team in mid-2019, Kay has adopted a customer-first approach, identifying new opportunities and developing a strong sales strategy. Kay applies leadership skills and his passion for the industry in his approach to achieve results. Kay is the President of the EEAA Young Stars Committee and takes an active role to ensure the under 35s have a ‘voice’ in the future of the industry.

Katie Ray, AV 24/7

Katie has been working at AV 24/7 for almost four years and during this time she has achieved outstanding results – including tripling her revenue in her second year as an account manager. Katie displays a high level of dedication to her clients and her portfolio includes a range of high-profile shows including the Avalon Air Show, PAX, Pacific, ISTH, Land Forces and Telstra Vantage.

Lakisha Di Valentino, Diversified Communications Australia

Lakisha joined Diversified Communications as the marketing assistant in the food portfolio team. She now works across five shows, in a variety of industries and has rapidly grown her skill base to include an active commitment to sustainability. Lakisha champions digital activity and constantly looks for innovations and ways to ensure the digital presence at events is effective. She is part of the Sustainability Committee at Diversified and was a participant in the EEAA Young Stars Sustainability Forum.

Aiden Hippensteel, ICC Sydney

Aiden is an event operations floor manager at ICC Sydney. He began his at ICC Sydney when it opened in early February 2017. With a double Advanced Diploma of Hospitality and Event Management, Meeting and Event Planning he has quickly established himself as a highly capable lead floor manager and has worked across many of ICC Sydney’s high impact and complex events such as SIBOS, Sydney International Boat Show, Good Food and Wine, Fitness Show, Reed Gift Fairs Sydney and Microsoft.

Claudene Yousif, Reed Exhibitions Australia

Claudene has quickly progressed her career with Reed – she takes an intelligent view of finding solutions and is the go-to person for innovation on the event production team. Colleagues and clients continuously commend Claudene’s professionalism, integrity and creativity. She works across a broad portfolio of Reed shows, including All-Energy Australia, Beauty Expo Melbourne and Beauty Expo Australia.

Laura Blagys, Reed Exhibitions Australia

Laura joined Reed Exhibitions Australia as a marketing manager in 2014. During her five years at Reed, she has made a real impact on her shows and the company as a whole. Laura is a key contributor in driving the event and content strategies that have led to the growth and success of Reed shows including Play World Australia, Oz Comic-Con, PAX Australia and Reed Gift Fairs.

EEAA chief executive Joyce DiMascio congratulated the nominees and commended their employers for their nominations.

“We are very proud of the association’s work that provided these opportunities for young talent,” she said.

“We are very committed to ensuring future leaders are recognised, rewarded and are retained in our industry.”

The EEAA Young Achiever Award candidates will attend the industry gala dinner at Myer Mural Hall in Melbourne on 4 December, where the winner will be announced. Find out more here.

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