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Speakers

View here some of our 2021 speakers, ranging from leading operators to industry experts. 

Keynote – Michael McQueen

Michael McQueen is a multi-award winning speaker, trend forecaster and bestselling author of eight books. With clients including KPMG, Pepsi and Cisco, he has helped some of the world’s most successful brands navigate disruption and maintain momentum. Recently named Australia’s Keynote Speaker of the Year, Michael was inducted into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame.

Michael is known internationally for his engaging, entertaining and practical conference presentations. He is a regular commentator on TV and radio, and his work has featured in publications ranging from the UK Daily Mail to Medium.com and the Huffington Post. In addition, Michael is a familiar face on the international conference circuit having shared the stage with the likes of Bill Gates, Dr. John Maxwell and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

MC – Luke Butler

Luke is known throughout the industry as one of the most respected and connected people in the Hospitality sector. Over the last 20 years, Luke has occupied group management roles with some of the best operators in the Australian Hospitality Industry.

In 2016, Luke’s attention turned to recruitment – a natural choice as it combined his experience in hiring, his passion for mentoring and the vast industry network. 

Daniel Crawford

C!NC 

Daniel recently joined C!NC as the Procurement & Retail General Manager bringing with him over 25 years of Liquor Sales & Management experience. He has worked across all liquor categories at both State & National level, with tenure at Southcorp Wines, Fosters Group, Accolade Wines and most recently Amatil. Throughout his career he has developed a strong understanding of consumer behaviour and is highly skilled in the areas of category management, go-to-market strategy development and trade marketing to drive strong engagement with customers.

Ed Loveday

Solotel 

Previously a founding member of award-winning ACME, The Passage and Bar Brosé, Ed has spent the better part of a decade immersing himself in the ever-changing beverage landscape. Ed is an authority on drinks, a Global Brand Ambassador for Regal Rogue Vermouth and author of The Cocktail Garden, published by Hardie Grant across Australia, USA, and UK. As an operator Ed recognises the significance of entertainment (ie. the overall customer experience goes beyond just the food and beverage offering), and therefore most recently was consulted as Entertainment Manager for 2019 hotspot Pamela’s.

Jen Russell

W. Short Hospitality 

Jen holds an Executive MBA and has expertise across a range of business management and strategy disciplines. Now Managing Director of W. Short Hospitality, following senior marketing and operational roles within the business, Jen has combined a passion for leisure and F&B with her business management expertise gained across multiple facets of the hospitality industry. Jen oversees W. Short Hospitality’s varied portfolio of 9 venues across Sydney and regional NSW. Whilst managing cross-functional operations, Jen is focused on mentoring and fostering talent, driving culture and leading the strategic vision of this dynamic business.

Michael Rodrigues

NSW Commissioner – 24 Hour Economy 

Outgoing chair of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) Michael Rodrigues was for 15 years at the helm of Time Out Australia, growing the brand that now reaches 1,000,000 Australians monthly. Since 2017 and prompted by the challenges facing Sydney’s night time economy, Mike has focused his efforts on aligning and empowering industry to actively engage in the political process in order to effect change. This saw him take a leading role in launching an independent bars association for Sydney in May ’18, followed by the launch of the NTIA in November ’18. The NTIA has been at the forefront of the development of the NSW Government strategy for a 24 Hour Economy. In February Mike was announced as the State of NSW’s first 24 Hour Economy Commissioner, commencing formally on 29 March 2021.

Mel Porter

Porters Plainland Hotel

Starting work during uni at the Royal Exchange (R.E.) Hotel in Toowong, Mel then worked in advertising for over nine year, including at Mojo ad agency before returning to the family business in 2015.

Porters Plainland Hotel is headed by the family’s third generation, Mel and her brother Michael and employs 82 staff. Located in the Lockyer Valley (one hour west of Brisbane), the hotel recently added a 16-room motel, function rooms & a new gaming room which run alongside the Hotel’s food & beverage offering, TAB & two bottle shops.

Debbie Higgins

Merivale

Debbie has more than a decade’s worth of experience in hospitality and events. Having worked with everyone from Hilton Hotels, London’s The O2 arena & Chelsea Football Club, she is a bona-fide expert in the sector. Since joining Merivale in 2016, Debbie has become integral to the daily operations behind one of Australia’s biggest and best hospitality groups. Now widely regarded for her tenacity and attention to detail, Debbie is a secret weapon when it comes to the successful execution of events large or small and Merivale’s special projects.

Jess Miller

City of Sydney

Jess Miller has been a City of Sydney Councillor since being elected as part of the Clover Moore Independent Team in 2016.

Jess’s key areas of expertise are in environmental systems, specifically urban ecology and urban forestry, and local food systems. She is passionate about creating community resilience and more liveable cities with lots of active and public transport, character, community, sport, colour and creativity.

Michael Waters

Retail Drinks Australia 

Michael is the CEO of Retail Drinks Australia, the national industry body providing advocacy and services to support packaged liquor retailers in all states and territories of Australia. He formerly was Retail Drinks’ COO since the organisation was formed in late 2018, following the national merger of the former state and territory Liquor Stores Associations. Prior to the national merger, he held the position of Executive Director and Company Secretary for the Liquor Stores Association NSW & ACT. Michael is currently also a member of the ACT Government’s Liquor Advisory Board, a Council Member of Alcohol Beverages Australia, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), and holds a Bachelor of Business Management from the University of Queensland.

Jason Bush

Merivale 

Jason, currently the Group Retail Manager for Merival, has been in the retail liquor industry for 25 years gaining extensive experience working with ALH, Woolworths liquor group and Camperdown Cellars. He has managed both big box and small independent sites in both Victoria and NSW.

In his 3 years with Merivale, Jason has lead the charge of exceptional guest experience and helped grow the footprint to 10 bottle shops as well as an online portal.

John Musca

JLL Hotels & Hospitality

John has responsibility for managing a team of dedicated pubs specialists with professionals providing sales, advisory and research services. His cross-border role sees him leverage national relationships and local market knowledge in maximising client outcomes time and time again. With a particular focus on portfolio and largest single asset hotel sales, he has an enviable track record of hotel transaction completions in all economic conditions.

Marcello Colosimo

Momento Hospitality

Marcello Colosimo holds a Bachelor of Business and is a member of Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). Marcello is a hospitality professional with over 20 years’ experience, specialising in start-up ventures and business turnaround. He is now CEO of Momento Hospitality Group, which owns Bella Vista Hotel, Hillside Hotel, The Governor and Mullane’s Hotel.

Morgan Kelly

KPMG

Morgan has assisted hospitality business transition through challenging times and has been appointed receiver to more than 100 trading venues and clubs over the last five years. Key engagements include the Keystone Group, The Jamie Oliver Restaurant chain, Crown Plaza Hunter Valley, Sumo Salad Group, Annandale and Sandringham Hotels and many informal advisory roles.

Brydie Allen

Food & Beverage Media 

Brydie Allen is the editor of National Liquor News, Australia’s leading magazine for the off-premise liquor sector. She began her career interning with top women’s publications including Vogue and Mamamia, before an interest in the liquor industry lead her to Food and Beverage Media where she was a journalist across Australian Hotelier, Bars & Clubs, National Liquor News and The Shout.

Toby Chick

Hotel Rose Bay 

Taking on his first licensee role in 2012 at the age of 23 Toby’s licensee journey started at award winning Rocksia Hotel working for the Feros Group. In 2015, Toby took on the challenge as licensee of converting The Buena Vista Hotel from a local suburban hotel to a major destination venue with a fine dining restaurant (Bistro Moncur), working with Public House Management Group.

Toby decided to move away from the major groups in 2018 to build a team to launch the Hotel Rose Bay, where they went on to win 3 awards at the 2019 AHA awards, including individual operator of the year.