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 - Member, Membership & Marketing Committee
Heather Clarke AVM - Member, 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 - Chair, Membership & Marketing Committee
Olivia Birkett AVM is currently the Head of Operations at Tennis West.
Anthony Duffy AVM - Member, Professional Development Committee
Anthony Duffy is the owner and Managing Director of VIPeople, having contributed to the venue industry for over 30 years at some of Sydney’s iconic sports and entertainment facilities, prior to commencing VIPeople in2001. Anthony brings a wealth of experience to the VMA Board; as a Member since the VMA’s inception, having previously served a 10–year term on the VMA Board and through his current role (21–years) as a member of the Venue Management School Committee.
In addition, Anthony was previously both the Venue Management School Chair and the Dean of the Leadership Institute, and represents the schools as a member of the VMA’s Professional Development Committee. Anthony’s recognition from within the industry include:
- 1997 graduated Venue Management School 2010 awarded the inaugural “Allied Venue Professional 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 - Chair, Congress Committee
Matthew Howe is the Chief Operating Officer at Federation Square.
Adam Lister - Member, Finance, Audit & Risk 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, Professional Development Committee
Meg was the General Manager – Rod Laver Arena (RLA) for Melbourne & Olympic Parks Trust (M&OPT) until February 2022 demonstrating end to end responsibility for the business and operational performance of the Arena. In addition to building strong relationships with key stakeholders, Meg’s main responsibilities included strategic negotiation, successful execution and financial management focusing on commercial outcomes, customer satisfaction & safety, planning and delivery of successful entertainment and sporting events and leading & coaching the RLA team.
Prior to that, Meg was the General Manager – Touring, responsible for booking, managing and contracting, events at RLA, AAMI Park, John Cain Arena and Margaret Court Arena, and overseeing all non-operational aspects of the hirings. She has had contractual involvement in international events such as the The Australian Open, FINA World Cup (Swimming), the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the start-up of Melbourne Victory at Olympic Park.
Meg is a current Board Member of the Venue Management Association (VMA) and sits on the VMA’s Professional Development Committee. In addition, Meg is a past member and Chair of the VMA’s Venue Management School (VMS) Committee, which she served on for 7 years. She has instructed at VMS since 2007 in Booking & Scheduling, Customer Service, Retailing & Merchandise and Negotiation. Meg also instructed on Negotiation at the VMS Leadership Institute for 5 years. She is very passionate about the development of the future leaders of the venue management industry.
Meg was a graduate of the VMS in 2004 and in 2011 completed the Graduate Institute program at the Venue Management School in Oglebay in Pittsburgh, USA. In June 2016, she was the guest international lecturer in Oglebay, instructing on Booking and Scheduling.
Brett Caldwell AVM - Member, Congress Committee
Brett is the current Head of IT Infrastructure, Arts Centre Melbourne,
He is a long standing VMA member in both an active and allied capacity and has had the unique opportunity to combine his passion for our industry alongside a 20-year technology career.
His start in the industry came at a time when ticketing technology was beginning to redefine the experience of buying a ticket and entering a venue. During 15 years with Ticketek, Moshtix and Ticketmaster he was lucky enough to work with venues, sports and music festivals of all sizes across Australia, delivering events and implementing technology that ultimately enhanced the guest experience.
In 2017 he made the decision to move into the NFP sector, joining cohealth, one of Australia’s largest community health organisations, leading the technology function and delivering corporate and service delivery solutions across 25 facilities in the western suburbs of Melbourne. This role allowed him to utilise his venue experience in different ways to give back to the communities that cohealth serves, but also provided valuable experience in the management and governance of a large ‘For Purpose’ NFP.
For the past two and half years he has been with Arts Centre Melbourne as their Head of IT Infrastructure, a role which has allowed me to return to the industry he loves and combine his experience in corporate IT and event technology in a values-based environment.