As the founder of Avenue M Group, Sheri is a leader, innovator and visionary whose organization has helped more than 100 associations, small and large, tackle their most challenging issues by pivoting their value proposition and business model. A senior executive, best-selling author of Pivot Point: Reshaping Your Business When It Matters Most and association management veteran with nearly 20 years of experience, Sheri applied her experience in research, marketing, strategy and pricing projects to create a unique firm that helps associations achieve their goals.
Prior to opening Avenue M Group, Sheri served in staff leadership roles at the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, the American Bar Association and the Association Forum of Chicagoland. During her tenure at the Association Forum, she built award-winning campaigns that resulted in double-digit membership and meeting attendance growth.
Over the years, Sheri has served in numerous leadership, speaking and volunteer roles, including chair of the ASAE Foundation Development Committee, chair of the ASAE Membership Council and a member of the Marketing Council and Professional Development Committee. In 2018, she was selected to serve on the ASAE Board of Directors and ASAE Foundation Board of Directors. She is the author of The Art of Membership, co-editor and a contributor to ASAE’s best-selling membership book, Membership Essentials and author of the ASAE marketing book 199 Ideas: Powerful Marketing Tactics That Sell. She has been invited to speak as a keynote or present at more than 100 industry conferences and events. She is the 30th recipient of the ASAE Academy of Leaders Award.
Richard Yep, CAE, FASAE is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Counseling Association, the largest membership organization of professional counselors in the world. ACA sets the standards and ethics for the counseling profession and they produce ten scholarly journals, a monthly magazine, webinars, and books. He currently oversees a staff of 63 and a $14 million budget. ACA has more than 54,000 members. Rich has worked for ACA for 30 years, 20 of which as the Association’s CEO. He is also the President of the American Counseling Association Foundation.
Rich has presented on various issues impacting not-for-profit organizations relative to public policy, leadership development, ethics, membership retention, and product development.
Rich is his organization’s representative with the United Nations Non-Governmental Organizations. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the NGO/DPI.
His professional affiliations include the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) where he is a past Chair of the organization’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, completed a term on the ASAE Board of Directors in 2013, and was named an ASAE Fellow in 2012. In 2017, he received ASAE’s Key Award which honors an association CEO who demonstrates exceptional qualities of leadership in his or her own association and displays a deep commitment to voluntary membership organizations as a whole. Currently, Rich is on the CAE Commission and is a member of the Key Professional Associations Committee.
For ten years Rich served on the Board of Trustees of Excelsior College, an institution based in Albany, New York that is dedicated to adult and post traditional learners. His support of Excelsior is rooted in his personal experience in working with individuals facing personal and professional challenges, but who are dedicated to improving their lives through education. Rich is a Chair Emeriti of the board. During the July 2018 Commencement, Rich was recognized with an honorary doctoral degree from the College.
Rich holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. Gus Balbontin is one of them. He’s an investor, entrepreneur, founder and explorer who has spent two decades helping businesses adjust strategies, products, services, culture and individuals to better deal with rapid and regular changing markets.
As the former Executive Director and CTO of Lonely Planet, Gus led one of the most loved brands in the world through significant disruption. Easier said than done, trust me. Gus remains heavily involved with the startup scene around the world as a founder, investor and advisor. In his spare time, he’s the Entrepreneur in Residence at Victoria University.
Gus will delve deep into the digital transformation of the past two decades, sharing stories of how so many companies mishandled this seismic shift and how today’s business leaders can capitalise on the disruption that’s still occurring today.
Website link to Gus’s bio below:
Alexia Hilbertidou, Founder, GirlBoss New Zealand
She's joked with the Queen, flown with NASA, had lunch with Jamie (Oliver), tea with Teresa (May) and rubbed shoulders with David (Beckham). Described by the NZ Herald as the Headmistress of Gen Z, 20 year old Alexia will captivate your audience with insights from her leadership journey as the founder of GirlBoss NZ - the school project which has become NZ's largest organisation for young women. In 2 years, GirlBoss has 10,500 members and programmes have been implemented in 55 schools across New Zealand, Australia and the Cook Islands.
Alexia’s own mission is to get women to the table - the boardroom table that is, and she believes the decisions made while young are crucial in paving the way.
Through her advocacy work, Alexia has spoken at over 50 corporate and community events to over 30,000 New Zealanders about Gender Equality, Gen Z Mindset, Women in STEM, and the future of work.
In 2018, Alexia was awarded a Queen's Young Leader Award for Services to the Commonwealth by Her Majesty, The Queen at Buckingham Palace. She was selected from over 20,000 nominations and is the youngest Commonwealth Citizen to hold this honour.
Through her jaw dropping, name dropping stories Alexia proves that you are never too young (or too short) to create change.
At the age of 20, best mates Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett built a free mobile laundry in their old van to help the homeless. Orange Sky Laundry began in October 2014 and since then, the world first idea has rapidly expanded to 11 vans in Brisbane, Melbourne, SE Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Perth, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Wollongong.
Run by more than 600 volunteers across the country, the custom-fitted vans with two commercial washing machines and two dryers service 73 locations and wash more than 7,000 kgs of laundry every week. A catalyst for conversation, Orange Sky Laundry facilitates over 1300 hours of volunteering and conversation each week. The organisation has also responded to natural disasters, helping cyclone-affected communities in North Queensland, residents of the Great Ocean Road Bushfires, and more recently, Adelaide flood victims. Orange Sky Laundry to date has washed over 300,000 kgs of free laundry, but most importantly, fostered over 80,000 hours of positive, genuine and non-judgemental conversation.
In January 2016, Nic and Lucas were honoured as the first ever dual recipients of the Young Australian of the Year Award.
They have also been named QLD Young Achievers of the Year, and been finalists for the Telstra Business Awards, AIM Leadership Excellence Awards and Brisbane Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. They are currently nominated for the Professional Speakers Australia Breakthrough Speaker of the Year Award.
Lucas and Nic present their story of innovation, fast growth, social entrepreneurship, the impact of social media and how simple ideas can have an enormous impact. They speak at schools, corporates and conferences globally, and continue to inspire, motivate and do things differently!
As they continue to expand Orange Sky Laundry Australia wide, they aim to positively connect the community and improve the lives of others.
ACE Master of Ceremonies
Andrew Klein, Director, Spike Presentations
Director of Spike Presentations (....helping you get your point across) Andrew is one of Australia’s leading Professional Conference MC / Facilitators and a Presentation Skills & Pitching Skills speaker, writer and trainer. A former corporate lawyer, Andrew quit the law in the late 90’s before starting up his own business as a corporate trainer and speaker. As an MC, Andrew brings his casual yet corporate style to proceedings and is well-known on the conference circuit for his revealing speaker introductions, his improvisational skills and ability to adapt to different audiences. Apart from MC’ing, Andrew runs educational & interactive workshops and conference keynotes on Presentation Skills and Pitching for Business.
His corporate clients include BT, QBE, Suncorp, Westpac, Aon, McDonalds, NSW Health, Pyjama Foundation, KPMG, MLC, Dymocks, Hesta, Auto One….and his mother-in-law’s bridge club. Andrew works extensively with the Association market, having MC’d and spoken at countless Association conferences, including for the RCSA (recruitment), ASOFIA (shopfitters), HRIA (Hire and Rental), NIBA (insurance brokers) ACC (inhouse lawyers), FCA (franchise industry), PCOA (conference organisers) and CCIA (caravan & camping) and many others. Andrew’s hobbies include coaching basketball, eating hot chips, watching Survivor, walking his dog Pebbles and trying to convince his wife and 3 kids that he has a real job.
Anthony Kuhlmann, Chief Executive Officer, Red Apple Consultancy
Anthony is the CEO of Red Apple Consultancy – a company that helps organisations to build customer centric solutions for their customers and/or members.
Campbell Fisher, Managing Partner, FCB Group
Campbell Fisher is the Managing Partner and Solicitor Director of FCB Group and the Executive Chairman of enableHR.
Campbell is an Accredited Specialist in Employment and Industrial Law in both NSW and VIC with over 20 years experience. He is an experienced advocate and expert litigator in all Tribunals and Courts. Campbell specialises in providing strategic advice to align business’ workplace strategy to their commercial objectives.
Campbell also advises and represents professional rugby players and their Association in his role as General Counsel for the Rugby Union Players Association and is a Non-Executive Director of Youth Challenge Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that engages young people to volunteer for development programs in developing countries and Indigenous communities in Australia.
David A. Coriale, MBA, President
For over 30 years, Mr. Coriale has helped associations align their information technology (IT) with their mission and business objectives. As President, Mr. Coriale assists DelCor clients with the following:
David Buley, Chief Financial Officer, Association of Independent Schools NSW
David Buley is a CPA, has an MBA, and a Masters of Applied Finance and Investment. His career started with Deloitte in the 80's and subsequent experience includes many industry sectors and roles. As CFO at the Association of Independent Schools of NSW for over 25 years he’s seen the 3X growth of independent education and how the Association has had to adapt to an ever-evolving environment characterised by technology shifts, pedagogical innovation, and the resulting changing demands of members. Describing himself as an accounting futurist, preferring to look forward rather than backward, he sees tremendous potential for associations if they can innovate their operating and service models, by exploiting new technology and being willing to change their focus from 'here's what we've always provided' to 'what would you like us to provide now?'
David Pich, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Managers and Leaders
As the first national Chief Executive of the Institute of Managers and Leaders one of Australia's oldest, largest and most pre-eminent Membership-based organisations, David advocates for sound management and leadership practise in the workplace and beyond. He began his career in a senior HR role at Hewlett-Packard, and followed this in executive roles in Marketing, PR and Consulting at PwC and Computer Associates.
His first CEO appointment was at a medical research start-up at a major teaching hospital in Sydney. David is a graduate of Cambridge University and Western Sydney University. He sits on the Board of the Intensive Care Foundation of Australian & New Zealand and lives in Brisbane with his wife and two daughters. He has a passion for long distance running, although the sub-3-hour marathon continues to elude him.
Debbie Bradley, Group Account Director, Zadro Agency
Debbie is a straight-talking no-fluff marketing communications professional with over 18 years’ experience to her name. Originating from Leeds, in the UK, and now representing Zadro in Sydney, Debbie has successfully navigated both client-side and agency-side. Experienced in both B2B and B2C her achievements have been in a broad range of sectors including Associations, not-for-profit, pharma, corporate events, transport, community health and PetCare.
Debbie is a passionate member of the Zadro team and highly focused on assisting organisations achieve their communications objectives through strategic planning, content marketing, digital and social, PR and stakeholder relations.
Julian Moore, Director, SMS
One of Australasia’s foremost non-profit sponsorship practitioner specialising in charities, associations and other non-profits. He specialises in training, motivating and up-skilling boards and staff to improve sponsorship performance. Julian's work predominately includes sponsorship consultancy, sponsorship seeking, in-house training, facilitation services and keynote speaking. Julian draws on his extensive experience in both Australia and the United Kingdom to deliver sponsorship outcomes for his clients. Julian is also an accomplished and entertaining speaker who regularly presents at events around the world. Throughout his presentations, he gives real world examples and case studies that inspire and motivate attendees. He focuses on providing practical and useful ideas that can be implemented immediately to start benefiting your organisation.
Luigi Coco, President, Queensland Strawberry Growers Association & Director, Suncoast Gold Macadamias
Elimbah strawberry farmer and President of the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association, Luigi Coco has served on the executive board of the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association (QSGA) for the last thirteen years. From 2004 to 2007 he represented the Association as a delegate to the Industry Advisory Committee and Strawberry Australia Inc, which was were responsible for shaping the future of the industry in partnership with government bodies, DPI and HAL. Luigi is currently the President of (QSGA) Queensland Strawberry Growers Association and chair of the Queensland Strawberry Growers Association Promotional Council. In addition, Luigi currently serves on the board of Directors of the Elimbah Fruit Growers Association, and has been a Director since April 2009 with Suncoast Gold Macadamias.
Merlin Kong, Head of Innovation Network, innovAGEING
Merlin Kong is Head of innovAGEING, Australia’s innovation network for the age services industry. He has an eclectic background, including: Executive Director at Community Services #1, Executive Director at the ACT Property Council, Policy Strategy Director in the ACT Legislative Assembly, and has held innovation advisory roles with both start-ups and institutions.
Committed to sharing his experience with others, he actively volunteers his time mentoring young entrepreneurs, and has taught innovation and entrepreneurship, and business development strategy at the Australian National University.
Steven Spurr, Chief Executive Officer, Edelman Australia
Steve joined Edelman in 1998 and became Australia CEO in March 2016. Having over two decades of consultancy and in-house experience on brand and corporate assignments, prior to that he worked in 6 different Edelman offices. Most recently where he was COO of Edelman UK & Ireland, leading the day-to-day operations of over 600 staff across three offices.
As Edelman Australia’s CEO, Steve leads an award-winning team of 120 communications and content consultants across Sydney and Melbourne.
Steve combines his passions in economics, anthropology and science to deliver strategies to drive trust in today’s low trust world.
Vera Visevic, Partner, Mills Oakley
Vera heads up the Sydney not-for-profit & social enterprise team at Mills Oakley. Acting for numerous charities, religious and not-for-profit organisations, Vera has over 25 years experience in the legal profession. In her work, Vera is well recognised for her expertise in assisting clients with governance and fundraising issues, restructuring and mergers and regularly advises on constitutions and ACNC/ATO endorsements. Vera has written several academic works, including a chapter within ‘Charity Law’ (2012, 2016 and 2018) published by Thompson Reuters. Vera further edits the Clubs & Societies title in the Australian Encyclopaedia of Forms and Precedents, and reviewed the Community Care and Service regulatory compliance module for LexisNexis, covering such topics as the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and community housing. Vera sits on numerous charity boards, associations and committees including the ACNC Professional User Group, the Community and Consumer Consultative Group, Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW and The Eric Dare Foundation.
The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)