A farewell function was held last month at the National Convention Centre, Canberra to mark the handover of general manager duties from Cindy Young to Steve Wood.
In attendance were many representatives from industry, community and government from Canberra and beyond.
Paul Donohoe from BDW Special Events Management delivered a thank-you speech and here is an edited transcript.
Welcome to the National Convention Centre and to this very special occasion, the handing over of the baton – from Cindy Young to Steve Wood.
The ACT Government, who own this building, obviously have a very important partnership with IHG, and it has been a very harmonious and successful relationship. In his many roles covering tourism, treasury, and economic development as well as deputy chief minister – it is terrific that Andrew Barr could join us tonight.
I’m honoured to have the opportunity to say a few words tonight.
I first met Cindy in 1988 – during the construction of what was then the Park Royal – now known to us as the Crowne Plaza.
That was 25 years ago – and for those of you who have know us for that time I can hear you thinking – neither of us have changed one bit – and I agree.
Cindy was in a hard-hat with that beautiful smile and American accent and bubbly personality, naturally she offered me a hard-hat too. I believe that is when we bonded – with hat hair.
Well much has past in those 25 years, and I am privileged to call Cindy both colleague and dear friend. I have worked with her on many events and projects since – shared committees and board positions – so many in fact that there are too many to list.
It has been, as I am sure it has for you – simply a wonderful relationship. I’m sure on behalf of everyone present and missing – that we can extend to her our congratulations and thanks as she hands over to Stephen. To wish her every happiness and to enjoy what life has to offer when you are not working in a full time job. I know this day is one that fills her with sadness but comes with enormous excitement about her new life.
Cindy was part of the opening team for the NCC in 1989. She was then an event coordinator. How wonderful then that she was THE manager during the major refurbishment in 2007 – 18 years later – and yes, back in a hard hat. In between, she held sales and operational positions at both the National Convention Centre and the Crowne Plaza, as well as a gig at the Canberra Convention Bureau.
There is so much I could say in acknowledging Cindy. But where to start, where to finish? So here are some words, in no particular order. But each, as I know you will agree, describe perfectly, the person that you and I both know:
This is not a definitive list; I know between us we could add many more pertinent words. But I think at minimum those words define her in both her working and private life – I believe it partly covers the essence of Cindy Young.
If some of us had even half these qualities, we would be great people with great careers. Cindy Young has all of these, and many more.
Steve – yes, you have enormous shoes to fill, the challenge is set – but I have every confidence from what I know, that you will not only tick such ambitious goals, but add to such qualities in fulfilling this significant position.
Many of you may not know of the many hours Cindy has spent in dedicating and using her position for the benefit of others less fortunate. These quiet achievements are many. From boards that assist people with disabilities, to encouraging a corporate culture that feeds the disadvantaged.
From giving exposure to unknown artists to being a champion for the homeless. From creating positions for the unskilled, to challenging and engaging fellow professionals.
Her commitment to our community has been massive. From supporting IHG’s global initiatives for disaster relief, support for indigenous communities and disadvantaged youth; to local involvement with the Yellow Van, RSPCA, BLITS, M16 ArtSpace, the Scouts Association, and many others too numerous to mention – and I know many of you are here tonight.
It is an impressive career on both a professional and personal level. It is a testament to the person we know as Cindy Young.
Photo gallery by EventPix / Lili Ceric