Full list of 2017 speakers coming soon.
Daniel Flynn, Co-founder and Managing Director of Thankyou
At the age of 19 (in 2008), struck by global poverty and excess consumer spending, Daniel Flynn and a group of friends founded Thankyou Water (now Thankyou) - a social enterprise that exists to empower people to play a part in ending global poverty through simple everyday purchases.
Thankyou gives 100% of profits from its range of over 38 consumer products across water, body care and food that fund safe water access, hygiene and sanitation programs and food aid respectively. In July 2016 Thankyou will launch its fourth product range, Thankyou baby with a range of nappies, wipes and baby body care products, 100% of the profits from which will go fund child and maternal health services.
Under Daniel’s leadership, the social enterprise has given over $4.1 million to projects in 17 countries including Australia. As at April 2016, Thankyou has funded safe water access for 192,367 people, hygiene and sanitation programs for 302,814 people and over 19.1 million days’ access to immediate food aid on top of their long-term food solutions to people in need.
One of Daniel’s mottos is ‘impossibility is only someone’s opinion, not a fact’. This foundational belief in action has seen him navigate the team at Thankyou through obstacles in the start-up journey, and two bold and ambitious marketing campaigns to gain awareness and get the range successfully stocked in 7 Eleven, Coles and Woolworths.
Through hard work and determination, Thankyou products are stocked in over 4000 outlets across Australia.
In 2014, Daniel was named Victorian Young Australian of the Year and an honoree in the JCI Ten Outstanding People of the World program. In 2015, Daniel was awarded the 2015 EY Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southern Region. Consecutively in 2015 and 2016, Daniel Flynn, Justine Flynn and Jarryd Burns were named number 2 and number 1 in the Smart Company Hot 30 Under 30 awards.
In February 2016, Thankyou launched a bold campaign to raise $1.2million to fund the future of the business through the sale of a book called Chapter One, penned by Daniel and sold at a pay what you want price. It tells the raw and real seven-year start-up story of Thankyou. Chapter One draws out life lessons and inspiration for all readers proving that they have the power to change stuff.
The Chapter One campaign was disruptive, bold, daring and successful. In 28 days Thankyou sold over 50,000 books and raised over $1.4 million. The funding will enable Thankyou to launch ‘thankyou baby’ in July 2016 and Thankyou New Zealand – their first leap overseas to prove that the model can work on a global scale.
Thankyou has received over 800 media features across, traditional and social media and marketing channels. Daniel has been featured across notable media titles including The Project, Business Insider, Money Magazine, Virgin Magazine, Channel Seven News, The Daily Edition, Channel Seven’s Sunrise, The Huffington Post, Smart Company, and Australian Financial Review.
Rob Sheekey, General Manager Hockey ACT
Rob Sheekey has degrees in Sports Management and Tourism and Hospitality Management from Southern Cross University. During his 15 years in the industry he has held a number of roles with most of his time spent focusing on delivering events. During this time he has been the Project Manager for five Eastern University Games, 2016 Hockey Masters World Cup and various other international sporting events. Rob has also held key staffing roles for five Australian University Games, two Australian Masters Games and the Pacific School Games. Rob is currently employed as the General Manager of Hockey ACT.
Gary & Ruth Crowley, Trundle ABBA Festival
A unique festival in a unique town
Australia’s only ABBA Festival is all about selling Trundle to the world – we have the widest main street in the Southern Hemisphere and our pub has the second longest wooden verandah! Trundle is a great venue to hold a festival.
The Trundle ABBA Festival has attracted ABBA fans from all over Australia and internationally to the Parkes Shire.
2012’s Festival saw 500 people and numbers steadily grew until the introduction of world-famous tribute band Bjorn Again in 2015 which took us to a whole new level.
2016 – 4,500 visitors.
In 2017, in its 6th year – 6,000 visitors to Trundle.
Until 2017, Trundle ABBA Festival had not received any major funding and has for the past 2 years not only paid for itself but sponsored other town events & projects. 2017 saw a $20,000 advertising grant from Destination NSW.
To date, the Festival has won Best Event in the 2013 Parkes Shire Business Awards, a nomination for Best Event in the Parkes Shire Australia Day Awards in 2013 & won Best Event in 2014.
Trundle ABBA Festival aim for potential visitors to see Trundle as a destination, not just a drive-through.
Stephen Thomson, RiskWorks
Stephen has extensive experience working on events including working with government, corporate and SMB. Stephen’s skills include Crowd Management, Security Management, Safety Management and Event Management Solutions for a range of venues, companies and events with experience spanning over 16 years. This has included Bluesfest, Slime Cup, Oktoberfest, Australian Ballet Under the Stars 2016, Rowing Australia, Wet n Wild Sydney, Stereosonic, Deniliquin Ute Muster, Swedish House Mafia and Fairgrounds Festival.
A talented, current and effective leader with diverse experience and core competencies in managing complex and challenging environments.
Stephen has a natural ability to harvest and developing strong client relationships, building safer workplaces and delivering technology projects to support business processes.
Paul Bittar, Former CEO of British Horseracing
Paul is Wagga Wagga born and bred, though left Wagga over 20 years ago and spent a decade living and working overseas.
He trained as an accountant; completing a Bachelor of Business degree, then post grad studies including CPA qualifications, an MBA and further studies in Commercial Negotiation through the Australian Graduate School of Management.
Paul – in his own words – is a sports nut. He grew up playing a lot of sport and has been involved in professional sport through his work for the best part of 20 years. He has worked primarily within horseracing and wagering, operating at both senior executive and Board level in various international roles including as Chief Executive of British Horseracing.
In this role Paul oversaw a full-time staff of 220 plus 150 contractors, an annual budget of $65m, and had oversight for the industry as a whole including operational oversight for the running of 1,500 race meetings annually at 60 racecourses. He had regulatory and operational responsibility for events such as Royal Ascot, the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National.
Paul returned to Australia two years ago and after a few months off worked as a consultant to clients including the Victorian Government, Tabcorp, Racing Queensland, Perth Racing, New Zealand TAB and most recently, Sportsbet.
Paul now works full-time in the role of General Manager of Sports Partnerships with Sportsbet and also holds a number of non-Exec roles across sport and business.
In his own words, he should be married to his long-term partner Jacqui, and together they have a 6yo son, Will.
Between them they call both Wagga and Melbourne home…for now.
Phil Wishart, Principal Advisor, Major Sports Events (Office of Sport)
Phil has a great passion for regional events, having worked in the sport, events and tourism sectors over the past 12 years. Initially working in venue and competition management across the Central Coast and Hunter regions, Phil moved into event management roles in 2014 as Event Coordinator for the Eastern University Games and Operations Manager for the International Children’s Games.
In 2015, Phil was appointed as Regional Event Development Coordinator at Destination NSW. With the ethos that ‘you can’t sell it if you haven’t experienced it’, Phil developed strong relationships with event organisers, councils and regional stakeholders with the goal of enhancing events and promoting visitor experiences across the state.
Phil has recently started working as Principal Advisor - Major Sports Events at the Office of Sport. The team is responsible for the development and implementation of an Events Activation and Legacy Planning Framework, identifying opportunities to maximise the legacy of hosting major sporting events in NSW.
Chris Heverin, Initiative Sport
Following a successful five year stint at the Carlton Football Club in the Australian Football League, Chris Heverin made a decision to branch out and set-up his own major event management agency, which commenced from his home office in Melbourne, Australia in 1990. Over a subsequent twenty five year career in the major events industry, Chris has built his business on providing expertise in major event strategic development, project management services, commercial management, strategic marketing and direct representation for the sports and entertainment industries.
Since the late-2,000’s, Chris has focused his business activities primarily in Australia with a major driver being the establishment of his Events Tourism model, which is regarded as an industry leader. Chris and his team develop and deliver major projects for State Government and Regional Tourism bodies in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia. Committed to delivering excellence and success for all stakeholders across every project, Chris has established personal relationships and the trust of key decision-makers within Destination NSW, Visit Victoria, Tourism WA and Tourism & Events Queensland.
Over this period, two projects stand-out as shining lights as to the success of the Events Tourism strategy and Chris Heverin’s ability to lead and deliver outstanding results. Chris was the Games Director (CEO) and the Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games, the biggest international event in regional Australia in 2013. The Games involved some 3,000 athletes, from 30 nations, participating in 10 sports, supported by 25 functional areas, a management team of 75 and a workforce of 3,300 people. Chris’s led his team to also stage the Games Opening Ceremony at Hunter Stadium, with Creative Director John Foreman, that was televised live on the Nine Network, headlined by Human Nature from Las Vegas and attracted 25,000 people.
Chris is a true leader, who has a wonderful track record of achievement and success. He is an exceptional communicator on all levels, who treats people with respect and trust. He works to a clear game plan, prepares and executes thoroughly, recognises, encourages and develops good people in order to build the confidence and belief needed to achieve success.