Keynote Speaker - Mr Michael McQueen

Michael McQueen is a multi-award-winning speaker, trend forecaster and bestselling author of 8 books. In addition to featuring regularly as a commentator on TV and radio, Michael is a familiar face on the international conference circuit having shared the stage with the likes of Bill Gates, Dr. John Maxwell and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Michael has spoken to over 500,000 people across 5 continents since 2004 including the RI Convention in Hamburg, and is known for his engaging, entertaining and practical conference presentations. Michael is a member of the Rotary Club of Crows Nest and was recently named Australia’s Keynote Speaker of the Year.

Keynote Speaker - Ms Holly Ransom

Named one of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women by the Australian Financial Review, Holly is widely recognised as one of the world’s top female keynote speakers. She has delivered a Peace Charter to the Dalai Lama, interviewed Barack Obama on stage, was Sir Richard Branson’s nominee for Wired Magazines “Smart List” of Future Game Changers to watch in 2017 and was awarded the US Embassy’s Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Leadership Excellence. Holly has presented over 500 sessions across six continents in the past three years, super-charging audiences and bringing a unique voice to public, not-for-profit and corporate decision-making forums. Holly led Australia’s largest Rotary club as the world’s youngest ever Rotary President (Rotary Club of Crawley, WA) and is currently a member of the Rotary Club of Melbourne.

Keynote Speaker - Eliza Ault-Connell AM

Eliza Jane Ault-Connell was born in Sydney, New South Wales, on 19 September 1981. In 1997, at the age of 16, she nearly died from meningococcal disease.
She had both her legs amputated above the knees two days after contracting the disease. She said "Amputation wasn't a decision I had to make: I was in a coma at the time. Mum and Dad were told that's what had to be done to save my life, so in that sense there was no choice." Later she had to make the decision to have most of the fingers on each hand removed. She was in hospital for six months and in 1998, she acquired prosthetic legs.
She is the Director of Meningococcal Australia and is involved in promoting the awareness of meningococcal disease in the Australian community.
Before her illness, Ault-Connell excelled in netball and basketball. In 1998, she started running using her prosthetic legs and was classed T44 athlete. However, she was forced to move to wheelchair racing as a T54 athlete due to a problem with the bone in the stump.
Ault-Connell's first major international competition was 2002 Commonwealth Games where she won the bronze medal in the Women's Wheelchair 800m. At the 2002 IPC Athletics World Championships, she competed in three events and won a silver medal in the Women's 400m T54 event. At the 2004 Olympic Games, she finished second in the demonstration sport of Women's 1500 m wheelchair and the Women's 800 m wheelchair. She also participated in the 2004 Summer Paralympics. At the 2004 Athens Paralympics, she competed in five events and did not medal. Ault-Connell won three consecutive Oz Day 10K Wheelchair Road Race from 2004 to 2006. She won a bronze medal in the Women's 800m T54 at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. At the 2006 IPC Athletics World Championships, she competed in three events and won a bronze medal in the Women's 800m T54.
At the 2019 London Marathon which was also the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships marathon event, she finished fourth in the Women's T46. At 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, she won the bronze medal in the Women's 800m T54.
She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours "for significant service to community health, and as a Paralympic athlete."

Keynote Speaker - Chris Cuffe AO

Chris has many years of experience in building successful wealth management practices, most notably at Colonial First State which he joined in 1988.  He was instrumental in taking the company from a start-up operation to become Australia’s largest investment manager during his fourteen-year tenure.  Chris then joined Challenger Financial Services Group Limited in early 2003 as Chief Executive Officer.
Chris is now involved in a portfolio of activities including a number of directorships, investment committees and in various roles assisting the not-for-profit sector.  In addition to being Chairman and Founder of Australian Philanthropic Services, this includes:
  • Investment Committee member of UniSuper (the $80 billion superannuation scheme servicing the staff of universities and related institutions across Australia);
  • Chairman and non executive director of Atrium Investment Management (a national wealth management firm);
  • Chairman of Hearts and Minds Investments Limited and non executive director of Global Value Fund Limited, Antipodes Global Investment Company Limited and Argo Investments Limited (investment companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange);
  • Non Executive director of Class Limited (a listed software company);
  • Founding director and portfolio manager of Third Link Growth Fund (a managed investment scheme investing in Australian shares where the management fees received are donated to charity); and
Chris holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of NSW and a Diploma from the Securities Institute of Australia (now the Financial Services Institute of Australasia).  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, a Fellow of the Institute of Company Directors and an Associate of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia.  In 2007 Chris was inducted into the Australian Fund Manager’s RBS Hall of Fame for services to the investment industry.  In 2017 he was appointed as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia.
Chris is also a trustee director and portfolio manager of Australian Philanthropic Services Foundation.

Keynote Speaker - Chris Mirams

Born to a medical family, Chris always knew his future was on the land.
He embarked on a farming career as a jackaroo in 1981, working on sheep stations across Australia, before attending Agricultural College, where a quest for knowledge balanced his enthusiasm for hard physical labour outdoors. Working through the ranks, Chris was equally happy studying applied genetics or writing a budget, as mustering a paddock on horseback, with his tireless black and tan kelpies. 
Chris’ farm management career culminated in managing an iconic grazing property in the southern Riverina. This property quickly became a stamping ground for scientists and researchers and a leading example of large scale, highly productive, sustainable management. During that time Chris did a Group Study Exchange to Japan, Chaired EverGraze, a national farming systems research and development project, Chaired Holbrook Landcare, completed a Diploma in Financial Markets and graduated as a Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Program. In 2012 Chris and his family left the Station and established a farm management consultancy, focused on rural leadership and farmer education.
Chris has enjoyed Non-Executive Director roles on regional and agricultural boards, including Holbrook Landcare, Scots School Albury, Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program, Meat Livestock Australia and its subsidiaries. Chris is currently on the Board of North East Water, the Red Meat Advisory Council and is Chair of Sheep Producers Australia. A graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors,
Chris has a passion for the farming industry and believes that leadership is about bringing out the best in others.

Keynote Speaker - Catherine Smith

Senior Program Coordinator
Road Safety Education Limited

Based in Melbourne, Catherine joined Road Safety Education (RSE) in January 2012 when the RYDA Program was expanded into Victoria. She is responsible for the booking and delivery of all RYDA Programs in metro and regional Victoria, including the recruitment and training of facilitators and Rotary volunteers.
To date, over 15,000 students have attended RYDA in Victoria at three metro and three regional venues.
Prior to working for RSE, Catherine was an Events Producer who also specialised in Operational Management, IT Systems, Staff Training and Database management for not-for-profit organisations and event companies.
Catherine was a member of her local Leos and Lions Clubs for over 10 years, also servicing on District Council multiple times, but don’t hold that against her.

Keynote Speaker - Greg Rappo

Greg is Program Director with Road Safety Education Limited based in Sydney – he joined the company in 2008 and was appointed to his current position in 2015. He works closely with Rotary Clubs, major sponsors and government agencies to promote continued growth of the RYDA road safety education program in Australia and New Zealand.
Greg has a background in sales and marketing that has included a range of senior management positions with multi-national corporations including Chevron, Abbott Laboratories and Sumitomo. He was admitted as a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors in recognition of his training and extensive experience as a company director.
He has been an active volunteer with the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) for over 14 years including a role as the Deputy Commander of the Sydney Ku-ring-gai SES unit with specific responsibility for Media and Community Engagement.
Greg has been a member of Rotary for over fifteen years and is a Past President of the Rotary Club of St Ives and a Past Assistant Governor in Sydney Rotary District 9685.
Speaker - Greg Ross (PDG) - Chairman Australian Rotary Health
Greg joined Rotary in 1976 and it has been a large part of his life ever since.
A Rotarian with North Balwyn since 1986, Greg served as District 9800 Governor in 1991/92 and joined the Board of Australian Rotary Health in 2013.
He created Lift the Lid on Mental Illness, a national campaign to reduce mental illness through prevention research and will serve as ARH Chairman until September 2020.
Best known to Australian audiences as Tony Benjamin, one of the cops in the long running television series Cop Shop, Greg has been a professional actor and singer since graduating from NIDA in 1967.  Greg raised three adult children, Simon, Arna and Sophie, who are all successful professional performers in Australia and internationally.
Whilst our “Vision” may be turned toward the future during the 2020 Conference, we haven’t forgotten about the great traditions that go along with attending a Rotary Conference. So, get ready to book your place in the Sports Day activities and then join us at a very entertaining Sportsmen’s Dinner with Eliza Ault-Connell.
View all the projects taking place within your district at the “What Rotary Does” exhibition.
Be a part of our spectacular Gala Dinner on Saturday, which will showcase the region's finest gourmet produce and wines, with the focus of the night being all about fun and fellowship.