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Wood AM

Sustainable business expert and Former Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne


A sustainable future is a question of leadership.

Arron Wood is a sustainable business expert and former Deputy Lord Mayor for the City of Melbourne, and is a News Ltd Telstra Micro Business Award winner.

At the pulse of what makes Melbourne an incredible city, Arron is Chair of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and currently serves on the South East Water Board, and previously Chaired the Melbourne Ecocity World Summit Advisory Board and was a member of the Fisherman’s Bend Ministerial Advisory Committee.

In 2020 Arron was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to local government, to the environment, and to the community of Melbourne.

Current Work

Arron is both an entertaining and informative keynote speaker and a highly capable emcee and event facilitator. With Arron as the face of your event you’ll rest assured that the event will be exciting, on schedule, high energy, deliver on your key event messages and generate excellent delegate feedback.

Arron's insight and ability to identify emerging green markets and risks to existing markets has seen him speak at the Australasian Mutuals Institute Annual Conference, the KPMG Graduate Induction and the Ernst and Young Human Capital Forum, to name but a few. He has been very well received by clients such as Sony Australia and emceed events for Commonwealth Bank, CPA Australia, business breakfasts and Microsoft.

Arron is the founder and Managing Director of Firestarter Pty Ltd, an environmental communication and education consultancy business. He initiated and runs the highly successful Kids Teaching Kids Program for students from around the world which has attracted $30 million in funding over the life of the project (single-handedly raised by Arron) and seen 135,000 students participate in the program. Kids Teaching Kids won the prestigious 2010 People’s Choice Banksia Award chosen from 55 finalists across 10 categories.

Previous Experience

Awards: As the 2007 Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year Award winner Arron speaks passionately about the need for Australian businesses to be at the forefront of the new green economy to secure the nation as an environmental knowledge and technology leader. Whether it is advising 700 local government executives from around the world on how to see sustainability as an opportunity or speaking at the National Business Leaders Forum on Re-calibrating the Risk From Climate Change Arron's leading edge understanding coupled with global experience on sustainability issues results in constant demand for his talents across a wide variety of industries, community groups and government organisations.

Appointments: He's previously been a Deputy Lord Mayor and Acting Lord Mayor for the City of Melbourne, Board Member of the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority, a Board Member of Sustainability Victoria, Chair of the 2017 World Ecocity Summit, and Chair of the Melbourne Parks and Gardens Advisory Committee.

Features: He's also been featured on the WME Magazine Leaders List in 2012, the same year he was appointed as the youngest Governor of University College (Melbourne University).

Radio: For many years Arron was the weekly environment reporter on radio 3AW and appeared fortnightly on Network TEN's morning show 9am with David and Kim and The Circle presenting a popular segment updating all things environment.

Author: He released his autobiography 'Billabong Boy' published by New Holland. Arron first book 'Inspiring the Next Young Environmental Leader. Kids Teaching Kids - Addressing Our Environment Crisis' has sold 5,000 copies.

Feature: He was been named among the Top Ten Education Leaders nationally in 2009 by The Weekend Australian Magazine.

Talking Points

Sustainability and Environment

Very popular with local government, community organisations and large state government department’s Arron has nearly 20 years’ experience in all aspects of the sustainability sector. His numerous Board positions and senior appointments at a relatively young age give him particular insight into how to make things happen and drive project success.

Building Resilience in Business

Arron Wood shares the personal battles he has faced by providing inspiration to anyone who has ever felt as though they’re unable to overcome adversity. From facing schoolyard bullies, battling low self-esteem and ultimately having to deal with depression and anxiety while running a business. Arron's path to his current success has been filled with obstacles that many people will have experienced themselves, however he has managed to turn his business (most people think should be voluntary charity) into social entrepreneurism with millions in annual turnover.

Future Business

A look at macro issues and the changing global economy and what that means for sound business strategy. How to maximise the opportunities and minimise the risk in periods of uncertainty, with specific insight into emerging industries.

Small Business

As a successful small business founder and Managing Director Arron relates very well to the SME sector and is a great addition to any business conference, industry breakfast or awards event. His presentations show empathy and affinity with really varied audiences. Arron has a unique way of understanding what your delegates or guests wish to gain from your event.

Master Of Ceremonies

Arron is a highly capable emcee with many years’ experience across varied topics and events. Arron ensures a headache free event for the event host or manager. On schedule, entertaining, informative and pre event workshopping of your conference or event program. Having run many events himself Arron understands the critical role of emcee, how to work with your presenters, sponsors and understanding your event objectives.

Sustainable, Resilient Leadership

In this Keynote, Arron will share actionable strategies and insights drawn from his frontline experience in steering organisations through adversity. From sustainable leadership to market foresight and innovative environmental stewardship, gain practical takeaways that empower you to navigate complexities and foster success in your own leadership journey.

Key Takeaways:
- Resilient Leadership Tactics: Uncover proven strategies employed by Arron during economic challenges, equipping you with the tools to lead with resilience in any circumstance.
- Market Insight and Risk Navigation: Learn how to identify and capitalize on emerging green markets, while effectively managing risks in an ever-evolving business landscape.
- Innovative Environmental Stewardship: Explore Arron's groundbreaking work in environmental communication and education, gaining inspiration on integrating sustainability into your leadership approach for long-term success.
Arron Wood is one of those remarkable people who, at 28, make you wonder what the hell you've been doing with your life. This environmentalist is a natural leader, chased by both ends of the political spectrum. He is best known for founding the International River Health Conference and environmental educational campaigns for children… The Weekend Australian

When I heard the Distinguished Speaker Series was about the environment, I must admit I was not looking forward to it. Yes, it s an important topic but also one that can be very boring. Arron Wood was a great presenter and made it interesting, engaging and relevant. So, thank you guys for having him this semester and making me for once, listen to what is going on with our environment.

Macquarie University, Distinguished Speaker Series

Aaron was flexible and happy to work with the constraints of Council and the available equipment. He connected with the students on a one to one basis and gained their interest and confidence. In the wrap up session he encouraged them to talk about their individual projects and advised them on how to move ahead. It was wonderful to see him surrounded by the students at the conclusion and there were many photo opportunities with cameras flashing everywhere.

Wingecarribee Shire Council

With Arron as MC, I didn't have to worry about a thing. He ran the day to perfect time, met and briefed all the speakers prior to their presentation, and managed over 20 Q&A sessions (taking questions from over 1000 delegates and also from the live Twitter stream - achieving a great balance). He was also extremely well prepared for the day, which eliminated any 'last minute rush' and meant I was 100% confident in his ability to be the 'face' of our event. Working with Arron meant I could concentrate on running the overall event, without worrying what was happening on stage carrying any concerns about running over time. Arron's has an extremely strong work ethic - he treated speakers and audience with respect good humour, and his professionalism was a major value-add to our event. I would not hesitate to recommend him as an MC, and look forward to continuing our working relationship.

ACE Events

Arron was very easy to brief and liaise with. He read the audience very well and presented himself and the night in a very friendly, uplifting and proud manor. His experience was very well suited to the event and the theme. I recommend Arron for any future opportunities that come his way.

River Health Incentives Program
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