Keynote Speakers




Chris Riddell




This is not business as usual, this is life unprecedented. Award-winning, global keynote speaker Chris Riddell’s obsession with data, detail and insights, making unique connections and unlocking new perspectives forms a compelling case for a future that will be better than today. Neither a typical futurist or a traditional motivationalist, Chris Riddell is an award-winning and industry recognised human Futurist, forensic optimist and energising catalyst, combining rigour and insight with heart and energy to provoke, inspire and surprise.


DR Katherine Trebeck

Political Economist, Writer & Advocate 



Katherine is a political economist, writer and advocate for economic system change. Her roles include writer-at-large at the University of Edinburgh, Economic Change Lead at The Next Economy, and Strategic Advisor to the Centre for Policy Development. She co-founded the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) and also WEAll Scotland, its Scottish hub.

Katherine instigated the group of Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo) – comprising Scotland, New Zealand, Finland, Wales, Iceland, and Canada. She is a thinker-in-residence at the Australian National University’s Planetary Health Hot House, a New Economics Senior Fellow at the ZOE Institute, and a Fellow of The Post Growth Institute.

She is a member of the Club of Rome and sits on the boards of Hands Across Canberra, the Wellbeing Economy Lab Denmark, and the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity.

She has over eight years’ experience in various roles with Oxfam GB, where she developed Oxfam’s Humankind Index and led Oxfam’s work on downscaling the ‘doughnut’ for various national contexts.

Katherine has Bachelor Degrees in Economics and in Politics (University of Melbourne) and holds a PhD in Political Science from the Australian National University. She worked for the University of Glasgow as a Research Fellow from 2005-2009 and was Honorary Professor at the University of the West of Scotland and Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Strathclyde (based at the Fraser of Allander Institute).

Her most recent book The Economics of Arrival: Ideas for a Grown Up Economy (co-authored with Jeremy Williams and published by Policy Press) was published in January 2019 and her major report Being Bold: Budgeting for Children’s Wellbeing was launched in March 2021. Her two Tedx talks are about ‘Why the future economy has to be a wellbeing economy’ and ‘a new definition of wealth and prosperity’.



Yvonne Adele

Tech Pioneer & Expert Facilitator 



Well known tech pioneer, expert facilitator and media identity, Yvonne Adele will lead NEDC24 as this year’s MC. Yvonne Adele began her career with Microsoft in Sydney, before travelling the world with the software giant, supporting tech-support and education teams. Armed with this incredible wealth of knowledge and experience, Yvonne returned to Australia on a mission to help Australians learn to love technology. She created the Ms Megabyte brand/persona which led to a national media profile (IT Reporter, Today Show; Woman’s Day; Women’s’ Weekly), regular radio spots and best-selling books (Conquer Your Computer; PCs For Dummies).

Yvonne is an expert facilitator, weaving the event theme into each speaker introduction, seeding group discussion and keeping the energy up for delegates throughout a multi-day event. Yvonne will ensure the event provides the key take-aways and practical tools NEDC24 delegates expect and love.



warwick smith

Economist, Writer & Policy Analyst




Warwick is an economist, writer and policy analyst. His current professional interests include employment, inclusive and sustainable economic development, democracy, and climate change. He also has a background in evolutionary and conservation biology.

A regular speaker at conferences and in the media, he also publishes opinion pieces in outlets such as The Guardian, the ABC, The Age and The Conversation.

Warwick is also Program Director at the Centre for Policy Development, where he leads a team working on wellbeing economy and an Honorary Fellow at the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne.


nathan oHle

President & CEO
International Economic Development Council (IEDC)



Nathan Ohle is an internationally recognized expert in economic development and a leader of public, private and non-profit organizations. He currently serves as the President & CEO of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers, with more than 5,000 members globally. In 2017, he was selected as one of 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in economic development internationally.
Nathan’s economic development experience and leadership span decades at the local, state, and federal levels. He served as the Senior Advisor at the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), overseeing policy and external affairs. He also was the lead for the U.S. Department of Commerce on the White House Rural Council and the Administration-wide Community Solutions team, leading initiatives across the Department of Commerce, as well as serving as the Deputy Director of the Detroit Federal Working group. He developed new partnerships for EDA and created the first-ever Office of Philanthropic Engagement at the Commerce Department, helping align the interests of the philanthropic sector with the federal government.
Before joining IEDC, Nathan was the Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), a national network of non-profit partners working to build capacity in rural and tribal communities across the country. Under his tenure, RCAP’s budget and team almost tripled, expanding work in economic development, access to safe drinking water and sanitary wastewater, and disaster recovery for rural and tribal communities across the country. He led RCAP’s operations and strategic planning, serving more than 3.4 million rural and tribal residents in 2020.
Before moving to Washington, DC, Nathan served in the non-profit sector and as the Board Relations Liaison for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. He holds two degrees from Michigan State University.


Sorita McGrane (ACEcD)

Economic Development Australia


Sorita is a proud Torres Strait Islander woman living and working in the City of Moreton Bay. A passionate Economic Development Professional, Sorita is committed to the growth of local business, First Nations Economic Participation and Regional Development.

Until recently, Sorita was CEO of Regional Development Australia Moreton Bay. Prior to that role, Sorita honed her knowledge and experience in development at both local government and state government levels, working across various sectors including biomedical, space, resource recovery, food and agribusiness, workforce development and Indigenous business. Sorita also has a background in Vocational Education and Training, serving ten years as a Senior Leader at TAFE Queensland. Sorita is no stranger to small business, previously owning, with her husband business ventures in money management training and coaching, project coordination and real estate.

In further pursuing one of her passions for First Nations Economic Participation, Sorita delivers training to Economic Development Practitioners across Australia in Indigenous Entrepreneurship and Economic Development for the accredited training program for Economic Development Australia.


Jacqueline Brinkman GAICD

Chief Executive Officer
Economic Development Australia

Jacqueline Brinkman is an economic development specialist and CEO of Economic Development Australia (EDA), the national peak body for economic development.

Jacqueline’s leadership of EDA commenced in 2017 and since that time, EDA’s membership has more than tripled and revenue has increased by over 370%. Jacqueline was responsible for the development and launch of the highly successful National Economic Development Education and Training Program in 2020. This program has proven to be a step change in career development for Australian Economic Development profession. Jacqueline is also leading a range of research and advocacy projects with the aim to raise awareness of the impact of the Australian economic development sector.

Through a career spanning 20+ years, Jacqueline is recognised as one of Australia’s most experienced industry cluster managers, and has facilitated industry development and investment across a range of sectors. Her advocacy and lobbying has resulted in legislative change at a Local, State and Federal Government level.

Jacqueline has held Chief Executive roles across a range of sectors in QLD and NSW, is an award-winning copy writer and an experienced company director having Board positions on a range of Government bodies and NFP organisations. Jacqueline is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).


Leigh Holford


Leigh Holford is a Principal in Hatch’s social advisory and urban prosperity group, with extensive experience in project planning and delivery in urban and regional development, infrastructure, and the environment. She specialises in working on projects at the intersection of economic and social value which consider long-term sustainable outcomes. Leigh has extensive experience working with international institutions, including the World Bank, UN-Habitat, UNCHR, and the private, public, and charitable sectors to address problems of sustainable and inclusive community development. She has worked across the globe including in Africa, America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia.

Leigh is a Global Reporting Initiative qualified professional and holds a Master’s degree from University College London in Environment and Sustainable Development and a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland.


Andrew Wear

City Economist and Director, Economic Development and International
City of Melbourne

Andrew Wear is City Economist and Director, Economic Development and International at the City of Melbourne, where he has responsibility for economic policy and programs, support for international students and international relationships. He has played a lead role supporting the city’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has led development and delivery of the city’s Economic Development Strategy.

Andrew is also an author who is passionate about searching the world for policy solutions that work. His books include, Solved! How other countries have cracked the world’s biggest problems (and we can too) and Recovery. How we can create a better, brighter future after a crisis.

He has degrees in politics, law, economics and public policy, and is a graduate of the Senior Executive Fellows Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Andrew is also a director of the BioMelbourne Network and a member of CEDA’s Victoria/Tasmania Advisory Council.