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Asia-Pacific’s Largest Association Management Conference to be Held in Sydney

3 May 2017 at 2:04 pm
Staff Reporter
More than 450 not-for-profit leaders, professionals and business providers to the sector are expected to attend the 12th annual Associations Forum National Conference on 17 to 18 July 2017.

Staff Reporter | 3 May 2017 at 2:04 pm


Asia-Pacific’s Largest Association Management Conference to be Held in Sydney
3 May 2017 at 2:04 pm

More than 450 not-for-profit leaders, professionals and business providers to the sector are expected to attend the 12th annual Associations Forum National Conference on 17 to 18 July 2017.

After a four-year absence, the annual event is returning to Sydney and will be held at the recently opened International Convention Centre, which is the major sponsor.

Attendees from all over Australia, New Zealand and some Asian nations will have the opportunity to participate in more than 30 highly practical sessions, workshops and learning labs over two days delivered by a line-up of over 60 speakers who are experts in their fields.  

There will also be numerous opportunities to meet over 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 Sydney Sights Walking Tour on Sunday 16 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 a number of 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 2017 is extremely comprehensive, with intensive discussions to be held on all association related matters including membership, communications, events, advocacy, association structures, governance and much more.

This year’s impressive line-up of 60 speakers is too numerous to list but includes:

  • Anne Trimmer – Secretary General, Australian Medical Association
  • Dominique Lamb – CEO, National Retail Association
  • Philip Spratt – President, Australian Council of State School Organisations
  • Robert Whelan – CEO, Insurance Council of Australia
  • Yasser El-Ansary – CEO, Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association

Parallel session presenters will come from a variety of fields including associations, charities, academia, consultancy groups and politics. One session of note titled Charities: Creating an Impact for their Communities and Cause will be presented by charity leaders CEO of St John Ambulance Australia Robert Hunt, CEO of CREATE Foundation Jacqui Reed and CEO of Therapy Focus Inc Matthew Burrows, who will discuss how charities must constantly adapt to the rising competition and constant changes in government policies.

Also a highlight of the program is a detailed look at how three associations have coped with major challenges from the government and media. The panel, for what is sure to be a popular session, includes executive director of Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association Brenton Scott, who will no doubt have a number of suggestions regarding an association’s response to both external and internal pressures.

This year will also see four new Special Interest Group Workshops in the areas of communications, advocacy, events and membership which will meet for facilitated discussion on key challenges and as an opportunity to network over breakfast.

Having a major gathering such as the Associations Forum National Conference is also an opportunity for suppliers to the sector to promote their products and services. In conjunction with the educational program, a trade show for approximately 60 exhibitors is held to coincide with the session breaks.

Refreshments and meals are provided on the exhibition floor to allow delegates and exhibitors to mix, mingle and do business. 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.

“What a sensational event and opportunity to connect. I think it was the best one yet – great venue, really excellent exhibitors, loved the panel style sessions. Congratulations again to you and your team” – General Manager, Australia, Resolution Institute Ellie Pietsch.

“Congratulations on a superb conference – I enjoyed it immensely and it was enormously valuable content. Please pass on to the team my thanks and congratulations for the tremendous work – it is a real credit to all.” – CEO Playgroup, Queensland, Ian Coombe.

“Thank you most sincerely for another very successful, valuable and enjoyable national conference in Melbourne. As always your organisation, professionalism and kind hospitality shone through the days of the gathering. Congratulations to you all on such a successful AFNC 2016.” – General Manager, Primary English Teaching Association Australia Stephen Wilson.

Visit for the latest program and to register. Early-Bird registrations are available until 8 May, so be sure to book before then and save. Group discounts are available upon enquiry.

If you have any questions, contact Associations Forum on +61 2 9904 8200, or email

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