Wednesday 25 - Friday 27 October 2017

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth

Speaker Biography

Jennifer Byrne

Jennifer Byrne started her career in journalism at a young age as a Cadet Journalist with The Age newspaper in Melbourne. At the age of 23, she was posted to San Francisco as The Age’s West Coast Correspondent.

In 1981, Jennifer moved to Sydney as Founding Reporter with Channel Nine’s Sunday program and five years later, moved across to 60 Minutes. In 1993, she became the morning presenter of ABC’s Radio 2BL and in 1995, was appointed Publishing Director of Reed Books.

In 1999, having spent a couple of years as Stand-in Presenter for both ABC-TV’s 7.30 Report and Lateline, Jennifer took up the anchor’s job at Foreign Correspondent, and spent five years as Host and Reporter, travelling with the program. She also continued to write features and book reviews, and regularly hosted Radio National’s Breakfast program.

Jennifer moved on from Foreign Correspondent in 2003 to join The Bulletin magazine as a Senior Writer, working on the weekly ‘Lunch With…’ column, for which she won several national awards. In May 2006 she developed and launched a new book program, The Book Club, which she still hosts along with Jennifer Byrne Presents, a series of literary specials and interviews.

Jennifer continues to work in print, with a monthly book column in The Australian Women’s Weekly, and regular appearances in leading newspaper and travel magazines.



Simon Breakspear

Dr Simon Breakspear is known internationally for his practical insights on learning innovation and system reform. As the founder and Executive Director of Agile Schools, Simon has advised educational leaders across over 10 countries helping them to navigate disruptive change, develop innovation capabilities and drive continuous improvement for better learning.

Simon is a Research Fellow at The Hong Kong Institute of Education's Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership and Change.   He holds Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Teaching, a Masters of International and Comparative Education from the University of Oxford and a PhD in education from the University of Cambridge. He was a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Oxford and a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge.  Simon began his work in education as a high school teacher in Sydney.

Simon’s unique fusion of applied research, real-world experience and dynamic style enables him to help senior leaders rethink assumptions and find innovative ways of leading for the future of learning.



Michael Crossland

Michael Crossland is an extraordinary young man who has defied the odds of a life-threatening cancer to build a life of exceptional achievements.  His first tell-all autobiography, released in January 2016, is now an international best seller across six different countries.

Diagnosed with an aggressive life threatening cancer before his first birthday, doctors told him school and sport were not options.  However, despite spending nearly a quarter of his life in hospital, Michael has forged a highly successful career in the corporate world, represented Australia in his chosen sport and been presented with the Australia Day Ambassador role for seven consecutive years.  He also runs a school and orphanage in Haiti.

Michael captures and inspires audiences no matter what size and leaves them with an enlightened perspective on life.  He has an absolute passion and belief in people’s ability to change direction, achieve success and become who they truly want to be.




Dan Haesler

Dan Haesler works with individuals and organisations around issues of engagement, wellbeing, mindset & leadership.

As Director of Cut Through Coaching & Consulting he consults to government education projects, corporate business, schools, professional associations, The Black Dog Institute and other not-for-profit organisations.

Dan is an international keynote speaker and has presented alongside well-known education thought leaders as well as Olympians, Academy Award Winners and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

He regularly features in the media, and writes a monthly column in the Australian Teacher Magazine. Dan is passionate about equity in education and engaging our hardest-to-reach kids and communities. His first book, #SchoolOfThought is now available and all profits will go to supporting the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.




Sally Dominguez

Sally Dominguez is an Innovation Catalyst.   As a multi-award-winning Inventor, Adventurer, Journalist and Educator, Sally has unique experience practicing, observing, teaching and advocating for innovation.

Sally has updated Design Thinking with her ADVENTUROUS THINKING methodology,  designed to promote the agile mindset needed for consistently innovative practices.  No longer is design thinking reactive.  Using the Five Lens tools to alternately converge and proliferate thinking, ADVENTUROUS THINKING enables users to think outside their default "expert" neural pathways, and re-ignite the curious mindset that is the key to consistent innovation.  ADVENTUROUS THINKING has been used internationally by the Shenzhen government, Genentech, Sandisk, Clif Bar and other corporates, runs every semester as a workshop at Stanford and was presented as part of the SXSW Frugal Innovation panel.

Sally has taught ADVENTUROUS THINKING as a means to integrate innovation into the Australian school curriculum for the Association of Independent Schools and the Catholic Schools Office.



Deng Thiak Adut

At the age of six, Deng Thiak Adut was snatched from his mother and forced to fight in the war that eventually split his homeland of Sudan. Deng was eventually smuggled out of Sudan into Kenya before making it to Australia in 1998. Deng’s life journey has taken him from an illiterate child soldier to a criminal lawyer making a difference in Western Sydney.

His remarkable story has spread around the world, and has inspired millions of people, thanks to a viral video made by his alma mater, Western Sydney University. Now studying for a second Master’s degree, Deng co-founded AC Law Group and fights for members of the Sudanese community from his home in Blacktown. While his life is now a long way from the privations of his childhood, Deng inspires others with his story of triumph over tragedy, and of the contributions that refugees can make to Australia’s rich community.

Deng was named the 2017 NSW Australia of the Year.





Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett - Orange Sky Laundry

Social entrepreneursBest mates, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett built a free mobile laundry in their old van to help the homeless. Orange Sky Laundry began in September 2014 and since then, the world first idea has rapidly expanded to five vans in Brisbane, Melbourne, South East Victoria, Sydney and the Gold Coast. Run by over 270 volunteers, the custom fitted vans with two commercial washing machines and two dryers, service over 36 locations and wash over 350 loads each week. A catalyst for bringing people of all walks of life together, Orange Sky facilitates countless hours of conversations each week.

In February 2015, they took their mobile laundry to North Queensland to wash clothes in cyclone effected communities.

Nic and Lucas have found a way to treat others the way they want to be treated by restoring respect, raising health standards and reducing the strain on resources. They now plan to expand services Australia-wide with the aim of positively connecting the community and improving the lives of others.



Matina Jewell

During her 15 year military career, best-selling author Matina Jewell tracked down warlords, worked with the US Navy SEALs, fast roped out of helicopters onto ships, and represented Australia as a peacekeeper with the United Nations in Syria and Lebanon where she found herself thrown into the middle of a devastating war.

Matina’s lessons of resilience and leadership have transformed some of the biggest companies and her message of courage continues to empower leaders from all walks of life. Her story has audiences on their feet time and time again.

With enthralling footage, stories of hardship and valuable learning from her many life-threatening missions, Matina will take you on a journey that will effect long lasting positive change in your leaders, teams and organizations for years to come.

© 2017 Conference Committee