Conference 2017


Over two days we explored new trends in customer, workforce and business models. Learnt from leading academics and practitioners, and gained new knowledge skills and perspective.

Our 2017 Conference focused on inspiring and equipping the community services industry to be robust, innovative and customer focused at a time of momentous change.

This event was a must for leaders, and emerging leaders in the community services industry.

Click here to download the Conference Program

Presentations provided by speakers are available to download.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Keith Suter

Dr Keith Suter

Owning Our Future; Exploring the future of community services in the geopolitical context. Dr Keith Suter is considered one of Australia’s most influential global futurists. As a leading economic and social commentator, strategic planner, author and broadcaster we feel very fortunate that Keith will open the conference for us in 2017. Keith will bring his international and local expertise and insights to the future of community services industry in the Illawarra. Click here for more information on Keith.

Click here to download Dr Suter’s speaker notes

ABC Radio Interview

Dr Suter’s was interviewed prior to his conference appearance by ABC Radio. Click here to listen to the interview.

Dr Richard Denniss

Dr Richard Denniss

If the Future is Now – what next, and how do we own it? Dr Richard Denniss, an economist by training, has worked for the past 20 years in a variety of policy and political roles. In recent years he has been at the forefront of the national policy debates surrounding climate change policy and the Australian mining boom. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University. Prior to working at The Australia Institute Richard was the Strategy Adviser to the Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown, was Chief of Staff to the then Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, and held teaching and research jobs at Australian universities. Click here for more information on Richard.


Ruth Lawrence

Dr Ruth Lawrence

Taking Advantage of Social Benefit Bonds and Impact Investing. Dr Ruth Lawrence, Associate Director, Advisory for KPMG Australia. Dr Lawrence has over 10 years experience as an adviser to government across a range of government agencies. Dr Lawrence works with a team across KPMG to assist government and non-government organisations plan for social investment and  assess their readiness to participate in social investment transactions. She works with NGO’s and investors to design social impact transactions and social impact bonds. Prior to joining KPMG, Dr Lawrence was in NSW Treasury and worked on Australia’s first social impact bond. She has a background in child welfare and justice, and a PhD from University of California in Berkeley.  Click here for more information on Ruth.

Click here to download Dr Lawrence’s Presentation



Michelle Crawford

Michelle Crawford

Turning Work Upside Down; why 3P businesses are the new global leaders. Michelle Crawford is the amazing brain behind “Being More Human”. Michelle has 20 years of experience providing guidance, leadership development, recruitment support and strengthening the culture in organisations. This experience has shown her one truth – modern businesses are losing their humanity. Michelle has been recognised among the community and industry for her profound contribution both to the corporate world and to her much loved charities. Click here for more information on Michelle.

Click here to download Michelle’s White Paper Click here to download Michelle’s Presentation

Plenary Session Speakers

Mel Fuller

Mel Fuller

Literally Making for Purpose – How emerging technologies like 3D printing can be supportive not just disruptive. Melissa Fuller is an entrepreneur and advocate for a sustainable and ethical future that is informed and encouraged by the principles of the next industrial revolution. A catalysts for a new economy, her focus is on the intersection of design and manufacturing, and how that can create greater equality in society. As a co-founder of AbilityMate, Mel will talk about some of their organizational challenges and solutions, including innovative ways to fund activities models, salary setting, open- source design and more. Click here for more information on Mel.

Click here to download Mel’s Presentation


Natalie Lang

The Impact of the Gig Economy; and other changes to employment arrangements. Natalie Lang, Australian Services Union, NSW & ACT Branch Secretary. Natalie is the Branch Secretary of the Australian Services Union (NSW & ACT Services Branch).  Natalie has worked with members in the Water, Transport, Airlines, IT, Private Sector and Social, Community, and Disability services industries for ten years, including organising workers across NSW and the ACT in the ASU’s historic equal pay campaign which achieved wage increases of between 23% and 45% for social, community and disability workers.

Breakout Session Presentations

Click here to see the presentations from the breakout sessions on day 1 and day 2.

Facilitated Conversations

Day 1: “A flourishing economy cannot be built on top of a social graveyard” Dr Keith Suter.

Dr Keith Suter, Chris Lamont (Executive Director, Illawarra Business Chamber), Narelle Clay OAM (CEO Southern Youth & Family Services) and Cassandra Goldie (CEO Australian Council of Social Services).

Day 2: “At the end of the day, you want to be profitable, but that’s not the meaning of life.” Daniel Lamarre, Cirque du Soleil

Michelle Crawford, Melissa Fuller and Roy Rogers (CEO, Flagstaff).