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Instructors announced for 2019 Venue Management School

Instructors announced for 2019 Venue Management School
June 14, 2019

Having last year celebrated its 25th anniversary, the Venue Management School will this year be welcoming new instructors to its world renowned industry education program, to help educate the next generation of venue management professionals.

As one of the Venue Management Association’s core education programs, the Venue Management School (VMS), which also encompasses the VMA Leadership Institute, is the only industry run school of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region. With the school designed by today’s leaders for tomorrow’s leaders, it also provides the opportunity to gain an Australian Diploma qualification. The internationally recognised school has been a turning point in the careers of nearly 900 industry professionals over the last 25 years.

The VMS combines the ultimate venue industry networking experience with a two-year program featuring workshops, discussions and presentations to explore 35 topics essential to the venue industry.

The VMS Instructor pool consists of executive-level venue managers and key industry leaders with years of experience and endless industry connections who all teach each course with ready-to-implement strategies for venues of all sizes and sectors.

Having undertaken a rigorous recruitment program, the VMS is delighted to announce two new Instructors will be joining the ranks for 2019.

Nelita Byrne, Venues Manager for the New Plymouth District Council, oversees the strategic, business development and operational delivery of multiple stadiums, arenas, theatres and conference facilities. A graduate of both the VMS and Leadership Institute, a past President of Entertainment Venues Association of New Zealand (EVANZ), Byrne was the winner of the 2018 EVANZ Venue Executive Award.

Commenting on her appointment, she stated “I am thrilled to join the VMS Instructor team; it’s an honour to be with this calibre of industry leaders, inspiring and enhancing the learning of those ambitious to grow in this dynamic venues industry.”

Adam Lister, Group General Counsel at AEG Ogden, responsible for the group wide legal function of all AEG Ogden venues throughout Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East and Asia, is the second newly appointed Instructor.

Lister was also involved in the billion-dollar revitalisation project of the International Convention Centre (ICC) and Darling Harbour in Sydney. Having graduated from the VMS in 2008, he was part of the ICC Sydney Risk and Compliance Steering Committee; and was a finalist in this year’s Lawyers Weekly Sport and Entertainment Lawyer of the Year Awards.

Lister commented “I am honoured to have been asked to join the Venue Management School as an Instructor for the upcoming 2019 program. I look forward to welcoming new and returning students and hope they benefit from the school and its wide-ranging coursework as much as I did when I myself took part as a student.”

2019 will also see the return of Todd Greenberg, Chief Executive of the National Rugby League, and past graduate of the VMS, who will attend as the Guest Instructor of the VMA Leadership Institute.

In announcing the new Instructors, VMS Chair Wayne Middleton CVE noted “for many years the VMS program’s success has been built off the back of the amazing quality of Australian and International Instructors that we bring together to work with the students. They all generously give their time and energy each year to share their knowledge, experience and passion for our great industry with the students”.

Each year the affiliation agreement that the VMA has with the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) in the USA provides for a reciprocal International Exchange Instructor program. The 2019 visiting IAVM instructor is Chris Whitney.

Whitney is the Assistant General Manager/Director of Finance for INTRUST Bank Arena and The Orpheum Theatre in Wichita, Kansas. Chris’ responsibilities span the financial and accounting aspects of the arena and theatre along with overseeing the Ticketing and Human Resources departments. She leads several committees focusing on improving the guest experience at INTRUST Bank Arena.

She is active in the industry as an IAVM member, is a 2012 graduate of Venue Management School and became an Instructor in 2015. Having completed her fourth year as a VMS Instructor, Whitney also serves on the VMS Board of Regents. Additionally, she is currently serving on the IAVM Arenas committee.

She is a certified public accountant (CPA) in the State of Kansas and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Management from Kansas State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Wichita State University.

VMS returning International Instructors for 2019 also include:

• Richard Andersen, CVE, ICD.D - Chief Illuminations Officer at Venue Solutions Group, Tacoma Washington, USA
• Kim Bedier CVE - Director of Venues and Events for the City of Tacoma, Washington, USA
• Steve Mackenzie - President of Eventbooking, Saint Peters, Missouri, USA

Full list of 2019 Instructors

• Wayne Middleton CVE and VMS Chair - Managing Director, Reliance Risk
• Anthony Duffy AVM and LI Dean - Managing Director, VIPeople 
• Richard Andersen CVE, ICD.D - Chief Illuminations Office, Venue Solutions Group (International) 
• Rebecca Barry - General Manager Organisational Development, Venues Live
• Kim Bedier CVE - Director of Venues & Events for the City of Tacoma, Washington, USA (international) 
• Nelita Byrne AVM - Venues Manager, New Plymouth District Council, New Zealand
• Helen Fairclough - Director of People Culture & Improvement, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
• Todd Greenberg - Chief Executive, National Rugby League
• Dean Hassall AVM, CVE - Director, Dean Hassall Consulting
• Steve Hevern CVE - General Manager, Qudos Bank Arena
• Phil King AVM - General Manager, Adelaide Entertainment Centre & Coopers Stadium
• Adam Lister - Group General Counsel, AEG Ogden
• Ian Love AVM - Catering Manager, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
• Steve Mackenzie - President, Eventbooking (international)
• Sue Max - General Manager - Event & Venue Management, ANZ and Bankwest Stadiums
• Katherine Norman AVM - Senior Account Manager - Presenter Services, Arts Centre Melbourne
• Paul Sergeant - Director - Special Projects, AEG Ogden
• Gavin Taylor AVM - Chief Executive, West Australian Football Commission
• Andrew Travis AVM - Chief Operating Officer, Melbourne & Olympic Parks
• Meg Walker - General Manager, Rod Laver Arena
• Leighton Wood – Chief Operating Office, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
• Tim Worton CVE - Group Director – Arenas, AEG Ogden
• Mark Zundans - General Manager, Perth Motorplex

For more information on the Venue Management School, the VMA Leadership Institute or to enrol, please visit

For more information on the VMA contact +61 7 5501 6000, E:

Images: VMS 2018 gradutates (top) and Nelita Byrne with 2018 EVANZ Venue Executive Award (below).

Related Articles

29th May 2019 - Professional achievements acknowledged at 2019 Venue Industry Awards

9th May 2019 - Venue Management Association releases Board election results

20th December 2018 - VMA launches new Group Membership packages

26th November 2018 - Venue Management School 2018 awards and graduates more industry professionals

15th November 2018 - VMA welcomes record number of students to 2018 development programs

17th October 2018 - Venue Management Association launches new Young Professional membership category

4th October 2018 - Venue Management School set to reach 25 year education and development landmark

28th June 2018 - VMA opens enrolment for 2018 Venue Management School and VMA Leadership Institute

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