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.
ACE Keynote Speakers
Exclusively represented by Saxton Speaker Bureau
An Award-Winning Leadership Strategist, Harvard-trained coach and member of the esteemed Forbes Coaches Council, Shade Zahrai is a specialist in building a success mindset, self-belief and self-mastery for business professionals, and enhancing people-centric cultures.
Shade Zahrai is recognised for her superhuman ability to translate neuroscience and psychology research into practical, actionable strategies to accelerate success. As Principal and Director of Influenceo Global Inc., a leadership development, consulting and research firm, she consults, trains and coaches leaders and teams from startups to Fortune-500s, breathing life into organisational culture to enhance change-readiness for transformation, increase engagement, support the development of people-centric strategies and boost commercial performance.
A former commercial lawyer with a background in psychology and strategy consulting, bolstered by 10+ years across a top tier legal firm and Big-4 bank, Shade is very in touch with the human side of a business and how to optimise performance. She also specialises in programs for high performing women to maximise confidence and supercharge success.
As an in-demand keynote speaker, Shade is renowned for her ability to infuse motivation, science and storytelling with practical strategies and solutions to shift mindsets and drive positive action in audiences. Her passion lies at the intersection of psychology, spirituality and business. Shade’s keynotes are characterised by authenticity, practicality and empathy, and create lasting impact.
Shade is a best-selling author, Harvard-trained leadership coach, an established performer and speaker featured on TED and TEDx, and 3x Australian champion latin dancer. She's a former lawyer with a background in psychology (specialising in positive psychology) and also received her MBA in 2018.
Awards and Accolades: She’s a current member of the esteemed Forbes Coaches Council and a regular contributor to Forbes.com, named Mentor of the Year in the 2019 Women in Financial Services Awards, a finalist in the prestigious Telstra Women in Business Awards in 2019 and 2020, finalist in the Women in Finance Awards 2019, a Future Business Council Scholar and Future Leader Scholar in 2017 and 2018, and a Westpac Woman of Influence in 2016.
Exclusively represented by Saxton Speaker Bureau
David is an Antarctic Expedition Leader and Leadership expert who specialises in hostile environment diplomacy, resilience, remote leadership, specialized instruction, and mentoring.
His first furore onto the international stage was as a young Platoon Commander in the Solomon Islands in 2007, here, as part of the Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands (RAMSI) he worked to maintain peace and order in the island nation.
It was this first leadership experience that shaped David's ethos and mindset for the years ahead and where he learnt valuable lessons about the need for empathetic leadership and adapting to experiences of the moment.
In 2019 seeking a change of environment and pace but seeking a role that would draw on all his previous experience, David embarked on an Antarctic Expedition to lead Australia’s Davis Research station for a year. What he and his team couldn’t have predicted was that whilst they were away, a global pandemic would change the world they left and leave them isolated longer than ever expected and forced to endure an extended stay without resupply and alone. David returned from Antarctic in April 2021 having spent an incredible 537 days away from Australia and having missed the entire of 2020 and the pandemic response, adapting to the new world and establishing himself in Melbourne as a professional speaker and expert on isolation and leadership.
Upon returning from the Solomon Islands, David began working with Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was soon overseas on his first Diplomatic posting to the Australian High Commission, Islamabad, at the height of the International coalitions efforts to bring stability and peace to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It was here that David saw a different side of conflict and humanity as the security and political climate of the region changed daily and where certainty was rarely part of daily life. Following his time in Pakistan, David took a sabbatical from diplomacy and worked as a freelance photographer based in Istanbul, Turkey, as he followed the stories of refugees escaping the growing conflict in Syria to the ancient history of the Mediterranean.
As the conflict grew in Syria and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threatened regional security, David was part of Australia’s contribution to Operational Enduring Freedom and the international effort to defeat ISIS. Here, David worked in a dynamic and hostile environment and learnt the value of empowering remote leaders and teams in unpredictable circumstances and under constant change.
Gihan Perera is a futurist, conference speaker, author and consultant who gives you a glimpse into what’s ahead – and how you can become fit for the future, in your professional and personal life.
Since 1997, he has worked with business leaders, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and other change agents – helping them with their strategy for thriving in a fast-changing world.
He has clients throughout Australia, as well as in New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the USA and Canada.
He is the author of “The Future of Leadership”, “Disruption By Design”, and 10 other books.
He has always taken the lead in embracing emerging technologies and trends, from his university thesis in robotics and artificial intelligence, to leading a software development team building the infrastructure for the early Internet, founding one of Australia’s first Web development companies in 1996, teaching thought leaders how to engage in e-learning platforms, and helping business leaders build their personal brand and online influence.
Because innovation is everybody’s business, and the best ideas can come from anywhere, he has worked with a number of industries – including healthcare, financial services, mining and resources, property, local government, education, and technology.
Forbes magazine rated him the #5 social media influencer in the world (and #1 in Australia) in his area of expertise.
He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), the only internationally recognised designation for professional speakers. His formal background is in science and technology, with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Australia. But he’s always been interested in people and the way they communicate – and how to become ft for the future, so they embrace change, act on opportunities, and live happier lives.
Michelle Stanton, Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, Zone Culture
Michelle, Co-founder and CEO of Zone Culture, is a Thought Leader in the field of Organisational Culture and The Zone – the Flow state of peak performance. Michelle is the author of The Timeless World - Debunk your fears and discover Heaven on Earth and Selling in the Zone - Stress free success in sales. She is a past President of the Professional Speakers Association in South Australia and a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders.
Known for her enthusiastic and engaging style, Belinda is frequently engaged by associations to assist with strategy development and implementation. She is a skilled facilitator and can speak knowledgeably on an array of topics relating to association strategy, business models, and membership. Revealing insights from her personal and professional experiences over more than 25 years working with associations, she ensures that participants walk away with practical ideas and insights they can immediately apply.
Belinda has written four books: The Membership Machine, Membership Fundamentals, The Membership Managers’ Handbook, and Association Annie: Herding Cats. She authored the white papers Association Apocalypse and Membership is Dead? and writes the popular Association Annie comic strips.
Belinda works at Strategic Membership Solutions, is a consultancy dedicated to assisting associations to transition to the new operating landscape. At SMS she assists clients in a variety of ways including: Board and Staff Briefings, Strategic Planning Facilitation, Membership Strategy Development, Sponsorship and Partnership Strategy Development, Sponsorship Coaching Programs, Membership Coaching Programs, Leadership Coaching, and more.
Banu Kannu, Chief Experience Officer & Co-Founder, Uncommon Conferences
Banu Kannu is a self-confessed content and connection junkie with over 15 years' international experience across various industries. She creates & curates a wide range of content and experiences that connect people, meaningfully and joyfully.
In her most recent role at a Finnish industrial corporation, Banu was part of a small team that introduced a completely new unconference concept, Gas Fest, which continues to be a driving force for change in the marine and energy industries.
Banu is passionate about empowering UC’s clients to stage similar results-driven gatherings that drive true change. She is also a professional moderator and facilitator (in English and Mandarin) at high-level meetings and conferences around the world.
Originally from Singapore, Banu has lived and worked in Australia and China (13 years in Shanghai) with extended time in London, New York and Hong Kong while completing an Executive MBA. She now calls Perth home.
Banu enjoys time at the beach, trying out adventurous recipes and being a passionate West Coast Eagles supporter. Current favourite cities are Helsinki, Tel Aviv and Munich.
Julian is Australasia’s foremost non-profit sponsorship practitioner, specialises in generating revenue for associations and other non-profits. He does this through upskilling staff and boards to improve sponsorship performance. Julian is an accomplished and entertaining speaker. 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. Julian's work includes sponsorship consultancy, sponsorship seeking, in-house training, facilitation services and keynote speaking. He draws on his extensive experience in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to deliver outcomes for his clients.
Venessa Paech (BFA, MA) is an internationally regarded online community expert and educator. She has led community or Lonely Planet, REA Group (realestate.com.au), Envato and Australia Post, and her private clients have included: ABC, AASW, Teach for Australia, QUT, University of Sydney, SANE, Woolworths and many more.
In 2009 Venessa founded the Australian Community Manager Roundtable which in 2011 became Swarm, Australia’s premiere conference for community practitioners.
She is Co-Founder and Director of Australian Community Managers (ACM), the national centre of excellence for online community management training and resources. ACM hosts a 6000+ online community, produces research into community management, facilitates the national Code of Ethics for community professionals and offers training for anyone working with online groups or communities (professional or volunteer).
Venessa works in several international community management leadership collectives, and liaises with industry, government and researchers to grow community management practice in APAC. Venessa developed and teaches the first post-graduate online community management Unit for the University of Sydney and is the resident Community expert for the Future Work Skills Academy. She is a published academic, and a PhD Candidate (University of Sydney) researching AI and online communities.
Shane is a Queenslander by birth, Melbournian by choice, curious by nature and creative at heart. He has spent the last decade developing remarkable leaders and teams.
He is an expert in leader communication, blending his experience in business & psychology to help leaders communicate, connect and collaborate more effectively in order to bring out the best in those they lead.
As a speaker, coach and trainer, Shane has partnered with some of Australia’s most well known and loved businesses across the NFP, public and private sectors and his work has been featured in a number of Australian and Global publications including Forbes, The Australian, Marketing, HRD, In The Black and more.
His coaching helps individuals and teams better understand what makes them exceptional and how they can leverage that to achieve individual and collective outcomes.
Shane is a Gallup certified strengths coach, member of the Forbes Global Coaches Council, founder of the People Leaders Network and the author of ‘Lead The Room – Communicate a Message That Counts in Moments That Matter’. Shane also serves as director for the Asia Pacific Region Board of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).
Michelle Lelempsis, Managing Director, Causeis
Michelle has consulted, trained and presented in Australia and globally to 100s of associations to help them enable their strategies. Whether Michelle is presenting on member experience, engagement scoring, data analytics or how to align technology to meet your internal or external expectations, you’ll find her passion and enthusiasm for the industry contagious.
With a career spanning nearly 20 years in IT, associations and not-for-profits, Michelle founded Causeis to bring a new level of expertise across strategy, digital and iMIS consulting. Actively working with more than 50 associations representing 25 industries, Causeis provides expert digital and strategic consulting solutions. Combined with our preferred technology partners including the global-leading software iMIS and Higher Logic we help associations grow, transform and thrive.
Vera Visevic, Partner, Mills Oakley
Vera heads up the Sydney Not-For-Profit & Social Enterprise team at Mills Oakley Law Firm. 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.
Marcus Duhon, Customer Success Manager, Higher Logic
Alistair McDonald, Head of Business Development and Marketing FCB Group & HR Assured
Panel Moderated by:
Paul Ramsbottom, Managing Director at ASI (Asia-Pacific)
Charles Cameron, CEO, RCSA Australia & New Zealand
Merlin Kong, Head of Innovation, Leading Aged Care Services
Tom Dunsmore, General Manager, Australian Boarding Schools Association
Andrew Hiebl, CEO, Association of Australian Convention Bureaux
Pat Sparrow, CEO, Aged & Community Services Australia
Chris Roberts - Chief Executive, Tourism Industry Aotearoa
The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)