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Organisers need flair and control in spades

PLAYING cards with an event manager would be tricky for two reasons – they combine a poker-faced approach to business with a flair for developing a winning hand, whatever cards they’ve been dealt.

But as calm as event organisers may seem, this appearance doesn’t come without a fair degree of stress in the months leading up to a particular meeting, convention or function.

The near-herculean workload associated with organising a convention was made clear recently to one of Perth’s accounting professionals.

Norgard Clohessy managing partner Bryan Hughes was responsible for organising the Baker Tilly International Asia Pacific Regional Conference.

“I thought, how hard can it be? How wrong I was,” Mr Hughes said.

“It was very labour intensive. It was lots and lots of work. I had two PAs on the case and towards the last few weeks it took up a significant chunk from their days and from mine.

“I am now exhausted and I’m off to Rottnest for a week. I just had no idea what I was biting off.”

But while organising the conference proved an experience like no other, the event was most definitely a success, Mr Hughes said.

A particular highlight was an afternoon playing lawn bowls.

“We do some corporate events at the Mosman Park Bowls Club. It’s a sensational spot with $10 million views,” he said.

“It is a great icebreaker. It doesn’t matter what culture you are from, what age you are, what degree of fitness you have, you are all hopeless at it and it is a funny afternoon.

“We got some good caterers in. It was nothing fancy, but some good food.” 

Other events included dinner at Il Principe Gran Cafe, a river cruise, an afternoon game of golf, and a trip to the Maritime Museum.

“We had dinner at Il Principe; there were about 70 of us there on the Friday night and it was the evening where India beat New Zealand in the World Cup,” Mr Hughes said.

“We had some Indian delegates with us and they were ringing up to get the score during the game, they are very serious about their cricket. When India won they all sang the Indian anthem.”

The conference was structured around a half day of seminars fol-lowed by activities.

Mr Hughes said having guests accommodated at Burswood International Resort was ideal.

“It’s a one-stop-shop. The accommodation and conference rooms are there, plenty of restaurants and bars, the casino of course and it is centrally located,” he said.

“I coordinated with Burswood very early in the piece and took out a big block of rooms. We made sure we cracked the whip hard for confirmations.”

Despite his eventual satisfaction and success, Mr Hughes said he would most definitely consider paying someone else to do the leg work next time.

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