x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Open A-Gender!

This event occurred on
October 28, 2023
Maldon, Victoria

Moving the conversation about the power of girls and women in a meaningful way.

Progress Hall
6 Francis Street
Maldon, Victoria, 3463
Event type:
TEDxWomen (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Alison Jones (Azzy Jay)

Creative Director
With more than a decade in public health, disability inclusion and health promotion, Azzy brings a community development approach to her role as Creative Director of the Castlemaine Fringe Festival.

Belinda Young

PhD Candidate at University of Melbourne
Belinda Young is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne and President of Mums of the Hills, a community group she founded in 2015. Belinda’s research focuses on whether online groups can promote place-based action in the prevention of human caused bushfire ignitions. Mums of the Hills is predominantly an online group of 6000 members in the Yarra Ranges, an area in Melbourne’s east known for its beauty and vulnerability to disasters. The group is unique in that it has successfully created a strong online/ place-based community connection, built the social capital of the community and provided clear communication and support following disasters. Belinda was recognised for this work by recently being awarded the 2023 Victoria, Australian of the Year Local Hero award.

Dr Andrea Khong

Dr Andrea Khong is a DVM with a PhD in immunology and throughout her career in medical research has published work in the fields of parasitology, viral- and tumour immunology. She now runs her own veterinary practice where she promotes a calm and quiet environment for pets and enjoys working with, and empowering, pet owners.

Dr Megan Rogers

Dr Megan Rogers has a PhD in creative writing and has published academic papers on gender equality. She has worked in senior positions in the arts and government, and works at understanding how women can balance earning a living with creative pursuits. This year she had her now bestselling debut novel published with Harper Collins Australia by figuring out how to balance running a household, working a job with writing a novel. She believes that empowering women to have the time and space to chase their dreams is an important part of gender equality.

Emma Bennison

Chief Innovation Officer
Emma is Chief Innovation Officer with Life Without Barriers, where she provides empowering, inspiring and collaborative leadership that drives the development and implementation of strategic change and engagement initiatives in relation to disability advocacy and community services delivery across Life Without Barriers and beyond. Prior to commencing this role, Emma completed five years as CEO of Blind Citizens Australia, revitalising the national representative organisation of Australians who are blind or vision impaired. Emma also chairs the Attitude Foundation, which is shaping a new understanding of disability through the promotion and development of media content that provides realistic portrayals of people with disability. She also serves on Tasmania’s Ministerial Arts and Cultural Advisory Council.

Isabella Frappier

Sexual Activist and Pleasure Mentor
Isabella Frappier is a sexual activist and pleasure mentor, focused on body literacy and sexual sovereignty. Isabella works with clients in one-on-one video sessions and in group workshops such as Erotic in Motion, to help them embrace their sexuality, incorporating aspects of feminist BDSM, sex magic, and even astrology into her work. She has been featured on NETFLIX, Goop, Sex With Emily, VICE, and more.

Jaala Pulford

Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne
The Honourable Jaala Pulford is a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Chair of MTP Connect, Australia’s Life Sciences Innovation Centre, and Chair of the Children’s Cancer Foundation. She is a director at Cyban. An experienced leader with deep experience in Cabinet government, public administration and governance, Jaala is passionate about making sure people, communities and businesses can thrive in an economy undergoing fast-moving, often destabilising, but exciting and transformational change. Jaala was elected to the Victorian Parliament in 2006 as Member for Western Victoria and re-elected three times. She retired from politics at the end of 2022 to seek out new challenges. Jaala lives in Ballarat with her husband Jeff, son Hamish, two adopted greyhounds, and the everlasting memory of her daughter Sinéad. She loves scuba diving, running and travel.

Jacinta Parsons

Broadcaster, Writer, Speaker
Jacinta Parsons is a broadcaster, writer and public speaker who currently hosts programs on ABC Local Radio Melbourne. She released her debut memoir, ‘Unseen – the secret life of Chronic Illness’ in 2020 and just last month released her second book ‘A Question of Age: Women, ageing and the forever self’ She began her radio-life at community radio station 3RRR over a decade ago and is a board member for Melbourne disability theatre company, Rollercoaster. She has been involved in the music and arts community for her entire career. Jacinta has lived with Crohn’s Disease for over 20 years and is an ambassador for the Crohn’s and Colitis Association and speaks and writes about the impact of living with chronic illness.

Janet Bromley

Arts Officer First Nations at City of Greater Bendigo
Janet Bromley is a Yorta Yorta artist and the First Nations Arts Officer for the City of Greater Bendigo.

Jude Hannah

Program Director
Born and raised on a farm outside of Wedderburn, Victoria, Australia, she was born with curiosity and adventure in her blood. Jude is the Program Director for the 25 year old Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program. Each year the program delivers 25 empowered leaders back to the 10 shires it represents in Central Victoria. In addition to her role delivering the program, she is a certified hypnotherapist, and she and her partner grow and produce chillies on their small farm in Fernihurst.

Lauren Sayer

Executive Director Research and Innovation
Educational leadership has always been at the heart and centre of Lauren's professional career. Lauren's recent roles have included Head of Education at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, where she championed the cause for world-class pedagogy and continuous learning for those students who could not attend school in a traditional setting. Lauren is now Executive Director Research and Innovation at Melbourne Girls Grammar School. She is developing best practice in learning technology, digital literacy, and building an evidence base for future-focused evidence-informed teaching and learning.

Lauren Starr

Lauren is a multi-award winning artist, including the winner of the national Bluethumb art prize in 2022. Lauren's work explores motherhood, femininity and their roles through time; through narrative and symbol-rich imagery. Her detailed and vibrant artworks are born from her abundant inner world, fueled by history, literature, folklore, nature and spirituality.

Maree Edwards

Member of Parliament
The Hon. Maree Edwards is a mother of four, a stepmother to two grownup children, a grandmother of eleven, has been a carer for her late husband – and is a proud girl from Maryborough. In her spare time she’s out walking her two dogs, Jesse and Beto, plays the piano, and spends time with her ever-expanding family. Maree has been the MP for Bendigo West in the Victorian Parliament since 2010 – and in 2022 was elected the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

Michele Clark

Director of the Office for Women in Victoria
Michele Clark is an experienced public sector executive with an expertise in gender equality. Through her leadership of the Victorian Office for Women, she has spearheaded the development and implementation of game-changing gender equality policies, programs and initiatives. Michele’s diverse wealth of experience spans social and economic policy, public administration, national security, and emergency management.

Sarah Duncanson

Sarah has cared for children in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for over 15 years with a particular interest in congenital cardiac conditions, trauma and retrieval medicine. She is also heavily involved in community resuscitation, sitting on the board of the Australian Resuscitation Council and is co-director of PAEDS education, providing resuscitation and disability carer training all over Australia. She proudly represented children with disability as a finalist for the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award 2023. As a mum of four children, Sarah has a passion to reach the unreachable and ensure that education is provided in a meaningful, empowering way without the fear mongering.

Summer Howarth and Evie Garvey

Education Expert
Summer Howarth spends her days championing teachers and has worked across every education system and sector in Australia! Her passion, experience and unique perspective has established her as one of the most sought after learning experience designers and facilitators in Australia. Evie is a bubbly, joyful, energic and compassionate 8 year old, she attends the local primary school in the small and tight knit coastal town that she lives in with her mum, dad and much loved little brother, Otto. Evie loves life and enjoys surfing, camping, swimming, gymnastics, basketball, her friends and her family. Evie believes all students should be treated how everyone wants to be treated and should be a part of designing how and what they learn. She thinks that learning should be a fun and meaningful journey towards a great outcome and even if it’s not a great outcome, there is always something to learn.

Organizing team


Melbourne, Australia