Dear Members and Friends,
These are exciting times as the AACC undergoes a monumental change. After more than 18 years as Executive Director, Dawn Lillington will be stepping down this month. No need for alarm though, as she will remain with the AACC and transition to a member of the Board of Directors.
It’s difficult to adequately convey the impact Dawn’s had on the AACC, however, suffice to say it’s been huge. The organization has evolved from essentially a social club to one that combines both social and business in a uniquely Australian way. The high caliber of our events and the sought after business connections that are made throughout the year, all have Dawn’s distinctive stamp.
She has been a dedicated and enthusiastic beacon for the AACC and it’s been my privilege to have worked alongside her all these years. I know you will all join me in saying a big THANK YOU to her for her contributions to the AACC, and for continuing as a Board member.
The mirror to this is the equally exciting news that we have appointed a new Executive Director, Melissa Zajic, who starts this month, and is based in San Francisco.
Originally from Sydney, Melissa moved to London to join a prestigious sport management company to manage Digital Content and Sponsorships. After four years, she returned to Sydney to join a leading multi-platform media company focused on optimizing commercial partnerships in online publishing and sports media. Melissa moved to SF with her family in 2019 and has been spending quality time with her two children, who are now both school age.
We are thrilled to have Melissa join us and while Dawn may be a hard act to follow, we’re all excited for the change and the continuing evolution of the AACC. Please join me in giving Melissa a warm welcome!
The Australian Gala last month was a glamorous night of fun, acknowledgements and entertainment. We were grateful to return to a full in-person program since 2020, including the honor of presenting the 5th Annual Innovation Awards. Congratulations to all the winners – Kevin Gosschalk, Skedulo and Leo Labs and we wish them all continued success!
It was also the Board’s delight to award the Spirit of Australia to our very own Dawn Lillington, as recognition for all her contributions. We managed to keep it a secret until the night and thank Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos for presenting the award to Dawn, much to her surprise.
We also honored Nick Nichles, Consul-General and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for his services over the past 4 years. Nick will be returning to Australia soon and we will have a new Consul-General in the coming months. We are grateful to Nick for his support of the AACC and wish him well in his future endeavors.
We have several interesting events coming up so please sign up:
Penfolds Master Class – April 5 – in partnership with BABC, hosted at Withers Worldwide
Anzac Day – April 23 – on the USS Hornet, Alameda (New venue)
I look forward to seeing you at an event soon!