Our Events Team

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GEMS General Manager, Julie McGraw, Awarded 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 MEA ‘National Meetings Manager of the Year’

Julie Head Shot
Cert new Gold 2 mixedAMM_logo_2col
Julie McGraw AMM CEM
General Manager/ Senior Conference Manager

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Meetings and Events Australia National Meetings Manager of the Year 2014/2015 and 2015/2016

Julie began her professional career in the hotel industry and has worked for organisations such as Qantas, Southern Cross Hotels and Ritz Carlton.  Moving out of hotel operations, she worked for JBA Hospitality for 8 years, where she was a Senior Consultant and Operations Manager for Australia, New Zealand and the south Pacific for companies including Sheraton Pacific, Shangri-La, Rydges and Pan Pacific Hotels. Specialising in the area of group and convention management, she was involved in the organisation of such projects as the International Conference of Iron and Steel in 1980 and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in Melbourne in 1981. With an Executive Certificate in Event Management (with Distinction) from the University of Technology Sydney, Julie is an Accredited Meetings Manager (AMM) and and is a Certified Event Manager (CEM) with the Professional Conference Organisers Association of Australia. Julie has lectured in hotel management at the William Blue Hotel Management School and Macleay College, has been a guest presenter for South West Sydney’s Event Management program and was a presenter at the Inaugural PCOA National Conference in 2008. Julie has more than 25 years experience in the event management industry, having managed more than 150 conferences and special events, and continues to deliver outstanding results for her clients, excelling in her attention to detail and making her events not only profitable but also memorable. With Julie leading the GEMS Events Team, nothing is impossible, having vision and integrity for each one of her clients.

Favourite Saying: “If you always do what you have always done, you always get what you have always got” – Henry Ford
Favourite Movie Quote: “The last mosquito that bit me had to check into the Betty Ford clinic” – Patsy, Absolutely Fabulous


Michelle Head Shot2Cert new Gold 2 mixedMichelle Glasson CEM
National Marketing and Communications Manager/ Senior Conference Manager

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Michelle has over 15 years experience in event management and has a Bachelor of Human Movement from Southern Cross University with a major in Sport and Event Management. Michelle achieved accreditation through the Professional Conference Organiser’s Association of Australia in 2010 as a Certified Event Manager (CEM). She began her career in 2002 with International Management Group (IMG), gaining a strong background in sporting and public events and joined the GEMS team in October 2005. Over the past 12 years, Michelle has been responsible for the management of national and state conferences for many of our long-term clients and she is a passionate and experienced event professional with a focus on building strong working relationships with each client, in order to meet the objectives of an event. In her role as National Marketing and Communications Manager, Michelle loves introducing potential clients to what GEMS do and how we can help them produce a higher standard of event. Michelle has been responsible for developing our brand and responding to all business opportunities for our organisation for the past 6 years.  Michelle was a Meetings and Events Australia NSW Finalist in the category of Business Development Person of the Year in 2015.

Favourite Saying: “If you don’t change where you are going, you will end up where you are heading”
Favourite Movie Quote: “I’m in a glass case of emotion” – Anchorman


Rebecca_Head shotRebecca Nguyen
Senior Event Coordinator

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Rebecca joined the GEMS Team in April 2016, having a background in venue event sales and operational management.  Rebecca completed a Bachelor of Management in Events and Leisure at the University of Technology Sydney in 2015, during which she interned for both Dragon Events China and the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 2014 and 2015, Rebecca founded the UTS Event Society and undertook the role of President of the society for 2 years. Having previously worked as a venue function coordinator, Rebecca has a keen eye for detail and understands the importance of meeting deadlines and maintaining a high standard of customer service. Rebecca is responsible for the supporting our Conference Managers for many of our National Conferences.

Favourite Saying: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticised anyway” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Favourite Movie Quote: “You go, Glen Coco” – Mean Girls


sarah_padget_headshotSarah Padget
Conference and Events Coordinator

TwitterLogo_blue @SarahGemsEvents

Sarah joined the GEMS Event Management Australia team in January, 2016. Previously, Sarah held the position of Events and Conference Operations Supervisor at the Accor MGallery Fairmont Resort, based in the Blue Mountains. Having worked on the opposite side of the fence, working in venue management, Sarah brings to GEMS a strong working knowledge of on-site event operations, including client and customer liaison, day-to-day venue operations and accommodation management. Sarah will support the events team in the delivery of all client conferences and events and will manage delegate registrations and inquiries.

Favourite Saying: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”  
Favourite Movie Quote:
“Yes, but did you die?”  Mr Chow – The Hangover


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Melda Kocataskin
Conference and Events Coordinator

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Melda joined the GEMS team in April 2016 having completed a Bachelor of Management in Events and Leisure at the University of Technology Sydney in 2015, during which time she undertook her professional internship with the Local Organising Committee Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 2015 Asian Cup’s Accreditation Team . Melda was a founding member of the UTS Event Society and has been involved in many fundraiser events for local community groups, which she is passionate about.  Melda will support the events team in the delivery of all client conferences and events and will manage delegate registrations and inquiries.

Favourite Saying: “Set your life on fire, seek those who fan your flames”  
Favourite Movie Quote:
“If you have good thoughts,  they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely”  Roald Dahl, The Twits


dhaya_headshotDhaya Beshere
Conference and Events Assistant

Dhaya joined the GEMS team in July, 2017. Dhaya is enthusiastic about working in the business events sector and is currently completing a bachelor of Event Management at the University of Technology, Sydney. Dhaya currently supports the events team in the delivery of all client conferences and will assist the Conference and Event Coordinators in the provision of registration services.

Favourite Saying: “Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out”  
Favourite Movie Quote:
“You done messed up A-aron”  – Key and Peele

Finance Team


marisa_headshotMarisa Poropat
Finance Manager

Marisa has more than 20 years experience in senior accounting roles including positions at Dolby Australia, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Morgan and Banks and BHP Transport. Marisa is responsible for all client and conference finance management at GEMS. She has a keen interest in all things finance, as well as improving the financial processes and procedures here at GEMS. In recent years, Marisa has been a key driver in the growth of GEMS’ Secretariat services, that we provide to a number of Associations. In addition to financial roles and responsibilities, Marisa oversees the membership team and all Association secretariat operations. She also frequently joins our Conference operations team on site as an Event Specialist, managing delegate registration.

Favourite Saying: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West
Favourite Movie Quote: “Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you are going to get” – Forest Gump


gianna_headshotGianna Albarachini
Accounts Officer

Gianna joined the GEMS team in February, 2017. Gianna has more than 15 years experience in senior accounting roles. At GEMS, Gianna is responsible for supporting the financial management division in managing all client event accounts.

Favourite Saying: “When I’m good I’m very, very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.” – Mae West
Favourite Movie Quote: “Take my heart, but please don’t break it!” – Darla (Little Rascals)