2018 speakers

Portrait shot of Lisa Wilkinson

Lisa Wilkinson OAM

Australian media icon

Lisa Wilkinson’s media career got off to an astonishing start when she became the youngest ever editor of a national magazine - Dolly - at the tender age of 21. Four years later, after almost tripling the circulation, Lisa became editor of the iconic Cleo magazine. With her skills then in demand internationally, Lisa set up her own magazine consultancy, whilst juggling three small children and her new role as radio host.

Lisa made the switch to television, initially with Foxtel then to Channel Seven before joining Channel Nine at the helm of Nine’s Today Show. After 12 years as co-host where her talents took the program to the number one spot in breakfast television, Lisa accepted a new challenge as host of The Project.

Apart from her diverse media skills, Lisa is also known as a mentor to young women and men around the world who have gone on to become successful magazine editors themselves. As well as being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to the print and broadcast media, Lisa is also a global ambassador of The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Portrait shot of Jane Lu

Jane Lu

The not so lazy CEO

Life in a cubicle was not for Jane Lu who in 2010 quit her corporate finance job and opened an online clothing store ‘Showpo’ from her parents garage. What started with a laptop and a few shelves of clothing is now a global fashion empire worth over 30 million in revenue, delivering over 50,000 orders every month to 80 countries, and a massive social media following boasting over 1.6 million followers.

With an ambition to build Showpo into a $100 million business by 2020, Jane’s ‘Lazy CEO’ social handle is not a true reflection of her work ethic. Conversely, it is her unshakable belief that once you have found a job you love, you’ll never have to work another day in your life. 

Portrait shot of Daniel Motlop

Daniel Motlop

Sustainability through partnership

Before discovering his passion for business, Daniel Motlop was a determined football player playing a total of 130 games for North Melbourne and Port Adelaide. In 2016 Daniel became general manager and part-owner of Something Wild. The partnership between him and the Gunner family saw the company become Australia’s first Aboriginal-owned supplier of game meats and native food.

As a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander man, Daniel is passionate about promoting the ethical, sustainable and permitted use of native Australian ingredients. With a focus on engaging and supporting Aboriginal foragers and suppliers, Daniel has become an advocate for educating consumers on the ethical harvesting of these products. His hopes are that the current trend spotlighting Aboriginal food will help build a sustainable industry that is respectful and beneficial to Aboriginal communities and Traditional Landowners.

Daniel will discuss how a joint venture helped him grow from a small business to a medium business with acres, factories, employees and shop fronts.

Portrait shot of Gus Balbontin

Gus Balbontin

Change and digital transformation in tourism

Gus Balbontin knew at eight years old that he would travel the world. At 17, Gus earned a travel scholarship that lead him to Byron Bay, then journeyed over 40,000kms through South Africa without spending a cent. During this time, he enjoyed discussing amazing journeys and travel guidebook improvements with other travellers.

Against all odds, this passion is what would eventually land him his dream job at Lonely Planet. As the executive director and CTO of Lonely Planet, Gus led the company from dominating the world of travel books to dominating digital travel and a mobile revolution few saw coming.

Gus is a big thinker who doesn’t let ‘life’s hurdles’ get in the way of big solutions. His knowledge and expertise in transformation and digital innovation is genuinely impressive, as he teaches his audience how to navigate the struggles and successes that even great brands in the world experience.

Rob and Sarah Cook with sun setting in background

Rob Cook

Inspiration and excellence in innovation

Rob and Sarah Cook along with their sons Braxton and Lawson lived and worked on Suplejack Downs station in the remote Tanami Desert of the Northern Territory. The young family’s lives changed forever nine years ago when Rob was involved in a horrific helicopter crash that left him a quadriplgic.

Rob and Sarah have since left the Northern Territory and are successfully running a breeding and fattening business based at Bucca in Queensland. This unique pair have adopted innovation and technology allowing Rob to maintain his physical role within the business.

Rob received a prestigious Nuffield scholarship where he studied innovation and technology to assist injured farmers in the cattle industry. The young couple embarked on an epic 730km journey across the Tanami Desert in a 4x4 wheelchair becoming the first quadriplegic to do so.

Rob is a bestselling author and has received numerous awards including an Australian courage medal, local hero award and the Australian farmer of the year award. 

Rob still maintains that without Sarah by his side, none of this would have been possible.