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Top Inspiring Speakers for Schools & Young Audiences

Georgina Forster
15 Oct. 2020

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 young audiences.

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.

Julie Hirsch - Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Innovator & Advocate for Fairer Business

Julie Hirsch is Co-Founder and COO of Eloments Natural Vitamin Tea, a world-first 100% natural vitamin tea and overnight success securing shelf space in 2000 stores across the globe in just over a year, and represents the 1% of businesses started by a female entrepreneur under 30.

Julie was named Telstra’s Victorian Business Woman of the Year and listed in Forbes 30 Under 30. Julie is an engaging and interactive young leader who has a presentation specifically tailored to inspire the next young innovator, entrepreneur, and social impact leader, for VCE Year 11 / 12 Students in Business Management, or Secondary Students building their 21st Century Skills.

Dr Jordan Nguyen - Thought leader on the intersection between technology & humanity

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.

Marita Cheng - Engineering visionary and 2012 Young Australian of the Year.

Marita Cheng is founder and CEO of aubot and the founder of Robogals a student-run organisation that provides free engineering and technology workshops to encourage primary and secondary school girls.

Marita was named the 2012 Young Australian of the Year and in Marita was made a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to science and technology, particularly to robotics. her company aubot 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. As well as telepresence robots, Aubot does research and development in robotic arms, virtual reality and autonomous mapping and navigation.

Adam McCurdie and Joshua Ross - Social entrepreneurs behind Humanitix

Adam McCurdie and Joshua Ross are some of Australia’s most successful social entrepreneurs under the age of 30.

They are the co-founders and co-managing directors of the social enterprise Humanitix, which is now selling in excess of $10m in tickets per annum, disrupting the online ticketing industry and redirecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in ‘annoying’ booking fees to help end global poverty and education gaps.

Adam and Josh are engaging and insightful speakers who inspire audiences to challenge the status quo and are guaranteed to resonate with students around Australia.

Jess and Stef Dadon - Co-Founders of Twoobs, How Two Live

Australian sisters Jess and Stef Dadon are designers, creative directors, and entrepreneurs. They first launched How Two Live as a daily diary in 2012, and it has since grown into a global platform with a tribe of loyal fans.

In 2016 the duo created TWOOBS; a line of comfortable, fashion-forward, and animal- friendly sandals that regularly sell out. Through their label, they also offer The Two Grant, which gives female entrepreneurs grants of up to $5000 along with mentorships, in line with the sisters’ goal of encouraging more women to run their own businesses. They are passionate advocates for sustainable, purpose-led businesses.

Most recently the pair debuted How Two Live: The Podcast, interviewing strong female mentors, with a goal to empower women with positive and inspiring content.

Nick Bracks - Mental Health Advocate

Nick Bracks has spent the last decade as a passionate advocate for mental health issues, speaking at some of Australia’s largest organisations. In his presentation, Nick candidly shares his story and 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.

Nick's goal is to be part of changing the way we view mental health. He believes that by formally educating children about mental health we can create a healthier and more sustainable future.

Yasmin Poole - Award-Winning Youth Advocate

Yasmin is an award-winning speaker, writer and youth advocate. Named one of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women by the Australian Financial Review, Yasmin’s work focuses on why diversity is necessary to ignite social change.

Yasmin developed a strong sense of justice at a young age. After growing up in a low-income family in country Victoria, she was instilled with the desire to stand up for the disadvantaged and create a fairer Australia. She has since gone on to become a powerful representative for the youth voice. She is Plan International's National Ambassador and the Non-Executive Board Director of OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue charity.

Macinley Butson - Young Inventor, Award Winning STEM Leader and 2018 NSW Young Australian of the Year.

Macinley Butson is one of Australia’s foremost young inventors who devotes herself to improving the world through STEM and, being an inspirational voice to youth and industry urging them to work towards solutions for global challenges by asking big questions.

Macinley has developed many devices which have aided humanity across a number of sectors including, cancer treatment, water sanitation and, renewable energy. She is Recognised as one of Australia’s top young scientists, Macinley is a passionate ambassador for STEM education amongst girls and representative for the inclusion of young generations. Alongside studying at university, she brings a personal understanding when speaking to students encouraging the pursuit of STEM and their own curiosity.

Lisy Kane - Co-Founder of Girl Geek Academy

Lisy Kane is the co-founder of Girl Geek Academy and a video games producer making waves in the industry. Lisy’s gaming industry insights have seen her curate and produce sell-out events for the academy, including #SheMakesGames 2015 - Australia’s first all-women game-making day - which was such a hit it has been made an annual event.

Girl Geek Academy was founded in 2014 with the mission to teach 1 million women to get into tech and launch their own startups by 2025. Girl Geek Academy is behind Australia's first all-women hackathon, #SheHacks, and the world’s first hackathon for girls aged five to eight, #MissMakesCode.

Scott Millar - The young entrepreneur taking the world by storm

Scott Millar is the tech-head prodigy behind BOP Industries and young entrepreneur taking the world by storm. At 19, Scott has been named one of Australia’s top 30 under 30 in business, Asia Pacific’s Inspiring Youth Leader for 2019 and an LGBT advocate and leader in Australia and overseas.

BOP Industries is a Brisbane based technology and education company on the mission to inspire the next generation of digital creators, showing students around the world how they can do amazing things at any age from anywhere. With a focus on entrepreneurship, technology and the future of work, Scott and his team are working to build a generation of change-makers.

Billie Murphy - An Empowering Educator

Billie Murphy is an educator and experienced facilitator who specialises in working with our partners to deliver an exceptional program that enhances wellbeing and broadens their understanding of global citizenship and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Billie is the General Manager of SolarBuddy, a not-for-profit with the goal of gifting 6 million solar lights to children living in energy poverty by 2030. Billie is an accomplished keynote Speaker and is passionate about educating others and empowering them to become change-makers and have a positive impact in the world.

Orange Sky Laundry - World-first free mobile laundry & showers for the homeless

In October 2014, two best mates had a crazy idea to put two washing machines and two dryers in the back of a van, and wash and dry clothes for free.

From there Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, the 2016 Young Australians of the Year, founded Orange Sky - a world-first, free mobile laundry service for people experiencing homelessness. On a mission to improve hygiene standards. Orange Sky now has 29 laundry and shower services operating across the country, with thousands of volunteers giving their time each week to help positively connect some of the 116,000 Australians doing it tough. The focus is on creating a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for people who are too often ignored or feel disconnected from the community.

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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