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Thought leaders, role models and mentors in Education

Georgina Forster
15 May 2019

With the rise of Social Media and Technology, this generation is proving to be one with unique challenges and one that is connected to the world around them in a way that we have yet to truly understand.

From Mental Health and motivation to advocacy and innovation, the speakers below provide meaningful insight and inspiration to our upcoming generations.

To hear more about any of these speakers send us an enquiry here and we will be in touch within 24 hours to discuss your event in more detail.

Solli Raphael - Australia's youngest ever Poetry Slam champion and author of Limelight.

Solli is a budding humanitarian and environmental conservationist who uses original work to instigate conversations about issues that affect future generations.

Having performed as a slam poet and keynote speaker at national and international conferences, corporate, lifestyle and charity events, literary festivals, in countless schools as well as on TV shows such as The Project, Q&A, Studio10 and ABC Breakfast News, Solli has found himself receiving accolades for his inspirational input into the lives of youth and adults alike.

View his TEDx presentation.

Jacqui Bell - The youngest person in the world to conquer ultra-marathons on 7 Continents & Mental Health Ambassador

Imagine running almost 2,000 kilometres - mostly through gruelling desert terrain - all while your toenails keep falling off: 10 of them, to be precise.

For most, it sounds like a form of torture. Not so for ultramarathon runner Jacqui Bell, especially when you consider what she's already been through.

At the age of 23, became The Youngest Female in The World to complete Racing Planet's 4 Desert Grand Slam. This meant running 250 kilometers across four of the harshest deserts in the world - and in 2019 she went on to become the youngest person to complete an Ultra Marathon on every Continent in the World. Whilst completing this Jacqui also raised over $23,000 for The White Cloud Foundation Mental Health Charity.

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg - Improving Mental Health through Technology

Michael is Australia's highest profile adolescent psychologist and is an ambassador for a multitude of organisations aimed at promoting the wellbeing of young people.

A well-rounded speaker, Michael has a range of topics aimed at schools which ultilise the latest research to help both students and parents deal with the trials and tribulations of school.

Dr Gill Hicks - Terror Survivor and Global Peace Advocate

After surviving the London Bombings in 2005 and the subsequent recovery after the loss of her legs, Gill’s story is one of resilience, perseverance and, surprisingly, love.

Inspired by the kindness shown to her by strangers Gill has dedicated her life to spreading and advocating for peace and countering violent extremism through her organisation MAD for Peace. Gill believes that we as individuals have the ability to enact great change in both our own lives and the lives of others by building trust and confidence within ourselves.

Every one of Gill's presentations is completely bespoke and focus on themes such as confidence and trust within ourselves, and how having both allows us to make transformational choices. To get an idea of how Gill constructs each presentation check out her video here.

Richard Gerver - Re-evaluating Education

The award-winning principal behind the education reforms that transformed the Grange Primary into one of the world's most acclaimed learning environments, Richard Gerver is now a leading consultant on change, leadership and education having worked with leaders such as Barrack Obama and the Dalai Llama.

An innovator and educator by trade Richard focuses on the skills that young people need to achieve success in the future and works towards creating the systems that will allow them to develop into the leaders of tomorrow.

Dr Charlotte Keating - Wellbeing and Mental Health Expert

Dr Charlotte Keating is a psychologist, with a PhD in neuroscience, specialising in adolescents and executives. She is a passionate advocate for mental health, particularly for young people.

She is uniquely placed as a result of her expertise in psychology and neuroscience to understand the needs of young people and effectively communicate about them as a media personality, psychologist and researcher.

Michael Coyne - Globally Renowned Photographer and Storyteller

Michael Coyne has worked as a photographer for over 30 years, covering wars, revolutions, famine, natural disasters and other international events in places as diverse as the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Middle East and Africa. His photographs have featured in numerous prestigious publications including Time, Life, the New York Times, Newsweek and National Geographic.

Michael is an exceptional storyteller (you can view a sample of his stories here) and is also available to provide photography workshops for students in addition to his keynote which provide an incredibly special opportunity for those passionate about the art-form.

Felicity Furey - Engineer and Champion for diversity in STEM.

Felicity Furey is an award winning inspirational speaker, entrepreneur and engineer passionate about diversity. As a founder of two social enterprises, Felicity has shifted the perception of engineering with thousands of young people and companies. Felicity co-founded social enterprise Machinam, which engages and motivates students in high school maths. Machinam’s digital maths resource, In Real Life for year 9 and 10, connects what students are learning in maths class to the real world and authentically how they would use maths. She also co-founded not-for-profit Power of Engineering. The organisation has now reached over 8,000 students across Australia through one day events and partnerships with industry and universities. 75% of students who were a ‘no’ to engineering before the day change their mind to a ‘yes’ after the event.

Annabelle Chauncy - CEO and Founding Director of School for Life Foundation.

Over three months in Kenya and Uganda in 2007, Annabelle Chauncy’s life changed. Deeply moved by seeing children hungry to learn despite broken desks and understaffed schools, she and was determined to create realistic change in Africa. At 21 she founded a multi-national NGO from scratch, the School for Life Foundation, with operations in both Australia and Uganda and over the past 10 years has built a team of more than 120 staff and constructed 3 schools in rural Uganda that provide quality education to 680 students and outreach to more than 2000 people.

Tim Cope - Expanding Horizons

In one of the most unique odysseys of modern times Tim Cope spent three years on horseback among nomads traversing the Eurasian steppe, accompanied by his dog Tigon. A deeply passionate storyteller, Tim has broken with the stereotype of conquest-focused adventure and become renowned as a champion of the rare human wisdom found in some of the world’s least known traditional cultures. His message of success and happiness through resilience, taking responsible risks, embracing cultural and individual differences, and developing relationships based on understanding and respect has found universal resonance.

Marita Cheng - Engineering Visionary

Marita Cheng is the founder and CEO of aubot (formerly 2Mar Robotics), which makes a telepresence robot, Teleport, for kids with cancer in hospital to attend school, people with a disability to attend work and to monitor and socialise with elderly people. Marita also founded Robogals which runs engineering and technology workshops free-of-charge in their local communities, focusing on encouraging girls from primary to secondary school to explore an interest, as well as cultivate self-confidence, in these areas. Robogals has now taught 70,000 girls from 11 countries robotics workshops across 32 chapters.

Nasir Soibhani - The Streets’ Barber

Nasir Sobhani is a humanitarian walking the streets of Geelong offering free haircuts and shaves to the homeless and less fortunate. Humble and friendly, he shares their stories online through social media with an aim to give a ‘Voice to the Voiceless’

Nasir is dedicated to helping all those who encounter him find their own purpose and passionate advocate for social equality and compassion for all.

Nadine Champion - Lessons from Martial Arts

Nadine Champion is a truly inspiring keynote speaker, martial arts Sensei (teacher), author and entrepreneur. She is a thought leader on courage, inner strength and resilience. Her authenticity shines through with her life changing 10 Seconds of Courage message - a powerful call to action challenging her audience to “change their thinking” in order to succeed. Her delivery is humorous, educational and touching in equal measure.

Peter Hillary - Climb your own Everest

Peter Hillary’s life is a testament to setting goals and achieving them. His skill, driving ambition, and good judgement have enabled him to summit mountains and survive ferocious storms and avalanches. He is a communicator, a storyteller and a skilled assessor of what works and what doesn’t in critical situations. With a history of world class achievements in climbing, he is an inspiring adventurer from one of the great families of mountaineering.

Dr Catherine Ball - Drone Expert and Diversity Champion

Dr. Catherine Ball is an author, founder, executive director, and ethics advocate working across global projects where emerging technologies meet humanitarian, education and environmental needs. Catherine also likes to create businesses. Catherine has most recently created “World of Drones Education”which is set to be the ‘Netflix’ of STEM resources for teachers, educators, corporates, and parents. It includes lesson plans on demand and a Podcast you can download from the Apple Store.

Orange Sky Laundry - What do a park, a van and dirty laundry have in common?

At the age of 20, best mates Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett built a free mobile laundry in their old van to help the homeless. Orange Sky Laundry began in October 2014 and since then, the world first idea has rapidly expanded to 11 vans in Brisbane, Melbourne, SE Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Perth, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Wollongong. Lucas and Nic present their story of innovation, fast growth, social entrepreneurship, the impact of social media and how simple ideas can have an enormous impact.

Jules Allen - Inspiring people to take action.

Jules is a leading Youth Advocate, and has over twenty years of experience in youth support and child protection.

After suffering years of sexual abuse, family breakdown and domestic abuse, Jules decided not to let her past define her becoming the face of charities such as adopt change and Foster Care Australia. Today she is an accomplished speaker, drawing on her own experiences to help others turn their greatest adversity in their greatest strength.

Graeme Joy - Education and adventure

Graeme Joy is perhaps best known as joint leader of the International North Pole Expedition where he became the first Australian to ski to the North Pole. He has also led expeditions to Mount Denali in Alaska, Mount Vinson in Antarctica, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, across the Australian desert, and kayaking in Greenland and Bass Strait.

Graeme also served as the Director of Outdoor Education at Geelong Grammar School's Timbertop Campus during the early 80s. While at Timbertop he substantially changed Timbertop's education programme in the outdoors and environmental science.

Sean Purcell - Finding purpose in adversity

After a cardiac arrest left him in a coma and a bleak prognosis, Sean Purcell was able to not only survive but thrive. Five years on he now heads up the ‘Empower Sessions’ by the Cotton On Foundation seeking to empower youth on a global scale through international progress.

Sean’s presentations focus on self-development and overcoming adversity to find find and achieve and life of purpose.

Jerry Grayson - Film & Rescue Pilot, Drone Educator

Jerry Grayson is a rescue pilot turned speaker and storyteller, with a wealth of stories to share from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

Jerry draws upon years of search and rescue experience for lessons in teamwork, resilience and leadership.

Arron Wood - Kids teaching Kids

Arron Wood is a leading entrepreneur and business expert with a focus on promoting positive wellbeing and resilience through his highly successful Kids Teaching Kids Program. With over 95,000 participants worldwide, the program gives children the opportunity to bring awareness environmental issues in their own way by presenting to their peers.

Arron believes that this culture of peer learning can help instill meaningful change in young people and help foster the next generation of informed citizens. You can see more of his thoughts on this method at the video below.

John Marsden - World renowned author and educator

John Marsden has written more than 40 books, mostly for teenagers and children, including Tomorrow When the War Began, So Much to Tell You, and Letters from the Inside. He has sold over five million books worldwide, and has won every major award in Australia for young people's fiction.

John's passionate interest in education led him to start two schools, Candlebark, on a vast forested estate near Romsey Victoria, and Alice Miller, at Macedon, a Year 7-12 school with a particular emphasis on the creative arts. The two schools enrolled 350 students in 2018.

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