A reunion to remember on the Gold Coast
Deloitte Australia’s annual partners’ meeting provides a rare opportunity for Deloitte partners to get together and connect in person.
After border restrictions and lockdowns led to the event being missed in 2020 and 2021, expectations were high for the first Deloitte Australia Partners’ Meeting in two-and-a-half years – which, for the first time in the event’s history, was held at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre (GCCEC), the largest regional convention centre in Australia.
Chosen for its unbeatable location and proximity to accommodation in the heart of Broadbeach, and for the flexibility of its spaces and facilities, GCCEC hosted more than 900 Deloitte partners across two days for an event that put the delegate experience first. From unrivalled convenience upon arrival to innovative and unforgettable food and beverage offerings, this year’s meeting was one for the books.
Moments that matter
After more than two years of virtual meetings, Deloitte Senior Manager Julie Jaroszewicz says the firm’s partners were more than ready to reconnect in person.
“This is the one time of year when we can actually bring the whole business together,” she says. “I think everyone just wants the opportunity to be able to connect with each other, because there’s only so much you can do over a screen. The partnership has grown significantly over the last couple of years, so for about a third of our partners, this was their first opportunity to come to one of these events and establish some deeper relationships within the firm.
“That person-to-person contact is so important. It’s the next level of relationship-building that’s been sorely missed over the last couple of years. It’s about connection and networking, and it’s also about fun, which is why we’re really having a bit of fun with it this year.”
Deloitte’s focus for the event was on providing delegates with an innovative, unique and fun experience. After attending plenary sessions in the auditorium-style arena, delegates broke into six of GCCEC’s meeting rooms, which were used to host a variety of themed breakout sessions – from a carnival-themed room with circus performers, carnival games, popcorn machines and fairy floss, to a space-themed room with special UV lighting, a host dressed in an authentic astronaut suit and unique glow-in-the-dark cocktails that were specifically designed for the event.
Deloitte also used GCCEC’s foyers to host a digital art gallery and other interactive attractions, and put up an embassy area on the GCCEC’s southern lawn.
“The client was passionate about creating a unique experience for their delegates,” says GCCEC Food and Beverage Manager Reinaldo Siqueira. “That gave us a chance to be creative, which is what we do best.
“The glow-in-the-dark cocktails were a special request from Deloitte, to suit their space-themed breakout space. The challenge – and it was a fun challenge – was to come up with something that would actually glow and look good, but would also taste good. And judging by the response from the delegates, we succeeded.”
Location, location, location
GCCEC’s enviable location in the heart of the bustling Broadbeach precinct – surrounded by world-class beaches, dining and accommodation, and serviced by domestic and international airports – was a major drawcard for Deloitte.
“The location was definitely key,” says Liz Sullivan, Professional Conference Organiser and Project Lead at FCM Meetings and Events. “With more than 900 delegates from around Australia flying in and out, it’s important to have plenty of flights and accommodation on offer, and GCCEC’s location is ideal in that sense.”
With a goal of going above and beyond delegates’ expectations, Deloitte collected their guests as soon as they arrived at the airport, and delivered them directly to the venue. Delegates were then able to check into their hotels at GCCEC itself, with satellite registration desks set up at the venue.
“The delegates could do everything here,” Liz says. “The hotels pre-cut all of their keys and brought them to GCCEC, and we collected their luggage upon arrival and had it sent directly to their hotel rooms.
“The delegates didn’t have to worry about anything – they could just come to the Centre, check in to their hotel here, and then head straight to their hotel rooms where their luggage was waiting for them after the event, so they could quickly refresh and head out to dinner. It was a truly seamless process.”
Accounting for taste
As well as those unique glow-in-the-dark cocktails, Deloitte’s delegates enjoyed an array of superb food and beverage options for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea over the two days they were at the venue.
GCCEC Food and Beverage Manager Reinaldo Siqueira worked closely with the client in the lead-up to the event to ensure the menu catered to their needs, highlighted by wellness bowls to keep delegates energised.
“The wellness bowl is one of the latest additions to our menu,” Reinaldo says. “It’s a fresh and colourful dish that’s been specifically designed for clients that are looking for a grab-and-go meal for their delegates that’s healthy, delicious and filling.”
With years of experience under their belts, Reinaldo’s finely-honed team were able to serve more than 900 wellness bowls to delegates across two levels in the space of just 25 minutes.
Delegates also enjoyed an outdoor barbecue on GCCEC’s southern terrace, with professional chefs cooking up pork loins and other BBQ favourites under the glorious Gold Coast sun.
Conference organiser Liz Sullivan also worked with GCCEC to take advantage of the venue’s proximity to a variety of acclaimed and award-winning restaurants.
“We did a dine-around for dinner, splitting the delegates into their business units and sending them to restaurants around Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise and the rest of the Gold Coast,” Liz says.
“GCCEC helped us to choose the restaurants based on their location, size and suitability. It just made sense, because there are so many great restaurants in the area.”
Waste not, want not
In keeping with Deloitte’s purpose to make an impact that matters, and the firm’s commitment to climate action for a better future, the company adopted a Zero Waste policy for this year’s partners’ meeting.
GCCEC was particularly well-suited to this approach, having worked with EarthCheck – the world's leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism – for over a decade. GCCEC was the first convention centre to receive Platinum certification from EarthCheck, and has established processes in place to manage its recycling and waste streams.
“We knew the Centre had a great reputation for recycling and sustainability,” Deloitte Senior Manager Julie Jaroszewicz says. “They went above and beyond for this event, with Zero Waste ambassadors stationed on each level of the venue to ensure that everything went where it was supposed to, and everything that could be reused, would be reused.”
GCCEC worked with Deloitte to ensure that even the event signage would be reused and recycled.
From the delegates’ perspective, the commitment to sustainability started from their arrival at the venue, when they were provided with refillable water bottles. Rehydration stations were provided for guests to refill their bottles on each of the venue’s two levels.
GCCEC also provided Deloitte with a report to measure the effectiveness of their waste management techniques at the conclusion of the event.
The Gold standard
Ultimately, the event was a spectacular success for Deloitte, who were able to provide their partners with an unforgettable experience that captured the electric energy of the Gold Coast.
“The venue has been absolutely fantastic in accommodating all of our special requests,” says Deloitte Project Manager Melanie Hartley. “We’ve really jammed a lot into the two days, and the GCCEC team have been amazing in helping us fit it all in and make it all work. Nothing is too much trouble for them.”
“I think if there’s one word that comes to mind when you think about GCCEC, it’s flexibility,” Julie Jaroszewicz adds. “They’re happy to do whatever they can to make whatever you request a reality. They’re very collaborative, and just so totally accommodating.”
Conference organiser Liz Sullivan says GCCEC delivered on the venue’s impressive reputation within the events industry.
“The team have been amazing. From sales right through to operations and execution, they’ve been so helpful. It’s just a great venue to work with,” she says.
“There are so many obstacles you have to face when you’re planning events, but when you’re working with GCCEC, you can pose any issue and they’ll help you find a solution.”