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Abdi’s world fell apart when he was only fifteen and Somalia’s vicious civil war hit Mogadishu. Unable to find his family and effectively an orphan, he fled with some sixty others, and joined another 300 heading to Kenya. On the way, death squads hunted them and they daily faced violence, danger and starvation. After almost three months, they arrived in at refugee camps in Kenya – of the group he’d set out with, only five had survived.» Read more about Abdi Aden
Clue by clue, chapter by chapter, David Astle’s Puzzled meanders through the maze of a cryptic crossword, showing you the dark secrets and wondrous tricks of wordplay. ‘He’s the Sergeant Pepper of cryptic crosswords,’ says award-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush.» Read more about David Astle
Luke Atkins is an ultra-endurance runner and personal safety expert. Luke has represented Australia in both taekwondo and endurance running competing all over the world from Mongolia to the USA.
Luke seamlessly draws the link between the mental toughness required to run for more than 24 hours non-stop and the daily grind. His concept that life is an endurance race has proven to be especially valuable for VCE students and corporate groups.
As a sponsored athlete in the Under Armour Australia team in Worlds Toughest Mudder and the General Manager of Hall’s Taekwondo his ideas on leadership and team work are invaluable.
As a martial arts instructor for over 15 years Luke has developed structured personal safety sessions for schools and corporate audiences.» Read more about Luke Atkins
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
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
Demet Divaroren was born in Adana, Turkey, and migrated to Australia with her family when she was six months old. She is the author of Living on Hope Street, which won the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards Prize for Writing for Young Adults and was shortlisted for a 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Her writing has appeared in Griffith Review, The Age Epicure, The Big Issue, Island Magazine, From the Outer and Best Summer Stories. Demet appears as a panellist, guest speaker and workshop leader at literary festivals, universities and schools across Melbourne and teaches creative writing at Victoria Polytechnic.» Read more about Demet Divaroren
Linh Do is a Melbourne based activist with a globe-trotting lifestyle, having worked in over 15 countries. She’s done everything from changing one million lightbulbs (and mindsets) in Australia to working at the UN to create social change on environmental issues, and in 2013 was named as Australian Geographic’s Young Conservationist of the Year.» Read more about Linh Do
Sean Dooley has written for TV comedies like Full Frontal, Hamish and Andy and Spicks and Specks, is author of books such as The Big Twitch and Cooking with Baz, and is currently editor of Australian Birdlife magazine. He was also the national birdwatching champion, holding the record for seeing the most birds seen in one year. Sean Dooley is the Birdman.» Read more about Sean Dooley
Adam Elliot is not only an Academy Award ™ winning Animator, but also one of Australia’s funniest, unique and most refreshing corporate speakers and entertainers. Adam has given his inspiring and motivating presentations to hundreds of groups all over the world.» Read more about Adam Elliot
Declan Fay is an award-winning writer who co-created the show Ronny Chieng: International Student which screened on ABC, BBC and Netflix. He has written for numerous shows such as The Weekly with Charlie Pickering and the hugely popular kids sketch show, You’re Skitting Me. Declan has also authored articles for The Age, The Guardian, The Herald-Sun and The Big Issue. On radio Declan has hosted shows on ABC, Triple M, Triple J and Triple R. Earlier this year he co-wrote a comedy podcast called Crossbread, which became one of the most popular podcasts in the Australia and the US.» Read more about Declan Fay
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.
Archie’s latest book, Tribal Lores (2020) has won the Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature for the Older Readers category.» Read more about Archie Fusillo
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
Anna Goldsworthy is a prize-winning classical pianist and writer. She an engaging speaker and performer, and is passionate about bringing the lessons of classical music to the widest possible audience. She is Artist Director of the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival.» Read more about Anna Goldsworthy
Tanya Ha is an award-winning environmentalist, best-selling author, broadcaster, science journalist and sustainable living advocate. More hip than hippie, she makes sustainability and science easier to understand and is known for her TV shows, including ABC’s Catalyst and the SBS series Eco House Challenge.» Read more about Tanya Ha
Fiona has been writing and performing for Australian stages and screens for many years. She wrote and co-starred on the ABC sketch comedy show, Flipside, as well as on channel nine’s sketch comedy series, Comedy Inc – The Late Shift series 5 and on all three series of the Network Ten sketch comedy series SkitHouse. She has also written and directed numerous shows for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.» Read more about Fiona Harris
Justin Heazlewood is an award-winning triple-threat of writer, musician & comedian. As The Bedroom Philosopher he has appeared on Triple J & ABC TV, releasing three albums including the ARIA-nominated Songs From The 86 Tram. The video for Northcote (So Hungover) earning nearly half a million hits. In 2014 his first non-fiction book Funemployed, about being an artist in Australia, was an indie-hit, earning praise from artists and industry alike. In 2015 an 8-part series was commissioned for RN.
His 10-part Get Up Mum radio series based on his cassette recordings of himself as a kid was aired Radio National’s Life Matters. You can listen to the series here.
In 2020 Justin gave a witness statement and presented at the launch of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. He is an ambassador for the Satellite Foundation who offer support for children of parents with a mental illness.
» Read more about Justin Heazlewood
Tony Wilson has written two hilarious satirical novels about celebrity and tabloid media. He is also the author of five picture books, and has worked successfully on television (Race Around the World and Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever!), radio (Triple R’s Breakfasters) and print media (The Age and The Monthly).» Read more about Tony Wilson
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
Melissa Keil’s young adult novels have been published around the world, and have been described as ‘humorous, heartfelt and angst-y romance with the potential to break the gender barrier’. When she is not writing, she can be found immersed in other people’s manuscripts in her day job as a children’s book editor.» Read more about Melissa Keil
Michelle Law is an award-winning writer and screenwriter whose previous speaking engagements include TEDx events, Woodford Folk Festival, writer’s festivals, ABC radio and The Project. Her stories and essays have been widely anthologized and her films have screened nationally at festivals and on the ABC.» Read more about Michelle Law
Marathon swimmer, Tammy van Wisse has swum one-and-a-half times around the planet, setting six world records – five of which are still current. She has swum the English Channel twice (the success rate is only seven percent), is the only person to have swum Bass Strait and spent three and a half months submerged in the mighty Murray River – to highlight the river’s environmental importance.
Armed with the same energy and dedication as she has put into her incredible swimming career, Tammy brings a truly unique and inspiring presentation that entertains as it informs, and inspires as it motivates.
Tammy’s never-give-up world champion stories are enlightening, entertaining and powerfully motivating. She shares her secrets and strategies of how to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles showing audiences that with a commitment to a goal, and a belief in oneself – anything is possible.
Chris is an Australian and British professor of Earth science and author of three popular science books. Chris is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellow and Professor of Climate Change at the University of University of New South Wales, where he and his team are focusing their efforts on finding lessons from the past.
Chris investigates past and future climates, how people have responded to change, and recent human evolution and migration. He does this in a hands-on fashion: he digs down into the ice of Antarctica for core samples, the depths of a volcanic crater, or searches for Hobbit fossils (seriously!) across Indonesia. He has stories to tell and bring to life.
Chris has earned a reputation as scientist who can demystify and articulate, for any audience, exactly what it is that a scientist does for a living. His enthusiasm shows us not only why he pursues these interests, but points out what we stand to gain through scientific education.» Read more about Chris Turney
Tristan Miller has had an incredible story, for such a regular guy. He dealt with a number of life’s highs and lows, before finally losing his dream job at Google in the Global Financial Crisis of 2009. Instead of laying down, he turned his life into an amazing adventure by running 52 marathons in 52 weeks, in 42 countries, on all 7 continents!» Read more about Tristan Miller
Ellen has been National Director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, one of Australia’s largest non-profit climate organisations. During her leadership, the organisation grew from a handful of friends wanting to change the world to a national organisation with over 80,000 members and the ear of politicians and business leaders due to it’s quirky and innovative campaigns.
Ellen has become one of Australia’s leading commentators and campaigners on the issue of climate change. Since leaving the AYCC in late 2012 she has worked in politics, as Campaign Manager for Simon Sheikh’s Senate campaign in the ACT (mobilising thousands of volunteers and just missing out on a Senate seat) and as a Senior Campaigns Advisor for Greens leader Senator Christine Milne.» Read more about Ellen Sandell
Alice Pung OAM 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 OAM
Ailsa Piper has worked throughout Australia as a writer, theatre director, actor, speaker, teacher and memorably, a pate-wrapper! She completed her MA at the University of Melbourne during her three-year stint as an actor in Neighbours’ Ramsay Street, winning the Patrick White Playwright’s Award in her spare time. She is a passionate – some would say obsessive – walker, and her book Sinning Across Spain, reflects that.» Read more about Ailsa Piper
Born in Vietnam in 1974 Bic Walker escaped war torn Vietnam at the age of four. Bic’s experience as a refugee was the catalyst for her first Book A Safe Place to Live. This autobiographical children’s book recounts her experience in fleeing Vietnam with her family in 1979 on a tiny boat bound for freedom. The events that transpired are the stuff of Hollywood movies: attacked by pirates and left drifting in the open ocean without fuel, the family were finally rescued by a Canadian oil tanker. Bic and her family were transported to Malaysia where they waited for six months before being taken to Australia.» Read more about Bic Walker
Trace Balla loves to illustrate and write songs and stories, and inspire others in their creativity and awareness of the wonders of the natural world and the ample stories that surround us.
Her multi award winning books include Rockhopping, Rivertime, Shine and The Thank You Dish. Themes include gratitude, grief, slowing down, growing up, connecting with the land and its’ creatures, the joy of the outdoors and the lessons nature can teach us. She is currently working very slowly on a graphic novella set in central Victoria where she lives.
Trace enjoys visiting schools, festivals and community centres to inspire people of all ages and abilities with slide show talks as well as workshops. These include nature journaling, making graphic novels, mini books and story catching. Talks and workshops can be tailored to the group’s interests.» Read more about Trace Balla
Angela Pippos is a journalist, TV and radio presenter, columnist and author of The Goddess Advantage – One Year in the Life of a Football Worshipper. It’s as much about love, loyalty, stuffed tomatoes and Greek mythology as it is about Australian rules football.» Read more about Angela Pippos
» 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.
Claire Dunn is a writer, journalist, educator, barefoot explorer and author of My Year Without Matches, the memoir of her extraordinary journey living in the bush for a year learning wilderness survival skills. Her latest book is Rewilding the Urban Soul, a memoir about searching for the wild in the city, set for release in June 2021.» Read more about Claire Dunn
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
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
Shamini Flint is an engaging, witty and inspirational speaker. She holds audiences of any age spellbound with tales of growing up in Malaysia and travelling the world in search of an identity (or at least a good curry). Her ability to discuss important issues in an accessible way is unparalleled.» Read more about Shamini Flint
Luke S. Kennedy is one of Australia’s most sought after Speaker for Primary Schools, High Schools, Staff PDs, Community & Parent events, Corporate sessions, and prisons. Through his unique approach, strong ability to connect with any audience, & his thrilling story – he hits home with some deep topics & creates big mindset shifts for all demographics. After most of his talks & workshops, he’s told by organisers that it’s the best presentation they’ve seen.
Luke adapts his story and content for Primary schools and most of Luke’s schedule are re-bookings from past schools and organisers eager to have him return. Feedback received later by attendees, students, parents, and teachers has been overwhelmingly positive!
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.
Luke uses his “Breathtaking” story to inspire deep, lasting change, and self-awareness, for a wide range of audiences, from primary schools, high schools, businesses, events, and even prisons. For eight years of his life, Luke was an obese alcoholic and drug addicted thug (Luke PG’s Story & Content for Primary Schools). 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, even happy at times, but on the inside his thoughts would haunt him. He was incredibly scared, depressed, anxious, paranoid, and was obsessed with what others thought about him.
Through on the edge of your seat stories, Luke now connects deeply with any demographic. It doesn’t matter what the demographic is though, he’s found that all suffer from the same internal battles; worrying what people think, living up to labels/expectations, social awkwardness, anxiety, dealing with past trauma, and not knowing who they really are or where to fit in. Luke’s talks have proven to help in all of these areas.
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
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
Leah Kaminsky is a family physician and an award-winning author of eight books.» Read more about Dr Leah Kaminsky
Sarah Ayoub is a journalist, author and academic researching intersectional literature. Her work has been published in The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, ELLE, Marie-Claire, Griffith Review, Sydney Review of Books and more. She has worked as a lecturer and tutor in journalism and writing with the University of Sydney, University of NSW and University of Notre Dame, and recently completed a PhD examining the intersections of interventionist ethnic Australian YA literature. She is the author of Hate is such a Strong Word and The Yearbook Committee, the latter of which was longlisted for The Gold Inky, Australia’s premier teen choice award. Sarah is a Schools Ambassador with The Stella Prize, has mentored the youth curators of The Sydney Writers’ Festival YA program, contributed to the anthology Arab, Australian, Other and most recently been a judge for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Sarah’s forthcoming novel, The Cult of Romance, will be published by HarperCollins in March 2022, and her first picture book, The Love that Grew, will be out in April of the same year. She is currently working on her first novel for adults as the Writer-in-Residence of Sweatshop Literacy Movement.» Read more about Sarah Ayoub
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
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
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
Ruth Clare is the author of the award-winning memoir, ENEMY (Penguin, 2016), a three-time TEDx speaker and lived experience mental health coach. In addition to writing for publications such as The Age, Elle, Meanjin and The Good Weekend, Ruth is working on a memoir based on her late life diagnosis with ADHD. Ruth explores serious topics related to mental health, resilience, courage, identity and authenticity using humour and a knack for entertaining developed during her years as a professional actor.
She shares stories of hiding the trauma of her childhood, pretending everything was okay while she struggled alone with anxiety, perfectionism, shame and never feeling good enough, and how she finally got brave enough to share her experience with others. Weaving in polyvagal, mindfulness and breathing exercises, alongside cognitive approaches, Ruth simplifies complex ideas learnt on her own recovery journey and mental health studies, to deliver genuine insights and practical tools participants can immediately use in their own lives.
Ruth’s talks deliver a transformative experience for audiences, showing them how to stop being so hard on themselves and live with more calm awareness, self-compassion, optimism and confidence.
• Mental Health
• Resilience and overcoming adversity
• Neurodivergence and Identity
• Owning your stories and rewriting your life
Jessica Walton is a queer, disabled writer and speaker. They co-wrote an episode of Get Krack!n focused on disability, which aired on ABC in 2019. They are the author of graphic novel Stars In Their Eyes, with artwork by Aśka (Fremantle Press 2021) and Introducing Teddy, illustrated by Dougal MacPherson (Bloomsbury 2016). Jess also has two short stories for teens and kids published in Australian anthologies Funny Bones (Allen and Unwin 2019) and Meet Me at the Intersection (Fremantle Press 2018), as well as poetry in a few anthologies, magazines and journals.» 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
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
Manal Younus is a writer, poet, performer, and creative producer. As a young, black Muslim woman of Eritrean origins living in Australia, Manal uses her art forms to create and explore her own identity and spark thought in the minds of the audiences and communities she engages with.» Read more about Manal Younus
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
Shabnam is a driven community development practitioner who is passionate about cultivating true partnerships between communities and structures of power to create lasting solutions and social change.
She grew up as a Hazara Afghan refugee in Pakistan before arriving in Australia at the age of 15. Inspired by her own experience of forced displacement, she is a strong advocate for meaningful participation of refugees in addressing the complex challenges of resettlement, inclusion, and belonging.
Shabnam has founded and led multiple initiatives in Australia and abroad supporting refugees and host communities. She is part of a small national team at the Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia (CRSA) working to establish a holistic community-led refugee sponsorship program in Australia, building community capacity to welcome newcomers. She is the inaugural Chairperson at the National Refugee-led Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG), a refugee-led organisation creating spaces for effective elevation of voices with lived experience in key decisions, policies, and discourse about refugees.
A Director at the Centre for Multicultural Youth, Shabnam also serves on multiple government advisory boards influencing policy design and program delivery to devise unique solutions for the unique challenges and opportunities facing refugee and migrant communities in Australia. She is an emerging leader in the Afghan Australian community and since the fall of Kabul in August 2021 has been one of the leading voices behind the Action for Afghanistan campaign.
She was recently inducted to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for her tireless work in promoting refugee rights, social cohesion, meaningful diversity and inclusion. Fun fact about Shabnam: she is also a former Karate champion with multiple national and international titles to her name.» Read more about Shabnam Safa
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
Meredith Gaston Masnata is an internationally acclaimed bestselling author, artist, wellness coach and speaker celebrating mindful, joyous and spirited living in a modern world.
Whilst exhibiting her artwork locally and abroad from a young age, Meredith graduated from The University of Sydney, majoring in Art History and Theory and Gender and Cultural Studies. Continuing her education as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach through IIN, New York, Meredith frequently features in the media, educational and corporate spheres inspiring wellbeing in daily life. She is a regular guest on ABC radio. Meredith’s twelve lovingly illustrated books are translated into various foreign languages and her artworks are collected worldwide.
Jenna Guillaume is a lively and engaging author and journalist with a passion for empowering young people – and having a lot of fun along the way. She loves to talk about things like body image, social media and online toxicity, the intersection of feminism and pop culture, digital media, mental health and self-love.» Read more about Jenna Guillaume
Coming to Australia at the age of 7 with her family as a refugee, Sumaya and her family were settled in the suburb of Brighton East, a predominantly Caucasian suburb. She started at a nearby primary school, the only English she knew having learnt from Sesame Street. Her experiences of being bullied and ostracized in school caused her to develop social anxiety and a diminished self-worth which she wouldn’t know about until into her mid to late 20s. She connects with students from schools all over the country on topics of bullying and overcoming it, body image issues and integrating as a refugee.» Read more about Sumaya Harare
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
Married couple, Fiona Harris and Mike McLeish are award-winning performers who have been working full-time in the arts industry for twenty years.
Fiona and Mike have written and acted in two series of the award-winning short-form comedy series; The Drop Off. They have also adapted The Drop Off into an adult fiction novel with Echo Publishing, due for release in 2020. They recently received funding from the ACTF to develop a young adult television series. Fiona also taught drama to teenagers at Stage School Australia for four years.
Fiona and Mike run school sessions for secondary students, as well as script and performance workshops.» Read more about Fiona Harris & Mike McLeish
Cori Brooke is a Canadian-Australian Children’s Book Council of Australia shortlisted children’s picture book author (All I Want for Christmas is Rain), public servant and Mom. Cori loves to share her books, book-related artifacts and books she loves with kids and adults. She loves talking about her writing process, and the process of writing generally, in a fun, accessible and kid-friendly way. Having just learned to juggle (literally, but also a metaphor for her life) Cori might incorporate that into her visits soon!» Read more about Cori Brooke
Alice Bishop is from Christmas Hills, Victoria. Her first book A Constant Hum, tracks the lingering aftermath of Australian bushfire. It was recently shortlisted for the 2019 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction and recognised in the Penguin Literary Prize. Alice’s work focuses on place, people and climate—often highlighting the quiet moments that make us who we are.» Read more about Alice Bishop
James, an experienced and multiple award-winning filmmaker spent 15 months in a Cambodian jail, charged with espionage. He has compelling stories to tell about his experiences and the lessons he learned from them about resilience and how happiness can be experienced in even the most difficult and horrific of circumstances.» Read more about James Ricketson
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
Rawah Arja is a passionate young Muslim author from Western Sydney whose work has featured at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, SBS Voices as well as the Sydney Review of Books. She teaches creative writing workshops at schools, specialising in reluctant readers and writers.» Read more about Rawah Arja
Jacinta Parsons is a broadcaster, radio maker, writer and public speaker who currently co-hosts the Breakfast program on ABC Local Radio Melbourne with Sami Shah.
She began her radio-life at community radio station 3RRR over a decade ago, where she coordinated live music broadcasts and hosted several shows including Detour and Breakfasters.
She made the move to the ABC in 2015, working with the Double J team and as Music Director for Local Radio. As well as presenting The New Music Show on ABC Radio, she has produced and presented a number of national broadcast events.
Jacinta is an ambassador for the Crohn’s and Colitis Association and speaks and writes about the impact of living with chronic illness.
She has also be an active member of the arts and music community and is a board member for Melbourne disability theatre company, Rollercoaster.» Read more about Jacinta Parsons
Dr Anika Molesworth is a thought-leader of food systems resilience, climate change, a researcher in international agricultural development and a sought-after keynote speaker.
Anika’s interest in agricultural resilience was prompted by witnessing a decade-long drought on her family’s sheep farm in New South Wales, Australia. From this point, she began a career in seeking how to build resilience in fragile farming systems and has worked hard at promoting and advocating for sustainable agriculture and vibrant rural communities. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science specializing in Agribusiness, a Master of Sustainable Agriculture, and a PhD with the Centre for Regional and Rural Futures.
As a young, female farmer tackling the world’s biggest challenges, Anika is smashing the status-quo and inspiring thousands through engaging and empowering conversations and actions. Her infectious optimism and inspiring message have led her to meet royalty and global political leaders, taking her around the globe, including to Antarctica.
Anika has a great interest in climate change and promoting actions to mitigate emissions and adapt to changing conditions. In 2014, she established Climate Wise Agriculture as a knowledge sharing platform, with a modus operandi to facilitate multi-direction flow of information and skill transfer regarding climate change and farming.
Anika is a Founding Director of Farmers for Climate Action, a farmer-led organisation that advocates for climate solutions which support rural communities. It is a network of over 5,000 Australian farmers and is recognised as a global exemplar of grassroots community actions having national impact.
Working for the past six years on Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research projects, Anika has developed expertise in Southeast Asian farming systems with some of the world’s poorest farmers. She translates this academic knowledge into easily understandable and relatable messages that enthuse and empower urban audiences.
Communication and collaboration have always been central in Anika’s work ethos as she endeavours to share the farming story – both the successes and the challenges. Her ability to engage and inspire others is reflected by the thousands of followers across her social media platforms (@AnikaMolesworth). Her new book is to be published in 2021. Appearing frequently on radio, in newspapers and magazines, and on television, Anika helps to spread awareness and motivation to a wide audience, engaging them with warmth, honesty and compelling storytelling.» Read more about Dr Anika Molesworth
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
I found school extremely difficult, having dyslexia and other disabilities which led to failing all my subjects and being bullied a lot. After overreacting too many times, I was finally expelled for fighting too much.
It wasn’t until my last school that a counsellor took me aside to work through some of the key issues I was facing. The difference for me was from “night to-day”. I quickly turned my academic performance around and focused on my emotional well-being & set some big goals. Surprised in the difference seeing a counsellor made, I committed to doing youth work to help other students like myself for the rest of my life.» Read more about Jonny Shannon
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
George is an accomplished motivational speaker with over ten years experience in inspiring young people. George details his journey from the Hip-Hop industry to finding faith and his transition to successful children’s author.» Read more about George Green
H. Hayek learned as an adult to embrace all the parts that make her unique. Hayek believes all children, no matter their backgrounds, can do this early and use it as a tool for success.» Read more about Huda Hayek
Alex Dekker is a 21-year-old impact entrepreneur and change maker, reimagining food relief in Australia through the NFP organisation started just a year ago, Alex Makes Meals.
Nominated as the Victorian Young Australian of the Year 2021 as part of the Australia Day Councils’ highly lauded Australian of the Year Awards.
» Read more about Alex Dekker
Tarang Chawla is a speaker, writer and founder of Not One More Niki, working to end violence against women. He is a gender equality, human rights and mental health advocate who was named a Young Australian of the Year Finalist and listed as one of Australia’s Top 40 Under 40 Asian Australians.
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)
Mick Elliott is an author, illustrator, TV producer, screenwriter, literacy ambassador and professional mischief-maker. As well as multiple best-selling books, Mick has written and produced acclaimed children’s TV programmes for Nickelodeon, the Sesame Workshop, Channel TEN and the ABC.» Read more about Mick Elliott
Creativity specialist Joel McKerrow is an award-winning author, speaker, educator, and is one of Australia’s most successful and experienced performance poets. For fifteen years full-time he has toured on stages throughout world, including representing Australia at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championships. With seven poetry albums and six poetry books, as well as his first junior-fiction/Graphic novel being published in March 2024 (Urban Legend Hunters: The Dreaded Mr Snipe), Joel brings a wealth of creative experience in both poetry and story-writing sure to inspire and equip your students.» Read more about Joel McKerrow
Wai Chim is the Chinese-American-Australian author of a number of titles for kids and young adults including The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling. Her dynamic and energetic presentations focus on culture, nurturing a love for story and a passion for the human experience.» Read more about Wai Chim
Clem is an Autistic advocate, screenwriter and cultural critic who has relished getting in front of an audience ever since they were sent home from a Year 9 birthday party following a tour de force performance of twenty road safety PSAs. Clem is particularly passionate about Autism advocacy and loves to help debunk myths and misconceptions about Autistic people in the workplace, in education, and in general. With more than two decades’ worth of broadcasting and performance under their belt, Clem has extensive public speaking experience, and their screenwriting and standup comedy skills means that addresses delivered by them don’t tend to result in glazed eyes and rushes for the exit. Their various speaking engagements have covered everything from gender liberation to Autism to cult cinema. Clem is also an experienced host and emcee, having chaired panel discussions and hosted Q&As for a wide variety of events and organisations, including Melbourne International Film Festival, Cinema Nova, AFI/AACTA, Festival Of Dangerous Ideas, Melbourne Writers Festival and Amaze.» Read more about Clem Bastow
Personal finance journalist, author, and mother of two teenage girls, Michelle Bowes believes the solution to overcoming the money challenges women face is for them to start learning about money – and putting good habits in place – as soon as they start earning it, in their very first casual job.
Her mission is to teach all teenage girls how to be money queens, by showing them how to avoid the gaps, traps and mishaps and giving them the tips and tools they need to rule their money.» Read more about Michelle Bowes
Heidi is passionate about sharing her love of story, art and creativity with children and young people.» Read more about Heidi McKinnon
Lisa is an award-winning writer of picture books, and novels for younger and older readers. Some of her funny, heartfelt books include The Grand, Genius Summer of Henry Hoobler, which received the 2017 Queensland Literary Award for Children’s Fiction, the 2018 Speech Pathology Book of the Year for 8–12-year-olds and was also shortlisted in the 2018 CBCA Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers. Her picture book, Hark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee! (ill. Binny Talib) was a 2018 CBCA Honour Book of the Year for Early Childhood and was also shortlisted in the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Children’s Fiction. Her novel for teenagers My Big Birkett was published to critical acclaim in Australia, where it was shortlisted for the 2007 CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers and in the United States, where it was a 2008 New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age. Her most recent picture book for babies, the delightful Hello World (ill. Leila Rudge) won the 2022 Speech Pathology Book of the Year for Birth-3-year-olds.
Trained as an actor, Lisa is a witty, dynamic, and entertaining presenter, who loves to inspire young people to look at stories, and the world, with a vivid, new freshness.
Hark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee!
Laugh Your Head Off 4 Ever
Big Pet Day
Bear & Chook
Bear & Chook by the Sea
The Grand, Genius Summer of Henry Hoobler
My Big Birkett
The Lisa Shanahan Story Collection (Read by Claudia Karvan)
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
Philip Wilcox is an awarded and published full-time poet, touring nationally and internationally. He is an Australian Poetry Slam champion and two-time New South Wales Poetry Slam champion. He believes poetry is for everyone: sleazy advertising executives, criminals, and even school students. He has made it his mission to share his poetry in the hope of sparking a passion for words and language and in the last 8 years, Philip has worked with upwards of 100,000 students in over 300 schools in 12 countries.» Read more about Philip Wilcox