Lynleigh McPherson

Our Team

Meet our team and our industry associates

Boris Kelly

Co-owner / Managing Director

Boris hails from a background in theatre which became a natural segue into the world of event management. After running his own successful event company over 15 years, Boris decided to impart his vast industry knowledge through teaching. He established College of Event Management with his colleague Annie Shillington in 2011.

What were you doing before coming to CoEM?

Working in events and thinking about opening an event management college. Also, a lot more swimming and writing than I do at the moment.

What is your favourite event you’ve attended?

Holi Festival in India. It’s the original Colour Run.

What event is on your bucket list?

I have two:
New Yorker Festival – the ultimate in highbrow New Yorkery
FIFA World Cup Final – the ultimate in global footballery

Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

The staff, students and industry partners at College of Event Management; my family; Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo; and my Feldenkrais physio.

If you were a cocktail what would you be and why?

Extra dry martini with a twist. Shaken. Because I wish I could be that good and that simple.

What kind of celebration would there be on a “St. YOU” day?

A long, loud, absurdly entertaining, juke-joint themed and delicious outdoor lunch with a superbly executed wet weather contingency.

Annie Shillington

Co-owner. Manager Sales and Marketing

In 2012, Annie and business partner Boris Kelly opened the doors to College of Event Management. Previously, she experienced life in the areas of entertainment, graphic design, publishing and adult education. She loves the process of helping people change their lives for the better through (life) education.

What were you doing before coming to CoEM?

Co-owning another private college, writing life histories, designing magazines and running around after kiddies (not all at the same time).

What is your favourite event you’ve attended?

Sculptures by the Sea (Sydney) at dawn. I love to look at art in a natural setting rather than a gallery situation.

What event is on your bucket list?

Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. What looks like the right mix of crazy and politeness.

Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

The CoEM team of course, they are all incredible. But at the moment I'm mad about botanical illustration, namely the botanical illustrations of Edith Rewa whom I stumbled upon in the Design Files. Her art is particularly gorgeous, so Australian, yet so fresh.

If you were a cocktail what would you be and why?

Aperol Spritz. Bubbly and colourful on the outside, a hint of bitterness on the inside. Ha!

What kind of celebration would there be on a 'St. YOU' day?

St. Anne’s Day? A carefree day in the countryside full of loving vibes, family, friends, sunshine, swimming, music, dancing, laughter. Would have to include an element of stupidity which bonds everyone together through awkwardness eg a maypole? A day/night where no one has a care in the world.

Ilana Larke

Online Course Coordinator

Ilana is a true all rounder, with 15 years experience in not-for-profit, catering, business events and freelancing for major clients. With a speciality in the area of event administration, Ilana is an energetic lecturer, Course Coordinator and our 24/7 Online Manager.

What were you doing before coming to CoEM?

I started my career in finance and stockbroking mainly because I didn’t know how to get into events even though it was my passion. Once I found the courses I needed and completed my Diploma, I went straight into an internship, followed by a full time job in the not-for-profit sector working as an event coordinator. It’s been full steam ahead ever since! I’ve worked in catering, in some of the most iconic venues in Sydney, weddings, private events, movie premieres, business events, worked as a freelance event manager, and now I get to pass on my knowledge through teaching.

What is your favourite event you’ve attended?

Vivid Sydney. The city comes alive, it brings people together, it’s magical and best of all it’s free!

What event is on your bucket list?

Burning Man – between the venue, the art and the performances it looks amazing!

Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

My husband. To work from the bottom, up and be great at what you do is one thing. To still have the passion, together with the wisdom, puts it on a whole new level.

If you were a cocktail what would you be and why?

Espresso martini for my love of coffee.

What kind of celebration would there be on a 'St. YOU' day?

A very busy, non-stop celebration! A day where you get to make the most of experiences and meeting new people. Choose a destination you haven’t been to and experience it for the day. And lots of great coffee!

Miranda Copeland

Accounts Manager

Miranda brings years of experience to our finance and accounts department. She is across all aspects of college operations and has adopted additional titles such as office manager, social director, student confidant and nurturer.

What were you doing before coming to CoEM?

I’ve been doing accounts for years! Previously for a café, beauty salon, and an event company.

What is your favourite event you’ve attended?

I’m showing my age a little, but Bruce Springsteen in the 80’s in London was pretty amazing!

What event is on your bucket list?

It’s not really an event but I really want to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain. A modern day Pilgrim walk to try and slow down the hectic pace I find myself living! I just need to find the time…

If you were a cocktail what would you be and why?

Ok. Not a big fan of cocktails. Rather partial to a Margarita or two at Tio’s but otherwise a chilled glass of dry white. I’m not sure how that reflects on me?? Am I really cold and dry?! God I hope not… haha!

What kind of celebration would there be on a 'St. YOU' day?

St. Miranda festival would include a big tent on the beach filled with live music, friends, food and fairy lights!

Alisa Angell

Office Manager – Sydney

Alisa has 12 years experience within such diverse roles as senior event manager, producer, marketing assistant and event sales. She currently does a wonderful job of managing our Sydney campus with efficiency and her particular brand of effervescence.

What were you doing before College of Event Management?

Working at Decorative Events and Exhibitions, Baby, Dr Sketchys Anti Art School – Producer.

What is your favourite event you’ve attended?

Oh it’s a tough one… Michael Jackson’s History Tour, An ‘Amazing Race’ in the Hunter Vallery… Helicopter Ride, Kung Fu Lessons and Cheese Master Class and Wine tasting all in one day! What more do you need?

What event is on your bucket list?

Glastonbury, Prince at Madison Square Gardens, Broadway, Carnival and the list goes on…

Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

Amy Schumer.

If you were a cocktail what would you be and why?

A Bloody Mary – I’ll look after you when you don’t feel 100%.

What kind of celebration would there be on a ‘St. YOU’ day?

Music, wine and cheese by the sea.

Bonnie Kelly

Industry Engagement Coordinator
What were you doing before coming to CoEM?

I was working at Merivale, in the Head Office looking after VIP PACHA bookings and Bar Bookings across the group for 3 years. Then I worked on the opening of The Newport before moving to CoEM.

What is your favourite event you’ve attended?

NYE Lord Mayors Party at the Opera House.

What event is on your bucket list?

Holi Festival in India. India is somewhere I have always wanted to go and I would love to attend this event.

Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

Low cost event suppliers making casual events and weddings amazing but affordable.

If you were a cocktail what would you be and why?

Pina Colada – Pineapples are clearly the coolest fruit.

Lynleigh McPherson

Learning facilitator

Lynleigh is a vibrantly energetic, extremely experienced and highly sought-after event professional with over 20 years of event management experience. Lucky for us she is "very passionate about developing the future generation of event managers".

Lynleigh is currently a subject teacher for our Event Manager Online program. When she is not engaging with CoEM students. Lynleigh is currently working on multiple high-profile events all over Australia. We consider ourselves super lucky to have her on the CoEM team.

How did you get where you are today?

I've had an extremely varied career in events that has provided an overarching and well-rounded education ranging from design and branding, styling and major event design, catering and major hospitality events, experiential and immersive events and sales and business development. This vast experience has led to a strong reputation in the industry and allows me to consult in various event businesses as an industry leader.

What do you think you're really good at?

My speciality is to create immersive and engaging events that are influential for the brand, and adhere to the clients budget. Not an easy thing to achieve at times.

What are the top 3 attributes of a great event manager?

Attention to detail - paramount for an event manager otherwise things start to unravel onsite pretty quickly. Budget management - tight budget control is essential for yourself and for your client. Solutions oriented - no matter how organised you are there will always be changes or incidents onsite and there is a need to think on your feet to find solutions for the client.

Why have you chosen to help our students reach their career goals?

I have had some fantastic mentors in the industry that have really helped drive my career and ensured that I have stretched myself. Knowledge is key to any career and I love being able to pass on my knowledge and key learnings. I am very passionate about developing the future generation of event managers and really love seeing others grow in their chosen careers.