We are excited to announce that we have now confirmed some amazing speakers who will be sharing their experiences and knowledge at our Conference. Read their full biographies below.

The program is now available, click here to view  Please note this is subject to change.

To register now, click here.


Simon Griffiths- Co-Founder, Who Gives a Crap

Simon is an engineer and economist turned social entrepreneur. In 2007, after turning down his dream job offer as a corporate high-flyer, he moved from Australia to South Africa to immerse himself in his true passion: development aid. There he discovered that the biggest problem faced by NGOs and social entrepreneurs is a lack of funding.

Driven by a passion to use business to give back, in 2010, Simon had the idea to start a toilet paper company that builds toilets in the developing world. In 2012, he launched Who Gives A Crap with a crowdfunding campaign, agreeing to sit on a toilet on a live webfeed until he had pre-sold the first $50,000 of toilet rolls. The multi-award winning launch attracted global media attention and generated over $1 million of PR value.

Since launching, Who Gives A Crap has tripled in size year-on-year, primarily relying on word-of-mouth to fuel its growth. In five years, Who Gives A Crap has donated more than $1 million.

Simon is also well known as the co-founder of Shebeen, a non-profit bar in Melbourne’s CBD that opened in February 2013 and ran for 3.5 years. Shebeen sold exotic beer and wine from the developing world, with 100% of the profit from each sale going to a development project in that drink’s country of origin.

Simon is one of Australia’s most prominent social entrepreneurs. His work has been covered by countless media outlets around the world, including The Huffington Post, MTV and The Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Simon has lead the way in his field and will share his thoughts on the importance of being bold!


Jason Clarke- Founder, Minds at Work 

Celebrated author, adventurer, gold medal Olympian and popular TV chef; Jason Clarke is none of these things.

He is, however, one of the most sought-after creative minds in the country, but he thinks of himself a Plumber of the Mind, the guy you go to when your head gets clogged.

As founder of Minds at Work, he’s been helping people ‘think again’ since the end of the last century, working with clients across Australia in virtually every industry and government sector on issues ranging from creativity and trouble shooting to culture change and leadership.

His mission? To help people think. His vision? A future that works. He doesn’t know what he’ll be doing in 2020 but he’s open to suggestions.

Jason will speak to us about the importance of Embracing Change



Liz Van Vliet- Host, Being Indispensable

Liz help’s Executive Assistants be perceived as indispensable by developing their strategic thinking and leadership skills and improving their ‘power’ (often referred to as ‘soft’) skills.

Liz came to the role of Executive Assistant following a successful career in sales and marketing working for blue-chip companies such as IBM in Australia and North America. After an enforced career break due to Breast Cancer treatment I successfully applied for an Executive Assistant role operating under the delusion that it would be the perfect “all care and no responsibility” role to help ease me back into paid employment.

Also the host of Being Indispensable, a podcast that started as a way for Liz to find
inspiration and to help make sense of the challenges that the role of Executive Assistant was presenting her with.

Liz will be sharing a case study titled Leading through Change. 

Click to read the full biography.


Jane Jackson, International Career Management Coach

Jane Jackson is an international Career Management Coach, Speaker, and Podcast Host on a mission to make careers guidance accessible to all who need it. Author of #1 Amazon Bestseller, Navigating Career Crossroads, and Host of “Your Career” Podcast (awarded Top 20 Career Podcast globally by Feedspot).

Having worked in Hong Kong, San Francisco, London, Singapore and now Sydney, Jane has a background in public relations, FMCG, fitness, education and coaching. She has spent the past 19 years coaching her clients to confidently take control of their careers and create a dream role that is personally satisfying and rewarding.

Jane will speak on the topic of Resilience- How to avoid emotional burnout

Click to read the full biography



Lydia Hart- Executive Assistant & Leader of Business Support, Roy Hill Holdings

Lydia has over 20 years of experience in the mining and resources industry as an Executive Assistant for Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director level positions. She was a finalist for the CEO Magazine 2018 Executive Assistant of the Year Award and Winner of Australian Institute Office Professionals (AIOP) WA Division – 2017 Office Professional of the Year Award.

Some of Lydia’s numerous achievements include driving culture and business improvement by building effective relationships between management and employees and creating, sourcing and leading large business administration teams, ensuring business goals were effectively supported.

Lydia is passionate about fostering a sense of teamwork and collaboration across organisations and providing mentoring and coaching assistance to individuals.

Lydia is currently Executive Assistant to the CEO and Leader of Business Support at Roy Hill Holdings and will be joining one of our panel discussions at the Conference.


Maria Wallace- Executive Assistant to Harriet Elvin, CEO Cultural Facilities Corporation

With over twenty-five years’ experience, Maria is in her ideal profession. She provides Executive Assistant support for her CEO Harriet Elvin, the management team, and also the governing Board of the Cultural Facilities Corporation in the ACT Government. Last year marked the ten year anniversary of this executive and assistant partnership.

Previous roles include in the legal sector, statistics and Defence within Federal Government, as well as recruitment, team engagement, and learning and development in the private sector. In her present role, Maria is able to pursue her passion – and promote – all things ‘arts and culture’ in Canberra!

In her role as the ACT President of the Australian Institute of Office Professionals (AIOP), Maria looks forward to continuing to work with the passionate Canberra team, promoting the further recognition of all in the office professional community, and growing and developing the network here in Canberra.

Maria will be joining one of our panel discussions at the Conference.


Ashley Wright- CEO, GHD

Ashley’s career spans 28 years of professional experience across Australia, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and the UK. Ashley has been an Executive Director of GHD Pty Ltd since 2013 and was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Group in April 2016. He is responsible to the Board for the performance of GHD, including implementation of the strategy and business plan.

Most recently Ashley was the General Manager Europe, Middle East & Africa, as well as holding responsibility for Strategy, Marketing & Brand Communication and Operational Support. Prior to this he was State Manager Western Australia. He completed the London Business School Advanced Management Program in 2015, is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and was an Executive Member of Consult Australia – Western Australia Division from 2003 to 2016.

From 2006 to 2013 Ashley was a founding director of the ROADS Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation tasked with building capacity in the road construction and maintenance industry through the development of underprivileged youths in regional Western Australia.


Lily North- Executive Assistant, Halikos Group & AIOP NT President

Lily’s genuine passion for professional development and ability to leverage her strategic connections has been the secret weapon that has seen the Australian Institute of Office Professionals (AIOP) NT Division transform to one of the fastest growing Divisions in Australia and a formidable presence on the professional membership scene.

Lily’s boundless energy and drive along with her diverse skills and experience are well utilised in her role at the Halikos Group which is a multi-faceted company with interests across seven industries as diverse as development, construction, real estate and retail. Lily is the Executive Assistant to the Managing Director and Marketing Manager, and is proud to be part of a Territory owned and operated business employing almost 400 people. Lily is also the Chair of the Halikos Helping Hands committee which is a staff run group that raises money for local charities.

Lily’s received national recognition in 2017, when Lily was a finalist in the CEO Magazine Executive of the Year Awards, Executive Assistant category. In 2016, Lily was the Runner Up in the Executive PA Magazine Excellence Awards, ‘Up and Coming’ Category.

Click to read the full biography