The anticipation was thick in the air, and a hush fell over the audience who were now occupying the very edge of their seats. An ominous purple light settled across the room.
“And the 2018 PA of the Year Australasia is…”
From silence to a roar, the audience erupted in celebration as Anthony Carthew from Sydney Opera House stood, threw his arms around his partner and his executive seated next to him.
For the first time in their long history, the 2018 Executive PA Awards made their way to Melbourne. On 14 November the city came alight as EAs, PAs, executives and delegates from across the globe flocked to the city to celebrate some of the best in the business.
The Sovereign Room at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) threw it’s doors open, welcoming guests from the world’s biggest companies and some of the very best EAs and PAs from across the globe.
The evening was a spectacular celebration of the executive management profession. EAs and PAs were recognised for their often unsung achievements, and for one night, brought into the spotlight.
Melbourne delivered as it always does, a fantastic environment for EAs and PAs to come together. The world’s most liveable city extended it’s welcoming arms, tantalising guests with its diverse culture, incredible modern art, fine cuisine and of course – the world’s best coffee.
The Executive PA Awards have traditionally been held in London and Sydney, but for the first time, they were brought to the Victorian capital and for good reason. Melbourne is home to some of the nation’s and the world’s most significant organisations, and within these, are some of the most hardworking EAs and PAs.
It was time to celebrate the hard work of Victoria’s best, and give Melbourne EAs and PAs the opportunity to bring along their executives, friends and family to the awards for the first time.
The Executive PA Awards are the longest running, largest and most significant global awards in the executive support profession. It’s not surprising that the awards attract nominees from some of the world’s largest businesses across a range of industries.
The awards welcomed EAs and executives from Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Optus, and Sydney Opera House to name a few. Nominated by either themselves, their colleagues or their bosses, the finalists, runners-up and winners were determined by a rigorous and well-established judging paradigm.
At the luxurious Balmoral Room at the Stamford Plaza Melbourne a sit-down panel interview determined each finalists core qualities, skills, flaws and successful projects. The judges analysed these qualities to determine contestants’ competency. As the doors closed on the judging process the nominees who stood on merit, work ethic and potential were rewarded.
Awash with relief, the nominees hurried off to their hotels to suit up and frock up for the official ceremony later that evening. As the golden sunset bounced off the Yarra River, delegates, finalists, and guests poured into the MCEC for an evening to remember.
As the clock struck 6pm, and the final rays of sunlight permeated a translucent ceiling, the finalists arrived at the MCEC. In flowing ballgowns and smart tuxedos, the delegates were treated to fine champagne as they reached the top of the grand staircase leading into the brand-new Sovereign Room. Once all the guests had arrived and enjoyed conversation, hors d’oeuvre and a glass or two, the doors were opened to reveal a stunning display.
With the very latest in audio visual technology at the hands of their skilled technicians, the MCEC blew the guests away with a gala dinner venue unlike any of its kind. With breathtaking light displays, stunning sound quality and unparalleled catering, the MCEC truly delivered a space that will remain imprinted on the memories of all that beheld it.
The Awards Ceremony
The 2018 Executive PA Awards aren’t all business. The evening was more than just an awards ceremony. A black tie gala; the guests were treated to an array of wonderful entertainment from world-class performers and speakers.
An event such as this, with an array of guests, announcements, acts and speakers, it was only appropriate that it should be MC’d by the best – and the best was delivered. Robyn Moore has a voice that has been heard in every Australian home, she is a world-renowned public speaker, voice actor and MC. Represented by Leading Voice she has been entertaining the masses for 25 years. In a dazzling sequined gown, she charmed the crowd with her bombastic and hilarious personality and directed the evening like a true professional.
The Executive PA Awards have a reputation for bringing some of the finest acts from around the world, and this year was no exception. Event Negotiators provided a very special treat. Only recently returned from a tour of London’s West End, experimental street and ballet fusion dance act Beats On Pointe graced the audience with beautiful execution of their unique choreography.
While the audience were captivated by the first act of the evening, the talented wait staff darted around the room, deftly serving the first course of the MCEC’s own executive chef Peter Haycroft’s personally designed and curated three course dinner. Over the course of the evening the guests were treated to some of the finest cuisine Melbourne has to offer.
With full stomachs and happy expressions, Nadine Champion took to the stage. Represented by Saxtons Speakers, Nadine is a fighter inside the ring and out, her inspiring life story of a professional martial artist, kickboxer and cancer survivor, managed to both inspire and bring tears to everyone’s eyes.
In a room full of people, you could hear a pin drop. As Robyn Moore once again took her place at the podium, everyone knew it was the moment they had all been waiting for. One-by-one the finalists, runners-up and winners of each category were celebrated with a hearty round of applause. With winners from across the globe appearing on the massive screen behind the stage, and some making the long journey to Melbourne to accept the award in person, the awards had their best night yet. A true testimony to the hardest working and brightest professionals; the winners were a cohort of the finest.
What would a gala be without live music?
The Awards were brought to a fun filled conclusion as Alex Rose and her band brought the house down. With the saxophonist leaping off the stage to join in on the dance floor, and Alex’s soaring vocal performance of hit tunes, APE Events provided performers who gave the evening a send-off to remember.
With midnight on the near horizon, the 2018 Executive PA Awards drew to a close. After a night filled with anticipation, entertainment and excitement those who were ready to call it a night were had no need to look far, as the luxurious Novotel Melbourne South Wharf and Pan Pacific Melbourne hotels offered gorgeous rooms for the finalists. A soft mattress and a warm shower ensured the guests were well rested for the stunning day that Melbourne delivered the following morning.
The 2018 Executive PA Awards were an unqualified success. The celebration of the world’s finest EAs and business leaders in the world’s most liveable city was an evening to remember. The unsung heroes of offices and organisations from across the globe deserve to be celebrated and honored, and the 2019 Executive PA Awards will deliver another fantastic opportunity to do so. We can’t wait to see what 2019 has to bring, and who will take home the oldest and most respected awards in the executive support profession next year.