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Stay tuned, details on our 2019 speakers are coming soon!


Past Speakers

Layne Beachley - CircleLayne Beachley AO – World Champion Surfer (Australia) 

Layne Beachley AO is widely regarded as the most successful female surfer in history. The only surfer, male or female, to claim six consecutive world titles (1998-2003). Layne then went on to win a 7th world title in 2006 before retiring from the ASP World Tour in 2008. Now as a motivational speaker, trainer and mentor Layne inspires individuals and teams to clarify their vision and achieve sustained success.

On Australia Day 2015, Layne was awarded with an Officer of the Order of Australia for her distinguished service to the community through support for a wide range of charitable organisations, as a mentor for women in sport and as a world champion surfer.

Layne achieved yet another first in Australian sport by becoming Surfing Australia’s new Chairperson in the latter part of 2015. She is the first former female World Champion of any sport to take on the role as Chair in a National Sporting organisation.

Layne is also the proud Founder and Director of her own charity, the Layne Beachley Foundation, Aim For The Stars, fostering courage and self belief in young girls and women to achieve their dreams in a diverse range of pursuits including science, business, environment, sport and the arts.


Mariya Ali - CircleDr Mariya Ali – Shaftesbury Young People (United Kingdom)

Dr Mariya Ali’s started her career in Unit for the Rights of Children in 1992 in the Maldives. Prior to joining Shaftesbury Young People she held posts including the Deputy Minister for Health and Family in the Maldives from 2009-2011, Under Secretary of the Policy Office of the President in 2011-2012, and has been an Advisory board member of the International Child Redress Project since 2015. Dr Ali played an instrumental role in establishing South Asia Initiative to Ending Violence Against Children as a permanent regional institution in 2011. She publishes academic works as an Honorary Knowledge Exchange Associate of Oxford Brookes University’s School of Law.


Tessa Henwood-Mitchell - Circle

Dr Tessa Henwood-Mitchell, TIA Foundation (Bolivia)

Dr Tessa Henwood-Mitchell is Founder and International Director of TIA, a non-profit organisation working in Bolivia with young people leaving care and transitioning into independence, empowering them to become thriving members of society and create brighter futures for themselves through providing support and training.  Completing a double degree of Social Work and International Relations, Tessa now lives in Bolivia to grow and develop TIA’s local team and projects. Tessa is an inaugural recipient of a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship that supports exceptional individuals to undertake post-graduate study, and so is currently completing a Masters online at ANU in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development.


Justin Rogers - CircleDr Justin Rogers – University of Bath (United Kingdom)


Dr Justin Rogers is a Lecturer in Social Work with expertise in fostering and adoption, and has particular interest in the ways that children and young people in public care are looked after by the state. Dr Roger’s recent PhD study explored the experiences of young people growing up in foster care in the United Kingdom and found that the stigma of being ‘in care’ impacted on the young people’s day to day lives and the ways they developed their relationships. He is currently developing research proposals in order to explore European policy and practice responses, to the care of unaccompanied refugee children and young people.

Luke, Freedom Road - CircleLuke Danaher – Freedom Road Creative Arts (United Kingdom)

Luke Danaher began accessing Freedom Road Creative Arts (FRCA) at the age of 13. Luke has Asperger Syndrome and because of this, he was finding it difficult to make and maintain friendships with his peers in school and in the local community. However, since attending FRCA, with support from staff and other YP connected to FRCA, Luke’s confidence and self-esteem began to rise rapidly and saw him learn new skills and see him perform at numerous public events. Luke is now studying for a Further Maths degree at Hull University and is living independently as well as being a Peer Mentor at FRCA. Luke is an incredible ambassador for FRCA, his story demonstrates how, with support, and belief, young people can achieve to their full potential.


Joseph McDowallDr Joseph McDowall – CREATE Foundation

Dr Joseph McDowall has a PhD from the University of Queensland in social psychology. He has lectured both there and at Griffith University in the areas of research methods, statistics, social skills, and empirical aesthetics. Since 2002 he has been involved in child protection and has provided consultancy services to the Queensland government within the out-of-home care sector and for the Recognised Entities. He joined the board of CREATE Foundation in 2008 and is now Executive Director (Research). He has written three Report Cards (2008, 2009, and 2011) that have provided a comprehensive review of the state of transitioning from care in Australia. In 2010, Dr McDowall co-authored the solutions paper “What’s the Answer?” that summarised the views of young people regarding what could be done at various levels to improve the transitioning experience (this was published under the auspices of the Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Community Services, and Indigenous Affairs). Following the introduction of the National Standards for Out-of-Home Care, in 2013 Dr McDowall produced the first national survey of life in the Australian care system from the perspective of children and young people. His report in 2015 drew attention to the issues surrounding the placement of siblings in care, and a recent paper (Communities, Children and Families Australia, 2016) addresses the degree of connection to culture experienced by Indigenous young people. Also, in 2016, he published an evaluation of CREATE’s Go Your Own Way resource for young people preparing to exit the care system. Currently, he is a Visiting Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology. He also is a member of the Australian Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences.