Member of the month – Brendan Christou, Chief Executive, RNA, Queensland
Tell us more about (society) and how it came to be a part of RASC?
The RNA’s charter is to promote and encourage the development of the state of Queensland’s (Australia) agricultural, industrial, manufacturing and cultural resources. The RNA runs the Royal Queensland Show (Ekka), Queensland’s largest event, on behalf of the community for 10 days each year in August. Staged at its original birthplace, the Brisbane Showgrounds, the Ekka showcases its unique tradition and heritage by bringing the city and country together for a once a year get-together. More than 400,000 people gather to see thousands of exhibits, 10,000 animals, world-class entertainment and taste award-winning food and wine. Along with this, the organisation runs the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show-a series of seven individual competitions unearthing the best produce in Australia. Outside of the annual Ekka, the RNA is a venue business which hosts about 200 events each year, including music festivals, lifestyle exhibitions, sporting matches and with our new convention centre, corporate events as well.
How has your society benefitted from the commonwealth relations?
The tradition of the Royal Shows are an important part of Australian heritage and is certainly something the RNA is proud of and works hard maintain.
What key learning points have been achieved through this communication?
We have certainly learned a lot from our Association with our Commonwealth counterparts, particularly around improving the Royal Show and ensuring the ongoing success. Also the many and varied ways each organization is approaching what are in essence similar business challenges has been very useful in forming our own strategies.
Has information and ideas shared by fellow societies across the commonwealth been implemented throughout your organisation?
Absolutely. We have a particularly strong Australian contingent of RASC members, who regularly meet and share ideas and challenges. We discuss everything right through from corporate governance to specific elements of the Royal Show competitions.
How do you hope your relationship will develop with RASC and fellow commonwealth organisations?
The RASC provides a great opportunity to share information and learnings amongst many like-minded organisations, many of which share the same business challenges. Broadening this learning to a wider audience is a great opportunity.
What exciting things are coming up at the Society?
The regeneration of the Showgrounds continues to be a major focus for the RNA. It is a critical part of the RNA strategy, which focusses on the association’s ongoing financial sustainability, which thereby ensures the continued success of the Royal Queensland Show.
Immediately after the Show this year, construction commences on a 220 room 4.5 star hotel as well as a new high street through the Brisbane Showgrounds precinct.