Growing up as a young carer to a brother and mother with a myriad of health issues, Madeleine Buchner saw a gap in the support system. Who cared for the young carers? By the time she reached high school, Madeleine had already raised over $200,000 to develop support services for special siblings and young carers. With a mission to support the 490,000 young carers in Australia, Madeleine founded Little Dreamers Australia, an organisation that aims to recognise, celebrate and amplify young carers across the country.
As a face for political reform, Madeleine is working towards the creation of a peak body for young carers. She travels the world to share her innovative ideas with others, and in 2017 was recognised as a Queens Young Leader by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2016, Madeleine published her first book, My Brother is Sick Again, which explores the obstacles that young carers must overcome. A social innovator, Madeleine has mobilised communities to stand behind marginalised and often forgotten young people in the community.
Manuri Gunawardena is the co-founder and chief executive officer of HealthMatch, a patient facing platform that uses machine learning and natural language processing to match patients in real time to clinical trials. Manuri has a background in clinical medicine and oncology research, having completed a neurosurgery sub-internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Manuri has 7 peer reviewed publications in prestigious American journals including ; The Journal of Neurosurgery and The Journal of Neuro-Oncology. Her involvement in the Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO) and a broad range of clinical trials has set her focus on streamlining and building a more effective platform for patient recruitment. She is set to complete her final year of her Doctor of Medicine (MD) program at the University of New South Wales.
Maree Morton was born in Augathella and at the age of 19, married and moved to outback Queensland, where between raising two children she took on all of the challenges that came with managing isolated cattle properties, from mustering and drafting cattle, to starting pumps and generators, to cooking for large crowds. Maree describes her greatest achievement as contributing to the sense of community within the local area and workplaces where she has resided, spending twenty two years managing Innamincka Station, on the border of SA and Qld.
In her time in the Channel Country Maree has proved a tireless community volunteer, advocating for river protection with the Lake Eyre Basin Committee, keeping country race meets ticking over for the Innamincka races, and supporting the work of the flying doctor. Maree is a role model and inspiration to many women, proving that geographical and social isolation are not barrier to making a contribution to the community.
Margaret Busby OBE, Hon. FRSL
Margaret Busby OBE, Hon. FRSL (Nana Akua Ackon) is a writer, editor and broadcaster who was born in Ghana and educated in Britain. After graduating from London University, she co-founded the publishing company Allison & Busby, of which she was Editorial Director for 20 years, and she was subsequently Editorial Director of Earthscan Publications. She has served as a judge for many literary awards, including Africa39, the Caine Prize, Orange Prize, Commonwealth Book Prize, Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, SI Leeds Prize and the Bocas Prize, and serves on the board of Wasafiri magazine, among other organisations. For more than three decades she has worked for diversity within the publishing industry and in the 1980s was a founding member of the organization Greater Access to Publishing (GAP).
Publications she has written for include The Guardian, Observer, Independent, Sunday Times and New Statesman, and she edited the pioneering anthology Daughters of Africa (1992). Her radio abridgements and dramatisations encompass work by C. L. R. James, Jean Rhys, Wole Soyinka, Timothy Mo, Sam Selvon, Walter Mosley, Henry Louis Gates, Lawrence Scott and Simi Bedford. Her BBC Radio 4 play Minty Alley won a 1999 Race In the Media Award (RIMA). Her writing for the stage includes Sankofa (1999), Yaa Asantewaa – Warrior Queen (UK/Ghana, 2001-2002), and An African Cargo (2007). She has received an honorary doctorate from the Open University (2004), an honorary fellowship from Queen Mary, University of London (2011), the Henry Swanzy Award (2015) and the Benson Medal (2017).
Margi Brown Ash
Margi Brown Ash works extensively as an independent Writer, Producer, Performer, Director in Queensland and Western Australia, as well as acting with Queensland Theatre (The Wider Earth, Sydney Festival 2018), La Boite (Prize Fighter, Sydney Festival 2017) and The Good Room (Holy Guacamole, 2010 and I Want to Know What Love Is, 2016). Throughout 2018 Margi is working with NIDA corporate, Sydney as well as teaching at QUT Acting Academy, Curtin University and Queensland Creative Industries Academy. Margi is co-artistic director of The Nest Ensemble and Force of Circumstance.
She is an experienced psychotherapist for artists, and has an established coaching/counselling studio called 4change, based in Brisbane and soon to be in Sydney. This year Margi is Artist in Residence at Curtin University. Margi has been a member of the National Artistic Team at Queensland Theatre, 2016-2017. She has been a member of Actors Equity for over forty years.
Mariana Katzarova is a leading human rights advocate, journalist and international expert on combating human trafficking and violence against women. Mariana has made the fight for justice, equality and women’s rights her life's work by speaking on behalf of those trapped in war and conflict zones. Originally from Bulgaria, Mariana graduated from Sofia National University and Columbia University in New York and trained in international human rights and humanitarian law at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and recently in women’s leadership at the University of Oxford Said Business School.
Mariana founded RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in WAR) in 2006 in the UK, after working as a journalist and human rights advocate in the war zones of Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya, including 10 years as the Russia Researcher for Amnesty International. RAW in WAR presents the annual Anna Politkovskaya Award for women human rights defenders from war and conflict zones, who stand up for the victims, often at great personal risk.
From 2014 – 2016 Mariana led the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine, and in 2014 was awarded the Order of St Barbara by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – the highest Church honor given to women, for her service to human rights on behalf of the civilians during conflict. Most recently Mariana broke the silence and led the public discussion in Bulgaria, about the #MeToo campaign and gender equality in a series of debates on national television.
Songwoman Maroochy Barambah is the Songwoman & Law-woman of the Turrbal People – the original inhabitants of Brisbane. She is a direct descendant of Daki Yakka – Chief of the Old Brisbane tribe – a man nicknamed “the Duke of York” by the European settlers in the Moreton Bay area in the 1830s when Brisbane was a penal settlement.
In 1989 Maroochy became the first Aborigine to perform on the Australian operatic stage when she made her debut in Black River. She also became the first Australian to perform at the United Nations in New York, in honour of the International Year for the World’s Indigenous Peoples in 1993. Over the years Maroochy has also appeared in numerous television programs including The Flying Doctors, Winner Take All and Women of the Sun, as well as films including Bran Nue Dae.
The Traditional Blessing performed by Songwoman Maroochy is Monda Barita – a song of prayer asking the Almighty and our ancestors to be with us all at the gathering. Maroochy has received many awards (both in Australia and overseas), including an Honorary Senior Fellowship of the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2000 for her outstanding and sustained contributions to the community.
Mary Kini is Co-Founder of Kup Women for Peace (KWP), an organisation that has developed innovative strategies to addressing tribal fighting and violence in PNG highlands communities. Over the past 20 years, the organisation has mediated between warring tribes, undertaken awareness and supported survivors of violence in order to create safer communities. In 2007, Mary Kini and KWP were awarded the UN Pacific Human Rights Award for outstanding work in building peace and preventing conflict in the Simbu province of PNG. In 2009, Mary was nominated for the initiative ‘1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize’, a collective initiative honoring women working in and advocating for peace at national and international levels.
Mary’s tireless efforts to create peaceful communities have made her a key advocate and advisor to government and non-government agencies when it comes to understanding human rights and peace building in PNG communities. Mary Kini is currently Team Leader for the Women Human Rights Defenders Movement in the PNG Highlands, where she regularly deals with cases of gender-based and sorcery accusation related violence, while continuing to be a spokesperson for human rights organisations at national and regional levels.
Maryann Talia Pau
Maryann Talia Pau is a Samoan-Australian artist and practising weaver based in Queensland on Quandamooka Country. Co-founder of the Pacific Women's Weaving Circle and founder of the One Million Stars to End Violence project, Maryann's other interests include business, leadership, mental health, architecture and the environment.
Matilda Alexander is a human rights lawyer who been fighting for the rights of trans people throughout her lengthy legal career. Matilda is the president and principal solicitor of the LGBTI Legal Service and the Human Rights and Anti Discrimination lawyer at Legal Aid Queensland. She also teaches Prison law at Griffith University.
Matilda has provided free legal representation to trans people seeking safe housing, fair treatment by police and in prison and trans kids in schools and care.
Matilda has also been involved in productive discussions with many government departments to develop appropriate policies and practices with long term impact on the human rights of trans people.
She has conceptualised and coordinated collaborations with community, statutory and government bodies to work together to improve the lives of trans people in Australia, such as the current Trans at School project.
Matilda admires the strength and resilience of trans people and is constantly inspired by her trans friends, family and clients.
Melissa Lucashenko is a Bundjalung novelist and essayist. Mullumbimby was awarded the 2013 Deloitte Queensland Literary Award for Fiction, won the 2014 Victorian Premiers Prize for Indigenous Writing, and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin, Stella, and Dublin IMPAC Literary Prize 2015.
Melissa is also a Walkley Award winner for her non-fiction, as well as a founding member of the women’s rights organisation, Sisters Inside. In 2016 she was awarded the $80 000 Copyright Agency Limited Fellowship to write her forthcoming novel, Too Much Lip (UQP).
Menna Rawlings CMG
British High Commissioner to Australia Her Excellency Menna Rawlings CMG.
Menna Rawlings has been British High Commissioner to Australia since April 2015.
Menna joined the FCO in 1989 and has served in a wide range of Diplomatic Service roles. She was most recently a member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Management Board as HR Director. This followed postings to Washington DC, Ghana, Israel, Kenya and Brussels. In London, she has served as Private Secretary to the Permanent Under Secretary as well as in Press Office and the Africa and EU Directorates.
She is married with three children. You can follow her on Twitter and read her posts on the UK in Australia blog.
Meriel is a passionate textile technologist (nerd for fabric manufacture), crafter and mother of two. She lives with her family trying to tread lightly on this world in their sustainably renovated house in Brisbane, Australia.
Meriel’s love of textiles has led her to studying at UMIST in Manchester in their School of Textiles (now Materials Science) where she gained her BSc (Hons) in Textile Science and Technology, and progressed to a career working with large and small companies with fabric and garment manufacturers and supply chains in Europe, Asia and Australia.
Meriel has 20 years international experience in the Textile and Apparel Industries. In Australia Meriel was Offshore Production Manager for Drizabone Pty. Ltd managing their range that complimented their iconic Australian made oilskin garments.
Today, as a partner at ATI Group. Meriel works with organisations, industry and government to develop high quality products with innovative, efficient and sustainable supply chains. Meriel’s professional recognition as a Chartered Colourist and Associate of the Society of Dyers and Colourists, recognises not only her specialist academic background in this field but also her operational experience in the field of dye and colour management in the textile and garment industry.
Michelle Law is a writer working across film, TV, theatre and print. She is the co-author of the comedy book Sh*t Asian Mothers Say and has had her writing anthologised in books like Best Australian Comedy Writing and Women of Letters. Some of the publications she has written for include the Sydney Morning Herald, Frankie magazine, and the Griffith Review. As a screenwriter, she has won an Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE award for her interactive media work, and her films have screened on the ABC as well as at festivals locally and abroad (St Kilda Film Festival, Flickerfest, LA Shorts Fest, BAPFF). She has been a recipient of the Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award and was a runner up in the Qantas SOYA Written Word category. Michelle graduated with a Bachelor of Creative Industries (majoring in Creative Writing) from the Queensland University of Technology, and has also studied at The Second City in Chicago and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York. She is a prolific speaker and has presented at events such as TEDxSouthBank, Sydney Writers Festival and Vivid Festival. Her debut stage play Single Asian Female was performed at La Boite Theatre Company in 2017 to sold out audiences. It will have a second run at Belvoir St Theatre in 2018. Homecoming Queens, a web series that she co-created, co-wrote and stars in will air on SBS in 2018.
Michelle Redfern is the Founder of Advancing Women and co-founder of social enterprise CDW (Culturally Diverse Women). Michelle’s activities and work are anchored in her mission which is to achieve gender equality and to advance women in business and the sporting sector. Michelle is an in-demand speaker, moderator and MC at conferences, leadership forums and diversity events. Prior to establishing her advisory practice, Michelle held executive leadership roles in the Banking, Telco, BPO and 3PL industries for blue chip companies such as NAB, Telstra, Serco and Aegis. Michelle is well known for her passionate focus on inclusion in business and sport, a collaborative and engaging leadership style, as well as being an operating model performance turnaround specialist.
Michelle is an experienced non-Exec director who holds board roles with Williamstown VFL Football Club, and Good Shepherd Microfinance. She has previously held board positions with the Gippsland League, the AFL’s largest Victorian regional league, Swinburne University’s Business Without Borders social enterprise & the Highvale Netball Association Inc. She is a panel judge for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards and for the Telstra Business Awards. Michelle is a Graduate of the AICD, holds an Executive MBA (Distinction) from RMIT and is an IECL qualified organisational coach. She is also a lover of cats, writing, footy and travel. Michelle is a regular contributor on social media about equality, inclusion, leadership and her quest to find the perfect glass of rosé!
A graduate of the BA Hons. Design programme at Goldsmiths College, University of London (2013) Millicent owns Millicent Designs, a company established in the Solomon Islands (2015) specializing in multi-¬‐disciplinary design (specifically Communications/Humanitarian Design). Growing up in the impoverished masses of Jakarta (Indonesia) and the United Kingdom with a Solomon Islands (SI) heritage, her passion has always been creating transcendental designs where she can amalgamate the cultures in which she has been brought up. As part of Millicent’s ‘design for social good’ initiative at University, she spent one year exploring ‘Kastom Stori Taem’ (Custom Story Time - KST) the traditional SI oral culture, as an initiative intended to revive and preserve the diminishing traditional oral culture; by finding a way in which Kastom Storis can transcend and infiltrate into modernity and expose the rich SI heritage to the world.
As part of Millicent Designs, Millicent specializes in communications using the structures and ethos of KST in infographics as a way to effectively communicate and translate complex information to people in the rural areas. KST was used with great success in the SI 2014 General Elections. Currently KS structures are being used as part of communications for United Nations Development Projects and campaigns for women and youth empowerment as well as a strategy contributing towards resolving landowner issues for the Tina Hydro Dam Project. In August 2017 Millicent partnered up with Bridge (Australian-based company) trading as SOLBRIDGE Ltd to offer solid waste solutions for the Solomon Islands.
Naomi is a Clinical Sexologist working in Paddington, Brisbane. Naomi has been working in the area of Sexuality & Relationships Education, Training and Counselling for over 12 years. Naomi holds a Masters of Health Science in Sexual Health from the University of Sydney. Naomi works with couples, families and single clients of all ages, cultural backgrounds, genders and sexualities whilst also doing various media commentary and guest blogging as a "sexpert".
Naomi Stead is Professor and Head of Department in Architecture at Monash University; Adjunct Professor in Architecture at the University of Queensland; President-Elect of the Society of Architectural Historians of Australia and New Zealand; and Research Leader in the Australian architecture practice Hayball. Stead holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of South Australia and a PhD from the University of Queensland.
Stead was the leader of the ARC Linkage project ‘Equity and Diversity in the Australian Architecture Profession: Women, Work and Leadership,’ and as part of that was co-founder with Justine Clark and others of Parlour, an activist group advocating for greater gender equity in architecture. She was a co-author of the award-winning Parlour Guides to Equitable Practice, co-curator of the exhibition Portraits of Practice: At Work in Architecture, and she is an associate editor of the Parlour website.
Naomi is widely published as an art and architectural critic in Australia, having written more than fifty commissioned feature and review articles in professional magazines over the last decade. These include Architecture Australia (of which she was a contributing editor between 2003-2012), Architectural Review Asia Pacific, Monument, Artichoke, Pol:Oxygen, and [Inside]: Australian Design Review. In 2008 She is a recipient of the Adrian Ashton Prize for architectural writing, from the NSW chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects. Naomi is presently an architecture columnist for the San Francisco-based online Places Journal, where she writes essays on concepts and mythologies within and without architecture.
Natalie Lewis is a descendant of the Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) Nation and is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP). Her professional experience has been acquired in Queensland and in the United States in the areas of youth justice and child protection, providing direct service, program and policy development and organisational leadership over the past twenty years.
Natalie currently serves on the National Executive of SNAICC, the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care, and is co-chair of the National Family Matters Campaign. She also holds appointments on the Qld Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council, Youth Sexual Violence and Abuse Steering Committee and the Queensland Policy Leaders Forum. Natalie was an active member of the Expert Advisory Group to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry and remains strongly involved in the implementation of the reform agenda.
Dr Natasha Alexander
Dr Natasha Alexander is a black, bisexual clinical psychologist from the UK, who is now settled in Brisbane. She is passionate about her work with people with intellectual disabilities, cognitive disabilities and severe mental health issues. With a strong sense of justice, she works collaboratively with individuals, and is passionate about advocating for, and supporting their rights to express their sexuality in an informed and empowered way.
Natasha Stott Despoja AM
Natasha Stott Despoja AM is the founding Chair of Our Watch (the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children). She was Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls (2013 – 2016) responsible for the promotion of women’s economic empowerment, women’s leadership and the reduction of violence against women and girls. Natasha is a member of the World Bank Gender Advisory Council, is on the UN High Level Working Group on the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents.
The youngest woman ever, at 26, to enter the Australian Federal Parliament, Natasha is a former Senator for South Australia (1995-2008) and former Leader of the Australian Democrats - the longest-serving Democrat Senator in the party’s history. In 2001, she was made a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum and in 2011, Natasha was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to the Australian Parliament, education and as a role model for women.
She has served on numerous Boards including beyondblue (Deputy Chair), is a member of the Australian Privacy Foundation Advisory Board, a Director on Carrie Bickmore’s Beanies for Brain Cancer Board and is a member of the Global Women's Institute Leadership Council. She has also been Patron or Ambassador for several not-for-profit groups, including The Orangutan Project, secondbite, Ovarian Cancer Australia, and ENUF the HIV/AIDS anti-stigma campaign.
Patricia Scotland Cw SG, Rt Hon
The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, who took office as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth in April 2016, serves the 52 governments and 2.4 billion people of the Commonwealth.
Born in Dominica, she moved to the UK at an early age and was brought up in a large close-knit Caribbean family where she was taught the importance of hard work, education, pride in her heritage and the obligation to give back to the region of her birth and to the society in which she was raised. This ethic has guided her throughout her dynamic career in law, public service and politics.
A lawyer by profession, she became the first black and youngest woman ever to be appointed Queen's Counsel. She is the only woman since the post was created in 1315 to be Attorney General for England and Wales.
Appointed to the House of Lords as Baroness Scotland of Asthal in 1997, she has been Alderman for Bishopsgate Ward since 2015, and Chancellor of the University of Greenwich since 2014.
Peter Fullagar was appointed as the 25th Principal of St Joseph’s Nudgee College in January 2015. His tertiary studies were undertaken at Kelvin Grove College of Advanced Education, Brisbane College of Advanced Education (now Queensland University of Technology) and the Australian Catholic University. Peter has forged a significant career in boys’ education and has brought this wealth of knowledge and leadership to Nudgee College. From 2009 to 2014, Peter was Principal of fellow Edmund Rice Education Australia school St Edmund’s College, Canberra, and has held prior Deputy Principal roles at St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace and Iona College, Brisbane.
Peter’s vision for Nudgee College is for it be a school that fosters the holistic development of each student within a culture of continuous improvement and sustained excellence. At the heart of this vision is the shaping of young men of courage and authenticity to be the best they can be and in so doing, becoming truly Signum Fidei - a sign of faith. Peter is married to a high achieving wife and is parent to six young adult children including, one daughter and three step daughters. He was fortunate to grow up with four sisters and a strong mother, who collectively taught him a great deal.