Tourism Portfolio is celebrating 20 years this month, with founder Donna Kessler reflecting on the challenges and successes and the changing face of the business events sector.
Ms Kessler founded the representation company a little over 12 months after the 2001 September 11 terrorist attacks with her first client being the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre which is still with her today.
She and her business survived the Ansett collapse, the 2007 global financial crisis, SARS, Bird Flu, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic and, she says, has emerged from it all stronger than ever.
Some definite highs were winning the 2005 and 2008 Meetings & Events Australia Award for Sales and Marketing Person of the Year, co-creating the Meeting On The Green events industry golf day, and launching the Get Global and Get Local exhibitions with Gary Bender.
“Anyone who owns a business will tell you there are plenty of highs and there can also be plenty of lows which often arise out of things you never expected,” she said.
“The last few years have been quite humbling. Like many of my event colleagues I had to pivot to keep my doors open. For me this included working in a call centre to assist with the tracing and tracking of COVID, and managing COVID vaccination bookings.
“It felt good to play a part in helping the country get through the crisis.”
Donna said COVID-19 has forced many people working in the business event sector to look at their businesses differently and redefine how they engage and collaborate.
“What remains constant is my passion for what I do and now, with new business partner Sharon Levingston, who brings a new set of skills to Tourism Portfolio, I am excited for what the future holds.
“Together Sharon and I are developing new business ideas and look forward to sharing these with the industry very soon.”
She also wanted to send out a special thank you to her clients, customers and the people she has worked with over the past 20 years who have helped her reach this milestone.
Donna said she would be celebrating this week with some of her favourite bubbles and is looking forward to the next chapter.
You can read more about Donna’s 20 year journey by visiting her website blog