15 Minutes with Destination Gold Coast SHE-EO

To bring our next Movers + Breakers to life, we’ve teamed up with the team at Destination Gold Coast to bring you a conference like no other. It’s time for the sun, sand and synonyms for learning that start with 'S' as we start the countdown to one of the Business Chicks highlights of the year!

We were lucky to lock in some time with Destination Gold Coast CEO, Patricia O’Callaghan, to pick her brain on her path to the top, her best piece of business advice, and where you'll find her on the weekends on the GC.Without further ado, allow us to introduce you to Patricia!

Tell us about your path to CEO of Destination Gold Coast.

I started my career in Mount Isa as General Manager of the Chamber of Commerce then moved into the role of General Manager of Tourism and Events at Townsville Enterprise before being promoted to CEO. After six years at the helm of Townsville Enterprise, I was excited by the opportunity to relocate to the Gold Coast for this role. I am also proud to serve on a range of not-for-profit and industry Boards.

What has been your biggest career challenge to date?

Ensuring that I was there for my son whilst maintaining a career. A long time ago I came to a point where I had to focus on quality time over quantity and just make every moment count.

What has been your biggest career learning?

Always surround yourself with good people and good mentors. These people will push you, challenge you and often see qualities in you that you don’t see yourself. They are also likely to see an opportunity for you before you do.

So, you’re responsible for showcasing the beauty of the Gold Coast, where do you find inspiration to make people fall in love with the GC?

I couldn’t be prouder to call the Gold Coast my home and to promote it to the world.

What surprised me most when I first moved to the city is our surreal Australian landscapes being so close in proximity. The Gold Coast boasts 52 kilometres of golden beaches, which is home to the world’s first floating underwater reef, as well as ancient rainforest and cool urban coastal precincts, all within a 45-minute radius.

Our city has gone through a $1 billion transformation over the past two years from new attractions at our theme parks to the $60.5 million HOTA Gallery displaying world-class exhibitions, the hotly anticipated five-star luxury offerings of The Langham in the heart of the city, and some 3,000 hotel rooms either completed or in the construction pipeline, including the newly opened and Australia’s first Dorsett hotel located within the Star Gold Coast. Australia’s favourite playground has more to offer visitors than ever before.

How do you unwind after a stressful day?

I love to watch the sun go down over the Gold Coast Hinterland. Sunsets on the Gold Coast are spectacular.

What’s been the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Trust your gut. That feeling has guided me well over the years and is rarely wrong.

Where can we find you on the weekends?

I will be in no one place! Every weekend is an adventure with so many events and things to do on the Gold Coast. My husband, son and I love eating out, listening to live music, discovering something new to do and finding a nice spot to watch the sunset!

What are you most excited about with this Movers + Breakers conference?

This conference will bring together like-minded leaders on the Gold Coast to learn, share stories and form new connections, which will be a springboard for them to go on and continue to achieve great things.

Fast five faves on the GC

  1. Fave restaurant: A tie between The Tropic, Nineteen at The Star and Roy’s by Gemelli

  2. Fave shopping destinations: Pacific Fair and Harbour Town Premium Outlets

  3. Fave beach: Surfers Paradise

  4. Fave coffee spot: The Pastry Emporium Sorrento

  5. Fave spot for a view: The Polish Place in the Gold Coast Hinterland

Locked in your spot for Movers + Breakers yet? Movers and Breakers is not your average conference. Each year we bring together 140 of our members for three days of extraordinary connection, learning, fun (a lot of fun!) and to hold space for you to be yourself. Movers and Breakers is an exclusive member-only experience and one of the most anticipated events on the Business Chicks calendar (the conference has sold out in just a few weeks year on year). Join us for a few days of magic with the best kind of people in one of Australia’s most beautiful places. Learn more here!

The imagination capital of Australia is all about combining everything that is globally known and loved about the Gold Coast with its purpose-built infrastructure to create memorable and extraordinary business events that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world. Where else in the world can you indulge in breakfast onboard an ocean cruise while whale watching, then walk straight into your conference at a state-of-the-art venue before watching the sun set from our kilometres of golden beaches and end the day sipping a cocktail at a rooftop bar in the city at night? Only on the Gold Coast.


Mixing up the way you work


Want a career in events? This expert shares what it takes!