Karen Bolinger is dynamic, experienced strategist and award-winning executive leader in the international events, travel, tourism, and hospitality services sector. She is a well-regarded as an expert connecter, innovator and influencer amongst the leading destinations of the world.
Renowned as one of the most effective transformational leaders in the Business Events industry, Karen heads-up her own boutique consulting practice. She was recently appointed the role of Asia Pacific Managing Director for the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). In this role, Karen is responsible for managing a team to support the sector, by providing excellence in education, networking and information for the business events sector.
Karen was the CEO of the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) for seven and a half years, during which time under her leadership and direction, MCB delivered over $2.7 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 city’s intellectual capacity and knowledge sectors. As a result, in 2019, Karen was awarded by the Tourism Accommodation Association of Victoria (TAA Vic) Outstanding Contribution to the Industry by an individual Award, the first woman to do so.
Karen’s contribution to the global sector was recognised when she was awarded the 2018 Joint Meetings Industry Council Unity Award, which is selected by 10 peak bodies and recognises individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the Business Events industry. In 2017 Karen was named in Meetings and Convention Magazine as one of the top 25 leading women in business events globally and was a finalist in the 2016 CEO Magazine, Hospitality and Tourism Executive of the Year.
Karen has held many board positions and is currently serving as Strategic Advisor to Best Cities – a collective of 11 global destinations collaborating to attract and grow business events for their destinations leading to social transformation and is also Chair – Western Health Foundation Victoria. Karen was most recently President of the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux and past Chair for ICCA Australia. Karen is a director on the Business Events Council of Australia board, PCMA’s regional advisory board and the Simpleview Advisory Board.