2020 Leaders Conference Speakers

Additional speakers & bios coming soon!
CEO Conference Program

Day 1 – Speakers & Bio


Nicola Grayson

Nicola Grayson
Consult Australia

Nicola is a government relations specialist, and has represented industry associations to governments in the UK, the European Union, and Australia. Nicola has worked across a range of sectors including general insurance, consumer finance, alcohol, and education, in addition to consulting engineering. With an Honours Degree in Law from the UK, she specialises in liability and contracting issues on behalf of Consult Australia. Nicola previously worked for Consult Australia from 2004 to 2010 (the development of AS4122-2010 being her last major project). After 5 years back in the UK, she re-joined Consult Australia in 2017.


Kim Seeling Smith

Kim Seeling Smith
Ignite Global

Kim Seeling Smith is the CEO of Ignite Global and Australia's leading Future of Work Expert. She is a regular commentator for The Today Show as well as several business-focused radio programs across Australia. Kim is the author of Mind Reading for Managers: 5 FOCUSed Conversations for Greater Employee Engagement and Productivity and has been recognised by Richard Branson’s 100% Human at Work Initiative for the innovative, yet practical work Ignite Global does to help businesses solve the very complex challenges around the Future of Work. 


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Craig Rispin
Future Trends Group

Craig Rispin is a Business Futurist and Innovation Expert his expertise is in emerging business, people and technology trends – and how companies can profit from them. Craig has over 20 years’ experience working where the future has been created – with some of the most innovative companies in the world in the IT, consumer electronics, internet and broadcasting industries.

Some of his clients include: BHP Billiton, Canon, Colonial First State, IBM, and hundreds of professional industry associations. An award-winning keynote speaker and CEO mentor, Craig shows his clients how to Know First, Be First and Profit First.

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Jason Todd
Economist and Head of Wealth Management
Macquarie Bank

Jason began his career with JPMorgan New Zealand as their Equity strategist in 1996. He remained with JPMorgan until 2007 spending time in Sydney as the Australian Strategist, London and then New York as US/Global Strategist.

In 2007 he joined Morgan Stanley New York as US/Global Strategist where he remained until 2010 before moving to Asia. Jason most recently was Regional Asian strategist and Head of Hong Kong / China Equities with CIMB and Head of Australian Macroeconomic Research for Macquarie Bank.

Jason recently took up the role of Head of Investment Strategy Wealth Management. Jason is a CFA.

Julie Urquhart

Julie Urquhart
Managing Partner
The Bond & Associates

Julie Urquhart is Managing Partner of The Bond and Associates, the specialist community and stakeholder engagement practice of WPP, Australia and New Zealand’s largest communications services group.  

Julie is a recognised, award-winning community and stakeholder engagement leader, with over twenty-five years’ experience across government and the corporate sector.

She brings a sophisticated grasp of how contemporary engagement techniques can help address the challenges of high-profile, issues rich community and stakeholder programs, like managing community outrage.
Combined with her first-hand understanding of the unique pressures and priorities of government, this has made her highly sought after by clients including the Department of Communication and the Arts, Transport for NSW, and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. 

Andrew Humpherson

Andrew Humpherson
Barton Deakin

Andrew Humpherson has over three decades’ experience of government relations in Federal, State and local government environments. He leads Barton Deakin across its jurisdictions.

Andrew has effectively and successfully supported client needs directly in NSW and Federally, as well as providing strategic advice nationally and coordinating multi-government engagement.

Prior to joining Barton Deakin, Andrew was an MP in the NSW Parliament for 15 years and served as a Shadow Minister for eight years with portfolio experience spanning planning, environment, justice and corrections, housing, water and emergency services. Prior to being elected to Parliament he spent five years as a local government Councillor.

On leaving elected politics, Andrew managed the corporate affairs division for Australia’s Federal nuclear agency, ANSTO. Andrew has also served in government as a Chief of Staff to the NSW Minister for Resources and Energy.

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Nic Hayes
Managing Director
Media Stable

Nic Hayes is the Managing Director of Media Stable, an agency that connects experts and opinions with media across the country. Nic is a 20-year veteran of media, with a broad range of experience covering all aspects of the media cycle. It was his ten years working in media intelligence here and in the UK that laid the foundations for his love of media and all of its machinations.

On returning from the UK in 2009, Nic started his own public relations consultancy and it was in 2012 that Media Stable was launched after he recognised the changing media environment was placing journalists and producers under increased pressure.

James Tait
James Tait
Managing Partner
Res Publica

Having worked across listed company financial communications, M&A, issues and crisis management, government relations, sustainability, corporate brand strategy, reputation management and public policy, James offers more than 20 years of communications experience. He began his career as a policy advisor in the UK Government before working in consultancy in London. Moving to Australia, James joined ASX-listed brewer Lion Nathan and was quickly promoted to Corporate Affairs Director. James moved back into consultancy in 2012 and is a director of the not-for-profit charity, Uplifting Australia. He has previously served on the board of the Australian Association of National Advertisers.
Catherine McGrath
Catherine McGrath
Catherine McGrath Media

Catherine McGrath is a giant of the Australian media and an expert in Australian political and media engagement. She is an in-demand speaker, facilitator and media trainer.

Catherine spent 30 years reporting for the ABC and SBS in both Australia and overseas. She was political editor for both public broadcasters and was the ABC’s South East Asia Correspondent based in Singapore. Catherine covered her last federal election campaign in 2016 and has gone onto open an event, speaking and training business Catherine McGrath Media. Her clients include some of Australia’s biggest companies and media organisations.

Sarah Morse Edited Photo Sarah Morse,
Founder & Director,
Unchained Business Services

Sarah is former Young Australian of the Year, and a specialist in Modern Slavery. In her keynote address and upcoming book: Unchained Reaction: Conversations to End Slavery, Sarah inspires Australian businesses to more ethical and sustainable practices. 

With over twenty years of leadership experience, across five continents, Sarah is known for her positivity, energy and compassion. She draws upon lessons learnt while leading teams in humanitarian work internationally, and as a cancer nurse in Australia. She is passionate about combatting modern slavery, having worked with survivors of human trafficking in Spain. 

As Founder and Director of Unchained Business Services, Sarah is now helping Australian businesses to be leaders in implementing the Modern Slavery Act. 

Ian Stephens
Ian Stephens
Co founder
enRich Training & Development

Voted in the top 20 business speakers in Australia by speaker’s bureaus, Ian Stephens is a leading keynoter, trainer and peak performance coach specialising in Relationship Building, Ethical Leadership & Sales Peak Performance

Ian has presented in over 29 countries over 23 years. A master of integrating his NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) tools and methods into his delivery, Ian is a proven speaker who leaves people inspired to take action. 

A prolific writer, Ian is the author of 4 books, and the creator of 11 on-line resources, designed to amplify your sales, leadership, personal and business results.

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

Clare Gardiner-Barnes is the Head of Strategy, Planning and Innovation at Infrastructure NSW. In her role Clare is responsible for the 20-year State Infrastructure Strategy, development of 5-year Infrastructure plans, provides independent advice to government on strategic infrastructure issues and opportunities. As a board member of the NSW Telco Authority and Roads Australia, Clare is committed to working with industry and across government to support the adoption of new infrastructure technology. Before taking on infrastructure leadership roles Clare worked in in various executive positions in education and was the Chief Executive of the Department of Children and Families in the Northern Territory. Clare is an advocate for women in leadership and workforce flexibility.

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Jim Green
General Manager - Strategic Procurement
John Holland Group

Jim is a broadly experienced construction professional with extensive international experience.  He started work as an engineer in the water industry in Australia before progressing through project management in the UK water industry before moving to the US and Korea working on subcontracts and procurement management in the Oil & Gas and Infrastructure industries. His diverse experience allows him to deliver innovative procurement solutions that fit the environment in which they will be delivered and is focusing on the implementation international best practice to the supply ecosystem.


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Tresna Tunbridge
Commerical Director Asia - Pacific

Tresna has worked in the infrastructure industry for 20 years and is experienced in structuring projects under a range of different commercial models including PPPs, D&C, EPCM and delivery partner contractual models in a range of markets, including UK, Australia and North America.  Experience includes working on ground-breaking public-sector procurements, such as Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft PPP, Tubelines, Nottingham Tram phase 2, Canada Line and Edmonton LRT and is currently working with the project team on Western Sydney Airport. 

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Mark Simister
Head of Delivery
Sydney Water

Mark Simister is Head of Delivery Management at Sydney Water. Mark is currently leading the delivery of Sydney Water's Partnering for Success (P4S) procurement strategy which will see a new Regional Delivery Consortia appointed to manage design, construction and maintenance and facilities management in each of its three regions (North, South and West) for the next 10 years.

Mark's Australian, UK and wider international management roles have encompassed a range of regulated and non-regulated industries, including public infrastructure assets, information technology and telecommunications.

Mark has previously led successful program operations such as London Victorian Water Mains for Thames Water, Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Program for Vero Insurance.

O'Brien, Leighton resized Leighton O'Brien

Leighton is a leading projects lawyer who practises in the areas of construction, infrastructure and dispute resolution with a particular emphasis on roads, rail and PPPs.

Leighton acts for financiers, government and private owners, concessionaries and contractors. Leighton's practice also covers dispute resolution from security of payment to expert determination, arbitration and litigation.


Jed Horner
Strategic Advocacy
Standards Australia

Dr Jed Horner is the Strategic Advocacy Manager for Standards Australia. He works to enhance Australia’s participation in digital standards, including through global fora. He is currently leading the development of Standards Australia’s AI Roadmap. He has been engaged in large scale strategy development for the NSW Government, including on digital transformation.

Neil Greenstreet
Neil Greenstreet

Manager, Digital Technologies

Prior to joining NATSPEC – the publisher of the national building specification of Australia – in 2008, Neil Greenstreet gained over 35 years of practical experience on a wide range of building projects in Australia and the UK, including over 16 years as director of his own architectural practice.

In this period, some of his responsibilities have included, Editor of the NATSPEC National BIM Guide.

Author of the NATSPEC BIM Management Plan Templates and other NATSPEC BIM documents and Chair of Standards Australia Committee BD-104 Building Information Modelling which is the Australian mirror committee to ISO TC59/SC13 Organization and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works, including building information modelling (BIM). 

Liming Zhu resized Dr. Liming Zhu

Research ‚ÄčDirector
Software & Computational Systems, Data61 | CSIRO

Dr. Zhu leads the Software and Computational Systems Research Program at Data61, CSIRO. The research program has 200+ people innovating in the following research areas: big data analytics infrastructure, computational and simulation sciences platforms (including verticals such as satellite/aerial images, visual analytics and AR/VR), data modelling and integration.

He is also a conjoint full professor at University of New South Wales (UNSW) and chairs Australia's blockchain standards committee. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has published more than 150 academic papers on software architecture, dependable and secure systems and data analytics infrastructure. His recent book is DevOps: A Software Architect's Perspective.

Simon Vaux

Simon Vaux
Director Digital Engineering, Infrastructure & Place,
Transport for NSW 

Simon is a chartered civil engineer with 20 years’ experience managing the delivery of transport infrastructure, having worked in both the private and public sectors in Australia and the UK. Since joining Transport for NSW in 2007, Simon has been responsible for the engineering of numerous major transport projects in and around Sydney. He is currently Director Digital Engineering at Transport for NSW and is leading the agency-wide strategy to drive innovation and new technologies in the construction sector. Simon is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers NSW Committee and an active promoter of civil and digital engineering.

Shannon Foster

Shannon Foster
Lecturer, Centre for Advancement of Indigenous Knowledges,
University of Technology Sydney

Shannon Foster is a Sydney D’harawal Saltwater Knowledge Keeper, artist and interdisciplinary creative practitioner with over twenty years of experience in designing and implementing education programs and spaces in collaboration with prominent Sydney learning institutions. Shannon has extensive experience and expertise in Sydney specific cultural practices, history and ceremony; in environmental, ecological and botanical knowledges of Sydney eco- systems; in Indigenous Research Methodologies and Sydney Aboriginal languages. More recently, Shannon has been recognized by the Government Architect NSW as an influential Aboriginal spatial practitioner and thought leader through her 2019 appointment on their Aboriginal Expert Advisory Panel.

Gerry Doyle

Gerry Doyle
Chief Executive Officer
Tonkin Consulting

Gerry Doyle is the Chief Executive Officer for Tonkin Consulting, a South Australian firm with 60 years’ experience providing engineering solutions for local government, state government and private clients.  Under Gerry’s leadership, Tonkin Consulting has expanded its geographic reach from four offices to six around Australia. Gerry is a Civil Engineer with broad and practical experience in the design and project management of water supply and wastewater projects in South Australia. A number of these involved the planning, consultation and development of negotiated solutions to successfully meet key stakeholder and business needs in complex and challenging environments.


Day 2 – Speakers & Bio

Kisanne Dulin

Kisanne Dulin
Consult Australia

Kisanne joined Consult Australia in February 2014, bringing with her almost 20 years’ experience in commercial services, marketing, business development and client service within professional services - including work with several member firms.

Kisanne is  focused on providing members with services that add value to their membership and increase their level of engagement with Consult Australia. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the association and for overseeing membership retention and recruitment and the delivery of all member and commercial services offerings (including business tools, national events, publications, professional development and sponsorship).

Willy Zwaenpoel
Professor Willy Zwaenepoel
Dean of Engineering
The University of Sydney

Professor Willy Zwaenepoel was appointed Dean of Engineering at The University of Sydney in July 2018. He is a well-established global leader in experimental computer science research, with a particular interest in distributed systems and operating systems. Willy spent almost two decades at Rice University in the US, followed by nine years as dean of EPFL's School of Computer and Communication Sciences in Lausanne, Switzerland. Willy is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Association for Computing Machinery. He was a key advisor to Nutanix from 2010 (currently valued at US$5.5 billion) and his research led to two startups, iMimic and BugBuster, which were acquired by Cisco.

Elizabeth Croft
Professor Elizabeth Croft
Dean of Engineering
Monash University

Professor Elizabeth A. Croft (B.A.Sc UBC ’88, M.A.Sc Waterloo ’92, Ph.D. Toronto ’95) is the Dean of Engineering at Monash University. Her research in industrial robotics and human-robot interaction advances the design of intelligent controllers and interaction methods that support human-robot collaboration. She held the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering (BC/Yukon) from 2010-2015. Her recognitions WXN’s top 100 most powerful women in Canada and the RA McLachlan Award for Professional Engineering in the Province of British Columbia. She is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, the Canadian Academy of Engineers, Engineers Canada and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

 diana-durmmond Diana Drummond,
Deputy Principal (Teaching & Learning)

Ms Drummond started her career as a primary teacher and has added whole of school curriculum design, user-centred design thinking methodology, and strategic & systems leadership competencies and skills to her highly regarded pedagogical expertise. She holds a Bachelor of Education with Honours, a Certificate of Gifted Education and a Masters in Educational Leadership. Diana’s professional experiences span single-sex and co-educational schools and school representative bodies in both Sydney and South-East Asia. She is currently Deputy Principal (Teaching and Learning) at Wenona. She relishes in innovative and future focused change initiatives that transform learning and in creating learning environments in which young adults, especially young women, thrive.

Professor Andrew Harris  Andrew Harris,
Laing O'Rourke

Andrew Harris is a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at TheUniversity of Sydney, and the Australian director of Laing O’Rourke’s futureengineering and innovation consultancy, the Engineering Excellence Group.

Andrew received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2002 and is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers(IChemE) and Engineers Australia (IEAust).

Andrew is a non executive Director of Hazer Group (ASX:HZR), a listed cleantech and serves on the board of the Australian Research Council Centre forRobotic Vision

Sarah Hunter
Chief Economist
BIS, Oxford Economics

Sarah Hunter is BIS Oxford Economics’ Chief Economist. She leads the team that is responsible for our Australia subscription services, which provide clients with detailed analysis of Australia’s economy. She directs the research agenda, and regularly presents the economic outlook to clients across the region. Sarah also takes a leading role in our macro consulting practice, support clients across Asia Pacific

Prior to joining Oxford Economics, Sarah completed a PhD in economics at the University of Oxford. She also holds a Masters’ degree from the London School of Economics and an undergraduate degree from the University of Cambridge.


Mandy Holloway
Mandy Holloway
Chief Executive Officer

Courageous Leaders

As a leadership trailblazer who put courage into action to achieve significant "firsts" in her career, Mandy now inspires people to be courageous in the way they lead themselves, others and the organisation.

Starting her career as an audit junior she blazed a trail to become the first female partner in Australia at PKF (now BDO) followed by admittance as a partner at KPMG, Sydney. She was the first partner to take paid maternity leave in KPMG Sydney - blazing the trail for the many female partners who now both take maternity leave AND return to a part-time partner role.

Claire Stewart
Claire Stewart

Inclusion Collective

With a wealth of experience working with corporate powerhouses nationally and internationally, Company Culture Innovator, Claire Stewart, transforms the way purpose-led organisations do business, by cultivating positive change and flexible human-centric workplaces that create high performing, engaged teams.

A force for positive change in the workplace, Claire Stewart’s cutting-edge approach to flexibility, enhances inclusion, respects diversity, prioritises wellbeing and solves strategic business problems.

Through bespoke, innovative strategies and collaborative execution, with human experience at the centre, Claire Stewart drives initiatives that move organisations to think, feel and do differently, to empower their people to thrive and create long-term impactful results.

Benjamin Morris

Benjamin Morris
Co-Head of HR & General Manager Performance, Reward & HR Operations,

Ben is Co-Head of HR at Mirvac, an ASX top 50 company. Mirvac is a leader in workplace diversity and flexibility, recently recognised by Equileap as the number two company in the world for gender equality and recognised for its award winning flexibility program ‘My Simple Thing’.

Prior to his senior HR roles, Ben qualified as a Chartered Accountant, Solicitor and Chartered Company Secretary.  His experience prior to Mirvac includes a global HR role at Lendlease; leading the Sydney consulting practice and head of executive remuneration consulting for Hay Group (Korn Ferry); and consulting with PwC and Deloitte. In addition to his professional experience, Ben is an experienced lecturer; a published author; Chair and has been in governance roles for various not-for-profits.

April Marcot
April Marcot 
Head of People & Culture
Talent International

April Marcot is a People and Culture leader with 18 years’ experience across the digital, media, wholesale and professional services industries. Her commitment to improving the employee experience has resulted in strong business results at both large global companies and start-ups.

As Head of People and Culture at Talent, April has overall responsibility for the development and execution of the strategic people plan to further improve engagement and performance across the business. April and her team are focused on the implementation of pragmatic people strategies that deliver tangible business results.  Particular interests are health, wellbeing and diversity and inclusion in line with the 100% Human at Work movement in Australia.


Coleen Mackinnon
Coleen Mackinnon
Inclusivity Quotient (InQ)

Coleen MacKinnon is the Founder of Inclusivity Quotient (InQ), a consultancy dedicated to creating more diverse, inclusive and high-performing companies and communities. Coleen’s work leverages the passion and pragmatism of cross-sector leaders to sustainably accelerate progressive social change.

Coleen serves as Advisor to the Consult Australia Male Champions of Change and is co-creator of #Engaging Men - an empathic approach to authentically involve male leaders in the design of more inclusive workplaces. She is a Board member with Women for Election Australia and a founding member of the Community Coalition to restore Democracy in Warringah.

Nathan Agius
Nathan Agius 
General Manager

Nathan is an experienced insurance professional with extensive knowledge across underwriting, claims and reinsurance. He has  worked in the public sector on statutory insurance products for a decade, with a focus on insurance law, professional indemnity and construction insurance.

Nathan is currently the chief underwriter for the NSW self-insurance scheme, the NSW home building compensation scheme and the NSW public sector infrastructure construction insurance scheme.

Wyn Owen Dafydd Dafydd Wyn Owen

Dafydd is a Partner with HKA, the world’s leading construction claims and consulting business. He leads HKA’s Advisory business in the Oceania region. Specialising in major infrastructure investment, Dafydd’s career has spanned public and private sectors and he has advised on some of the most significant infrastructure projects in Australia and the UK.

Dafydd is at the forefront of collaborative contracting in Australia and HKA recently became the lead partner for NEC Contracts in Australasia. Together HKA and NEC will partner to introduce a new collaborative contracting option to the Australian infrastructure market.

Dafydd is also currently supporting Sydney Water to embed the principles of Project 13 into its Partnering 4 Success initiative, Project 13’s first International Early Adopter. This will help move the business from a transactional business to a more collaborative and sustainable one.

Hasti Kalaorstaghi
Hasti Kalarostaghi
Hunt & Hunt

Hasti is well-regarded as an expert in planning and environmental law. With her legal extensive expertise in valuation and compulsory acquisition, together with her strong experience providing advice on transactional matters she is perfectly placed to offer insights into what opportunities and obstacles lie ahead. Hasti has a strong public-sector client based and has an admirable reputation as a service provider to her clients. She was named as a recommended Planning and Environment Lawyer in Doyle’s Guide 2018 and 2019.

Lynn Kraus
Lynn Krause
Partner, Transaction Advisory Services

Lynn is currently a partner in the Transaction Advisory Services business providing advice to clients on capital finance transactions. She has served for the last 10 years on the EY Oceania Executive Leadership team as the Oceania Market Leaders, the Oceania Talent Leader, the Sydney Office Managing Partner and most recently as the Managing Partner for EY’s Advisory & Technology Practice. Lynn is a member of Chief Executive Women. In 2016 Lynn was recognised as one of the AFR 100 Women of Influence for her work in Diversity

Ryan McCarthy
Ryan McCarthy
Managing Director
Stryker Medical APAC


Ryan is the Managing Director of Stryker Medical APAC. Stryker is one of the world’s leading medical technology companies, consistently voted one of Australia’s best places to work. Ryan also happens to be the only Australian to be recognised by Gallup as one of the top 10 people leaders in the globe. He is on a mission to improve leadership in Australia and joins us today to get us thinking about how we lead people today and into the future.







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