VIV BENJAMIN: CEO - The Oaktree Foundation
At only 23, Viv Benjamin has already directed some of the biggest poverty campaigns in Australia. In 2007, fresh out of high school, she directed the Make Poverty History Zero Seven Road Trip – where Kevin Rudd (as PM for the first time) made that historic commitment to increase foreign aid to 0.5% national income. Viv also founded and directed the national initiative: End Child Slavery; and has previously worked as the National Advocacy Director for TEAR. Viv had been a Director on the Oaktree board since 2008, before taking over as CEO in June 2012.
An amazing role-model and inspiring young Australia. Viv, as the head of Australia’s largest youth run overseas aid organisation, will be talking about how ending extreme poverty in our lifetime is very much a real possibility.
CHANTELLE BAXTER: Co-founder - One Girl
After returning from Africa, Chantelle co-founded One Girl, a charity which exists to give women and girls access to education and life opportunities in Sierra Leone. One Girl is now providing education scholarships for more than 150 girls in Sierra Leone, as well as working with communities to rehabilitate their schools. One Girl has also launched a sanitary pad program which is creating jobs and changing lives. One Girl’s successful fundraising campaign, Do It In a Dress, has engaged a worldwide audience and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last two years. Through The Girl Project, Chantelle inspires and supports young women through powerful workshops and speeches in high schools and universities across Australia. Named one of Melbourne’s Top 100 Most Influential People, Chantelle is a passionate leader and one of Australia’s most inspiring young women. She will be talking about the inspiring Do It In A Dress campaign and the power of young people and social campaigns combined.
TOM AMOS: Co-founder - Sidekicker
Tom is the co-founder of Melbourne start-up Sidekicker, a website and app that connects local businesses with on demand assistants. Tom’s dynamic and driven approach to business has driven the growth and strategic direction of the business and he is constantly thinking of new problems to solve.
Prior to Sidekicker, Tom spent three and a half years building a knowledge base in accounting and finance at Deloitte Touche Toumatsu where he focused on private business and high net worth families as well as in corporate re-organisation.
Born and bred in Melbourne, Tom is an avid traveller spending time in Asia, Europe, South America and New Zealand.
Tom will take us on a detailed look at the journey from corporate employee to startup founder and everything in between. A particular emphasis will be on the power of passion and how by empowering individuals more efficient outcomes can be achieved.
DR. GRAEME SIMSION: Author - The Rosie Project
Graeme Simsion graduated in Physics from Monash University and worked his way through several IT roles before specialising in data modelling and founding a business and IT consultancy. He grew Simsion Bowles and Associates to some sixty staff across Australia before selling in 1999. During this time he wrote Data Modeling Essentials and completed graduate qualifications in business and IT. After completing a PhD in 2006, he enrolled in screenwriting and professional writing courses. His novel The Rosie Project won the 2012 Premier’s Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and is now an international bestseller. The screenplay won the AWG / Inception Award in 2010 and has been optioned to Sony Pictures.
Graeme’s story is one of how generalised design principles informed the development of an award-winning screenplay and, in the process, a best-selling novel. More broadly, it is a case study of the value of cross-disciplinary thinking and a call to recruit thinkers from a wider range of disciplines to address our most pressing challenges.