Getting to know Toni McAllister

Toni McAllister | Event ProfessionalIf you haven’t already met Toni McAllister, it’s about time you did. And, if you already have the pleasure of knowing Toni, you’re in for a treat as we get to know her a little better.
So, who is Toni? Toni is one of the kindest, most enthusiastic and knowledgeable people we know and she works in Audio Visual and Production…

Yep, that part of the industry that is full of super helpful people doing things that most of us simply don’t get.

It’s a career path that not a lot (but, increasingly more) women take and Toni is passionate about encouraging others to join her. With a head for tech, boundless creativity and a personality to network, Toni shows us that there’s a fabulous career to be had in AV. Join us as we get to know another fabulous Event Pro...

Give us a snap shot of your career to date

I started out in Film & Television. The path to AV is often not a straight one! I spent 14 years working in the Technical Production team at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, in a variety of different roles. And when they shut up shop, the doors opened at AV1 and I was happily welcomed into their team.

The most memorable event you have worked on and why?

There’s been a few – but the ones that stand out in my memory are always the most over the top. There was a completely crazy Bollywood themed event that I’ll never forget. Elephant ice sculptures were the icing on the cake!

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

Sometimes the very thing you’ve imagined for an event doesn’t actually exist. Luckily for me my husband is a carpenter, so I just got him to make it for me!

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

Attention to detail, tenacity and the ability to work as part of a team. 

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

You can learn something from everyone you meet. Don’t underestimate that. And don’t be a silo. The best work has many influences. 

Are you working on anything interesting at the moment? 

I'm really passionate about gender equality. And in particular about getting more women involved in AV. I'm currently spearheading a steering committee to address this issue and would love for anyone else that is interested in being involved to get in touch with me at

What song always gets you on the dance floor?

It depends on my mood. Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit or Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys & Jay Z. I could go either way.

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

Paris – because let’s face it, it’s Paris!

Favourite type of food?

I love a good Indian veggie curry.

How would your friends describe your job?

I don’t think my friends really get what I do. They think I just go out to functions and drink champagne all the time… yeah right!

How do you unwind after a big event?

Ideally, a big glass of red wine and a long bath.

What is your biggest challenge at the moment?

Balancing a hectic work schedule with the rest of my life.

Where do you go for creative inspiration?

I’m loving a magazine called ‘Flow’ at the moment. I’m a fan of old school – give me paper over digital any day.

When entertaining at home what do you cook?

Cook? Isn’t that what take-away is for??

What do you prefer, cocktail party or sit-down dinner?

Sit down dinner – otherwise I just don’t get to eat.

What’s your drink of choice at an event?

Can’t go past a South Australian Shiraz.

Favourite party theme?

I might be biased, but my 40th party theme rocked. It was Grunge/Goth/Glam.

It’s event day - heels or flats?

Heels – but I have regretted that decision on so many occasions!

AV1 | Audio Visual & Production
Toni McAllister is the Business Development Manager at Sydney & Melbourne-based, Audio Visual & Production company, AV1. Check out their Event Birdie page for more details. [What a fun bunch!].