Compassion Conference

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Speakers and panelists

Our speakers are astounding examples of Compassionate leadership and are visionaries for imagining a future for people who care. Revolutionaries — this is your invitation to show up big for each other and create a revolution like no other.

Troye Wallett

SA, Australia

GP, Mentor and Entrepreneur

Dr Troye Wallett thinks about wellbeing, health, and self-work. He does so because he is a GP, entrepreneur, and teacher. In 2014, seeing the need for more GPs in the aged care sector, he launched GenWise, an aged care specific general practice. GenWise won the National Telstra Business of the Year in 2017.

Troye is a consummate learner and is driven to share his knowledge. He enjoys speaking and teaching on many topics that pique his interest.

Tony Fernando


University of Auckland

Tony is a psychiatrist, sleep specialist and academic. He has published in local and international research journals in sleep medicine and medical compassion, and has been awarded multiple teaching awards by medical students and the faculty of medicine in Auckland.

Shelley Bowen

Melbourne, Victoria

Health Futures Australia

Shelley is a population health system and community changemaker, transformer and disruptor. She designs and enables big thinking, practice and social change processes and transformative policy for better health and wellbeing outcomes. Her expertise is in population and preventative health, collaboration, innovation, scale, strategy and communication, and system design thinking. Shelley is Chief Executive Officer of Health Futures Australia and a Westpac Social Change Fellow.

Shannon Weber


Writer, Artist and Facilitator
Show Up Hard

Shannon Weber, MSW (she/her) is a serial social entrepreneur, having launched several sexual and reproductive health initiatives that have impacted tens of thousands around the globe. She is also an ephemeral artist creating public displays of affection at LoveYou2 and the author of Show Up Hard: A Road Map for Helpers in Crisis. Shannon believes we thrive at the intersection of empathy and resilience.

Shahina Braganza

QLD, Australia

Senior Emergency Physician

Dr Shahina Braganza is a senior emergency physician at Gold Coast Health and Honorary Adjunct Assoc Prof at Bond University School of Health Science and Medicine.

She is passionate about “non-technical” skills in the health profession, including professionalism, communication and leadership, and has a keen interest in Wellness, particularly in how it relates to individual and team dynamics and performance, and ultimately to quality patient care.

Shahina is the founder of the oneED program and a founding member of wrapem.org.

Seth Godin

New York, USA

Author, Entrepreneur and most of all, a Teacher

Seth has written 20 best-selling books including This is Marketing, which was an instant bestseller in countries around the world. Creatives everywhere have made his latest book, The Practice a bestseller. Each day he publishes the most well read blog on the internet.

His newest interest: the tribes we lead, argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. He urges us to do so too.

Sarah Gun

SA, Australia

GOGO Foundation

Sarah Gun is an international award-winning innovator, disruptor, thought leader and crusader for a socially equitable world.

Sarah is the Founder of GOGO Events, a B Corp and Social Traders accredited event management social business employing people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. She is also founder of the GOGO Foundation and the Inclusive Work Program which provide a curated personalised pathway for marginalised women with complex barriers to employment into safe, secure long-term jobs

Safdar Ahmed

NSW, Australia

Artist, Musician and Academic
Refugee Art Project

Dr Safdar Ahmed is a Sydney based artist, musician and academic who lives and works on Dharug country.

He is the author of the Walkley Award-winning documentary web-comic Villawood: Notes from an immigration detention centre (2015). That comic was expanded into the graphic novel Still Alive (2021), which is available through Twelve Panels Press.
Safdar is also a member of eleven, a collective of contemporary Muslim Australian artists, curators and writers.

Ruth De Souza

VIC, Australia

Speaker, Writer, Researcher.

Dr Ruth De Souza is a highly experienced multidisciplinary educator, researcher and consultant, specialising in cross cultural engagement, cultural safety, and the interface of digital technologies within CALD communities.

Her background is in nursing where she has extensive experience as a clinician, researcher and academic in New Zealand and Australia. Ruth is a 2020 RMIT Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, based in the School of Art and a member of the Design and Creative Practice Enabling Capability Platform (ECP).

Rona Glynn-McDonald

Kaytetye Country

Common Ground

Rona is a proud Kaytetye woman from Central Australia who works with high impact organisations to create systems that centre First Nations people, knowledge and solutions. Rona is the founder of Common Ground, an Aboriginal-led not for profit that works to centre First Nations people and knowledge. Common Ground uses digital platforms and cultural storytelling projects to amplify First Nations voices and experiences, and educate wider Australia.

Robert Wood

WA, Australia

Creative Director
Centre for Stories

Dr Robert Wood is interested in innovation, change and stories, and how this helps us live a good life. He is the Creative Director of the Centre for Stories on Whadjuk Country where he mentors emerging storytellers, curates online and in-person words and sound, and has the best community ever.

In 2021, Robert is a Westpac Social Change Fellow undertaking mentoring with Wardandi Custodians and courses with Stanford, Akimbo and INSEAD.

Rachel Callander

WA, Australia

Speaker, Trainer and Artist

Rachel Callander is a TEDx presenter, speaker, trainer, award winning artist and the author of two books- Super Power Baby Project and Super Power Kids. These exceptional books celebrate the lives and abilities of children with a range of disabilities and conditions, and have been inspired by Rachel’s late daughter Evie, who was born with a very rare chromosomal condition.

Peter Shepherd

VIC, Australia

Human Periscope

Pete Shepherd is Founder and Director of Human Periscope. For over 10 years he has enthusiastically coached, trained and collaborated with leaders and executives right around the world from companies including Google, Slack, Westpac, TAC, Woolworths and Kraft Heinz.

His clients have built multi-million dollar companies and raised nearly that much for charities. They’ve performed on Broadway and written Best Sellers, been nominated for Australian of the Year and produced TV shows that have won international awards at Cannes.They’re the kind of clients that make him feel like an imposter, which he knows is right where he needs to be.

Padmini Pai


Program Manager
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District

Padmini Pai is an experienced Social Worker, Service Manager and Program Lead for many NSW district wide initiatives. In 2020 she provided immediate crisis support to staff at Milton Hospital, following the Australian bushfire crisis.

In early 2020. Padmini was the recipient of the Chief Executive’s Extra Ordinary Award for Leadership Excellence in 2020 for her amazing work in supporting Workplace wellbeing. Her work at Milton Hospital has received a prestigious NHMRC Grant to explore why her staff led approach was so successful.

Mickey Kumatpi O’Brien

Kaurna Country /Adelaide

Cultural Advisor

Cultural educator and advisor Mickey Kumatpi Marratyu O’Brien is an Aboriginal person and descendant of the Kaurna (Adelaide Plains) and Narrunga (Yorke Peninsula) peoples. He has been providing cultural advice for many years and is a proud ambassador for the Kaurna people. His warm Welcome to Country will be a highlight of our conference.

Michael West CBE


Senior Fellow and Professor
The King's Fund and Lancaster University

Prof. Michael West CBE is a Senior Fellow at the Kings Fund, UK. He is Professor of Work and Organisational Psychology at Lancaster University, Visiting Professor at University College, Dublin, and Emeritus Professor at Aston University. He has authored, edited and co-edited 20 books and has published more than 200 articles on teamwork, leadership and culture, particularly in healthcare.

Michael’s most recent book: Compassion Leadership was published in 2021.

Micaela Cronin

VIC, Australia

Future Social Service Institute

Micaela Cronin is the Director at the Future Social Service Institute in Melbourne. Prior to that, she spent three years living in Cambodia as the global CEO for Hagar International, working across Asia and building global service delivery and strategic partnerships to tackle human trafficking and human rights abuses.
She is also a past CEO of MacKillop Family Services and has extensive leadership and governance experience including being President of both the Victorian Council of Social Services, and the Australia Council of Social Services.

Matiu Bush

VIC, Australia

Nurse Practitioner and Designer

Matiu Bush is a Nurse Practitioner and Designer who over the past 19 years have developed experience in a range of healthcare settings both locally and internationally. Their Masters of Public Health has given them a grounding in population health, which led Matiu the front line in COVID Pandemic response.

Matiu was responsible for infection prevention at The Australian Open and was the longest standing clinician working in the complex Hotel Quarantine environment.

Mary Freer

SA, Australia

Social Change Maker, Director
Compassion Revolution

Mary Freer is a social change maker and the creator and founder of Compassion Revolution. Her Compassion Labs and now Compassion Collaboratives provide a space where people can practice together to uncover compassion. Mary is a Westpac Bicentennial Social Change Fellow and a TEDx speaker. She is regularly sought after as a keynote speaker, executive coach and advisor on cultural change and compassionate leadership. Her book Compassion Revolution. Start Now. Use What You Have. Keep Going will be launched at this conference.

Lyn Morgain

VIC, Australia

Oxfam Australia

Lyn Morgain is the CEO of Oxfam Australia. As leader of Oxfam Australia, Lyn oversees the delivery of a broad range of long-term development programs, advocacy campaigns and humanitarian responses.

Lyn has spent her career advocating for the rights of structurally disadvantaged people and communities. She is passionate about peer-based activism and community mobilisation. Lyn is a member of the Australian Council for International Development Board and the Trust Board for Oxfam in the Pacific.

Lucy Mayes

VIC, Australia

Author and Facilitator

Lucy Mayes is an author, facilitator, presenter, story catcher, wisdom collector, space holder, team builder, purpose finder, consultant & coach. Lucy has a background as a lawyer, company director and social worker, having worked across multiple settings including corporate, education, local government and not for profit.

She is author of Beyond the Stethoscope: doctors’ stories of reclaiming hope, heart and healing in medicine, inspired her doctor husband’s journey with burnout.

Kirsty Stark

SA, Australia

Epic Films

Kirsty Stark is a television producer based in Adelaide, South Australia, and the owner of independent production company Epic Films. Her recent work includes the acclaimed children’s series First Day [ABC], winner of multiple international awards including a Kidscreen Award and a Rose d’Or. She also co-produced the 13x AACTA award-winning Stateless [ABC] with Matchbox Pictures, now screening internationally on Netflix.

Kirsty has presented at SXSW and TEDxAdelaide, and received multiple awards for her work. Epic Films was named the Screen Producers Australia “Breakthrough Business of the Year” in 2016.

Kim Koop AM

VIC, Australia

Consultant and Coach
Kim Koop Consulting

Kim Koop AM has enjoyed a successful career managing and leading hospital and community mental health services in Victoria and nationally, Kim now works as an independent coach, facilitator, and compassion educator.

She is passionate about cultivating more compassionate mental health services, the development of compassionate organisations, and supporting compassionate managers and leaders.

Kerrie Noonan

NSW, Australia

Death Literacy & Compassionate Communities Practitioner and Researcher
Death Literacy Institute, Macquarie Health Collective

Dr Kerrie Noonan is the director of the Death Literacy Institute. She is a clinical psychologist and an adjunct social researcher with the Caring at End of Life Research Group at Western Sydney University. Kerrie was the founding executive director of The GroundSwell Project and national initiatives such as Dying to Know Day, FilmLife Project, and ComComHub. She is active in the Compassionate Communities movement internationally.

Kate Bowles

NSW, Australia

Assoc Dean, International Studies
University of Wollongong

Assoc Prof Kate Bowles is Assoc Dean International at University of Wollongong Australia. She is also in the Faculty of Law Humanities and Arts, teaches narrative professionalism, research methods and media geography, and writes online at Music for Deckchairs.

Julian Abel


Palliative Care Consultant, Author, and Podcaster

Dr Julian Abel is the Director of Compassionate Communities UK. since 2016, Julian has worked with Frome Medical Practice in Somerset to develop a new model of primary care combined with compassionate communities. The health outcomes of this model have been dramatic and include the reduction of emergency admissions.

Julian is a joint author of The Compassion Project, along with the prize-winning novelist Lindsay Clarke. His podcast, Survival of the Kindest, documents the presence and absence of compassion and the consequences of both.

Jeremy Forbes

VIC, Australia

Co-founder and Spokesperson
HALT - Hope Assistance Local Tradies

Jeremy Forbes is a tradie, who lives in Castlemaine, Central Victoria. In 2013, Jeremy founded Hope Assistance Local Tradies (HALT) after the tragic suicide of a local tradie. HALT is a grassroots charity, focussing on tradies and blue collar workers. HALT holds talks on building sites, in factories and industrial estates, at TAFE for apprentices and for council depot workers. Jeremy’s global TED talk has had over 1.5 million views.

Jarrard O’Brien

SA, Australia

Executive Director
Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health

Jarrard O’Brien is an anthropologist with a passion for putting people at the heart of healthcare design. His career spans 20 years in the public health sectors in Britain, New Zealand and Australia. His background in innovation stems from working with patient experience and consumer/community engagement, staff engagement, leadership and organisational development.

His role in the Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health (CEIH) is to build capability for human-centred design so that all of their work is centred on the needs of staff, patients and the community.

Jane Munro

VIC, Australia

Paediatric Rheumatologist
Royal Children's Hospital

Assoc Prof Jane Munro is a paediatric rheumatologist at the Royal Children’s Hospital and Lead of Rheumatology Research at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. She was the Head of Rheumatology for nearly ten years and stepped down from that position in 2020. Last year she co-founded Pandemic Kindness Movement during COVID.

Jane is passionate about improving healthcare worker wellbeing and strongly believes in the role of building community, storytelling, spreading kindness and the need for health systems change.

Heather Came

Auckland, New Zealand

Activist Scholar
Auckland University of Technology

Dr Heather Came is a seventh generation Pākehā New Zealander who grew up on Ngātiwai land. She has worked for nearly 25 years in health promotion, public health and/or Māori health and has a long involvement in social justice activism in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Heather is a founding member and co-chair of STIR: Stop Institutional Racism, a fellow of the Health Promotion Forum, longstanding member of Public Health Association and an active member of Tāmaki Tiriti Workers. She currently embraces life as an activist scholar. She was lead author of Te Tiriti-based practice in health promotion (2017) and has led shadow reports to various United Nations human rights committees around institutional racism. She is a Senior Lecturer based in the Taupua Waiora Māori Health Research Centre within Auckland University of Technology.

Haben Girma


Disability Rights Lawyer

The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben Girma is a human rights lawyer advancing disability justice. President Obama named her a White House Champion of Change. She received the Helen Keller Achievement Award, a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and TIME100 Talks. President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Chancellor Angela Merkel have all honored Haben.

Debbie Ling


Monash University

Debbie is a Lecturer in the Department of Social Work, Monash University and a Research Fellow in the Epworth Monash Rehabilitation Medicine Unit. Debbie’s research area is the relationship between the perception of common humanity and compassion in healthcare workers. Debbie developed, trialled and evaluated a single session compassion training intervention which has attracted interest from around the world.

Debbie is also an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker in private practice and a senior clinician social worker at Epworth HealthCare. Debbie sits on the Australian Compassion Council, Charter for Compassion Australia and she is also a member of the Australia21 Mindful Futures Network Advisory Group.

Craig Foster AM

NSW, Australia

Former Socceroo and Human Rights Activist

Craig Foster AM is an Australian retired soccer player, human rights activist and sports analyst for the Stan Sport streaming service in Australia. Following a celebrated football career as Australia’s 419th Socceroo & 40th Captain, Craig enjoyed an 18-year, triple Logie winning career with Australia’s multicultural broadcaster, Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).

Craig’s humanitarian activism extends to several high profile, global campaigns including: #SaveHakeem to free Bahraini refugee Hakeem al-Araibi from a Thai prison for which he was a Finalist for the Australian Human Rights Commission Medal.

Catherine Whitington

Catherine Whitington

SA, Australia

Office for the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner

Catherine Whitington currently manages the Assessment Service at the Office for the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner, SA. She has academic qualifications in Psych/Clinical Neuroscience, Public Health, Human Rights and Law. Catherine is also a disabled woman whose lived experience of cerebral palsy combined with the lived experiences of her children has led her to work more closely in the area of lived experience leadership at all levels of care system design and implementation in voluntary roles and on Board settings.

Bryce Ives


VP Public Affairs and Comms
Torrens Global University


Instrumental in leading some of Australia’s most enduring youth projects, including as Chief Facilitator of the ABC’s Heywire Regional Youth project, Bryce Ives has also maintained an impactful creative practice as Artistic Director of the Present Tense ensemble and as an award winning theatre and festival director. A believer in building resilient rural communities, Bryce designed the Talking 2030 roadmap to get Australian Ag to $100 billion at the farm gate. For twenty years, Bryce has led compelling community storytelling and media projects with long-lasting legacy at the ABC and in the Australian community media sector.

The culmination of this experience is what drives Bryce today. As Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications at Torrens Global Education, Bryce is the chief storyteller of Australia’s fastest-growing university. This includes stewardship of Torrens B Corporation agenda and global social impact work

Bronwyn Carlson

NSW, Australia

Macquarie University

Professor Bronwyn Carlson is an Aboriginal woman who was born on and lives on D’harawal Country in NSW Australia. She has been awarded numerous Australian Research Council (ARC) Grants for her research on Aboriginal identity,Indigenous help-seeking on social media and Indigenous experiences of online violence.

She is the author of The Politics of Identity: Who Counts as Aboriginal Today (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2016).

Andrew Tagg

VIC, Australia

Emergency Physician & Co-founder “Don’t Forget The Bubbles”

Dr Andrew Tagg works in Melbourne’s west as an emergency physician, he looks after patients from their first days through to their last and is the co-founder of Don’t Forget The Bubbles, a paediatric educational resource that has gained global acclaim, both through its website and its innovative and engaging conferences.

He speaks very candidly about his own experience with mental ill-health and has worked with AHPRA, Safer Care Victoria and the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine to help promote joy at work.

André Eikmeier

SA, Australia

The Good Empire

André Eikmeier co-founded Vinomofo, a wine startup company that grew from a garage business into a $100m wine brand, uniting a community of passionate wine lovers all around world.

In 2018 he left Vinomofo to create Good Empire, a platform to unite and empower a global community to live more purposeful, connected and impactful lives, and help create a more equal, abundant and sustainable world. He’s a thought sharer and passionate speaker on purpose, change for good and the importance of standing for something, building communities,

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