Over 450 delegates, speakers and exhibitors were in attendance at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) on 29 and 30 July 2009. The conference had an impressive range of international speakers as well as leading Australian experts and practitioners in charity and association management. Many delegates and speakers stayed at the newly built Hilton South Wharf adjacent to the MCEC.
Explaining the increase in the number of delegates in attendance, John Peacock, General Manager of Associations Forum Pty Ltd said “The foundation of the success of the conference was that it was held at the new MCEC. This enabled us to increase our product from three to five streams and this made the technical program more appealing to not-for-profit managers and volunteer leaders. We are grateful to Leigh Harry and his team at the MCEC for their professional service and great product.
“Further, we were able to arrange a visit to Australia by John H Graham IV, the Chief Executive of the American Society of Association Executives. John Graham’s presence, as well as other international leaders such as Jim Pealow from Canada and Robin Lokerman and Jack Sim from Singapore, added to a quality program.” Peacock noted that improved marketing also added to the success of the event.
The Associations Forum National Conference had a huge range of technical sessions on topics such as the economy, benchmarking, entrepreneurism, fundraising, media, finances, lobbying, organisational change, standards, employment legislation, social enterprises, managing conflicts, marketing, systems and constitutions – and that was just on day one.
Day two looked at trends in Asia and Canada, compliance, partnerships, volunteers, Generation Y, membership retention, governance, websites, conference attendance, salary packaging, middlemen, financial governance, marketing strategy and technology.
In addition to the quality learning that occurred during the Associations Forum National Conference, there was an impressive exhibition of over 30 suppliers to the charities and association sector. The exhibition was the focal point of the extensive networking and information exchange that occurred during the breaks.
The Associations Forum National Conference dinner was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Held at the MCEC, delegates were impressed by the ballroom with views of the Yarra River, and the quality of the catering. Jack Sim, founder of the Singapore-based World Toilet Organisation, was the popular special guest speaker at the conference dinner. Singing and a show from Pot Pourri added to the entertainment.
Among the many supporters of the Associations Forum National Conference was the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB). Sandra Chipchase, Chief Executive Officer of the MCVB said the city was excited to have the opportunity to welcome this major conference.
“We are very proud of what Melbourne offers as a premier destination for meetings and events. The facilities that we have lead the world at present and we were delighted that our international and interstate visitors were able to see first hand the excellence Melbourne can deliver,” she said.
Third Sector acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands where we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.