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Overcoming adversity to enact global change


Showing that you can overcome adversity to impact change, Melinda Cruz is the award winning founder of Miracle Babies Foundation. She is a published researcher, influencer and expert speaker on topics such as not for profit start-ups, social entrepreneurship, health and consumer advocacy, and living a life of inspired action. She is also currently working on publishing her first solo book.

Previous Experience

Social Entrepreneurship: Starting the Foundation in 2005 after having three premature babies, the incredible difference Melinda has made to thousands along with her impact as a successful entrepreneur, has seen her win numerous awards including the 2011 EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year and also be a regular guest on radio, TV, podcasts and speaker at national and international conferences. In 2013, Melinda was inducted into the Australian Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame and was a 2015 NSW Woman of the Year - Premiers Award finalist. She now sits on the panel of judges for Australian Entrepreneur of the year

Research and Consultancy: She is a trusted consumer expert to medical professionals seeking to improve treatments for premature and sick babies and the impact it has on the family unit. In 2012, she was awarded the title of Honorary Research Associate by the University of Sydney and was the first parent to be invited as an Associate Investigator on a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) neonatal trial.

In 2014, Melinda joined the Perinatal Society of Australia & New Zealand's (PSANZ) Consumer Advisory Panel as their inaugural Chair and accepted a position on the PSANZ Clinical Trials executive committee. In 2016, she joined the NHMRC Clinical Trials Ready Development Committee and in 2017 and 2018, was part of two award winning global trials improving the lives of millions of premature newborns. Melinda also sits on the Red Cross Blood Service Milk Bank Advisory Committee.

Talking Points

The Entrepreneurial Story Behind Miracle Babies Foundation

After the birth of 3 boys all born premature, Melinda discovered that while organisations had existed in the US and UK for decades, Australia had no ongoing support for families like hers.

This is the inspirational entrepreneurial story of Melinda Cruz and Miracle Babies Foundation. Having a Science degree and knowing nothing about business and not for profits, she shares the learnings and lessons uncovered both personally and professionally on taking an organisation from small and local, to national and then global and how sometimes things not going to plan is the plan. It is not a how to start a charity, it is for those who want to play a bigger game in life. This talk will inspire you to do that

The Power of Experience

If you think you cannot influence and impact change, think again. In 2004, a government recommendation encouraged the ‘appointment of consumers as decision-makers in research..’ It took 8 years for that to happen, when in 2012, Melinda was invited as the first ever parent onto a neonatal trial as an investigator. Since then she is an integral part of global neonatal research including two award winning trials saving the lives of millions of premature babies and the winner of the inaugural Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) Consumer Involvement Award

Often the only non-medical person in the room, Melinda shows how you do not need a title to influence and impact change globally, not only in healthcare but in any area. She highlights the benefits and power achieved when companies and providers open the door and collaborate with their consumers.

Miracle Babies Foundation - Family Health

A doctor once told her “Our ability to look after these babies medically and physically is world class but if we do not take care of the emotional stability of the families we are sending them home to, we are only doing half our job”
Every year in Australia, more than 48,000 babies are born premature and sick. It is more than the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer and prostate cancer combined yet it is not often spoken about. Melinda opens the door to the scary and often rollercoaster emotional journey of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and how a group of mothers partnered with the hospitals to close that gap and changed the experience for thousands of families.
Do your team and yourself a favour, book Mel to speak to them. What would you have done? You have a premature 2 year old, a one year old born at 27 weeks and you are having another one. How about you start a charity from scratch and be the CEO of it? Why? Because you don't want another family to feel how you did. You will laugh, you will cry and no obstacle will feel too big. The winner of the 2011 Ernest and Young Social Entrepreneur will blow you away. I can't recommend Mel highly enough Mortgages, Wealth, Private and Commercial Banking

Melinda Cruz is one of the most passionate entrepreneurs I know. Starting, like many, with an idea to make the world a better place, she grew Miracle Babies from a local support group into a national foundation within 5 years. As the Australian program manager for EY Entrepreneur of The Year, I was proud to nominate Melinda for the 2011 Social entrepreneur category and even prouder to watch her win the national Social entrepreneur award. Each time I hear her speak about her work I am impressed by her ability to convey her message simply and effectively. She backs up what she says with examples and data. She is an effective connector who always seeks to help other entrepreneurs. It’s a pleasure to know and work with Melinda

World EY Entrepreneur of the Year Program

If you are looking for a speaker to inspire and motivate, to create belief that anything can be achieved if the passion is strong enough, to share through personal story the power of the ask, of picking yourself up and the determination to keep going then look no further than Melinda Cruz. I booked Melinda to speak to an audience of senior female executives, leaders and entrepreneurs and the feedback was so outstanding that I am excited to be interviewing her again on my podcast. I would highly recommend Melinda.

LBD Group

From the moment I first met Mel, it was clear her passion, resilience and dedication to not only a very personal cause but one that affects many, many families across Australia was extremely humbling and a credit to the lady she is. In presenting to audiences both in Australia and worldwide Mel’s style is one of compassion, extremely factual and thoroughly engaging. I would highly recommend Mel to any leadership session on resilience, taking ownership and making a difference in the world we live.

Cash Converters
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