Meet Claudia Baranski, Business Events Geelong’s new Business Development Manager
Claudia Baranski has joined the Business Events Geelong team as our first-ever Business Development Manager. Bringing to the table two decades worth of experience in the meetings and events industry, Baranski will be in charge of driving new business to Greater Geelong, The Bellarine and Werribee. Read on to learn a little more about the newest member of our team.
Tell us a little bit about your event industry experience
I started my career in the event industry in 2000 at MCB and went on to work at organisations including Peter Rowland Catering, Australian Institute of Management and DG Global. My career has been diverse, from destination sales & marketing to large scale event management and production, sponsorship and even a year of weddings thrown in!
What drew you to the MICE industry?
I grew up living in hotels. My dad was GM of a big hotel in Thredbo Village, NSW and later in Mt Buller, VIC and my Mum was a chef. So, from a young age, I was immersed in the tourism and hospitality industries. You could say it’s in my blood.
It is an industry whose sole focus is to bring people together. I love the diversity that a career in MICE brings, meeting new people, understanding different cultures and ways of doing business. It’s ever-evolving, fast-paced and at times unpredictable, there is certainly never a dull moment! Whether it be selling a destination or pulling together a large-scale event, no two projects are the same. Being creative, finding solutions and working as part of a team are all things that drew and still draw me to MICE. It’s hard work but exciting and extremely rewarding.
Share your most memorable event moment & What is your proudest career achievement?
I have so many memorable and proud moments, but one of the big ones for sure would have to be launching the Outstanding Women’s Series for the Australian Institute of Management. This was a hugely successful series of events created to showcase the achievements of high-profile Australian women in their chosen fields. The inaugural series consisted of 5 events over 12 months and kicked off with Julia Gillard who at the time was Australia’s first female Prime Minister. Janine Allis, of Boost Juice, Jo Horgan, of MECCA Cosmetica, Dr Fiona Wood and surfing legend Layne Beachley was also featured throughout the series. It was so humbling to meet and get to know these women. Being able to create a forum where they could share their stories and inspire others, was certainly a proud moment.
What are you most looking forward to doing in your new role as BDM?
I’m really excited to be able to work with the team to showcase and sell such an exciting region to the rest of Australia and the world. Geelong and the Bellarine have so much to offer business events, and with all the new infrastructure in the pipeline, it’s only going to become even more desirable.
For first time visitors to our region, what are some must-dos they need to include on their bucket list?
On a hot day, a morning swim at Eastern Beach reserve, followed by lunch at The Beach house is pretty hard to pass up. Attending a Day on the Green concert at Mt Duneed Estate should definitely be on the bucket list. So should a trip to Adventure Park, for those with kids, or those who are just kids at heart. If you can time your trip around the Christmas light show it’s even better! Weribee Zoo is another that shouldn’t be overlooked. But if relaxing is on the agenda, head to Barwon Heads for a stroll along the river, a browse in the many shops and a long lazy lunch at ‘At The Heads’.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love spending time with friends and family. Eating out also tops my list as does travel, beach time in summer, skiing in winter and generally keeping fit. Stand Up Paddle Boarding is next on my list, so watch this space!
How did you keep busy during Covid lockdowns? Homeschooling my three kids, aged 13, 11 and 7. Like many parents, I have a newfound respect for our educators!
What are you currently reading?
I love reading so usually have more than one on the go… Right now I’m reading; Rodham, by Curtis Sittenfeld and Let My People go Surfing, by Yvon Chouinard (founder and owner of Patagonia).
Anything else you would like our readers to know?
I only moved back to Australia just over 12 months ago after living in the United States for 8 years. For 6 of those years we lived in Chicago IL, and the last 2 in Austin TX. Living in the US was an amazing experience for our family, so fun and exciting. Our youngest was born in Chicago, so it will always be a special place for us. Though after the year that was 2020, it definitely feels good to be back home and really exciting to be reconnecting with the Aussie MICE industry.
Interested in planning an event in Geelong, The Bellarine or Werribee? Contact Claudia Baranski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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