conference mc

Ingrid Cumming

Indigenous Australian Entrepreneur, MC & Agent for Change


Ingrid Cumming is a Whadjuk Balardong Noongar woman from Fremantle, Western Australia and recognised young leader within the First Nations community.

Ingrid is the founder and principal consultant of Kart Koort Wiern consultancy, representing First Nations Business globally for over ten years, alumni of Murdoch University and Melbourne Business School. Ingrid was part of the establishment of the Indigenous Women in Business network and has served as a Commissioner for Conservation for the WA State Government.

Ingrid has worked with a variety of sectors and organisations, creating, facilitating and evaluating programs and strategies to address their issues and strengths.

Ingrid has won and been a finalist in a range of awards like NAIDOC Perth, Telstra Women in Business, Curtin Vice-Chancellor Awards, ‘Champion for Change’ by EPHEA (Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia), WA Heritage Awards and Belmont Small Business Awards.

Ingrid has presented at various forums and conferences around the world in relation to engagement, equity and diversity matters including as a delegate at the UN Women Leaders Conference in Israel in 2013, TedXPerth in 2014 been on various TV programs, including the Drum in 2021.

Ingrid is a strong ally of LGBTIQ, First Nations, Youth and diverse groups, stakeholders and organisations.



Futurist, Speaker, Presenter & Author


Has COVID-19 shaken up your world? Are your people looking for leadership in this time of massive change? Do you want to be more confident and decisive in chaos and uncertainty?

Gihan Perera is a futurist, conference speaker, online presenter, and author who shows you how to be fit for the future in a fast-changing world.

For 25 years, he has worked with organisations and leaders throughout Australia, as well as in New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, and North America – helping them to thrive in a fast-changing world. Since the pandemic, he has helped people lead in uncertainty, and act with clarity and confidence through crisis, recovery, and growth.

He is the author of “The Future of Leadership”, “Disruption By Design”, “Disrupted”, and 10 other books.
Forbes magazine rated him the #5 social media influencer in the world (and #1 in Australia) in his area of expertise.


City of Parramatta


Nicole Carnegie is the Group Manager of City Strategy and an Executive Team Member at the City of Parramatta, leading the portfolios of Innovation, Economic, Social, Environment and Cultural Strategy.

Nicole has a Masters in Urbanism and is passionate about creating vibrant and interesting places for people, and specifically, understanding what that means for the unprecedented growth of Parramatta.


Former Managing Director | Tourism Australia


John Morse AM is the former Managing Director of the Australian Tourist Commission [Tourism Australia].

He developed a globally acclaimed strategy to leverage the tourism potential from the 2000 SydneyOlympics.

John has served on many boards including the National Museum of Australia, The Mutitjulu Foundation [Uluru],and Tourism Victoria. He is currently Deputy Chairman of Welcome to Country, a NFP to bring together Aboriginal experiences across Australia.

He has worked with First Nations Communities to develop cultural tourism businesses. In Kakadu, Arnhem Land, Victoria and Central Australia.
He was awarded an Order of Australia [ AM] in 2003 for services to tourism and Aboriginal communities.


Keynote Speaker & Awards Gala MC


Mykel Dixon is an award-winning speaker and author, master facilitator and recognised authority of Creativity, Culture and the Human Future of Work. He works globally with a stellar cast of fortune 500 and ASX 200 listed companies who want to liberate themselves from boring work, bland events and beige bosses.

A jazz musician by trade, gypsy by nature, fierce non-conformist and prolific anti-perfectionist, Myke leads a new wave of conscious, creative business leaders who strive to make work feel more like play, teams feel more like family, and organisations feel more like festivals of possibility.

In 2018, he was named Australia’s  Breakthrough Speaker of The Year (by the Professional Speakers Association) and in 2021, his second book Everyday Creative was named the #1 Leadership book in Australia by the esteemed Australian Business Book Awards.

Blending his unique career and life experience, an obsession for audience participation and a magnetic stage presence, Myke’s live learning experiences are unrivaled. Fusing live music, spoken-word poetry, visual storytelling and spontaneous audience interaction.

Just like that time you were upgraded to first class, once you’ve experienced a Mykel Dixon anything, it’s hard to go back to coach.


The Eather Group


Divinia Eather is the second generation of Eather Group, whose operations focus on creating a Circular Economy on major NSW construction projects.

The young Kalkadoon woman has taken on the role of Marketing Manager in her family’s company, and regularly appears as a guest lecturer for the UTS Diploma of Procurement & Contracting.

Earlier this year, Divinia presented Eather Group as a case study for the Indigenous Circular Economy at the National Indigenous Economic Development Forum, and as an example of Sustainable Leadership at the Family Business Australia National Conference.

Divinia was the 2022 Hawkesbury Young Business Person of the Year.


Founder & Group Innovation Director, Tricky Jigsaw/M&C Saatchi


Ben is a creative leader with over two decades of experience internationally.

In 2015 he founded the innovation firm Tricky Jigsaw, a capability within the M&C Saatchi Group. In 2017, Tricky Jigsaw enabled M&C to take #1 spot in the AFR’s ‘Most Innovative Company’ award. TJ’s methodology and product design work for NRMA Fireblanket (an early bushfire detection system) also won ‘Most Innovative Product’ and overall ‘Best Innovation’ categories. In 2019, Blend Week, a one-week design-led accredited curriculum in partnership with UTS, was awarded a Good Design Award. And in November 2021, TJ was recognised with an NSW Premier’s Award for the Game Changer Challenge, a design thinking sprint that takes place during Education Week, open to all 2,200 NSW public schools.

Ben is a member and mentor of the global D&AD Impact Council, which exists to drive change through creativity. He is inspired by what is achievable with passionate, curious people unbound by convention.


Interim CEO of the Scaling Green Hydrogen Cooperative Research Centre Bid


Paul Hodgson is an advisor in innovation, the energy transition and economic growth with diverse experience and insights gained over a 30 year career. Amongst his current roles, he is Interim CEO of the Scaling Green Hydrogen Cooperative Research Centre Bid and a Non-Executive Director of the Queensland Manufacturing Institute. 

As an Australian Certified Economic Developer with a Bachelor of International Business and a Master of Sustainable Development, he is passionate about developing local talent and enterprise capability and connecting it into global market opportunities. As General Manager for the East Coast for the industry growth centre NERA, he led the development of the national hydrogen technology cluster network, which now has 18 regional clusters and over 500 members.


General Manager, Food Innovation Precinct Western Australia


With 18+ years of experience across Australasia and NZ spanning business, government and academia, Dr Christopher Vas currently leads the activation of the Food Innovation Precinct Western Australia (FIPWA) as its General Manager. 

The FIPWA – an ecosystem comprising R&D, Innovation and Food Technology Facility – is funded $21M by the Australian Government and $40M+ by the State Government as part of the development of the Peel Business Park. The Precinct has also been funded $3.8M by the State Government and the Shire of Murray to establish an Enterprise Support Program. 

Previously, Dr Vas was Director of Industry Programs at the University of Canterbury and Founding Director of the Singapore Centre for Research in Productivity, Innovation and Technology (SCRIPT) in Singapore. He was also Chief Investigator of the Smart Urban Farm Factories project and Commissioner and Executive Director of the Second Murdoch Commission on Food Security, Trade and Regional Partnerships.


Lucid Economics


Michael is a founding director of Lucid Economics and has over 20 years of experience in economic development, tourism, property and industry/economic research that spans three continents.

Michael works with both public and private sector clients using economic and financial analysis to inform strategy development, investment decisions and government policy. Michael brings many years of economic development and location analysis experience in the US, Europe and Australia. As a consultant, Michael focuses on economic development and tourism consulting for state and local governments as well as providing analysis and investment advice for businesses, investors and property developers.

As an economic developer, Michael has secured 54 corporate projects, representing $425 million in capital investment and 4,000 jobs. He has taken part in the development and implementation of numerous economic development strategies, investment attraction programs, and community marketing campaigns, as well as engaged with hundreds of businesses about their expansion/relocation plans. Michael has built numerous quantitative and qualitative models to assist corporate management teams on location decisions for large capital budget projects.

Michael’s experience crosses over a wide variety of projects including advanced manufacturing, distribution, R&D, headquarter relocation, and back office functions. He has worked with over 100 communities across Australia on various economic development projects.

Michael was one of the first in Australia to receive the ACEcD (Australian Certified Economic Developer) accreditation from Economic Development Australia (EDA). He is a regular presenter on economic development matters at major economic development conferences at the national, state and regional level. Michael is a trusted adviser to numerous state and local governments as well as regional economic development organisations in regard to economic development, investment attraction, tourism and planning.


Advanced Demographic Modelling


Tom Wilson is an experienced demographic modeller and data analyst specialising in population projections, household projections, migration analysis, indirect data estimation, very elderly demographic trends, and subnational demographic change.

He currently divides his time between a senior research position at the University of Melbourne and demographic consulting.

Tom has creaed demographic modelling methods used by demographers in Australia and overseas, and designed projection software used by federal and State/Territory Government departments for their official population projections.

He is currently a member of the Population Expert Panel for Commonwealth Treasury, and the Expert Population Advisory Group of the NSW Department of Planning & Environment.


CEO, Economic Development Australia


Jacqueline is an experienced CEO and economic development specialist. Prior to joining EDA in July 2017, Jacqueline was the inaugural CEO of Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise, the peak regional economic development agency for the Blue Mountains. As a Director of DARE Disabilities, Jacqueline has played a key role in positioning the organisation as it transitioned to the NDIS environment. Jacqueline was appointed to the Board of RDA Sydney in 2021.

Before moving to NSW, Jacqueline was CEO of the largest superyacht industry cluster in Australia and developed and implemented strategies which resulted in growth for the Tropical North QLD region valued at more than $50 million per annum. Under her leadership, Cairns became the most visited superyacht port in Australia (2002-2007).

Throughout her career Jacqueline has harnessed new opportunities for the marine, arts, tourism and aviation industries through strong economic and industry development, marketing, and communications strategies. Her advocacy and lobbying has resulted in regulatory and legislative change at a local, state and federal level and her copy writing and editing skills have secured significant investment and projects.


Retail Expert


With over 40 years of experience in the retail industry, Martin established Ginnane & Associates, a locally based, globally connected retail and governmental advisory firm. He specialises across the “revitalisation and activation agenda” working with local and state governments, statutory authorities and industry associations to bring successful outcomes to all parties.

As a leading retail expert Martin’s knowledge of industry trends, style and future direction is gained by participating in major global and local retail events. Martin brings years of experience in domestic and international retail, business development and client engagement.


General Manager of Growth, Alexandrina Council


Matt has a long standing success record in the field of Economic Development in a local government context since 2009.

Matt is currently the General Manager of Growth at the Alexandrina Council where he commenced shortly before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. The Growth division is responsible for Economic Development through industry development and business support, growing the Visitor Economy, Strategic Planning and Development, Marketing and Communications and external funding attraction and delivery. The Division is leading a new approach to support sustainable economic growth across the diverse 1,800 km2 region and its ten townships. Recent achievements include the establishment of Business Alexandrina as a business support and advancement program and the development of an innovative new Economic Development Strategy, underpinned by the principle of regeneration in response to the community’s aspirations.

Previously he held the role of Associate Director Economic Development & Innovation at the City of Adelaide. The Economic Development & Innovation Program’s purpose was to grow a prosperous and progressive Adelaide by working with State Government to accelerate growth by leveraging International Relations, focusing on the City’s liveability and visitor experience. 

Matt has a strong interest in embracing the digital economy and its practical application to improve the community’s standard of living and wellbeing. He is renowned for authentic leadership, consistent performance and demonstrated excellence across a wide range of management skills and leadership capabilities. This is backed with comprehensive practical experience in implementing effective Economic Development strategies for well managed growth.


Founding Partner, Faculty Group


Luke Lombe is a Founding Partner of Faculty Group, a Web3 venture studio with approximately 150 people across 30 countries and 5 companies covering Venture Capital, Incubation / Acceleration, Market Making, Marketing, and Entertainment. Faculty Group invest in, advise, and build blockchain / web3 companies. 

Luke holds an MBA, Bachelor of Commerce, and Diploma in Finance and has previously worked across 5 continents in strategy, communications, marketing, and advisory with brands ranging from Jaguar, Under Armour, Four Seasons, BHP, and Hollywood films like Iron Man 3.

A 2 x TEDx speaker, MBA lecturer, and regular panellist and keynote speaker at blockchain events globally, Luke has been featured in a variety of media including Huffington Post, Forbes, Sky News TV, The Daily Telegraph, and Wall Street Journal. 


Manager – Open Space Programs, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning


Damien Taylor has worked across State and Local Government for 15 years and holds tertiary qualifications in environmental and park management and public safety.

In a professional context Damien has worked in the areas of emergency management, regulatory and public safety as well as various roles relating to forest management and environmental initiatives.

Damien is currently leading work on behalf of the Victorian Governments, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to deliver a program working with various land managers to deliver $62.5 million of investment into new and upgraded open space projects.


Managing Director, Geografia


Data analysis links the different stages of Kevin’s career. In the state government, he researched labour market trends. In the creative industries sector, he designed an economic development strategy for the rock music industry and at the University of Melbourne, he taught quantitative urban economics to planning students. Then in 2007 Kevin formed Melbourne-based data analytics firm, Geografia, where he designed and launched bank data analytics app, Spendmapp, following up in 2021 with the mobility app, Movemapp. 

In July 2020, Kevin designed the Urban Monitoring Framework (UMF) for UN-Habitat. This is a monitoring tool for local and regional governments to track their progress toward the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Kevin spoke about the UMF at UN-Habitat’s biennial World Urban Forum in Poland in July. He is currently assisting the Shanghai Municipal Government and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to pilot an adapted version of the UMF. 





Lisa Andrews is a sought after speaker and futurist who describes herself as an Energised Introvert inspired by a future of
perfect knowledge, having her own Jarvis and Ironman suit as well as being able to send Care Bear Stare focus to the world.

With a financial, data and engineering background Lisa is working on the question ‘how to give everyone a fair start in life and
maximise human potential at each stage throughout life’. She has dedicated her life to having a positive impact in this world, primarily:

  • As CEO of WAVIA ‘removing the friction of financial, human and community capital’;
  • As international faculty for Singularity University ‘Educating, empowering and inspiring leaders to use exponential technology to solve the world’s grand challenges’;

Lisa had her first successful exit from an engineering business in 2012 and is now an investor in multiple companies that focus on profit with purpose.

She is currently working on projects with international organisations such as Singularity University, United Nations, ACTAI, Extreme Tech Challenge and EO. Focusing on solving the worlds greatest challenges with exponential technologies.

As a future maker and strategic planner – she sees the first step as achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the second creating a vision for the world in the next 100 years.


Coordinator Economic Development and Smart Cities, Maribyrnong City Council


Bruce is currently the Coordinator Economic Development and Smart Cities at Maribyrnong City Council in Melbourne’s dynamic Inner West. 

With over 12 years’ experience in the Local Government sector Bruce has held a range of roles relating to Economic Development, Investment Attraction, Place Making and Tourism.  His current passion is exploring how Smart City initiatives can play a role in place activation and tactical economic development with the aim of improving the convenience and quality of life for residents.

Bruce is currently a Board member for the Australian Smart Communities Association, an organisation set up to support organisations to create smart communities.

Bruce also holds a Non-Executive Board role with Sunbury Cobaw Community Health, a not-for-profit organisation focused on supporting positive health outcomes in the local community.

Prior to Local Government Bruce ran a small business in the international tourism sector, and has a particularly strong connection with Japan, having previously lived and worked there for nearly 4 years.


Mayor, City of Karratha


Peter is the Mayor of the City of Karratha, a position he has held since 2013.

A professional engineer and environmental scientist, building on his passion for protecting resources and local  onservation, he continues to focus on emphasising environmental sustainability in the work he carries out today as Mayor of the City of Karratha.

Councillor Long also has an enduring interest in the arts, which he sees as an essential component to any community and has been closely aligned with the cultural development of the City throughout
his 30 years in the region.

Having served at the grass roots level of the City of Karratha community right through to his current role as Mayor, Cr Long is in-tune with residents, advocating for the projects and initiatives most important to the local community and its continued growth.


Director, European Union Centre of Excellence – RMIT


Bruce Wilson is Director of the European Union Centre of Excellence at RMIT. In this role, he provides insights to and leads research and debate on EU-Australian relations, encouraging mobility for staff and students, and for building partnerships between Australian universities and organisations and their European counterparts. 

In this capacity, he leads the Centre of Excellence on Smart Specialisation and Regional Policy, which has developed Smart Specialisation Livewire as a resource for policy-makers. For the last five years, he has contributed as a Co-Chief Investigator to the Latrobe Valley Authority’s implementation of Smart Specialisation in Gippsland, and for three years, he led RMIT’s participation in Regional Research Connections, a policy-oriented initiative of the Regional Australia Institute. He also led the Australian participation in the EU’s World Cities initiative in 2016-18 and is Coordinator of the Australasian participation in the EU’s International Urban and Regional Cooperation project, 2021-23.

He has presented keynote presentations in EU Joint Research Centre forums on Smart Specialisation and placed-based innovation and sustainability. He is also co-editor of the Australasian Journal of Regional Studies (2015-18 and 2021-22).

He also leads a Jean Monnet Network on the EU’s engagement with the SDGs in Asia Pacific, a partnership project that was recognised recently as an outstanding global example of the role of universities in implementation of SDG 17. The Network has made a significant contribution to promoting awareness of the SDGs in Australia, and promoting better understanding of the EU’s contribution in leading partnerships for transformation.

He was a founding Co-Director of Pascal (Place, Social Capital and Learning) International Observatory and a member of the Advisory Board and Committee of the Hume Global Learning Village. He is currently an active member of the Australian Coalition for Education and Development, and is a Councillor for the Australian and New Zealand Regional Science Association International. He has had long experience in working with all levels of government on organisational and social change, and is committed to linking researchers and policy makers with city and regional governments on social and economic policy, innovation, lifelong learning and environment.


Lead – Food & Fibre Regional Strength Team, Latrobe Valley Authority


Jeanie’s comprehensive career includes roles in education, government and self employment.

A lateral thinker, Jeanie’s passion is to create a legacy of knowledge growth and motivation with her clients and staff.

Career highlights include running successful restaurant and catering businesses, securing over $19 million in grants, and working with her clients to solve difficult challenges for their businesses. Jeanie received a Churchill Fellowship in 2003 looking into the role government should play in assisting communities recover from hardship disaster or adversity

She found her tribe when she joined the Latrobe Valley Authority four years ago and established the highly successful Concierge Business Support Service. Jeanie supports all forms of Economic Development, is the lead for the Food and Fibre Regional Strength team and the Collaborative networks and multi level governance team . Jeanie is a strong advocate for the Smart Speicalistion methodology which is currently driving 9 projects in Food and Fibre space and many more across Energy, Health and Wellbeing and Visitor Economy.