We are devastated by the loss of our dear friend and colleague Miriam Wilkins, the longtime head of The Conference Company’s Wellington office. Miriam died on 02 October 2018 after a short illness, following surgery to investigate a brain tumour in June. She was 57, and died at home with family around her.
Miriam was an exceptional conference manager, and we were so proud and lucky to have her on our team. She was adored by clients, suppliers and the many others whom she worked alongside – and kept in line – with her characteristic blend of composure, charm, determination, eagle-eyed attention to detail and sense of fun.
She has been a mainstay of The Conference Company since our founding in 1990. We were only a few months old when Miriam became the third member of the team, quickly mastering the complexities and demands of conference management and earning the lasting trust and respect of her clients.
Over the following three decades Miriam delivered numerous conferences across a diversity of subjects. Her particular passion and specialty was Government-hosted international conferences, which she delivered with diplomacy, sensitivity, creative flair and good humour. She was an excellent communicator, comfortable with people from all walks of life, and could work any room with confidence and ease. Many of us have observed that what Miriam lacked in physical stature, she more than made up for in self-assurance and feistiness!
We think of Miriam as having always been part of our company, but twice in the 28 years she took some time out, away from the demands of conference management, to spend short stints elsewhere. She worked for an advertising agency, and later joined the events management team at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Fortunately, though, conference management was in her blood, and to our delight she returned to us each time.
Miriam’s work is being picked up by others in our senior team, who will continue to deliver to the same exacting standards she always held us to.
In losing Miriam, the Australasian conference industry has lost one of its most talented conference professionals, working at the top of her game. We at The Conference Company, and our wider community of clients and industry partners, have lost a great colleague and friend. She will be deeply missed.
Miriam’s funeral was held in Wellington on Friday 05 October.