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Amal Awad is a journalist, author and screenwriter who is focused on issues of society, religion and popular culture. She is the author of four books and is involved in several screenwriting projects. Amal is also a public speaker and has produced and presented for ABC Radio National.» Read more about Amal Awad
Amanda (AJ) Betts is an award-winning author, teacher and cyclist, living in Perth. Her novel ‘Zac and Mia’ won the 2012 Text Prize for best unpublished manuscript.» Read more about Amanda Betts
Thomas Caldwell is a writer, broadcaster, film critic, public speaker and film programmer. He is a specialist in film analysis and programming films for children and teenagers, and is the author of the secondary school textbook Film Analysis Handbook, which was published in 2005 by Insight Publications, with a revised edition published in 2017.» Read more about Thomas Caldwell
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 (DARTA)
Jackie was the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2014/15 and the 2015 Senior Australian of the Year. She is also an historian, ecologist, dyslexic, and a passionate worker for literacy, the right of all children to be able to read, and the power of books.
Jackie’s writing career spans 25 years, 148 wombats, over 140 books, 36 languages, 3,721 bush rats, and over 60 awards in Australia and overseas.» Read more about Jackie French
Sean aims to give parents, teachers and students greater insight and the practical tools to foster health and wellbeing along with academic and sporting achievement.» Read more about Sean Fyfe
Writer and social researcher Maggie Hamilton gives frequent talks and lectures; is a regular media commentator and a keen observer of social trends. She has held a number of senior roles in publishing and at the ABC. Her professional memberships have included serving on the Executive of the Sydney Peace Foundation.
Maggie enjoys sharing her research in a lively and engaging way with community groups, and at numerous conferences across Australia and New Zealand.
Her books, have been published in over a dozen countries worldwide, and 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 examines the 21st century issues boys and girls face; and now When We Become Strangers; How Loneliness Leaks Into Our Lives and What We Can Do About It. www.maggiehamilton.org» Read more about Maggie Hamilton
Lili Wilkinson is a reader and writer of YA literature. She is the author of nine books for teenagers, and has a PhD in Creative Writing.» Read more about Lili Wilkinson
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
Bec Kavanagh is a writer, literary critic and academic. She has been published in a variety of publications including Overland, The Big Issue, and The Guardian, and writes teaching notes for a number of publishers. Bec is the Youth Programming Manager at the Wheeler Centre, and a sessional tutor at La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne.
https://twitter.com/beckavanagh (@beckavanagh)» Read more about Bec Kavanagh
Claire Madden is a social researcher, media commentator and next-gen expert, fluent in social media, youth culture, and engagement styles of these global generations, and a professional in interpreting what this means for educators, managers and marketers. Claire is in demand for her skill in effectively identifying the emerging trends and assisting business leaders to strategically respond to them.
Hello Gen Z reveals the critical importance of knowing how to engage this generation of hyperconnected, agile and adaptive digital savants as employees, consumers and emerging leaders. Hello Gen Z is required reading for any organisation wanting to future-proof and unlock the potential of the Post-Millennials.» Read more about Claire Madden
Ellie Marney is a qualified teacher, and a bestselling and multi-award-winning author of YA thrillers. Her titles include the New York Times bestseller NONE SHALL SLEEP and the Kirkus-starred sequel SOME SHALL BREAK, as well as THE KILLING CODE, the EVERY series, WHITE NIGHT, and more. Ellie has researched in mortuaries, interviewed law enforcement personnel, and talked with former spies about how to make explosives from household items, and now she lives quite sedately in the North-Central Goldfields region of Victoria with her family.» Read more about Ellie Marney
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
Josh Nelson (PhD) is an academic, broadcaster and filmmaker. He worked as a lecturer at The University of Melbourne in Visual Arts for a number of years and has extensive experience presenting to secondary schools across the state on film and media-related topics.
His writing has been published in two volumes of the Directory of World Cinema (Intellect Books), and in journals such as Overland, Kill Your Darlings, Screening the Past and Senses of Cinema. In 2013 Josh received the Ivan Hutchinson Award for Writing on Australian Film by the Australian Film Critics Association (AFCA).
Josh is also the former co-host of the long-running Triple R (102.7 FM) film show Plato’s Cave, and was the resident film critic on the Drive program with Rafael Epstein on ABC Melbourne. He currently works for the Melbourne International Film Festival as an education specialist within the MIFF Schools program.» Read more about Josh Nelson
Marion Roberts is a fiction writer with four novels published for young readers. Marion has a Masters in creative writing and enjoys working with young people to embrace their creativity and enhance their writing skills.
Marion explores family life in all its forms including blended families, messy parents, the changing nature of friendships, identity, belonging, grief and loss. Environmentalism is also a theme that runs deeply through her work. Her YA novel Cry Blue Murder explores internet safety and online grooming.» Read more about Marion Roberts
Marissa Pinkas is an experienced educator with 20 years of dedication in varied educational environments in South Africa, Western Australia and Victoria. Currently she is completing her Masters in Education at the University of Melbourne, specialising in Collaborative Learning. Marissa is an expert on the Context section of the VCE English curriculum.» Read more about Marissa Pinkas
Louise writes books for children under her own name as well as several secret identities including H. I. Larry, Mac Park and Poppy Rose. She loves writing books with action and grand adventures and is the author of the best-selling series Zac Power Test Drive, Bella Dancerella and Star Girl—soon to be a television series. She is also the co-author of Boy vs Beast.
Louise loves nothing better than taking students on huge adventures and helping them to craft action-packed stories of their own. Learn more about her at her website.» Read more about Louise Park
» Read more about Daniel WitthausDaniel has spent a quarter of a century challenging homophobia and working on LGBTIQ inclusion one cuppa at a time in schools, rural communities and, occasionally, developing countries like Poland, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. He has also worked with Kids Help Line, VicHealth, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and No to Violence, a national men’s family violence organisation.
Daniel is the author of Beyond Priscilla: one gay man, one gay truck, one big idea… (2014), Beyond ‘That’s So Gay!’: Challenging homophobia in Australian schools (2010) and the Pride & Prejudice educational package (2002, 2012) – which won Human Rights Week awards for work in three Tasmanian schools. His latest book, Beyond Debate, is due for release in June 2023.
In 2013 Daniel founded Rural Pride Australia, formerly NICHE, which focuses on the needs of LGBTIQ people in regional, rural and remote Australia. For the last 7 years Rural Pride Australia has worked in partnership with the Victorian State Government and its Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities to deliver the LGBTIQ Equality Roadshow, Regional Communities of Practice and Rainbow Ready Roadmap to 29 regional and rural Victorian communities.
He is also semi-obsessed with abandoned buildings and is an international gay gold medallist in tennis.
Maxine Mckewʼs background is in journalism and politics. For many years she was a familiar face to ABC TV viewers and was anchor of prestigious programmes such as Lateline and 7.30 Report. Her work has been recognised by her peers and she is a recipient of both Logie and Walkely awards. When she left broadcasting and made the switch to politics, she wrote herself into the Australian history books by defeating Prime Minister John Howard in the Sydney seat of Bennelong. In government she was both parliamentary secretary for early childhood, and later for infrastructure and local government.
Following the success of her political memoir, Tales from the Political Trenches, published in 2012, Maxine McKewʼs new book Class Act looks at some of the most important questions in Australian education. Maxine has been a Vice Chancellorʼs Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Located in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education she has drawn on the expertise and substantial research of the school to inform her stories of success and challenge in Australian education.
Maxine now lives in Melbourne where she continues to work on a range of activities at the University of Melbourne. She is a director of three boards, Per Capita, the John Cain Foundation and the State Library of Victoria.» Read more about Maxine McKew
Author, educator, actor and broadcaster, David has over a quarter of a century of experience in education, having headed English departments and run workshops for students and professional development for teachers. He has authored novels and developed curriculum resources that are sold nationally and internationally. He has an engaging presentation style encouraging active participation where possible.» Read more about David McLean
Nicholas Jones is a contemporary visual artist specialising in book sculpture. Nicholas is available for different kinds of events including workshops, literary festivals and artist residencies.» Read more about Nicholas Jones
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
Aviva Reed is a visual ecologist, illustrator and collaborator on the Small Friends book project; a series of science-adventure storybooks created by artists, writers, scientists and educators that explores symbiotic relationships between microbes and larger forms of life.» Read more about Aviva Reed
Ron is a much loved and highly respected Victorian Indigenous educator, storyteller and musician. He is in demand as a speaker, sharing his knowledge of Indigenous culture with passion, honesty and humour.» Read more about Ron Murray
Industrial designer, hack engineer, DIY aquaculturalist and illustrator Stephen Mushin collaborates with scientists, and engineers in underground workshops to solve ‘elephant in the room’ scale ecological problems.» Read more about Stephen Mushin
Jacqueline Harvey is the author of 40 novels for younger readers and a Children’s Book Council of Australia, award winning picture book. Her bestselling Alice-Miranda, Clementine Rose and Kensy and Max series are all published internationally and have garnered various short listings and awards. Jacqueline travels widely, speaking and teaching in Australia and overseas.» Read more about Jacqueline Harvey
Jake Wilson is a freelance writer whose film reviews appear weekly in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and other Fairfax Media publications. His book Mad Dog Morgan, a critical study of the film of the same name, was published in 2015 as part of the Australian Screen Classics series.» Read more about Jake Wilson
Kate Mildenhall is a writer and educator who has worked in schools, at the State Library of Victoria and has volunteered with Teachers Across Borders in Cambodia. Her debut novel, Skylarking, based on the true story of best friends growing up on a remote Cape in 1880s Australia, was published in 2016.» Read more about Kate Mildenhall
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
Kay Perry is a teacher and examiner with decades of experience in the teaching of Literature and English at tertiary and senior secondary levels. She is the author of several study guides and is yet to respond to the advice to “put down that book and go outside”.» Read more about Kay Perry
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
Ally Watson is the founder and CEO of Code Like a Girl, a social enterprise that provides girls and women with the confidence and tools to take on the world of code and re-imagine the future of technology.
As one who has seen first-hand how traditional gender stereotypes have limited opportunity for women across society at large, she strives tirelessly each day towards breaking these biases.
Recently decorated with an Order of Australia Medal, Watson is a multi-award winning social entrepreneur whose heartfelt motivation is to create innovative learning environments where every woman, from any background, feels included, inspired and capable in the world of technology.
Ally’s unique and refreshing insights and research on gender-diversity within the technology industry allows for the delivery of thought-provoking and action-inspiring presentations.» Read more about Ally Watson
Leonie Smith (aka The Cyber Safety Lady) is one of Australia’s leading Cyber Safety experts. She is passionate about empowering children, teens and adults to take positive, preemptive steps to stay safer online. She’s done the hard yards as a mum of 4. Leonie has spoken to thousands of students, teachers, parents, seniors and business, Australia wide. Her practical and sometimes technical solutions for online safety have been called life changing!
Leonie is now taking webinar bookings for 2022 to assist the parents of your school community in navigating the increase in online exposure during the current climate. We have interactive sessions developed to provide specific content to each of the following audiences:
This seminar is also suitable for anyone who is caring or working with children and young people who want an insight into digital parenting and young peoples digital world safety and balance.» Read more about Digital Families with Leonie Smith
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
Ingrid Laguna is a multi-award-winning novelist and educator. She has published a memoir and numerous books for children. Her work has been published internationally, featured by Reading Australia and given Notable recognition by the CBCA. Ingrid’s writing has featured in various publications, including The Monthly, The Age, Teacher Magazine and The AEU Magazine.» Read more about Ingrid Laguna
Dr Jared Thomas is a Nukunu person of the Southern Flinders Ranges and the Research Fellow, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Material Culture and Art at the South Australian Museum, and an internationally recognised author.» Read more about Jared Thomas
Cofounders of PROJECT ROCKIT, Lucy and Rosie Thomas have dedicated their lives to making the world better for young people. The pair launched PROJECT ROCKIT when they were fresh out of school and restless for change on issues of bullying, hate and prejudice. Over a decade later, PROJECT ROCKIT is a thriving social enterprise, reaching hundreds of thousands of students and serving as a cyber safety partner to major social media platforms. Rosie and Lucy regularly appear in the media and have received numerous awards honouring their work.
Although three years apart, the Thomas sisters hold a shared vision that has translated into a strong social impact. They have both received Order of Australia medals, been named by UNICEF among 12 Digital Champions for Children’s Rights in the Digital Age and are recipients of the global Family Online Safety Institute’s award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Online Safety.’ Together the duo sit on a range of boards including Facebook’s Global Safety Board, Twitter’s Global Trust and Safety Council and the Australian Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s Online Safety Consultative Working Group.
Rosie and Lucy are able to offer online sessions during Term 2 due to the coronavirus disrupting learning in many states. Please contact us for more information.» Read more about Lucy and Rosie Thomas: PROJECT ROCKIT
Lucy Thomas is the cofounder and CEO of PROJECT ROCKIT, Australia’s youth-driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice, Lucy has dedicated her whole life to empowering school students to improve the world around them. She has personally worked with thousands of young people all over the world, from Wangaratta to Texas, Wollongong to Auckland, Atherton to Perth.
Hear the story of how a simple idea grew into an enduring social movement and leave the session with simple, safe and socially credible strategies for challenging (cyber)bullying. As a keynote speaker, social entrepreneur and facilitator, Lucy is a mighty force of kindness, equipped with the precious ability to creatively engage young people to generate positive social change.» Read more about Lucy Thomas OAM
Rosie Thomas OAM has been hungry for creating positive change ever since she can remember. She launched PROJECT ROCKIT with her sister when she was fresh out of high school, and 15 years on it has grown into Australia’s youth-driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice, impacting half a million young Australians. In her role as CEO, Rosie serves on the Global Safety Advisory Boards of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and is passionate about engineering a kinder digital world. Rosie is a highly experienced and passionate (brace yourselves) speaker and is committed to helping her audience realise their own unique purpose and ability to change the world for good.» Read more about Rosie Thomas OAM
Nikki is known as Australia’s most honest author. Whether it’s her provocative novel The Bride Stripped Bare; After, her non fiction book about the euthanasia death of her mother, or her highly popular column in the Weekend Australian magazine (which tackles many issues pertinent to educators and students,) she gets the nation thinking. She’s also written two series of books for primary aged school children.» Read more about Nikki Gemmell
Astrid is a bibliophile. She is the host of The Garret: Writers on Writing and has interviewed more than 200 of Australia’s most prominent writers. In 2023 she began a PhD at the University of Melbourne exploring potential and perceived barriers to publishing and selling climate fiction in Australia.
She regularly moderates and participates in panels at literary festivals, and you can read her book reviews in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Future Women, Kill Your Darlings, The Big Issue, Australian Book Review and Australian Foreign Affairs.
She is one half of Bad Producer Productions, an independent podcast network specialising in arts and sport (she represents the Arts part). Astrid also teaches in the Associate Degree of Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT University and sometimes judges literary prizes.
Astrid is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She served on the Victorian Disability Advisory Council advising the Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers (2019 to 2022). She the former Chair of Melbourne Writers Festival (2019-2022) and the former Deputy Chair of Writers Victoria (2014-2018).
In 2021 Astrid contributed to the anthology Growing Up Disabled in Australia and made her debut appearance on Q+A in 2021. She previously received grants from the Australia Council for the Arts (2017 and 2018) and The Copyright Agency (2017 and 2019).
Before embarking on this creative storytelling career, Astrid was an economics and policy consultant for almost a decade. She specialised in climate and social policy, and to this day she is trying to figure out how stories can help to save the planet.
Astrid is a member of Mensa Australia.» Read more about Astrid Edwards
Dr Jodi Richardson is dedicated to elevating the mental health and wellbeing of others. She empowers parents, educators and other professionals with practical skills and techniques for maximising wellbeing and overcoming the inattention, overwhelm and avoidance that come with anxiety.» Read more about Dr Jodi Richardson
Dip Tch, BA, BSW, MAPP, FACEL
Chris is a trained teacher and social worker who has also completed the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology. She has over three decades of experience supporting organisations in the public and private sector to enhance functioning and develop wellbeing. Her work was recognized by the Australian Council for Educational Leaders for which she was awarded a fellowship.» Read more about Chris Daicos
Annie is a Global Educator, and a Teach Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Ambassador.
Annie strongly believes that we are all global citizens and wants to share the mantra of “Think Globally, Act Locally.” By thinking globally, children learn empathy and cultural diversity. From there, Annie believes children and their teachers form connections and are more likely to take ownership and invent, innovate, and campaign for change.» Read more about Annie Woollard
As a journalist and author with more than 40 years experience working in Australia, Asia, Europe, the United States and Middle East, David Leser is a compelling speaker, able to weave the personal with the universal in moving ways that help shift our thinking.» Read more about David Leser
Dr Joanne Orlando (PhD, M.Ed, B.Ed) is one of Australia’s favourite and most trusted digital wellbeing experts. Through her ground-breaking research she provides specialist advice and solutions to today’s most pressing digital wellbeing issues for children and adults. Joanne is a popular presenter on TV, with over 10 years presenting digital wellbeing segments on Sunrise, Morning Show, Today Show and The Project. She has developed terms such as ‘sharenting’ and ‘zombie scrolling’ which have now entered everyday lexicon. Joanne is the creator of digital literacy and wellbeing education program TechClever, and her most recent book Life Mode On, was released worldwide in 2021.» Read more about Dr Joanne Orlando (PhD, M.Ed, B.Ed)
Sue Whiting is an acclaimed children’s and YA author and editor who has worked in publishing for twenty years. Sue has written numerous books for a variety of age groups, including the bestselling Missing, the award-winning The Book of Chance and a number of CBCA Notable Picture Books. As a storyteller and schools’ performer, Sue has informed, inspired and entertained thousands of kids across the country.» Read more about Sue Whiting
Felicity Castagna is the multi-award winning author of books for young adults and adults, as well as several works for stage and film. She has run popular workshops on writing and creativity everywhere from universities to correctional centres and is passionate about both working with young people and using her extensive experience and research to help schools and teachers to develop creative writing pedagogy.» Read more about Felicity Castagna
Katrina Marson is a criminal lawyer, author and advocate. She is an expert in relationships and sexuality education as a means of protecting against sexual violence and safeguarding sexual wellbeing, and is an empowering and inclusive speaker.» Read more about Katrina Marson