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Leading disaster management specialist.


Peter Baines OAM, developed his unique leadership style by leading international identification teams into Indonesia and Thailand following acts of terrorism and the 2004 South East Asian Tsunami.

He would go on to work in the counter-terrorism area of Interpol, spent time with the United Nations Office of Drug and Crime and also worked in Saudi Arabia and Japan after natural disasters hit those countries. But it was his work in Thailand that brought the biggest change. After meeting the children left orphaned by the Tsunami, Peter felt compelled to act and founded an Australian charity called Hands Across the Water which has gone on to create opportunities for hundreds of children across Thailand.

Current work

Today, Peter has a successful consulting business building engagement through corporate social responsibility and presents across the globe to major corporations and governments on Leadership. He is the author of two books, Hands Across the Water, and Doing Good by Doing Good which provides a blueprint for building experience led engagement programs with a focus on shared value.

Previous experience

Awards: In January 2014, Peter Baines was recognised in the Australia Day honours with the awarding of the Order of Australia Medal for his International Humanitarian work and in 2016 he received the Most Admirable Order of Direkgunabhorn awarded by the King of Thailand for his devotion and service to the Kingdom of Thailand.

Talking Points

Leading Through Crisis

Peter Baines OAM would spend the best part of his career leading teams in the face of international crisis and disaster and make no mistake what we are experiencing right now is a global crisis.

Baines was part of the leadership team that deployed into Bali after the bombings of 2002, claiming 202 lives. He was the leader of the Australian and International teams in Thailand following the South East Asian tsunami that claimed 5395 lives in Thailand alone.

He would spend several months assisting in the building of the international response to face what was and what remains the world’s largest Disaster Victim Identification effort. The challenges in Thailand including establishing a plan that involved the building of a strategic response bringing together over 450 forensic staff from 36 different countries, quickly.

Following the work in Thailand, Baines was seconded to the National Institute of Forensic Science as an expert in reacting to and leading international response following crisis and disaster. He spent 12 months working with Interpol in Lyon, France developing an international strategy on how to respond to acts of terrorism related to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear threats and acts of terrorism.

Peter uses this experience to positively impact businesses around the world. Peter is able to:
- Provide assistance to your leadership team in developing a strategic response to the challenges faced;
- Advise your board on the best approach;
- Speak with your community providing an authoritative voice on how to deal with and respond to crisis and disaster;
- Let him take your team through a desk stop simulation exercise called Operation Delta where the team is faced with escalating
scenarios that challenges their leadership and decision-making beliefs.

Key Takeaways:
- Leadership Without Authority: True Leaders are identified by their actions and reactions. It’s less about the position and more about what people do.
- Clarity of Purpose: In times of challenge, when our resolve is tested, clear decisions come when we have a clarity of purpose.
- Courage and Resilience: Courage is in making hard decisions and then living with the outcome.
- Decisions without undue deliberation: We need to consult, act with good integrity and intent, but overall we need to have the courage to make decisions.
I recently attended the breakfast at the Hyatt in Adelaide. Peter spoke on the work that he has done in the disaster area that was Thailand after the Boxing Day Tsunami. Never in my life have I been so intrigued, so interested so absolutely blown away. But most importantly he spoke of his actions as part of a team and really outlined the importance of team work and leadership, not just in bad times, but in everyday life. Peter is an incredible speaker and has his audiences full attention the whole time he is speaking. I laughed and I cried during Peter's presentation and by the end I was totally overwhelmed. ANZ

And so much of what you had to say has lessons that can be used in the leadership work I do with our senior executives here at the CBA. I would have liked to say something to you at the end of the session but couldn't really trust myself to speak.

Commonwealth Bank Talent & Development

Peter Baines is an inspiration to us all. The experience, skills and knowledge that he has gained from managing high pressure situations in disaster zones allows us to put our own “stressful” lives in perspective. We can all benefit from his simple yet engaging message, and we can be inspired by his stories of human courage and bravery!

Think Global Consulting

A memorable day where the important became real and where an ordinary man became extraordinary. Your presentation was without a doubt the most brilliant I have ever had the privilege to experience.


Peter was fantastic, delivering a touching keynote address that kept the audience engaged. Structuring it around the key leadership skills required meant delegates received immediate value and had tips to go back and test in their own workplaces.

National Safety Council of Australia

Peter is an absolute professional - from the moment he is booked, to the moment he exists stage, he delivers. His keynote had our audience enthralled - you could hear a pin drop for the entire hour Peter spoke. It's not every day you get a glimpse into the world of forensic policing in crisis situations - moving and insightful. Thank you for sharing your story Peter, the world needs more people like you.

Registered Clubs Association of NSW
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