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Most Popular Speaker Topics of the Last Financial Year

Emma Carson
01 Aug 2022

This year has certainly been an exciting year for the corporate event industry. Face-to-face events are back, and virtual events are better and more effective than last year. Hybrid events combine face-to-face and virtual components within a single event, allowing event producers to extend their reach while providing an experience in the way participants prefer.

At Saxton, we have had the privilege of working with Delegate Connect to develop some fantastic Saxton Live events where we see a cohesion of both in-person and remote audiences for an unforgettable hybrid event experience. These events have been very popular and allow you to join in live from the comfort of your home as well as offer on-demand playback options so you can access the footage in your own time.

Our next Saxton Live is just around the corner on Tuesday 2nd August, join our lovely host Faustina Agolley and our keynote speakers Lucinda Hartley, Melanie Tran, Matt Jones, and Nadine Champion for a fantastic virtual experience. To get access to this event virtually please follow the link below to sign up:

As we enter the new financial year, the number of keynote speakers requested on certain topics is steadily increasing, and for a good reason. They reflect some of the biggest challenges facing humanity within and outside the office today.

Our top 10 Saxton topics for this financial year are as follows:


This paints an apparent picture of the current world trends and what people are in desperate need of after the last couple of grueling years.

Below you can find out more about some of our great speaker recommendations for the top five trending topics.


A true story of triumph over tragedy, Curtis McGrath is a para-canoeist like no other. On the 23rd of August 2012, young soldier Curtis McGrath’s life changed forever. The decorated Sapper was two months into a tour of Taliban-rife areas of Afghanistan when he stepped on a homemade landmine, otherwise known as an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). The then 24-year-old tragically lost both his legs in the blast.

Curtis enlisted into the Australian Army on the 12th of June 2006, at 18. His focus immediately turned to Combat Engineering, a role that’s main aim is to “Provide mobility whilst denying the enemy mobility”. Duties range from building structures and converting seawater into drinking water for the Army and the local populous to destroying bridges and clearing mines and booby traps.

Thirty minutes after losing both his legs in a horrific blast in Afghanistan, Curtis was already thinking about pursuing a career as an amputee athlete in those traumatic moments as he was being stretchered from the bomb site. Fully aware of his grim situation and partly to maintain consciousness as a survival mechanism, he joked with those helping him about becoming a Paralympian. He didn’t know what sport he was going to do, but his positive outlook and determination to rebound and get on with achieving his driving ambitions are what has made this man get to where he is today.

Curtis lost his right leg above the knee and his left leg below the knee. After a miraculously speedy recovery and rehabilitation process, Curtis was fitted with legs made by Otto Bock; a German company first started after World War I.

Curtis has joined the channel 7 team currently at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, commentating on the cycling and Paralympic sports.

Follow the link to book him for your next event >

After being groomed and raped by her maths teacher when she was just 15 years old, Grace Tame has turned her traumatic experience into advocacy for survivors of child sexual abuse and has been a leader of positive change for over a decade.

Recognising the injustice of Tasmania’s gag order that prevented survivors from self-identifying publicly, Grace offered her story to the #LetHerSpeak campaign created by Nina Funnell, along with the stories of 16 other brave survivors. In 2019, she finally won a court order to speak out under her own name, making her the state’s first female child sexual abuse survivor to do so.

Now, 26 and based in Hobart, Grace is dedicated to eradicating child sexual abuse in Australia, and supporting the survivors of child sexual abuse.

Her focus is around enabling survivors to tell their stories without shame, educating the public about the process and lasting effects of grooming and working with policy and decision-makers to ensure we have a federal legal system that supports the survivors, not just the perpetrators.

She is also a passionate yoga teacher, visual artist, and champion long-distance runner, having won the 2020 Ross Marathon in a female course record time of 2:59:31.

An open book about her experience, but even more passionate about preventing this from happening to other children, Grace speaks from the heart and will have her audience simultaneously inspired and in tears.

She is a regular keynote speaker, media guest and advocacy commentator.

Grace is 2021 Australian of the Year.

Find out more about Grace and her inspiring story here >

David Knoff is an Antarctic Expedition Leader, Author, and leadership expert who specialises in remote leadership, hostile environment diplomacy, and resilience.

David’s international career has taken him across the globe with experiences as an officer in the Australian Army, diplomatic postings in Pakistan and Iraq, and most recently with the Australian Antarctic Program. In 2019, David was given a leadership challenge unlike no other in modern history, as the Station Leader at Davis Station, Antarctica, he was leading a team of just 24 through the isolation of an Antarctic winter when the COVID-19 Pandemic broke out. The impact of the pandemic on Antarctic operations saw David’s team without a ride home as planned and facing one of the longest periods of isolation in modern Antarctic History. Returning to a changed world in mid-2021, David’s book, 537 Days of Winter: Resilience, Endurance and Humanity while stranded in Antarctica during the Pandemic tells the story of what it was like to lead a team through unprecedented uncertainty and how to find resilience in the most extreme environments.

Get David to inspire your team >


Shadé Zahrai is a leadership ‘alchemist’ known for her superhuman ability to translate the latest in neuroscience and psychology research into practical and actionable strategies that drive mindset shifts and behavioural change in a systemic way.

She’s a dynamic speaker who skillfully blends a wealth of experience in corporate and consulting Fortune 500s around the world, with her approach as a scholar-practitioner and her Ph.D. research in leadership and career performance.

She’s spent countless hours with hundreds of teams from start-ups to Fortune 500s, observing clear behavioural trends behind the happiest and most successful people. Now through her company, along with her Ph.D. research in career performance, she is leveraging the latest insights in high performance and leadership into commercially sound strategies for people and companies to do their best work by putting emotional intelligence and ‘humanness’ at the core.

A former commercial lawyer that transitioned to a successful career in banking and strategy consulting, she has since become a bestselling author, Harvard-trained leadership coach, and TEDx speaker and was recently recognised as Adweek’s Careers Creator of the Year and has amassed a global community of over 2.1 million followers on social media. She’s been featured in Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk, Adweek, the New York Times & Yahoo Finance, and is a former member of the Forbes Coaches Council, contributing articles focused on career development, leadership and high performance.

She runs Influenceo Global Inc., a leadership development, consulting & research firm, that works with Fortune 500s across the globe including McDonald's, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble & JP Morgan, empowering their teams to thrive during these turbulent times. Shadé is very in touch with the human side of the business and how to drive sustained performance, and she also has a passion for delivering programs for women in leadership to maximise confidence and supercharge success. She was the season one host of Commonwealth bank’s Leading Women podcast.

Shadé’s deep academic understanding of the art and science of peak performance blended with her commercial acumen, data-driven content and captivating storytelling, combines to make her an in-demand global speaker. Shadé’s keynotes are characterised by authenticity, practicality and creating lasting impact.

Shadé is also a 3x Australian champion Latin dancer, so salsa lessons are an added perk.

Learn more about the incredible leader that is Shadé Zahrai >

In a world crying out for purpose, connection, confidence and perspective, Ben is arguably one of the most important and inspiring speakers of our time.

As NIKE’s former International Director of Sports Marketing, Ben worked with some of the world’s most famous individuals, including Andre Agassi and NIKE CEO Phil Knight.

Now as a leadership mentor, life coach and adviser, Ben works closely with business leaders, Federal Governments, coaches & athletes across the globe explaining how authenticity, vulnerability and storytelling can create not only an amazing culture and competitive advantage - but also create a life that balances achievement with fulfillment.

As a renowned expert in connection and storytelling, Ben will take you on an inspiring and unexpected journey to discover the quirky and counterintuitive principles behind successful teams and leaders - unpacking authenticity, vulnerability, connection and storytelling.

Ben explains the power of purpose using stories from some of the world’s most successful organisations, teams and athletes, and explains how a counterintuitive focus on gratitude, humility and humour can help achieve peak performance, avoid the distractions that typically sabotage performance and balance achievement with fulfillment.

Using story to highlight the principles of “Connection” mindset, Ben explains how to embrace vulnerability, imperfection and self-worth, and will challenge you deeply about your own perspectives on themes such as:

• Expectation vs Appreciation
• Resume virtues vs Eulogy virtues
• Extrinsic motivation vs Intrinsic motivation
• Achievement vs Fulfillment
• I vs WE

Ben also shares the High-Performance principles behind some of the world’s most successful organizations, having worked closely with business leaders across the globe, including Toyota, Facebook, Ernst & Young, Telstra, Lexus, NIKE, and almost every sports organisation in Australia and overseas, and how to focus our attention to avoid the distractions which typically sabotage performance.

Book Ben for your next engagement and allow him to motivate your team >

Holly Ransom is a globally renowned content curator, powerful speaker and master interviewer with the belief that if you walk past it, you tell the world it’s okay.

Named one of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women by the Australian Financial Review, she has delivered a Peace Charter to the Dalai Lama, was Sir Richard Branson’s nominee for Wired Magazine’s ‘Smart List’ of Future Game Changers to watch and was awarded the US Embassy’s Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Leadership Excellence in 2019. Having interviewed the likes of Barack Obama, Malcolm Gladwell, Richard Branson, Billie Jean-King, Condoleezza Rice, Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus and the world’s first humanoid robot Sophia, Holly fights complexity with curiosity, apathy with empowerment and fear with fact.

Find out more about the powerful Holly >


Rae Johnston is a multi-award-winning journalist with a focus on the geekier side of life.

The first Science & Technology Editor for NITV at SBS, her work appears across television, radio, podcasts and online. Rae is also the producer and host of top-rated podcasts Queens of the Drone Age, STEAM with Rae Johnston and Hear+Beyond. Previously, Rae was the first female editor of Gizmodo Australia and the first Indigenous editor of Junkee.

Learn more about Rae and how to book her for your next gig >

Tim Campbell is one of Australia's most versatile and much-loved entertainers.

From leading TV roles on Home and Away, House Husbands, Big Sky, Dead Gorgeous and host of national prime time shows Celebrity Singing Bee, Wheel of Fortune, National Bingo Night and countless other TV programs, to lead roles in the stage shows Wicked, Rent and Shout!, Tim is certainly a star of both stage and screen.

Tim is also one of the most sought-after entertainers on the corporate events scene, with a high rate of re-bookings by overly satisfied clients. Being the multi-talent that he is, Tim often works as an MC and vocalist with his high-energy band for gala balls, award nights, charity fundraising dinners, outdoor public events, product launches, and breakfast functions across multiple spectra of industries, including Real Estate and Building, Banking and Finance, Retail/Hospitality/Tourism, Government, Motoring and more.

When he's not Dancing With the Stars or entertaining on Channel 9's Carols By Candlelight, Tim is performing the classic 70s, and 80s dance floor hits with his band from his ARIA top 30 and iTunes top 10 album High School Disco, traveling around the country in concert and at special events.

Get the multifaceted Tim to host your next event >


Dr. Lucy Hone is an Adjunct Senior Professor at the University of Canterbury, a co-director of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience, and a published academic researcher and best-selling author and blogger for Psychology Today.

Having been trained by the thought-leaders in wellbeing science, at the University of Pennsylvania, Lucy went on to attain her PhD in public health at AUT University in Auckland. She now assists organisations - from the UN and government agencies to Fortune 100 companies and schools - by distilling the best of resilience science into actionable tools.

A member of the NZAPP Executive Committee, conference convenor for Wellbeing in Education NZ, and New Zealand’s only representative of the International Positive Education Network (IPEN), Lucy’s research has been published in several peer-reviewed academic journals including the Journal of Positive Psychology, Social Indicators Research, the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the International Journal of Wellbeing and NZ Journal of Human Resources Management.
Her best-selling book Resilient Grieving is published in NZ, Australia, the US and England and her latest book, The Educators’ Guide to Whole-school Wellbeing is published by Taylor & Francis London and is a global publication for the UK, Asia, US and Australasia.

Her TED talk, the Three Secrets of Resilient People, has had over 6 million views and has been translated into 15 different languages. After being promoted to the official TED platform, Dr. Lucy’s TEDx has been recognised globally as one of the top 20 TED Talks of 2020.

Engage with Dr. Lucy here >

Hunter Johnson is the Founder & CEO of two purpose-driven organisations.

Hunter leads The Man Cave, an emotional intelligence charity that has impacted the lives of 20,000 young men across Australia.

He is also the CEO of STUFF™, a men's personal care brand that champions healthy masculinity. He also works as an Advisor to The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT), a charity supporting young people throughout the Commonwealth alongside Prince Harry, the President of QCT.

Hunter's work has led him to speak around the world including presenting at the United Nations, Government House, Human Rights Commission, Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Town Hall, Graduation Ceremonies and various Universities. Hunter has been recognised as a Finalist for the 2020 Young Australian of the Year Awards (VIC), listed as one of Harper's Bazaar's "Visionary Men of 2019", named a 2018 Queen's Young Leader by Her Majesty The Queen, and 2018 Winner of the EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Southern Region).

He has worked at FYA, co-managing Young Social Pioneers; Australia's leading incubator program for the country's top social entrepreneurs; and as Advisor to the Nexus Australia Youth Summit, a global movement of philanthropists, impact investors and social entrepreneurs collaborating to fast-track social change.

Find out more about the incredible work that Hunter does in the mental health space >

With over two decades of experience in the wealth creation space, Vanessa Stoykov knows how important it is to have courageous conversations in order to achieve financial freedom.

From her 23-year history of owning a financial services education-focused media business, Evolution Media Group, Vanessa has a deep understanding of the finance world and has the unique ability to communicate this in a way that everyday people can understand.

Through storytelling, and creating engaging and educational content without the jargon, Vanessa helps Australians make better money decisions.

She is also the Founder of NMP Education, creator of the international award-winning TV Series - Secrets of The Money Masters: The Investment Series, and the author of the best-selling book The Breakfast Club for 40-Somethings, Vanessa regularly appears in the media outlets such as, Sydney Morning Herald, ABC and The Today Show as a financial educator.

Book Vanessa for your next event to have courageous conversations and achieve financial freedom >

Nick Bracks has spent the last decade as a passionate advocate for mental health issues, speaking at some of Australia’s largest organisations. His candid story recounts his mental health struggles since age 11, including a particularly difficult period when injury forced an early end to his dream career as a professional athlete.

A successful TED talk on how creative and entrepreneurial drive can help combat depression was a career highlight in over 1,000 mental health seminars and training workshops. Nick’s message has been delivered at some of the world’s largest employers, government organisations, schools and universities… Qantas, BUPA, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, McDonald’s, The Good Guys, Orora Group, Costa Group, Telstra, Mercedes Benz, Movember and countless other local community groups.

He has worked alongside many charitable organisations, such as Beyond Blue, Movember and Headspace, and has helped to launch mental health-related programs and technology solutions in a tireless campaign for better mental health conditions in Australia and around the world.

His goal is to be part of changing the way we view mental health. By formally educating children about mental health through schooling we can create a healthier and more sustainable future.

Educate yourself and your team on healthier ways to care for your mental health by booking him for your next engagement >


Dr. Jordan Nguyen is one of Australia’s most innovative engineers, who is committed to improving the lives of as many people as possible, and to help become a driving force behind both human and technological evolution as we move into the future.

An internationally renowned engineer for humanity, Jordan designs life-changing technologies to transform the lives of people with disabilities and the elderly through his role as founder of Psykinetic, a social business committed to bringing positive, sustainable and life-altering change and shares his adventures through documentaries across the world. Inspired by human endeavour, Jordan has big ambitions to see our world step consciously and creatively into a better future.

Learn more about the extraordinary Dr. Jordan >

Lucinda Hartley is an award-winning urban designer, a cofounder of world-leading social analytics company Neighbourlytics, and a globally recognised expert in smart cities and social change.

Named as one of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women by the Australian Financial Review, Lucinda is a technology leader who offers inspiration and practical advice on the future of living, the future of work, and how technology can be a force for good in turbulent times.

Lucinda is an ‘urban futurist’ who has spent the past decade pioneering innovative solutions for improving cities and neighbourhoods, now adopted globally. She helped create the UN Sustainable Development Goals for cities (Goal 11), has delivered more than 100 neighbourhood improvement projects across Australia through her social enterprise CoDesign Studio and is now spearheading world-leading technology for measuring neighbourhood lifestyle and wellbeing using digital data, as Founding Director of Neighbourlytics.

Lucinda’s passion for cities and neighbourhoods began in childhood, growing up in Kenya, Zimbabwe and a host of other countries where she saw first-hand how your postcode is as likely to affect your life expectancy as your genetic code. From this point, she built a career seeking new ways to live.

As a keynote speaker, Lucinda draws on her experience across emerging technology and design to inspire some of the most important questions of our time: how we live, work, connect and build community.

Book Lucinda for your next event >

Michael McQueen is a multi-award-winning speaker, trend forecaster and bestselling author of nine books.

With clients including KPMG, Pepsi and Cisco, he has helped some of the world’s most successful brands navigate disruption and maintain momentum.

Michael is a regular commentator on TV and radio and his work has featured in publications ranging from the UK Daily Mail to and the Huffington Post. In addition, Michael is a familiar face on the international conference circuit having shared the stage with the likes of Bill Gates, Dr. John Maxwell and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Michael has spoken to over 500,000 people across 5 continents since 2004 and is known for his engaging, entertaining and practical conference presentations.

Having been formerly named Australia’s Keynote Speaker of the Year, Michael has been inducted into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame.

Book Michael for your next conference >

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