The VMA Board
The VMA is governed by a Board of ten Active Members and two Allied Non-Executive Members who are elected by our VMA Members.
Board Directors serve for a three-year term and may nominate for re-election if they wish.
Each year, the VMA Board elects from within its own ranks the statutory positions of VMA Chairman (President); Chairman Finance, Audit & Risk Committee (Treasurer); Chairman Membership Committee (Secretary); Chairman Professional Development Committee (VMS representative); and Chairman Congress Committee.
These statutory positions form the Executive Committee, with all other Directors serving on one or more of those committees as allocated.
Current VMA Board
Leighton Wood - VMA President
Leighton Wood recently retired as the Chief Operating Officer after 10 years at the award-winning Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC). He is currently Interim CEO at Grande Experiences, the creators of multi-sensory art and cultural experiences at THE LUME, Melbourne and 10 other like event products across the globe.
At MCEC he oversaw a team of more than 800 employees across Operations, Food and Beverage, Technology, Planning, Security & Safety, Sustainability and Capital Works while also managing the working relationship with MCEC’s PPP partners. Leighton was responsible for the day to day delivery of the MCEC product and provided high level strategic advice to the Executive Team and Trust, particularly in the areas of future business planning and ongoing organisational improvement. He is also passionate about sustainability and drove significant reductions in MCEC’s environmental footprint.
He is currently President of the Venue Management Association of Asia Pacific.
Prior to MCEC, Leighton was CEO of various organisations, including the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, Melbourne Major Events Company, Sport Knowledge Australia and the Princess Alexandra Hospital Foundation.
Brendan Hines - Chair, Finance, Audit & Risk Committee
Paul Sergeant OBE - Chair, Membership & Marketing Committee
Heather Clarke - Chair, Congress Committee
Heather is currently the Head of Event Operations & Planning at the Sydney Opera House and has over 30 years’ experience in event management across the arts and culture industries. Her extensive expertise includes experience in operational strategy development and implementation, budgeting and leadership management. She has a wealth of practical technical experience and has successfully managed tours into a wide variety of performing arts centres across a multitude of international venues.
At the Opera House they deliver over 2,000 performances and events annually. Heather is responsible for the stewardship and oversight of all event activity, including the planning and execution of events and the design & implementation of policies, systems & procedures. Heather’s work as an event professional started in Adelaide 30 years ago where she was a stage manager for the Adelaide Festival Centre and State Theatre Company SA and then moved into Production & Event Management.
This has seen her work extensively nationally and internationally with some of the country’s most well–known Choreographers and Directors. Before joining the Opera House,Heather worked on a range of events including APEC 2007, Sydney Olympics Opening & Closing Ceremony and City of Sydney Millennium New Year’s Celebrations. She has worked for many of Australia’s major arts companies including Opera Australia, Sydney Festival, Bell Shakespeare, Ausdance, PerformingLines, Meryl Tankard Australian Dance Theatre and Belvoir.
Phil King AVM - Chair, Professional Development Committee
Olivia Birkett AVM - Member, Membership & Marketing Committee
Olivia Birkett AVM is currently the Head of Operations at Tennis West.
Anthony Duffy AVM - Member, Professional Development Committee
1997 graduated Venue Management School 2010 awarded the inaugural “Allied Venue Profe ssional of the Year” 2010 represented the VMA as exchange instructor 2013 completed the US Graduate Institute 2013 awarded “Accredited Venue Manager” status by the Venue Management Association 2015 one of only four Australians to be awarded the coveted IAVM’s “Chairman’s Citation”, recognising commitment to development of education in the industry, primarily through the establishment of the Australian Leadership Institute 2019 inducted as a “Fellow” of the Customer Service Institute of Australia
Matthew Howe AVM - Member, Finance, Audit & Risk Committee
Matthew Howe is the Chief Operating Officer at Federation Square.
Adam Lister - Member, Congress Committee
Adam Lister is the Group general Counsel at ASM Global Asia Pacific.
Tim Long CVE - Member, Membership & Marketing Committee
Tim Long CVE is the Managing Director of Hawkridge Entertainment Services.
Meg Walker - Member, Congress Committee
Meg Walker is the General Manager of Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne and Olympic Parks.