25-29 October 2021

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Early Bird ends 30 September

Keynote Speakers

Tasneem Chopra OAM | Cross-Cultural Consultant

A Cross-cultural Consultant, Tasneem addresses leadership, cultural competence and intersectionality across private and public spheres. For her efforts she was recently appointed the inaugural Ambassador for Women of Colour, Australia – and in 2020, awarded an OAM.

Tasneem has been named an ‘Anti-Racism Champion’ by the Australian Human Rights Commission and holds a Distinguished Alumni Award from La Trobe University in recognition of her impact in the diversity sector.

She is a Board Director for The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the Crescent Institute as well as a Strategic advisor for Fire Rescue Victoria and the Collingwood Football Expert Panel on Anti-Racism

A TEDxMelbourne presenter and writer, Tasneem has featured in SBS Life, The Guardian, The SMH and appeared on BBC’s IQ2 Debates, Q&A is a regular panellist on The Drum and host of the podcast series, ‘Strengths Untold’.

Zoe Daniel | Former ABC US Bureau Chief, Journalist and Communications Specialist

Zoe Daniel has spent almost 3 decades on the front line of news and current events, in Australia and internationally, living and working in some of the most challenging environments in the world. She translated the election of Donald Trump for Australians and has brought insights from Southeast Asia, Africa and the Americas home, illuminating key global events.

Zoe is a 3-time foreign correspondent and former ABC News United States Bureau chief. She was based in Washington DC from late 2015 until the end of 2019 and was one of the few journalists who saw the rise of Donald Trump coming. While in the United States, she travelled to 44 states and territories from Alaska to Puerto Rico.

Zoe has reported on politics, conflict, famine, natural disasters, plane crashes, terror attacks, mass shootings, repression, economic collapse and poverty across the world in countries as diverse as the USA, Mexico, Venezuela, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Burma, Vietnam and Vanuatu.

She is the author of Storyteller, which provides a personal insight into her life as a foreign correspondent while juggling a family, and Angel, a novel for young teens about Typhoon Haiyan in the. Philippines. Zoe’s new book, Greetings from Trumpland, with colleague Roscoe Whalan was released in March 2021.

Candy Chang | World-renowned Artist & Urban Designer

Candy Chang engages communities to share everything from their greatest hopes to their deepest anxieties in public. The Atlantic calls her artwork Before I Die “one of the most creative community projects ever.” In her captivating and intimate talks, she demystifies the creative process, inspires personal reflection, and provokes new ideas for community and well-being.

Through the activation of public spaces around the world, Candy Chang provokes both playful and profound visions for how we can connect, reflect, and nurture the health of our communities. Chang is best known for the Before I Die project, which began when she stenciled the words “Before I die I want to _______” on a chalkboard wall on an abandoned house in New Orleans after losing someone she loved. The participatory project has since grown into a global phenomenon and today there are over 5,000 Before I Die walls in over 70 countries, including Iraq, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and South Africa. The Before I Die project and subsequent book, which features walls around the world and insights into our aspirations, have been featured on CNN, NBC, TED, AP News, and Wired.

A TED Senior Fellow, Urban Innovation Fellow, and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Chang has also created installations for people to share their hopes for vacant storefronts, a confessional sanctuary in a Las Vegas casino, designated sites for crying in Hong Kong, and a civic tool called Neighborland.com for people to collaborate on the future of their communities.

Rachael Hocking | Warlpiri woman & Freelance Journalist

Rachael Hocking is a Warlpiri woman from the Northern Territory.

She is a freelance journalist, moderator and presenter who is passionate about sharing First Nations stories.

In 2020 Rachael was named Media Person of the Year at the Dreamtime Awards, and she received a First Nations Media Australia award for her coverage of Kumanjayi Walker.

In 2019 she joined the Board for the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma in the Asia Pacific, where she advocates for better, trauma-informed reporting in Indigenous communities.

Photography Courtesy of Dave Ollier


Natalie Arnold | Principal Community and Stakeholder Engagement Officer, Victoria Park Transformation Project, Brisbane City Council

Natalie Arnold is a communication and engagement specialist with more then 25 years experience in public and private sector organisations. Currently with Brisbane City Council, Natalie has delivered communication and engagement projects across environment and sustainability, parks, flood risk management and resilience, sport, recreation and community facilities. Natalie is currently the Principal Community and Stakeholder Engagement Officer for the Victoria Park Transformation Project.

Gemma Boucher | Senior Manager, Communications and Engagement, Major Transport Infrastructure Authority

Gemma has 16 years of experience in communications, specialising in stakeholder and community engagement, marketing communications and media management. She is still constantly finding new and exciting ways to challenge myself and other people – to solve complex problems and improve relationships.

Originally from Canberra, Gemma started her career as a marketing officer for a small business and working in public relations for a number of non-profit organisations. She then went onto media and marketing for the Commonwealth Government’s education department before making the move to Melbourne in 2009.

Gemma has spent the last 12 years in Victoria’s transport sector managing communications, media and engagement on major infrastructure projects.

She loves to use a combination of her skills, experience, relationships and a really positive mindset to lead and work in a team to get the best from people and achieve great outcomes for organisations, their stakeholders and our communities.

Mel Butcher | Director, Research and Engagement, The Social Deck

Mel Butcher is the Director of Engagement and Impact at The Social Deck, a B-corporation certified engagement and communication consultancy based on the Sunshine Coast. She oversees The Social Deck’s engagement, research, data analysis, evaluation and community development work and has an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW, specialising in Social Impact.

Mel is experienced at facilitating research and engagement activity, understanding and analysing themes and recommending strategies that achieve results. She specialises in applying inclusive and accessible facilitation and engagement practice, human centred design, and collaborative approaches.

Mel has recently been a lead designer and facilitator for consultations on a broad range of issues, including the National Disability Strategy, National Declaration for Educational Goals of Young Australians, and the National Obesity Prevention Strategy. She has also been involved in co-developing and evaluating innovative behaviour change projects.

Fiona Darling | Community Engagement Partner, City of Melbourne

Fiona’s passion for community development and community engagement practice has been developed from a wealth of experience working across local governments, as well as the education, health and community sectors. In her current role as Community Engagement Partner at the City of Melbourne she enjoys acting as a connector between communities, Council and community partners to deliver more locally responsive and collaborative outcomes.

Stewart Davies | Director of Community Engagement & Advancement, Bushfire Recovery Victoria

Stewart Davies is the Director of Community Engagement & Advancement in Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV), a recently established permanent and dedicated Victorian Government agency, committed to supporting locally driven bushfire recovery. Formally, he was the Global Advisor, Community Engagement and Accountability for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) based in Geneva, Switzerland. Stewart is an experienced advisor and coordinator of community and stakeholder engagement, with over fifteen years’ experience in international and Australian contexts including in the development, humanitarian and social enterprise and impact investment sectors.

Lisa Edgerton | Principal Engagement Officer, Community Experience Team, Brisbane City Council

Lisa Edgerton cut her teeth in the Human Services sector over 20 years ago in the not-for -profit sector and gravitated towards community development and community engagement in local Government 14 years ago. Lisa is currently the Principal Community Engagement Officer, Community Experience Team (Brisbane City Council), providing advice and support for the planning and delivery of community and stakeholder engagement approaches/initiatives for projects across the organisation including neighbourhood planning, parks, sport and recreation precinct planning, transport, environment and sustainability.

Max Hardy | Principal, Max Hardy Consulting

Max Hardy, a specialist in collaboration, focuses on collaborative leadership development, appreciative inquiry, collective impact and deliberative community/consumer engagement.

In 1997 Max helped establish the International Association for Public Participation Australasia, and with his former colleagues at Twyfords Max has written two books, “Beyond Public Meetings: Connecting Community Engagement with Decisionmaking” and most recently “The Power of Co: The Smart Leaders’ Guide to Collaborative Governance”.

In 2005 Max played a major role in the preparation of the “Brisbane Declaration on Engaging Communities” which was presented to the United Nations.

In 2007 at a ceremony in Arizona, USA Max along with the ACT Disability Advisory Council was awarded the IAP2 (International) Award for “Project of the Year” for the design and implementation of the Challenge 2014 Project.

In 2009 Max co-facilitated Australia’s first Citizens’ Parliament at Old Parliament House, Canberra and in 2010 he co-designed and co-facilitated the Premier’s Growth Management Summit in Brisbane, and is currently providing strategic advice to develop The Queensland Plan, a 30 year vision for that state.

In 2015 Max Hardy, along with NDIA and Danielle Annells, were awarded with International Project of the Year by IAP2 for the citizens’ jury scorecard project relating to trial sites for the NDIS.

More recently Max has been heavily involved in building capacity in the health sector to collaboratively to tackle challenges in the health system.

Max is also a guest lecturer at Sydney and Melbourne Universities, and is an Associate of Collaboration for Impact.

Allison Hendricks | CEO & Founder, Darzin Software

Allison is one of the pioneers of the stakeholder engagement industry in Australia. After advising governments and businesses for over a decade on stakeholder engagement, she decided to turn her hand to developing software solutions for stakeholder management. Today the two software products her company produces, Darzin and Simply Stakeholders, are used by governments and businesses of all sizes, all around the world. One of the things Allison most loves about her job is the connections she makes with practitioners across the world, and the birds-eye view she gets of how stakeholder engagement is practised in lots of different sectors and countries. She’s particularly passionate about evaluation, reporting and innovation.

Sue Ledingham | Unit Manager Communications, Marketing and Customer Engagement, Central Coast Council

Sue Ledingham is the Unit Manager Communications, Marketing and Customer Engagement for Central Coast Council.

At her core, Sue is primarily responsible for fostering reputation management, with a focus on driving customer experience and engagement. She understands that to better the customer experience and the organisation, employees need to be at the heart of the change.

With 20+ years’ experience in both public and private sector strategic roles, Sue states storytelling and relationship building as her leading skills and has built and developed leadership and campaign programs to drive organisational change, build community, manage crisis, change behaviours and deliver business improvement. She is a consensus builder speaking the language of diverse internal and external stakeholders.

Sue’s experience in community engagement started at the early introduction of IAP2 into Australia and she is a strong advocate of engagement practice and experience being a core skill for Local Government employees.

Sue has a Grad. Dip in Local Government Management and Masters in Strategic Communications and is a member of IAP2.

Cindy Lenferna de la Motte | Head of Customer and Community, Harvest Digital Planning

Cindy Lenferna de la Motte is Head of Customer and Community at Harvest Digital Planning. Cindy’s passion lies at the intersection of people, technology and innovation. She offers deep experience in the technology industry, working at the forefront of Digital Transformation and Engagement, and is driven by her dedication to creating engaging and meaningful human experiences.

Donna Marshall | Head of Community Engagement, Customer Experience and Strategy, Airservices Australia

Donna is a community engagement professional of more than 25 years experience. Starting her career in the environmental sector, she moved into hard infrastructure projects where she consulted across projects including road, rail, transport, water, wastewater, oil and gas, mining, town planning and property development for around 20 years before moving “client side” into government roles in 2018. She has most recently held senior roles on Inland Rail, Cross River Rail and now with Airservices Australia where she oversees the delivery of the network of “invisible infrastructure” across Australia’s airspace. She is the immediate past Chair of IAP2 Australasia, and has been the recipient of 39 individual industry awards including the IAP2 Australasia Project of the Year in 2012.

Melanie Rippon | Acting Community Engagement Manager, Ipswich City Council

Melanie Rippon is a community and stakeholder engagement specialist and sociologist with sixteen years’ professional experience spanning federal government, local government, multi-sector consulting and the not-for-profit sector. Her geographical experience includes Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Myanmar, Malaysia, Vanuatu and Fiji. Her passions include community-led change, navigating cross-cultural and post-conflict contexts, social and environmental justice. She is currently the Acting Community Engagement Manager at Ipswich City Council. Her toughest challenge remains raising her ever curious five year old twins.

Tracie Sanim | Manager, Stakeholder Engagement and Communication, Northern Territory Government

An award-winning and solution-oriented engagement strategist, collaborator and communicator, Tracie Sanim brings a unique and valued skills set to the people she works with.

Tracie has been lucky enough to work across a range of industries and regions throughout Australia – from Sydney, Darwin, Adelaide and Brisbane to Cairns, Newcastle, Cape York and the remote Far North Queensland and Northern Territory communities. Within these roles she’s delivered significant projects for these regions – while at the same time managing day to day issues and crises.

Tracie is currently leading the stakeholder engagement and communication for the Northern Territory’s Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct. In this role she is responsible for the design, development and management of strategic communication and engagement strategies to support the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct and related projects.

The Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct is home to two of the Northern Territory’s most significant gas processing facilities in Santos Darwin LNG and the INPEX Ichthys Onshore LNG Processing Facility. The Precinct is set to become a world class hub for gas production and manufacturing by 2030. Located on the Middle Arm Peninsula, the master-planned 1500 hectare estate will accommodate large strategic industries for downstream gas processing and gas manufacturing.

Alice Sherring | Project Manager, Articulous

With more than a decade of experience developing innovative stakeholder engagement strategies for complex projects, Alice is a highly sought-after facilitator, trainer and strategist.​ Alice has worked in Australia, NZ and the USA.

A dynamic facilitator, with a background in strategic planning, Alice is passionate about organizational development. Her facilitation strategies employ an outcome-focused approach that builds rapport, capacity and trust with community and stakeholders. Whether she is among a few participants or hundreds of stakeholders, Alice navigates tension with ease expertly facilitating complex issues and highly nuanced stakeholder negotiations.

Internationally recognised for her commitment to equity and social inclusion, Alice is passionate about bringing diverse audiences together to achieve results. ​Alice brings a cross-cultural competency to her projects, striving for equitable engagement and inclusion.
​An experienced IAP2 trainer, Alice is known for her ability to clearly articulate and explore complex concepts and problems with diverse groups.

Emanuela Savini | PhD Candidate, University of Sydney

Emanuela has a background in local government and over the past three years, she has facilitated programs such as the Moreland Democracy Lab which is a program of capacity building sessions designed for local communities to build skills in civic participation.

She is also undertaking a PhD at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney. Her thesis topic is Enabling participatory and deliberative governance: Institutional design and organisational capacity for local government in Victoria, Australia.

Tamara Weaver | Community Engagement Program Leader, Logan City Council

A humanistic leader with a diverse background and a proven ability to affect meaningful change for businesses and communities alike. Tamara has spent the past eleven years with local government, leveraging her leadership capabilities and change management skills across a variety of roles to achieve significant organisational transformation.

After working extensively in the high-profile field of local law enforcement and animal care, Tarama’s success with both internal teams and external customers, saw her passion for animals, extend to people. As her contact with the community grew, so did her genuine interest in hearing what they had to say. This led to her current role as the Community Engagement Program leader for Logan City Council, a role which enabled her to combine people management skills and an ability to connect with the community to shape meaningful outcomes.

As a confident, compassionate and highly effective communicator, her aptitude for quickly developing powerful working relationships at all levels, underpins an efficacy as an influential and results-driven leader. Tamara has cultivated many high functioning teams and established a strong reputation as a trusted advisor and strategist in the change management, engagement and organisational development.

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