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Lord Sebastian Coe talks legacy - Sydney Speaker Series

Legacy was on the lips of one of the world’s most high-profile association presidents – Lord Seb Coe, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) – who last week addressed a group of influential colleagues to discuss how business events can shape the future.

The Sydney Speaker Series, held on Tuesday 10 November, provided an opportunity for around 40 leading association CEOs and presidents to learn about Lord Coe’s experience with engagement and legacy with respect to the world’s largest sporting event – the Olympics; his vision for the future of the sport, and IAAF’s role, and his determination to repair and rebuild the sport with his colleagues to leave a positive legacy.

It was a message that was well received by the high-level association crowd that assembled at Australia House to discuss ‘Legacy and Innovation’. Led by Lord Coe, and facilitated by joint hosts Business Events Sydney (BESydney) and International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), the discussion highlighted the importance of collaboration in legacy creation and the realisation of a long-term vision.

“The success of any major event in a city, such as the Olympics in London and Sydney, is that the government must understand that it needs the private sector and the private sector has to understand that it needs government. A shared vision is essential and the legacy must start as soon as you decide to bid.

“The knowledge capital legacy resulting from the Sydney 2000 Olympics has been long and far reaching. Members of the Sydney Organising Committee, as well as its trainers and coaches, have built a global reputation, and this continues to be instrumental and influential in international sport. We handpicked the best initiatives and strategies developed in Sydney and applied them to London 2012,” added Lord Coe.

Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, the Honourable Alexander Downer AC, also addressed the 40-strong group, emphasising that, “The Australian Government continues to place a strong focus on future community and economic growth – legacy for the next generations. This means helping to grow industry, foster talent and prioritise innovation and productivity. It also means looking to the rest of the world for lessons in best practice”.

Ms Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of BESydney said, “International conferences can deliver great benefits to communities globally, and certainly the opportunities from hosting these events directly influences Australian collaboration, knowledge exchange, and trade and investment.”

A number of BESydney’s Ambassadors were also in attendance, including: Tim Walker, Chief Executive and Artistic Director at the London Philharmonic; Dr Dianne Sheehan, Past President of the Australian Veterinary Association; and Professor Doug Jones AO RFD, Consultant at Clayton Utz and the Immediate Past President of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration.

One attendee commented, “Thank you so much for a wonderful introduction to Sydney and its new ICC Sydney. I am sure we would love to do an event there in future. The whole event at Australia House was excellent and I don’t think you could have found a better speaker than Lord Sebastian Coe. He was amazing and a great inspiration.”

And another said, “Many thanks for inviting me to such an excellent lunch and occasion at Australia House – a great presentation of Sydney’s strengths as well as of hospitality, and of course, a very fascinating and timely speaker.”

Mr Geoff Donaghy, CEO of ICC Sydney, said that as a global knowledge and innovation hub, Sydney takes a holistic, city-wide approach to achieving associations’ event objectives.

“We understand the value international meetings bring to our city and work in partnership with clients, academia, industry, government and communities to help deliver lasting outcomes and legacies that associations can be truly proud of. The Sydney Speaker Series represents one example of the broader benefits which come with the city’s collaborative approach to value generation for clients,” he said.    

This event forms part of the Sydney Speaker Series, an annual calendar of thought-provoking events, workshops and interactive discussions on topics designed to educate and inspire. Launched earlier this year in New York and Washington DC, featuring innovation, diversity and success expert Frans Johansson, these events are all part of  Sydney’s dedicated client offering to help associations meet the challenges they face in the rapidly changing global environment.

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