2022 Speakers

(In order of appearance)



Thea Jeanes-Cochrane – Co-founder, Producer and Creative Director, Cochrane Entertainment

Keynote address: A post-pandemic vision for the events industry
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2022, 9:30 AM – 9:55 AM

Thea is the Co-Founder of Cochrane Entertainment, an innovative event creation company specialising in live entertainment, festivals and sports properties on a global scale.

Most recently the company was credited with the ideation of SXSW Sydney, and her vital role in delivering SXSW to Sydney, working alongside TEG and Destination NSW is an endeavour that took her close to three years. SXSW Sydney represents the first expansion of the iconic futuristic conference and festival outside of America in its 36-year history.

Thea has produced highly acclaimed events and experiences, collaborating with some of the world’s biggest brands and events such as The Rolling Stones, Real Madrid C.F., the AFL, GC2018, GOLDOC Commonwealth Games Bid Team, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. A brand and marketing specialist, graduating from Ohio University, she has combined business acumen and unbridled determination to originate, produce and promote a diverse portfolio of events spanning across five continents, from global touring exhibitions, theatre shows, and concert spectaculars including producing the pre-game and half time shows for the historic 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final at the Gabba during covid, Gold Coast’s Flag Handover Ceremony at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the 2011 & 2009 Arafura Games Opening Ceremonies.

Along with being the Deputy Chair of HOTA (Home of the Arts, City of Gold Coast), and a Director of Motorsport Australia, Thea is a passionate gender equity advocate, and a recipient of an International Women’s Day Entrepreneurial Leadership Award.

Dr Jamie Ranse

Dr Jamie Ranse – Associate Professor and Founding Director, Mass Gathering Collaboration at Griffith University

Panellist: COVID-19 planning & safety for festivals
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2022, 10:35 AM – 12:00 PM

Dr Jamie Ranse is recognised internationally for his work focusing on emergency health care, primarily in the areas of high visibility, high consequence events that are either planned (such as mass gatherings / major events), or unplanned (such as disasters / public health emergencies). He has over 65 peer-reviewed publications in the area of disaster and mass gathering health. This work is supported with over AUD$1.5M in research funding. 

In 2019 Jamie founded the Mass Gathering Collaboration at Griffith University, which aims to strengthen health security and health system resilience globally for mass gatherings in partnership with communities, government, non-government, industry, and academic organisations. During the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic, Jamie provided consultancy to the World Health Organization regarding mass gatherings and crowded spaces. Additionally, he provided consultancy to the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) as the lead developer of the Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events in Queensland, which provides guidance and practical strategies for event organisers to operate in a COVID-19 context.

Jamie is the Chair of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine, International Mass Gathering Special Interest Group, and the immediate past Chair of the Australian College of Nursing Disaster Health Community of Interest.

Jamie volunteered with St John Ambulance Australia for over 20 years; previously holding the high-level national strategic position of Chief Nurse.

Luke Pearl, General Manager - Operations

Luke Pearl – General Manager – Operations, Rna (Royal Queensland Show ‘Ekka’ and Brisbane Showgrounds)

Panellist: Covid-19 site planning & safety for festivals
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2022, 10:35 AM – 12:00 PM

Luke joined the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (Rna) in December 2017. The RNA owns and operates the Brisbane Showgrounds and stages the Royal Queensland Show – otherwise known as the ‘Ekka’.

Luke brings with him a strong depth of experience from the hotel and event precinct sectors, having worked nationally and internationally over the past 20 years. Luke’s executive management background includes experience across operations, sales, revenue and general management disciplines within the hospitality sector.

Jason Holmes

Jason Holmes – Managing Director, H2 Insurance Solutions

Panellist: Covid-19 site planning & safety for festivals
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2022, 10:35 AM – 12:00 PM
Strategic partner address: The state of event insurance – industry update
Tuesday 30 August 2022, 1:30 PM – 1:55 PM

Jason Holmes began his insurance career with an international broker back in 1995, and over the last 25 years he has looked after insurance for all facets of the entertainment industry. Since founding H2 Insurance Solutions in 2007, it has always been Jason’s mission to give his clients a professional yet personal brokerage experience.

As a specialist in insurance for the entertainment & events, film, conference & exhibition industries, with a particular focus on event cancellation & non-appearance insurance, Jason is always looking for areas of improvement and prides himself on understanding the unique needs of his clients, to ensure their specifications are met and expectations are exceeded. With a portfolio of national and international clients, including Nitro Circus, TEG Dainty, Chugg Entertainment, Bluesfest and Live Nation, Jason has all the tools and experience to best represent his clients to insurers.

Whether it be a local community event or a large festival or national/international tour, a local TV production or an international feature film, H2 Insurance Solutions have an experienced team throughout Australia & New Zealand and across the globe who are ready to provide insurance advice and solutions with service and integrity.

Rob Raulings – Director, Ferve Tickets

Topic: The future of streaming, content-on-demand and broadcasting – a ticketing perspective
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2022, 2:00 PM – 2:25 PM 

Rob Raulings is co-founder and director of Ferve Tickets, specialising in ticketing for arts, film and cultural events.

Passionate about growing audiences, he’s worked on more than 150 Australian festival incarnations over a 24 year career. In 2020 he oversaw the development of a hybrid streaming platform which sold more than 50,000 streams in the first month of operation, and is now being used extensively by festival clients in Australia and overseas.

Dr Andrew Mathieson

Dr Andrew Mathieson – Senior Lecturer, Australian National University; Director of First for Training

Topic: Natural disaster preparedness and planning – lessons from Glastonbury
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2022, 2:30 PM – 2:55 PM
Workshop: Disaster Preparedness and Planning
Date: Thursday 1 September 2022, 9:15 AM – 10:00 AM

Dr Andrew Mathieson is a senior lecturer in the college of health and medical, Australian National University, Canberra. He worked for 12 years in the United Kingdom for local government before transitioning to academic life in 1998. Andrew also spent some 30+ years working with the British Military Reserve Army as a health planner and trainer.

Dr Mathieson has worked with many festivals and event organisers including working for Glastonbury Festival (UK) from 2008-2011, the London Olympics 2012, National Folk Festival (Australia) and Wingham Akoostik Festival. His roles at Glastonbury evolved over time to from food safety/ environmental advisor to managing a team of 12 full-time auditor/inspectors, liaising with regulatory authorities and emergency services before/during and after the festivals.

He is a subject matter expert on disaster management and climate change (resilience recovery and preparation), is also a qualified acoustic consultant, and an accredited safety professional. Andrew regularly contributes to several disaster management courses in Australia (University of Western Sydney) and New Zealand (Massey/NZDF).

Dr Mathieson is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health, Fellow of Institute of Food Science and Technology and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

He also runs First For Training (www.firstfortraining.com.au) which provides consultancy services and bespoke training solutions in the areas of food safety, fire safety, first aid, and more, for individuals and organisations.

Graham Gordon

Graham Gordon – CEO, Gardian Technologies

New Product Showcase
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2022, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

As a pioneer in the telecommunications industry, Graham Gordon has been at the leading edge of major technology implementation and transformation programs, and steered major sales and product solutions globally.

Eager to use his depth of expertise on a mission he is deeply passionate about, Graham co-founded Gardian Technologies in Australia to bring a much-needed solution to the medical technologies space. Among his previous technology achievements, Graham managed the Australia-wide deployment of the CDMA mobile network, operations and retail systems; managed the build and launch of 163 content sites on the iMode mobile content platform; developed and executed the product strategy for 3G 2100 rollout across Australia; and launched the world’s first range of 3G 850 devices for Telstra.

Reaching international shores, Graham worked as Chief Sales Officer in New York City for PCD Wireless, with a multi-billion-dollar revenues profile across North and South America. Graham oversaw all sales activity and was accountable for $3.9 billion in product revenues. He also held roles as Senior Vice President of Solutions for Brightstar delivering solutions to 54 countries and took on the role of Head of Mobile for Telecom New Zealand. Graham holds an executive MBA, Bachelor of Education and Diploma in Communications Electronics.

Matt Kreis

Matt Kreis – Head of Sales & Partnerships, Gardian Technologies

New Product Showcase
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2022, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Operating on a personal philosophy of “we all do better together” and “alone you go fast, together you go far”, Matt Kreis is determined to go far.

For more than 20 years, Matt has been instrumental in bringing people together to generate collaborative opportunities and partnerships. Whether it be in professional sport, corporate Australia or SME’s, unifying people to work together on providing solutions is what he thrives on. Matt is a key conduit at Gardian, identifying areas of need and working tirelessly to tailor solutions for individuals and organisations that are both effective and long-lasting.

Badi Mahabat

Badi Mahabat – General Manager, Casual Hands

New Product Showcase
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2022, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Panellist: Workforce skills and labour shortages – planning for the future
Date: Wednesday 31 August 2022, 2:05 PM – 3:30 PM

Badi along with his sister Shabnam founded Casual Hands with the ambition to support the community, workforce and to drive change for good in the industry.

Casual Hands is a nationally recognised event staffing and labour hire solutions provider, which services both private and public sector clients. It provides clients with staff in the areas of hospitality, events, cleaning, security, customer service, as well as kitchen and culinary support. The company manages the recruitment, training and onboarding of all staff. Some of Casual Hands’ most prominent clients include AGB Events, Royal Randwick, and the ICC Sydney, to name just a few.  

Badi is a recognised expert in the field, having been involved in projects across all of Australia and across the globe. Badi has developed a proprietary owned staff management and reporting software – a recognised game changer within the events industry. He has also developed an the integrated network of sister companies that provide a one-stop, full-service solution to meet all his client’s needs and objectives.

Badi’s focus is to work with his clients to develop innovative solutions that benefit their business and providing them with the most experienced, friendly and dedicated staff. His passion for sustainability has also seen him build a team whose focus is to work with clients to find ways that helps them meet their sustainability targets and reduce their carbon footprint without the need for significant capital injection.

Ulrich S

Ulrich Schrauth – Founder & Artistic Director, VRHAM! (Virtual Reality & Arts Festival), Germany

Keynote address: future opportunities for virtual reality use
Date: Tuesday 30 August 2022, 4:35 PM – 5:00 PM

Ulrich Schrauth is the initiator as well as the artistic director of the “VRHAM! Virtual Reality & Arts Festival” – the world’s first virtual reality festival, held in Hamburg.

Ulrich supervises various international projects within the field of digital media as creative director. In addition to that, he is XR & Immersive Programmer for the annual BFI London Film FestivalOn a regular basis he acts as a jury member, among others for the Fedora Digital Art Prize, Laval Virtual/France or the VREFEST Rome/Italy. Furthermore Ulrich is speaker and moderator with the focus on immersive art, for the SXSW Festival Austin/Texas, the Film Festival in Cannes/France or the European Jazz Conference Novara/Italy, just to name a few.

Ulrich Schrauth can look upon many years of professional experience in artistic planning, the organization and curation of festivals, theatre and music productions. He has worked nationwide and internationally in numerous productions, for example as artistic director of operations of the Thalia Theatre in Hamburg, with Sydney Festival and as Head of Programming of the international festival Theater der Welt 2017.

Ulrich studied performing arts at the Folkwang University in Essen and cultural management at the University for Music and Theatre in Hamburg.

Jan McCormick

Jan McCormick – Chief Executive Officer, Major Events Gold Coast

Topic: Major Events Gold Coast – launching a major event organisation during Covid-19
Date: Wednesday 31 August 2022, 9:00 AM – 9:25 AM

Jan leads Major Events Gold Coast with over 40 years’ experience in the events industry. In her recent position at Broadbeach Alliance, Jan drove success through her transformational leadership, positioning the organisation as a leader in festival delivery on the Gold Coast, Queensland and throughout Australia. 

Notable achievements during her leadership of the Alliance included the extraordinary growth and positioning of the Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival and the development of Groundwater Country Music Festival as Major Events for the State and City of Gold Coast, forming strong national and international reputations with an unprecedented return on investment for the Gold Coast. Prior to her role at Broadbeach Alliance, Jan sat as Director of Operations of her own highly successful Business Events and Concert Production Company, McCormick International.

Jan leads with authenticity and is known as a straight shooter who delivers – every time. Her strong reputation spans a wide range of stakeholders, including all levels of local and state governments, the media, TEQ, tourism and business events leaders in the city.

With a proven track record for success and exceptional knowledge of the music and event industry, Jan possesses the specific capabilities required to drive a long-term direction for Major Events Gold Coast.

Morwenna Collett – Senior Arts Consultant, Specialising in Diversity, Access & Inclusion

Topic: The future of festivals is inclusive
Date: Wednesday 31 August 2022, 9:30 AM – 9:55 AM
Workshop: Building an accessibility plan
Date: Thursday 1 September 2022, 11:20 AM – 12:05 PM

An accomplished leader, consultant and facilitator with 15 years’ experience in government, the arts, not-for-profit and university sectors, Morwenna has previously worn the hats of CEO (Accessible Arts NSW), Board Director, senior leadership team member, project manager, lecturer, researcher, trainer and advisor.

A senior arts consultant specialising in strategy, diversity, access and inclusion, she is deeply committed to working towards a future where everyone has equal access to participate in the arts and society more broadly. Morwenna recognises and champions the importance of inclusion and fostering diverse voices.

As an agent for change, she is sought after nationally and internationally for her expertise in the fields of the arts, disability and accessibility. She has developed national programs and initiatives, contributed to significant pieces of national arts and disability policy, raised funding from new revenue streams and expanded organisations into new areas. She makes an impact working with both large and small organisations to produce Strategic Plans, Disability Action Plans, evaluation/research/impact projects and deliver Disability Inclusion Training.

Morwenna is currently a member of arts and inclusion advisory committees with the City of Sydney, Sydney Festival, Perth Festival, Sydney Fringe Festival and Waverley Council and is a Board Director of Arts Capital (an ACT based arts venue collective). She was previously the Chair of the Sydney Arts Managers Advisory Group and has held various senior management roles at the Australia Council for the Arts, including Director of Major Performing Arts, Manager of Music, Manager of Project Controls and Risk and Disability Champion. She is an Affiliate of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia (ACAA).

In 2020, she completed a Churchill Fellowship, exploring inclusive music programs, venues and festivals which actively engage disabled people across the USA, UK and Ireland. Her work is influenced by her own lived experience as a musician with disability. 

Garry O'Dell

Garry O’Dell – Senior Researcher, Hunter Research Foundation Centre, The University of Newcastle

Topic: Local government approaches to festival regulation in NSW – a study
Wednesday 31 August 2022, 10:00 AM – 10:25 AM

In mid-2021, Garry joined the Hunter Research Foundation as a senior contract researcher to assist local councils and other state agencies. In this role, Garry helps develop and implement better policies, regulations, and practices for temporary outdoor activities such as events and similar community and tourism-related temporary land uses.

From 2012 – 2021, Garry was a part-time doctoral candidate at the University of Newcastle School of Business and Law to research local government decision making processes for events in NSW. Garry has also been involved with a Hunter Region Business Chamber and the Hunter Wine Country Tourism Board. He also lectures in tourism planning and policy.

From 1981, his local government career evolved from a Development Assessment Planner to Senior Strategic Planner and finally to Development Services Manager. In 1994, this was followed by a role as Director and part-owner of a multi-disciplinary firm of architects, planners, landscape architects and ecologists providing an integrated approach to land development. From 2009 to 2015, he was Principal Planner and sole practitioner for his planning consultancy.

In 2020, Garry was a founding member of the Australian Regional Events Alliance (AREA). AREA seeks to champion, inspire, and support the regional events industry and strengthen the understanding and narrative around the significant direct and indirect impact of events, both socially and economically. AREA created a prominent national voice to represent events across regional Australia and highlight their social and economic importance for our communities.

Jeremy Fleming – Managing Director, Stagekings

Topic: Leadership in a crisis
Wednesday 31 August 2022, 11:20 AM – 11:45 AM

Jeremy Fleming is the Founder and CEO of Stagekings, the company responsible for some of the most well-known temporary event structures of the past 7 years. Building stages and sets like the Opening Ceremony at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the set for Ninja Warrior, the replica Edinburgh Castle at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Sydney, Shakespeare’s Pop up Globe Theatre in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth and Ultra Music Festival.

Since Friday 13th March 2020 Jeremy has been navigating Stagekings through the most difficult time the event industry has ever experienced, since the complete shut-down of the industry at the outbreak of Covid-19. Facing the prospect of losing everything, he saw a chink in the supply chain and pivoted Stagekings to manufacture work from home office furniture, to fill the gap in the market and to keep Stagekings in business. By doing this he has reemployed staff, as well as employing more than 70 more out of work event crew who have since manufactured over 50,000 pieces of IsoKing furniture. On top of this Stagekings has donated over $130,000 to charity, including Support Act – the Heart and Hand of Australian Music.

With the return of events, Stagekings is now continuing to thrive and has also acquired, and bought in-house a steel fabrication business (3D Welding Works) and a signage business (Royal Sign Co).

Linda Tillman – Managing Director, Tilma Group & rEVENTS Academy

Topic: Managing your festival’s revenue streams
Wednesday 31 August 2022, 11:50 PM – 12:15 PM
Workshop: Grant writing 101
Date: Thursday 1 September 2022, 10:30 AM – 11:15 AM

Linda is a regional tourism strategist and practitioner boasting a suite of regional tourism and event expertise with LGAs and RTOs across Australia in regional tourism and event development, tourism strategy, destination marketing, regional branding, and event delivery.

Linda is also the founder of rEVENTS Academy which builds the capacity of event committees to run their events more efficiently and sustainably. Linda has a strong marketing and events background, coupled with intuitive skills in community and tourism development, and has worked on a range of regional tourism and events projects such as regional event strategies and committee capacity building, destination and event marketing planning and campaigns, destination branding, regional tourism strategic planning and development, and industry training and mentoring.

Well known for her regional passion and ability to harness the symbiotic relationship between tourism and events for destinations, Linda has an intimate understanding of regional Australia and an innate ability to connect with regional communities that has been a standout over the past fifteen years of her career in regional tourism and events.

Gill Minervini

Gill Minervini – Festival Director, Vivid Sydney; Director, Gill Minervini Creative

Topic: Igniting your festival’s creative program
Wednesday 31 August 2022, 12:20 PM – 12:45 PM

Gill Minervini is a creative director, producer, curator and consultant with more than 30 years experience in festivals and large-scale event direction! Known for her innovation, creativity, inclusiveness, financial effectiveness and strategic direction, Gill delivers memorable experiences that increase visitation and build profile for destinations through creative activity.

Her company, Gill Minervini Creative, provides festival and event direction, creative and strategic advice to a range of clients including the Adelaide Festival, Museum of Old & New Art (MONA), Barangaroo Delivery Authority, Rugby League World Cup, Transport for NSW, City of Melbourne, Arts NSW, Tourism WA, Events and Tourism Tasmania.

Formerly Creative Director/ Producer for City of Sydney Events, Gill directed the City’s major event program, including Lunar New Year Festival – the largest celebration of the lunar new year outside of China; Art & About Sydney – an international public art festival; and Sydney’s Christmas Celebrations, attracting a combined annual audience of more than two million people!

Jo Gaddes

Jo Gaddes – Lead Vocational Teacher, Events, TAFE Queensland (Gold Coast)

Panellist: Workforce skills and labour shortages – planning for the future
Date: Wednesday 31 August 2022, 2:05 PM – 3:30 PM

Jo Gaddes is an experienced educator delivering quality training with TAFE Queensland for the past 15 years. In addition, she has enjoyed a 25 year career in the events, hospitality and tourism industry.

She was recently awarded the TQGC 2022 Achievement Award for her work in the events teaching team, and was a finalist of the VET Teacher of the Year in 2016 at the Queensland Training Awards. Jo strives to provide her students work-integrated learning opportunities by embedding major Gold Coast festivals and events into their course structure and assessments.

Jo’s experience includes working with international, domestic and corporate students, training in large corporations and associations, and creating solid relationships with our industry partners. She is actively involved in many Gold Coast events and festivals, and her previous hospitality and event management roles span across Australia and internationally in award winning organisations.

Jo holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing and Management) and a Bachelor of Vocational Training, as well as a Diploma of Event Management, Diploma of Hospitality Management, Diploma of Travel & Tourism Management, and a Diploma of Training and Assessment.

Gayle O'Brien

Gayle O’Brien – General Manager (Tourism Policy, Partnerships and Events), Department of Tourism, Innovation & Sport (Queensland Government)

Panellist: Workforce skills and labour shortages – planning for the future
Date: Wednesday 31 August 2022, 2:05 PM – 3:30 PM

Gayle is an experienced professional who has held executive roles in international business, marketing, government and stakeholder relations.
Her experience includes senior roles in metropolitan and regional Queensland as well as Asia.

In her current position as General Manager, Tourism Policy, Partnerships and Events, Gayle has led the development and implementation of Queensland Government policies and strategies focused on tourism, small business and export. From 2020 – 2022, she has led the government’s COVID-19 tourism recovery efforts including delivery of over $150 million in tourism industry support packages.

Gayle is currently leading development of Queensland’s next long-term tourism strategy. In addition, Gayle leads the strategic engagement between the government and Queensland’s tourism industry, including the attraction and leveraging of major events, Indigenous tourism and tourism workforce development activities such as ‘Work in Paradise’ and the ‘Young Tourism Leaders Program’.

Jane Gazzo

Jane Gazzo – Broadcaster and AFIC 2022 MC

Jane Gazzo is a TV presenter, broadcaster, music journalist and published author who began her career in radio, aged 16. Since then, she has presented nationally on Triple J and Triple M as well as XFM London, Capital FM London and BBC Radio 6 in the UK.

Jane spent eight years as a presenter on Foxtel’s Channel V, where she reported from music festivals, red carpet events and hosted live TV shows, interviewing some of the biggest and best names in the entertainment world.

She has twice been nominated for ASTRA and ACRA awards and is an in-demand public speaker and MC.

Jane is currently a university lecturer of music industry at Collarts, Chair of the Australian Music Vault Hall of Fame advisory committee for the Arts Centre Melbourne, and currently hosts The Sound on ABC TV.

Her first book, John Farnham – The Untold Story was published in 2016.

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