Australian swimming hero & breakfast radio host
VIP Fireside Chat: Achieving and sustaining your peak performance
Enthralled by swimming from an early age, Susie O’Neill excelled in the hardest stroke of all, butterfly. Dubbed ‘Madame Butterfly’ for her peerless quality in the discipline, Susie held a record for 35 Australian titles, 16 Commonwealth Games medals (11 gold), 18 long and short course World Championships medals and 8 Olympic medals in total. Susie was unrivalled in her success, never coming home without a medal from any international competition, a stretch that lasted from 1990 to 2000. Join her in this interactive fireside chat to discover her secret to achieving and sustaining your best performance.
Motivational Speaker & Author
VIP Fireside Chat: How the right mindset will build your resilience in the face of adversity
While competing in a 100km ultra-marathon, Turia was caught in a grassfire and was choppered out of the remote desert barely alive, with full-thickness burns to 65% of her body. She lost 7 fingers, had over 200 medical procedures and spent 2 gruelling years in recovery. Surviving against overwhelming odds, she has rebuilt her life and defied every expectation placed on her. Engaging and refreshingly candid with a story that will astonish, inspire and leave you in stitches. Turia’s enthralling message of overcoming adversity and the need to never EVER give up will motivate you out of your chair, and into life!
Joint Capabilities Group
People Capability Branch, Australian Army
Proud Quandamooka woman, first Aboriginal woman Warrant Officer in the Australian Army, Second Indigenous Elder of the Army
People Capability Branch, Australian Army
Aunty Lorraine is a Quandamooka Elder of the Noonuccal and Ngughi tribes in South-East Queensland. Enlisting into the Royal Australian Signals Corps, Aunty Lorraine maintained a distinguished and successful career serving 20 years in the Australian Army.
Aunty Lorraine joined the Australian Army on 14th January 1986 and was posted to the 7th Signals Regiment as an Operations Signaller before transferring to a Joint Service position at HMAS Coonawarra, Darwin. In 1992, Lorraine was promoted to Corporal and posted to 72 Electronic Warfare Squadron. Throughout this period, she was a competitive sports woman, representing the Army in both Squash and Athletics.
Changing roles within the Signals Corps to a Radio Operator, Aunty Lorraine was posted to the 6th Signals Regiment before posting as a Detachment Commander with the 1st Signals Regiment, Enoggera.
In 1997, Aunty Lorraine was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and subsequently posted to Headquarters Northern Command. During this period, she was the first female Signals Sergeant to deploy as the Communications Manager in Irian Jaya, for humanitarian and famine relief operations and then on to the Multinational Force and Observers, Sinai.
In 2003, Aunty Lorraine was the first Indigenous female to be promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two and posted to the Battlefield Command Support System Project Team in Townsville. The following year, she was posted to the 5th Aviation Regiment and deployed to Afghanistan as the first female Communications Manager with the Special Forces Task Group to establish the communications network in Kandahar.
Aunty Lorraine retired from the Australian Army in 2007, however, continues to provide service to the wider community as a mentor to the Preston Campbell Foundation and the Gold Coast Titans Deadly Futures and Community Programs. In addition, Lorraine is the Board President of the Queensland State Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dedicated Memorial Committee that is currently coordinating the construction of this memorial in ANZAC Square Brisbane. Moreover, Lorraine is the Patron of the Indigenous Youth Mobility Pathways project, advocating education for Indigenous youth from remote locations of Australia.
Aunty Lorraine is the Indigenous Ambassador for the Corporate Protection Australia Group, a signatory with Prime Ministers Veterans Employment Program. She is a highly regarded and respected role model for the community.
In 2019, Lorraine was awarded the prestigious Order of Australia Medal for her service to the Indigenous Community.
Corry joined Thales in 2015 and is a member of Thales Australia’s Executive Leadership Team.
The Land business in Australia employs over 1600 people, and specialises in the design, development, manufacture and through life support of a range of products and solutions for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) including: munitions, integrated weapons and sensors, optronics systems, protected vehicles, mission packages, and command, control, communications and computer (C4) systems.
Prior to her current role, Corry held the role of Vice President of Human Resources in Thales in which she led the strategy, development, management and implementation of culture and people programmes that challenge, shape and support Thales’s ambitions for the future.
Before joining Thales, Corry worked for a range of multinational businesses such as Microsoft, Emerson and Chloride Power Protection where her responsibilities included shaping, developing, implementing and managing strategies and programs to support and drive business initiatives across APAC and more globally.
From 2012 to 2016, Corry served as a member of the Advisory Board to the Institute for Sustainable Leadership where she advised on best practices and trends and taking a lead role in promoting the science and practice of sustainable leadership through research and education.
A 1985 conversation with her best friend led Warrant Officer Class 2 Cheryl Peebles to join the Army and forge a career beyond her wildest expectations.
Thirty-five years later, the former student of Ingham High School in Far North Queensland, timber sorter and hospitality industry worker, is on her seventh operational deployment and her third to the Middle East.
“I’m currently the technical quartermaster (at Camp Baird, the ADF’s main operating base in the Middle East) within the company Q-store under Force Support Element – Rotation 13,” Warrant Officer Peebles said.
Before her deployment, she had been slated to deploy to Afghanistan with the ADF’s Operation Highroad which supports NATO’s Operation Resolute Support, but a reduction in personnel numbers meant Warrant Officer Peebles was not required.
She was then offered the technical quartermaster position on Operation Accordion, which supports broader regional commitments.
“It is different from my last deployment to the Middle East where I was mainly dealing with communications and the challenges of getting equipment in and out of different countries,” Warrant Officer Peebles said.
“That took a lot of planning and working with the technicians.”
She is in a role similar to the one she holds with the 9th Force Support Battalion at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland.
You gain strength through the challenges offered and it makes you a better person.
Warrant Officer Peebles said she was motivated each day to do all she could to support Australia’s national interests.
“Without the Force Support Element capability, our deployed force would not be properly equipped or adequately sustained to conduct their role”, she said.
“What also motivates me is that you learn different things every day. Whether it’s a major or a minor piece of the puzzle, it all helps to support the mission.”
Reflecting on the conversation all those years ago, Warrant Officer Peebles said she never thought the decision to join the Army would open up so many opportunities.
“I never imagined I would do the things I’ve done and travel to places like East Timor, Afghanistan, Qatar and the Middle East, or acquire the vast amount of skills I’ve gained,” she said.
“There is so much knowledge available to young people within the ADF.
“Along with the leadership and the camaraderie, there is nothing else like it.
“You gain strength through the challenges offered and it makes you a better person.”
U.S. Department of Defense
Major General (MAJGEN) Michelle McGuinness is the third Deputy Director for Commonwealth Integration (DDCI), previously serving as the Director General, Counterproliferation and Terrorism at the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO). In that role, MAJGEN McGuinness led interagency intelligence efforts supporting whole-of-government counterproliferation missions.
For over 20 years, Rebecca has worked in strategy and leadership roles across Australia and the UK, leading and facilitating transformation in organisations such as ASC, WesTrac, MEC Mining, Aurizon, CS Energy, Westpac, and E.ON. She specializes in linking strategy, leadership, technology and culture, to drive transformation in organizations.
With a MA in Maths from Oxford University, Rebecca brings to the table extensive expertise in strategy development and execution, organisational and technology transformation, and leadership and cultural change. She has run her own business as well as held Executive roles within organisations, and so values the need to be agile and lean in approach.
Rebecca joined ASC in 2019 and is the Executive Manager for Transformation. ASC has proudly served as Australia’s sovereign submarine builder and sustainer for more than 35 years, with a vision of being an enduring and integral part of Australia’s maritime strategy and national security.
Rebecca is recognised as a thought leader in leadership and culture, and well-regarded as a
professional speaker with a passion for people and diversity.
Security and Estate Group
Marie has 30+ years of experience in service delivery roles, 27 years in leadership roles (across government organisations and in the private sector), along with a strong background managing people, programs and projects.
Marie has played a fundamental role in the start-up of several contact centres as well as key roles in the ongoing operational management of a diverse range of business units.
Her experience covers multiple channels including contact centres, face to face and digital. She is astute at developing and implementing successful business strategies, to address strategic organisational issues, has a sound track record in leading successful projects and programs, as well as managing disasters.
Marie has lead staff to great success which can be seen by the industry awards her teams have won (across a number of industries such as the contact centre industry as well as project management). She also has extensive experience in turning around poor performing teams and prides herself on her leadership skills and ability to motivate teams to success.
Marie is passionate about great customer outcomes, people and change management. She believes that great results are achieved by bringing out the best in people and creating a high performance culture where staff enjoy coming to work. This approach provides positive outcomes and experiences for customers, ensuring successful business outcomes for the organisation.
Marie also shares her expertise and experience by speaking at conferences on matters relating to customer experience, culture and leadership.
Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group
I am a contract and procurement professional with over fifteen years’ experience in the procurement industry. I have worked on both complex and strategic contracts, and have extensive experience in industry collaboration, contract drafting, contract negotiation and contract management. I commenced my procurement career at ACT Procurement Solutions in 2003 (part of the then ACT Department of Treasury) and was heavily involved in the development of the new Canberra Hospital, school upgrades, and the Gungahlin Drive extension. In 2007 I moved to the Department of Defence to support our Groups and Services with their procurement requirements, including establishing the Strategic Industry Partnership Arrangement and developing multiple strategic ICT contracts. I am now the head of two procurement teams providing support to the Strategic Policy and Intelligence Group and the Chief Information Officer Group.
Natasha was born and completed her schooling in Sydney. She graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts. Following that she was awarded a scholarship to study law at Bond University, Queensland, and was awarded a Bachelor of Laws (Honours).
On graduating from university, Natasha commenced working as a lawyer in the Sydney office of Allen Allen & Hemsley (now Allens Linklaters). This role saw Natasha relocated to Melbourne on a multi-national litigation matter. In the mid-2000s, Natasha left private legal practice and accepted a consulting role to Defence Industry. She held this role for four years, during which time the company was acquired by an international Defence contractor, before joining Lockheed Martin Australia in 2010.
Natasha has extensive experience advising on a wide range of commercial matters, including competitive tendering and contracting, commercial negotiation, contractual risk allocation, contract performance and intellectual property management. Natasha is involved with government and industry working and advisory groups.
Natasha leads Lockheed Martin international business operations team focusing on commercial support to the enterprise’s business activities in countries other than the United States of America. She is also on the Board of Directors of the enterprise’s Australian company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Natasha is married to Tim, and they have two high school-aged children together. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.
My life’s mission is to be a good human, leading meaningful change, for a better world.
13 years as an international project and portfolio manager + a heart for people and true inclusive change = skills and passion to mobilise our workforce and community for real impact. I get people moving!
My work aligns with this purpose:
– Leading high performing strategy consulting teams at Deloitte for clients who truly care about human impact in their workforce, organisation, sector and country. Social and Organisational justice. No gross ego-driven consulting here;
– Board Directorship with a NFP that is working to end veteran homelessness;
– Leadership coaching and facilitation, passionate about mentoring emerging women leaders;
– Intersectional cultural shaping as a trained Gender Advisor and Co-founder #PropelHerAUS, the most read professional development platform for Defence Women; www.groundedcuriosity.com/propel-her.
– I also love speaking at (and chairing) purpose-driven events. A room full of good people? Yes please!
A logistician by trade, I also have over a decade of complex and cross functional project delivery leadership in the Australian Defence Force, solving multi-disciplinary messy problems all over the world…Afghanistan, Middle East, Papua New Guinea and working directly with 12 different nations.
High complexity, high discretion and high stakes? That’s when I get the call.
I am inspired by game changers, doers, blue sky thinkers. Sure, I have received some awards and shiny things, but it’s the authentic people I meet that truly motivate me. I’m not impressed by fancy words, show me with your actions.
I believe when we individually feel empowered, as a team we are invincible. I believe in servant leadership and positive impact. I build powerful teams and back them fiercely. I celebrate diverse thinking. I know it can change our world.
Oh- and every Monday morning I post a different #mondaymotivation to get our weeks started.
[ I am a Palestinian migrant’s daughter and I live, love and work on Aboriginal land.]
Amy joined Boeing Defence Australia in December 2018, as the Director, Structures and Build Capability. She then moved into the position of Director of Wedgetail and most recently to Director –Sustainment Operations. Prior to this appointment, Amy was the Head of Business Operations for Raytheon Australia where was responsible for the successful delivery of all programs across the company’s portfolio, as well as business intelligence and reporting.
Previous experience includes working within Raytheon Australia’s Business Development team, responding to tenders for ADF programs across air, sea, land and cyber domains.
Amy started her professional career as an Aeronautical Engineering Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). During her tenure, she served in a number of operational roles, before running both Acquisition and Sustainment programs for the Defence Materiel Organisation.
Post-separation from the Australian Defence Force, Amy ran a consulting business, offering project and risk management services to clients across the defence and mining Industries.
Amy is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Aeronautical) and a Masters Degree in Project Management. She is also a Certified Practicing Project Manager and a member of Engineers Australia.
Amy is married with two school-aged children.
Annie North holds a Christian worldview and is a mother of two, ‘Army-wife’, and current serving Logistics Officer in the Australian Army. She is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy, Royal Military College – Duntroon and Australian War College with undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications awarded by the University of New South Wales and Australian National University. As a service-woman seeking the best of both worlds – work and life – she is an advocate of Flexible Service and the Total Workforce System, and believes leaders play a significant role in influencing the work-life balance of their team. Annie is currently undertaking higher degree research with UNSW into Work-life Balance in the Military whilst working in the Workforce Strategy Directorate of Army Headquarters.
Royal Australian Navy
I am a Marine Technician submariner who currently works at Submarine Forces in the Safety Cell; this is a role where I strive hard to enable Collins Class posted submariners to conduct their work efficiently and safely. This is work I am passionate about and I feel lucky to be supported in this professionally. My partner is also a submariner and has my back (as I write this he is cooking dinner and chatting with his daughters). I have made several very strong friendships in both the submarine and surface fleet and these are the people who listen to my ideas, offer advice and play devil’s advocate. Building a diverse support network is an essential foundation to growing your own capability; and there are many people, in many ways, that help me achieve the things I have achieved. I take an active role in making the path easier for others following in my footsteps; building a staircase rather than pulling the ladder up behind me. In my current posting, I am working on long-term projects that I hope will benefit the current and future generations of submariners.
UN Women International Consultant
I am a thought leader, humanitarian, and advocate for women’s rights, equality and empowerment. An internationally and nationally acclaimed keynote speaker and published writer on gender equality and women’s participation in the security and defence sector. A mentor and coach to women and girls.
Coming from forty years in the Australian military, including working with international organisations, armed forces and police services, I have experience in leadership, organisational change, large-scale cultural and workplace reform, and implementing contemporary and niched people-oriented and gender-responsive policy strategies and policy solutions.
I founded Steorra Consulting in 2016 to help organisations address the challenges of increasing women’s participation and representation in the workplace and empowering women to seek and take leadership roles. For further information, see my Profile.
My vision…is to experience a world where women are respected, valued and have full equality, and are empowered to live their lives freely and unfettered.
My mission…is to empower women and girls to live self-determined lives, reach their full potential and realise their dreams. I use my knowledge and expertise to spark ideas, change policy, remove barriers and create opportunities so that women and girls can be free to make their own choices in all aspects of their lives.
I commissioned in June 2018 and my first posting was to the 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. On completion of my Infantry Regimental Officer Basic Course I was fortunate enough to lead soldiers on Operation HIGHROAD as a Force Protection element in Afghanistan in 2019. Upon my return from Afghanistan I deployed on Operation Bushfire Assist 2020, helping those in the Bega Valley Shire Council who were impacted by aggressive fires. Both of these experiences afforded me the opportunity to represent my country, my Corps and my gender in what many would deem an unconventional role. I am proud to have led Australian soldiers on a warlike operation and I am constantly striving to pave the way for women and men in combat roles in the ADF. I recently took up a posting to the 1st Recruit Training Battalion. I am incredibly honoured to be a part of the recruit’s rapid transition into the ADF, holding myself to a high standard whilst enabling them to be the best version of themselves. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and instructing whilst inspiring those to achieve the unachievable. I think strong women are pivotal in roles like mine and I am truly proud to be where I am today.
Flexible work and leadership expert
Dr Ellen Joan Nelson (nee Ford) is ex-NZ Army (ADFA and RMC graduate), an academic, strategy consultant, a Mum, and runs her own business. Ellen’s research, focused on well-being, women, leadership and the future of work, has been used to make improvements in the NZ Army, and other organisations around the world. She is passionate about improving social outcomes (with a focus on women and parents), while simultaneously improving organisational outcomes such as: wellbeing, retention, leadership, productivity, and business performance.
Your Best Asset
Eleanor is the founder of Your Best Asset and is a committed developer of leaders and teams. She is an engaging and experienced facilitator who has held a lifelong fascination with what makes people ‘tick’ and brings a unique perspective on human behaviour with a 20-year career in this field across the corporate, law enforcement, mental health, education, and not-for-profit sectors. She is passionate about working with people to find their ‘fit’ and to create psychologically safe environments and cultures which enable individuals to flourish and the business to thrive.
Eleanor holds an MSc in Forensic Psychology and a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, is an ICF accredited coach, and combines her background with other qualifications in training and design to create and deliver customised programs. These programs have a focus on engagement and implementation through which she works with individuals, teams, and leaders at all levels and then supports them to apply their learnings in the workplace.
Outside of her work, Eleanor is an ardent supporter and advocate of causes relating to child protection, human trafficking, and refugees and helps to run her local branch of the Disabled Surfers Association.
Jaimie Abbott Communications
Jaimie Abbott is an award-winning media professional and international keynote speaker and has spent over two decades in the industry working as a Radio and TV Journalist, Political Media Adviser, Elected Councillor, Managing Director of her own public speaking and media training company and a Communications Adviser for the Royal Australian Air Force. Jaimie has worked with CEOs, Politicians, Entrepreneurs, Industry Experts, and Coaches to help them to feel more confident when public speaking.