Keynote Speakers

Yemi Penn

Yemi Penn is a global thought leader on empowerment and resilience.
An Engineer by profession, Yemi is a champion and tireless advocate for equality and equity in STEM fields. As an Entrepreneur and Mindset Coach, she is an advocate for self-empowerment and resilience as tools to get organisations back on track with wellness and productivity.

Yemi is a force to be reckoned with and has inspired audiences across Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, where she recently delivered her first TED talk at TEDxOcala in Florida.

Yemi is a sought-after speaker and facilitator on the topic of Wellness and she recently facilitated the Lucy mentor program for University Technology Sydney. Yemi focuses on traditional and more modern neuro linguistic methods of transformation to achieve goals.

She is an investor for the Women’s Business School, Australia, and is a supporter of the 2020 Ausmumpreneur Awards.

Yemi has worked with companies across the Engineering sector on large projects such as Crossrail, High Speed Two and Sydney Metro in various roles; underpinning her work with clarity and inclusion.

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Dr Nathan Kerrigan

Nathan is a Lecturer in Sociology at Birmingham City University, UK.  Nathan’s research interests centre around themes of informal social control, governmentality, community, space, and place. 

 

A key aspect of his work is considering the ways in which different spaces and places are constructed to the exclusion of marginalised groups and, in so doing identify ways of bringing about ‘change’ to facilitate pathways to inclusion and belonging for disadvantaged groups.

 

Nathan takes a community-studies based, social action-orientated and ethnographic approach to his work. Nathan has undertaken research with and on rural communities, young carers, deprived urban communities and food growing, urban greening, digital poverty and exclusion, and supporting Kashmiri Pakistani families who have family members in the criminal justice system.    

Dr Colleen P. MacMillan

Dr Colleen MacMillan is a science and transitions leader at Australia’s national science agency CSIRO. She served as the inaugural CSIRO Agriculture and Food Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) Executive Lead, launching an I&D initiative in 2016 that is ongoing, with a specific focus of inclusion of diversity for science, impact, and people; for this, she led the creation and implementation of an I&D strategy and underpinning actions together with a multilayered I&D leadership team. 

She also researches collaboratively on intersectionality-education and tools to bring about positive change in the practice of inclusion of diversity. She was an inaugural and a long-standing member of CSIRO’s SAGE Self-Assessment Team, and the SAGE ACT Regional Network, from 2016 within the broader CSIRO Diversity and Inclusion strategy. 

Colleen’s multi-decade science career is in plant molecular biology across a wide range of industries researching agricultural crop secondary cell walls and their uses for biodegradable renewable plant-based industries and commodities; currently her focus is on advancing accelerated precision breeding of cotton fibre quality. 

Colleen serves as co-Deputy of the CSIRO Circular Economy for Missions Initiative towards Australia’s Circular Economy Transition, with a focus on agriculture and food, and fibre-based industries in particular. Colleen holds a PhD in crop molecular biology and physiology, a Bachelor of Science with Honours, and a Graduate Diploma of Education, from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

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Marwa Moeen

In August 2021 the Taliban invaded the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, seizing power and placing Afghan people in extreme danger, particularly women. Fearing for their lives, thousands of women and girls were hunted down as wives or sexual slaves to the Taliban. Many women took refuge in the hope they’d be rescued before it was too late. Among them were 15 young female friends from university who found safety in a tiny, locked room inside Marwa Moeen’s home, where they endured a terrifying wait.

 

Marwa, born and raised in Kabul, was unfamiliar with a life in which women are denied the freedom to leave their home unless accompanied by a male relative. Prior to the Taliban’s return to power, Marwa was running her own business in Kabul exporting Afghan handicrafts around the world. Her business was immediately shut down by the Taliban, simply because it was run by a woman. She could only dream of escaping to a place where women had equal rights, access to education and the ability to work freely. As news of the invasion spread the globe, Addison Road, a small community organisation in Sydney became aware of the situation. Determined to do everything they could to rescue the women, together with human rights activist and former Socceroo Craig Foster, they arranged Emergency Australian Visas for Marwa and the other women. Within two weeks the 15 young women were boarding a crowded plane to Australia. A little over a year later Marwa, a participant in ANZ’s Given the Chance Program, was nominated by the President of the Rotary Club of Sydney Cove, Scout Symons, to receive the Rotary International’s Inspirational Women’s Award for 2022.

 

Marwa has worked tirelessly to rebuild her life and the lives of other young Afghan women in Australia. She is one of four inspiring young women to receive a Rotary Award for her selfless efforts to look after friends who fled Afghanistan and helped other young women escape. Marwa now volunteers at Addison Road and as part of this work she visits Australian high schools, talking to and inspiring young people about her journey to freedom.

Farhat Kohistani

In August 2021 the Taliban invaded the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, seizing power and placing Afghan people in extreme danger, particularly women. Fearing for their lives, thousands of women and girls were hunted down as wives or sexual slaves to the Taliban. Many women took refuge in the hope they’d be rescued before it was too late. Among them were 15 young female friends from university who found safety in a tiny, locked room inside Marwa Moeen’s home, where they endured a terrifying wait.

 

Farhat has been in Australia a little over a year after making her way, undercover and solo, to freedom. Addi Road helped her reestablish herself. At first, Farhat avoided getting her photo taken in Sydney and being seen on social media at all. Careful use of her first name only when she spoke to people in public. There was too much risk of punishment and revenge on others back home. Now Farhat is breaking free all over again. Studying now to become a journalist, she speaks of her school days in Afghanistan as if filled with something magical. “I remember winter and the happiness of starting school. We have little development, so you have to understand how school is our big happiness as children. The start of each new year is so special for us.”

 

“I was in love with mathematics,” she says. “Always I had first position in mathematics at my school. What I have in my mind, what I learn from my teachers, this is my motherland in me. I would not be Farhat without my teachers.” Farhat Kohistani is now making her protest and fighting for education for the almost one million school-age girls shut out of the education system by the Taliban.

Professor Janelle Wheat

Professor Janelle Wheat is Pro-Vice Chancellor (PVC) Learning and Teaching at Charles Sturt University. Janelle’s passion for quality education and student success began as a lecturer at Charles Sturt in 2002 and ultimately led her to a career focused on the transformational nature of teaching.

 

In her role as PVC Learning & Teaching, Janelle leads evidenced-based innovation in digital, blended and face-to-face learning and teaching. Janelle drives education quality through inclusive curriculum design and development that ensures all students can engage with their learning in a way that suits them, ensuring accessibility and driving aspiration to realise career success.

 

Janelle is the inaugural Gender Equity Diversity Champion at Charles Sturt University.

Professor Kylie Readman

Professor Kylie Readman is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students) at the University of Technology Sydney. In that role, Kylie focuses on creating the institutional conditions for building staff and student capacity in learning, teaching, and the student experience, centred around academic engagement, belonging, wellbeing and partnerships.

 

Ensuring student equity is a central theme of her work, including several research projects that investigate the experience of students from a range of diverse backgrounds which are under-represented in higher education. She has had many years’ experiences of leading innovation at the whole-of-institution level, including strategy, resourcing, curriculum integration and product design and campus master planning.

 

Kylie is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a 2020 recipient of an Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia Champion for Change citation.

Dr Juliette Tobias-Webb

Dr Juliette Tobias-Webb is a Professor of Practice in Behavioural Science at the AI and Cyber Futures Institute at Charles Sturt University and an award-winning lecturer for business and executive leaders. She has a PhD in Experimental Psychology from Cambridge University and has since worked for various leading government and corporate organisations to explore human decision-making and behaviour change, helping teams and companies leverage behavioural insight to drive positive transformation at scale.

 

As a founder of a behavioural science consultancy, she collaborated with industry leaders such as Mastercard, Citibank, Insurance Australia Group, Unilever, Atlassian, and Deloitte. She has held significant roles, including a Senior Manager in Behavioural Science for Commonwealth Bank, the Behaviour Change Lead for Ogilvy Australia and a Research Fellow for the Behavioural Insights Team.

 

Dr Juliette has been recognised for her exceptional contributions to the field being one of 60 women in Australia nominated as a Superstar of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths), and being selected as one of 100 women in STEM to explore Antarctica. Her contributions extend to publications in leading neuroscience and psychology journals, and she has been featured in various media outlets, including Triple J Hack, ABC, and the Australian Financial Review.

Gina Chick

Gina Chick is an international rewilding facilitator, helping people of all ages learn to be at home in the wild. Her nature connection programmes weave ancestral hunter-gatherer technologies into modern life, mining strategies that kept Homo Sapiens alive for 350 000 years for lessons to enrich our lives now. She recently spent 67 days surviving in the subzero Tasmanian wilderness in the middle of winter, completely solo and often barefoot. She wove a waterproof shelter, slept in a hand-sewn possum fur coat and lived on fried worms, lizards, grubs, trout, eel and even a wallaby she jumped on one night while out for a pee. Gina filmed her adventures with a photographer’s eye for beauty and inspired 1.5 million people to look at nature differently along the way.

 

She runs Rewild Your Child camps eight weeks a year, where 200 people come together to create a village in the wilderness, focusing on nature connection. These were Australia’s first rewilding family camps and have been running for over a decade. She also runs solo wilderness rite of passage programmes and group survival quests.

 

The daughter and granddaughter of bestselling authors, Gina’s articles have appeared in The Guardian, News.com.au, Mamamia and SBS.com.au. You can find her hugely popular blog, Unmet Friends, on Substack. Her first book is due in 2024.

 

Gina’s presence is electric. She taps into universal chords of human experience, drawing from her experience and adventures worldwide to offer pathways through the wilderness within and without. Her stories of challenge, redemption and inspiration sing with warmth, depth and humour and offer resolution to questions of belonging and connection most humans struggle with. She is a 5Rhythms dance meditation teacher and singer-songwriter and often incorporates somatics and even song into her presentations. An hour with Gina is a journey through a vastly textured landscape, an adventure likely to leave you feeling inspired and connected and ready to embrace the wild in all its forms, possibly even without shoes.

Professor Corrinne Sullivan

Professor Corrinne Sullivan is a Wiradjuri scholar who lives and works on Dharug Country. She is a recognised Indigenous educator with a strong commitment to advancing the next generation of Indigenous peoples with a clear vision to improve their social, cultural and economic wellbeing through centring and amplifying our voices to promote positive change.

 

She is an exemplary scholar who has received local and national awards for teaching in Indigenous Studies, and a researcher whose work has garnered recognition with multiple awards in Indigenous research.

 

Her work to date has provided valuable evidence-based data which has directly informed government policy, institutional practice, and community-based services and resources.

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