14th annual


20-21 February 2020 | Adelaide Convention Centre



All current sessions are subject to change. 

Wed 19 February 2020


InterContinental Adelaide Optional Site Tour

CEO & Chair Symposium delegates are invited to join a site tour of the meetings spaces and accommodation rooms at InterContinental Adelaide. Bookings are essential and available between 6:00pm and 7:00pm. To make a booking please contact:

Christine Rentis, Director of Sales, InterContinental Adelaide
P:+61 8 8238 2328
E: christine.rentis@ihg.com 


Pre-Symposium Networking Dinner (Optional)

Join us the evening before the Symposium to network with delegates at the Intercontinental Adelaide. 
Spaces are limited. Please indicate your attendance on registration for the Symposium. 
In partnership with Intercontinental Adelaide.

Thu 20 February 2020


Welcome to CEO & Chair Symposium 2020

Phil Honeywood, Chief Executive Officer, International Education Association of Australia


Welcome from Major Partner Adelaide Convention Centre

Simon Burgess, General Manager, Adelaide Convention Centre


Australia’s issue with underpaying staff and how Associations can prevent it

In recent years, a flood of Australian businesses both large and small have been caught out underpaying staff. Winson Liew, Senior Tax Manager at Nexia Australia, discusses some of the main reasons why it happens and ways to prevent it in your organisation. 

Winson Liew, Senior Tax Manager, Nexia Sydney


Navigating in uncharted waters

With an industry that spans from paddle boards to super yachts and everything in-between, the recreational boating industry services is one of Australia's most popular pastimes with over 20 percent of the Australian population engaging in some form of boating each year. With direct and indirect contributions to the national economy of almost $20 billion, the industry is significant, however, boating is not the exclusive pastime of the rich as it is sometimes perceived to be. 82 percent of BIA members are sole traders or SMEs, and over 90 percent of the recreational boating fleet are family trailer boats.

As a trade association, we are responsible for protecting and enhancing the prosperity of our members today and into the future. With the convergence of changes in consumer behaviour, propulsion electrification technologies and the influences of climate change, there is an increasing need for association boards to be strategic and innovative, especially when in conflict with their internal and external stakeholders who are resistant to change. Darren Vaux will outline how the boating industry is rising to these challenges and why it matters in today's society.

Darren Vaux, President, Boating Industry Association


Leading an association through an industry crisis

Over the past two months, the tourism industry has faced a double whammy with the catastrophic bushfires that have devastated regions heavily dependent on tourism at their peak time of year and now the coronavirus epidemic, which has resulted in the suspension of flights in and out of China–our number 1 inbound tourist market.

How do you respond to events of this magnitude with the capacity to have a longstanding impact on the resilience and sustainability of the industry you represent? How do you influence the Government response effectively and galvanise your membership in support of these efforts? How important is communication and controlling the public narrative?

Margy Osmond, Chief Executive Officer, Tourism & Transport Forum Australia


Morning Tea

Stream 2A


The Tale of 2 Hats - CEO & Chair

Carolyn Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, Netball NSW

Stream 2B


Revamping Your Organisation

Deon Schoombie has worked at Consumer Healthcare Products Australia for the past 30 years and, during that time, has seen two changes to the organisation’s name. Fundamental to a successful name or brand change is a preparedness to clearly communicate the necessary steps and expectations. After having been through the process twice, Deon will demonstrate what he has learnt and what challenges he has faced in the process. 

Deon Schoombie, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Healthcare Products Australia

In partnership with: 


Getting Ahead of the Curve Whilst under Regulatory Scrutiny

During this session, Mike Felton, Chief Executive Officer, Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia will demonstrate the formula that MFAA has used to manage change and outcomes during a period of significant regulatory scrutiny. Including discussing engagement with regulators and consumer groups, influencing policy, the self-regulatory process and how to construct solid foundations to advocate.

Mike Felton, Chief Executive Officer, Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia

Stream 4A


CEO Triumphs and Tribulations

This session will be an open forum for association CEOs to discuss their challenges and an opportunity for delegates to share their experiences and knowledge.

Facilitated by Associations Forum

Stream 4B


Chair Triumphs and Tribulations

This session will be an open forum for association Chairs to discuss their challenges and an opportunity for delegates to share their experiences and knowledge.

Facilitated by Associations Forum




Challenges and lessons from the chair

Open heart and open mind are two elements needed for success in any business. The opportunity to lead an association successfully from the seat of the chair relies on both being realised. In this session Jane shares her journey from board director to president. The lessons learnt through the challenges and success experienced. She explores the need to be open with self and team, to embrace the opportunity to learn and the power in role modelling both elements.

Jane also shares key practices applied through these lessons which she believes are crucial to the working relationship with other board members, the CEO and the operational team.

Jane Calleja, National President, Australian Institute of Training and Development


Six Critical Steps to Foster a High Trust Senior Leadership Team

How well does your executive team engage in truth-seeking dialogue, challenge one another, share resources, and be accountable for results? High-performance leadership teams are vital to an organisation’s success. But they need TRUST first to succeed.

In this interactive workshop, CEOs will learn:

  1. Best practices for improving trust in the top team.
  2. Why humans are wired to seek trust from leaders and their work environment.
  3. Six critical trust drivers for management teams and the CEO to succeed together.

Discover best-in-class practices, learn from your peers and receive an action plan worksheet to discuss with your management team.

Marie-Claire Ross, Chief Corporate Catalyst & Founder, Trustologie


Afternoon Tea


The Secret to a Successful Software Implementation

Helen Pomlett, Director, APT Solutions (Australasia)


The Stories Between a CEO & Chair

An association’s culture and message is learned from the top, and the relationship between the CEO and Chair is integral to this process. This session will go over some of the significant issues for a balanced relationship between the CEO and Chair, including the focus of the Board, the CEO’s role in the Board and the succession plan.

Trish White, Immediate-Past Chair, Engineers Australia & Director, Slingsby Taylor

Terry Slevin, Chief Executive Officer, Public Health Associations of Australia


Why your Association needs a Mentoring Program in 2020

Connect members at different career stages to help them achieve personal and professional goals. Starting a mentoring program is an effective strategy to accomplish the ever-expanding goals for your association, especially when it comes to member recruitment and retention. Help advance the industry you serve and empower the professionals within that industry.

Robert Barnes, Country Manager APAC, Higher Logic


Being an International CEO in times of accelerated change

In the new platform economy with a world that was once interconnected and is now inter-dependent, we have moved from a multi-national approach to one that is increasingly multi-urban. This coupled with fundamental changes in engagement and learning that is exacerbated by the advancement in technology and the for-profit sector, associations are facing increasing threats to their relevance. Today, associations are required to shift their mindsets and lead teams that are outcome-focused, capable of creating scalable business models to survive. Sherrif Karamat will describe how we're at the beginnings of the fastest business model transformation since the second industrial revolution and the mind shift required to thrive in it.



Association Salary Survey Findings

The results of the 2020 Associations Salary Survey will be released, with key trends highlighted for the interest of CEOs and Chairs.

Mark Werman, Managing Director, Wentworth Advantage

In partnership with Wentworth Advantage.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


Closing Comments & End of Day 1


Symposium Dinner

In partnership with Adelaide Convention Centre

Fri 21 February 2020


Registration Opens


State of the Sector

The associations sector operates below the radar as it is largely self-supporting and not reliant on government funds. This session will share available statistics and mention some trends, highlights and disappointments in the world of associations over the past few years.

John Peacock, Chief Executive Officer, Associations Forum


From London to Melbourne – the journey of an association CEO

Tom moved from the UK to Australia in 2011. He started his career in local government in London after an early realisation that his international relations degree wasn’t going to land him a plum job in New York working for the UN! Since moving to Australia, he has worked in two peak bodies (something he hadn’t even heard of before leaving the UK), most recently as CEO of the Victorian Healthcare Association.

Tom will reflect on his experiences as an association CEO and talk about the journey that led him to this point, as well as the things nobody tells you about being a CEO until after you’ve signed the contract.

Tom Symondson, Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Healthcare Association


Tourism New Zealand Business Events Impact Project

Tourism New Zealand has announced three international conferences whose impacts will be measured to maximise the positive societal benefits conferences generate for communities. Samantha Kent; Business Events Bids Manager will talk through the process, partnership and the desired outcomes of this project.

Samantha Kent, Business Events Bids Manager - Australia, Tourism New Zealand


Leverage the power of associations to do business that does good

It is said that "if you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together." Associations have the power to change communities as a platform that addresses complex global business and societal issues. This requires collaboration at every level from internal stakeholders to partners to even competitors in your space.

Oscar Cerezales will lead an esteemed panel that will address how global cross-industry collaboration including business events fosters growth, creates new opportunities, increases value and results in a lasting legacy. 

Oscar Cerezales, Global Executive Vice President Corporate Division at MCI Group 

Sione Tu’itahi, Executive Director, Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand Runanga Whakapiki Ake I Te Hauora o Aotearoa

Margaret Gehrig, Chair, Australian Medic Alert Foundation

In partnership with Tourism New Zealand 


Morning Tea


Associations Benefiting from Connecting Directly

This session is designed for a direct interaction between delegates as they share challenges and receive feedback from peers. Delegates then swap roles and the second person in the pairing asks and their issues are analysed by their colleague. Delegates are given a few opportunities to engage in this rapid fire networking session, designed to highlight and pinpoint matters that may keep an association leader awake at night.

Facilitated by Associations Forum


What To Do When Faced With Your Worst Case Scenario

Despite the issues that Family Based Care Tasmania have faced in the last few years, including the Aged Care Royal Commission and the Royal Commission into Disability, the association has managed to continue diversifying the business and doubled their revenue by overcoming the external and internal influences that they have faced.

Justine Barwick, Chief Operating Officer, Family Based Care Tasmania




The Pursuit of Happiness: An ASA Story

Since 2015, the Australasian Sonographers Association has had three Chief Executive Officers and three Chairs. Dr Jennifer Alphonse joined the ASA Board as an Executive Director in September 2015 and then in February 2017, she was elected President of the Board. In November 2019, Jennifer stepped down and now is the current Vice-President. Jennifer was a part of the turn-around process at the ASA and will illustrate the challenges faced by the Board and how they overcame them to not only become the successful organisation they are now, but to take that success and move the association forward.

Dr Jennifer Alphonse, Vice-President, Australasian Sonographers Associations


The International Landscape

2020 is a crucial year in international affairs. The United Kingdom will still be struggling with Brexit and the United States will be in full campaign mode as it heads into an election to determine the fate of the Trump Presidency. What do these, and other events, mean for Australian foreign policy and developments in Australia’s region? Join Dr Bryce Wakefield, National Executive Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, in discussing how global events will shape Australia’s future.

Bryce Wakefield, National Executive Director, Australian Institute of International Affairs


Closing Comments

Close of Symposium


Adelaide Convention Centre Optional Site Tour

CEO & Chair Symposium delegates are invited to join a site tour of the meeting spaces and facilities at Adelaide Convention Centre. To reserve your place on the tour please contact:

Rachel Phillips, Sales Manager, Adelaide Convention Centre 
P:+61 8 8210 6810
E: Rachel.Phillips@avmc.com.au