Sam Bloom
Co-Executive Producer behind #1 Australian box-office and global Netflix hit movie Penguin Bloom

Sandra Sully "Sam Bloom has an incredible story, a beautiful spirit, and an undeniable determination to make the best of like. She is one of the most remarkable and resilient people I know."

Naomi Watts "Sam’s undeniable spirit and the intense physical and emotional journey she and her family embraced resonated with me both as a storyteller and as a mother."

Thursday, 3 June 1.30pm - 2.30pm 

If anyone had to get Back on Track it was Sam Bloom – A moving story of inspiration & courage, assisted by one feathered friend. Sam’s remarkable story has been transformed into a major motion picture. Penguin Bloom, the story that captured hearts around the world.

AN EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY
In 2013, Sam Bloom’s life changed forever when she suffered a tragic accident that left her paralysed from the chest down. 

Broken and hopeless, Sam reached her outer limits of suffering, but courage and determination she made her way back from the edge, scarred but undefeated.

Since her accident, Sam has inspired a bestselling book and major film, co-authored her own bestseller, competed for Australia at the elite level in two sports, and become a 2 x World Para Surfing Champion.

If anyone had to get Back on Track it was Sam Bloom – A moving story of inspiration & courage, assisted by one feathered friend

AN EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY In 2013, Sam Bloom’s life changed forever when she suffered a tragic accident that left her paralysed from the chest down. 

Broken and hopeless, Sam reached her outer limits of suffering, but courage and determination she made her way back from the edge, scarred but undefeated. 

Since her accident, Sam has inspired a bestselling book and major film, co-authored her own bestseller, competed for Australia at the elite level in two sports, and become a 2 x World Para Surfing Champion. 

Co-Executive Producer behind #1 Australian box-office and global Netflix hit movie Penguin Bloom

Presenters and Panelists


Simon Markham | Manager Strategy & Engagement | Waimakariri District Council, NZ

Wednesday, 2 June 11.00am - 12.30pm 

Simon is Manager, Strategic Projects with the Management Team at the Waimakariri District Council, a fast growing urban edge district north of Christchurch. He has held a range of policy, planning and management roles in and consulting to local and central government in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. For five years during and after the 2010-12 Canterbury earthquake sequence, Simon was Recovery Manager for WDC. This contribution was recognised in 2013 through a Civil Defence and Emergency Management Ministerial Gold Award for outstanding contributions to CDEM. In the period since he has had a management role in relation to regeneration of former housing land following the removal of 1,000 homes in the small town of Kaiapoi. That project received category and supreme awards in 2017 by the New Zealand Planning Institute and the NZ Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM, now Taituarā – Local Government Professionals Aotearoa). In 2019 this project was recognised by the Commonwealth Association of Planners receiving their Award for Outstanding Planning Achievement in the Commonwealth. He is a board member of Taituarā and a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors. He sits on a number of Advisory Boards and Committees, including for Local Government New Zealand and at Lincoln and Canterbury Universities.


Craig Milburn | General Manager | Kempsey Shire Council

Wednesday, 2 June 11.00am-12.30pm

Craig has over 40 years’ experience in private industry, local government and the not-for-profit sector. In addition to extensive ‘hands on’ service delivery experience, he has held positions which have had a senior management and strategic planning focus at a local and regional level. He has also led and worked with multi-disciplinary teams and interagency task groups. With over two decades in senior management roles within local government, Craig has a strong working knowledge in how to achieve best practice outcomes for an organisation while delivering quality services to regional communities. In February 2018, Craig took up the position of General Manager with Kempsey Shire Council on NSW’s Mid North Coast. Since that time, Craig has led the organisation through a major culture and organisational restructure and provided strong leadership to Council and the wider Macleay Valley community through the 2019/20 summer bushfire disaster and COVID-19.


Professor Roberta Ryan | Academic Director | Hunter Research Foundation Centre and The University of Newcastle

Wednesday, 2 June 1.30pm-2.30pm

Roberta has over 30 years’ experience in the private and academic sectors applying research and evaluation to practice particularly in the areas of community and stakeholder engagement, and strategic land-use planning. Roberta has undertaken over 400 methodologically complex research and evaluation projects of major government programs that have been assessed by the Australian Research Council as having a high and positive impact on policy. Roberta has developed frameworks for many public sector organisations, including the NSW Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Environment, Australia Council for the Arts and NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, and designed and delivered intensive evaluation training courses for senior executives through the Institute of Public Administrators in Australia (IPAA). Having worked over the last 10 years or so with the Australasian Institute of Public Works Engineers (IPWEA) on a joint Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government Program (ACELG) for strengthening asset management in local government nationally, Roberta has led the development of a range of manuals on asset management in local government including the Long Term Financial Planning Practice Note as well as the Levels of Service – Community Engagement, Practice Note 8. This work included extensive collaboration with local governments around Australia to support the development of improved strategic asset planning which was aligned with corporate planning and financial planning.


Allan Mills | NSW Government Leader | Deloitte

Thursday, 3 June 9.00am - 10.30am

Allan is on the national public sector executive team and leads the Finance & Enterprise Performance consulting team in NSW and Canberra. He is focused on supporting clients through significant change, primarily focusing on how the corporate centre and operations can be optimised. Allan has worked as CFO for a state agency and supported all levels of Government in their ambition to transform. He has led the future of regulation, smart city and digital government programs nationally and is a advocate for equitable service delivery across all members of our community.


Sandra Kubecka | Director Community Assets | Camden Council

Thursday, 3 June 9.00am - 10.30am

Sandra is the award recipient of the 2020 Ministers Awards for Women in Local Government – Alternative Pathways – Metropolitan. Sandra’s diverse career has spanned for more than 40 years in Local Government. She currently manages an extremely busy Directorate, in the largest growth Council in Australia, managing more than $2 billion of infrastructure assets, as well as major construction, design and maintenance projects, and sustainability outcomes for Camden Council.


Matthew Hyde | Chief Executive Officer and Board Member | Snowy Valleys Council

Wednesday, 2 June 11.00am - 12.30pm

A dynamic Chief Executive with over 15 years public sector senior leadership/executive experience. Demonstrated expertise has involved successful leadership and delivery across diverse portfolio areas including Governance, Corporate Finance, Human Resources, Customer Service, Community Services, Fleet, Land & Facilities and Information Management. With senior strategic leadership skills and a strong business development background including a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) and a graduate of the Company Directors course, I have been instrumental in setting strategy, developing plans, and obtaining commitment from senior teams, elected representatives and government to achieve desired results. My personal values are reflected in strong corporate values of Equity, Integrity and Respect and I use these values in my decision making and direction setting. I am excited to continue working toward a united Snowy Valleys Council that delivers quality services to the LGA.

Peter Tegart | Chief Executive Officer | Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council

Wednesday, 2 June 1.30pm-2.30pm

Peter Tegart is Chief Executive Officer of Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) following the merger of Queanbeyan and Palerang Councils in 2016 and recently recognised with the 2020 AR Bluett Award in the Metro/Regional council category. With a population over 60,000 and budget now over $300m, QPRC is forecast to become one of the largest regional councils in NSW and a merger success. Peter also sits on the TfNSW Regional Roads Panel and DPIE Infrastructure Contributions Panel.


Kate Macnaught | Manager | Sector Improvement, Taituarã NZ

Wednesday, 2 June 1.30pm- 2.30pm

Kate is the Manager, Sector Improvement for SOLGM. Kate is responsible for developing the Well-beings Indicator Project and overseeing the Vote 2019 project as well as other developments in the sector Improvement area for SOLGM. Kate’s previous roles have included Policy Manager at LGNZ where she worked on Better Local Government Reforms, the Productivity Review on Regulation, as well as other policy areas. Prior to that she was Strategy and Policy Manager at New Plymouth District Council. Kate came to New Zealand fourteen years ago where she was Regional Head of Business and Enterprise in the Regional Development Agency for the North East of England and Chief Executive of the Northern Business Forum. Kate has been a Director on several Boards in the UK and set up Excellence North East to run the Business Excellence Assessment Programme using the EFQM Excellence Model. In her spare time Kate enjoys music, reading and good food.


Annie Guthrie | Mediator, Coach and Facilitator

Thursday, 3 June 8.00am-9.00am

Annie Guthrie developed a diverse portfolio as a senior management consultant for several decades, and previously a lecturer at QUT and senior HR Manager in Department of Urban Services in Canberra. Annie offers experience in strategic R&D, OD, HRM and ADR. As a mediator, conflict management and negotiation coach, facilitator and trainer, Annie's focus has been on analysing situations and facilitating others to develop resilience, enhance leadership capability, resolve conflicts, navigate negotiations and achieve desired outcomes. Clients were in a wide range of industry, business and government sectors including extensive experience work with local government in SA, NSW, Vic, Qld and SA. She has also researched and facilitated programs exploring gender differences in negotiation and communication.


Nicole Stafford | Co-Chief Executive Officer | LeaderLab Global

Thursday, 3 June 11.00am-12.30pm

Nicole Stafford, Co-CEO of LeaderLab Global, is on a mission to amplify humanity in leadership. She draws on her 20 years of leadership experience and more than half a decade studying the codes and patterns of human behaviour to help leaders get the best out of their people/teams. Nicole says that the road to leadership success is in understanding self and others - how we communicate, connect, and collaborate with character. She works with leaders and teams spanning 10 countries to build their level of psychological safety, emotional intelligence, resilience at work, compassionate candour, and to consciously show up for each other in the most resourceful and accountable way. Nicole’s favourite quote is one by author, poet and civil rights activist, the late Maya Angelou “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


Meg Salter | Managing Director | Auridan

Thursday, 3 June 11.00am-12.30pm

Meg Salter is one of Australia’s most energetic and influential business speakers and trainers. She has been providing inspirational presentations and workshops for over 20 years to more than 70 companies in 13 countries. As the owner of Auridian Training & Consulting and with over 25 years’ experience in sales and service industries in Australia and the UK, Meg is dedicated to bridging the gap between what businesses are doing and what clients expect. With her no excuses approach to behavioural change and a common-sense attitude towards skill development, Meg’s unique and entertaining style will encourage even the most jaded to become outstanding businesspeople and leaders.


Ali Wastie | Chief Executive Officer | Bass Coast Shire Council

Wednesday, 2 June 11.00am - 12.30pm

With degrees in Arts, Education and holding a Masters of Diplomacy and Trade, Ali has held executive positions within the Victorian Public Service and Local Government. She is also an accomplished Board Director across the not-for-for profit, community, tourism and health sectors. She is also an accredited executive coach, mediator and alumnus of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. An authentic leader and outstanding communicator, Ali has achieved great outcomes for the boards, communities and organisations she has served. Ali is passionate about developing high performing teams and creating a workplace culture that is innovative, empowered, strategic, trusting and fun. Before joining Bass Coast Shire Council, Ali’s prior roles within the Local Government sector include Director City Communities at Melbourne City Council and Director of Social and Economic Development at Yarra Ranges Council.

Kathrina Lo | New South Wales Public Service Commissioner

Wednesday, 2 June 1.30pm - 2.30pm

Kathrina joined the Commission in April 2020 after previously working as a Deputy Secretary for the Department of Communities and Justice. Kathrina has extensive public sector experience with both state and federal governments. She has held senior executive roles in the NSW Department of Justice, NSW Audit Office and NSW Information and Privacy Commission. Kathrina has qualifications in law and economics. She is passionate about working in the public interest, and is a champion for diversity and inclusion. The Public Service Commissioner is an independent office holder.

Dr John Martin | Emeritus Professor La Trobe University

Thursday, 3 June 8.00am-9.00am

Dr John Martin is a Fellow of LGMA Queensland in recognition of his contribution to the development of elected members, senior managers, and staff in Australian Local Government over the last four decades. His focus on leadership, strategy and innovation in local government to build resilient local communities (the title of his forthcoming book) is reflected in the wide-ranging research and consulting he has undertaken across Australian local government and internationally in countries as diverse as Canada, Italy, South Africa, Kazakstan, China, Indonesia, The Philippines, Nepal, Fiji and New Zealand. His current research involves working with colleagues in Canada, Italy and New Zealand to understand local government's role in managing the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic. His undergraduate degree is in environmental science and graduate degrees in public administration, higher education teaching, a masters in sociology and a PhD in economics and international relations from the ANU.


Paul Bennett | General Manager | Tamworth Regional Council

Thursday, 3 June 9.00am - 10.30am

Paul has made Local Government his chosen career since being engaged by Armidale City Council straight out of high school in 1987. His career has now spanned six councils across NSW and he has held senior management positions since 2002. He achieved a primary career objective to lead a large, progressive regional council when he joined Tamworth Regional Council in 2010 – the highlight of his career so far. Paul has a Bachelor of Financial Administration (Accounting) and completed his MBA through the University of New England in 2013 with a major in Human Resource Management. He is a Past President of Local Government Professionals NSW (previously Local Government Managers Association) and served three years on the National Board of that organisation. He maintains an absolute passion for local government and the important role it has on the everyday lives of our local communities. He believes that the quality of any organisation is determined by the quality of its people, and that the attraction and retention of quality people can only be achieved through effective leadership.


Sharon Connolly | Change Communications Expert

Thursday, 3 June 11.00am-12.30pm

Sharon Connolly is a lead change manager in financial services and a respected educator in the change community.  Her PowerPoint templates and tech-driven solutions are must-have tools for change managers everywhere.  Sharon believes change managers must support leadership with an entrepreneurial mindset, offering innovative, creative solutions to deliver program outcomes. In a culture of change fatigue where emails don’t get read, it’s up to the change community to help leaders drive the future of work.


Dr Maria Zuschmann | Chiropractor, Speaker, Author, Podcaster and Coach | Aligned U

Thursday, 3 June 11.00am-12.30pm

Dr Maria Zuschmann, affectionately known as Dr M, is an Integrative Chiropractor, Speaker, Author, Podcaster and Stress Adaptation & Performance Coach. Dr M has been in the Health, Wellness and Performance space for over 20 years. Spending her early years in private practice as a Chiropractor developing a very keen interest in helping her clients with their Stress Adaptation structurally and through Posture Correction along with wellness workshops.