Home' micenet eMag : micenet August 2016 Contents Q. Any final
A. In 2005, shortly after
joining MEA, I wrote my first
of many CEO updates for
micenet. The final paragraph
of my first article was as
“The values that I seek to
achieve at MEA are to assist
you as members and your
industry grow into the future.
This will only be possible with
your support and I urge you
to work with me in any way
I sincerely think each of the
boards, committees and
members I have been
fortunate enough to work with
as you have certainly delivered
on my 2005 request.
I wish you all the very best
into the future and urge your
support of MEA to become
bigger and stronger than ever.
Signing out for the last time as:
Linda P Gaunt
Chief Executive Officer
Meetings & Events Australia
been fortunate enough to make some friends
for life, and they know who they are.
Q. And the worst?
A. Every job has its highs and lows.
While I would not say “worst” I would say the
hardest part of my job is to ensure members
see the value and continue to renew their
membership. Management within companies
need to be very discerning about how they
spend their dollar and unfortunately MEA (like
most associations), represents the two areas
that get cut when financial times are tough:
being membership and training. It’s tough on
a daily basis ensuring relevance and we all
know you cannot please everyone.
Q. What is the most interesting job
you ever had?
A. While in my late twenties and an
up-and-coming association manager for the
Retail Traders Association, being given the
project to manage the “Mystery Shopping
Contract for Club X Australia Wide”. A serious
industry sector of course, but an eye opener
for me that’s for sure. (The end of a good
Conference Club MEA is nothing on this).
Q. It’s all about work/life balance
these days. Do you think you are healthier
now to when you started?
A. We all have strengths and
weaknesses. My weakness is that I become
very absorbed in my work and don’t allow
time for myself. I have never worked an eight-
hour day in my life and don’t think I ever will. I
am trying very hard to get better at this by
introducing yoga and exercise into my life.
Am I healthier? Hey, I’m 11 years older!
Q. What was some of your
achievements during your 11 years?
A. I actually have not achieved anything
on my own. I have, however, been fortunate
enough to be an influencer to the committees
and boards over the years, and as such, I
believe we together have had some great
achievements. Just a few of them include:
• Launching Y MEA for our under 30-year-
• Surviving as a membership organisation
through tough financial times a few years
ago when corporates and associations
around us were closing their doors
• The launch of the Australian Events
Academy - our own industry registered
• Continued growth and improvement of the
MEA State and National Awards Program
• Opening our membership to a variety of
new industry sectors
• The launch of the Event Show Sydney
Q. Are there any staff members
along the way you would like to note?
A. Not everyone is cut out to work for a
not for profit organisation. There are no frills
and few post salary rewards except the
satisfaction of doing a great job. Many people
do not last because of their expectations and
the reality that it is hard work. At MEA I have
worked with many great people and a few not
so good people (no naming and shaming here).
Two people who really worked hard for MEA in
my time are Anne Camenzind (now with
Business Events Sydney) and Pina Bargenda.
Both Anne and Pina had extremely long
tenures and were sorely missed when they left.
Q. Where would you like to see the
association in five years’ time?
A. All associations, no matter their size,
have to work hard to survive and stay
relevant in a world where so much
information is readily available from the web. I
would like to see MEA remain relevant to its
members, thrive and deliver on the promises
made at this year’s conference. Work has
already commenced on the new MEA
branding, website and CRM as well as that
long-awaited corporate accreditation. I intend
to take this as far as I possibly can and I
know the board will ensure this is finalised. In
short, I would like to see MEA grow and
prosper into the future.
Q. So what’s next for you?
A. I do have employed plans in the
association sector commencing late this year.
However, before that I am off to Germany to
see my son married and for a lovely long
holiday around Europe. I finish at MEA on
September 7 and leave the day after.
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