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After losing her sight in her early twenties, Melissa began a unique journey towards independence and resilience. In her sessions, Melissa addresses issues like teamwork, problem solving, leadership, discrimination, courage, decision making, goalsetting and overcoming adversity.» Read more about Melissa Benson
Mary is a writer, award winning ABC Journalist and former Education Minister. She is National Director of Writing Australia and Chair of Orchestra Victoria. She was the first female solo prime time TV newsreader in Victoria, and the first female Planning Minister in Victoria.» Read more about Mary Delahunty
Paul Dillon has a unique investment in the wellbeing of young people. Founder of Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia and a former school teacher, Paul continues to conduct drug information sessions and workshops for school students across Australia and internationally, in countries as diverse as the UK, the Phillipines, and Indonesia.» Read more about Paul Dillon
Archie is one of the most in-demand and successful presenters of author talks and workshops in Australia. Archie’s versatility means he can communicate to, and cater for, a range of abilities and interests. The fact that he was a teacher and features writer probably helps.» Read more about Archie Fusillo
Author and researcher Maggie Hamilton writes books and for magazines; gives frequent talks and lectures; is a regular media commentator and a keen observer of social trends. Her many books, which have been published in Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Italy, China, Lithuania, Korea, the Arab States and Brazil, include What Men Don’t Talk About, which examines the lives of real men and boys; What’s Happening to Our Girls? and What’s Happening to Our Boys? which take a close look at the 21st century issues boys and girls face, and offer practical, workable solutions to these challenges; and Secret Girls’ Business a fun funky empowering gift book for teen girls.» Read more about Maggie Hamilton
Shane Horsburgh is a re-definer of masculinity, constantly challenging the accepted interpretation of what a ‘real man’ is and how this view impacts our everyday lives. From counter-terrorism operative to author, educator and sometime stage actor, Shane’s inspirational and engaging style helps young men become better students, friends, partners and husbands. He has been engaged to speak at the National Press Club and TEDx to national and international audiences.» Read more about Shane Horsburgh
Trent Southworth is a former NSW Police Officer with over fourteen years policing experience, including eight years employed in the Youth Liaison role. In his role, Trent worked closely with numerous government and non government agencies to identify youth related initiatives such as underage drinking programs, truancy, road safety, drug programs, and bullying.
Trent assisted in the implementation and monitoring of the State Governments Young Offenders Act, which targets all young offenders aged between 10 and 18 years of age. Through his experience in the NSW Police, Trent witnessed first-hand the importance of ongoing education of young people in today’s society.
Since leaving the Police, Trent has developed and facilitated numerous seminars for students, teachers, parents and community groups Australia-wide.» Read more about Trent Southworth
Dr Michael Nagel is an Associate Professor and the Head of Education Programs in the School of Science in Education at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Dr Nagel teaches and researches in the areas of cognition, behaviour and learning and human development and early learning.» Read more about Dr Michael Nagel
Marcus is a medical doctor and popular motivational speaker, who has addressed thousands of school children and a large number of businesses over the last ten years on a wide variety of health and personal welfare subjects.» Read more about Dr Marcus Robertson
Alice Pung is a writer and lawyer who loves teaching. Alice’s books are studied in secondary schools and universities in Australia as well as the United States, and she has taught writing workshops to students from the ages of 8 to 80 in Australia, China and the States. Alice is also an Ambassador for the 100 Story Building Project, a social enterprise which helps promote literature and literacy skills to young people in the Western suburbs.» Read more about Alice Pung
Luke Ryan is a Melbourne-based writer, comedian and two-time cancer survivor. His first book, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Chemo, is a comic memoir about growing up and getting cancer that grew out of his critically acclaimed 2009 Melbourne Comedy Festival show, Luke’s Got Cancer. Inspiring, engaging and with a unique comic edge, Luke brings years of stand-up, storytelling and speechmaking experience to bear on topics as diverse as handling adversity, bullying, discovering perspective, getting the most out of life and finding one’s vocational direction.» Read more about Luke Ryan
Dianne Todaro-Wells (Diploma of teaching), is an experienced educator and author specialising in relationship and sexual identity education. Dianne has a community radio program called ‘Speak up’ that serves communities to talk about information that inspires us all to have our ‘voice’.» Read more about Dianne Todaro-Wells
Sian Prior is probably best known as an ABC radio presenter, a columnist and critic for The Age, and a musician. But this accomplished public performer is also the author of an acclaimed memoir, Shy. Her book solves the riddle of how someone who has grappled for decades with debilitating social anxiety has nevertheless managed to carve out a series of successful careers in the public eye.» Read more about Sian Prior
Angela has been working in the area of Alcohol & other Drugs (AOD) for 15 years. Her passion is raising awareness of the impact of AOD on the family and the broader community. Her presentations and six week education program called ARC (Action for Recovery) are about changing behaviour. Angela’s work tangibly examines how to modify the impact and bring about change in attitude.» Read more about Angela Ireland
Mike is a survivor of one of the deadliest diseases on the planet. His story of courage, determination and pure resilience will inspire, educate and entertain!» Read more about Mike Rolls
For eight years of his life, Luke was an obese alcoholic and drug addicted thug. Leading a violent street fighting crew, he was stabbed on two separate occasions; once in the lung, the other time in the head.
On the outside he looked strong and confident, on the inside his thoughts would come to haunt him. He was incredibly scared, depressed, anxious, and awkward in social situations. Luke always worried what other people thought about him which led to him committing some harsh acts and missing out on many positive opportunities.
Becoming a successful business owner, mental health advocate, and one of Australia’s top motivational speakers, his purpose is to now use his experience to inspire, motivate, and enlighten others. To stop worrying what other people think. To develop personally & professionally. To shed the labels. To be free.» Read more about Luke Kennedy
As a GP specialising in youth mental health and a budding family therapist, Jacinta understands the particular issues and challenges that often concern young people during their secondary school years, and would be delighted to speak to secondary students on a variety of topics, including:
A firm believer in the psychological benefits of both reading and writing fiction, Jacinta also has experience in running writing workshops that focus on creative writing as an aid to better mental health.
Her latest novel, The Science of Appearances, a coming-of-age story of adolescent boy and girl twins in 1950s Australia, is the perfect springboard to talk about the highs and lows of adolescence and the perennial theme of ‘nature and nurture’.» Read more about Jacinta Halloran
Excitable, energetic and ever the entertainer, Alice In Frames is on a quest to make food fun. As author of Alice’s Food A-Z, host of popular kids’ game-show Kitchen Whiz and “Adventurer-in-Residence” at Melbourne’s iconic Prahran Market, this former Middle School teacher turns wherever she goes into her classroom.» Read more about Alice Zaslavsky
Samantha took the ultimate challenge and entered the ‘4 Deserts Grand Slam’, which requires competitors to run four 250km ultra marathons across the driest (Chile), windiest (China), hottest (Sahara) and coldest deserts (Antarctica) on earth – it is regarded as one of the toughest endurance series on the planet. Samantha made history by becoming the first woman and the youngest person ever to complete the Grand Slam. Her journey was captured for the big screen in the award winning film Desert Runners. She now uses her capacity to run long distances to impact social change in developing countries and within Australia. In 2014, she ran 1968kms across rural South Africa to fund an initiative that improves access to feminine hygiene products and education.» Read more about Samantha Gash
Damon Young combines a love of ideas and language with a fun, entertaining style. And lots of superhero t-shirts.» Read more about Damon Young
Dr Arne Rubinstein is an expert on adolescent development, with 30 years experience as a doctor, counsellor, mentor, speaker and workshop facilitator. His programs and seminars have been attended by over 25,000 people in Australia and around the world and are designed to support boys and girls to successfully make a safe, healthy transition from children to young adults, with a particular focus on creating coming of age Rites of Passage. In 2008, he was nominated for Australian of the Year for his groundbreaking work with youth.» Read more about Dr Arne Rubinstein
Maria is the good Greek girl who grew up above her parents’ Melbourne milk bar and shared a bedroom with her yiayia – until university when she discovered her rebellious side. She tells her story in her acclaimed memoir together with her experience of a complete mental breakdown that shattered her professional and personal identity. Maria is now a vocal mental health advocate and an ambassador for Beyond Blue.» Read more about Maria Katsonis
Donna Campisi is an adventurer at heart. She’s an inspiring speaker, author, podcaster, adventurer, humanitarian, and marathoner. Donna is also an adventure & performance coach. Inspiring many people with her challenges and ‘go do it’ attitude, that those who work with her are achieving their big goals!» Read more about Donna Campisi
Nick’s early career in the fashion and entertainment industries ultimately led him to his ongoing work in mental health awareness. He earned international modelling contracts and made regular appearances on Australian television as a presenter as well as a personality. During his time on Dancing with the Stars, Nick publicly spoke about his experience with depression and anxiety for the first time.» Read more about Nick Bracks
David is a multi-award-winning writer from Queensland. In 2015, David published his funny, sad and serious memoir How to Be Happy, which tackled an adolescence of depression, anxiety and sexual confusion head on. He’s regularly requested for his hilarious and inspiring talks.» Read more about David Burton
One life lost due to alcohol or drug misuse is one too many….
The reality is all young people need drug and alcohol education, whether they indulge or not, as everyone can be affected by the choices of those who do. Our aim is to reduce the adverse health, social, cultural and economic consequences of alcohol and other drug use by minimising the harm for both the community and the individual.
The Drug Education Project is facilitated by a Health Teacher and a Paramedic.
Our sessions are practical and engaging, discussing the very real issues facing students today.
The objective is to teach young people about the harmful effects of alcohol and other drug use, as a key preventative measure in the ongoing effort to address drug related harm. The sessions are interactive and we encourage questions! The aim is to get the students thinking, talking and involved in the process, and actively developing their own strategies to keep safe.» Read more about The Drug Education Project
Ruth Clare is the author of the award-winning memoir, Enemy (Penguin, 2016), and a passionate advocate for the rights of children. She is also a TEDx and keynote speaker, copywriter and teacher. Her work has appeared in publications such as Meanjin, Elle, The Good Weekend and Better Reading.
Ruth’s memoir is about the way she faced her experience growing up with a violent father and an alcoholic mother with courage and strength. It is also a compassionate unravelling of the psychological impact of war on veterans and their families.
Though the issues she talks about are tough, Ruth is an open, inspiring and entertaining speaker. She believes honest discussion about the things that hurt us can be the beginning of real change.
Ruth also speaks on the nature of resilience – how to fight back instead of surrendering, hope as an attitude not an emotion, the way to effectively challenge negative thinking and how being kinder to yourself can help you move on from trauma to create a thriving life.» Read more about Ruth Clare
Kate James is a coach and mindfulness teacher working with people who are seeking purposeful lives.
In workshops and annual retreats in Bali and Byron Bay, Kate introduces participants to a range of different styles of meditation as well as the principles of mindfulness and how they can be integrated into every day life.
She is the author of Believe in Yourself & Do What You Love and Be Mindful & Simplify Your Life.» Read more about Kate James
Jessica Walton’s picture book Introducing Teddy started as a Kickstarter project, gaining the attention of international media and eventually, Bloomsbury Publishing. Now published in 13 countries and translated into 9 different languages, the book introduces the youngest readers to understanding gender identity and transition in an accessible and heart-warming story about being true to yourself and being a good friend. Jess is a cancer survivor, amputee, queer, daughter of a trans parent, feminist, musician and teacher. She has spoken to any and every age group about her book, writing, LGBTI issues, cancer and disability.» Read more about Jessica Walton
Judy Horacek is an award winning Australian cartoonist, children’s book illustrator and writer. In 2004, she and Mem Fox created Where is the Green Sheep? which became an instant children’s classic, and winner of the CBCA Gold Medal for Early Childhood. She has since done four books of her own that she has both written and illustrated, and three other books with Mem, Judy is an experienced presenter in schools, both talking about her own work and helping children to make their own drawings and stories. Her classes are always full of laughter and fun, and her enthusiasm is infectious.» Read more about Judy Horacek
Tasneem is a whole lot of parts, symbolising the hybrid identity of today’s global citizen, which she speaks to with sheer wit. She is an East African born, Indian origin, Bendigo raised, Melbourne loving, daughter, mother, middle-child, karaoke swooning, sleep deprived, vertically challenged, feminist, Muslim, exhausted, activist – and she won’t compromise on any of those titles.» Read more about Tasneem Chopra
A charismatic,engaging, intellectually adventurous, deep thinker who also makes her audiences laugh. Talks accompanied by stunning National Geographic photography.» Read more about Robyn Davidson
Nevo is a young, passionate activist and writer. They also happen to be transgender and identify as non-binary. Releasing their memoir, Finding Nevo, on gender and sexuality at the age of 21, Nevo is unafraid to delve into difficult and often taboo topics while remaining relatable and engaging.» Read more about Nevo Zisin
Nathan’s unique blend of humour and sincerity is unanimously well received. He gains an immediate rapport with audiences via his dynamic storytelling and his work as a sports presenter on Channel 9 and Fox Sports having covered NBL & WNBL basketball, AFL footy, Big Bash Cricket, A-League Soccer, Super Rugby and Super Netball.
He retains ongoing engagement and captivation with laughter and entertaining interaction being underpinned by his raw authenticity and integrity. Nathan’s honesty in recounting stories of failure, rejection and grief from his own journey strike a chord with any audience.
15 years of experience as a speaker and working with youth equip Nathan with the ability to tailor the ideal presentation for your group. His current position as a Boarding Duty Master and Director of Basketball at St Ignatius College Riverview ensures he is on point with teen culture and trends.» Read more about Nathan Strempel
Liv is a passionate and engaging speaker with over 15 years of experience working across the corporate and non-profit sectors across both Australia and the US.
As a registered psychologist and qualified meditation teacher, her sessions bring a balance of science and practice and are interactive, fun and practical.
In her role as a mindfulness educator, she brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to her sessions through sharing both her personal and professional experiences.» Read more about Liv Downing
Shabnam is a visionary young woman who grew up as a refugee in Pakistan before she called Australia home at the age of 15. Since then she has persistently worked to positively shift the way our communities see and talk about a young, former refugee, woman of colour. Her passion to empower and motivate those around her to realise their potential, follow their aspirations and keep challenging traditional stereotypes and the status quo knows no bounds.
Having worked in Australia, India, America and Europe to promote education and global citizenship, she has co-founded two not for profit organisations helping refugees and asylum seekers in Australia and abroad. She has also earned her black belt in Karate and holds several national and international titles.» Read more about Shabnam Safa
Sophie Jamieson is a qualified Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist specialising in food systems, nutrition and sustainability. Sophie is passionate about creating a healthy, fair and sustainable food system where people enjoy good food that makes people feel good, learn well, grow strong and succeed in sport.
Drawing on her vast experience in food, nutrition and sustainability, Sophie cuts through the noise to revel the key information and strategies her audience needs to make informed decision about what they grow and eat.» Read more about Sophie Jamieson
Having started her career as a comedian, Jo is a dynamic and entertaining speaker. She has presented to schools, universities, conferences, the corporate world, and community groups. Her areas of expertise are:
Scott Harris traveled the world solo with multiple disabilities to show us we can do anything we put our mind to. After a dirt bike accident in 2008, he spent three years at Epworth Rehabilitation learning to live with these disabilities and came out the other side with a completely new approach to life. He wrote the book Crashing Into Potential: Living with my injured brain, which tells the story of how he went from zero to hero despite being knocked down many times along the way.» Read more about Scott Harris
Dr Matt Beard is a dad, husband and award-winning moral philosopher with experience helping people find meaningful, practical advice in the history of philosophy.
He is an accomplished speaker, broadcaster and facilitator who brings enthusiasm, rigour, humour and accessibility to his work.» Read more about Matt Beard
Dr Lee Kofman spent ten years researching issues around body image and visible difference. She is also an author and editor of seven books. In her most recent book, the critically acclaimed memoir Imperfect, she tells her story of growing up while suffering anguish about her body that was severely scarred during multiple childhood surgeries, and later in life raising a child with albinism. Drawing on Lee’s experience and research, Imperfect also explores how we can live a fulfilled life in an ‘imperfect’ body.
Lee is also a passionate and versatile teacher. She used to teach social sciences across three major universities, and for the last 13 years she has been regularly teaching a wide range of writing workshops all around Australia. She is a candid, engaging and warm speaker about body image, visible differences, parenting and the art of writing. She also often discusses migration, having written extensively about her two migrations: from Russia to Israel, and later to Australia. And she is an experienced panel moderator, who has interviewed many well-known Australian and international authors. She speaks regularly at literary festivals, libraries, bookshops and in the media.» Read more about Lee Kofman
Eleni Hale is an author and journalist based in Melbourne. Her debut novel, inspired by real life events, won the Readings Book Prize among other accolades and tells the story of one girl’s journey through institutional care.» Read more about Eleni Hale