David Neitz, Partnerships Manager, Swisse Vitamins
David has had a lifetime association with sport and has had an intimate relationship with AFL football and particularly the Melbourne Football Club since 1990. A life member of the AFL and the Melbourne Football Club, David played 306 games for Melbourne and holds the Club record for games played, goals kicked, and games as captain. During his career David worked in brand and sponsorship team at Australia Post, and post career took up a marketing and communications role with the Melbourne Football Club. Currently David is working in the marketing team at Swisse Vitamins.
Dr Bridie O'Donnell
Bridie graduated Medical School from University of QLD and worked for 10 years in Orthopaedic Surgery, Intensive Care and Sport and Exercise Medicine. In 2008 she was offered a training position in the Australasian College of Sports Medicine. However, after years of balancing work and sport, including 7 National rowing Championships & completing the Hawaiian Ironman triathlon world championships, she elected to give 100% commitment to sport & join the AIS Women's National road cycling team in 2008.
In 2010 she got her first pro contract as a 33 year old. She has raced all over Europe and America, won National and Oceania Championships, and represented Australia in 3 World Championships.
Robin O'Neill, Community Tennis General Manager at Tennis Australia
A former PE Teacher, Robin O'Neil was Tennis Victoria's Participation Manager and has completed a Master of Business (Sport Management) at Deakin University. In 2005, Robin joined Tennis Australia and is now the General Manager of Community Tennis. He is responsible for managing the Community Tennis component of the Tennis 2012 strategic plan towards achieving more active players.
John O'Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer, Fox Sports Australia.
Since joining Fox Sports Australia in August 2012, John is responsible for Domestic Acquisitions, Digital, Advertising and Commercial operations and Stakeholder relations.
Prior to this, John was CEO of Events Queensland where he oversaw the doubling of the state's Major Event Calendar and led the push that has seen the State secure key high-profile international events such as the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, Australian Leg of the IRB World Sevens Series, 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2014 G20 Leaders Congress.
John has over 20 years experience in Sports Administration, Marketing and Major Event management having also worked for organisations such as Football Federation Australia, the Sydney 2000 Olympic & Paralympic Games Organising Committee and Octagon CSI both in Australia and overseas.
Catherine Ordway, Lawyer, Sports and Anti-Doping Consultant
Catherine is a Canberra resident who holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Arts (Jurisprudence) from the University of Adelaide, and a Graduate Diploma in Investigations Management from Charles Sturt University. She has more than 15 years' experience in sports law and anti-doping internationally and has been involved in a number of tribunals involving disciplinary and anti-doping matters.
Catherine is currently employed as a Sports & Anti-Doping Consultant and works with national and international sporting organisations. Catherine has published a number of articles and has given conference presentations on drugs in sport and the legal ramifications.
Catherine was a founding member of the national Women on Boards organisation in 2001 and was appointed to the Australian Canoeing board in April 2012. Catherine's professional interests include; integrity in sport, inter-agency collaboration and women in sport.
Sonya Ottaway, President, Netball America, Director, KPMG
Sonya is breaking new ground in the US, while inspiring thousands of others in endeavors to put Netball on the map in America. She is a Director with KPMG International and is also the President & Co-Founder of Netball America.
In her efforts to promote Netball she works with celebrities, White House representatives, top US educators, professional athletes and even the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. She serves on the Advisory Boards for the Opportunity League (develop sports activity programs for inclusive play for all ages & abilities); and American University Sports Recruit (recruit Australian athletes for US scholarships).
Hailing from Rockhampton, Qld, Sonya is based in Los Angeles, California, is a certified Chartered Accountant, an Information Systems Auditor and holds a Bachelor of Business, with Distinction, minor in Japanese.
Kerri Pottharst, Olympic Athlete, Coach, Author
Kerri Pottharst is one of Australia's most popular female sporting personalities. She is also Australia's most decorated Indoor and Beach Volleyball player, having represented her country for 22 years. She also remains the only Australian woman to have played professionally in the world's most prestigious A1 Italian Indoor Volleyball league. In 1992 a serious knee injury should have ended her career, but in her typical no-nonsense style she recovered late in 1993, changed her goals to Beach Volleyball and then went on to compete in 3 Olympics and win two Olympic medals.
One of those was Bronze at the Atlanta Olympics and then the Gold that everybody remembers so well, at BondiBeach during the Sydney 2000 Games.She is renowned for being one of the fiercest competitors in the world of Volleyball and statistics indicate that since 1994, Kerri has never been out of the top 10 and rarely out of the top six in International Beach Volleyball events.
She is an inspiration to her peers in sport and to others in their business, school and personal lives. After 3 years coaching on the World Tour and in the USA, Kerri now invites teams to her home beach in Manly, Sydney - Australia to impart her knowledge of the game. She has coached teams from the USA, Holland, Belgium, Canada, Sweden and New Zealand.
Heather Reid, Chief Executive Officer, Capital Football and Canberra United
Heather Reid has been instrumental in forming, developing and promoting opportunities for women and girls in sport and physical activity, predominantly through football (soccer) since 1978. She has a sound knowledge of the cultural, social and political complexities of the Australian sport industry. Heather has worked in management and consultancy positions for organisations such as Women's Soccer Australia, Womensport Australia and the Australian Sports Commission and was a lecturer in sport management at the University of Canberra. Since 2004, she has been the CEO of the ACT Football Federation (Capital Football) and is in her fifth year wearing a second hat as CEO of Canberra United – the current Westfield W-League (undefeated) champions.
She is the only female in such positions and is the longest serving CEO of a Member Federation under Football Federation Australia. She has led the integration of all aspects of football in Canberra with more than 18,000 male, female, junior, indoor and outdoor players along with hundreds of referees and coaches. Heather was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and in 2006 she received the Margaret Pewtress Ausport Award advancing opportunities for women. She completed a Graduate Diploma in Sport Management in 2007 and was inducted into the FFA Australia Hall of Fame later that year. Most recently, she has been appointed to the Board of the Asian Cup 2015 Local Organising Committee which is headed up by FFA and Asian Cup chairman, Mr Frank Lowy.
Michael Roberts, Journalist, MC
Born in Melbourne in 1959, Michael has moved from being an elite AFL footballer to a respected sports journalist over the past two decades. The son of St. Kilda Brownlow medallist and club legend Neil Roberts, Michael played for St. Kilda, Richmond and Fitzroy between 1978 and 1987 and represented Victoria against Western Australia in "State of Origin" football in 1981.
In 1993, Michael joined Channel Nine (GTV 9) as a sports journalist for the top rating National Nine News. Feature stories followed for Nine's Wide World of Sports, reports for The Sunday Footy Show and he hosted his own live sports show, "Sports Scene" at Crown Casino. Roberts also covered the Olympic Games in Sydney, the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne and the Asian Games over in Doha, Qatar.
He has now branched out to write and produce documentaries "The 100 years of Australian Exploration of the Antarctic — 2007', followed by several unique stories on Australia – 2008/2010. Both series appeared on Channel 10 and the Discovery International and Australia channels. Michael has just completed a stint on "Coxy's Big Break" – Channel 7.
In 2002, Michael was appointed host of Nine's NRL Rugby League coverage in Melbourne, headed the Surf Titles from Bells Beach - Torquay and the National Surf Lifesaving Championships from various coasts around NSW and Queensland... he then moved to the AFL Football team as a panelist and boundary rider, combining that with the Triple M Radio football live broadcast line-up. Michael is working with former St.Kilda FC team mate Danny Frawley (CEO) of the AFL Coaches Association and has just recently returned from the USA after an involvement in the Superbowl in Indianapolis (NY Giants v New England Patriots).
Michael is a founding member and president of the Crux Club, a major contributor to the Challenge Foundation for children with cancer and the Trevor Barker Foundation (a position he has held for over 20 years). Also, he is proud to hold ambassador roles with the Alannah Madeline, E.J. Whitten Foundations, Mercedes Melbourne, Jayco, Melbourne Storm NRL and the Foster's Group.
Chelsea Roffey, Australian Football League (AFL) Umpire
Chelsea Roffey is the antithesis of the hefty moustached men traditionally found between the MCG goalposts. Born in South Australia, she grew up in the rugby heartland of Brisbane where she soon swapped backyard kicking sessions with her brothers for a set of flags. Elevated to the AFL in 2004, she relocated to Melbourne in 2008 and has umpired over 120 League matches including several finals.Roffey is the second female to umpire at AFL level and the only woman currently on the panel.
From the challenges of rigorous training and performing in a pressure cooker environment, to riding the buzz of a 90,000-strong crowd and being used as a 'speccy' stepladder, she's experienced the highs and lows of Australian football from a truly unique perspective.
Marianne Roux, Executive General Manager, People & Culture Cricket Australia
Marianne is currently the Executive General Manager of People and Culture for Cricket Australia.Her experience over the last 20 years ranges from working as a management consultant, to leading Human Resource functions, running her own business and lecturing at Business Schools. She is an Organisational Psychologist with a keen interest and deep experience in strategic change, leadership, culture and people strategies that drive business outcomes and sustain high performance.
She has worked across a wide range of sectors including Education & Health, Energy & Resources, Financial Services, Pharmaceuticals, Retail, Sport and ICT. She was born and raised in South Africa and has worked globally before settling with her husband and 6 year old daughter in Australia 3 years ago. She is still involved in community and environment projects in Africa.
Jane Russo, Board Director, Touch Football Australia
Jane is a company director and government adviser. She is a current board member of Touch Football Australia and brings her experience in the roles of club administrator and president, state chair, director of selectors and participant. She is a strong advocate of grassroots participation, leadership opportunities for women and leading change that benefits members.
Jane has a Master's in Education Management, focusing on volunteer performance management and is a former secondary school teacher. She now works for the South Australian government and her experience has been in the areas of policy, project management, strategic planning, performance analysis, corporate reporting and governance.
Monette Russo, Olympian. World Champion. Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist. Public Relations Graduate. Ambassador. Motivational Speaker
23 year old Monette Russo is one of Australia's most decorated gymnasts in history. Her instant rise in the Australian ranks showed amazing promise, and Monette had the talent to match. Winning her first National title in 2001, at age 13, Monette went on to succeed at the top of her sport. She represented Australia at the 2003 World Championships, where the team won a Bronze Medal. In 2004, Monette's dream of the Olympic Games became a reality. Despite a serious leg injury, Monette competed for Australia with pride, doing her country proud. History was made later in 2005, where Monette again took on the world at the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne.
Monette became Australia's first ever all around medallist at a World Championships, by winning the bronze. In addition, she became the first Australian to compete in multiple apparatus finals (bars, beam and floor). Monette also won the prestigious Longines Prize for Elegance. After leading her Commonwealth Games team to the gold medal in 2006, Monette sustained a serious knee injury prior to the World Championships. The injury forced her out of the team, and eventually led to her retirement from the sport. Depsite her small stature, Monette is a pocket rocket with a self-driven attitude that has seen her succeed in and out of the gymnastics world. A Public Relations graduate, Ambassador, Gymnastics National Team Mentor and Motivational Speaker, Monette will be remembered for a very long time to come!
Cameron Schwab, CEO, Melbourne Football Club
Cameron commenced work as a junior administrator/office boy at the Melbourne Football Club at the age of 18 in 1982. He was later appointed Recruiting Manager. Then in 1988, Cameron was appointed General Manager of the Richmond Football Club at the age of just 24 – the youngest person to hold this position in the history of the competition, and held this position for six years. The Tigers were wooden spooners the previous year, and were deep financial difficulty when in 1990, Cameron oversaw the 'Save Our Skin' (SOS) fundraising campaign that effectively saved the club from bankruptcy. In 1995, Richmond made the finals for the first time in 13 years.
Cameron went on to complete a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Marketing before being appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Football Club immediately following the failed merger with Hawthorn. In 1998, the Demons made the preliminary final having finished last the previous year, and were Grand Finalists in 2000.
In September 2001, Cameron accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Fremantle Football Club and oversaw the transformation of Fremantle. At the time of his appointment, Fremantle was $8M in debt, had lost $5M in the previous three seasons, had only 12,000 seated members and won just 2 games that year, losing 18 games in succession. By 2007, the club had $5M in the bank with over 43,000 members (3rd in the AFL), and high level corporate and sponsorship support. The club was first time finalists in 2003 and preliminary finalists in 2006.
Cameron completed an Advanced Management Program (AMP) in 2007 before being appointed once again as CEO of Melbourne Football Club by new President Jim Stynes. Since 2009, the club has operated profitably with an asset base of over $6M.
Laurie Serafini, Practice Leader - Sport, Leisure & Entertainment Recruitment
Laurie has an extensive business background, having spent over 25 years in sales and marketing. His consultative approach in recruitment is to truly understand each client's brief. This helps him arrive at a creative 'people capital' solution, finding quality talented candidates. Laurie's background in leisure and elite sport gives him a strong affinity with his chosen sector.
Laurie's consulting experience began with a Global Communications Group, where he delivered consulting methodology across High Stakes Communication. Prior to this, he was Sales Director for the Australian Radio Network where he was responsible for a multi-million dollar advertising budget. Here he managed a sales team selling radio advertising throughout the eastern sea board, representing over 30 radio stations. Laurie's team achieved top Price Waterhouse marketshare figures on several occasions, highlighting his skills to drive and lead people to achieve winning results.
Laurie's valuable 25-year plus experience as an ex-AFL player, Club Director, media commentator and business man gives him that 'on field edge' and 'behind the scenes' understanding and rapport.
His recruitment experience draws on his senior management and leadership background, and his ability to communicate with Board of Directors and Senior Management. His clients are guaranteed a very professional, personable and consultative partnership — coupled with a client-centric approach to every assignment. As a former athlete himself, Laurie's unique background offers sound understanding of the worlds of Leisure, Sport and Entertainment; how to get in touch with leading candidates, and what it takes to win in business.
Malcolm Speed, Executive Director, The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS)
Malcolm Speed has had a long and varied career as a lawyer, sports administrator, and company director.
After 20 years as a senior basketball administrator, he was appointed in 1997 as Chief Executive of Cricket Australia. In 2001 he was appointed as Chief Executive of the International Cricket Council, a position he held up to 2008.
He now works as a consultant, company director and university lecturer. One of his roles is as Executive Director of the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS) which consists of Australian Football League, Australia Rugby Union, Cricket Australia, Football Federation Australia, Netball Australia, National Rugby League and Tennis Australia.
He is a Life Member of Basketball Victoria; Basketball Australia; Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association; the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Cricket Club of India. He is widely regarded as one of Australia's leading sports administrators.
He is also a Director of Victorian Major Events Company, Golf Australia and Richmond Football Club. He lectures in Sports Law at MelbourneUniversity and Sports Administration at Deakin University.
Elisa Sturzaker, Board Director, Victoria Racing Club
At the age of 29, Elisa was the youngest Board Director ever elected in the 148 year history of the Victoria Racing Club as well as making her only the fourth ever female Board Member and first of Asian descent. Her current role is General Counsel of Programmed Facility Management with a legal specialisation in Corporate / Commercial, Construction, Finance and Infrastructure Projects / PPPs. Previous to this, she worked at UGL Limited as a Senior Legal Counsel and at Minter Ellison in Corporate and Project Finance.
Prior to entering the legal profession, Elisa worked in Marketing and Sales for over five years with Gillette, Cadbury Schweppes and Mars. Her experience involved Branding, Sports Marketing, Sponsorship, Media, Event Management and Consumer Insights.
Aside from work and racing, Elisa is completing a PDM at Melbourne Business School and she is passionate about sports and fitness including AFL (Geelong), skiing, running, tennis, gym and golf. She also has a strong interest in digital media, fashion and retailing as Company Director, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of One Grange Road, an online jewellery, accessories and homewares boutique which is set to launch in late 2012 / early 2013.
Dominic Thurbon is co-‐founder and Chief Crea4ve Officer at ChangeLabs
A business leader 'in the trenches', he directs over 50 full-‐4me researchers and facilitators (across three countries) in the design and delivery of mul4-‐award winning behaviour change programs that touch over 500,000 people each year. Dominic has worked extensively in areas of behaviour and genera4onal change, innova4on and collabora4on with clients around the world including Apple, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, the Commonwealth Bank and Lexus. He has directed research on interna4onal best-‐-‐-‐sellers published in more than 15 countries, and is author of white papers on subjects as diverse as talent aQrac4on and the impact of video games on industry and educa4on. As a world top-‐10 debater and interna4onally soughtaRer keynote speaker, his dynamic style, deep research and real-‐world experience building a mul4na4onal business uniquely equip him to challenge, inspire and transform your team. www.domthurbon.com www.changelabs.net
Geroid Towey, Olympian, Coach, Mentor
Gearoid Towey is a former World Champion rower and a three time Olympian for Ireland. He spent 16 years on the Irish national team and also has three Australian national titles amongst his results. He is also an adventurer racer and has participated in the Atlantic rowing race. He is currently the owner of an Irish sports event business - focussing on grass roots and endurance challenges.
He has moved into specializing in supporting athletes who are transitioning out of sport into the next phase of their lives and is developing the "Crossing the Line Project" which is a global support network for retiring and retired athletes. He currently works as an elite athlete mentor for individual athletes and institutes, such as the irish institute of sport. He is also the co-owner of a sydney based corporate change company. He still works within the rowing world as a coach and mentor.
Gill Walker, Managing Director, Evergreen
Gill Walker held senior positions in advertising agencies for over 15 years. She founded Evergreen after being inspired by completing a Master's thesis on Ageism in Australian Advertising. Gill is a finalist in the Telstra Business Women awards, a board member for the Over 50's Association, and currently chairs the RMIT Advertising Industry Advisory Committee.
She regularly conducts research in Boomer and Senior communications, is a media commenter, founding partner for IMMN (International Mature Marketing Network) and keynote speaker at conferences. International conference appearances of special note have been Global Ageing Trends, AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) Hawaii and The Silver Phenomenon, United Nations University, Tokyo.
Jenny Williams, Managing Director, Best on Ground Performance
Jenny has spent most of her life in leadership positions on the elite sporting field where she captained and coached Australia in lacrosse, winning gold silver and bronze, and representing SA in 5 different sports including 3 forms of the footballing codes. She was AFL woman of the year in 2003. Jenny is a registered psychologist with over 30 years of teaching experience.
Her Masters' thesis examined personality traits of long term successful elite invasion sports coaches and nominated X factor players. (eg AFL, Football, Basketball) from which she developed, trialled and validated a sporting profiling tool, for use in identifying and developing champions and leaders. Great psychology is mental weight training. Jenny's Conference Masterclass will be a workout that will be fun, leave you with new ideas, and practical examples of finding & developing elite performers with an emphasis on developing the person not just the player.
DOUGLAS WRIGHT, Co-founder and Managing Director at Wrights PR
Douglas Wright is a visionary public relations specialist; a recognised innovator in defining and maximising relationships between sport, government, business and the media. In an evolving media landscape, Douglas' continues to look for ways to connect these key groups. He is a media advisor to the Victoria Racing Club and his firm, Wrights manages media accreditation for the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Following a prolific career in Australia and Europe, Douglas, the former head of Ogilvy Public Relations, founded Wrights in 1988 and has overseen the firm's growth to become one of Australia's leading independent public relations consultancies, with offices in Melbourne and Sydney. He has a strong history of managing change in sport and the way sporting organisations interact with their important stakeholders. In the 1990s, he was instrumental in linking Shell, the Confederation of Australian Motorsport and Channel Seven to grow the Australian Touring Car Championship as the precursor to it becoming V8 Supercars and he was a senior adviser in the formation of Racing Victoria.
Douglas' presence on the APWSW Conference panel highlights the importance of the relationship between big brands and big events. Douglas will share an unmatched insight into how to grow the profile of sport and when to engage with business, government and the media.