Leah Dymus
MC – 2018 Summit Sydney

Leah Dymus is an experienced and passionate communications and engagement professional, bringing a high EQ and innovation to the mix.
Versatile, flexible and creative, Leah holds almost 20 years’ experience gleaned across global and local roles within the highest pedigree organisations, from S&P/ASX Top 50 listed companies, public service, not-for-profit organisations and small and medium sized enterprises.

Aside from designing and leading engagement programs for some of our most recognisable brands here and overseas, Leah has specialist expertise within the media, public affairs and corporate PR sectors, with career exposure to a diverse range of industries – including engineering, building and construction, mining and resources, transport, infrastructure, energy, environmental services, I.T. and health care.

Leah loves people and with her diverse professional range, breadth and depth of experience, she is also a skilled facilitator and perfectly placed as MC for this event, offering up to our audiences in Sydney her unique style and skill set across communications, media, crisis management, Corporate Social Responsibility and stakeholder engagement.

Dr Naseem Ahmadpour
The University of Sydney

Design for good? This is the underlying premise of Dr Naseem Ahmadpour’s research, which is a blend of design and psychology. She investigates how motivation and self-regulation can affect behaviour, and how emerging technologies contribute to a higher quality of life. She is currently a lecturer in interaction design at the University of Sydney, school of Architecture, Design and Planning. 

Councillor Matt Hannan
Berrigan Shire Council

Cr Matthew Hannan is serving his first term as Mayor, Berrigan Shire Council and his third term as a Berrigan Shire Councillor.

Matt’s day job is as a student learning support officer at the local primary school a role that he has enjoyed for the past 15 years.  Since his election as a Councillor, Matt has continued to champion the engagement of Council and local residents in the operation and management of a range of Council facilities and activities. 

An active member of Section 355 Committees of Management before and after his election to Council Matt knows first-hand the value rate payers, sporting groups and the Council place on engaging communities in the delivery of range of local services. 

Earlier this year Matt not only welcomed junior cricketers to national primary school aged cricket titles held at Barooga, as Mayor he also officiated as an umpire.  When Matt is not umpiring cricket or representing the big V and not NSW in ‘bowls’ he is a Councillor and Mayor committed to working with his community on projects that are sustainable and which will continue to add to the lifestyle and liveability of Berrigan Shire communities.

Julie Castle
Managing Director

Julie has advised, consulted and fulfilled in-house roles on over 40 major infrastructure projects valued at over $22 billion, including the renowned Gold Coast Light Rail; Gateway Motorway; Bruce Highway; Brisbane busways; Surat, Bowen and Galilee Basin rail corridors; and Crossrail, a new high capacity railway for London. Her gift for negotiating coupled with practical insight and ability to instil energy ensures engagement forms an integral part of a project’s management culture. She offers a unique insight and understanding of stakeholder interfaces, having engaged thousands of stakeholders, and has a passion to ensuring communities form part of the decision making process.

Mila Jones
Corporate Governance Coordinator
Byron Shire Council

Mila Jones is a Corporate Governance Coordinator at Byron Shire Council where Mila coordinates and develops the Council’s strategic planning documents, specifically for their integrated planning and reporting framework.  She is also involved in developing communication and engagement plans and coordinating compliance and policy requirements for the Council.

Mila has worked with Byron Shire Council since 2000 in a number of roles including planning, legal and administrative services and has previously worked with organisations HSBC as a business analyst and Citibank as a process reengineering analyst.  Mila holds a Bachelor Degree in Administrative Leadership and has completed the IAP2 Certificate in Engagement.

Shelley Jones
Executive Officer
Snowy Valleys Council

Shelley is a passionate advocate for the community voice in local decision making. Teaming up with Straight Talk to deliver the first Community Strategic Plan for the merged Snowy Valleys Council, Shelley and the council team utilised their collective experience in Local Government to engage a diverse range of stakeholders across many communities. Shelley is committed to preserving, promoting and celebrating the uniqueness of the individual communities that comprise the new LGA. Shelley is Council’s Executive Officer working closely with the Mayor and Councillors and the Executive Leadership Team on strategic matters and was previously Coordinator of Communication, Strategy and Engagement. Shelley has a decade of experience in Local Government working in various roles including event management, tourism, marketing, community development, communications, engagement and strategy.

Charles Connell
Social Pinpoint

Enjoying applying technology to solve real world problems, Charles co-founded Social Pinpoint in 2013 to help organizations connect with their communities and stakeholder on planning, infrastructure, transport, parks and rec, and community projects. Social Pinpoint’s interactive mapping tools have been used on hundreds of projects across Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA, with well over 2 million interactions on our platform and user numbers growing every day.

John Ballantine
Co-founder Lab38
Western Sydney Univeristy

Co-founder John Ballantine of Lab38 group at Western Sydney University and a casual academic in Industrial Design. John’s role in Lab38 is to run internship programs, and complete design projects both within and outside the university. Lab38 has a strong focus on virtual reality and its use as a communication tool within design. The group has worked on numerous projects with our keystone project being the virtual reality walkthrough of WSU Penrith observatory.

Wayne Pearce
Co-founder Lab38
Western Sydney University

Wayne is co-founder of Lab38 group at Western  Sydney University.

Jo Ruffin
Strategic and Social Planning
Berrigan Shire Council

Jo Ruffin has over 30-years’ experience in State and Local Government in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales working in a variety of roles in metropolitan, regional and small communities.  Since moving to New South Wales (2010) Jo has been employed by the Berrigan Shire Council and has been responsible in that role for coordinating the development of the Council’s suite of integrated plans.  Jo is also completing a PhD at Torrens University researching the role of strategic planning and community engagement as a tool for sector and culture change in NSW local government. 

Nathan Connors
Product Engagement and Practice Manager
Bang the Table

Currently working at Bang the Table as Product Engagement and Practice Manager, Nathan has extensive experience working in agile development environments and product teams to deliver world-class digital engagement software, training and practice advice.

He has spent many years working across local and state government as well as universities in digitally focussed communications and public relations roles including; Emerging Technology Lead for City of Melbourne and Learning Resource Designer at Deakin University and State Library of Queensland.

His education includes a Master of International Relations from Melbourne University, undergraduate from Queensland University of Technology.

He has a background in journalism and worked extensively in the creative industries.

Don Sharples
Managing Director
Altometer Business Intelligence

Don has worked in communications and engagement for 15years. In case you were wondering how it is that he feels qualified to speak on matters of social science and psychology, he has a bachelors psychology degree from Monash, grad dip in PR and Communications from Deakin and a masters in business from Monash. Public participation has always been a matter of human behaviour for Don and the depth of research available to the engagement profession could be transformative.

Rebecca Hill
Marketing, Visitor Services and Engagement Manager
Harbour Trust

Media, marketing, communications and events specialist with experience including marketing, communications, engagement and stakeholder management and branding for performing arts, sporting and leisure and community and sustainable living products and well as destination management and tourism marketing.

Major projects include 
* Vivid Sydney at Chatswood
* The Chatswood Family Festival strategy and development
* Emerge Festival Management and strategy development
* The Concourse launch and opening
* Community engagement and stakeholder management

* Sub Base Platypus – reopening of site to the public

Dr Joel Fredericks
University of Technology, Sydney

Joel Fredericks is a communication and stakeholder engagement consultant with extensive experience in facilitating community engagement in urban development, telecommunications, rail and energy industries. Joel’s research investigates the impacts of new digital technologies and pop-up interventions for urban planning practice and community engagement.

Darius Turner
Community Engagement Consultant
Elton Consulting

Darius is an experienced and energetic consultant with a down to earth approach, specialising in community and stakeholder engagement and strategic planning. Darius has extensive project management experience on strategic communications projects across a wide variety of topics and industries and including local government.

Darius uses a fresh and creative approach to community and stakeholder engagement, providing innovative solutions using online and traditional mediums to engage the target audience. Darius is also an engaging and thoughtful facilitator with an ability to read a room and make participants feel at ease. 

Darius is experienced in delivering strategic communications on major