Leaders Conference Program

Pre Conference – Tuesday 25 February 2020 
6pm Attendee Networking Dinner (informal)

Conference MC: Kim Seeling Smith, CEO, Ignite Global

Day 1 -

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Time Session Speakers
8:45 Welcome and Introduction Nicola Grayson, CEO, Consult Australia
  The Big Picture  

I’ve just got back from 2030…
Take a trip to the future with futurist Craig Rispin as he shares with us his vision of the world and our industry in 2030 and takes a practical look at what we need to start (and stop) doing now in order to be prepared for it.

Craig Rispin, Futurist, Future Trends Group

Economic outlook
Staying with our future focus, we explore the coming decade through the eyes of an economist and consider the implications of the speed of change on global and local economies and what that could mean for our businesses

Jason Todd, Economist and Head of Wealth Management, Macquarie Bank

10:30 Morning Tea
11:00 Pyramids and lenses
Research on the Future of Work tells us that people are increasingly looking for employment that focuses on the experience, has purpose and encourages collaboration and we will be exploring the implications of each of these three factors through the lenses of demand, technology, people and structure across the remainder of the conference.

Kim Seeling Smith, CEO, Ignite Global

11:15 Stakeholder exposure 
We are now in an era where everything is not only posted or shared online but is also open to (generally) uncensored commentary. As a result, the days of working to ‘control the message’ are long gone, and the best we can now hope for is to be able to shape it (and the least we should except is to be aware of what’s happening to it).  In this session we will hear from the experts about tools and techniques we can use to be proactive and remain alert but not alarmed.
Julie Urquhart,
Managing Partner, The Bond & Associates 
Andrew Humpherson, CEO, Barton Deakin
Nic Hayes, Managing Director, Media Stable
James Tait, Managing Partner, Res Publica

Catherine McGrath, Director,
Catherine McGrath Media

Humanitarian considerations
While we as industry have long understood the importance of the supply chain, the introduction of The Modern Slavery Act 2018 has bought the humanitarian aspects of it to more starkly into focus. It is therefore imperative that we all understand the Act as well as its implications from both an ethical and practical perspective.


Sarah Morse, Founder and Director, Unchained Business Services


12:45 Lunch
  Focus on: Demand  

Client experience 
Two of the three major disruptions we are facing are technology and globalisation and both mean that we can no longer compete the way we have in decades past.  Our clients want more and, just like our staff, they want an experience, to be able to collaborate, and to work with people who exhibit ethical principles. The good news is that these mean they are heading in the direction we have long desire—away from transactions and towards relationships.  In this workshop we will explore practical skills and tools to help us all get there!

Ian Stephens, Co-founder, enRich Training & Development

2:30  The future of projects (Client session)
We ask a couple of clients how they see the industries future from their side and get their views on questions like: What will we be designing, advising on and engineering in 2030? What commercial structures will we be operating under? and; How will clients be looking to procure our expertise?


Leighton O'Brien, Partner, Allens
Jim Green, General Manager - Strategy & Procurement, John Holland
Mark Simister, Head of Delivery, Sydney Water
Tresna Tunbridge, Commercial Director Asia-Pacific, Bechtel

Clare Gardiner-Barnes, 
Head of Strategy, Planning & Innovation,Infrastructure NSW

3:15 Afternoon tea
  Focus on: Technology

Digital standards 

We are hearing a lot about these—and there seem to be a lot of them—so what are they, why are there so many, which ones should we be using for what, is there space for competitive advantage and what can we do to help ease the confusion?

Simon Vaux

Director Digital Engineering, Infrastructure & Place, Transport for NSW

Neil Greenstreet, Manager, Digital Technologies, Natspec

Dr Liming Zhu,Research Director; Software & Computational Systems, Data61 | CSIRO


Jed Horner, Strategic Advocacy Manager, Standards Australia


4:45 When the future is best served by the past…
Long before European colonisation, fire management techniques—known as ‘cultural burns’—were being practised and, since Australia's recent fire crisis, calls for better reintegration of this technique have increased. In this session we will look at the importance of ancestral information in the broader context of ‘maintaining country’ and explore how the knowledge deeply embedded in Aboriginal culture can interrelate in a technology-based future. 
Shannon Foster, Lecturer, Centre for Advancement of Indigenous Knowledges, University of Technology Sydney
5:25 Day one close Gerry Doyle, President, Consult Australia
5:30 Cocktail Function - Luna Park (Palais Room)


Day 2 - Thursday 27 February 2020


Time Session Speakers
8:55 Welcome Kisanne Dulin, COO, Consult Australia

Three disruptions and five emerging trends to win at the Future of Work

When people discuss the future of work they usually focus on the impact of technology. But technology is only one of the three disruptions facing businesses. Globalisation and the rise of the empowered workforce are equally disruptive and impactful. The future of work lies at the intersection of these three disruptions and we will unpack the five emerging trends organisations need to embrace to win in the next decade.
Kim Seeling Smith, CEO, Ignite Global
9:20 The evolution of teaching

We know STEM is important and, as an industry, we are actively working to increase its uptake—but what else do consultants of the future need to know and whose job is it to teach them? In this session we ask a couple of academics how they see education models evolving in the next decade and what they believe the students of the future should be learning.

Professor Willy Zwaenepoel,
Dean of Engineering & IT, University of Sydney
Professor Elizabeth Croft, Dean of Engineering, Monash University
Diana Drummond, Deputy Principal, Wenora

Facilitator: Andrew Harris, Director, Laing O'Rourke
 10:20 The evolution of jobs
 Moving beyond the percentages of job displacement and skills shortages, a recent report by BIS Oxford Economics has shown that while employees will need more science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills, employers will also be demanding more developed human skills like critical thinking, negotiation and persuasion. With their research suggesting that 350,000 workers will need to upgrade their speaking, listening and critical thinking skills, and 150,000 would need to become better negotiators, the impact for our industry is undeniable. 
Sarah Hunter, Chief Economist, BIS Oxford Economics
10:50   Morning tea  

Diversity in Leadership 
We have another decade to make progress on this, and while it would be slightly naive to think we will have the issue solved for our industry, we would like to think we will have made substantial progress.  So, on the assumption we have—we consider what this might look like 10 years on and what this will mean for our businesses

Mandy Holloway, CEO, Courageous Leaders


Non-linear career pathsThe game of life

It used to be easy to predict what your career could look like —go to school/university, get a good job in your chosen field, work hard, get promoted, then repeat those last two until, if you’re lucky, you retire at 65…. For a long time, stability and tenure were the goal but in an era of high-speed change where new technologies and opportunities are emerging every day, many of us are now not only changing companies, or industries, but also professions. This means that careers paths now often frequently resemble jungle gyms rather than ladders!

Kim Seeling Smith, CEO, Ignite Global

1:00 Lunch 

Structural challenges of diversity

A truly diverse workforce that includes cultural, racial, religious, age, gender, sexual orientation and ability diversity, provides our organisations with both opportunity and challenges.  Many of these challenges stem from new government requirements, new ways of working and new organisational structures and they can present us with varying levels of complexity. In this session we hear from organisations who are already meeting these challenges head on and are seeing the benefit in their bottom-line results.

Claire Stewart,
Principal, Inclusion Collective
Benjamin Morris, Co-Head of HR & General Manager Performance, Reward & HR Operations, Mirvac 
April Marcot, Head of People & Culture, Talent International

Coleen MacKinnon,
Principal, Inclusivity Quotient (InQ)
2:30 Commercial structures
The last decade has seen a number of changes to the commercial structures in which we operate, not least of which have been the increase in outsourcing and the emergence of the gig economy—so what can we expect of the coming decade? In this session we will explore some thoughts on future structure, dig in to our potential blind spots and discuss what opportunities and obstacles might be coming our way as a result.  
Nathan Agius,
General Manager, ICare
Daffyd Wyn Owen, Partner, HKA
Hasti Kalarostaghi, Partner/Principal, Hunt & Hunt

Lynn Kraus,
Partner, Transaction Advisory Services, EY

3:15 Afternoon tea  

When the future is now

Just to show that all this future focussed dreaming of a better world (or at least a better work place) isn’t as far off or as far-fetched as we might think – we hear from someone who has already made a lot of this happen – and how it paid off!

Ryan McCarthy, MD,Stryker 

4:45 Conference Close Nicola Grayson, CEO, Consult Australia





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