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About Us

We are committed to collaborating and supporting our diverse client base, create community impact for today, tomorrow and for future generations.

We believe that participation in community sport, recreation, play and exercise can enhance people’s lives, allowing them to live longer, enjoying a healthier life.

Our vision is to work passionately with organisations that have community impact at the centre of projects, so collectively we can make a difference to community outcomes. We only accept or bid for briefs that we believe are aligned with our vision, where a difference can be made. If we bid for a project, you know we are serious.

We are committed to continuous improvement in the advice and solutions we provide and the insights we embrace. Our partners are selected to ensure quality advice is provided. Our people are our backbone and we invest in their knowledge and growth.

Our People

Our dedicated team passionately driving community impact through strategic consultancy, continuous learning, and collaboration with aligned, impactful organisations and projects

Martin Sheppard

Managing Director, Smart Connection Consultancy
Chief Executive Officer, National Sports & Physical Activity Convention 

Martin has been in the sport and leisure industry for 40+ years, both in the UK and Australia. Initially managing leisure facilities, parks, arts, museums and tourism precincts. Recognised for his innovative solutions for the procurement industry in the UK and Australia, Martin has also managed 17 contracts for Melbourne City Council. In the past decade he has worked with many sports at a global, national, state and local level, on strategies, sports surfaces and facility management. 

Martin leads the consultancy team and through our alliances and partnerships we can bring the best skills to each project from consultancy to events to investments and advocacy. Our network is extensive and some of these are listed in our partners page. We have a strong team of partners that make our events exciting, marketable and logistically easier as for events, from design to production, including social media, web design and publications, marketing, content development, stakeholder management and technological solutions.


Our expert events team creates engaging, impactful community gatherings that foster connection, promote health and drive positive change.

Anthony Reed

General Manager

Anthony is a business, events, sales, and marketing professional. While his career has spanned various industries, in various countries, his current dedication lies within the sports, recreation, and fitness sectors. His expertise is in corporate partnerships, sponsorship, and the development of innovative commercial and marketing strategies. Anthony has successfully collaborated with governments, large corporations and SMEs in both Australian and international arenas. Anthony’s commitment to sports extends to acting as a Board Director for Little Athletics Australia and Motorcycling Australia.

Jia McLaren Hedwards

Events Coordinator

Jia is an events professional coming from the prestigious Plaza Ballroom within the Marriner Group and now an integral part of the team that delivers the National Sports & Physical Activity Convention and other sports and recreation industry events. Jia’s expertise is in developing and delivering unique attendee experiences to create industry leading events. Her diverse skills set encompasses logistics, marketing, design, communications and operations with a keen eye for detail that delivers all of our client’s needs and sets these relationships and our events up for success. A graduate from the University of Melbourne, Jia discovered her passion for the events industry during her university years.

Beyond her professional endeavours, Jia dedicates her spare time to cheering on the North Melbourne Football Club, even if it means enduring the occasional disappointment.