Opportunities, Choice & Change Speakers

Olga KlepovaJournalist
MC – Let's Talk it Out! Opening Panel


A Russian journalist who chose Australia to build a new life and challenge herself in a completely unknown to her environment. The challenge has been on for over five years. During this time Olga was an author at Forbes magazine, a volunteer for Amnesty International and an intern at the ABC. But it was SBS that won her over where she now works as a digital producer creating content for the Russian program and covering an array of topics, from controversies in politics to the beauty of the ballet. She is also a host of the podcast On Purpose, a Bank Australia podcast where she meets people who drive social change in the modern Australian society. 


Aretha Stewart Brown, National Indigenous Youth Parliament
Panelist – Let's Talk it Out! Opening Panel

decorativeAretha Stewart Brown was recently voted in as Australia's first ever female Prime Minister by her peers at the Indigenous Youth Parliament in Canberra. Aretha has had subsequent meetings with PM Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and the Governor General Peter Cosgrove. Recently appeared on the ABC's Q&A program and will soon feature in new ABC documentary 'Girls Change the World'.

Pete Yao, Thankyou
Panelist – Let's Talk it Out! Opening Panel

decorativePete Yao possesses many talents, some of which include reverse parking and creative Instagramming, but we think his two greatest skills are his ability to work with people and his knowledge of international development. And that's a good thing, because Pete heads up the Thankyou Impact Team, where he works closely with Thankyou's incredible project partners to oversee the implementation of cutting edge and sustainable projects. Pete holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Arts, Majoring in HR and International Studies.

Sherry-Rose, CQ Cultural Consulting
Panelist – Let's Talk it Out! Opening Panel

decorativeSherry-Rose is a young African Australian of Cameroonian descent currently studying a Bachelor of International Relations at La Trobe University. With a keen interest in migrant affairs, politics and issues affecting young women, Sherry-Rose is passionate about bringing these issues to the forefront by challenging media representations and stereotypes of young people of diverse backgrounds. She has been active in a number of roles including working as a peer educator with Red Cross Australia, a Youth Activist Leader and ambassador for the ‘Because I Am A Girl’ campaign, with Plan International Australia, a member of the Victorian Multicultural Youth Network (MYN) and Shout Out Speaker with Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY). She is also the founder of the social enterprise, WomanGirl. 

Abe NoukCreative Rebellion Youth
MeMyself and My Life
Panelist – Let’s Talk it Out! Opening Panel 

decorativeSpoken word, MC and author whose craft developed from the realization of the freedom of speech, Sudanese born, Abe Nouk was illiterate when he and his family arrived in Australia in 2004 under the UN High Commission Refugee Status. Since then, liberated from the nightmares of illiteracy, Abe's now an author, facilitator of creative performances and writing workshops.

Chris Dickons & Dawn Penney, Korus Connect
Leading Change Through Collaboration

-Korus Connect was established to serve Australian communities through collaborating with and supporting Australia’s not-for-profit sector. Korus Connect has been created on a foundation of more than 70 years of supporting families, children and communities within education and learning environments. They create collaborative relationships, developing initiatives and building programs to foster ommunity connection, resilience, safety and inspiration, while supporting sustainability for their not-for-profit service partners.

Mai Phuong Nguyen
, Code Like a Girl
Dare to Fail

decorativeMai is a fun-loving and highly motivated individual. Currently, she works at Carsales as a Software Developer. She loves coding. She loves it when an idea turns into a workable program from just a few lines of code. She thinks everyone should learn to code since it's so fun. Her passion is helping girls and women find excitement in coding. That's why she joined Code Like a Girl as their Workshop Coordinator. If you want to know more about coding, but don't know where to start, reach out to Mai.

Dr Yassir Morsi, La Trobe University
Wearing Masks

decorativeDr Yassir Morsi completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne in Political Science and Islamic studies. He looked at contemporary liberal thought and its dealing of the ‘Muslim Question’. His research engaged with a broad range of race theorists. Dr. Morsi is a columnist for the Guardian Australia and finished his first acclaimed book Radical Skin, Moderate Masks, on the struggles of speaking as a Muslim in the War on Terror. He is lecturer at La Trobe University in politics and philosophy and a recent recipient of AMAA's award for Muslim Man of the Year, 2015.


Ian Hamm, Department of Economic Development
Leadership – So No One's Left Behind

decorativeIan Hamm is a Yorta Yorta man who has been actively involved in the Victorian Indigenous community in a personal and professional capacity for many years. He has a wide level of exposure to policy development and program management through his work at Commonwealth (Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health) and State Government level (Department of Justice; Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources; and Department of Planning and Community Development). Ian holds a number of leadership positions, including Chairperson, First Nations Foundation, Connecting Home Ltd, and Koorie Heritage Trust (Vic), and Deputy Chair, Aboriginal Housing Victoria Ltd.

Jedda Patten, Nikki Madgwick & Ruby Herrmann, National Indigenous Youth Parliament
Our Footprints

decorativeNikki Madgwick, Jedda Patten & Ruby Herrman are a group of strong, driven, passionate and determined young Aboriginal women who are breaking stereotypes and facing up against discrimination head on. They know what it takes to be Leaders in their communities and will share their personal stories of struggles, stigma and racism overcome to get to where they are today: Indigenous Rights Advocates and Leaders in their Communities.

Rafiuddin Ahmed, Yunus Social Business Centre & Innokids
Hatch Ideas, Catch Opportunity

decorativeRafiuddin Ahmed is fuelled with gallons of spirit for Social Entrepreneurship, Innovation, incubation and lean start up. Rafi is a very hard working chap with a dream to work for the destitute. He has ample motivation and passion to change the world with his enormous social change making ideas. He always believes, 'We are not opportunity seekers, we are opportunity creators.' He is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Yunus Social Business Centre at La Trobe University and is the the Founder and President of Social Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation club (SBEIC) at La Trobe University. Besides these, he is also the founder of InnoKids (a kidpreneurial Training hub) that tries to create more kidpreneur to lessen unemployment from the globe.

Jess Revens, Elvis Martin, Reanna Clark & Aneeka McNamara, YAG – Melbourne City Mission
Combating Inequality Compassionately

decorativeThe Youth Action Group (YAG) is comprised of a group of young leaders aged 18-25 who are passionate about raising the profile of young people in Melbourne. Members come from diverse backgrounds, and bring a wealth of knowledge and lived experience to the group. Each year, members of the YAG champion two projects that will affect positive change in the community. This presentation will be created by YAG members Jess Revens, Elvis Martin, Reanna Clarke and Aneeka McNamara who were all involved in the Compassion Booth project.

Lorraine Ngwenya, Facilitator
What We Gonna Do About It!?

decorativeLorraine Ngwenya is a speaker, advocate and entrepreneur, being the proud founder of Useful Link. Useful Link is an organisation that seeks to empower young people in areas of employment, personal development and leadership. Lorraine believes young people have many challenges that face them and it is her goal to help as many young people as she can to realise their potential.

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