The Evolving EA - Innovative and Adaptive

Being responsive and resourceful with change - why EAs MUST look to the future
to see what they need to do today

Australia's Leading Conference Series for EAs & PAs - March 20th & 21st Luna Park Sydney

About the Conference

Our keynote speakers

Catriona Pollard

Internationally Renowned Keynote Speaker and Founder & Chief Executive Officer, CP Communications

Catriona Pollard is one of Australia’s most dynamic and inspiring presenters Her insights into marketing, communications and social media never fail to enlighten, entertain and inspire audiences. As a highly regarded expert, author, speaker and CEO, Catriona has helped thousands of people use PR and social media to grow their business, and inspire them to take action.

Craig Rispin

Internationally Renowned Futurist and Keynote Speaker, The Future Trends Group

Craig Rispin is a Business Futurist and Innovation Expert with expertise in emerging business, people and technology trends – and how companies can profit from them. Craig has over 20 years experience working where the future has been created – with some of the most innovative companies in the world in the IT, consumer electronics, internet and broadcasting industries. He is an award-winning speaker and has addressed audiences as large as 16,000 people on 5 continents and has consulted with CEOs of leading companies worldwide. He is also the World’s Highest Rated Keynote Speaker on LinkedIn with over 500 recommendations.

Heidi Dening

Keynote Speaker and Global Advisor

Heidi Dening, CEO of Workable Wellness is a sought-after keynote speaker, award-winning business owner, and author of a self-leadership book Her Middle Name Is Courage. She is the only Australian to be selected for a global advisory position with IWBI™ about how our workplaces impact our mental health, and the influence this has on our cognitive ability and performance.

Stacey Copas

International Keynote Speaker, Author of "How to be Resilient"

Stacey Copas, Author of “How To Be Resilient” , is Australia’s leading keynote speaker and facilitator on resilience and finding the opportunity in change and adversity. She has worked with large organisations such as Telstra, CSIRO and Holden, helping their leaders be their best in challenging times. Stacey has also been featured in national media including ABC, Financial Review and The Australian for her insights on resilience in the workplace.

Steuart Snooks

Chief Executive Officer, Solutions for Success

Steuart Snooks is an E-mail & Workplace Productivity Expert who works with senior executives and their assistants who are seeking practical, effective and affordable solutions to the relentless demands of email and the workload it delivers. He has over 20 years’ experience in researching and developing best practices for managing email and restoring it to its rightful place as a powerful tool to facilitate improved workplace and personal productivity. What he teaches can change the way you work . . . forever!

Amanda Breen

Director, Amplified Training and Lead Trainer, Executive Assistant Academy

Amanda is a dynamic, high-energy speaker, motivator and coach. Through the use of neuroscience and positive psychology, she helps amplify the potential of leaders, teams and individuals; making people and organisations THRIVE.

Jonathan McIlroy

Executive Director, Education and Learning, Executive Assistant Academy

Jonathan has over 20 years’ experience in senior management and executive positions and has worked in industries as diverse as banking and finance, education and training, events management and even politics before co-founding Executive Assistant Network.

James Castrission

Internationally Acclaimed Keynote Speaker and Founder, Program Director, MyAdventure Group

James Castrission is a famous Australian Explorer constantly pushing the boundaries of human endurance. He made history by completing the longest unsupported polar expedition of all time, alongside his best mate, Jonesy. In 100 years of polar exploration no-one had EVER walked from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back without assistance. Four years earlier they Crossed the Ditch – paddling 3318km without assistance across the Tasman Sea for another world first. In 2013, he founded MyAdventure Group – business commited to providing Australia’s premier corporate Adventure-based development programs. Harnessing lessons learnt from the most hostile environments on earth, his corporate programs are designed to develop teams and drive competitive advantage in organisations. He holds 2 Guinness World Records for his accomplishments and is highly regarded as one of Australia’s premier public speakers. He has written 2 bestselling books: Crossing the Ditch and Extreme South.

Robert Taylor

Senior Consultant, Executive Assistant Academy

Robert has over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, business management & training combined with owning & operating own business in the exhibition events sector and holds tertiary qualifications in Economics, Marketing & Training. He has worked in a variety of roles for global corporations, SME's & training organizations in both Australia & overseas.

Brian Moran

Subject Matter Expert in Applied Ethics

Brian works with organisations in helping them to understand the internal and external influences that impact on performance. A former CEO, he has worked with private, public and not-for-profit organisations. As well as being Principal of Managing Values, Brian has previously lectured at University of Technology, Sydney in Sustainable Enterprise programs and on the Master’s program at Sydney University in business management. He developed a program "EA Connect" for an engineering company in the public sector."

David Thomson

Manager, Education & Training, Executive Assistant Academy

David has a unique mix of training, facilitation, instructional design and coaching skills at all levels combined with over 18 years of strategic business and sales experience. Throughout his career he has worked across a wide range of industry sectors with large corporates, small to medium businesses and within the public sector.

Electra Kolovos

Manager, Education & Training, Executive Assistant Academy

As a multi-award-winning trainer with over 12 years extensive learning and development experience, Electra is known to take all her participants along on an inspiring and educational journey with her. An exceptional facilitator who never fails to connect with and engage her audience in a positive and practical learning environment. Electra specialises in highly interactive sessions and as one of only a few qualified individuals in Australia training in Lego Serious Play, her sessions are never boring!

Ronni Kahn

Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Ozharvest

Senior Corporate Speakers

April Palmerlee

Chief Executive Officer, American Chamber of Commerce in Australia

April Palmerlee is Chief Executive Officer of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia. She joined AmCham in 2017 after a distinguished career in government, education, and the corporate sector. Most recently, she was a senior executive at the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Palmerlee has strong relationships with governments, business leaders and the public service in Australia and the U.S.

David Ritter

Chief Executive Officer of Greenpeace Australia Pacific

David Ritter is the Chief Executive Officer, Greenpeace Australia Pacific. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Sydney Democracy Network at Sydney University, a research affiliate of the Sydney Environment Institute and an honorary fellow of the Law Faculty at UWA. His most recent book is The Coal Truth: The Fight to Stop Adani, Defeat the Big Polluters and Reclaim our Democracy. He has two daughters and lives in Sydney.

Elaine Chia

Chief Executive Officer, City Recital Hall

Elaine Chia, a passionate advocate for the arts, has been CEO at City Recital Hall since 2016. Her career has seen her in senior management roles across marketing, development, finance, business operations and international development, working on public-private partnership and international projects across Asia, Europe and South America.

Ian Robertson

National Managing Partner, Holding Redlich

Ian Robertson is a corporate, media and regulatory lawyer and the National Managing Partner of national law firm Holding Redlich. He is also the President of the Board of the Victorian Government screen agency, Film Victoria. His former appointments include Deputy Chair of the Australian Government screen agency, Screen Australia, board member of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, director and Chair of Ausfilm and director and Deputy Chair of Film Australia Limited.

Jamie O'Rourke

National Chairman, RSM Australia

Jamie is the National Chairman of RSM Australia and responsible for the management and strategic direction of the firm on a national basis. Jamie has over 30 years of professional accounting experience, 27 of which have been with RSM. He has worked extensively with Australian subsidiaries of international companies on all compliance needs, and also works closely with high net wealth individuals and family groups. Jamie is a former managing partner of the Sydney office.

Margot Harley

Chief Executive Officer, Rowing New South Wales

Margot is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Rowing NSW and has worked as a senior sports administrator for the past 10 years. Responsible for driving the sport of rowing strategically from a participation, pathway and high performance perspective, Margot draws on her experience from variety of sports, both professional and amateur and is passionate about good governance, good management and above all else good employee engagement.

Rosalind Ogilvie

Chief of Staff, Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, The University of Sydney

Rosalind is a key adviser and strategist for the Vice-Chancellor and University leadership, and the University’s key point of contact for engagement with the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal. Rosalind is a leader in the dissemination of the University’s values and a driving force in unifying the organisation. She has improved the coordination and implementation of policy across all areas of the institution, and is responsible for the direction and management of the Vice-Chancellor’s office.

Semee Dickerson

General Manager - Marketing, GWA Group

With degrees in business and law and strong background in Digital and consumer experience, Semée has worked for various iconic Australian businesses including David Jones and Cochlear. Joining GWA in 2015, Semee become General Manager, Marketing and Innovation in 2017, responsible for development and evolution of iconic lifestyle brands Caroma, Clark and Dorf.

Steven Pearce

Chief Executive Officer, Surf Life Saving Australia

Steven has 32 years emergency management experience as a senior officer with Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW State Emergency Service, where he has been awarded numerous commendations and citations. In 2017, he was appointed CEO of Surf Life Saving NSW, one of the largest and most iconic volunteer member based emergency service in Australia with 75000 members. Steven is currently leading the organisation on significant transformational change, through cultural focusing, innovation, collaboration and technology.

Cindy Penrose

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Bar Association

Cindy has experience in both private practice and legal aid as a criminal defence lawyer and formerly the Assistant Director of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, regarding sexual and other abuse in the Defence force and ADFA. Cindy has previously lectured in both criminal law and tort law at Western Sydney University (formerly UWS). Cindy is also a Director with Minds Count (formerly known as the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation) which aims to decrease work related psychological ill-health in the legal community and to promote workplace psychological health and safety.

Senior EA & PA Speakers

Alison Sheppard

Executive Assistant to Chief Executive Officer, The Smith Family

Alison has spent over 25 years supporting senior executives in the education and not-for-profit sectors. She enjoys the ever changing challenges of an EA. In her current role, she is inspired and motivated to achieve by the work that The Smith Family does for disadvantaged Australian children.

Catherine Brown

Executive Assistant to Group Chief Financial Officer, GFG Alliance

Catherine has more than a decade’s experience as an Executive Assistant and has worked in senior support and operations roles within large enterprise, most recently supporting EYC3, the data and analytics practice for EY Sydney. In her current role with innovative industrial business GFG Alliance, Catherine is focused on helping to foster a strong and collaborative team culture within the growing global business.

Kristen Chicktong

Executive Assistant to Chief Executive Officer, George & Matilda Eyecare

Kristen currently works for George & Matilda Eyecare as Executive Assistant to the CEO, Chris Beer, a locally owned optometry collective, now the fastest growing Optometry group in Australia. Kristen’s role is very hands-on as she works with the Executive team to build a company from scratch. With over twenty years' experience, Kristen has a passion for making work fun and thrives in an environment where values and ethics are paramount to the organisation's strategic goals and core beliefs.

Laurel Koh

Technical Services Advisor, Executive Assistant to Technical Services Leader & Market Development Leader, GHD

Laurel provides a high level of executive support to two Senior Executive Leaders at GHD and Technical Services Advisor to 50 Technical Engineer Leaders, coordinating global meetings and organising Technical Conferences. Laurel was awarded a special mention at OTTO Sydney EA Awards 2017 out of 700 nominations and has over 12 years’ experience in Event Management.

Malannie Peterken

Executive Assistant to Managing Director Loans & Specialised Finance, ANZ

Malannie is a seasoned Executive Assistant with over 18 years’ experience, 11 of those spent in senior roles within the ANZ business in both the Auckland and Sydney offices. Prior to ANZ, Malannie held senior EA positions within Lion Breweries, Nestle and started out her EA career with KPMG. Outside of work, Mal is a keen health and fitness enthusiast and Mother to daughter Riley aged 3.

Melissa Lee

Executive Assistant to Chief Executive Officer & General Manager, Strategic Sourcing & Marketing, COS

Melissa Lee is the Executive Assistant to the CEO and GM, Strategic Sourcing & Marketing at COS. She has over 10 years’ experience as a C-Suite EA in a diverse range of industries including office supplies, automotive and fashion. Melissa is responsible for the strategic management of the Executive office working in partnership with her Executives to help deliver on business goals and objectives.

Melissa Vit

Executive Assistant to Chief Executive Officer, oOh!media

With over 12 years’ experience, Melissa has worked as an Executive Assistant across various industries spanning FMCG, Financial Services, Property and is now the “right hand” to the CEO of oOh!media. Known for her personable approach and strong communication, she is solution focused, a true multitasker and strategic thinker. Melissa mentors Executive Assistants and is passionate about seeing them develop, grow and strive for their ultimate role.

Michelle Bowditch

Executive Assistant to Chief Executive Officer, Clipsal Solar

Michelle Bowditch is a C-Suite Executive Assistant with over 15 years’ experience across a wide range of industries in both the public and private sectors. As a diplomat, steward, business manager, connector and editor and event manager rolled into one, she takes pride in devising and implementing unique solutions to complex problems, and being empowered to deliver them.

Nadine Chilvers

Executive Officer to the Dean, The University of Sydney Business School

Nadine commenced her career in the retail space, changing tack after six years moving to an office role at a small property consultancy company. From here she progressed through several corporate organisations and is now the Executive Officer to the Dean at The University of Sydney Business School.

Peita Bosevski

Executive Assistant to Group Chief Executive Officer, QBE Insurance Group Limited

Peita has worked in the insurance industry for more than 20 years. She began her career as a secretary before moving into Human Resources with a focus on project management. In 2010, Peita took up her first role as an Executive Assistant and today is Executive Assistant to the Group Chief Executive Officer of QBE Insurance Group Limited, a global business based in Sydney with operations in 31 countries.

Sharon Paul

Executive Officer Service Management Office, Department of Finance, Services & Innovation

Sharon is the Executive Officer for the Service Management Office. The Department of Finance , Services & Innovation (DFSI) implemented a new service delivery model for the provision of shared services (human resources, finance and ICT) that was provided by ServiceFirst. The Service Management office was established to oversee the contracts and the delivery of projected benefits. The Service Management Office is a small team so Sharon is responsible for ensuring it runs at full potential. Sharon also mentors junior EAs, to help them achieve their full potential.

Tracey Roberts

Director Liaison, RSL NSW

Prior to this, EA to the Director Strategy, Commercial and Legal at Sydney Motorway Corporation. Tracey has a wealth of experience, working across multiple industries such as education, real estate, insurance, construction and now Not for Profit.