The Big Cheese

The Big Cheese with MCB’s Julia Swanson

Funnily enough, our latest Big Cheese profile subject, Melbourne Convention Bureau acting CEO Julia Swanson, says she can’t live without cheese… or coffee, chocolate and French champagne for that matter.

The great thing about my job is…

Working with our MCB partners who are so passionate about their own businesses, yet collectively work together as team Melbourne to win major bids for the city.

The challenge for the industry is…

Ensuring tourism and the MICE sector are seen to have strong and attractive career paths at a senior level.

My greatest achievement is…

It was a team effort, but I’m very proud of winning the International AIDS Conference 2014, which saw almost 12,000 delegates from 173 countries come to Melbourne. This conference provided a unique opportunity to explore the diverse nature of the global response to HIV. While it generated over $80 million in economic contribution for the state of Victoria, the social impacts are much greater. It resulted in a change in the national visa policy for people with HIV and new legislation was established to decriminalise the transmission of HIV among many other legacies to deliver real action for the HIV and AIDS community. These are big impacts – life-changing for many people.

The biggest thing in MICE this year will be…

The Destination Business Events conference in Melbourne between 18 and 20 September. Registrations are now open to all business events professionals. And, of course, the revitalised Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) in February 2020, which will be even bigger and better than 2019.

I try to relax by…

Having a wine by the fireplace after the kids are in bed.

I don’t understand why…

Gender inequality still exists. We are such a long way from getting the balance right. One way we can continue this dialogue is to rally support for our bid to bring the Women Deliver 2022 Conference to Melbourne, and carry the momentum to the arenas where change-makers are driving real progress on the path to a more gender equal world.

My favourite venue/destination is…

Fiji. I love the relaxed pace, friendly locals and cocktails by the pool. An amazing place to truly unwind.

I’ve always wanted to travel to…

Sweden, where my half of my family originates from. I’ve travelled most of Europe, but never quite made it to Scandinavia.

I am scared to death of…

Huntsman spiders.

I can’t live without…

Coffee, chocolate, French champagne and cheese (in that order).

I really wish I had…

More time in the day.

If I could invite four people to a dinner party, they’d be…

Female leaders with diverse backgrounds and stories to tell – Hillary Clinton, Gina Rinehart, Melinda Gates and Jacinda Ardern.

For anyone starting out in the industry, one piece of advice I’d give would be….

Ask for feedback – good and bad – and drive your own development.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING