Report by Trevor Connell
The final event for ISES Sydney was billed as a Celebration. And it actually turned out that way.
Although the event marked the end of the ISES Sydney chapter which, along with Melbourne, has now closed down it did turn into a celebration of the 25 years of the chapter.
The chapter was founded at a time when everyone in the industry in Sydney knew each other. We knew the event management companies (very few) and the suppliers, and most of the clients. However in the ensuing quarter century the industry has changed considerably.
Back then we had no internet, mobile phones could be used to make calls only, and we often had to explain to clients (and our friends) what an event manager does. So the industry networking events were crucial to keeping up with what was going on in the industry. These days it seems that most coming into the industry keep up to date via social media.
This event was hosted by Greg Hancock and his team at Sydney Props Specialists in their Marrickville warehouse.
We went on a journey via Austria to Rio! The first room decked out with Bavarian props accompanied by food prepared, appropriately, by European Catering. There were many old friends to catch up with because once the word got out that this would be the closing event for the chapter, many more people made the effort to come.
Lena Malouf was the driving force behind establishing the Australian Chapter of ISES and was our first president. Lena reflected on the history of the chapter and told guests not to be negative about the closure and that “most of us in this room have been together for a long time and I believe that when one door closes another will open”.
It was up to the current president, Scott Bellingham, to officially close the chapter off. In doing so Scott paid tribute to Lena and to the many people who had volunteered their time on the executive committee and in organising the many events and conferences during the life of the chapter.
Then it was upstairs to the expansive studio space for the panel session hosted by Daryl Lovegrove who first introduced Bruce English (Boulevarde Performance) who talked about value adding to events by integrating various forms of entertainment.
Arnold and Carlo Huber (European Catering) explored the current catering trends and challenges, while Susan La Roux backed that up with venue choices, especially those that might not seem obvious at first.
Pages Hire is one of those companies that have been around in Sydney longer than ISES (they were also a founding member) and CEO Stephen Thatcher took us on a tour of some of the more unusual structures they have built lately and the unusual locations where they have popped up.
Back downstairs and another area was opened up for more networking and entertainment, the latter provided by Boulevard Entertainment and featured the Brazilian Latin Dance Company – Hot, Hot, Hot indeed.
Yes there was plenty of reminiscing and a determination that the work that had been put in by members would not be forgotten and that maybe, somehow, some of the most relevant activities might continue. Particularly the mentoring of students entering the industry.
Event director – Glen Lehman
Entertainment director – Bruce English
MC – Darryl Lovegrove
Venue – Sydney Prop Specialists
Catering – European Catering
Performers – Boulevard Performance
Technical support – The AV Dept
Furniture – Pages