Mike is a playful and professional MC who uses his mix of fun team building and facilitation skills to Energize, Engage and Connect attendees.


Mike believes conferences are more than just an 'Information Dump' - They're an opportunity to:

  • Improve Performance

  • Build Relationships

  • Increase Loyalty

  • Motivate Your Team

  • Create an Engaged and Committed Workplace

With over 20 years experience in Learning and Development, ‘Action Based Learning’ and an expert in ‘Group Engagement’, Mike will keep us on track, working towards achieving your outcomes, all while having an bit of fun along the way!


You can find out more about Mike at www.mikesymonds.com

Allan is one of Australia’s most decorated civilians, a renowned professional keynote speaker, an international yachtsman who has sailed the globe and a Deputy Commissioner (Part Time) with the Mental Health Commission of New South Wales. Allan is also a qualified Trainer of the Canadian Mental Health Commission Programs, The Road to Mental Readiness and The Working Mind and a Mentor of the highly successful holistic health healing program for injured workers, The Change Room.


Allan is one of just 5 Australians in the past 44 years to be awarded the Cross of Valour (CV) Australia’s highest bravery decoration and the only Australian to be awarded a subsequent National bravery decoration. He has also been awarded other significant awards for bravery and service including the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to Mental Health Organisations and the Community and the NSW Police Commissioners Valour Award.


Having a lived experience of trauma related mental illnesses and recovery, Allan is a passionate advocate for proactive approaches and greater education relating to the physiological risks being faced in today’s workplaces.

Allan is also a member of the NSW Police Mental Health Intervention Team, The NSW Mental Health Commission Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, the Chairman of the National Police Bravery Awards Committee, Patron of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW, A Non Executive Director of the Gidget Foundation Australia and an Ambassador for Australia Day, beyondblue and Kookaburra Kids. 

Mark Pesce is a futurist, inventor, writer, entrepreneur, educator and podcaster. 

In 1994 Pesce co-invented VRML, a 3D interface to the Web. 

Pesce was a judge on the ABC’s hit series The New Inventors, celebrating Australia’s newest inventions, and writes an award-winning column for the global tech publication The Register. 

Pesce brings his skills as a futurist to diverse sectors of the economy, including financial institutions ranging from Westpac, World Bank, HSBC and SWIFT, and regularly facilitates and mentors hackathons on topics as diverse as fintech, blockchain, virtual reality, and education. 

Pesce hosts two podcasts: This Week in Startups Australia - exploring tech startups; and The Next Billion Seconds - winner of the Best Technical and Scientific Podcast of 2018 - connecting the work of today’s brightest thinkers with the world of tomorrow. 


Pesce has written six books, including The Playful World, which used toys such as Furby and LEGO Mindstorms to illuminate the interactive world of the 21st century. Pesce founded graduate programs at both the University of Southern California and the Australian Film, Radio and Television School, holding appointments as Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney, and Honorary Adjunct at UTS.

A Walkley Award-winning journalist and author, she presents ABC’s national flagship current affairs program 7.30 nightly and has two Walkley awards, Australia’s highest journalist honour. She is also the anchor of the ABC’s federal election and budget night broadcasts and has interviewed innumerable world leaders and celebrities, including Hillary Clinton, Aung San Su Kyi, the Dalai Lama, Leonardo Di Caprio, Harrison Ford and Patti Smith. 

Leigh has held numerous roles at the national broadcaster, including from 2001 to 2005 a stint as Washington Correspondent, covering the momentous years after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Her first book, Detainee 002: the Case of David Hicks, was published in 2007 to widespread critical acclaim. It was shortlisted for the 2008 Victorian Premier's Literary Prize and won the 2007 George Munster Award for Independent Journalism. Her second book, On Doubt, was published in 2009 and a second edition was released in 2017 with an updated section about the Trump post-truth era. Her third book, Any Ordinary Day published in October 2018 has already become a No 1 best seller.

She hosts a wildly popular culture podcast with her friend Annabel Crabb called Chat 10 Looks 3 … about books, television, films and cooking.

As an Enterprise Sales Engineer, Nazil Dean is responsible for reviewing opportunities for Sophos, conducting technical demonstrations for customers and partners, and assisting in the training and development of new Sophos employees. Additionally, Nazil is the product specialist for endpoint and network security products, which sees him determine the appropriate Sophos solutions for a range of customers.


Nazil has almost 20 years of experience in the IT industry, with more than 10 years as an IT security consultant. Before joining Sophos, he spent eight years working as a senior professional services engineer and pre-sales consultant for managed services provider, Avante IT.

Leading Outcomex’s business development of IoT for councils and agriculture, Shervin Fathinia cumulates over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. Prior to his career at Outcomex, Fathinia worked at Telstra for 6 years, as well as founded his own IT company, Unify, which was sold to iVision in 2009. Bringing together his acute knowledge of Collaboration and Enterprise Networking architectures, he now focuses on helping Outcomex’s customers plan their IoT strategy.   

Komal Thakkar is an Executive Management Consultant and Managing Director of Productivity First. Komal is a Certified GTD Coach and former Chair of the APSIG committee for PSA (The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia).

Productivity First is an International Partner of the David Allen Company in Australia, Certified and Authorised to teach the Getting Things Done (GTD) Methodology.

Komal comes with over 25 years of experience in the public and private sector having worked with people at different professional levels ranging from Board Directors, C-level Executives, Department Heads, Managers all the way to new hires in a number of industries including Technology, Healthcare, Education, Government, Legal, Construction and Financial Services.

Lorraine is a creative and diplomatic leader with over 20 years driving impactful change across public and private sectors in Australia and Ireland. She has specialist expertise in smart cities and digital transformation strategies, programs and practices.

At City of Melbourne she spearheaded a number of strategic initiatives to enhance Melbourne’s reputation as a smart city. She established and grew CityLab into a core innovation and engagement function for the City, established the City’s open data program, secured an IBM Smarter Cities grant and worked with the Victorian Government to implement free public WI-FI. Lorraine received two Municipal Association of Victoria technology awards for her achievements.

Recently Lorraine developed City of Ballarat’s Smart City and Innovation Framework and StartUp Ballarat vision securing partnerships and Federal and State Government funding to deliver key initiatives for Ballarat to thrive as a smart regional city.

Lorraine likes to demystify emerging technology by showing how it can solve current challenges or open up new opportunities. She believes in the importance of civic engagement and advancing public dialogue to ensure technology is developed and used to maximise public benefit. She is an advocate for sustainability and diversity initiatives and has sat on many judging panels for tech innovation awards and pitching events.

Lorraine enjoys public speaking and is sought after as a MC and a contributor to the dialogue on smart cities, disruption and emerging technology, and innovation in government. She is an advisor for Enterprise Ireland, an Irish government entity responsible for growing Irish businesses in world markets and sits on the Smart Cities Council’s Leadership and Policy Taskforce.

Adam Young  has over 30 years of extensive experience in Information Technology, primarily in Local Government.

He has a degree in Economics and numerous IT qualifications including MCP, MCSE, Project Management and ITIL.

Adam has lived in Coffs Harbour for over 20 years with his family , and enjoys his Team leader ICT support role at Coffs Harbour City Council.

He enjoys networking with other Local govt IT Professionals and was a founder of this conference in 1997.

He recently took ownership of the PCIDSS compliance implementation project at Council and would like to share his insights with the conference delegates to hopefully help them on their compliance Journey.

Astrolabe Group Smart City Consultant & Internet of Things (IoT) Alliance Principal Consultant

Geof co-founded the IOT Alliance, Australia - IoTAA in 2015 and today is their principal consultant and Chair of the Platforms and Interoperability Workstream. Geof is currently working in Smart City initiatives and developing Digital 5G and IoT Strategy, Data Sharing Policy and risk analysis for local Governments with his own consultancy and with the Astrolabe Group.

He also Chairs the Australian Computer Society’s (ACS’s) Data Sharing Technical Committee and sits on the ACS Technical Board and chairs Standards Australia IoT committee and participates in their Smart City initiatives. Extensive practical executive management, innovation and consulting experience in Telecommunications, Science and the emerging digital economy, Smart Cities and Internet of Things. Experience driving and transitioning science and ideas though innovation into the market. Specialties: Innovation, The Digital Economy, Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, Convergence across Media and Telecommunications, Business Development, Commercialisation, Platforms, interoperability, Shared/Linked Data, Transformation of the Telco business, Asia Pacific customers, public speaking, educating. New business models in the digital economy.

Matt is currently the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence Lead for Microsoft Australia, where he is responsible for building and executing strategies in these technology areas across sales, marketing and product. He works closely with customers to create plans for successful technology adoption, and provides technical leadership to both internal and external audiences. One of his current focuses is on the ethical and secure implementation of AI and IoT to improve the positive impact these technologies have on our businesses and our lives.

Simon’s nearly 20 year IT career has spanned numerous industries including Printing, Pre-Press and Graphic Design, Retail, Hospitality, Small to Medium Businesses, and most recently Local Government. He has embarked this year on Cyber Security Certification after recognising that Local Government faces ever more critical Cyber Security challenges. His passion lies with enabling people to be the “Human Firewall” – the first line of defence that all organisations must be able to rely on as part of their security posture.

Senior Cloud Solutions Consultant

Chad is an evangelist for all things cloud, UC and CX, with a passion for demystifying technology. Helping businesses understand both current and future landscapes while working through technological change is what excites Chad every day.

Trent is the client engagement lead for the GovDC program.  His role is to work with agencies, public entities and ICT vendors, so that the GovDC program’s goals (delivering savings, efficiencies, reliability and security for Government ICT) continue to be delivered.

Lisa Asquith is the acting Director of Technology Services for the NSW Government Department of Customer Service.  Using her considerable commercial experience to drive the government sector to become more dynamic and customer focused, she has delivered multiple programs that underpin the strategy for a single service organisation or One-Stop-Shop concept for the NSW government.  This work was recently noted by the Premier as a primary focus.

Michael Gorey is the Executive Officer Communications at Bundaberg Regional Council. In January 2019 he established the Bundaberg Now community news website as a Council initiative. It was featured recently on ABC Media Watch. Michael is a former regional newspaper editor and manager. He has also worked as a ministerial adviser, communications manager and consultant.

Michael Luhrs has over 25 years' experience in the HCM software industry and is seen as passionate advocate of using software as an enabler. He has worked with Global software companies. He is now an HCM software evangelist/product owner at TechnologyOne, in which, his passion for people and how to leverage technology to align and grow your people, improve productivity and customer success, provides the basis for working with organisations from around the globe, across all industries and driving the alignment and engagement of your employees.

Pat Devlin is a technology veteran with more than 20 years in the industry working with every conceivable technology from unified computing, virtualization, software, storage, security and networking with companies like Cisco, Hitachi, HP, Dell and Memorex Telex.

Pat has been building tech businesses for years and has been using and abusing technology for a lot longer than that. A self-confessed geek, Pat is an active blogger, a member of many industry groups, an amateur programmer and social media junkie.

For the last 10 years or so, Pat has been working as a regional leader for several exciting startup companies. His most recent startup role was with industry leading Hyper-convergence player, SimpliVity which was acquired by HPE in April, 2017. With the SimpliVity team fully integrated into HPE’s business, Pat has spent the last few years working within HPE’s South Pacific business and has recently taken on leadership of the South Pacific region for Aruba Networks. Pat is thrilled to be returning to HPE after a 15 year journey through the tech sector.


At Aruba, the mantra is customer first, customer last. It’s about relationships over transactions, where everything starts and ends with customers. It’s about changing the rules of networking to create smart digital experiences. Provided by a next-generation network – one that’s software-defined, secure, and designed for mobile and IoT.

When he’s not knee deep in technology, Pat enjoys getting thrown around in a Judo Dojo or playing Ice Hockey for the Norwest Emperors.

As the Public Sector Sales Director at Pitney Bowes Software, Joe Dantas has worked with Public Sector and Local Government departments for more than 15 years, helping enhance the quality of services they provide by enabling them to make better and informed decisions.

More recently, Joe has been working with State and local agencies to support them to better engage with their customers, drive smart city initiatives through intelligent infrastructure management, and work with local government to embrace digital transformation and provide digital services to their customers.

Natalie is an award-winning consultant with a strong interest in local government.  Solutions driven with an eye for detail and efficiency she is skilled in managing projects and meeting deadlines as well as coordinating staff and resources. A strong motivator excelling at creating systems and processes using ‘Plain English’ to ensure easy adoption

Malcolm Dillon is a local government practitioner who has worked in the industry for over 30 years with roles in Environmental Health, Building Certification and Development Assessment. Malcolm embraces process improvement and has been instrumental in the evaluation and adoption of new technology within Shoalhaven City Council.

With over 25 years’ experience in IT, Richard now heads the Business Improvement team at Tamworth Regional Council who are responsible for the implementation and support of all corporate applications across Council.

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