We’re not just talking tech and innovation for this month’s #NextGen special features. We also wanted to shine a spotlight on the next generation, the ones to watch, the future leaders of our industry across Australia.
We asked a number of industry figures to nominate their favourite young eventies who are well on their way to future industry-domination! Stretching right across the country from Sydney to Perth and beyond, we’re hoping to make this list the first in an ongoing annual tradition for Gig Nation.
So without further ado, here’s the 9 Under 30 who made the cut this year!
Introducing Gig Nation’s top young event professionals for 2021/2022…
Amelia Trenaman, 25
Freelance Logistics/Operations Manager
Whilst Perth is home for Amelia, she follows the work around the country like a nomad. Currently calling Melbourne home, Amelia has already ticked off several bucket-list projects in her career to-date, with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Some of Amelia’s highlights include working as the Deputy Venue Logistics Manager for the Hockey Centre at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games where, as a fresh-faced 21-year-old, she recalls having the most fun adventures on the biggest event she’s ever been a part of. In 2019, she was working as the Logistics Assistant for Sydney New Year’s Eve for the third year running when a last-minute change in staffing saw her thrust into the Logistics Manager role just 1 month into the project. In 2020, she worked as Producer for the not-for-profit AWESOME Arts Festival for Bright Young Things in Perth, before switching it up to BBL Hub Manager WA for Cricket Australia, where she really got to put her logistics skills to the test coordinating the players movements during a global pandemic. Recently, Amelia followed the work to the red centre where she worked as site crew and front-of-house staff for the Parrtjima Festival in Light 2021, Alice Springs.
Amelia is passionate about events and wants to go on to mentor the next Next generation of leaders in the events industry. She also has an innate desire to give-back, with aspirations of using her skills to coordinate humanitarian aid efforts and organize fundraising events in her future.
A self-professed “nerd” when it comes to reducing waste, Amelia gets very excited when something useful is also environmentally sustainable! And forget Louis Vuitton… her guilty pleasure is simply buying lots of plants!
Liberty Carter, 25
Freelance Events & Production Assistant
As a Sydney kid, Liberty grew up heading into the City most years to celebrate Sydney New Year’s Eve at the Harbour, so it was a huge bucket-list tick for her when she was offered the role of Harbour Assistant on the event in 2019. Helping to produce the Harbour of Light Parade, which featured up to 60 tall ships and major vessels navigating a route from Cockatoo Island to Clark Island donned in colour-changing lights, Liberty also helped coordinate the major operations and shut down of Sydney Harbour for the notorious fireworks display: one of the largest operating waterways in the world. Liberty also worked as the Events & Activations Coordinator for Prince Harry’s Invictus Games Sydney in 2018. As an international sporting tournament promoting the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded, injured and sick servicemen, women and veterans, Liberty was inspired by her role and acknowledges it as one of the most fulfilling projects of her career. Prior to that, Liberty was also the Host City Events Assistant for the Rugby League World Cup in 2017, which saw her working across logistics and procedures at eight different national sites within the space of a few weeks.
Liberty loves working on projects that promote community and accessibility. Her bucket-list doesn’t stop with Sydney New Year’s Eve either. Liberty’s future aspirations include working on an Olympics or FIFA World Cup someday, both at home and overseas.
A creative outlet to prevent her “going nuts”, Liberty enjoys writing a weekly newsletter covering all things creative and pop-culture from music news and event updates to cool things happening across the world!
Stephanie Gleeson, 27
Freelance Operations & Production Manager
Currently splitting her time between Sydney and Alice Springs, Stephanie has already got a number of WOW-factor events under her belt. Even more impressively, her personal highlight reel starts in 2018 when in just one year she not only worked as the Head Floor Manager at the Invictus Games Sydney, but also as Stadium Site Coordinator for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, AND as Senior Production Coordinator for Sydney New Year’s Eve. Kicking major career goals that year, being part of a “Games” was always a career goal for Stephanie and, recalling how she got her big break working as an intern for the City of Sydney, in 4 short years she worked her way up to overseeing half of the production department and contributing to the inner workings of one of Australia’s largest events. Going from strength to strength, in 2021 Stephanie worked on one of the most rewarding roles of her career so far; acting as Operations Manager for Parrtjima – A Festival in Light, which saw her delivering the operations and logistics for the 10-day Central-Australian indigenous arts and culture festival in a challenging and whirlwind adventure she knows she will never forget.
Outside of her career, Stephanie has an insatiable itch for travel. Her aspiration is to bring together her career and passion for travel by working on as many overseas events as possible in the future. The big dream is to work on a Paralympic Games. Preferably overseas in a culturally exotic location!
Travel has led Stephanie down some interesting paths – she’s broken down on a remote back road in Argentina, tumbled down a cliff-side in Nicaragua, and fallen down a manhole in Italy!
Jacob Baxter-Davis, 24
Software Architect, SimpleMotion
Whilst finalising his University Degree in 2018, Jacob worked on Sydney New Year’s Eve as the Crowd and Traffic Project Officer, helping to deliver one of Sydney’s Hallmark Events. From there, Jacob found himself working as DNSW’s Installation Coordinator for Vivid Sydney 2019 where he learnt to hone his technical skills and knowledgebase whilst working with several artists to bring their weird and wonderful creations to life. Later the same year, Jacob returned to Sydney New Year’s to work as the Technical Project Officer for the event. Another highlight achievement for him was working as Production Coordinator on Sydney Lunar Festival 2020, where he found logistical and planning challenges that were exciting to work through, the start of a pandemic to consider, and a great introductory experience to the changing landscape of events in a post-covid world.
Jacob is an aspiring entrepreneur, with ambition to run his own company one day and develop a technical show system that has the potential to change the landscape of stadium shows. Once Australia’s borders open, he hopes to travel overseas and broaden his experience of entertainment and live events in other countries.
During lockdown Jacob taught himself a new hobby… 3D printing. Want to know what he won’t be printing though? Chickens. Jacob has a major irrational fear of chickens!
Kaitlin Kennings, 24
Freelance Assistant Site Manager
Based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Kaitie confesses she is pretty new to the events industry. Up until last year Kaitlin worked as a full-time hairdresser, interning on-the-side wherever she could find opportunities to get industry experience. Accrediting her big break to Suzie Weston, Site Manager of Caloundra Music Festival, Kaitie has worked on the event annually since 2018 across a variety of areas including artist contracts, talent booking, WHS, accreditation, site management and logistics. One of her other favourite internships was doing Social Media Marketing for Woodford Folk Festival in 2019, where she was wildly impressed by the depth and culture of the festival. Kaitie’s first paid gig in the industry came when she worked on The Big Pineapple Festival as Artist Liaison. Acting as the first point of contact for artists and guests upon arrival, and handling artist logistics throughout operation, the role gave Kaitie a newfound confidence and solidified her dream of pursuing a career in the industry. Now fresh off the heels of the 2021 Caloundra Music Festival, which took place at the start of this month, Kaitie reveals it was the best one yet!
Eventually, Kaitie sees herself running a multi-creative space that combines all her interests and passions. A record store and film lab by day, a music venue by night, with a studio and rehearsal space attached for local artists would be the ultimate dream for her.
Kaitie started shooting films of her friends during her spare time last year. You can check it out on Instagram @sparetimestudio_
Heidi Atkins, 29
Freelance Site & Production Manager
The first production that Heidi landed acting in the role of Production Manager was on ‘The Rise and Fall of Little Voice’ at Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Heidi worked with designers, suppliers, cast and crew to mount this breathtaking production on a small budget; an achievement Heidi remains very proud of to this day. Heidi also worked as the Production Manager at the State Theatre which gave her the opportunity to work on an array of public events from a venue’s perspective. Managing a crew of casual technicians, each production that came through the door required coordination of vastly different technical requirements. Some of the highlights included Sydney Film Festival, Georgy Girl, Florence and the Machine, Crazy Horse Paris, David Attenborough, Ministry of Sound Orchestrated and Stephen Fry to name a few. For the past 10 months, Heidi has been working as a Site Manager, currently touring with Magic Mike Live Australia. On the road between cities in a custom-built Spiegel tent, the role has taught Heidi a lot about temporary structures, site services and touring logistics. Not to mention an unforgettable experience in and of itself!
Whilst Heidi has never been sure where she ultimately wants to end up in her career, she has so far had a blast just saying ‘yes’ to various opportunities, exploring the different sides of the industry, learning and growing.
Heidi once appeared on stage with a Russian ballet company. And “no”, she says, “I cannot dance!”
Emily Brown, 21
Freelance Stage & Production Manager, and Founder of the Invisible Brand
Based in Perth, Emily mainly works as a freelance Stage Manager and Technician for events and gigs. One of her highlights reel includes working on the Western Australian Music Conference as Stage Manager. Combining technical live stream with international guests, physical panel members and both online and physical audience members was a hectic concoction to say the least, Emily recalls. Whilst her success in the role was the main highlight, an added bonus was also getting to meet and chat with Susan Rogers on the event (Prince’s audio engineer). Emily also work as Stage Manager on the AWESOME International Arts Festival for Children, providing a different and unique challenge for her that she feels she will cherish forever. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Emily was heartbroken to see the amount of crew who lost their jobs and took it upon herself to help. Starting her own merchandise brand, aptly called the Invisible Brand, Emily started designing products with event crew in mind to raise awareness and funds for the issue.
Emily’s biggest career goal is to become a tour or production manager for a band or festival, and to continue helping create magical moments for music fans and audiences to remember forever.
Daisy (Emily’s dog) LOVES to go to on site with her. And like a good WHS supervisor, she always wears her doggy high vis vest!
Lauren Schwabe, 27
Freelance Crowd & Traffic Manager, Operations Coordinator
Lauren has worked hard to establish herself as an integral part of the team on Sydney New Year’s Eve, having worked as the Crowd and Traffic Manager on the mega event for several years now, helping to create, develop and implement the first integrated crowd management plan for a major event in New South Wales. Now working her 8th year on the event, her 6th in the role of Crowd and Traffic Manager, Sydney New Year’s Eve was Lauren’s first major event following the completion of her tertiary education and sees her managing the closure of Sydney CBD roadways and pedestrian crowd flow for over 1 million spectators annually. Additional career highlights for Lauren include acting as Production Manager on the visual spectacular Meccaland, which saw her providing creative problem solving and risk analysis to help make a tradeshow-style event #instagrammable. Lauren has also worked as Operations Coordinator on Vivid Sydney’s 10-year anniversary event, where she relished in challenges like projecting from the Overseas Passenger Terminal onto the Sydney Opera House whilst a 168,000 tonne cruise ship was sitting late to depart! She also worked as Operations Coordinator for Parrtjima – A Festival in Light which took her on her first ever trip to Central Australia and taught her new skills surrounding staging an COVID-safe event.
Lauren wants to continue working on large-scale events that push her out of her comfort zone and challenge her to improve her skillset and experience within the event industry. Hoping to continue practicing in the areas of Production and Operational Management, Lauren also wants to remain the point of call for Crowd, Traffic and Event Management delivery for events within Sydney CBD.
For her friends and family, Lauren likes to make baked goods for special occasions. Decorating cakes and desserts is her idea of fun and relaxation and let’s be honest… who doesn’t like cake!?
Jason Brooks, 29
Operations & Events Coordinator at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
Yet another Sydney New Year’s Eve alumni, and there have been many on this list, Jason worked as the Technical Assistant for the 2017 and 2018 Sydney events. His passion for motor sports led him to an Event Coordinator role on the Australian Formula One Grand Prix and the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, a position he held for both the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Moving to Bass Coast (South Gippsland) to be closer to the home of the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Jason is currently working as the Operations and Events Coordinator there, helping to stage motorsports events including a career highlight; the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship in 2020. Jason feels incredibly lucky to have played a role in producing some of Australia’s major sporting and cultural events.
Jason admits he has never had a traditional career goal. Instead, he approaches his career by simply trying to learn and excel in the technical and strategic aspects of his roles, diversifying and broadening his capabilities and seeing where it leads him.
Jason was the 2 times Scalextric World Champion in 2021 and 2013!