Event Birdie Chats With Get Global Founders

Gary Bender and Donna KesslerThis year Event Birdie is heading to Get Global on Friday 26th July at ICC Sydney and we recently had the opportunity to talk with Gary Bender and Donna Kessler who are the Co-founders and Directors of this award-winning event.

Now in its third year, this MICE trade show has won the Meeting and Events Australia National ‘Exhibition of the Year’ Award two years running. Focusing exclusively on Australia’s outbound market, Get Global gives the industry an opportunity to meet new contacts and expand their global networks in one action-packed, insightful day.

Let's take a look at how they got started...

Gary began his career in travel back in 1982 in the UK for Thomas Cook and has been in the game ever since. He is now the owner and Managing Director of World Corporate Travel (WCT), a successful PCO and corporate travel agency delivering incentive programs and conferences all over the world. Gary has a passion for doing things differently and his key strengths are engaging staff, managing relationships with clients and suppliers, and creating powerful concepts. 

Prior to starting Tourism Portfolio in 2002, Donna held senior roles at Hilton International and InterContinental Sydney, Donna is always keen to be involved and has been on the Tourism Australia Business Events Board, has worked closely with Meeting and Events Australia as an Industry Mentor, is a Speaker and has assisted with numerous Conference Program Committee positions. Donna has won numberous Meetings and Events Australia Awards including NSW Sales and Marketing Person of the Year, 2005 and 2008 and National Sales and Marketing Person of the Year, 2005 and 2008

What is the most memorable event you have worked on and why?

GB: Get Global 2017 – it was a brand new event in the MICE market. We had to be different, we had our reputations on the line, we had our existing businesses to protect – but we succeeded. Our first attempt on this scale was a fantastic achievement. We certainly made a splash!
DK: Get Global without a doubt. From the initial idea, taking the risk, believing in myself and the team, to delivering a fantastic event for our industry.

What did you ‘learn the hard way’ when planning an event?

GB: Trying to please everyone. You can’t.
DK: My day-to-day is not event planning. I have learned many things from Gary, and one thing is the extraordinary level of detail that goes into running an event.

What are three personality traits that you think are required to succeed in the events industry?

1. Sense of humour
2. Creativity
3. Caring
1. Integrity
2. Humour
3. Good with people and can build strong relationships

If you could share one piece of advice to those starting out in the industry what would it be?

GB: Back yourself. Don’t be afraid to try.
DK: Work hard, be prepared to do things outside of your job role and help others.

If you could plan an event anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

GB: London, they know how to put on a show
DK: A party in Hawaii… it’s my happy place!

Favourite type of food?

GB: European during the week and a roast on Sundays
DK: Italian

How do you unwind after a big event?

GB: Hit the heavens out of a golf ball
DK: A good bottle of bubbles

Words to live by?

GB: Have empathy, have fun and be caring
DK: Be honest, reliable and loyal in business and in partnerships

What is your biggest challenge at the moment?

GB:  Keeping ahead of everything and the fine line of balancing two successful businesses
DK: The balance of work and play. Ensuring the clients I work with see a ROI

Favourite restaurant?

GB: Anywhere in Portofino, Italy
DK: My house, my husband’s a great chef!

When entertaining at home what do you cook?

GB:  I’m a BBQ man
DK:  Depends on how much prep time I have, but usually I set a stunning table and my husband does the dinner party menu!

Best event you’ve been to as a guest?

GB:  The last one…as I never know if I’ll get invited back
DK:  Opening Ceremony as a guest of one of the top sponsors of the Sydney Olympic Games…. including the back of house party.

What is your ideal holiday destination?

GB: The Maldives… if only it had a decent golf course
DK: Hawaii and anywhere with my husband.

What’s your drink of choice at an event?

GB: Anything but the house 
DK: If the wine’s not cheap… a good chardonnay, even when it wasn’t ‘on trend’

Who would you love to invite to dinner (past or present)?

GB: Monty Python
DK: Roger Federer, Jane Fonda, Bruce Springsteen, Prince Harry and Nelson Mandela

If you weren’t working in events what would you do?

GB: Golf course greenkeeper
DK: Interior design

If you're keen to get involved with Get Global 2019 - either as a buyer or exhibitor - register your interest now at https://www.getglobal.com.au/ | Friday 26 July 2019, ICC Sydney