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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 (DARTA)
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 a TEDx and keynote speaker, award-winning author, teacher, copywriter and actor. Her acclaimed memoir, Enemy, tells the story of her childhood, living with a violent father and an alcoholic mother. It shows how Ruth chose courage over fear and love over hate. Enemy is also a compassionate investigation into the impact of war on veterans and their families. Ruth’s story is honest, hopeful and deeply affecting.
They say whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Ruth is the living embodiment of that. Hers is a story about never being defeated, no matter what life throws at you. It is about taking setbacks and using them as power to drive you forward. It is about defining your own truth, letting yourself be seen, and being brave enough to stand up for what is right. Ruth shows us all how to have our own backs and gives us the tangible steps each of us can take to foster more hope, take action and create the life we want.
Her speaking will leave you feeling both humbled and uplifted, and inspire you to live more authentically in the world.
Ruth’s speeches will help you:
— Thrive in the face of adversity
— Build your sense of personal power and control
— Foster hope that allows you to take steps toward achieve the life you want
— Tolerate the uncomfortable feelings that are key to your growth
— Embrace life’s curve balls
— Transform obstacles into opportunities
— Trick yourself into positive thinking when you are feeling low
— Own your dark stories without letting them define you
— Be brave enough to let your real self be seen
— Learn how compassion for self can unlock forgiveness
— Reframe yourself from victim to victor» 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
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
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
Danielle Binks is a literary agent and author of middle-grade and young-adult fiction books. She is a passionate ‘youth literature advocate’ who champions Australia’s national youth literature and writes compelling contemporary stories for young people.» Read more about Danielle Binks
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
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
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