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Retired Special Forces Major & Founder of Voice Of A Veteran

Mindset & Motivation are critical to unlocking our true potential.

Heston Russell joined the Australian Army at the age of 17 via the Australian Defence Force Academy where he completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History & Indonesian from the University of New South Wales.

In 2006 he graduated from the Royal Military College of Duntroon and was posted to his first commissioned appointment as a Platoon Commander with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR).

Within the 2 RAR, Heston fulfilled the appointment of Infantry Platoon Commander and Anti-Armoured Platoon Commander. During his tenure at 2 RAR, Heston deployed to Timor Leste within the Timor Leste Battle Group-3 conducting Peacekeeping Operations.

Current Work:

In 2020 Heston founded Voice Of A Veteran (Voice Of A - a platform to speak out and take action to support the modern Veteran community and to achieve the required changes within the government systems designed to support Veterans. He also hopes that Voice Of A Veteran can help all Australian’s to better understand contemporary veterans and the value they represent.

Heston’s has already launched and led a number of successful campaigns supporting Veterans including:
Successfully retaining the Meritorious Unit Citation award for over 3,000 Special Forces personnel in the wake of the Brereton report release(October - December 2020)
Successfully reinstating the 2021 Sydney CBD ANZAC Day march (January - March 2021)
Achieving majority approval through the Senate and Parliament of Australia to call for a Royal Commission into Defence & Veteran Suicide (March 2021) resulting in the Royal Commission being called by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 19 April 2021.

Heston also enjoys delivering keynote speaking engagements which have included his ‘Authentic Leadership’ delivery to the Royal Military College Officers & Staff Cadets. His keynotes are drawn from his lived experience, with a particular focus on Leadership, Culture, Diversity & Emotional Intelligence.

Heston now lives in Brisbane with his Mini-Dachshund Son Copper.

Previous Experience:

In 2010, Heston successfully completed Special Forces selection and training to become a Qualified Commando Officer within the 2nd Commando Regiment (2 CDO REGT), Special Operations Command - Australia (SOCOMD). During his tenure within 2 CDO REGT, Heston completed the appointments of Commando Platoon Commander, Company Executive Officer and Adjutant. These appointments also included three Operational Deployments to Afghanistan and the Middle East Area of Operations and also saw Operational Service in support of a number of Domestic Counter-Terrorism operations within the Asia-Pacific Region.

In 2015 Heston was posted on exchange to serve within the United States Special Operations Command, including an additional operational deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations.

On return to Australia in 2016, Heston was promoted to Major and appointed Officer Commanding the Special Forces Selection and Training continuum at the Special Forces Training Centre. Later that year he completed his final operational deployment to Iraq as the Special Operations Joint Lead Planner within the Special Operations Joint Task Force.

On return from this deployment in 2017, Heston took extended leave to partner with and lead the expansion of the US-originated fitness brand Barry’s Bootcamp to Australia and Singapore before officially discharging from the Australian Defence Force in January 2019.

Heston's list of Honours and Awards for his service within the Australian Defence Force are as follows:

Defense Meritorious Service Medal (US)
Defence Long Service Medal
Australian Operational Service Medal - Greater Middle East Operation
United States Joint Service Commendation Medal
NATO Non Article 5 Medal with Clasp Afghanistan
United States of America Army Commendation Medal
NATO Non Article 5 Medal with clasp - ISAF
Afghanistan Medal
Australian Active Service Medal with Clasp ICAT
Clasp 'CT/SR' to the Australian Service Medal
Medalha Solidariedade de Timor-Leste (Timor -Leste Solidarity Medal)
Australian Service Medal with clasp TIMOR-LESTE
Australian Defence Medal
Meritorious Unit Citation - Task Force 66 (Special Ops Task Groups IV-XX)
Commander 1st Division Commendation
Order of Saint Maurice - Peregrinus (awarded by the Head of the United States Infantry Corps

Talking Points

Authentic Leadership - Courage from Combat to Career

Leaders are not born, they are made. This keynote is the culmination of Heston's career leading special forces soldiers in combat missions around the world, stepping up to what needs to be done at home, and constantly facing chaos and uncertainty without fear for himself. Through triumphs, and extreme tragedies, achieving results beyond expectations including his own. What are the key fundamentals that Heston has drawn from all of this lived experience and wishes that he knew before it was often too late? Learning to lead yourself, let alone any and all you will be responsible for - listen to stories that surpass any battlefield or boardroom - and will leave you walking away with more than you thought you could carry.

Key Takeaways:
- Taking the offensive - how you can build proactive resilience
- What does It really take to be the best leader
- The empowerment of vulnerability

Culture & Identity in Crisis - How to deal with the imposter within you and form the team around you to achieve... anything

This keynote draws on Heston's extensive lived experience from being selected and trained to the most elite levels within Special Forces - and deployed into danger all over the world, through to facing fears bigger than he could imagine - accepting his own sexuality and contemplating suicide. Acceptance of your authentic self and being able to share this with friends and family. Heston will detail these real-life examples and extract the key lessons learnt to be applied to ensure that you and your team are combat-ready in any career.

Key Takeaways:
- Special Forces Fundamentals for high performing people
- How purpose and perspective can be stronger than any armour
- Empowering Authenticity through accepting Vulnerability

Keynote or Workshop: Purpose & Value - unlocking your unique performance code - unleashing your true potential

This keynote/workshop conducts an interactive deep dive into foundational values development and then expands the focus of these to establish pathways to consciously increase professional performance, personal enjoyment and collective cohesion in all aspects of life.

This will include helping individuals better understand what they need to feel more valued, motivated and perhaps even inspired in and out of the workplace, with the ability to then apply these same insights to those around them, that they are responsible for, or care for for the most.

Key takeaways:
- Mindset training proven to open and appreciate emotional intelligence
- Development of Personal Purpose Statements,
- Values Agreements & more.
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