Associations Forum National Conference


30 April - 1 May 2024, National Convention Centre Canberra

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Program

Get inspired, expand you network, have your questions answered by the experts with quality technical sessions over the course of two days!

For a snapshot of the Program click here.


Mon 29 April 2024

9.00AM

Association Success Masterclass

Click here to view the program & register.

3.30PM

Registration Opens

4.00PM

Associations 101

A session designed for those who are taking baby steps into the world of associations. An essential guide to the inner workings of an association, models, and common challenges. 

Kathy Nguyen, Senior Lawyer, Governology

5.00PM

First-timers and Solo Attendees Meet & Greet

Open to all delegates to attend, a great networking opportunity.

Andrew Gosbell, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

5.30PM

Welcome Reception at National Convention Centre Canberra

John Peacock AM, Chief Executive Officer, Associations Forum

7.30PM

Welcome Reception Concludes

Tue 30 April 2024

7.00AM

Registration Opens

8.00AM

Arrival Tea & Coffee

9.00AM

Opening Plenary & Keynotes

Associations Forum is pleased to commence the Associations Forum National Conference with two outstanding CEOs who will share their stories of great success in their respective membership organisations. 

Welcome from Major Sponsors

                

 

   

Chair:

John Peacock AM, Chief Executive Officer, Associations Forum

Speakers:

Andrew McKellar, Chief Executive, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Tanya Barden OAM, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Food and Grocery Council

10.30AM

Morning Tea & Exhibition

Session 2A

11.15AM

Future Directions for Association Events

Association meeting practitioners share their experiences on how to make your events grow in size and profit. They will explore areas such as:

  • Developing your association event’s strategy for profit  
  • Expanding scope and frequency
  • The future mix of hybrid, virtual and in-person events
  • Increasing event costs and its impact
  • What is the impact of sustainability in events?
  • Effectively managing diversity of speakers
  • Building engaging programs
  • Technology trends in events
  • Should and could an association run a World Congress? 

Sponsored by

Chair:

Tony Gleeson, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers:

John Harmata, Professional Development Manager, The Institute of Internal Auditor-Australia

Julie Allen, Head of Events, Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

Julie Hood, General Manager Member Relations & Events, Australian Energy Producers

Session 2B

11.15AM

Being a Strong Voice - Making Advocacy An Appreciated Member Service

Advocacy can be a useful tool to build support, to galvanize and/or to influence change. The panellists will share insights drawing from real-life experiences and examples. This session will explore various campaigns, illustrating successful strategies and approaches..

Sponsored by

Chair:

Claire Hewat, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers:

David Bushby, Chief Executive Officer, Commercial & Asset Finance Brokers Association of Australia

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

Luke Toy, General Manager - Advocacy, Australian Medical Association

Session 2C

11.15AM

Restructuring: Whether Mergers and Alliances are Worthwhile

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

  • Understanding the 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

Chair:

Michael Bell, Senior Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers:

Melissa Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Business Events Association

Paul Vardy, Chief Executive Officer, Golf Management Australia

Robert Lucas, Chief Executive, Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries Australia & New Zealand

Session 2D.1

11.15AM

Boosting Australia’s Productivity and the Role of Associations

This session will provide insights into:

  • Overview of the work and scope of the Productivity Commission 
  • Measuring productivity and how we score 
  • How industry and professional associations can contribute 

Chair:

Kathy Nguyen, Senior Lawyer, Governology

Speaker:

Alex Robson, Commissioner and Deputy Chair, Productivity Commission

Session 2D.2

12.00PM

Trending Legal & Governance issues for associations

Join this session for a summary of recent cases involving associations. Learn from recent case law and gain strategies to protect your association.

Sponsored by

Speaker:

Kathy Nguyen, Senior Lawyer, Governology

12.45PM

Lunch & Exhibition

Session 3A

1.45PM

How AI Turns Your Organization’s Legacy into Currency

The knowledge your association has stockpiled over the last 100 years isn’t just history—it’s a gold mine. Locked within endless publications, detailed reports, and recorded conferences lies the collective intelligence of countless professionals. Historically, this vault of insights was a challenge to navigate—until now.
AI-powered knowledge assistant – BettyBot.ai - is unlocking the knowledge cycle of the world’s Associations.

Sponsored by

Chair:

Kathy Nguyen, Senior Lawyer, Governology

Speakers:

Robert Barnes, Chief Executive Officer, Betty Bot

Tegan Carrison, Executive Director, Australian Association of Psychologists

Session 3B

1.45PM

Dynamic Associations Making Major Advances

Associations are increasingly adopting dynamic approaches to engage their members, leverage technology and form strategic alliances. This session will look at: 

  • The increasing use of a tailored, personalised approach to engaging with members through various online channels and the use of more interactive events 

  • Staying ahead and up to date with emerging technologies such as AI, data analytics and virtual reality. How can they be used to streamline operations? Do they enhance the member experience? 

  • Forging strategic partnerships and fostering collaborative networks within and outside the association sector to share resources and expertise and amplify the impact on industry-wide issues.

Sponsored by

Chair:

Lewis Kaplan, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers: 

Cindy Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Association of Social Workers

Miranda Grace, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Association of Practice Management

James Goodwin, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Airports Association

Session 3C

1.45PM

Membership Rapid: Boosting Retention and Recruitment

Members are the lifeblood of associations. This session will explore strategies association leaders have adopted to boost membership and share some practical tips and best practice.

Sponsored by

Chair:

Tony Gleeson, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers:

Jodie McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Counselling Association

Christine Pope, President, Australian Traditional Medicine Society

Monique English, Engagement Manager, Standards Australia

Session 3D

1.45PM

Board Roles and Responsibilities - Achieving A High Performing Board For Your Association

A high-performing board plays a critical role in the success, sustainability, and impact of an association. Its leadership, governance, and strategic oversight are essential for fulfilling the organisation's mission and achieving its goals.

In this highly interactive workshop we will discuss board roles and responsibilities under the common law and statute, plus best practice on the role of being a director. Techniques to recruit, develop and retain directors and develop a high performing board will be explored through case studies and scenarios. And a quick fire quiz will crown the "governance champion" of AFNC24!!

Sponsored by

Facilitator:

Andrew Gosbell, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

3.15PM

Afternoon Tea & Exhibition

Session 4A

4.00PM

The Skills Crisis and How Associations Can Help

This session will consider skills and migration, addressing the skills shortages and getting our skills mix right over the long term.

Sponsored by

Chair:

Lewis Kaplan, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers:

Helen Duncan, Chief Executive Officer, Migration Institute of Australia 

Jenny Lambert OAM, National Policy and Research Advisor, Accommodation Australia

David Turvey, First Assistant Secretary, Jobs and Skills Australia

Session 4B

4.00PM

Running a Major Association 

The panel will share insights on

  • Innovation and transformation
  • Risk and compliance in the context of the associations industry
  • Smooth and seamless relationships between CEO and Board
  • CEO as the spokesperson and thought-leader

Sponsored by

Chair:

Tony Gleeson, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers: 

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

Tony Mahar, Chief Executive Officer, National Farmers' Federation

Session 4C

4.00PM

Small Associations: Kicking Big Goals

The panellists will share insights on- 

  • How strategic goals are set & delivering for your members 
  • Benefits of a small association 
  • Advocating for your members 
  • Creating new reliable revenue streams 
  • Challenges of running an association 

Chair:

Claire Hewat, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers: 

Kersten Gentle, Chief Executive Officer, Frame and Truss Manufacturers Association of Australia

Keir Paterson, Chief Executive Officer, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria

Stefanie Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, Change Management Institute

Session 4D.1

4.00PM

Foreign Policy Perspectives

Bryce will discuss global political dynamics, the need for organisations to include geopolitical risk in their calculations and the role of think tanks in foreign policy making.

Chair:

John Peacock AM, Chief Executive Officer, Associations Forum

Speaker:

Bryce Wakefield, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of International Affairs

Session 4D.2

4.45PM

Association Commercialisation

Associations often have significant commercial opportunities, but they rarely capitalize on them. Based on his success at SPASA, Lindsay will share his energy, experience and enthusiasm regarding: 

  • Identifying whether your association has significant commercial opportunities 
  • Where associations have brought in potentially huge income streams over the years 
  • Examples of membership organisations’ success in commercialisation 

Chair:

Michael Bell, Senior Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speaker: 

Lindsay McGrath, Chief Executive Officer, Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia

5.30PM

Close of Day

6.00PM

Pre Dinner Drinks

Old Parliament House: 18 King George Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600

7.00PM

Conference Dinner

Old Parliament House: 18 King George Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600

9.30PM

After Party

Binara, Crowne Plaza: Canberra, ACT 2601

Wed 1 May 2024

7.00AM

Pack your walking shoes!

Join us for a 30-minute early morning walk around Constitution Avenue. Email us if you are interested in attending.

8.00AM

Registration Opens - Arrival Tea & Coffee

8.15AM

Day Two Plenary - Policy Matters 

  • Role of big, important and powerful peak bodies 
  • Joint advocacy  
  • Current IR laws and its impact - how the campaign against IR laws has brought associations together as a collective voice
  • Association methodology for achieving results 

Chair:

John Peacock AM, Chief Executive Officer, Associations Forum

Speakers:

Innes Willox, Chief Executive, Australian Industry Group

Luke Achterstraat, Chief Executive Officer, Council of Small Business Organisations Australia

Session 5A

9.00AM

Member Services: Clarifying Your Value Proposition

Value Propositions are crucial for any organisations success and should clearly and concisely communicate the value of your organisation. This session will explore the importance of:

  • Understanding member’s needs to tailor services effectively

  • Communicating and demonstrating the value proposition to both members and potential members

  • Increasing member satisfaction and retention through innovative approaches such as personalisation, experiential events, and digital platforms.

Chair:

Lewis Kaplan, Associatios Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers:

Libby Day, Chief Executive Office, Defence Teaming Centre

Laurie Leigh, Chief Executive Officer, National Disability Services

Scott Wiseman, Chief Executive Officer, P&Cs Qld

Session 5B

9.00AM

Designing a Practical Association Plan and Strategy

Strategic planning is essential for associations to thrive, innovate, and fulfill their mission in a rapidly changing world.

In this workshop we will explore:
  • Common problems and pitfalls with strategic plans
  • The framework of a strategic plan
  • The role of board and management in planning
  • A typical planning day
  • Engaging the board strategy beyond the planning day

Through interactive discussions and case studies, this workshop will explore the planning process with a focus on practical outcomes. 

Sponsored by

Facilitator:

Andrew Gosbell, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Session 5C

9.00AM

How to make more profit in your association

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

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

Chair:

Michael Bell, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers:

Lindsay McGrath, Chief Executive Officer, Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia

Kylie Fiddy, Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary, Australian Library and Information Association

Sue Bruce, Finance Manager, Forestry Australia

Session 5D.1

9.00AM

How the ACNC helps Charities and the Nation

This session explores the instrumental role of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) in fostering transparency and accountability within charities, thereby fortifying public trust and contributing to the collective welfare of the nation. Uncover the ways in which the ACNC's regulatory efforts positively impact both charitable organizations and the broader societal landscape.

Chair:

Claire Hewat, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speaker:

Sallyann Stonier, Assistant Commissioner, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Session 5D.2

9.45AM

In Conversation With Crossbench Senator David Pocock

The ACT’s first independent Senator and a key balance of power vote on the crossbench, Senator Pocock will share his insights on the transition to politics, life as an independent and practical suggestions on engaging effectively with the crossbench in support of good advocacy outcomes.

Chair:

John Peacock AM, Chief Executive Officer, Associations Forum

Speaker:

David Pocock, Independent Senator for the ACT

10.30AM

Morning Tea & Exhibition

Session 6A

11.15AM

Association Leadership and Culture

This panel will explore the challenges faced by leaders, as they transition from a reactionary, detail-oriented leadership style to a proactive, big-picture approach. Learn from case studies and personal stories from successful leaders who have made this transition effectively.  

Chair:

Lewis Kaplan, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers:

Zena Burgess, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Psychological Society

Julia Whitford, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of Health and Safety

Greg Harford, Chief Executive, Canberra Business Chamber

Session 6B

11.15AM

New Developments in Running Successful Association Events

Successful meetings and events can directly assist the success of an association. 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
  • Increasing attendee satisfaction  
  • Using AI to boost events  
  • Event risk management
  • Delivering upon an event’s 'KPI 1'

Sponsored by

Chair:

Tony Gleeson, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers:

Steve Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Boating Industry Association of Victoria

Jasmine Collins, Manager ‑ Events & Marketing, Civil Contractors Federation Queensland

Paula Rowntree, Head of External Engagement, Australian Psychological Society

Session 6C

11.15AM

Communications Rapid: Association Communications with Impact

Panellists will share their top performing communication campaigns, from identifying the problem, tailoring the message to the intended audience, developing a strategic and achievable plan moving forward and utilising the media to get the message across. This interactive and engaging session will benefit professionals across all industries. 

Chair:

Amanda Dollman, Marketing Manager, Associations Forum
 

Speakers:

Leanne Raven, Chief Executive Officer, Crohn’s & Colitis Australia

Anita Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, Nursery and Garden Industry NSW and ACT

Helen Dehen, Director, Hydora Lane Communications

Session 6D.1

11.15AM

The Role of the ACCC in Maintaining a Competitive Australia

Competition is critical, and benefits everyone.
Mick Keogh, Deputy Chair, Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to share insights on the role of ACCC and how its work is relevant to associations and their members.

Chair:

Claire Hewat, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speaker:

Mick Keogh, Deputy Chair, Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

Session 6D.2

12.00PM

External Reviews: Your Association’s Health Check

Most associations have the advantage of few obvious competitors, however, this can lead to complacency and not enough external perspective. Associations Forum regularly conducts External Reviews of associations which can inform the Board and CEO of an association’s strengths and weaknesses through an unbiased external perspective. This session will consider:

    • How and when an External Review may assist
    • Open Terms of Reference to allow the experienced advisor scope regarding inquiries
    • Typical matters requiring scrutiny - and case studies
    • The importance of acting on recommendations - and having a plan

Chair:

Claire Hewat, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speaker:

John Peacock AM, Chief Executive Officer, Associations Forum

12.45PM

Lunch & Exhibition

Session 7A

1.45PM

Getting the Right Staff and Human Resources Results

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

  • Overcoming challenges in recruiting quality staff 
  • Motivating staff
  • Impact of new IR legislation

Chair:

Tony Gleeson, Associations Advisor, Associations forum

Speakers:

Vase Jovanoska, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Kylie Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering

Session 7B

1.45PM

Technology Impacting Associations

Emerging technologies have the potential to empower associations to enhance member experiences, improve operational efficiency, and drive innovation. However, they also present challenges related to cybersecurity, digital literacy, and resource allocation, which associations must address to maximize the benefits of technology adoption.

Sponsored by

Chair:

Andrew Gosbell, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers:

Narelle Clark, Chief Executive Officer, Internet Association of Australia

Branko Ninkovic, Board Director, Australian Information Security Association

Petá Sweeney, Information and Content Specialist, RIMPA Global

Session 7C

1.45PM

Association Education and Training in a Competitive Marketplace

Learning and skills development need to transform to account for the demographic, technological and social shifts impacting the way we learn and work. This experienced panel will look into:

  • Workforce and training development challenges 
  • Durable skills of the future and how to close an ever-widening skills gap 
  • Emerging trends in hybrid and personalised learning 
  • Micro credentials 

Sponsored by

Chair:

Claire Hewat, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speakers:

Jill Brookfield, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Australian Certifiers

Ruth Ferraro, Academic Lead - Strategy, Adjunct to Governance Academy, Governance Institute of Australia

Session 7D

1.45PM

What Associations Need to Know about New ATO Requirements

In this session, Jennifer Moltisanti will examine recent developments in taxation, including:

  • ATO focus on the NFP sector in driving integrity
  • Application of the Division 50 exemption and the new reporting requirements for self-assessing income tax exempt organisations
  • How NFPs can prepare for the new reporting requirement
  • An update on DGR reforms
  • Recent updates to Public Advice and Guidance

Chair:

Michael Bell, Senior Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speaker:

Jennifer Moltisanti, Assistant Commissioner - Not For Profit Centre, Australian Tax Office

3.15PM

Afternoon Tea & Exhibition

3.45PM

Closing Plenary & Prize Draw

Former world number 4 tennis player, commentator and best selling author, Jelena Dokic is one of Australia’s premier motivational speakers. Her inspirational story of survival through life's ups and downs is truly remarkable, both on and off the court.

Jelena’s keynote and guest speeches always leave a lasting impression. She has a way of captivating audiences with engaging, authentic and inspirational stories that provide a unique insight into managing the highs and lows of both your personal and business life.

Her talk at this year’s Association Forum National Conference is sure to be a highlight that ties into the theme of the event - finding inspiration and learning from our experiences.

Sponsored by

Chair:

Andrew Gosbell, Associations Advisor, Associations Forum

Speaker:

Jelena Dokic, Former world number 4, popular tennis commentator and best-selling author of her autobiography ‘Unbreakable’

4.30PM

End of Conference