Conference 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.

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 over 20 years, Julie also served as Minister for Education, Science and Training, Minister for Women’s Issues and Minister for Ageing.

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

Julie is the 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, Greensill Capital and the Human Vaccines Project.

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

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.

Monique Helstrom

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.

Jessica Strutt (MC)

Jessica Strutt is a journalist and presenter of ABC Radio Perth’s FOCUS program. Jess worked as a political reporter in Western Australia for more than a decade and has experience across all media platforms including print, radio, television and online. She joined ABC News Perth more than six years ago, after two years out of journalism working as a senior media adviser in government.

Prior to making the recent decision to switch to a full-time radio role with ABC, she was ABC TV/radio chief political reporter in Western Australia. She started her journalism career as a print reporter, which included five and a half years with The West Australian. At WA’s daily newspaper she covered State politics for four and a half years, before taking on the social and Aboriginal affairs round which had her travelling to many remote spots across the State.

Before entering journalism, Jess completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in politics and history at the University of WA. Jess’s first job was in the Wheatbelt farming town of Merredin. She has won numerous awards for her political, resources, indigenous and social affairs reporting.

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.

Nick Ginsburg

Nick Ginsburg

Nick Ginsburg is a passionate and innovative executive assistant, speaker and community leader. He is the Executive Assistant to the Provost and Senior Vice-President at Monash University and is the Co-Founder of the Global Fireside Series.

Productivity, innovation, and relationship building are his strengths and passions. Nick thrives off helping people, and in particular executive assistants, by bringing them together to share their knowledge and grow in their careers.

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.

Laura Price

Laura Price (panel member)

Laura is a highly engaged and experienced executive assistant with over 18 years’ of demonstrated history working with Senior Executives and Directors.

Laura’s exceptional reliability creates the space necessary for leaders to focus on what really matters. Laura is also one of the founders of the Illawarra Assistants Network.

Carmel Bond (panel member)

Carmel Bond is an award winning EA who started her career in administration over almost two decades ago, working within the real estate and IT industries.

Currently working at Grocon for the Head of Home & Victorian President of the Property Council of Aus – Christian Grahame, she is an extremely passionate EA – named Morris Jones Secretary of the Year 2017.

In 2014, Carmel combined her genuine love of people with her strong career ambition and founded Melbourne EA Group (MEAG) – a networking group for EAs/PAs and admin professionals in Melbourne.

When she’s not busy working her full time gig, or managing MEAG, Carmel likes to keep things simple by spending quality time with family and friends.

Rhiannon Ward

Rhiannon Ward (panel member)

Rhiannon has spent the last 12+ years working as a Senior Executive Assistant supporting leaders at the helm of billion dollar companies, including the likes of Atlassian, Westfield and ING.

Most recently she partnered with the Founders of tech unicorn Canva, seeing them through two capital raises and enormous revenue and team growth.

Rhiannon is now a coach and mentor to top executive assistants, and is the co-founder of the Global Fireside Series, a unique event series created for the administrative profession. She takes a strengths-based approach to her work and is a passionate advocate for the EA craft.

Kate Brownscombe

Kate Brownscombe (panel member)

Kate is an EA Team Leader managing a large number of EA’s within the consulting service line at EY in Melbourne.

Kate continuously enhances EY’s Executive capability through leading a team of high performing EAs to deliver invaluable service and is passionate about defining the future for EAs at EY.

Wanting to ensure that her leadership continues to be well informed and that she maintains her core roots as an EA, she supports one Senior Partner to build a better working world.

Sarah Tabboush

Sarah Tabboush (panel member)

Sarah is an innovative, forward thinking and committed C-Suite executive assistant, and Co-Founder of Sassy Assistants – a modern network for administrative professionals. With 18+ years’ administration experience gained within a corporate, fasted-paced environment across financial services, investments, e-commerce and software.

Sarah has supported top executives at AMP, The Iconic, Pegasystems and is currently supporting the best boss in town at ServiceNow, a Silicon Valley powerhouse, all while running Sassy Assistants. Sassy Assistants was created out of a need for a network for the modern day assistant, a place to learn, develop, grow and connect with other like-minded assistants, all while having a bit of sass!

Sarah is committed to improving business performance by partnering with leaders to position, develop and embed innovative frameworks, initiatives and solutions linked to business outcomes. She is extremely passionate about empowering assistants and educating others about the role and value that assistants bring to their managers and organisations.

Samantha Webb

Samantha Webb (panel member)

Samantha Webb is an executive assistant with over 15 years experience with senior executives gained within the professional services, finance, design and mental health sectors. She is passionate about mental health and wellbeing, community engagement and innovation.

Samantha joined Beyond Blue in November 2017 as Executive Assistant to CEO, Georgie Harman. Her role is diverse and challenging and draws upon her skill base including  strong communication, network building, collaboration, strategic thinking, event coordination and project management.

Samantha is driven at work to find innovative solutions to problems, seek out new ways of working and to make a positive difference through community engagement. She also has two young boys who are of great importance to her and enjoys running, reading and a good movie.