AWAPAC Highlights


It was a week full of fairy floss, Ferris Wheels, and most importantly fantastic speakers. In case you weren’t able to make it to Sydney for the inaugural #AWAPAC last week, here’s what you missed.

The week officially kicked off on Monday with the Opening Gala at the iconic Sydney Opera House. Guests quickly filled up the space as drinks and hors d'oeuvres were served. It was a perfect way to start the week.

The thought leadership program launched Tuesday morning. Each day began with a Leadership Breakfast, presented by Google, OMA, and Initiative. Delegates gathered to brunch on bagels and scones while representatives from brands like Google, Carat, and The Dream Collective spoke about trending topics, such as the importance of working beyond diversity to a core focus on inclusion. Our first global keynote was kicked off by Fernando Machado, Global CMO of Burger King. Fernando used his own experiences to inspire and encourage the audience to trust uncertainty, noting that the biggest risk we can take is when we don’t take any risks. Following Fernando with a similar message was Sherilyn Shackell, Founder and CEO of The Marketing Academy, who opened her keynote with the question, “what is the worst four letter word you can think of?” The answer is CAN’T. She explained if we tell ourselves we can’t often enough, we begin to believe it, and this thinking will start to permeate our values. Fernando and Sherilyn inspired delegates to believe and they will achieve. Among other notable speakers from Tuesday were Jeff Green, CEO of the Trade Desk and Jules Lund, Founder of Tribe.

Wednesday’s global keynote series started with a heavier focus on technology. Steven Wolfe Pereira, Quantcast’s Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, warned marketers and businesses that anything that can be automated will be automated. Following Steven was Anil Sabharwal, VP Communications & Photos, Google. Sabharwal took the stage to explain why AI must be ethically viable to work while discussing the challenges of taking AI from the lab to the real world. On a separate note from technology, the panel The Future of Cannabis discussed how to de-stigmatise cannabis and where the industry is headed.

On Thursday morning Co-creator Kayla Itsines and SWEAT CEO and Founder Tobi Pearce took the stage first. Their panel, Get Ready to SWEAT thankfully didn’t include any jumping jacks or burpees, but rather they discussed their strategy behind building engaged communities around the highest ranking, highest revenue generating fitness app in the world. Not long after, Joel Madden, Founder of MDDN, sat with Drake Sutton-Shearer, Founder and CEO of PRØHBTD Media to discuss his professional and personal views on life. Another notable speaker was David Shing, Oath Digital Prophet, who explained why he feels computers are useless and how the fun’s been sucked out of the industry recently because everyone wants to talk about disruption.

Lastly, the week finished strong with our featured musical guest, Peking Duk. The lively performance took place at The Big Top at Luna Park. We hope to see you next year!
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