Day: Opening Keynote for both Sydney + Melbourne Time: 9:00am Topic: Good Morning Mr Mandela
Zelda la Grange was born in apartheid South Africa. After her secondary education, she completed a 3-year National Diploma. She started her career in 1992 at the Department of State Expenditure and in 1994 applied for a job in the Office of the first democratic Presidency. In 1999, President Mandela hand-picked her from his personal staff to remain in his services beyond retirement.
Together with Professor Jakes Gerwel, Zelda was the only other founding staff member of the post-Presidential Office of Mr Nelson Mandela from where the Nelson Mandela Foundation was established. Zelda served President Mandela in various capacities over 19 years including Executive Personal Assistant, Spokesperson, Manager of Stakeholder relations, Aide-de-camp and Manager of his private office until his death on 5 December 2013. She has been awarded by a number of organisations for her dedication and service to the late Nelson Mandela. She currently serves as the Patron for the First for Women Foundation, non-executive Director of the non-profit organisation Healing Hands and annually acts as a coordinator of Bikers for Mandela Day through which she pays tribute and disseminates the lessons learnt from her former boss in a charitable way.
Day: 1 Time: 8:45am Topic: Official Welcome for Sydney
Jonathan O’Dea entered NSW Parliament as the Member for Davidson in 2007. He served as Chair of the Parliament’s crucial Public Accounts Committee from 2011-2015, Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Investment, Major Events and Tourism from 2015, and is currently the Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and Treasurer.
Fairfax Media, Traveller editor, Fairfax Media (The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and traveller.com.au)
Day: 1 Time: 9:45am Topic: Meet the Australian Traveller – who are they, and what do they want!
Anthony Dennis is one of Australia’s most experienced travel editors, writers and columnists.
Traveller editor, Fairfax Media (The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and traveller.com.au), Anthony is responsible for both the weekly Traveller print lift-out in The Sydney Morning Herald, Sun-Herald, The Age and The Sunday Age as well as traveller.com.au,.
His travel feature and commentary writing regularly appears across all of Traveller’s platforms. A published travel book author, Anthony is a long-time commentator on travel and tourism issues in both print, online and on radio. He is also an experienced speaker and moderator at travel and tourism events.
A former editor of the Australasian edition of the US-based Travel+Leisure magazine, he was deputy editor of The Sydney Morning Herald. He has edited of a number of daily and weekly columns for Fairfax and other major Australian publications.
Sam McCool is a highly sought-after global event MC and corporate comedian. In 2016, he sold out solo shows at the Sydney Opera House, performed in and published his first play “Lighten Up” with Currency Press, and completed a World Comedy Tour with shows in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles and the World Series of Comedy in Las Vegas. He is experienced in the travel industry, having been a hotel manager in Australia and Bali, tour guided in Europe, worked in inbound travel within Australia, and created his own tour concepts in Bali. He’s also hosted travel events such as the Canadian Tourism Commission’s Canadian Corroboree.
MELBOURNE ONLY Day: 2 Time: 10:20am Topic: Leadership is a human activity
Fred has been running Travel Counsellors Netherlands since November 2005, and he has recently taken over the role of Managing Director Travel Counsellors Australia working with strong local teams in 2 different time zones.
Prior to joining Travel Cousnellors he worked with the group for several months as a consultant. Within a few years he built a profitable, trend setting travel business from 4 franchisees to more than 160 and an annual turnover of € 42M. Fred founded Travel Counsellors Belgium and functions actively as its General Manager.
He is also a TV Presenter and an active freelance Travel & Lifestyle writer and blogger for various fashion and glossy magazines and internet sites incl. Vogue, Beau Monde, www.travconnect.nl. Twice a year Fred presents his Travel Hot List for Vogue Netherlands.
Fred has held previously a number of senior roles in the international travel industry. Chief Executive Officer for the Qatar Tourism Authority and a member of the board for the Qatar National Hotels.
Day: 1 Time: 11:40am Topic: How much does your customer matter to your business?
John O’Neill is a management consultant and owner of Komosion, an agency specializing in Customer Experience Design and Delivery and helping its clients understand their purpose, beyond profit.
Komosion’s clients include Flight Centre Travel Group, News Corporation and an array of universities, government enterprises and smaller public, private and not-for-profit companies.
He is a former Managing Director of Tourism NSW, promoting Sydney and NSW to the world, and was Ticketing Communications Manager for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, helping deliver a record $640 million in ticketing revenue.
Earlier in his career, he was an award winning TV and newspaper journalist working for Fairfax Media, Network 10 and ABC Television.
He is also
a non-executive director of Adopt Change, an organization founded by Deborra Lee Furness to promote adoption as part of modern family formation; and
Chairman of Surfing NSW, the organization responsible for managing the pathway to professional surfing including developing Australian surfers looking to compete for the first time ever at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
SYDNEY ONLY Day: 1 Time: 12:20pm Topic: Customer Centric Cultures – Driving Business Growth Through Customer Experience
Anna Jones is an experienced Brand Strategist, CMO and CX Architect. She advises a number of challenger brands across tech, travel and food as they take on the established players in an effort to drive positive change within their categories. Anna was previously the CMO of Guzman y Gomez were she was in charge of strategic brand direction across marketing, digital and customer experience.
Prior to joining Guzman y Gomez, she was the National Marketing Manager for Red Rooster where she led their brand turnaround. Anna also has years of experience on the agency side, running the General Motors account at William Morris Agency and overseeing the global Mattel Girls business at Y&R Los Angeles. Anna started her career in television, working for HBO and NBC in New York.
MELBOURNE ONLY Day: 1 Time: 12:20pm Topic: How one organisation saved millions by empowering their employees to deliver exceptional customer service
Peta first joined Lush 16 years ago as a sales assistant in Dublin and later joined International Support, traveling to over 35 countries helping build Lush businesses globally. She worked closely with the company founders and championed internal communication, employee development and engagement across the Lush world.
After 10 years in Europe she headed home to Melbourne taking up the Directorship of Australia and New Zealand leading the business to record breaking sales and winning Australian Retailer of the Year in 2015 and the Australian Business Award for Environmental Sustainability in 2014 and 2015.
During her time at Lush Peta has taken part in over 50 campaigns supporting human rights, animal protection and environmental sustainability.
In more recent years, Peta has lead Lush’s campaigning strategy, focusing on Asylum Seekers, LGBT rights, transparent supply chains, challenging traditional beauty marketing and using the shared values and passion of Lush staff to campaign alongside NFP’s and charities. She is passionate about ethical business practices, empowering staff and using the business to become a force for social change.
Day: 1 Time: 2:30pm Topic: How to increase real sales using LinkedIn (Seven secrets of social selling)
Currently ranked the # 1 Social seller by LinkedIn Australia with a SSI score of 98, Mark makes at least 75% of his revenue through LinkedIn.
A sales trainer and coach in Australia’s business sector with a strong focus on the top the sales funnel, Mark helps his clients to find more customers and engage with them in a credible and ethical way – be it online or via traditional sales channels. Current clients Mark is working with include Coca-Cola, Tip Top (George Weston Foods), Sydney Swans, Macquaire Bank, Citi Recruitment and more.
Day: 1 Time: 3:10pm Topic: How to use Instagram like a pro
Lauren Bath is a chef turned photographer thanks to her early success on top photo sharing site Instagram. Quitting her job in early 2013, Lauren launched full force into a career in the tourism industry, effectively becoming Australia’s first professional “instagrammer”!
Since then Lauren has diversified into other social media platforms, as well as travel writing, and has also become involved with project management and education. With a passion for tourism and a hands on approach to social media Lauren has grown her online community to upwards of three quarters of a million followers.
Day: 1 Time: 4:15pm Topic: Making change work for us
Richard is The Brand Guy. This year he was ranked #12 in the world’s Top 30 Brand Professionals.
After working in multi-national ad agencies on brands such as Coca-Cola and Microsoft, Richard pioneered a new way to do branding where everything you DO and SAY as a business must be driven by and aligned to your brand strategy – your business strategy, your products and services, your culture and people, your customer service and trade relationships, your marketplace positioning as well as [and not just] your marketing communications.
Helping Hand Group and Goodwill Getaways, MD and Cofounder
Day: 2 Time: 9:30am Topic: Leadership that inspires change
Richard is a serial Entrepreneur, having co-Founded his first business in 1992, at age 17!
This business continued to run for 13 years, when it evolved into the most successful business Richard has been involved with: Helping Hand Group (www.helpinghand.com.au), which he co-Founded in 1997.
Helping Hand Group is now in its 20th year of operation, with 9 offices across 4 countries, and nearly 50 full time staff.
In 2017, the business has just passed the $100,000,000 mark in total donations to charity!
In 2009, the business established its Holiday arm, Goodwill Getaways (www.goodwillgetaways.com) and Richard remains a Director. Well within a decade of operation, Goodwill Getaways owns or operates 24 Villas and 1 resort, across 5 countries.
Goodwill Getaways employs over 60 staff and reports a remarkable 85% annual occupancy rate, due to the excellence of its offerings, and the unique approach in filling capacity: through Helping Hand Group Charity Auctions around Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.
Richard is also a philanthropist at heart, donating his time at countless Charity events throughout Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, as Auctioneer. He has raised millions more through his personal endeavours, and has been Awarded CSR prizes in Asia, and in the year 2000 was a recognised by SOCOG as a Torch Bearer for the Sydney Olympic Games!
Richard spreads the good word about Fundraising via his sizeable base of connections on LinkedIn, where he remains entrenched within the top 1% of all users Worldwide. Please visit:
Richard is an entertaining and enlightening speaker and influencer of people. He and his companies are able to spot trends and create new markets, where there seemingly wasn’t one!
MELBOURNE ONLY Day: 2 Time: 9:30am Topic: Leadership that Inspires Change
George Halkias is a well-respected community figure who has supported vulnerable Australians for 20 years.
With post graduate qualifications in psychology, his experience includes managing a state-wide support service for victims of violent crime and training police graduates in the area of victim rights and support. George is though best known for co-founding and developing of the Big Issue Community Street Soccer Program which uses soccer to engage and develop homeless and marginalized people across Australia. In this role he has coached and coordinated Australian teams at 8 Homeless World Cup events: Edinburgh 2005, Cape Town 2006, Copenhagen 2007, Melbourne 2008, Milan 2009, Paris 2011, Poznan 2013 and Glasgow 2016.
He was also instrumental in successfully bidding for and staging the 2008 Melbourne Homeless World Cup and his role included sourcing corporate sponsorship and acting as the public face of the event.
George’s experience with his team in Cape Town in 2006 was profiled on the ABC’s Australian Story while he was recently acknowledged by the Victorian Government for his contribution to community sport.
George still is still involved as National Coach of the program and is involved in many other exciting community and sport for development initiatives.
Day: 2 – Sydney Only Time: 10:20am Topic: Original thinking for creative leadership
Melissa Browne is an author and serial entrepreneur. She is CEO of the award-winning accounting and advisory firm A+TA, CEO of the financial planning business The Money Barre and Director of Business at Thinkers,inq preschool. She is the author of More Money for Shoes which compares building a business with building a wardrobe as well as Fabulous but Broke which uses financial fairy tales to question the notion that you need a fairy godmother or knight in shining armour to save you.
Mel also writes a fortnightly column for the Money Section in the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age, is a regular contributor to CEO Magazine, Latte Magazine and Gloss Magazine and has made regular TV & radio appearances including the Today Show, Weekend Sunrise, Weekend Today, Sky Business, Seven News, The Daily Edition and Triple J. She has also been featured in or has written articles for Vogue, Cleo, Cosmo, Elle, The Collective, Harpers Bazaar, Madison and in 2016 was names one of Australia’s 100 most influential women by the Financial Review.
Melissa loves talking all things money, numbers, business, strategy and shoes.
Day: 1 Time: 11:00am Topic: Loyalty programs – what’s the point?
Adam Posner is founder and CEO of The Loyalty Point, a company dedicated to helping businesses…“retain their best customers and grow the rest”.
He has been a data-driven marketer for 23 years and started his loyalty life in the mid ’90’s with a shopping centre loyalty program initiative called “Scratch & Save”.
Since establishing his business in 2007, he has been involved in a range of loyalty and retention strategies and programs for organisations such as The Big 4 Holiday Parks,
RSL Vic, Bed Bath ‘n Table, Quest Hotels Apartments, Westpac Group, Choice Hotel Group, Mt Buller, Ansell and Tabcorp.
He is obsessed about helping clients build and maintain valuable loyalty and retention strategies that are profitable to the business and meaningful to the member.
SYDNEY ONLY Day: 2 Time: 11:30am Topic: Build resilience, build performance
Peter Cullen’s international aviation career included Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways International where he spent 10 years in senior management. Running parallel with his career was his passion to support people needing to minimise stress, be more resilient and improve their life.
In 2006 Peter decided to utilise the skills learnt throughout his career to consult with businesses on personal and professional development to improve overall performance. This continued to grow and develop and he now enjoys providing an open and honest environment for people and teams to truly grow and develop with purpose and direction. He achieves this as a corporate facilitator, coach, mentor, author and speaker as the Director of Mindforce Australia Pty Ltd.
Clare is the Resilience Queen! Even after many setbacks: 2 marriages, 2 divorces, loss of career job, spats of depression, and much more, plus a brave move to Australia in her 60’s, she has bounced back again and again. She is eternally optimistic.
So experiencing a brain bleed stroke 18 months ago with complete right sided paralysis could so easily have been the last straw. But No! Clare believes she is healthier today than she has ever been.
She attributes her magnificent recovery to a concoction of many elements: feisty determination, love from close family with medical and therapeutic influences. She believes that progress can only begin with Self Awareness and the willingness to take ultimate responsibility for our own well being.
Michael Chase-Smith has more than 30 years working experience in technology, the most of this time focused on the travel industry. He has worked as an independent consultant for most of his career and held software development roles in Asia, Europe and Australia in the 90s and Senior Technology and Management roles in Australia with major travel groups and Global Distribution Company, Sabre.
Aside from his technology consulting work, Michael has held an Executive role with one of Australia’s largest independently owned travel management companies, Orbit World Travel (formerly World Travel Professionals). For the last 15 years Michael has been a significant contributor to the success and growth of the business and some of the industry leading technology it delivers to its clients.
Michael has seen incredible evolution in technology over the last 30 years, particularly in recent years. He is ideally placed to share some knowledge around emerging technology and how it will affect and can benefit travel agents.
Day: 2 Time: 2:40pm Topic: What is the Impact of Technology on the Travel Agency Business?
Michaela Aguilar is a digital solution expert with over 25 years of industry experience in marketing technology and related services. She is the General Manager of Catchi, a leading CXO agency with offices in Australia and New Zealand.
Michaela is highly regarded for her lateral thinking and practical people based approach to ‘digital problem solving’. Over the last 6 years she has specialised in CXO [customer experience optimisation] and helping organisation with conversion rate optimisation and personalisation to increase online revenue. Her projects are geared towards capability building, creating scalability and velocity.
As a leader in her field, Michaela is teaching CRO courses on behalf of ADMA and is also the founder of CRO PROS, a regular meetup and network event for digital marketers. It is important to advance the digital industry through ongoing learning and sharing of knowledge and experiences.
When Michaela is not online or working she loves spending time cooking, bush walking or traveling. Her most memorable trip was a 7000km solo journey in a truck through the Sahara with only a compass.
Day: 1 Time: 9:45am Topic: Meet the Australian Holiday Goer – Who Are They, and What Do They Want
Jane Challinor is one of Australia’s leading business coaches, with more than 30 years’ experience in a broad range of industries. She has founded, developed over nine successful businesses to date, using a proven methodology that has transformed hundreds of her clients’ businesses in Australia, USA and UK.
The foundation of Jane’s success lies in practical strategies that get results fast. Her clients often double or triple the profitability of their business in less than 12 months, without pressure on internal resources. She has a laser focus on strategy, with plans that keep business owners accountable and help them develop the skills they need to achieve their goals. Qualified Coach and Leadership Trainer, Clare is passionate about sharing what she has learned about Resilience, Courage and Stamina linked to Performance.
SYDNEY ONLY Day: 2 Time: 4:15pm Topic: How to achieve ongoing positive change in your life – the power of perspective
Michael Crossland is an extraordinary young man who has defied the odds of a life-threatening cancer to build a life of exceptional achievements. His first tell-all autobiography, released in January 2016, is now an international best seller across six different countries.
Diagnosed with an aggressive life threatening cancer before his first birthday, doctors told him school and sport were not options. However, despite spending nearly a quarter of his life in hospital, Michael has forged a highly successful career in the corporate world, represented Australia in his chosen sport and been presented with the Australia Day Ambassador role for seven consecutive years. He also runs a school and orphanage in Haiti.
At the age of 17, Jessica was diagnosed with a rare, degenerative eye disease, impacting her sporting dreams as a netballer and at the age of 21, by chance, found the world of Paralympic sport. In 2008, banned from competing at the Beijing Paralympics after being deemed too sighted, she continued to lose her sight and later became Australia’s first female winter Paralympic medallist in 2010.
Since then she has become a dual summer and winter Paralympian, won a second bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Paralympics and made the switch to a third sport of track cycling. In March 2016 Jessica made a stunning debut for Australia alongside her tandem pilot the pair became World Champions in the tandem match sprint breaking the flying 200m World Record in the process.
In September 2016 at the Rio Paralympics Jess created stunning sports history becoming the first Australian athlete to medal at a summer AND winter Paralympics or Olympics after winning bronze in the 1km Time Trial joining only a handful of other athletes around the world to achieve this incredible feat.