Recommended Speakers

Each year the FEW Annual Leadership Conference is supported by keynote speakers who are leading experts in their field. These individuals have a wealth of experience in personal development and leadership. FEW is proud to be affiliated with these speakers.

NAOMI ABBOTT – Director - Conscious Presence, Sydney

Naomi Abbott is a coach and facilitator who assists individuals and teams to enhance their communication impact and activate trust at work. She believes that the vitality of the cultures we work in stems from the conversations we have, and these can either enrich or diminish the best of business strategies.

Naomi is proud to be one of 250 inaugural coaches certified in Conversational Intelligence worldwide, and through her business Conscious Presence she is transforming the way people lead, collaborate, navigate change and embrace innovation.

VANESSA BENNETT – Chief Executive Officer – Next Evolution Performance, Sydney

Vanessa is the CEO of Next Evolution Performance – a global high-performance coaching business focused on helping leaders, business owners, individuals and teams to maximize performance AND to decrease their overall effort to ensure that high performance and, therefore, profitability is sustainable.

Vanessa has over 20 years of experience in the financial services and health and fitness professions. She was the Head of Financial Advisory Distribution for Dimensional Fund Advisors, managing a team of 11 people with assets under management growing from $1B to over $9B during her tenure of over 8 years. Prior to that she held senior sales roles with Macquarie Bank.

Vanessa also qualified as a group fitness instructor whilst completing her undergraduate university studies and has always taught classes on top of her professional career. She has been with Fitness First for 16 years as a senior group fitness instructor and mentor.

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CORINNE CANTER - Head of Consulting Services - Human Synergistics Australia & NZ, Sydney

Corinne’s expertise has been gathered over more than 25 years of challenging roles working in telecommunications, finance and construction sectors. Before joining Human Synergistics, Corinne held senior leadership roles and led business change initiatives within organisations such as Vodafone and Colonial.

Corinne’s highlights include:

  • Leading a major change and business performance improvement program for Vodafone Australia, including the integration of several different business divisions. (IT, Contact Centers, Engineering & Operations).
  • Delivering 15% measured improvement with the leadership team of one of Australia’s largest Casino operators.
  • She was researched and co-authored Human Synergistics’ first book and business best seller “In Great Company”. The book documents the findings of a yearlong research project into the link between organizational culture and business performance.

JAMES CASTRISSION - Founder & Program Director - MyAdventure Group, NSW

James Castrission is a famous Australian Explorer constantly pushing the boundaries of human endurance.

Most recently, on the 26th January 2012, 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. Many had tried, none had succeeded. After 89 grueling days they made it back to the coast after having skied 2275km with everything they needed to survive in the harshest environment on Earth.

Four years earlier they Crossed the Ditch – paddling 3318km without assistance across the Tasman Sea for another world first. They braved 10 metre swells, howling winds, endured severe food and sleep deprivation and adverse winds and currents. They became the first kayakers to cross the Tasman Sea as well as becoming the longest transoceanic double kayak expedition. Staggering upon the shores of New Zealand, the adventurers were sunburnt, bearded, underweight, and physically and mentally wasted…but most of all happy to be alive.

In 2013, he founded MyAdventure Group – business committed 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.

KATE CHRISTIE – Chief Executive Officer & Founder – TimeStylers, Melbourne

Kate Christie is a Time management expert, international speaker and the bestselling author of two books (Me Time and SMART Time Management for Doctors).

As a business coach, Kate consults to big and small businesses, government departments and C suite executives on individual, team and organisational productivity. As a keynote speaker, Kate’s focus is to ensure your audience are left with a lasting impact on the way they choose to live, work and play as a result of what they have learned. Kate does this by designing tailored presentations and teaching proven productivity strategies to find and harness 30 hours of lost time a month.

Kate is the time management expert for Australia’s leading small business TV program (Kochie’s Business Builders) and has appeared on television, radio and in print as a leading commentator on smart time management to ensure your success. Time Stylers

ANDREA CLARKE – Founder & former foreign correspondent – CareerCEO, Sydney

Have you ever hesitated to speak up in a meeting, or walked away from a presentation wishing you could do it again? When the opportunity is live, why do these moments leave us feeling powerless when we should be proud?

Steered by a career as a television reporter and foreign correspondent covering breaking news across Australia, the US and Middle East, Andrea will share four specific techniques that will help us strip away the self-doubt and connect with our core confidence.

Andrea trains top ASX leaders to communicate their best work and accelerate when an opportunity is 'live'. Her approach is steered by 20 years’ experience delivering daily reports in high-pressure situations for the Seven Network, Al Jazeera English, Reuters and the Pentagon Channel across Australia, the United States and the Middle East.

A strong advocate for human rights, Andrea moved into the international non-profit arena in 2008 where her role was to support programs to re-build Iraq, Afghanistan and Georgia by gathering stories from the front line.

While in Washington DC, she also served as Communications Director for the Save Darfur Coalition to stop the genocide in Sudan. Now Melbourne based, Andrea helps women build credibility, earn recognition and carve a clear pathway to promotion through her program, Be the CEO of Your Career. CareerCEO

HEIDI DENING - Founder & Chief Executive Officer – Workable Wellness, Sydney

Heidi Dening is a wellness trailblazer and is making a lasting contribution to this world by educating and inspiring busy professionals to make realistic, healthy choices about their lives. As the Founder and CEO of Workable Wellness, she is passionate about helping companies implement workable wellness programs that result in improved employee health, resilience, performance, productivity and loyalty.

With over 20 years’ experience in the health, wellness and fitness industry, Heidi is a sought-after advisor, presenter, author and leader who has a unique ability to bring out the best in people. Throughout her career, she’s helped countless individuals and corporate clients to achieve better workplace health via online and offline programs, workshops, conferences and group sessions.

Heidi has grown four successful businesses from scratch – Workable Wellness, Jump Start Your Success, Jump Start Your Life, and Jump Start Foundation – and has worked with large corporations, small businesses, local and international communities, and local and international governments.

In addition to this hands-on business experience, she’s featured on TV (Personal Trainer on ABC’s reality show Agony Aunts), in books (Australia’s Most Inspiring Health and Wellness Professionals), in magazines and newspapers (Runners World Australia and the Sydney Morning Herald) and has presented on stage with other health and fitness personalities such as Michelle Bridges.


SAMANTHA GASH - Endurance Athlete & Social Entrepreneur - Victoria

Inspirational endurance athlete and keynote speaker, Samantha Gash had a desire to challenge herself and to make a difference in the world. Ambitious and determined, Samantha couldn’t have imagined that her journey would take her to the four corners of the earth and impact so many lives.

Samantha’s last expedition was a 2350 kms race across South Africa’s Freedom Trail. A journey that saw her running two marathons a day for 32 days and raising funds for Save The Children, to support education, health and confidence for young South African women.

ELLY JOHNSON - Founder & Managing Director - TruthAbility, Sydney 

Elly specialises in identifying situations where there is a higher likelihood of hidden truth and reveals how to influence for truth and build trust in important interactions and high-stake situations. Whilst people get excited at the idea of becoming ‘human lie detectors’, Elly encourages them to first become ‘truth-attractors’, learning how to create a truth telling environment and reducing the need to spot lies.

Swinging her very own Wonder Woman inspired 'Lasso of Truth', Elly channels her superpowers to show you how to read behaviour, get information, and attract more truth when it matters most. She debunks myths and leaves the audience with valuable tips to get more truth, build more trust and spot more lies, whether in the boardroom, the interview room, the lunchroom or the bedroom.

With experience in law enforcement, sales, senior management and business, Elly’s passion shines through as she shares stories and case studies that illustrate how a greater awareness of the importance of truth and trust can reduce risk and result in more productive, authentic and trustworthy relationships. TruthAbility

PENNY LOCASO – Founder & Chief Executive Officer – BKindred, Melbourne

With a bold mission to teach 1 million women by 2020 how to future proof happiness in work and life, Penny Locaso is transforming lives and organisations through her disruptive global education company BKindred.

Partnering with corporations like LuluLemon Athletica, General Assembly, Australia Post and Powercor along with global women in technology communities, Penny is focused on skilling women and technology companies to thrive in the future of work.

Three years ago Penny turned her life upside down. In a 7 month period, she left a sixteen year career as an executive, relocated a family from Perth back to Melbourne, left an 18 year relationship and started BKindred to positively impact the lives of others. In just three short years she has firmly placed herself as a global thought leader on diversity in the Future Of Work.

A truly authentic leader, Penny was accoladed globally for her bold move to deliver a keynote in her bathing suit (in front of 100 professional women) to demonstrate how stepping into fear and vulnerability opens the door to possibility.

Penny has been published and quoted in the Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Daily Mail UK, SmartCompany, Conscious Magazine, StartUp Smart, Smarter Magazine, The Age, Womens Agenda, The Sydney Morning Herald & NZ Entrepreneur.

DR BRONWYN KING - Founder & CEO - Tobacco Free Portfolios, Melbourne 

Dr King, an acknowledged world leader in the fight against big tobacco investment. As a radiation oncologist, Dr King founded Tobacco Free Portfolios in 2010 when she became aware that health professionals were inadvertently investing in tobacco companies through their superannuation, manufacturers of the very products responsible for the serious, life-threatening illnesses suffered by her patients. Tobacco Free Portfolios is delighted to collaborate with the world's largest financial organisations to drive global change towards tobacco-free finance.

Since inception, Tobacco Free Portfolios has been instrumental in encouraging more than 80 leading financial organisations in 11 countries to implement tobacco-free policies spanning lending, investment and insurance. This action has seen finance leaders stand alongside the health and government sectors in actively contributing to global tobacco control.

KATRINA MCCARTER - Founder & CEO - Marketing to Mums, Melbourne 

Katrina McCarter is the founder and CEO of Marketing to Mums. She is a marketing strategist who specialises in understanding mothers as a powerful market sector, through experience and research.

She holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and a Masters of Business Administration (International Business) and has more than fifteen years sales and marketing experience working across diverse industries including grocery, hardware and online.

Eight years ago after the birth of her three children she launched, an award-winning shopping website for mums which she grew to a community of more than 150,000 mums before selling in late 2016.

Katrina is the author of the best-selling business book, Marketing to Mums : How to sell more to Australia’s most powerful consumer.

Katrina is an accomplished international speaker having spoken in Paris and New York in 2018.
In 2019 Katrina will release three new pieces of research: a report into what Australian Mums want from automotive brands, a study into Mums and their relationship with Money and attitudes towards banks and financial providers and, a study into how to reach pregnant and first time mothers.

CLARE PAYNE – Young Global Leader, Chief of Global Strategy – Tobacco Free Portfolios, Sydney

Clare Payne specialises in the field of ethics in banking and finance. Clare commenced her career as an employment lawyer, managed the Integrity Office of Macquarie Bank and then initiated and became Director of The Banking and Finance Oath ( a Hippocratic-type Oath for the banking and finance industry. She was awarded the Inaugural Ethics, Responsibility and Trust in Finance Prize by the Observatoire de la Finance, Geneva.

Clare is also COO with Tobacco Free Portfolios, Fellow for Ethics in Banking and Finance, The Ethics Centre (Australia), and was recognised as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader in 2014. In the last two years Clare received several Industry Advocacy Awards from Money Management and Super Review and was recognised in the 100 Woman of Influence by the Australian Financial Review.

DR SIMONE RYAN – Founder & CEO – One Life. Live It., Sydney

Dr Simone Ryan is a Specialist Medical doctor, retrained in Occupational Medicine, Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Board Director for several large and government companies. But when working in a world-leading hospital in cardiac surgery, Simone realised the pressures of the corporate landscape via her patients—everyday workers. When her own health started suffering due to excessive work demands, she left her job in catastrophic circumstances and started her own business, aptly calling it “One Life. Live It.

OLLI is now a multi-national business providing evidence-based, corporate medical and well-being services to blue-chip organisations. Simone has been selected by the Commonwealth Health Minister to be a medical representative to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

MICHELLE SALES - Owner & Director - Michelle Sales, Melbourne 

Michelle Sales is passionate about helping people tap into their true potential – in leadership and in life.

As a highly sought-after speaker, facilitator, coach and author, she has helped thousands of senior leaders and their teams learn to show up as the best version of themselves, to build their confidence and influence with others, and to maximise their leadership and performance.

Michelle worked for 28 years in corporate roles – with many of those being senior and executive leadership roles in financial services – before establishing her own leadership business in 2012. From her experience, she understands the real challenges and opportunities that leaders in business face every day. Stepping up with real confidence takes work – both to build confidence and, more importantly, to sustain it. So, the systems and processes she uses are based on real-life results and are things she practices regularly herself.

Michelle loves learning and is constantly seeking to improve her own knowledge, capability and edge in order to add value to her clients. She is currently studying positive psychology and is a past graduate from the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education’s Art and Practice of Leadership Development and Women and Power: Leadership in a New World programs. In 2016, she was nominated for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

Michelle is loved by her clients, colleagues and friends for her authenticity and warmth as much as for her hard-hitting ability to hold people to account.To find out more about Michelle, go to

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MELANIE SCHILLING – Psychologist, Success Coach & Dating Coach – The Relationship Strategist

Psychologist Melanie Schilling strongly believes 'Positive relationships lead to a positive life', and it is this philosophy that has guided a career spanning 20 years and three continents.

With a particular focus on women and their relationships, in life and business, Mel is driven to help women discover their own independence and courage. Mel firmly believes we all have everything we need to be the best version of ourselves.

A keen interest in the science and psychology behind the 'love match' saw Mel become the first person in Australia to become accredited by the International Dating Coaching Association in New York in 2014, which led to consulting to Australia's largest dating website eHarmony and her role for 4 seasons on the top rating Channel 9 series 'Married and First Sight' which returns for its 5th season early 2018.

As a sought-after speaker, coach, consultant and media commentator, Mel is regularly called upon by large corporations such as NAB, Ernst and Young and organisations like Business Chicks for her coaching and consulting services. Her expert opinion is regularly sought by shows such as the Today Show, Today Extra and The Project as well as a range of online and in print publications including Australian Women's Weekly and Huffington Post. Mel has become a well-known and notable expert on Australia's media landscape.

Practising across both the corporate and therapeutic arenas Mel has worked as a business and personal coach to people at all business levels, across the Australasian and Middle Eastern regions. From graduates to CEOs, she works with high potential professionals to magnify their happiness, well-being and success.

SUZI SKINNER - Managing Director - Roar People, Sydney

Award winning Researcher, Leadership Coach and World-Wide Facilitator, Suzi Skinner is founder of Roar People, a leadership consultancy inspired by her award-winning research into leadership. Suzi is also Managing Director of Selftalk, an executive and health coaching consultancy.

She was awarded the Outstanding Women in Leadership Award by the World Leadership Congress in Mumbai for her leadership work in India. She was also a speaker at the W.I.N Conference in Prague in 2013.

TRACEY SOFRA – Founder & Chief Executive Officer – WOW Women Group and Sofcorp Financial Services, Victoria

Tracey has over 25 years’ experience as an Accountant and Financial Planner. She is an expert in the areas of wealth creation, leadership, achievement and fulfillment. As a mum and business leader she has walked a successful path for over two decades and has proven methods - knowing what it takes to be successful at work and in life.

She is the founder and CEO of WOW Women. A group of like-minded business, professional and entrepreneurial women in regional Victoria working collectively to inspire, empower and create change.

Tracey’s passion lies in her belief that only through financial independence can we truly be financially free but often the biggest challenge is self-belief. Her financial freedom retreats and workshops not only educate but create a shift in the mind set of all participants to create the life of their dreams. Tracey writes a weekly blog and contributes her passion around empowering financial freedom for women through online magazines such as; Financy and Pink Sky Magazine.

Tracey is the winner of the 2016 Greater Shepparton Women’s Charter Alliance Advisory Committee Award and the winner of the 2016 Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She was also a finalist in the “Women in Financial Services Awards” in 2015 and 2017 in two categories; Financial Planner of the Year and Industry Advocacy, recently winning Financial Planner of the Year, 2017. She was also a finalist in the AFA Female Excellence in Advice Awards for 2017. Her first book “Finding Financial Freedom” was published in May 2016.

LISA STEPHENSON – Executive Coach & Founder – Who Am I Projects, Melbourne

Lisa is a breath of fresh air, an authentic voice, and a powerful advocate for people to step up and go after what they (really) want in life and work. She’s about emotionally intelligent living and thriving in a time-poor, complex and challenging world.

As a global speaker she brings over twenty years’ experience in senior management roles, entrepreneurship, executive coaching and event facilitation.  She is regularly asked to play the role of Master of Ceremonies due to her ability to think on her feet and read the room. Notably, Lisa is the founding director of the internationally regarded and the ‘I am statement’.   She has worked all around the globe with her team of highly experienced facilitators and coaches.

She has many high-profile clients: Corporates such as NAB, Telstra, Macquarie, Treasury Wine Estates and Australian Unity know her well and entrust their most valued leaders with her team. CEO’s, celebrities, athletes, media personalities, senior leaders and talented individuals from various industries refer to Lisa as their ‘trusted advisor.’ 2017 was a big year of speaking for Lisa.  A quick look at Instagram will show you her frequent visits to America, the U.K and Asia to meet demand for her unique way of challenging people’s thinking.

More privately and personally, Lisa is the best secret-keeper around! She is challenging, known for going hard on the issues (but not the person) – asking the questions that hurt, dismissing the excuses, and holding people (teams, organisations and groups) accountable for their own successes and failures.

Lisa is a born coach, intuitive and empathetic, while also hard hitting and courageous in searching out each person’s barriers, reality and possibilities. She speaks to the heart of who we (each) are, what we (really) want for ourselves, and what we have to do (the work) to get from where we are to where we would rather be. Whether working with a crowd of a thousand or an individual, she is walking her talk and being her best self, building trust and relationships at the speed of light! She’s about transformational moments and BIG results.

Lisa is a gifted storyteller who shares her own story, and oh my goodness, does she have a story to tell. She’ll share her journey, adventures, real-life struggles, successes and challenges. She’s wise, compassionate, flawed and fun – her sense of humour is legendary, sometimes inappropriate, always energizing. She’s a single mum to three, a world traveller, beach lover, and renovator. And she’s a bit obsessed with Instagram, all things Italian, good wine, and getting things done yesterday!


MARGIE WARRELL - Best Selling Author and Forbes Columnist

Forbes Columnist, Bestselling Author and Women's Leadership Coach, Margie Warrell is an internationally recognised thought leader in human potential. Drawing on her background in Fortune 500 Business, psychology and coaching, Margie has worked with leaders in organisations around the globe including NASA, UN Foundation, Oracle, HP, and many others. Founder of Global Courage and Raw Courage TV, Margie is particularly passionate about empowering women to expand their vision, and to build their leadership capacity, confidence and courage to influence positive change. Margie's books 'Find Your Courage' and 'Stop Playing Safe' have been published in multiple languages. Her new book Brave was released in April. Margie is also a regular commentator on ABC News Breakfast and Sunrise.  Learn more at

KIM WATKINS TORNYA – TV Presenter, Ambassador, Founder, Host – EquipSuper, Melbourne

Kim has nearly 3 decades of experience in radio and television with an impressive list hosting some of Australia’s most popular programs and bringing to our attention important life and wellbeing issues. As Master of Ceremonies for the 2017 FEW Leadership Conference we’re sure to have an entertaining day.

Kim’s stellar television career includes hosting and presenting shows on Ten Network Australia: 9am with David and Kim, Saving Babies; Seven Network Reporter Beyond Tomorrow, and Nine Network: Money, Good Medicine, Anchor National Nine News 11am, Qantas news, Australia's Most Wanted, and was Tracy Grimshaw's regular fill-in host on the Today Show.

Kim is currently the face of EquipSuper's Active8 TV, an online, web based, program designed to give up to date information on superannuation to Equip members.

When Kim was with the Nine Network she shot a documentary and produced a series of reports on the plight of Borneo's endangered Orangutan population. Kim later was a founding board member and is now Ambassador for Orangutan Foundation International Australia ( .

‘I'm also in the business of buying up Indonesian rainforest, to save the endangered Bornean orangutan. Got any money to share? Call me!! Seriously!’

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COLETTE WERDEN - Style and Image Specialist - Colette Werden, Melbourne

Colette began her journey in 2007 at Australia’s longest running image school, Suzan Johnston Australia. Since then Colette has gained a steadfast reputation for radically transforming the lives of her female entrepreneur and professional clientele, by increasing their self-confidence through developing their image and communication skills. Colette’s leading edge ‘The Ratio System’ is designed to open up the idea of a whole new way of dressing by helping women to dress for what they really want. Colette lives by the mantra, “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up and never give up”.  You can learn more about Colette by visiting