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Associations Forum National Conference Returns to Melbourne

Thursday, 12th May 2016 at 9:00 am
Staff Reporter
More than 400 Not for Profit leaders and professionals, as well as business providers to the sector, are expected to converge on Melbourne for the 11th annual Associations Forum National Conference in July.

Thursday, 12th May 2016
at 9:00 am
Staff Reporter



Associations Forum National Conference Returns to Melbourne
Thursday, 12th May 2016 at 9:00 am

More than 400 Not for Profit leaders and professionals, as well as business providers to the sector, are expected to converge on Melbourne for the 11th annual Associations Forum National Conference in July.

After a six year absence, the annual event is returning to Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and will draw delegates from all over Australia, New Zealand and some Asian nations.

Associations Forum National Conference, Melbourne, 4 and 5 July 2016

Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in more than 20 educational sessions and learning labs, meet more than 60 suppliers in the exhibition space, and network with colleagues during the various conference functions, including welcome drinks, the conference dinner and an exclusive invitation only Associations Forum Gold Members’ Dinner.

There is an optional pre-conference two-hour historical tour of Melbourne on Sunday 3 July, together with an orientation session for first timers and solo attendees.

The Associations Forum National Conference is widely recognised as the leading event in the Australian association sector and has been since its inception in 2006. Associations Forum general manager John Peacock has been working in the Not for Profit sector for over 30 years and understands that there are many different types of issues affecting associations.

“Associations range in size from those employing hundreds of staff to those run purely by volunteers. Whether you represent a federal body in need of advice on structure or you come from a small, volunteer-run association that is looking to take the next step, the conference has the kind of practical information that will be of benefit to you,” Peacock said.

With three full-time consultants working in the sector, Associations Forum always has an ear to the ground and so is well qualified when it comes to designing a program that addresses the most pressing issues for associations today.

“With a broad membership which not only includes associations but also charities and other special interest groups, Associations Forum is always conscious of producing a program which covers issues affecting the broader Not for Profit sector,” Peacock said.

The two-day conference program for 2016 is extremely comprehensive, with intensive discussions to be held on all association related matters including membership, events, policy and advocacy, restructuring, strategic planning, certification and much more.

This year’s impressive lineup of speakers includes Australian Institute of Company Directors CEO John Brogden, who will be the opening keynote speaker. He will be joined by the Australian & New Zealand Institute of Insurance & Finance CEO Prue Willsford and the Australian Mines and Metals Association CEO Steve Knott in discussing the association landscape, their personal learnings, and the challenges facing associations and charities today.

Parallel session presenters will come from a variety of fields including associations, charities, academia, consultancy groups and politics. One session of note, called Advancing Charities for Better Communities, will be lead by ACNC commissioner Susan Pascoe AM who will be joined by World Vision CEO Tim Costello, National SIDS Council of Australia CEO Leanne Raven and Pain Australia CEO Lesley Brydon. The four charity leaders will discuss the latest developments affecting charities and community organisations, and how they impact the broader Not for Profit sector.

Also a highlight of the program is a panel discussion between the Australian Institute of Management CEO David Pich,  Association for Data-Driven Marketing & Advertising CEO Jodie Sangster and the Australian Human Resources Institute Lyn Goodear. The topic will be Association Reinvention, and the three CEOs will touch on their own experiences to demonstrate what associations need to do to be sustainable and stay relevant.  

A session focusing on membership engagement, which is always a hot topic in the association world, is expected to be very popular. Strategies and processes in membership engagement will be discussed at length by Member Engagement with the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Radiologists head Laina De Winne, the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry director Paul Nicolaou, and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects CEO Shahana McKenzie.

The conference dinner will once again prove to be one of the highlights for delegates, not least for the fabulous networking opportunities it provides. This year’s dinner speaker will be the Victorian Police former chief commissioner Christine Nixon the first woman to become a police commissioner in Australia.

Delegates will also be able to peruse the latest offerings from a diverse range of suppliers while networking on the exhibition floor. Venues, technology providers and destinations are some of the services which will be represented. Another feature of the exhibition floor will be the Learning Labs powered by Aptify, which are 30-minute walk-in workshops that are more intimate than the larger parallel sessions.

Feedback from previous conference delegates has always been overwhelmingly positive.

“This conference hit all the right buttons for me. I found the presenters and panel sessions to be very relevant. The presenters were knowledgeable and from a diverse range of industries and with diverse size too so was able to get a good cross section of opinions.” Sleep Health Foundation executive/company secretary Helen Burdette

“It was certainly worth my investment in time and money to attend the conference, particularly for the networking opportunities.”  Australian Catholic Bishops Conference business manager Glenn Mowbray.

Visit here for the latest program and to register. Early-Bird registrations are available until 20 May, so be sure to book before then and save. If you have any questions, contact Associations Forum on +61 2 9904 8200, or email

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