In July 2012, an Australian primary school teacher was celebrating the end-of-school-year with colleagues in London, when an intense headache hit, like a thunderclap and she felt a sudden urgency to sleep. Eventually, Katrina was taken to hospital, where she was initially dismissed before doctors identified she had a massive stroke in her brain’s left hemisphere. The delay in diagnoses resulted in the stroke causing full possible damage and left Katrina with a range of deficits. Just 3 months later, another stroke struck the brain’s right hemisphere and resulted in severe short-term memory loss – think Lucy in 50 First Dates, but no Hawaii and no Adam Sandler – still, the recovery has been phenomenal in the past 2.5 years with her family collecting her from London to recover Down Under. Katrina refers to her younger sister, Jacky, as her PA and together, with the assistance of her aptly titled blog, ‘Strokes Get The Blokes’, they aim to make their generation aware of strokes and their symptoms, as well as what life is like in the aftermath for a survivor, including loss, isolation and updated life goals, along with laughter being the best medicine in stroke rehabilitation.
Being the youngest of eight children, Jacky Laird never imagined she would be thrust into a doting carer role for her older, fiercely independent sibling whilst both in their 20s. However, in October 2012, her sister, Katrina, suffered a severe stroke – the second one in just three months – and despite Katrina’s initial objection to Jacky et al coming to London to collect her after the first stroke, it was determined that once Katrina was released from hospital she would be completely dependent, requiring 24 hour care for an indefinite period of time. Although Jacky was in constant communication with Katrina through the magic and convenience of technology, what she discovered firsthand upon arriving at St George’s Hospital along with her partner and mother, was that Katrina, despite many confronting factors, including her inability to do the simplest tasks, still had her keen sense of humour. Throughout the months and years of Katrina’s stroke recovery, Jacky has ensured to encourage and focus on the jokes, puns and wit that, as well as, maintaining a positive, tenacious outlook on the stroke rehabilitation, being the supportive sister and spreading stroke smarts amongst their 20-something generation.
Alex Salvador has been exploring music since the young age of 8 when he first started to play the piano. In his teenage years, Alex learned to play the guitar, didgeridoo and drum kit and later in life expanding his interest to other exotic instruments which include African drums (Djembe and Dunduns), Congas, Kamele N’goni, Balafon, Tongue drums, Hand Pan, Armenian Duduk, Nigerian Udu, middle eastern Tar, Tibetan singing bowls, clarinet and a variety of hand percussion Alex is the founder and facilitator of the longest running, local council supported community drum circle in Queensland, if not Australia - the Full Moon Drum Circle. The FMDC was establishedin 2001 and regularly attracts up to 600 people to the event. He is the group leader of African style drumming group, Wassa Rhythms of West Africa, performing throughout North Queensland and as far as PNG since 2000. Alex has performed at hundreds of local events, festivals, sporting events and schools with Wassa and and as a percussionist with previous groups such as "Tumbadoras", Latin Jazz ensemble "The Jalapenos" and Salsa ensemble "Hot Salsa". He has shared the stage with the 1RAR Army Band, internationally renowned trumpet virtuoso James Morrison, Australian icon Darryl Braithwaite and international activist David Suzuki. He has appeared on numerous recordings, as a session percussionist, including the debut album of internationally renowned folk duo "Women in Docs".
Luke Anear is the CEO of SafetyCulture, overseeing the product development and innovation across the companies products. In 2012, SafetyCulture released iAuditor, which is an app for conducting safety inspections and in, 2014 iAuditor won the international Tabby Awards for best Data Collection App, and best Business App. iAuditor has been used millions of times everyday on all continents, including Antarctica, and the crowd sourced sharing model has allowed workers to collaborate and share safety systems for free. Prior to founding SafetyCulture, Luke was a workers compensation investigator and practise manager for Lee Kelly & Associates in Sydney.
Max Lenoy is a Jirrbal/ Yalangi man who spends his spare time teaching pre-service teachers about Indigenous education and educational technology at James Cook University. His ‘mob’ are from Yarrabah and Palm Island and he was born in Cairns and raised in the Burdekin sugar cane fields. He completed a Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) at James Cook University focussed on Educational technology and Indigenous education. He also holds an Education Masters from Harvard University Graduate School of Education and enjoyed the opportunity to also study at the MIT Media Lab and the Sloan School of Management. He recently had the chance to teach in Brazil and is the recipient of a United Nations fellowship.
Marine biologist Fiona Merida is passionate about the Great Barrier Reef — for more than 15 years she’s worked in reef education and marine management. And she loves every minute of it. Fiona grew up in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. She moved to Townsville 13 years ago to study marine biology and, ultimately, fulfil a life-long dream to work on the Great Barrier Reef. Coming from a large temperate city, she loves Townsville’s relaxed tropical lifestyle and being in the hub of coral reef science. Often told she has the best job in the world, Fiona never takes this for granted. Day-to-day Fiona works at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Australian Government agency responsible for managing and protecting one of the world’s most iconic natural areas. There she trains a passionate network of volunteers to monitor the Great Barrier Reef and the species that call it home. She works with interesting and dedicated people from all walks of life. Her talk — ‘The Great Barrier Reef – been there done that?’ — tells her personal story of exploration from the suburbs of Melbourne all the way north to the Great Barrier Reef. It’s a story that spans 1984 to 2014, from the pre-internet age to today. In our fast-paced and technologically-driven times, Fiona believes it’s important to get back to nature's beauty and take the time to truly experience it, leaving material expectations at home. Her advice: we should focus on using technology to share nature, rather letting it get in the way of our natural experiences and natural curiosity.
Meg is a Townsville girl born and bred, and has lived and travelled all over Australia. For some unknown reason she always return home. As a mature age student she completed a Bachelors Degree in Speech Language Pathology and from there has worked in private practice, community services in rural and remote areas, and now in the field of mental health. She maintains a work life balance by practicing acro in a circus group, crossfit, yoga, and walking the strand at every opportunity. Meg is currently studying to be a yoga teacher. She has a deep passion for mental health and plans to complete further study in this area. Meg gets great satisfaction out of helping people, and finds inspiration in many areas of life.
Andrew Griffiths is mostly known as a non-fiction author with 12 bestselling books sold in over 60 countries. He inspires people wherever he goes, challenging the status quo whilst sharing his own story of life growing up as an orphan right through to his thirty-year experience as an entrepreneur. Andrew is a columnist for Inc.com out of New York, a small business commentator for CBSi in Australia and the Global Director of Publishing for “Key Person of Influence”, the leading entrepreneurial development program in the world. And most significantly, he is a supporter of the Sleepy Burrows Wombat Rehabilitation Sanctuary in New South Wales, Australia.
Professor Ajay Rane is Professor and Head of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Consultant Urogynaecologist at James Cook University. He is Director of Urogynaecology at The Townsville Hospital. Born in England and after finishing his primary schooling Ajay went to India and did his MBBS degree and also his training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, which got him the MD in Obstetrics, and Gynaecology from the University of Poona. He then went to England and did his Masters from Liverpool University in Urogynaecology, did his MRCOG from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in London and also his FRCS after doing Urology and General Surgery. Ajay then moved to Australia as a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and was awarded the FRANZCOG by the Royal College in Australia. He also did Sub-Speciality training in Urogynaecology for which he was awarded the CU in the year 2000. Ajay completed his PhD with the James Cook University looking at various postures on the toilet and its effect on micturition. He was awarded FICOG (Hon) in January 2010 by the Indian College of Obstetrics & Gynaecology for his work in Chennai. Recently he produced a Bollywood movie called RIWAYAT which deals with the vexatious practice of female infanticide & feticide in India. He was finalist Australian of the Year in 2012 and awarded the ORDER OF AUSTRALIA in 2013.
Sara Michelazzo is an Italian designer, devoted to building things that matter. Sara studied and worked in Bologna, New York and Syndey. She is one of the junior leading thinkers in User Experience in Australia. She built her first website 10 years ago and has spent the past 3 years working for B2B start-ups. She has covered many different roles: web developer, brand designer, visual designer, UX designer, information architect, interaction designer and design team leader. She has crafted experiences for iOS and Android apps, webapps, websites, Google Glass and Android Wear. Serial thinker, compulsive sketcher, tireless learner, screenshots collector. Sara likes singing very loud, walking in the rain, cooking for her family & friends and coaching people about how to design their lives.