By Pamela Smith, MASE Catering Services Coordinator, Optus Stadium

I recently attended the Venue Management School in year one, with the intention to upgrade my skills and knowledge to industry best practice, develop a strong peer network and learn from recognised leaders in the venue industry. As a naturally quiet person, I was a bit nervous heading into the week, assuming I wasn’t going to know anyone going into the conference. I was quickly greeted by industry professionals from around the country, in all different roles, levels of management, ages and backgrounds. By the end of the first day, I felt welcomed, comfortable and was sharing my business experiences with others. I quickly realised that, no matter what size of venue or event, everyone has similar experiences, challenges and ideas. I was amazed at how open everyone was to share these ideas in detail, to help each other and genuinely wanting each other to succeed – something I have not experienced before! 

Working primarily with Meetings & Special Events in my current role at Optus Stadium, it was really interesting to hear about events at a bigger scale, between wayfinding, crowd movements, security plans, ticketing and much more. I took a lot out of the sessions, between Becc Barry’s ‘it’s all about life balance’, Sue Max’s interesting session on crowd crushing and then being able to speak myself in the catering session about our fabulous MASE showcase immersive cheese stations and dinner on the field of play. 

One thing that I am going to bring back to my team is working through team project planning, having a visual in the office, delegating out clear tasks and responsibilities, and re-grouping frequently to ensure that we stay on track. By working with the team, understanding how we all work individually and skillsets we can bring to the team, ensuring that we engage in positive conflict and hold each other mutually accountable. I have already got a giant whiteboard in the office ready to go! 

Overall, I took so much out of this experience and it has given me confidence in my role, my workplace and so much motivation to think of new ideas outside of the box for Meetings & Special Events, work more efficiently and learn from others in the industry. Thank you so much to VenuesLive for giving me this opportunity, I am incredibly grateful and I am looking forward to Year 2 in 2020.



By James Brand, Events Manager, ANZ Stadium

My second year at VMS has come to an end. The whole experience was great, however year two was a probably better as we knew what to expect. We were catching up with the friends we had made the year before and chatting about the year that had gone and what was coming up, all over one or two quiet beverages. 

The year two class went into depth on the key topics and skills venue managers require such as negotiation, leadership and presentation skills, relationship management with stakeholders, governments and boards and how to manage the media including handling tough questioning in a press conference situation (one of my favourite classes). I was asked during the week if I would facilitate a forum on the Tuesday night for Showgrounds, Racetracks as well as Conference and Exhibition Centres. I gave it a crack and we ended up having a large diverse group with a number of similar issues for discussion. 

On Friday Sue, Paula and I took the opportunity to have a tour of Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast. It was a good opportunity to have a look around the venue and meet the event manager. Metricon Stadium was the first venue in Australia to have a function room with a view into the home teams warm up room. 

I feel very privileged and thankful for the opportunity that VenuesLive provided me to attend VMS. I’ll now work hard to gain my Diploma and am keen to attend the Leadership Institute down the track working towards my Venue Management Accreditation. VMS is a great opportunity for anyone in the industry to meet industry professionals and develop understanding of all aspects of venue management.