Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) Acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Narrm, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and to Elders of all First Nations communities that visit MCEC.

Top influential Women at Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre

With International Women’s Day falling on March 8, what better way to celebrate than to reminisce on some of the most influential women that have graced MCEC over the years.


“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Jane is a primatologist most known for her long-term study of wild chimpanzees in Tanzania. Through her Jane Goodall Institute, she has become equally well known as a conservationist and a champion of human rights.

Jane visited MCEC for “Rewind the future” on Saturday 11 May 2019.

The similarities between animals and humans might seem obvious to us now (see: any major political race or the state of reality TV), but this was not always the case. Dr Jane Goodall uncovered the complexity of social and familial life within groups of wild chimpanzees, highlighting the connection between humans and our closest living relatives. Through her groundbreaking work in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park, Dr Goodall redefined how scientists interact with the wild, contributing to one of the greatest studies of primates the world has ever seen. She has lamented that Tarzan married the wrong Jane...and we agree.

With the 60th anniversary of her arrival in Gombe approaching in 2020, Dr Goodall joined Think Inc. to celebrate her work and reflect on how the study that she began,


Nigella is an English food writer and television chef. She hosted the Food Network's Nigella Feasts in the United States in 2006, followed by a three-part BBC Two series, Nigella's Christmas Kitchen, in the UK, which led to the commissioning of Nigella Express on BBC Two in 2007.

Nigella visited MCEC on Wednesday 24 January, 2018 for a School of Life event.

Nigella teamed up with Australian psychologist and social researcher Hugh Mackay to talk all things food and why it matters.

Nigella and Hugh discussed how food is connected to who we are, our creativity and our morality. As the way we live changes so will the way we eat and Nigella shared her thoughts on how food can be both therapeutic and symbolic. Her know-how was backed up by Hugh’s psychological expertise.

“We all need food to survive of course, but one quick flick through the television or scroll through social media reveals how obsessed we all are with food. The food we eat is tied to our culture and identity: we celebrate with food, we console with food and we all know how much our food habits change when we’re stressed (hello all-you-can-eat pasta).


Hillary is an American politician, diplomat, lawyer, writer, and public speaker who served as the 67th United States secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, as a United States senator from New York from 2001 to 2009, and as First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001.

Clinton became the first woman to be nominated for president of the United States by a major political party when she won the Democratic Party nomination in 2016. She was the first woman to win the popular vote in an American presidential election, however, she failed to win the Electoral College.

Australian business events provider, The Growth Faculty, brought Secretary Clinton to Australia and New Zealand for a series of three exclusive and intimate events in May 2018. The events were a part of The Growth Faculty’s Women World Changers speaker series.

Secretary Clinton provided her personal insights into the 2016 US presidential election, its aftermath and what the future holds, sharing stories from her New York Times bestseller, What Happened.

She took to the stage to deliver a speech about what went wrong, how to cope, and what's next. She focused on four key messages: 1. Everyone who gets knocked down, it's whether you get back up that matters. 2. The only way to get sexism out of politics is to get more women into politics . 3. The forces at work in the 2016 election are still with us – she singled out Russia's involvement and the proliferation of Russia-controlled Facebook and Twitter accounts. 4. There is no such thing as an alternative fact.

Clinton was then joined onstage by Julia Gillard (see below), where Gillard interviewed her.


Julia is an Australian former politician who served as the 27th Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the Labor Party from 2010 to 2013.

She was at MCEC as mentioned above, interviewing Hillary Clinton, and also for an inaugural PMSO event which took place on the 21 November 2018.

Ms Gillard was Chair of Beyond Blue and the Global Partnership for Education, a fund aiming to provide equitable educational opportunities for children in developing nations, and she was/is passionate about sport’s role in securing our nation’s future.

The PMSO was fundraising for four key cause areas:

  • Women & girls in sport

  • Physical activity

  • Leadership & decision-making

  • Diversity & inclusion


Brené is an American professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host. Brown holds the Huffington Foundation's Brené Brown Endowed Chair at the University of Houston's Graduate College of Social Work and is a visiting professor in management at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

Brené Brown was at MCEC on 2 August 2019. ATED phenomenon and research professor at University of Houston, had spent the last 20 years studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy.

Brené is the five times No. 1 New York Times best-selling author of Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, Braving the Wilderness and The Gifts of Imperfection. She spent the previous seven years focusing on courageous leadership to produce her latest book at that time, Dare to Lead.


Chelsea Manning is an American activist, whistleblower, politician and former United States Army Soldier who became a household name after being court-martialled for colluding with Wikileaks. On top of being behind one of the biggest leaks in U.S military history, Manning was also caught and handed the longest and most severe sentence for government whistleblowing to date.

From doing hard time behind bars to getting swimsuit features in Vogue magazine, Chelsea Manning continues to whistle-past-the-graveyard after being living proof there is a first time for everything.

Chelsea Manning presented to an event at MCEC at Friday, 7 September 2018 via Videolink as she wasn’t legally allowed entry onto Australian shores.

She discussed her life, her time in prison, transgender issues, privacy, and Wikileaks.