Meet the Presenters at the 2017 State Conference



We are very proud to announce our keynote speakers and facilitators who will make the Conference a stand out event.

Tobi Johnson – Keynote speaker

Tobi Johnson (USA), a stand out at the 2016 National Volunteering Conference, returns to Australia as a keynote speaker to share her insights about volunteering leadership and international best practice.

Tobi has over 25 years direct experience in the nonprofit sector and is a recognised expert and thought leader in the field of volunteer engagement.


Penny Burke – Keynote speaker

Penny Burke is somewhat of a change agent, keen to explore new boundaries and horizons and find better ways to do things. It is a particular skill to bring fresh eyes to a scenario, logically and articulately identify and debate the key issues, bring intuition and grounded thought to a way forward and form a plan of action. Penny will provide a refreshing platform to launch the conference themes and stimulate delegates to put ideas into action.


Chris Kotur – Keynote speaker

Chris Kotur is Leadership Victoria’s Leader in Residence, a role that is raising the profile and importance of emerging leadership issues and development across all sectors in Australia.

Chris is a highly regarded designer of and contributor to leadership programs across all sectors. She is particularly well known for her support for people in organisations and in communities leading complex, difficult and often unwelcome changes.


Gerard Mansour – Commissioner for Senior Victorians and Ambassador for Elder Abuse Prevention

Gerard Mansour is a highly respected and passionate advocate for the needs of older people, with over 25 years of leadership experience within the aged and wider community services sectors. As Commissioner for Senior Victorians, Mr Mansour provides advice to the Victorian Government on issues relevant to senior Victorians, such as the ability to live healthy, dignified and productive lives, and social engagement and empowerment. Mr Mansour’s role as Ambassador for Elder Abuse Prevention is focussed on giving older victims of family violence a voice. A priority is to raise community awareness so older people, their carers and family members are aware of the rights of senior Victorians and how to seek help. The Commissioner is committed to working towards an age-friendly and inclusive Victoria for all seniors.

Hazel Maynard – Forum Facilitator – Enthuse! Empower! Enlighten!

Hazel Maynard has worked for a number of not for profit organisations in the past 25 years, including the Australian Red Cross, Amnesty International and The Cancer Council Victoria. She is a previous Chair of Volunteering Victoria and now works for Volunteering Victoria in a training role. In her previous role as Volunteer Development Manager, Hazel had overarching responsibility for a state-wide program of over 6,500 volunteers who work in 104 op-shops or Vinnies Retail Stores.

Kate Torney – Keynote MC and Panel Facilitator

Kate Torney is the Chief Executive Officer of the State Library of Victoria. Kate was the Director of ABC News (Australia) for the final 6 years of a 20-year career there. During this time, she oversaw the launch of ABC News 24, as well as working in a variety of roles including as a radio and TV reporter, producer, bureau chief, executive producer and editor.

Prof. Michael Polonsky – Facilitator Fireside Chat

Michael Jay Polonsky is an Alfred Deakin Professor and Chair in Marketing at Deakin University. He has taught at a number of Australian Universities, as well as into their international programs in China, Malaysia and Singapore. Before moving to Australia in 1989 he taught in New Zealand, South Africa and the US. He received his PhD from the Australian Catholic University in 1999, as well as has Master degrees from Temple University and Rutgers University-Newark. His Undergraduate degree is from Towson State University.

Nancy Nuñez – Facilitator 

Nancy Nuñez has worked in the community and voluntary sector for over 25 years. She has worked with hundreds of not for profit organisations, assisting them in developing effective volunteer programs. She has also managed volunteers in a variety of sectors and has been a volunteer with many organisations.

She is  currently the Manager of Volunteer Programs for the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria,    They hold a number of events throughout the year to promote and celebrate agriculture, the most known being the Royal Melbourne Show, where she is responsible for more than 1200 volunteers.

Stéphanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe –  Workshop Facilitator – Stop Leading in Your Pyjamas: Equity in Engaging Diversity Through Ujamaa

Stéphanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe is a Rwandan-British composer and multidisciplinary artist. Her practice explores the composition and archival of identity and its navigation as a ‘Third Culture Kid’, through block printed graphic scores, narrative ceremony, adornment and cultural contextualisation via cross-generational conversations in public forums.

Tara Cantwell – Facilitator Research Roundtable – Volunteering = People Power

Tara Cantwell is a consultant and trainer specialising in volunteer support.  Her knowledge comes from 20 years as a volunteer, over 12 years as volunteer manager and having strong connections with many different volunteer engaging organisations around Australia.  Tara’s involvement with Volunteering Victoria began as board member in 2006 and has continued with training, consulting and discussion forums. Formerly with Eastern Volunteers, Tara is now the Group Manager Volunteer Program at Epworth HealthCare.

Paul Smyth – Research Roundtable

Paul Smyth is an Honorary Professorial Fellow in Social Policy at the School of Social and Political sciences at the University of Melbourne.  His career has mixed academic and policy practice having worked with the former Jesuit Social Action centre, Uniya at Kings Cross in Sydney; and as the General Manager of the Research & Policy Centre at the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL), Fitzroy, Australia. This position was held jointly with the University of Melbourne where he was foundation director of the Master of Social Policy.  His latest book is Reframing Global Social Policy to be published by Policy Press in 2017.

Professor Jeni Warburton – Research Roundtable

Jeni Warburton is Emeritus Professor at La Trobe University, based at the John Richards Initiative, research centre into rural ageing in Wodonga, Victoria. Jeni has 25 years’ experience of research into social policy, particularly relating to issues associated with an ageing population. Her main areas of expertise are in healthy and productive ageing; as well as volunteering and community, with her current research focusing on ageing in rural communities.


David Tennant – Research Roundtable

David Tennant was appointed CEO of Shepparton-based FamilyCare in May 2010. FamilyCare has been a major provider of community services in the Hume region since 1984 with around 100 staff and offices in Seymour, Wallan, Kinglake and Cobram.

Along with his current position at FamilyCare, David is a Trustee of the Jan Pentland Foundation, a member of the Law Help Assessment Panel for the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations and participates in a number of local and regional networks and committees.


Graeme Lewsey – Panellists – “Walk the Talk: What will it take?”

Graeme Lewsey is the Chief Executive Officer of Melbourne Fashion Festival Ltd.

Graeme has led the Festival and its world-class team to new heights, achieving outstanding results since his appointment as Chief Executive Officer in 2011.

Graeme is a proud Melburnian. After graduating from his Bachelor of Arts Degree at RMIT University he was awarded ‘Australian Young Designer of The Year’ by Woolmark, which was followed by over a decade of working with leading fashion brands, retailers and marketing agencies in Europe.

Mark Schenk – Faciltitator – Food for Thought- Putting Stories to Work

Mark Schenk is the Managing Director of Anecdote and the go-to advisor for some of the world’s leading companies on how to use storytelling to really engage employees and customers.  He has worked with IBM, AMP, NAB, FujiXerox, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Thiess and Microsoft, among many other organisations.   Mark is a sought-after speaker across the globe. He regularly publishes his ideas on, one of Australia’s most visited business blogs.

Monica Ferrie – Lightning Talk presenter and MC – Ideas Into Action

Monica Ferrie is the Director of Bold and Brave Consulting, and a partner in Active Transition Training (ATT) a registered training organisation. Experience from a career spanning senior leadership roles in both the private and public sectors in Australia and international projects in Timor-Leste provide a foundation for building successful small businesses that are making a difference to individuals, teams and organisations.

Michael McGann – Lightning Talk presenter  Caregiver, Outlaw, Hero – Are You and Your Volunteers In Sync?

With 12 years experience in business development roles, Michael McGann has worked in the financial services sector, management consulting to ‘for purpose’ organisations and social enterprise development and management. Working with business owners and senior management teams Michael has helped to identify target audiences, develop service offerings and value propositions, marketing strategy development, business planning and developed social enterprise feasibility studies.

In 2013, Michael joined creative agency social enterprise skysdesign. Focusing on working with the ‘for purpose’ sector Michael has helped to deliver projects across branding and identity, print design, website design, animation and digital storytelling projects.

Geraldine Quinn, Moderator of The Great Debate Volunteering is a Pathway to Profit. 

Geraldine Quinn (Spicks and Specks, The Weekly With Charlie Pickering, When TV Was Awesome) is an award-winning rock cabaret writer-performer who has toured Australia, New Zealand and the UK. She is a regular guest contributor to ABC 774 and is healthily enamoured of the work of Bowie (not at all obsessed).

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