Adrienne Alexander has worked in education in New Zealand and Australia for nearly 30 years, focusing on gifted education since 2014. Much of this work has been in the private sector, working for and then running Extension Education which provided experiential learning opportunities for gifted children in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast.
Alexander has since been snapped up by Education Queensland and is now teaching a specialised program for gifted children in Brisbane.
Alexander continues her passion for immersive experiential learning experiences in her current position as she believes that experiential learning increases student motivation and deepen student understanding of classroom concepts.
Pyjama Designer and Social Changemaker
Our story begins in Brisbane, Australia in 2010 and is the brainchild of Amanda Clayton’s personal experience. She was inspired to create these unique pyjamas, after her 4 year old daughter experienced a stroke.
She literally took matters into her own hands, when all that was available to the children were white, undignified hospital gowns.
And so Hospitalpjs.com was created. Out of something scary, stressful and emotional, we have created something that could make a difference in so many other children’s lives. With her daughter now thriving back at school, Amanda had found a way of giving back to families that are experiencing difficult situations with their seriously ill children.
Today, Amanda still designs and oversees production of all hospitalpjs.com clothing with her distinct signature of graphic modern, bright colour combinations and prints. All our gowns and pyjama sets are stitched with love.
Graphic Designer, Social Entrepreneur & Second Chance Innovator
Amanda Shepherd is breaking through prison walls with graphic design, helping prisoners to make their time count.
Amanda Shepherd is a co-founder and director of Green Fox Studio, Australia’s first full-service creative agency operating not-for-profit community- and prison-based graphic design training studios to provide marginalised people with skills training and employment opportunity in and beyond the creative arts.
Amanda is an experienced and well-respected designer with a passion for social justice operating an award-winning social enterprise that doesn’t just deliver good design—it’s positively impacting some of our society’s most disadvantaged communities, helping men, women, and children from all walks of life to pave a pathway out of poverty and towards more meaningful participation in safer, more inclusive communities across the country.
World Champion Horse Archer, Dream Chaser & Career Change Advocate
A bad fall from her horse at age 13 unexpectedly led CJ Blumenthal to the exciting, daring, and skilful sport that is horse archery. She took to it like a duck to water. Within a year she was winning state and national titles. Within two years she was a World Champion. All while still attending high school. Then she walked away. CJ is a passionate advocate of the belief that just because you are good at something, does not mean you have to do it forever.
Tradie, Social Entrepreneur & Mental Health Advocate
Daniel Allen is a carpenter by Trade as well as cofounder of social enterprise workwear brand TradeMutt and blue collar counseling service TIACS.
Dan met his business partner Ed Ross on a Brisbane building site in 2014. Ed became Dan’s apprentice and the pair became best mates. After Dan tragically lost a close mate to suicide in 2015, the two tradies identified two glaring problems - 1. The tone of the mental health conversation was too serious 2. Ordinary Australians don’t know where to go to first seek support.
In 2018, the boys launched TradeMutt - A social enterprise workwear company by tradies for tradies. Their funky workwear was designed to take a more fun, light hearted and colorful approach to normalizing mental health conversations on a daily basis.
In June 2020, the pair launched TIACS - a free, early intervention mental health support service providing ongoing counseling services for the entire blue collar sector.
Civil Engineer, Scientist & Circular Economy Advocate
Dr Danish Kazmi is a civil and geotechnical engineer, researcher, science communicator and sustainability enthusiast, currently working as a Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering at The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia. His research focuses on developing sustainable geomaterials by recycling ever-increasing wastes as alternatives to depleting natural sand and aggregates in geotechnical construction, helping the transition to a circular economy.
Danish has won several prestigious awards, initiated high-level cross-institutional collaborations, and been featured in the media. His research has been published in top-ranked scientific journals and magazines.
Danish is a UQ Volunteer, certified Carbon Literate and an accredited Mental Health First Aider. Outside of work, he enjoys doing sustainability work, connecting with nature and spending time at the beach.
Brisbane’s baby, Flamingo Blonde is quickly becoming one of 2022's ones to watch, making a name for themselves as they bring hot hooks and running guitars back to the table.
Flamingo Blonde is the project of James Bartlett, supported by the best band this side of the brown snake, The Brunettes. In only a short time, The Flamingo Blonde live show has become synonymous with the spirit of Brisbane: warm and untamed. An unpredictable experience that has to be seen up close; Flamingo Blonde has supported the likes of Last Dinosaurs, Hope D, Jaguar Jonze and Beddy Rays. On top of that, they've proven that their sunny sounds can pull a major crowd, selling out hometown shows at The Zoo and The Brightside just last year.
Geoff is a social entrepreneur committed to increasing tech skills for autistic people. A data analyst by trade, Geoff is the CEO of Australian Spatial Analytics and puts into action the idea that people with diverse backgrounds can be the rockstars of the new digital economy. Geoff advocates for social enterprise to be the vehicle to unlock neurodiverse talent pools for large corporations. He holds Bachelor Degrees in Business Management and Arts, and a Masters of International and Economic Development. Geoff is a 2022 Westpac Social Change Fellow, Snow Foundation Social Entrepreneur Fellow and AMP Tomorrow Maker.
Psychiatrist, Author & Relationship Expert
Dr George Blair-West is an author and medical doctor specialising in psychiatry who for twenty years has sub-specialised in just relationship therapy and treating trauma. George's writing career began 25 years ago with scientific publications on suicide and depression while a Senior Lecturer with the University of Queensland. This work resulted in his admission to the New York Academy of Sciences in 1998. A variety of lay articles and five books followed, including a best seller in Australia on the psychology and sabotage of weight loss. The award-winning The Way of the Quest, a novel that explores his passion of how to find one’s meaning & purpose in life. His book 'How to make the biggest decision of your life - Unlocking the secrets to a healthy lasting relationship', builds on his talk on TED.com (over 4million views). He, and his psychologist wife of 34 years, Penny, live in Brisbane and have two children.
Improv Performer, Comedian & Cabaret Artist
Jenny is an internationally award-winning comedian, cabaret performer, writer and mental health advocate.
She credits every good thing she does onstage to her passion for improvisation, and her great fortune to have trained and performed with some of the world’s most renowned improvised comedy teachers, including Second City (USA), Loose Moose Theatre (Canada), Gary Austin (founder of The Groundlings in LA) and more.
Honing her funny bone through a grief-riddled childhood, Jenny’s career in comedy - including a near half decade stint as a Clown Doctor
- have set her on a mission to demonstrate the power of laughter to relieve pain and stress, and to improve mental wellness, even - and especially - during dark times.
Jenny is also the founder of Funny Mummies™ - an online community and producer of live comedy shows - which aims to improve mothers’ mental health through laughter.
Criminal Lawyer & Sex Education Champion
Katrina Marson has been researching the protective power of sex-ed to prevent sexual violence and safeguard sexual wellbeing for a decade. She has been a criminal lawyer since 2013, primarily in the area of family violence and sexual offences. On secondment for two years, Katrina led the implementation of the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission’s criminal justice recommendations in the ACT before returning to the ACT DPP as a senior prosecutor in the Sexual Offences Unit. She undertook a Churchill Fellowship in 2019 researching the implementation of relationships and sexuality education overseas; her findings were published in the report Ignorance is not Innocence. Katrina is the lead researcher of primary prevention at Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy, and is the President of the Relationships and Sexuality Education Alliance ACT. Her first book, Legitimate Sexpectations: the power of sex-ed, was published in 2022.
Olympian, Entrepreneur & Social Changemaker
Former Australian Swimmer Libby Trickett collected 24 gold medals on the international stage across Olympic, Commonwealth Games and World Championships events. This included eight long course and seven short course world titles, five Commonwealth Games and four Olympic gold medals which were won at three consecutive Olympic Games. Since retiring from swimming, she has lived many lives, but she is currently studying a Bachelor of Counselling, is the host of the podcast All That Glitters, where she interviews retired athletes on their transition into life after sport, and co-host of The Sport Social podcast which talks about the joy, humanity and heartbreak from the past week in sport. She has also, recently co-founded a business called Unlocking her potential, where the aim is to inspire and empower ALL women to unlock their greatest potential, as well as running after her three young daughters, Poppy, Edwina and Bronte.
Media Professional & Creative Changemaker
Lisa Cox is an author, award-winning business consultant and media professional who isn’t just talking about problems #clicktivism but is actively showing up for nuanced conversations to help solve them. For years, Lisa has been working behind-the-scenes with business, government and influential industries to change how disability, the world’s largest minority, is represented in mainstream popular culture like media, marketing, arts, entertainment and more. As she explains in her talk, other sectors like health, education and employment are also affected by the power of popular culture through a flow-on affect over time.
Lisa holds two bachelor degrees in business communications and media. In 2005 she acquired multiple disabilities that inform much of her work today. By combining her professional background and lived-experience, Lisa is a recognised thought-leader with an ability to see multiple perspectives of a creative challenge.
Surgeon, Breast Cancer Researcher & Innovator
Owen is Director of the MNHHS Comprehensive Breast Cancer Institute. He has been committed to his profession and the community over more than 30 years of specialist surgical practice.
Owen is a founding director of a thriving private specialist medical group though his professional activity is now largely directed towards public administrative and academic activity. In this way, he feels he can have the greatest impact on innovating improved treatment pathways for women diagnosed with breast cancer, conducting clinical research that will better inform and pursue cutting edge translational research that will revolutionise the treatment paradigm.
Ruby Gilbert is nothing short of a sonic enchantress. Weaving a musical alchemy of Americana style meets present day experience. Irresistably nostalgic, her voice evokes an old-time feel, while her lyrics are both charismatic and endearing.
Since the release of her deput EP 'Dearly Beloved' in 2018, Ruby Gilbert has been turning heads with her musical prowess. She has received a Queensland Music Aware nomination for her debut single 'Oh Bones', has played multiple promient festivals around Australian including BIGSOUND and has opened for the likes of C.W. Stoneking, Justin Townes Earle and The Teskey Brothers.
Cheesemonger & Small Producer Champion
Sam is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for making micro changes that have compounding benefits to individuals and communities.
By day, Sam is the co-founder of Cheese Therapy, Australia’s largest artisan cheese retailer and champion of small producers. Cheese Therapy directly supports small artisan cheesemakers across Australia and sends cheese straight to your home.
He is also a modern-day explorer. Before the sun comes up, he is usually preparing for his next epic adventure. Recently, Sam was the first person in the world to attempt to swim the English Channel in winter. Naturally, that ended with hyperthermia and a greater determination to see if this feat is possible.
Sam holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) and a Masters of Business Administration.
This is Peptalk
PEPTALK are your wholesome friends giving unsolicited advice. Boasting two thirds queer, two thirds POC and all three thirds female, PEPTALK is determined to be the positive representation they longed for growing up. Made up of Jay-Lee Kwan(keys/vocals), Lara Frew (bass/vocals), and Phoebe Sinclair (vocals/production) PEPTALK’s presence has a comfort and confidence that only time and genuine friendship can bring. Formed on a mutual adoration for songwriting and iconic woman in the music industry, PEPTALK’s influenced by the likes of Julia Michaels, MUNA and HAIM. PEPTALK bring their infectious energy along with a fierce desire to befriend literally everyone.
Waveney is a Brisbane based singer/songwriter & a proud South Sea & Yuwi Burra descendant.
Her achievements include performing with world renowned Pub Choir (2016-2022), Yothu Yindi and the Treaty Project (Brisfest 2018) , Songs That Made Me (QPAC 2018) TEDxBrisbane 2017/18; touring her original musical with Queensland Music Festival; Have You Ever Heard A Wombat Sing? (2014/15); singing her original music to an internationally televised audience for the 2012 NRL Allstars game; Performing at Island Vibe Festival 2017/18; Performing/ writing in her duo Black Salt; Working as a mentor with Creative Tracks 2016-18.
Each piece woven together forming a storybook of song that explores sisterhood, energy, and love. With the simple recipe of melody and a six string Waveney will transport you to a new place. You’re invited on this journey through song.
Entrepreneur & Circular Economy Champion
Yas is a Director and Founder of the award winning circular economy enterprise, Circonomy (formerly: World’s Biggest Garage Sale). An entrepreneur of impact and a circular economy pioneer in Australia, Yas recently closed a $4M equity capital raise to expand nationally, with Officeworks as a key investor and shareholder. Together, through expansion of reuse, repair, resource recovery and recommerce initiatives, Yas is thrilled to work with partners and investors to bring the next phase of growth, seeing her Circonomy vision come to life.
It is positively polarising to experience the essence & energy of a truth teller human living whole. Yas is completely comfortable sharing the gritty, shitty and unpretty, evoking emotions to help others navigate their own natural flow state. Traversing transitions and championing change is where Yas is most fearless…..with a friendly and fanatical fortitude to encourage and empower others to find fullness & flow.