Associations Forum National Conference

16-17 July 2018, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Queensland


Confirmed sessions only. Full program to be announced...

Please note all session times are subject to change.


Sun 15 July 2018


An Introduction to Associations

Facilitated by Associations Forum


First Timers and Solo Attendees’ Session


Welcome Drinks


Exclusive Tourism New Zealand Dinner

For Gold Members of Associations Forum and Invitees Only 

Sponsored by Tourism New Zealand

Mon 16 July 2018


CEO Breakfast (Exclusive to CEOs)

Sponsored by International Convention Centre Sydney 


Association Resilience and Results

Ever wondered what it would take to start every day working at an association with the excitement like it’s your first day on the job? Troy Williams, CEO of Australian Dental Industry Association which was awarded Association of the Year 2017, will look at how resilience, namely the ability to ‘bounce back’ from stressful or challenging experiences, allows you to use sources of stress and traumatic events as constructively as possible. Using real-life examples of success, and some pretty monumental setbacks that all association leaders will experience at some stage in their working career, you’ll find out why one of Australia’s association leaders wakes up every day with enthusiasm after twenty years in the sector.

Troy Williams, CEO, Australian Dental Industry Association, Association of the Year 2017


Associations Delivering Recognised, Structured Education

Beyond brief short courses, many associations provide training and continuing professional development (CPD) that assists careers and job mobility. This panel will delve into the different aspects of training and CPD within associations, including:

  • For trade-based associations, how RTOs deliver recognized certificate courses
  • For associations with university graduate pathways, keeping members linked to the association with CPD and connected credentials
  • The changing landscape of learning and members’ needs

Anita Hobson-Powell, CEO, Exercise & Sports Science Australia
Dean Brakell, CEO, Furnishing Industry Association of Australia
Amelia Hodge, CEO, The Australian Property Institute


Business Development Techniques for Associations

Members and sponsors deliver multiple benefits to associations. In this highly practical session, Richard Woodward will discuss critical business development techniques including:

  • The three pillars of effective business development
  • How to create real value for sponsors and members
  • Strategies for effective servicing and retention

Richard Woodward, Business Development Strategist, Richard Woodward & Associates


Rebuilding and Transforming Associations

Associations have life cycles, including times when they need to reassess purpose, structure or services. When looking towards the future, an association must ask whether it is stagnant or is continually moving forward with the times.

This panel will address:

  • Analysing if an association has lost its way, and if so in what way
  • Groundwork to convince the Board or members that there is a problem to be fixed
  • Personal characteristics: when to push forward (or not) and staying focussed

Gillian Stapleton, Executive Director, Direct Selling Association of Australia
Mark Fraser, CEO, Pet Industry Association of Australia Ltd
Chris Whitehead, CEO & Managing Director, Financial Services Institute of Australasia


Conference Dinner


After Party

Tue 17 July 2018


SIG Workshops

Associations Forum’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) will meet for facilitated discussion workshops covering key challenges and as an opportunity to network. The four SIGs are:

  • Advocacy
  • Communications
  • Events
  • Membership

Breakfast is included.


Governance Challenges for Associations and What to do About Them

This facilitated workshop will examine five hypothetical situations involving governance challenges and issues for associations. These are based on real life cases we have encountered through our work with members and clients over the past few years.

John Peacock, General Manager, Associations Forum
Kathy Nguyen, Manager - Client Services, Associations Forum


Financial Issues for Alert Associations

Associations are not-for-dividend membership mutuals that must raise income, control expenditure and guard retained earnings. Along with honesty and good financial judgement, association CEO’s, Finance Managers and Treasurers need to consider:

  • Defining who-does-what in regards to financial management and payments
  • What are appropriate levels of financial equity – and can associations have too much?
  • Practical tips for financial growth and security of accumulated funds

David Buley, Chief Financial Officer, Association of Independent Schools NSW
Amanda Jamieson, Finance and Administration Manager, Venue Management Association (Asia Pacific) Limited


Making Your Association Appealing to Young Members

In times of rapid technological and social change, recruiting, engaging and retaining young members is increasingly a focus for associations.

This panel will consider:

  • Whether new generations have always been a challenge or especially now
  • Will your Mission and core services appeal in times of disruption
  • Practical ways to attract young members: modern and traditional ideas
  • Embedding youth into the thinking of an association

Helen Murray, Director, Kurrumbene Projects
Grant Warner, CEO, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors
Carina Trinh, Vice President, Optometry NSW/ACT


How to Merge Associations – and is it Worth the Effort?

Associations sometimes need to merge for greater efficiency, reduction of member fees, or survival. As restructures or mergers are a challenging task, this session will cover fundamentals like:

  • Reasons why associations and federations consider merging
  • Stages of the merger, from negotiations to member votes
  • Settling in the merger over the subsequent five years

Jeremy Irvine, CEO, Australian Dental Prosthetists Association
Anne Buck, Executive Officer, Wounds Australia
Adj. Prof. John Kelly, CEO, National Heart Foundation


Being a Boutique Must-Join Association

Smaller associations of professional members have the advantage of being specifically targeted to the needs of a finite group, yet they lack advantages of scale. In this practical session, three associations will address:

  • Why prospective members join: reputation, member services or sales?
  • Members offerings, including aspirational professional credentials
  • The balance between management by staff and governance by the Board

Kerry Davies, IPEd Chair and Councillor, Institute of Professional Editors Ltd.
Paige McNeil, Managing Director, Western Australian Primary Principals’ Association
Raff Del Vecchio, CEO, Migration Institute of Australia

Major Sponsor

Destination Gold Coast Business Events



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