Big Cheese catch up with Perfect Events’ CEO Liliana Sanelli

Big Cheese catch up with Perfect Events’ CEO Liliana Sanelli

The Nibbler recently caught up with the CEO of Perfect Events Liliana Sanelli, that is until we stopped running and realised how out of breath we were.

What’s your main goal for this year?

To enjoy and of course survive the biggest event and year Perfect Events has ever had. We start The Legacy Centenary Torch Relay 2023, presented by Defence Health on Sunday 23 April in Pozieres to launch the Legacy Centenary commemorative year events. Following a number of new business wins we have a massive year of significant international events. The main goal is ensuring myself and the team stay sane throughout whilst having a good time.

What’s your Favourite thing about working in/with the MICE industry?

We are so lucky with what we do – we create memories, change lives and no one day Is the same. I love our industry as we create once in a lifetime memories that seriously change lives. It’s hard work and not for the faint hearted, we live off adrenalin and work hard as a team, no event or project can be done as an individual. In this industry we are blessed to work with passionate individuals who quite often put their life and needs on hold to make sure their vision of the event is executed.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love to spend time with my beautiful family – my two girls Saraya 13 and Sapphire 9 years old and my darling husband Jeff, my rock. I also love spending time with close friends and family. My biggest me time is either going for a long walk or clearing the mind and listening to a great podcast OR the absolute opposite of going out for an awesome dinner, dance and fun!

What is the most stand-out event or incentive you’ve attended?

The biggest highlight for me was producing the Fred Hollows Hollywood Gala in LA, where I worked closely with Joel Edgerton and a committee of celebrity individuals to raise funds for the launch of Fred Hollows in USA. The Gala was held at Dream Hotel in Hollywood on the roof top. We had a huge line up of major talent attend the evening and preform including Seal, Red Hot Chili Peppers lead Guitarist Flee and many other surprises. Ricky Martin attended the event and purchased a major live auction item – a plastic piece of art that he bid $35,000 US dollars on. I saw it years later in a magazine shoot of his home which gave me a real buzz.

If you could invite three famous guests (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would you choose?

This is easy for me – Oprah, Kris Jenner and JLO. Oprah – using her voice for good and making things happen, Kris for being a money and business magnate and JLO for keeping it real yet showing up every day. If I could squeeze one more on the table Jon Bon Jovi would be great. He has been my celebrity pass all my life and I love the way he is using his influence for good and raising money for the homeless.

In your opinion, what are the key elements of a successful event?

Planning is key, you are only as good as your last event and that is all in the preplanning. Think of everything that can go wrong and plan for all of it and more. It is also important to really understand the objective of what each event is trying to achieve. I like to make sure I have clarity on what the objective is and work backwards from how we go about achieving that result. Lastly the main reason our events are a success is my fabulous team. Make sure to thank everyone who has worked so hard at your event, respect and gratitude go a long way in our industry.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the global pandemic hit?

The silver lining of the pandemic was it allowed me to switch paths and create a new way of thinking and working. I became more resilient and willing to take more risks with myself and business during and after the pandemic. I know for a fact I would not be working on the biggest event I have ever produced for Legacy Centenary if it was not for covid. Working with Legacy I needed to tread carefully and sell my crazy vision to a relatively conservative brand to get them onboard and believe in my vision. I am proud to say we are here doing The Legacy Centenary Torch Relay 2023 and on our way to raising $10 million dollars – all from my ideas and my creative genius!

What’s your advice for others in the MICE industry on recovering from the global pandemic?

Keep your faith and work with trusted partners who believe in you as much as you believe in them. Trust, respect and integrity are everything in our industry. Things are definitely picking up and there is a buzz in the air as people remember how good all the things are we got used to living without. There’s plenty of work out there for good people and we are seeing the staffing shortage ease. People are keen to live a life of adventure and love events, so keep believing!

What book and/or TV show can you not get enough of lately?

I binged Vikings, Yellowstone and Succession. All have amazing strong female characters that I love. For books I have just finished The Resilience Project by Hugh van Cuylenburg so inspiring and some great life lessons. Before that I finished Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead – such a great insight to be honest, authentic and vulnerable leader! Highly recommend.

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