We are lucky to have secured a lineup of inspiring speakers who represent Culture, Conduct and Retention. We are announcing speakers periodically leading up to the conference.
Nyadol Nyuon was born in a refugee camp in Itang, Ethiopia, and raised in Kakuma Refugee camp, Kenya. In 2005, at the age of eighteen, she moved to Australia as a refugee.
Since then, Nyadol has completed a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne. She worked as a commercial litigator at Arnold Bloch Leibler and recently moved to the Department of Justice and Community Safety.
Nyadol is a vocal advocate for human rights, multiculturalism, the settlement of people with refugee experiences, and those seeking asylum. She has worked and volunteered extensively in these areas with a range of organisations.
Nyadol is also a regular media commentator having appeared on ABC’s The Drum, as a panellist on Q&A and contributing to The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and the Saturday Paper. She was recently appointed as a regular columnist for the Age.
In 2019 Nyadol was named, by the Australian Financial Review, among the top 11 most Influence Women in the Country (out of 100). She won the AFR Diversity and Inclusion category. In the same year, she also received the Victorian Premier’s Award for Community Harmony. This award was the highest honour awarded to a Victorian for outstanding achievements in strengthening multiculturalism through professional and volunteer service to the community. In 2018 her efforts to combat racism were widely recognized, with achievements including the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Racism. It Stops with Me Award. The prestigious award was in recognition of her advocacy and activism on behalf of the Australian-African and Melbourne’s South Sudanese communities. Nyadol Nyuon also received the Harmony Alliance Award for significant contribution to empowering migrant and refugee women and was a co-winner of the Tim McCoy Prize for her advocacy on behalf of the South Sudanese Community.
Currently a lawyer and officer of the Supreme Court of Victoria, law academic at the University of New England, has a David Nason Journalism scholarship at Harvard University, is a qualified mediator and arbitrator awarded by the the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, former City of Melbourne councillor, wife and mother-of-three and on the boards of Blind Sports and Recreation at Vision Victoria, the Thai-Australia Network, the North American Australian Lawyers Alliance and ambassador for NOW (Tracey Spicer’s initiative against sexual harassment).
Jane Gazzo is a broadcaster, TV presenter, music journalist and published author who began her career in radio, aged 16. Since then, she has presented nationally on Triple J and Triple M as well as XFM London, Capital FM London and BBC Radio 6 in the UK and has hosted music television shows such as The Sound and Recovery on ABC TV. Jane also spent eight years as a presenter on Foxtel's Channel V, where she reported from some of the biggest world music festivals, red carpet events and hosted live TV shows, interviewing some of the biggest and best names in the music world.
Jane is currently a lecturer of entertainment management at Collarts, chair of the Australian Music Vault Hall of Fame advisory committee at the Arts Centre Melbourne and serves on the board for government youth organisation The Push. Her first book, John Farnham - The Untold Story was published in 2015. She is also co-founder of the Sound as Ever Facebook group - a place which celebrates and documents Australian music from the 1990s and whom to date has over 17K members.
Jill has spent the past 20 years advancing Aboriginal health and wellbeing through her work as CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. She is a highly respected Aboriginal leader and advocate for self-determination outcomes in the Victorian Aboriginal community, and a former Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner.
In 2013 Jill was awarded the Order of Australia. She is also an inductee of both the Victorian Honour Roll of Women and the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll.
Dr Helen Haines MP
Helen Haines is the Independent Federal Member for Indi. She was elected in May 2019 – the first Independent to succeed another in the same electorate in Commonwealth Parliamentary history.
In her earlier professional career she was a nurse, midwife, health administrator and rural health researcher in Victoria’s North East for more than 32 years.
Helen has long been active as a member of community organisation boards and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program.
Helen lives with her husband, Phil, on a small beef farm by Wangaratta’s King River, where they raised three children. Before contesting this year’s federal election she worked as a Senior Research Fellow with the University of Melbourne Department of Rural Health and as Director of Education and Research Unit at NHW.
Winsome McCaughey AO
Winsome focussed on philosophy and political science at Melbourne University. She has held many positions in community, government, philanthropy and business. These include founder and EO of Community Child Care Association; Executive Director of Lance Reichstein Philanthropic Foundation; Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne; Associate Director, KPMG; Commissioner for Africa with Melbourne Olympic Bid Committee; CEO of Greening Australia Ltd; Chair and CEO of Australia New Zealand Food Authority (now FSANZ); Chair, RMIT School of Arts Advisory Committee; Executive Director, Australia Business Arts Foundation (ABAF); Senior Strategic Advisor (Partnerships), University of Melbourne; Trustee, Helen Macpherson Smith Trust; Director, Macpherson Smith Rural Foundation; Member, ‘Invisible Farmer’ Advisory Committee, Museum Victoria. Currently she is Chair, Benalla Art Gallery Trust and Director of Seven Sisters Vineyard P/L, her family company that produces ‘Baddaginnie Run’ world-class wines.
Coral Ross was a councillor at the City of Boroondara for more than 18 years and served three terms as Mayor. She is the ALGWA National Vice President, and was previously both the National and Victorian President. Until last October Coral was the President of the Municipal Association of Victoria and served on the board of the Australian Local Government Association for four years.
Coral is the Chair of the Australian Gender Equality Council, an umbrella group of national women’s organisations with a collective membership of over 500,000. In 2014 she was named by Westpac/Fairfax as one of the 100 Women of Influence and in 2019 she was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women. Coral was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to improve gender equality in local government.
In January and February 2020 she travelled to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Germany to investigate ways of increasing the number of women elected to local government.
Natalie joined the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office in 2017 and have managed a variety of local government performance audits covering service delivery and asset management. In 2020 she managed a performance audit on Sexual Harassment in Local Government, which was tabled in Victorian Parliament in December 2020.
Melissa Scadden is a Partner at Justitia, an employment law firm. In addition to advising employers (including local government) on the full gamut of employment law matters, Melissa has acted as Arbiter on numerous Councillor Code of Conduct disputes and more recently worked with a number of Councils to refresh their Codes of Conduct. She has a keen interest in early intervention strategies for workplace conflict, along with building the capacity of individuals to effectively engage in difficult conversations. Melissa also regularly conducts complex workplace investigations and delivers training, and is frequently asked to speak on employment law matters at industry conferences.
Maggie is the CEO of VMIAC, Victoria’s peak consumer body. Maggie identifies as indigenous to Aotearoa and acknowledges that she is proud of her Ngati whatua, Ngapuhi descent. Maggie has worked in homelessness, mental health, sexual assault, youth and education citing her work as a consumer consultant and her work in the NT teaching indigenous students as some of the highlights of her career. Maggie is a strong believer in growing consumer leadership across all sectors and forging change to enable a mental health system that is consumer driven.
Dr Niki Vincent
As Commissioner, Dr Vincent is responsible for overseeing implementation of the Gender Equality Act 2020 and plays a key leadership role in promoting gender equality in the Victorian community and workplaces.
Dr Vincent has a wealth of experience in gender equality and organisational leadership. This includes most recently serving as the South Australian Commissioner for Equal Opportunity since May 2016. In this role, Dr Vincent was responsible for the general administration of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA).
Hon Shaun Leane MP
Shaun was elected to the Victorian Parliament as the Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region in the November 2006 Election and was re-elected in 2010, 2104 and for a fourth term in November 2018.
An electrician by trade, Shaun has worked for a variety of organisations in this capacity and later with the Electrical Trades Union.
As well as his electrical qualifications Shaun holds a Diploma of Community Services and has a keen interest in the education and retention of apprentices.
Born in Oakleigh, Shaun was only young when his father, a bricklayer who fought in New Guinea in WWII, passed away leaving his mother, a nurse, to work night shift to raise their family of eight children.
From 2014-18 Shaun served in the Andrews Labor Government as Parliamentary Secretary to the Special Minister of State and Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure.
Shaun was elected as the President of the Legislative Council on the first sitting of the 59th Parliament on Wednesday 19 December 2018, a position he occupied until he was promoted to the Andrews Government Ministry.
Shaun is now Minister for Local Government, Minister for Suburban Development and Minister for Veterans.
Shaun is married with two adult daughters.
Mr David Morris MP
David currently serves as Shadow Minister for Local Government, Shadow Minister for Housing and Shadow Minister for Ageing in the 59th Parliament of Victoria.
David’s Parliamentary career has included various roles, such as the Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government, Chair & Deputy Chair of the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee & Deputy Chair of the Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee.
David was a Councillor of the Shire of Mornington from 1987 to 1994, and Shire President 1992-1993; a member of the Westernport Regional Planning Committee 1989 – 1994, and a member of the Peninsula Regional Library service committee from 1987 to 1995, including a number of terms as Chair.
Prior to his election to Parliament David had over twenty-five year’s experience in local small business.
Dr Samantha Ratnam MLC
In 2017, Samantha entered the Victorian Parliament representing the Northern Metropolitan Region in the Legislative Council. In the 2018 state election, she was re-elected to this position. As well as being the Parliamentary Leader of the Victorian Greens, she holds a range of portfolios including Local Government, Housing and Planning, and Community Services.
Samantha is a champion for social justice and the environment within the parliament. She actively campaigns to save public housing, reduce gambling harm and support communities to have more control over planning decisions in their neighbourhoods. Prior to entering the Victorian Parliament, Samantha was a social worker for over 15 years and also spent five years as a Councillor at the City of Moreland, where she was elected the first Greens Mayor of Moreland in 2015.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Social Work with Honours and a PhD in Youth Sociology. Samantha believes in putting people first and wants our state to be all it can be by investing in world-class public transport, powering Victoria with 100% clean renewable energy, providing homes for everyone, protecting our forests from logging companies and returning essential services like electricity to public hands.
More speakers will be announced leading up to the conference.