Summit Speakers in 2020

The Corporate PA Summit attracts a fantastic mix of inspirational speakers, celebrity speakers and leading EAs. The 2020 Summit will build upon this tradition, with an agenda packed full of exceptional presentations.

Would you like to be considered as a speaker at future ThinkTank events? You can submit an application here.

Sally Obermeder (Master of Ceremonies)

Television presenter, radio host, best-selling author, entrepreneur…it’s an exhaustive list, but it’s why Sally Obermeder has become one of Australia’s most loved and admired personalities.

Sally Obermeder is the co-host of Channel 7’s afternoon show The Daily Edition. Launched in June 2013, the show is an exciting combination of breaking news, live interviews and entertainment updates. Becoming part of the Channel 7 family in 2005, Sally was a presenter for Sydney Weekender, where she was the show’s food, fashion and shopping guru. In 2008 she joined the network’s evening current affairs show Today Tonight as their National Entertainment and Lifestyle Reporter. Sally interviewed some of the biggest names in music and movies, and counts Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé and Hugh Jackman as her favourites.

In 2013 Sally danced her way in to Australian hearts after appearing on Dancing with the Stars, and in 2014 she was the host of the network’s holiday special 12 Ways to Christmas. Sally also appears regularly on Sunrise and The Morning Show.

Personally, everything changed for Sally in 2011. Just days before she was due to give birth to her first child, Sally was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive stage 3 breast cancer. She spent the next 12 months undergoing intensive chemotherapy and radiation; and in 2012 she underwent a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries. Very happily, Sally is now 5+ years free of cancer, and she, husband Marcus, and daughter Annabelle Grace welcomed the newest member of their family – daughter Elyssa Rose, via surrogate in 2016.

A bestselling author, Sally’s book Never Stop Believing was released in 2013, in which Sally shared her truly inspiring story of triumph over almost unbeatable odds in a wonderfully warm, funny and honest memoir about her struggle to succeed in the cut-throat world of commercial television and her courageous battle with cancer. In 2015, Sally (co-authored with her sister Maha Koraiem) released Super Green Smoothies, which remains Australia’s #1 bestselling smoothie book. Following the phenomenal success of Super Green Smoothies, Sally released The Good Life in 2016, Super Green Simple & Lean in 2017, and Super Green Super Easy in 2019.

Sally’s website, SWIISH.com was launched in November 2012. Fuelled by a desire to share information and advice to empower women to feel amazing inside and out. SWIISH stands for stylish women inspiring inner strength, health and happiness, – all things which Sally is extremely passionate about.

An incredibly passionate and charitable person, Sally is an ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and The Sony Foundation. She also works with the Breast Cancer Network of Australia and The Nelune Foundation.

Belinda Brosnan

While Belinda has an ability to make even the likes of Jack Sparrow feel at ease in the midst of a Caribbean hurricane, don’t be fooled by her down-to-earth, ‘calm-in-a-crisis’ personality. Bubbling just beneath that cool and collected surface is an intense desire to make a difference.

She wants the work we do to matter, as individuals, as organisations, and citizens of the world. And she most loves to work with organisations that feel the same. Belinda’s specialist expertise lies in guiding senior leaders through change and uncertainty.

If anyone was prepared to help others be heard in the chaos, it’s Belinda. Honing her skills with a lifetime of Brosnan family Christmases (her Dad is one of 15 children and her Mum one of eight), Belinda also spent 20 years working in leadership positions with some of Australia’s biggest name organisations including News Limited, AVJennings, Macquarie Bank and Mirvac.

Belinda has led leadership development programs for The Hunger Project in Uganda, Senegal, Malawi and India, and was the QLD Telstra Business Women’s Awards winner for Start-Up in 2015. Add to this Belinda’s credentials in executive coaching, conversational intelligence and NeuroLeadership and she’s got a lot to give.

The Hon Julie Bishop

The Hon Julie Bishop served as Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2013 until her resignation in 2018. She was the first female to hold the role as well as the first female Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, serving for 11 years.

As Foreign Minister, Ms Bishop was responsible for strengthening Australia’s key strategic and economic relationships with Ministerial responsibility for more than 5,000 departmental staff, 110 overseas missions as well as government agencies Australian Secret Intelligence Service and Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research.

In 2014, she led the international response to the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, and was awarded the Commander of the Order of Merit of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Under her leadership, the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper was developed, providing a comprehensive policy framework for the next decade; and the New Colombo Plan was established, enabling Australian undergraduates to live, study and work in the Indo-Pacific region. Within five years more than 40,000 students have participated in the Plan.

In a political career spanning 20 years, Julie also served as Minister for Education, Science and Training, Women’s Issues and Ageing.

Prior to entering politics, Ms Bishop was Managing Partner of the law firm Clayton Utz in Perth.

Julie is the incoming Chancellor of Australian National University, chair of Telethon Kid’s Institute, board member of The Prince’s Trust Australia, director of The Palladium Group, member of the international advisory boards of Afiniti and the Human Vaccines Project.

She has also established a boutique advisory firm, Julie Bishop and Partners.

Monique Helstrom – former chief of staff to Simon Sinek

Monique is passionate about helping both visionaries and those that support them understand their essential and unique role in making great ideas – and great partnerships – come to life. For the past 21 years, Monique has methodically moved projects, products, campaigns, events, and entire businesses from concept to reality using her energetic combination of:

  • Functional solutions and achievable outcomes
  • Well-defined and specific short-term action plans
  • Harmonious team building that relies on streamlined goals
  • A practical understanding of how to achieve ultimate success
  • Loyalty, dedication, discipline and encouragement

Monique knows inspiration only comes to life if there is a good process to back it up and thus has perfected the art of making things happen. After nearly a decade as the Chief of Simon Sinek, New York Times Best-Selling author and TED celebrity, Monique now uses her unique set of skills and experiences to build, organise, and manifest her clients’ and partners’ dreams. Monique understands how to thrive in an ever-changing environment and build the consummate partnership between Executives and their Assistants.

Chelsea Pottenger

Chelsea is an international keynote speaker and a leading authority on productivity, mindfulness and motivation. She is the proud ambassador for mental health charities including R u Ok? and The Gidget Foundation.

For 12 years, Chelsea worked in the corporate world as a general manager and then a life adversity happened. After her life reboot, Chelsea has commenced her studies towards a PhD in Psychology.

Her clients range from the 4 big banks, to tech companies like eBay and uber, Estee Lauder and The Australian Defence Force to name a few. She is regularly featured on sunrise, ABC, 2GB and channel 9.

Dr Louise Mahler

Rarely does one find a powerhouse of academic insight, observational excellence and dynamic delivery to shed new light on a topic that’s critical to us all. Louise’s inimitable style and deep insight in her field are shared in keynotes and coaching internationally, where high-stake leadership beckons. A foremost expert in body language, voice and emotion, Louise has a PhD in business, and degrees and masters in organisational psychology as well as music. Her skills as a master practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming pull together her academic study and years of professional performance on the European opera stage to put her in a league of her own.

In the process of completing her award-winning PhD, Louise observed a ‘missing ingredient’ in corporate leadership around the unsung wisdom of the mind-body-voice connection she calls Vocal Intelligence. These blended skills bring powerful observation that elicits discernible, positive change and together with an understanding of the psychology behind high-stake engagements and the structures for handling emotion, combine to build the Mahler Method. The Mahler Method teaches you the vital techniques to ‘be heard’ in hostile environments.

Phoenix Normand

Phoenix Normand started life as a farm boy in rural East Texas. After discovering a talent and love for the arts at a young age he graduated with honors and became a professional tour dancer and singer, traversing the globe for over a decade with 12-time, Grammy nominated artist Ledisi. He’s lived and studied in 5 countries and is conversational in several languages. He’s met and performed for three US Presidents, stadiums full of screaming fans, and even met the Dalai Lama…completely by accident.

As a top 1%, career, C-suite Executive Assistant he’s supported top CEOs in investment banking, retail and tech for over 27 years. He’s had a front row seat in dot com 1.0 and 2.0 helping many of today’s big businesses grow from fledgling startup to global ubiquity including Amazon, Levi’s, Square, Flipagram, and Boom Supersonic. Among his many legacies in the role, Phoenix designed and produced the pitchbook that won the Amazon.com deal for the investment bank that eventually took Amazon public. Many of the stories that shaped Phoenix’s storied career can be found in his newly released book, “AS I SEE IT, Volume 1: Business.”

Phoenix travels the world with his traveling “skills and mindset bootcamp” trībU helping to produce the “next gen” Executive and Personal Assistants ruling the top of the game. His private trīb has quickly become one of the most sought-after resources and communities for top EAs from 12 countries.

Ben Crowe

In a world crying out for purpose, connection, confidence and perspective, Ben is arguably one of the most important and inspiring speakers of our time.

As NIKE’s former International Director of Sports Marketing, Ben worked with some of the world’s most famous individuals, including Andre Agassi and NIKE CEO Phil Knight.

Now as a leadership mentor, life coach and adviser, Ben works closely with business leaders, Federal Governments, coaches and athletes across the globe explaining how authenticity, vulnerability and storytelling can create not only an amazing culture and competitive advantage – but also create a life that balances achievement with fulfillment.

As a renowned expert in developing connection, Ben will take you on an inspiring and unexpected journey to discover the quirky and counter-intuitive principles behind successful teams and leaders – unpacking purpose, connection and performance mindsets.

Ben also shares the high performance principles behind some of the world’s most successful organisations, and how to focus your attention to avoid the distractions which typically sabotage performance.

Sasha Dumaresq

Sasha Dumaresq is a passionate advocate for living your best life by being truly connected to ourselves. Sasha partners with individuals, leading organisations, and social enterprises to deliver programs on career development, diversity and inclusion, and workplace wellness.

Sasha believes everyone is worthy and revels in inspiring others to believe in themselves. Sasha brings warmth, humour and lightness to her audiences while delivering world-class human behaviour concepts. Sasha champions her clients with unparalleled commitment and dedication.

Lauren Parsons

Lauren is an award-winning wellbeing specialist who believes that everyone deserves to thrive. With 19 years’ experience in the health and wellbeing profession she is a sought-after speaker, coach and consultant.

TEDx speaker, author of real food less fuss, and Seven Fitness Myths to Overcome, founder of the Snack on Exercise movement, host of the THRIVE TV Show and regular contributor to AAPNZ and Executive Secretary Magazine among other international publicationsLauren helps busy people re-discover how to feel vibrant, confident and energised.

Described as inspiring and life-changing, Lauren is a dynamic and highly engaging presenter, and master story-teller who will have you laughing, moving and learning in a memorable way. You will leave Lauren’s session feeling uplifted and empowered to create positive change, today!

Lauren lives in Palmerston North, New Zealand, with her husband and three children, she can often be found hosting dinner parties, spending time outdoors or playing board games. Lauren travels regularly to speak at conferences and in-house, and specialises in helping organisations create a high-energy, peak-performance team culture, which enables people to thrive.