It was with satisfaction that I handed over the reins of ownership of Arinex to Nicole Walker in late July.  My plan to retire on 30 July 2010 had finally come to fruition!  Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I always wanted to do the right thing by our staff, our clients, and our industry by placing Arinex into the hands of a new owner whom I perceived would guide all the stakeholders on a smooth and progressive journey into the future.  The base of Arinex is strong – an impressive team, a healthy financial base, a solid history of success, a diversified client base and excellent references from all past clients, extensive domestic and global network, a leader in both use and production of technology products suited to our business demands and a positive, happy environment.

In more than two years up to the handover, Nicole has proven to have what it takes.  In 2019 Nicole reshaped the team and set the mission, vision and values in place and has stuck to them.  With an acute sense of good business tactics Nicole has empathetically and appropriately redesigned the structure of Arinex and reshaped the team into less numbers but with even more expertise and management abilities.  This was essential to prepare the Company for what was to come albeit unexpectedly.  Grooming the talent within has been a wonder to watch and I know many of our clients must think when they first meet some of their management team how will someone so young produce the result we seek? 

I am equally confident that when the final outcome eventuates, they are thrilled and somewhat amazed at what has happened!  What clients experience is an alignment of factors.  Good recruitment processes, endless formal training sessions, keen oversight and mentoring, an intranet that keeps all in touch, praise for exceptional performances and stunning results, a well-documented library of knowledge and documentation that is the communication hub of the Company especially the light-hearted aspects and social pieces intended to reach every member of the team which completes our culture of care and inspiration.

After 51 years from entering the industry as a tour guide, seeing international conferences as an opportunity in 1976 and weaving the challenges of business and personal life, I am ready to watch Netflix!  My life has been nothing short of sensational.  I have had so many remarkable staff members who so generously taught me so much.  Special clients who are themselves eminent in their field and such strongly committed individuals with talent to envy, who have made it a pleasure to share their conference/incentive event experience which has made me feel privileged, honoured and lucky.  I also realised that there were clients who personally benefited from their experience with Arinex, and the positive outcomes achieved – to watch their confidence grow and their achievements recognised via the profile building a conference can achieve gave me a great sense of satisfaction.  Conferencing is a bonding experience and when the bond is strong it is a winner for all parties.

I used the line there is no time for Netflix when we embarked upon the Pandemic.  I believe we make time to do what we want.  I will always have time for Arinex so will not fade away immediately. If you wish to contact me I am still online at rmcleod@arinex.com.au.

2023 will mark two significant milestone anniversaries in my life. Firstly, I opened our first city office which is the date I have marked as the beginning of Arinex.  Secondly, I changed my name when I married Angelo Bonanno.  At the moment my married name (Bonanno) is rapidly springing into action.  If anyone wants to learn of the challenges of existing with an alias, then I have a story.  In the event that I celebrate the 50th anniversary of Angelo and Arinex in 2023 it will happen in Sydney where it all started and perhaps I will see you there?

Moving with the times – our new Sydney office

After 17 years at 51 Druitt Street, Arinex has moved across a block to 44 Market Street maintaining close connection to Town Hall Station, the city Centre and the International Convention Centre, Sydney.  Over these years from Sydney centric in 2004 to a nationally located business we have spread our resources across our five offices which changed the need for the large space we occupied when our staff peaked at 127 in the Sydney office in 2012!  Moving with the times we have grown our technology resources and evolved our business in line with our client needs and providing a flexible work environment for our Team.  Our new office located on the 22nd floor is designed to meet our 2022 office needs and we welcome your visit when in the city. 

Retaining our philosophy that each office is a valuable part of our business we have no head office but continue to grow our business where clients want us to be.

Nicole as EEAA President

Our Australian industry is made up of a number of local associations and Arinex has been an active participant of the three most relevant to our business.  They are Exhibitions and Events Association of Australia (EEAA); Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) and Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC).

Recently Nicole Walker was approached to be nominated for the Board of EEAA.  Accepting the nomination, a rapid sequence of events saw Nicole Walker our CEO become headline news in industry publications two weeks later! 

Why take on an external role during such demanding times in running the Arinex business?  Nicole strategically seeks the best for Arinex and viewed this opportunity as a way to work with the industry’s key operators and venues in bringing back exhibitors and sponsors to live events.  Sharing knowledge and understanding puts Arinex at the cutting edge of what is needed to achieve success.  Government support and recognition of business events is imperative through these disruptive times and Nicole will be there at the forefront to drive better outcomes for the industry and our clients.

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