• Ellerslie Event Centre

Meet Vanessa Huntley

We love meeting new people here at Ellerslie Event Centre, so we were thrilled to have Vanessa Huntley join our team in the role of sales manager.


To let you know a little more about this bubbly & professional new addition to our team, we sat down to ask her a few questions.

What is your background?

Prior to event management, I had a banking career for six years. However, I’ve been working in the events industry now for close to six years and have been fortunate enough to gain experience from all sides of the industry.


I started out with New Zealand Education Institute, delivering their National AGM for three years and other smaller conferences around the country. I then decided to move to the other side of the fence, working as a Business Development Manager for Venues Wellington, where I sold six of Wellington’s most iconic venues to the Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Events market.


During those few years, I built some great relationships across the industry between suppliers and clients.


After 18 months with Venues Wellington I approached Harcourts NZ to discuss their in-house Event Manager role which I was successfully appointed to in 2017. After two years delivering their nationwide events calendar and leading a team of four, I decided to make the move back in to a more sales focused and client facing role which is where my passion lies.

I now have the amazing opportunity to promote a fantastic and unique event centre, as well as lead and support my team to create memorable events for all our clients.

What is your role at Ellerslie?

As sales manager, my role is to develop existing and new business to drive revenue within the events team.


I lead, manage and develop the events account managers to ensure revenue, budgets and targets are achieved through initiating revenue generation and encouraging both new and repeat business.


I also manage and explore events software systems to enhance accuracy and efficiencies within the team and effectively manage projects as directed.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

My favourite part would be representing the brand and networking at industry events to share creative ways in which we can provide a venue solution for clients looking to hold memorable events with us, which also gives great variety to the role and the type of events we deal with.


I also love thoroughbred racing, so racedays are a highlight over summer.

What do you do on your days off?

My hobbies include adventure racing, trail running, mountain biking and attending music festivals and concerts.


This year, I'm doing the Summer Challenge in Nelson, which is an all women adventure race. Over six hours, our three-woman team will navigate our way by kayak, mountain bike or hiking, with a map and compass in hand.

Tell us something that’s on your bucket list?

I'd love to visit the Guggenheim Museum in Spain and explore Gaudi’s incredible architecture throughout the city of Barcelona.

What is your advice to people looking to get into the events industry?

My introduction and growth in the events industry has been all about relationships and experience.


Starting out, the most valuable time investment was attending industry networking events, trade shows and meeting like-minded individuals to share stories and gain a greater understanding of the New Zealand event market and the many moving parts (from PCOs to Convention Bureaus etc).


I would also recommend being proactive to gain exposure to events and get a mentor to help you on your journey.


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