Robyn Johnson has resigned from her position as CEO at Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) after four years in the role.
Johnson confirmed the news in a statement on Friday, 2 October, saying she is relocating to the NSW South Coast for a “long-planned escape to the country”.
“I’m not disappearing, just relocating – and I intend to continue working in the events industry,” she said.
“However, I’ll be taking a short break to settle into a new home and a new community.”
Johnson said she is extremely proud of what has been achieved during her time as CEO, including rebranding and repositioning MEA’s annual conference and awards program, launching a scholarship program for NSW regional students and launching the Celebration of Excellence publication.
“When I became CEO, MEA was going through an extremely challenging period,” she said.
“With support from the industry, in particular MEA’s partners, the board and branch committees we ‘rebooted’ the organisation and developed new programs to support our members and the broader industry.
“I’m leaving with mixed feelings as the events industry faces serious challenges as a result of the coronavirus. As a long-standing member and supporter of MEA of course I’ll continue to advocate in the interests of the industry and assist MEA wherever possible.”
MEA chair Kate Smith said Johnson should be very proud of her achievements.
“On behalf of the board, branches, partners and members, we are grateful to Robyn for her tireless work and passion as CEO,” she said.
“She has re-engaged our members, partners and the broader industry during her four years and the programs and services created are greatly valued. We thank her for all the work she has done and we wish her every success for her move and for her next step in her career.”
Industry reacts to the news
Event industry professionals have taken to social media to share their reactions to Johnson’s departure.
“Our industry is extremely fortunate to have had you as the peak industry body CEO and such a fearless leader in the toughest of times. Your leadership, commitment and passion did revive MEA which is very much appreciated,” said Shari Carr of HelmsBriscoe.
Former CEO of the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia Joyce DiMascio said, “Thanks for your hard work at MEA – I know how challenging it is to lead a peak body and you did it so well. You turned MEA around.”
Business events advisor Alison Petrie said, “No doubt that under your stewardship, MEA returned to its main purpose, reconnected with members and reaped the benefits of doing so. Well done Robyn.”
Read Robyn Johnson’s latest opinion piece for Spice Magazine here.