Home' micenet eMag : micenet April 2018 Contents F
irst things first. How can you
possibly still love a job that you’ve
been doing now for 18 years? Ask
a lot of people that and they’d
probably tell you that you couldn’t.
But this is the events industry and when
you’re standing still in this game, you’re most
probably not doing your job for your
audience, your employer or yourself.
And that’s what keeps you motivated and
So says director of events and member
relations at the Australian Petroleum
Production and Exploration Association, Julie
Hood, who is about to “disappear” for a while
as the organisation’s annual event bumps
into the Adelaide Convention Centre from
May 14 to 17. It is regarded as the premier
annual meeting and exhibition for the oil and
gas sector in the southern hemisphere,
welcoming in excess of 2000 delegates and
more than 100 exhibitors.
When Ms Hood left the Brisbane
Convention & Exhibition Centre in 2000 she
imagined that she would be working at
APPEA for 18 months before leaving to start
a family. Almost 18 years later she has the
family and the job, receiving a few
promotions along the way.
“As soon as you start thinking we’ll do it
the same as we did last year it’s probably
time to leave. At that point you’re not doing a
service to yourself or your industry,” she says.
“For me it’s always a matter of trying to make it fresh and different and surprising the
delegates. Some of our delegates have been coming to our event for 30 years so it’s important
to keep within the traditional structure so that it doesn’t frighten anybody but also move with the
times so it stays current and fresh.”
The May conference this year will be the association’s 58th.
Following the ebb and flow of the oil and gas sector, the conference has had its peaks and
troughs. A few years back when the oil industry was booming the conference attracted around 3700
delegates and 260 exhibitors. Its 2000 delegate numbers now has remained constant since then.
I want to be an event manager
Ms Hood’s first foray into the wonderful world of event management started at the Brisbane
Convention & Exhibition Centre where she began as a waitress.
“Someone there looked at my CV and asked me why I was applying for a job as a waitress
when I wanted to be an event manager. I said, are you going to give me a job as an event
manager? They said I didn’t have the experience to which I replied that I’d take the job as a
waitress and work my way up.”
And she did. When the restaurant was closed she worked in banqueting and volunteered in
the events department on her days off.
Sometime later a job opportunity within the events department came up and she was
interviewed “rigorously” by Malu Barios (now at the ICC Sydney) for the role. Malu gave her a
chance and the rest, as they say, is history.
“What I learnt from my time there and from Malu and Bob O’Keeffe (BCEC GM), I could write
a book on. They have been incredible mentors for the industry, and for anybody who works for
them they are the epitome of professionalism.
“What I found was the operational knowledge I picked up at BCEC was crucial to my success
later on. Because I started as a waitress you quickly understand the logistics of how, for
example, a room is set, when it’s set, why it’s set in a certain way, how it’s served, when it’s
served, why you can’t have an exhibition build go up while there’s catering in close proximity. It’s
that hands-on experience that really transcended well when I moved across to the ‘other side’.
“It has also helped me talk to venue operators and not be unreasonable in my requests. I
might stretch a venue but I don’t see that as a bad thing.
“I found that moving across to being the client was a real jolt. You quickly realise that the venue
is such a small part of the event itself. When you work at the venue you don’t see all the other
In the first in a new series, micenet recently spoke to the APPEA director
of events and member relations, Julie Hood, on the value of events and
why she’s been doing what she has for so long.
NEWS ASSOCIATION EVENTS | BRAD FOSTER
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