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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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 Sharon Torpey – The Drug Education Project
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
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
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 is a Russian-born, Israeli-Australian author of three fiction books and two memoirs, including Imperfect (Affirm Press, 2019), which was shortlisted for Nib Literary Award, and The Dangerous Bride (Melbourne University Press, 2014), co-editor of Rebellious Daughters (Ventura Press, 2016) and editor of Split (Ventura Press, 2019), which was longlisted for ABIA Awards – anthologies of memoir by prominent Australian authors. Her short works have been widely published in Australia, US, UK, Scotland, Israel and Canada; her blog was a finalist for Best Australian Blogs 2014. Lee’s most recent book is The Writer Laid Bare (Ventura Press) about writing.» 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
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)
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
Energising, passionate, sometimes silly and forever hunting stories, Andrea turns children’s light bulbs on for their own story creations and loves inspiring text connection chats. A professional copywriter for Australia’s top charities and past media manager for Government Ministers she’s inspired teenagers to explore career opportunities in writing and communications.
Andrea’s best-selling debut picture book Jetty Jumping won the CBCA Picture Book of the Year for Early Childhood and the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year for 5 to 8-year-olds. She is also an award-winning short story writer and professional campaign copywriter for Australia’s top charities.» Read more about Andrea Rowe