About us

people  talking in a group

Our company's culture is characterised by energy, curiosity, mutual support and enthusiasm for new challenges. Our people love what they do and we're proud of our low team turnover. We have specialists in key aspects of Conference and Exhibition management who contribute their experience and skills to ensure that your vision comes to life and is truly valued by participants.

a group photo of all The Conference Company team members standing on  a balcony

Meet our team

Our team of dedicated professionals brings a wealth of experience, expertise, and creativity to every project. From event strategists and project managers to technical experts and on-site coordinators, we work collaboratively to ensure the success of each event. 

Management

Jan Tonkin
Leadership

Jan is the founder of The Conference Company and a longtime leader and advocate for the Australasian conference industry. She is responsible for budget monitoring, risk assessment, contingency planning and overseeing service delivery for our clients. Jan is a former Chair of the Training Academy at the UK-based International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO), where she served as President from 2016-2018. She teaches throughout Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, and is a regular speaker at international conferences.

Stephen Noble
Manager Asia Pacific

Stephen has been with us for over 16 years and is a member of our management team. Today, as Manager Asia Pacific he draws on his significant experience in managing international meetings to lead our team in the region and build positive and enduring partnerships with our clients. He is active in the business events industry through consultancy and leadership, and as an Ambassador and Training Academy faculty member for the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers. Based in Sydney, Stephen still loves to be hands-on with meeting planning and organisation, sharing his enthusiasm for global best practice, technology, digital events and other innovations in meeting design which are making today’s conferences more engaging, enriching and accessible than ever.

James Brehaut
General Manager

As General Manager, James has a key role in our strategic planning and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company. With his strong affinity for technology and systems, James is our in-house technical expert and has recently become immersed in our digital meeting offerings. Prior to joining us 16 years ago, James spent many years in business process and operations management with multinational investment banks and law firms overseas. He brings a highly valued range of people and project management skills to our team.

Project Managers

Ana Pickering
Project Managment

Ana is a motivated and persistent project manager who joined TCC in 2023. She re-opened our Christchurch office in November, 2023 which hugely benefits us with the large number of conferences held in the South Island. During her career she has managed two not-for-profit membership organisations, gaining a deep understanding of associations’ challenges and opportunities. She excels in communication and connecting people and she is dedicated to fostering collaborations that maximise outcomes and developing enduring relationships and networks to achieve lasting results.

Caroline O'Neill
Project Management

Caroline joined the TCC team as a Project Manager in early 2024. She has a Bachelor of Business majoring in Tourism and over 20 years' experience working in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. Caroline has worked in a range of positions across all areas of event management from client side to exhibition and venue side. She loves the variety and spontaneity of events and the opportunity to bring something to life.

Christine Mamone
Project Management

Chris joined TCC’s Australian team in 2023. She is a senior conference and event manager with a proven record of delivering projects, both as a PCO and in-house, for a variety of industry sectors across NGO, NFP, government, corporate, sport and academia. She has successfully managed a variety of events such as C-Suite boardroom lunches, staff celebrations across multiple offices, national association conferences with sponsor exhibitions, industry awards and banquet dinners, and charity fundraising events. Chris is inspired and motivated by leading and delivering a project from beginning to completion, finding creative solutions to optimise desired outcomes, the achievements made, lessons learnt, and opportunities to build trust and strong, positive client relationships.

Danielle Robinson
Project Management

Danielle has a BA (Hons) degree in Film & TV Production and worked at an agency for TV editors in London prior to moving to NZ in 2008. On her return to New Zealand Danielle worked as a Wedding and Events Co-ordinator before she started her role of Conference Administrator at The Conference Company. Over the years Danielle has progressed through to being a Conference Co-ordinator here at TCC and more recently worked on her first event as Project Manager. Danielle’s growth through the company has meant that she has exceptional knowledge of the industry and the processes which lead to a successful event. She enjoys the attention to detail that comes with organising conferences and events and loves seeing the evolution of an event from concept through to conclusion. Danielle is based in Ohakune with her husband and two young children.

Kara Vassallo
Project Management

Kara is part of our Sydney TCC Team and has been in the events industry for 18 years. She spent 10 years working in event venues including the iconic Sydney Opera House, before moving to the Association sector, and now has settled in with The Conference Company. Kara prides herself in building and maintaining strong relationships and is valued as a dedicated team member who works hard to achieve the best outcomes for her clients. Kara recently graduated from her MBA studies and has a passion for technology and innovation.

Loreen Nisha
Project Management

Loreen joined The Conference Company in early 2023 after over 17 years of global event and project management experience. She started her journey at home in New Zealand and then moved to Dubai and the wider GCC region progressing onto several countries around the globe. In these 17 years, she has managed events, exhibitions, conferences and forums in 15 different countries, including Dubai, Saudi Arabia, UK/Europe and Asia Pacific. Her experience also includes high level board meetings and prime ministerial level meets. Loreen is very much a people person and client relationship management is her forte. She enjoys the people interaction and the opportunity to make her mark and deliver services to clients to a very high standard. Loreen is bubbly and caring and a pleasure to have on the team.

Reremoana Hall
Project Management

“He waka eke noa”  Ko Tutamoe tōku maunga, Ko Wairoa tōku awa Ko Ngāti Whātua te hapu, Ngāpuhi te iwi ki te taha o tōku pāpā Ko Ngāti Whanaunga te hapu, Pare Hauraki te iwi ki te taha o tōku māmā Ko Te Houhanga a Rongo Marae, tōku marae Nō Ngāpuhi ahau Reremoana, also known as Rae, joined The Conference Company in 2017. She is no stranger to conferencing and events, beginning her career 10 years ago she's worked in a range of roles in the industry. She brings her sound knowledge and structured logistical mindset into her current role with us as Project Manager. Rae is adept at responding quickly to changing circumstances, bringing an encouraging attitude to everything she does to create a positive impact on those around her. She enjoys working with the team and ensures our clients have the best experience and outcomes from their events.

Theresa Managh
South Island Manager

With 20 years in meeting planning behind her, Theresa is one of our most highly experienced conference managers. She loves the diverse range of people she meets in her role, the variety packed into every day and the pleasure of creating great memories for participants. Theresa builds solid relationships with clients and suppliers, who appreciate her attention to detail and her open, honest and responsive communication style. A strong background in hospitality includes roles as General Manager of the prestigious Dunedin Club and Convention Services Manager at Sheraton Auckland.

Sponsorship and Exhibitions

Nihal Fernandez
Sponsorship & Exhibitions Team Manager

Nihal is a talented sponsorship and exhibition sales and relationship manager who delivers consistently excellent results for our clients. He leads a specialist team with an outstanding reputation in the market for fairness, communication and impeccable service delivery. Many of these satisfied investors return to work with us year after year. Before joining us, Nihal worked in the competitive events market in Dubai. Our clients benefit from his brilliant negotiating and research skills, and his ability to engage with people from diverse professions and groups.

Ani Santos
Sponsorship & Exhibitions

Ani’s career began with sales and marketing in the hospitality industry and she has worked with The Conference Company since 2017. With a degree in Management and a diploma in Event Communications, Ani thrives in the conference environment, always learning and putting new skills into practice. Now in her role as a Sponsorship & Exhibition Co-ordinator, Ani relishes the opportunity to make projects run as smoothly as possible for our sponsors & exhibitors. Her quick thinking and readiness to roll up her sleeves and solve whatever situation arises puts clients totally at ease.

Holly Naidoo
Sponsorship & Exhibitions

Holly has a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Event Management and News Media from Auckland University of Technology. She has a passion for helping people where possible which has led her to do a wide range of community / charity work across New Zealand, America and Mexico. Holly has a solid background in project management and building strong client relationships and joined The Conference Company early in 2023 after 5 years within the real estate industry in a similar role. Holly has a strong desire to create memorable, innovative moments for her clients and ensure a successful event to which the client can be proud of. She has slotted into the team seamlessly and clients can look forward to some new and exciting sponsorship opportunities and innovation exhibition space ideas.

Kirstie Allen
Sponsorship & Exhibitions

Kirstie began her career in hospitality while living overseas where she worked as a restaurant manager at a number of restaurants. She moved into the events industry (catering) and whilst her primary role was staffing manager for the front of house team, she was often on-site for the event delivery. Kirstie quickly developed a passion for the events industry which prompted her move to The Conference Company in early 2023 as Sponsorship and Exhibition Co-ordinator. Kirstie loves her role and finds it exciting working on large exhibitions. She enjoys working with sponsors across so many different companies ensuring that they get fantastic service from us while making sure everything is set up for success for the event. Kirstie is a great asset to the team with her attention to detail and ability to tackle any task that comes her way.

Finance

Zoe Hoult
Finance Manager

Zoe is our finance team lead, overseeing our rigorous financial management, planning and reporting processes. Her training in the Deloitte offices of Wellington, Boston and London has seen her work with international organisations around the world. Zoe has also worked for PwC and various private and government entities in Auckland. Zoe loves the variety of the work she does and the people she meets through The Conference Company. Zoe holds a BCom, DipGrad from the University of Otago and is a Chartered Accountant with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ).

Candice Allan
Finance

With a B.Com finance degree and many years of varied experience in the finance sector under her belt, Candice could be considered an all-rounder in her finance role. Her skills however stretch far beyond finance, from high level floral design to holistic massage and languages, of which Candice is currently studying her fourth - NZ sign language. Candice values the opportunities that she gets with TCC to continually learn and evolve and the feeling of family that the team brings is something that she holds special. Highly accurate, calm, patient and positive, Candice herself is a special part of the TCC family.

Jane Mi
Finance

Jane is a conference accountant with a master’s degree in accounting. Prior to joining The Conference Company in early 2023, Jane spent many years working in both commercial and accounting firms. Jane has a love for numbers, is results focused and balances every process to adapt to change. She has very strong ethical standards and values the trust that clients place in her. Jane enjoys the fast-paced work environment at TCC and relishes the opportunity to develop herself to grow with the company and the industry.

Lulu Chen
Finance

Details are important to Lulu and that’s just a small part of her natural affinity for Accounting. Lulu’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Business Analysis major in Accounting and she spent six years in retail and hospitality education accounting before joining our finance team. Lulu is fascinated with learning about different industries and what makes businesses tick and she gets great satisfaction from making tasks easier for others. The supportive and professional culture at The Conference Company is a perk of the job for Lulu - and we value her contribution to it!

Project Co-ordination

Debrah King
Project Co-ordination

Deb joined the Australian team in 2022 and has been in the events industry for over 10 years. She has a solid track record of operations management and event coordination covering large- and small-scale events, which cover a wide range of formats including conferences, retail events, awards, tradeshows, and exhibitions. Known for her attention to detail and positive attitude, Deb thrives on bringing an event to life and seeing it ‘all come together’ on the day. Deb is very active beyond the events world, enjoying road and trail running and holds qualifications in Business Marketing majoring in Event Management, and E-business marketing. Deb has quickly settled into the team and it's great to have her experience and energy on board.

Emily Woolley
Project Co-ordination

Emily is a great communicator, which is more than just a skill she has developed for her roles in events and sales; she is fascinated by people, so meeting clients and conference participants is a job highlight. The process of working on a conference from the administrative background aspects through to the actual go-live gives Emily great satisfaction. Driven by the excitement of working under pressure, she is diligent, organised and solution oriented - and an all-round lovely person. Emily has a BA from AUT, Major in Event Management, Minor in Public Relations and Human Resources.

Jo Landon
Project Co-ordination

A team veteran since 2009, Jo came to TCC after stints organising youth development conferences and as a technical writer, and following her Bachelor of Communication Studies, Majoring in PR. An integral part of our team who values the friendships gained within the workplace, Jo also enjoys building long-term client relationships as she liaises with speakers year on year. The tangible completion of a project and the pleasure of exceeding clients expectations is a highlight for Jo, whose attention to detail has been likened to "military precision”! When not excelling at work, Jo can be found in the garden with her young family and dogs or putting some of that precision to the test by building furniture.

Leyton Bartley Beal
Project Co-ordination

Leyton joined The Conference Company in early 2024 with a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Entertainment Industries and Digital Screen Media. Leyton has a diverse background including experience in stage production, event management, and software systems. Leyton has honed the ability to adapt and find effective solutions to various challenges, thrives on collaborating with others to create innovative solutions, and finds great satisfaction in seeing projects come to fruition after months of preparation.

Samantha Barrett
Project Co-ordination

Samantha joined The Conference Company team in Aug 2023 having worked casually for them since September 2021. She has worked in events for over 8 years starting with sporting events and live theatre before moving into delegate services and coordinating international study tours for The University of Auckland. Samantha moved back to New Zealand in 2023 having spent 1.5 years in Japan where she was studying Japanese language. Samantha enjoys being onsite and having the opportunity to meet delegates and speakers from all over the world.

Conference Administration

Clare Kelly
Conference Administration, Awards & Technology Manager

Clare joined TCC in 2006 whilst on her OE (overseas experience) in New Zealand and hasn’t left TCC or NZ. Over the last 14 years she has been involved across a wide range of our events, conferences and awards. She has worked in varying roles and is currently our Delegate Services & Awards Manager. She has in-depth knowledge of the ‘back of house’ and is adept at taking on roles as needed. She is the in-house consultant for our Event Management Software. Originally from Ireland, her archaeology background has taught Clare to be infinitely patient, meticulously careful and she brings to the table excellent analytical and IT skills. Clare has a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College, Dublin.

Ann Yandall
Conference Administration

Coming from a background as a legal secretary in Family Law, Conveyancing and Immigration, Ann knows a thing or two about problem-solving. She gets great satisfaction from working to find solutions for clients and her peers, collaborating to ensure an excellent outcome from all angles. No problem is beyond Ann's scope! Valuing excellence at every level is part of what Ann loves about working with TCC. She also gets great satisfaction from hearing the joy in people's voices when she has made their difficulties vanish.

Carla Britz
Conference Administration

Carla joined the Conference Company team in 2023 with a Bachelor of Health Sciences focusing on psychology. She enjoys working with people and knowing that she has a hand in the new connections people make as they get brought together. She has a lot of experience in customer-oriented roles, including community-based work. Although not directly, she enjoys knowing that she is helping people and industries by creating an environment where new ideas can be discussed.

Danielle Cogger
Conference Administration

Danielle joined the TCC team as a Conference Administrator in 2023 after recently graduating with a Bachelor of Design (Communication), minoring in Temporary Practices. She has worked in a variety of event-based roles including the floristry industry where she learned the art of time management and great communication. She enjoys meeting people and coming together as part of a team to create successful events and experiences. Danielle is a quick learner and enjoys the fast pace at TCC and the opportunities to continue to grow her knowledge.

Kaylah McBirney
Conference Adminstration

Kaylah joined The Conference Company team in mid-2022 after finishing a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in public relations with a minor in film and television production. Kaylah comes from a strong sporting background and has been involved in coaching and refereeing youth basketball for many years. She is proud of her Pasifika (Samoan, Māori and Cook Island) and English heritage and one of the highlights of working in the events and conference industry is having the opportunity to work with and meet people from all around the world. Kaylah is hardworking and adaptable with a keen eye for detail which are essential skills to have as a Conference Administrator. Kaylah says there is nothing better than going onsite and watching a conference come into fruition after many months of planning.

Leah McLeod
Conference Administration

Leah graduated from Auckland University of Technology in 2022 with a Bachelor of Art, Majoring in Event Management, minor in Marketing and Business management and joined TCC as a Conference Administrator in 2023. She enjoys the opportunity to meet new people and to learn news skills in the fast paced events and conferencing world. Leah has worked across a variety of projects now but she particularly enjoys the abstract process. We are excited to have Leah on the team.

Leela Bourke
Conference Administration

Leela joined the team as a Conference Adminstrator in 2023 after more than 10 years working in a similar field covering multiple roles from project management to team leading and customer experience. She loves the challenging, fast-paced and ever-changing nature of conferencing and the fact that no two conferences are the same. Leela’s background is in science with a bachelor’s degree in Physiology so she particularly enjoys the opportunity to work on medical and science conferences. She is passionate about seeing a client’s vision come to life and helping their goals to be achieved. She loves working with others and enjoys supporting the conference delegate team and the delegates themselves.

Lucy Connell
Conference Administration

The fast-paced nature of working in the conferencing space suits Lucy down to the ground. Her energy, verve and charisma are balanced with a quick mind and a gift for time management. She loves that no two conferences are ever the same and thrives on working as part of a team while meeting a diverse range of people. Prior to joining us at TCC, Lucy produced leadership conferences and workshops end-to-end for an Australian events organisation. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts in Ancient History and Anthropology.

Sara Jones
Conference Adminstration

Sara joined the team as a Conference Administrator after completing a conjoint Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Commercial Law and a Bachelor of Music, majoring in jazz performance at The University of Auckland. Sara has loved discovering the world of conferencing and she particularly enjoys the fast-paced nature of onsite work and the opportunity to meet attendees often after many months of exchanging correspondence. Sara likes the challenge of bringing an event to life and a key focus of hers is to ensure the delegates experience at a conference is second to none. Since starting at TCC she has been fortunate to learn a lot of valuable skills from the wealth of experience and knowledge that every member of the TCC team has to offer.

Shanon Mala
Conference Administration

With a career history based in not-for-profits, event management and social media, it’s clear that Shanon is a people person. She’s empathetic and thinks on her feet, which is what drove her to start a sole trading business during the first COVID lockdown, helping small businesses to manage their events and marketing. Shanon's strong sense of community and principled ethics are the perfect fit for the conferencing arena. She is always willing to step in to help, adapting easily to situations, and gets great pleasure from working with a company that shares her values. Shanon has a bachelor’s degree in international hospitality management, majoring in Event Management.

Victoria Mulrennan
Conference Administration Team Lead

Bringing together people with shared interests and purpose is an enriching aspect of conferencing for Victoria. The energy of being onsite helps to fuel her skill for on-the-spot problem solving and she is absolutely willing to go the extra mile to ensure a successful event. Victoria has an awareness of the environment our Medical Associations clients work in, gained from her Bachelor of Health Science in Paramedicine and wealth of experience in the sector. In 2017, Victoria was the AUT Paramedic Student Association President and Convenor of the Student Paramedic Conference. Prior roles included volunteer work and student representation at conferences, as well as Surf Lifesaving and Emergency Management.

Other Services

Ben Clark
Digital Meeting Management

Ben began his career as a Communications Intern for the Centre for Policy Development. He then spent 5 years at Century Venues where he co-ordinated a myriad of events, including concerts, corporate events, stand-up comedy, live theatre, festivals, film shoots, workshops and expos. Ben joined our Sydney team in 2018 as a Conference Co-ordinator, before moving into the role of Conference Manager. Ben enjoys taking the lead on furthering our virtual and hybrid meeting solutions and supporting the knowledge and expertise our team has in delivering digital meetings, so that TCC provide the best possible outcomes to our clients and their participants.

Bernadette Machell
Marketing Manager

Bernadette has joined The Conference Company team after spending 8 years working in a similar position in the NZ sports industry. She has a solid background in marketing communications with a particular interest in branding, telling a story and bringing a brand to life. After studying a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Commerce at Auckland University she worked in a marketing role that oversaw local and international events and symposiums. The skills gained with delegate management and sponsorship have been particularly useful at TCC. She lived and worked overseas for several years in Canada and the UK with the majority of her time in London working at one of the world’s top law firms. Bernadette is a team player and loves meeting and working with others. She enjoys the variety of clients at TCC and is excited about the opportunity to market new brands and events and see results.

Fleur Longley
Accommodation Executive

With 20 years’ experience in sales, business development and key account management Fleur is highly experienced in developing strategic relationships across all areas of business. Fleur has worked across many industries including insurance, event planning and travel both in NZ and in the UK. For the last seven years she has worked for Skills Consulting Group assisting nationwide businesses to develop their leadership capabilities. As our accommodation executive, Fleur has an in-depth knowledge of domestic and international hotels and she develops and manages all our accommodation relationships to ensure that TCC offers our clients and their delegates the best possible options in any conference location.

Jane Holt
Onsite Team Leader

After 26 years with The Conference Company, Jane is the mainstay of our onsite delivery service. She leads the team who welcome delegates, answer queries and generally take care of guests over the course of the event. Jane is consistently praised for exemplary customer service – she’s been described by more than a few clients as ‘totally wonderful’ – and trains her team to the same exacting level. She welcomes the fast pace and constant challenges of onsite work. After all these years she still loves her role and the way it continues to change as conferencing itself changes.

People smiling at a conference event

Fueling connections from the start

In 1990, our founder, Jan Tonkin, embarked on an extraordinary adventure into the world of Business Events that continues to flourish today. With over three decades of experience, we have ridden many waves and have proudly orchestrated countless national and international conferences, exhibitions, events, and bids. Our enduring presence in the industry attests to our unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional outcomes.

Our people are at the heart of our success. We’re a passionate group, each an expert in our respective domains who work together to produce the very best for our clients.

A collective of specialists

Our dynamic conference managers know how to pull off a top-notch event. It takes confidence, knowledge and clear communication to bring a client’s vision to life. However, a successful event takes more than an astute conference manager and we are lucky enough to have a big team able to offer a range of services. We have specialists in finance, IT, accommodation, sponsorship and exhibition, marketing, and social event design, covering all facets of your event journey. Complemented by a reliable network of part-time and interim staff, we readily adapt to your evolving needs.

Our holistic approach ensures nothing is overlooked, delivering a comprehensive and seamless service for the smallest and most intimate through to the largest of events.

When you choose The Conference Company, you become part of a close-knit family. Many of our team members, including key players, have been with us for an impressive 10 years or more. This speaks volumes about our culture and the trust we have earned from our clients. Rest assured, when you partner with us, you gain a committed team dedicated to your success.

Let us embark on this journey together and experience the power of trust, experience, and excellence. With our team of seasoned professionals, you can exude quiet confidence, knowing you are in capable hands. Together, we will turn your vision into a reality, crafting moments that will be etched in the memories of your attendees for a lifetime.

Trusted by leading organisations

Relationships are important to us. We are proud of our many long-standing relationships with clients across various industries and locations that have stood the test of time.

Ready to elevate your conference?

Contact us today to start planning your next compelling event. Our team is ready to help you connect, engage and inspire your audience.