Bonnie Kelly

Our Team

Meet our lecturers and staff

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.

Liz Hennebry

Course Manager of the Event Manager program

Liz has an impressive 15 years of experience in event management, tourism, hospitality and inbound destination management in Australia and London. Liz is a Course Coordinator in Sydney, doing so with great care and dedication for all her students.

What were you doing before coming to CoEM?

Teaching event management at another institution.

What is your favourite event you've attended?

Woodford Folk Festival Queensland, Grateful Dead Concert Philadephia, Club Swizzle Sydney Opera House.

What event is on your bucket list?

Glastonbury UK.

Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

Music – Thelma Plum and Of Monsters and Men, Triple J like a version.
Scientists – Brian Cox and my niece.
Humanitarians – Malala Yousafzai.

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

Long Island Ice Tea with a twist.

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

Pool comp, good music, laid back family friendly.

Billie Cox

Industry Engagement Manager

Billie's 15 year career path has included roles in business development, event management, sponsorship and relationship management. She continues to foster important connections as our Manager of Industry Engagement between industry, students and graduates.

What were you doing before coming to CoEM?

I was lucky enough to be Business Development Manager for the gorgeous Merivale Venues.

What is your favourite event you’ve attended?

New Orleans Mardi Gras.

What event is on your bucket list?

OKTOBERFEST!

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

Pina Colada. I love beaches, sunny weather, holidays, pineapples and tiny umbrellas.

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

Dancing, music, bright colours and lots of feathers… oh, Rio Carnival!

Caroline Kennon

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator and lecturer at the Melbourne campus, Caroline brings 12 years of experience, particularly in the field of creative event design. She is a natural and energetic educator and enjoys seeing her students experiencing success and personal growth.

What were you doing before coming to CoEM?

What wasn’t I doing?! In between running my own small business, The Creative Type, and presenting Goal, Mindfulness and Happiness workshops for kikki.K, I also worked as a contractor in Event Design and Artistic Direction for some large-scale local events. In addition to this, I freelanced (and still do) as myself (carolinekennon.com) in Styling and Event Design for the creative industry. My background is largely in Events and Arts Management, Marketing and Styling (with a bit of writing, performance and public speaking thrown in).

What is your favourite event you’ve attended?

This is such a hard question! I don’t think I can choose just one, so here are a few:
– The first event I attended alone. The 1996 Big Day Out at the Bassendean Oval in Perth, W.A. I was 12!
– My own wedding. Clichéd perhaps, but what a blast it was! It was also the last event my father-in-law would be able to attend with his family.
– The Italian Festival in Little Italy, NYC. We stumbled upon this our first day back in NYC, and it was a week-long festival two blocks from where we were staying. I love unplanned event joy! And HOLY MOLY the FOOD!

What event is on your bucket list?

New Orleans Jazz Festival. Hands down.

Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

Family-friendly music and food events! Now that I am a parent, I am constantly on the lookout for events that we can take our son, August, with us to enjoy. Just because I’m a mama doesn’t mean I don’t want to go out and experience new things!

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

Anything with Gin in it. It’s got a depth of flavour, a hint of bitterness, but the base of earthy botanicals. Totes me.

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

There would be a mini festival, where all of my fabulously talented muso friends would perform whilst the rest of us danced into the night, after feasting on share-plates of simple but flavourful food set upon one long table where we can all laugh and talk together. Plenty of good wine and simple gin cocktails to share.

Then someone else to clean all that up.

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!

Jada Bennett Cross

Course Coordinator

Jada has over 16 years experience in event styling, production and floristry. A former head designer with Decorative Events, Jada is now a Course Coordinator and inspires all with her creativity and practical event experience.

What were you doing before coming to CoEM?

Head Designer at Decorative Events & Exhibitions – designing the event theming and styling for large-scale events and exhibitions.

What is your favourite event you’ve attended?

The Tea Festival! I love all things tea – teacups, tea varieties, sipping tea and learning more about tea! This was the perfect event for me!

What event is on your bucket list?

Le Strade Della Mozzarella – I’m a foodie and I LOVE mozzarella… will definitely be making my way over to Paestum, Italy for this festival one day…. Or Rome, Milan, New York or Paris where they now have their own versions of this wonderful event each year!

Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

Kinfolk Magazine, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Martin Benn (Head Chef – Sepia Restaurant) and my 2.5 year old son Atlas!

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

A Cosmopolitan – Straight up, punchy and zesty with a splash of sweetness!

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

One full of food, laughter, friends and family.

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.

Garth Lategan

Course Coordinator

Garth is a much loved and integral part of our Melbourne team and the quintessential ‘jack-of-all-trades’ when it comes to event management. He brings a huge amount of personal and professional experience with him, a wealth you can’t find in a textbook and a great thing for students lucky enough to be in his lectures.

What were you doing before coming to CoEM

I was teaching at another college and working as the Event Manger for World Vegan Day Melbourne.

What is your favourite event you've attended?

My favourite event to attend is ConFest for its organic nature. It's one of the events I actually don't work on so I use it as time to reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead.

What event is on your bucket list?

No event is on my bucket list – I'm more about working on events that my students work on. That gives me so much joy and I bring those experiences into the class room.

Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

Seeing my students grow into event managers and then seeing them in action after college using all the skills they have learned.

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

I don't drink, so it would have to be a mocktail with passion fruit because you need it to survive in this industry.

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

St Garthy Garth Day would be a day of cleaning your house out and passing on products or goods that have not been used in 6 months to a charity or someone that needs it more.

Allison Sawyer

Admissions

Allison is our College Administrator and largely responsible for Admissions, compliance and reporting. She has incredible knowledge when it comes to the inside workings of Registered Training Organisations and as her position requires, displays thoroughness and ethics. She is a true Melbourne-ite and shows a strong appreciation for sport (of course) and music.

What were you doing before coming to CoEM?

For the past 5 years I have worked in the ever changing world of registered training organizations. Both my past RTO’s have been different to ours in that they have specialised in training apprentices and workplace based training.

What is your favourite event you've attended?

Definitely a tie between the AFL Grand Final (because my team won) and the recent Cold Play concert at Etihad stadium. There is NOTHING like watching Chris Martin do his thing on stage.

What event is on your bucket list?

Not really an event as such, but high on my list of things to do is to walk the Kokoda trail.

Who or what is inspiring you at the moment?

All strong minded women leading the way for the next generation.

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

I don’t really drink, but I would say something sweet.

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

Any kind of celebration that makes you happy to be alive.

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.