Andrew Hiebl, chief executive officer Association of Australian Convention Bureaux

AACB Presidential Baton Hand Over

Last month, a new era began for the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) as the presidential baton was passed on, seeing Karen Bolinger, CEO of the Melbourne Convention Bureau elected as President.

The presidential handover took place at the AACB Annual Conference, as Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of Business Events Sydney ended her second 2-year term at the helm.

Lyn reflected on her time as president and what the AACB has achieved over that time. “It has been an honour to be AACB President over the last four years, and I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved together over that time. Particularly, the progress we have made engaging government and industry in the value and importance of business events, and the vital impact they have on the Australian economy”, she said.

However, thinking about what more could have been done, Lyn says she’s disappointed that greater financial backing couldn’t be secured for the industry with national bid fund.

“…there is always more to do, and more people to engage. So, we must keep banging the drum and take the message out to the wider community. Because business events benefit everyone and we want everyone in Australia to be an advocate for them,” she said.

Looking ahead, Karen Bolinger says she’s prepared for a productive year, with one of the first actions being to revisit the strategic plan and the future model of the business events industry in Australia.

“AACB has a powerful voice in advocating for industry, stakeholders and partners who benefit from the sector, as well as influencing government to raise the profile of this vital economic driver for Australia. I plan to continue the great work that has already been achieved and delivering new initiatives established in the 2017/18 strategic plan.”


Karen addressed AACB delegates at the conference, challenging them to think ahead to the business events industry past 2050, leading to the important question of how we shape and create the future of the industry to meet the needs of the new generation of conference attendees.

“Distortion and disruption are words used regularly; still, I challenge the business events world to move out of its comfort zone and adapt with new technology…

“We must challenge the norm and seek opportunities to grow this sector; let’s have an entrepreneurial approach to our businesses and think like a future delegate. Our customers and our industry must revolutionise how we do business and lead the way to not move incrementally but in a substantive agile manner that determines our future today and not wait for it to pass us by”.

I look forward to working closely with the new executive team that has been elected.

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