Associations Forum National Conference

27 - 28 April 2023 - WINX Stand, Royal Randwick, Sydney



All session times are subject to change. 

Wed 26 April 2023


Associations 101

Facilitated by Governology.
A session designed for those who are taking baby steps in the world of associations. An essential guide to the inner workings of an association, models, and common challenges. 
Watersedge at Campbell's Stores: 1 Hickson Road, Bay 3 of Campbell Stores NSW 2000.
Opera Room, Level 2, Bay 4 & 5


First-timers and Solo Attendees Meet & Greet

Facilitated by Associations Forum.
Watersedge at Campbell's Stores: 1 Hickson Road, Bay 3 of Campbell Stores NSW 2000.
Opera Room, Level 2, Bay 4 & 5


Welcome Drinks

Watersedge at Campbell's Stores: 1 Hickson Road, Bay 3 of Campbell Stores NSW 2000.
Opera Room, Level 2, Bay 4 & 5

Drinks will finish at 8pm.


Optional Casual Dinner

The Squire's Landing (Brewhouse Bar). Northern end of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay W, The Rocks (This is not included in your registration fee).

Thu 27 April 2023


Registration Opens


Arrival Coffee & Tea


Opening Plenary & Keynote

Speakers: Peter J. O'Neil, Chief Executive Officer, ASIS International

Ainslie van Onselen, Chief Executive Officer, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

Steve Knott AM, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association

Welcome from Sponsors:



Morning Tea & Exhibition

Session 2A


Strategic Directions for Successful Events

Association events provide a meeting place, generate revenue and advance members' education. Event experts will share knowledge on:

  • Growth in size and profit
  • Expanding scope and frequency
  • The future mix of hybrid, virtual and in-person events
  • Increasing costs and its impact on planning future events
  • Planning sustainable events

Sponsored by Business Events Geelong.

Chair: Loretta York, Professional Development Manager, Gastroenterological Society of Australia


Nadine Giatras, Conference & Events Director, Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine

Elmarie Snyman, General Manager - Conference & Events, Early Childhood Australia

Kassandra Koudelka, General Manager Events & Partnerships, Australasian Railway Association

Session 2B


Advocacy: Being a Powerful Voice for Your Members

Associations advocate for their industry or sector when under pressure but it is important to maintain an advocacy strategy all year round.  This session will examine:

  • Secrets for running successful advocacy campaigns
  • Advocacy tactics, tips, and techniques from real case studies
  • Communicating to members the benefits of your advocacy approach
  • Challenges of inconsistency in consultation processes
  • Obtaining traction with Government departments, regulators and ministers

James Goodwin, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Airports Association

Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon, Chief Executive Officer and Non-Executive Director, Australian Forest Products Association

Nicola Grayson, Head of Public Affairs, Australia Council for the Arts

James Coward, Director Policy & Communications, Retail Drinks Australia

Session 2C


Merging, Amalgamating or Restructuring Your NFP

Associations may merge for improved advocacy, greater efficiencies and deliver on their mission. This session will provide insights into reasons, challenges and learnings, including:

  • Understanding steps and work involved
  • Managing staff issues in a potential merger
  • Crucial communications and consulting
  • Preserving culture and community
  • Post-merger impacts on the association and members

Sponsored by Higher Logic.

Chair: Michael Bell, Senior Associations Advisor, Associations Forum


Tom Symondson, Chief Executive Officer, Aged & Community Care Providers Association

Louise Schaper, Chief Executive Officer, Australasian Institute of Digital Health

Phil Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Financial Advisers


Lunch & Exhibition

Session 3A


Change in Major Associations

Change is inevitable for an association's growth. With the global changes we’re experiencing today it’s imperative to adapt to new ways to work. Those that survive disruption will focus less on internal processes and more on people's experiences.

Sponsored by MCG Events.

Chair: Simon Grant, Group Exec - Advocacy & International, Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand

Chris Vein, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Computer Society

Kate Miranda, Director, New South Wales, Australian Red Cross

Anne Palmer, General Manager, Education & Professionalism, Financial Advice Association Of Australia

Session 3B


Dynamic Membership Strategies

Members are the focus of all associations. This session will share tips and best practice for:

  • Retaining current members - and engagement to keep them happy
  • Recruiting new members - and the less-used role of sales
  • Targeting specific segments eg young members or rural and regional members
  • Practical membership tips (staffing and technology)

Sponsored by CAMS by Brennan.

Chair: John Maroney, Former Chief Executive Officer, Self Managed Super Fund Association


Sue-Ann Fresneda, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Master Builders Queensland

Tania Rizoski, General Manager Member Services & Operations, Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia

Sandra Blair, Membership Engagement Manager, Australian Information Security Association

Session 3C


Common Governance Challenges For Associations

This facilitated workshop will examine hypothetical situations involving governance challenges and issues for associations. These are based on real life cases encountered by Governology and Associations Forum through work with clients and members over the past years. Problematic constitutions, board dysfunction, board-CEO relationships and conflicts of interest are some of the matters that will be explored in this session.


Sponsored by Governology.


Kathy Nguyen, Senior Lawyer, Governology

Andrew Gosbell, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum


Afternoon Tea & Exhibition

Session 4A


The Importance of Associations of Professionals

Skilled and ethical professionals are crucial to society - and their membership organisations bring them together for peak impact. This session will consider:

    • Setting and policing professional standards
    • Being a voice for public policy
    • Nurturing new leaders
    • Advocating in the interests of both members and the community
    • Supporting research

Sponsored by Business Events Wellington.

Chair: Claire Hewat, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Elayne Grace, Chief Executive Officer, Actuaries Institute

Prof Andrew Conway, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Public Accountants

Lyndal Macpherson, Chief Executive Officer, Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine

Session 4B


Why Industry and Trade Associations Matter to Parliament and Beyond

Industry & trade associations provide members with a range of services. The session discusses:

    • Opening parliamentary doors with your industry’s profile
    • Becoming the go-to source of policy advice for parliamentarians and the media.
    • How using industry statistics and case studies raises the profile of your sector and positions it as a thought leader

Finola Carey, Chief Executive Officer, Optical Distributors & Manufacturers Association of Australia


Troy Williams, Chief Executive, Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia

David Buley, Chief Financial Officer, Association of Independent Schools of NSW

Session 4C


Designing a practical association plan and strategy

To thrive and grow in today’s complex and competitive landscape, a comprehensive association plan is crucial in setting the organisation’s strategic priorities. A quality plan will determine:

  • How to achieve outcomes
  • Using available resources
  • Realistic timeframes.

This workshop will explore the planning process with a focus on practical outcomes.

Sponsored by Tourism New Zealand.


Andrew Gosbell, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum


Close of Day 1


Conference Dinner

Doltone House Darling Island: Waterfront Promenade Entrance, 
48 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont NSW 2009 (Directly opposite The Star)


After Party

The Star, Sports Bar, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW 2009
(This is not included in your registration fee)

Fri 28 April 2023


Pack your running shoes!

Join us to kick off day two with a 30 minute early morning run/walk at Centennial Park, Royal Randwick on Friday, 28th April 2023. Meet at The Greenhouse cafe at 7am. Optional coffee and breakfast at The Greenhouse cafe afterwards. Email us if you are interested in attending.


Registration Opens - Arrival Coffee & Tea


Special Plenary

Not-for-profits and taxable status: What you need to know!

Jennifer Moltisanti, Assistant Commissioner - Not For Profit Centre, Australian Tax Office will share the new changes and rules around Income Tax Exemptions for 2023.

Session 5A


Member Benefits

The real value of member benefits and how to quantify them to understand your members.

Tony Gleeson,
Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of Refrigeration Air Conditioning & Heating


Matthew Lunn, Chief Executive Officer, Turf Australia

Ilan Werbeloff, General Manager - Marketing & Innovation, Australian Property Institute Ltd

Alex Waldren, National Director Industry Policy, Master Builders Australia

Session 5B



Charities play a key role in making a difference to the world we live in. The panel will address key challenges to charities and how they can collaborate to identify common solutions.

  • Volunteering
  • Fund raising
  • Delivering socially good dividends
  • Plus an update from ACNC

Sponsored by Governology.

Chair: Dominic Cudmore, Principal Lawyer, Governology


Jonathan Smithers, Chief Executive Officer, Arthritis Australia

Kristina Vesk, Chief Executive Officer, Cat Protection Society of NSW

Anna Longley, Assistant Commissioner, General Counsel, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Sureka Goringe, Board Member, Australian Council for International Development and Chief Executive Officer, UnitingWorld

Session 5C


Financial Issues for Associations

Associations must raise income, control expenditure and guard retained earnings. This practical session will examine:

  • Internal controls for effective financial management
  • Financial reporting to Boards and annual reporting to Members
  • Ensuring long-term viability

Sponsored by Nexia Australia.

Chair: Michael Bell, Senior Associations Advisor, Associations Forum.


Colin Walker, Chair of the Board of Directors, Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

Mike Cullen, Chief Compliance Officer, Australian Computer Society

Margaret Heppell, Finance Manager, Girl Guides Australia NSW, ACT & NT


Morning Tea & Exhibition

Session 6A


Leadership in Associations

Associations require leadership - ideally from a combination of the Board plus CEO. This session will consider:

  • Role of the Chair, working relationship with the CEO and culture
  • Balancing Independent boards and nurturing leaders within the association
  • Creating an environment for innovation and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance)

Sponsored by Destination Gold Coast.

Chair: Tony Gleeson, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of Refrigeration Air Conditioning & Heating


Jon Bisset, Chief Executive Officer, Community Broadcasting Association of Australia

Michelle Funder, Chair & President, Osteopathy Australia

Graeme Kruger, Executive Director, Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia

Session 6B


The Delegate Experience

Conferences and exhibitions need to cater to evolving and demanding needs from attendees. This session will examine:

  • What matters - content, destination or networking?
  • New and fresh initiatives
  • Practical tips for smooth running events
  • Getting sufficient attendees in times of reduced attendance

Sponsored by Australian Turf Club.

Chair: Eve Propper, Events, Sponsorship & Foundation Manager, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia


Stephanie Elliott, Director - Corporate Affairs, Customer Owned Banking Association

Alison Fallon, Conference and Events Executive Manager, Australian Orthopaedic Association Limited

Session 6C


Communicating with Members and Multiple Stakeholders

Communicating with members and stakeholders in an association is vital yet complex. This session will cover:

  • An association’s unique position as chief storytellers and brand protectors
  • Clear and right communication strategy 
  • Matching the audience, the message and the correct medium

Sponsored by Good Talent Media.

Chair: Claire Hewat, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum


Greg Harford, Chief Executive, Retail NZ

Tom Bicknell, Digital Marketing and Communications Professional

Kelly Chan, Marketing and Communications Manager, Australian Society of Anaesthetists


Lunch & Exhibition

Session 7A


Managing the Association’s Most Vital Resource: its People

People management and motivation are the key to excellent human resources in an association. Hear from experienced leaders about:

  • Increased compliance and major workplace regulatory change
  • Resourcing your association
  • The new workplace and wellbeing
  • The economy -  Preparing for a downturn, support for employees, wage pressure, L&D budgets and redundancy
  • Real strategic HR and a requirement to take a broad business, customer, stakeholder and external view

Sponsored by Business Events Perth.

Chair: Claire Hewat, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum


Sarah McCann-Bartlett, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Australian HR Institute

Amber Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Resolution Institute

Emma Lowes, General Manager, People and Performance, Standards Australia

Session 7B


Effective Use of Technology in Associations

Associations need to harness technology to improve efficiency, yet budget reality will dictate what can be bought. This session will look at big picture tech developments and trends plus practical measure, such as:

  • Digitising many aspects
  • Data analysis 
  • Databases
  • Cyber Security
  • Apps
  • Insource or outsource?

Sponsored by Dell Technologies.

Chair: Andrew Gosbell, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum


David Millar, Chief Executive Officer, Concrete Institute of Australia

Branko Ninkovic, Board Director, Australian Information Security Association

Session 7C


Education, Training and CPD as Key Member Service

Education, learning and development is a key member service for many associations - and often an important  responsibility. This experienced panel will consider:

  • Curriculum
  • Delivery methods
  • Intellectual property 
  • Micro Credentialing
  • Distributors and partners 
  • Pricing and profit

Sponsored by D2L.

Chair: Dominic Cudmore, Principal Lawyer, Governology


David Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia

Susan Greenbank, Head of Online Courses & Strategic Programs, Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy


Afternoon Tea & Exhibition


Closing Plenary & Prize Draw

Speaker: Jana Pittman, Dual Sport Olympian, World Champion, Author, Doctor, Mum

Sponsored by ICMI Speakers & Entertainers. 

Prize Draw Sponsors Impero and Bridgeclimb Sydney.


End of Conference