Karen Bolinger is the Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB), and as a strategic leader she is also as a business development, marketing and destination innovator.
Renowned as one of the most dynamic leaders in the business events industry, Karen joined MCB in 2011, which under her leadership has delivered $2.2 billion in economic contribution to the Victorian economy.
A trail blazer in the sector, Karen repositioned Melbourne’s profile as an innovative business events destination by highlighting the cities intellectual capacity and knowledge sectors. This highlighted the business events sector as a key economic driver into the local economy, garnering ongoing support from State and Local Government. This changed the goal posts and demonstrated how alignment with economic development departments were integrated in a destinations success and tourism was only part of the equation.
Recently under Karen’s leadership MCB delivered its most successful year on record, delivering its highest ever economic contribution to Victoria of $396 million in 2017/18 financial year, and has grown by 34 per cent since Karen joined MCB.
Karen’s contribution to the sector globally was recognised when Karen was awarded the 2018 Joint Meetings Industry Council Unity Award, which recognises individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the business events industry. In addition in 2017 Karen was named in Meetings and Convention Magazine as one of the top 25 leading women in business events globally.
Karen is President of and drives strategy for the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux and sits on the Board of Business Events Council of Australia, Best Cities, PCMA/ICESAP Advisory Board and the Simpleview Advisory Board. She is also immediate past Chair of BestCities Global Alliance and ICCA Australia.