Thank You to our Speakers

Master of Ceremonies

Nina Macken

Director of Engagement, Ethos Urban

Nina is an expert in bringing together diverse groups, communities and stakeholders to deliver positive urban outcomes.

A trusted adviser to her clients and a skilled facilitator, Nina has an excellent understanding of the complex challenges and risks during the planning, design and delivery of major developments.

 Nina has chaired a number of stakeholder and community reference groups and is regularly called on to facilitate workshops for clients, including the NSW Government.

She has 20 years’ experience developing and implementing tailored stakeholder engagement and communications strategies within the planning, infrastructure and policy space, and a reputation for delivering outstanding results for both government and private sector projects.

Keynote Speakers

Holly Ransom

CEO, Emergent Global and Author of The Leading Edge

At five years old, Holly’s Grandmother Dorothy said to her “Honey, if you walk past it, you tell the world it’s okay” 

Holly has devoted her life and leadership to this mantra ever since; inspiring audiences around the globe to stand up and lead the change they care enough to make.

Through her leadership development firm, Emergent, she has produced real-world results for clients such as P&G, Microsoft and Virgin. Holly is also an accomplished board director for organisations such as Port Adelaide Football Club and Hudson. 

A proud champion for diversity and inclusion, Holly is Chair of Pride Cup Australia and devoted to challenging LGBTI+ discrimination within sporting clubs. She also co-founded Energy Disruptors Conference, named Canada’s number 1 conference, 2 years running. 

Isabella GiaVulva

Community Engagement Drag Queen Participation Consultant Extraordinaire

Isabella GiaVulva is a Community Engagement Drag Queen Participation Consultant Extraordinaire, known around the world for her innovative communications and engagement strategies that bring joy, laughter, and learning together.

With too many years of experience to count, Isabella brings her unique brand of creativity to unlock fabulous training and participation opportunities for all members of the community. From the corporate halls of international conferences to grassroots community organisations Isabella uses performance to shine a rhinestone spotlight on the tumultuous world of community engagement, market research and communications.

Isabella has performed her hilarious Highway 12 Upgrade at international conferences across the globe. She has delivered the show as Keynote Presentations at IAP2 Conferences in Canada and the USA and sold out the Darlinghurst Theatre Company during Sydney Mardi Gras in 2024.


Anne Pattillo

Director, Patillo 

Anne is the founder and director of Pattillo. With over 30 years’ experience in facilitation and consulting, she’s a strategic thinker, an international leader in stakeholder engagement and a generous sponsor of artists.

Anne has become best known for her transformational work with leadership teams. There is nothing she loves more than working with leaders to reignite their energy, realign to purpose and galvanise them into action.

Anne is recognised for her work as a leader in community engagement and the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2), including taking a central role in the design of the current IAP2 engagement frameworks and training.

Donna Groves

Managing Director, Comacon. Author of SHINE and A Difficult Woman. Podcast host SHINE. Wellbeing Director, Coach and Facilitator 

Donna is a community engagement specialist with 30 years’ experience delivering the stakeholder and community engagement for over 200 infrastructure and natural resources projects. She has owned and operated Comacon for 15 years and throughout her career has worked in senior stakeholder and community engagement roles for both Government and the private sector, including and 18 month second as Head of Communications and Engagement for Infrastructure Australia.

Donna has a passion for supporting people and communities to own and share their stories, including how they are engaged with. The wellbeing of communities and people is at the core of her work and the focus of Comacon’s delivery of stakeholder and community engagement,

Donna is a passionate sportsperson and supporter. She is a current football (soccer) player, a retired netballer, a current netball coach and sits on the board of numerous sporting bodies. Wellbeing, community empowerment and supporting women in sport are what drives Donna.  

Dr Edi Lopes McInnes

NHMRC Ext Fund Res Fellow (A), University of Adelaide

I am a public health/social researcher with a background in journalism, public relations and management based at the University of Adelaide (Australia). Currently, I am working on an NHRMC project to improve community trust, acceptance, and adoption of stem cell-based therapies in Australia.

My research relates to innovative ways to engage diverse stakeholder institutional decisions (projects, policies, and other types of initiatives) in various sectors (academic, governmental or private). I am interested in the research, implementation and evaluation of engagement strategies that incorporate the values and perspectives of all stakeholders to improve decision-making processes.

Addressing inequality through increasing participation and listening to diverse perspectives is what I hope to achieve with my work.

When I am not working, I love to walk my dog, go trekking and rock climbing, and travel and explore new places with family and friends.

Dr Jane Bringolf

Chair, Centre for Universal Design Australia

Jane Bringolf is Chair of Centre for Universal Design Australia, a registered charity seeking a more inclusive world. She wants to see a world where designers and policy makers automatically consider the diversity of the population and create inclusive built environments, products, services and communications. She writes regularly on universal design and inclusive practice and contributes to various advisory panels. Jane’s academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Social Science, MBA and PhD and she is also a Churchill Fellow.

Jacinta Cubis


Jacinta Cubis is a (fl)awesome facilitator who lights up the room as a speaker and MC. Audiences love her energy, creativity and humour. Nobody sits still, everybody engages.

Specialising in visual thinking, Jacinta creates captivating cartoons that simplify complexity. With 25+ years of facilitation experience, Jacinta has earned a reputation as a go-to facilitator, trainer and mentor for clients in diverse sectors including government, universities and community organisations, as well as consultants, technical experts and fellow facilitators.

For Jacinta, facilitation is a crucial skill for life and work. She loves creating content to shows its amazing impact and how to get better at it.

Jacinta lives in Melbourne and works anywhere, online and onsite. When she’s not lighting up audiences, you might find Jacinta on her yoga mat, in her art studio, on the tennis court or the tango dance floor.

Kate Kernaghan

Managing Director - Strategic Communication, Factotum Communications

Kate Kernaghan is the Managing Director of Factotum Communications, currently working with clients across transport, mining, renewables and water infrastructure.

From State Significant Infrastructure planning and delivery to stakeholder relationship rehabilitation (and a great many tangents in between), Kate has 2 decades of government, interagency and private sector experience under her belt. She is well equipped to navigate the approvals, social and political licence, and stakeholder management aspects of any project

Having recently completed an Executive MBA at UoW, outside of work, Kate is happy to have traded reading lists and highlighters for taxi-ing around her three “spirited” daughters and mediating spotify or front seat disputes.

Kylie Cochrane

Global Lead, Communication and Stakeholder Engagement, Aurecon

A global engagement leader, Kylie has 30 years’ experience in communication and stakeholder engagement. She specialises in helping clients to maintain and regain their social licence through mitigating social risk and managing community outrage.
Kylie was the Global IAP2 Chair from 2017-2022 and was on the Australasian IAP2 Board from 2011-2021. She currently chairs the Australian National University’s Advisory Board for the Institute for Infrastructure in Society (which oversees the NextGen research into community engagement trends).
In 2022 Kylie was named one of three inaugural Honorary IAP2 fellows across Australia and New Zealand. She was named a Deloitte Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ leader in 2020 and the Consult Australia Female Champion of Change in 2018.
Kylie has spent the last decade building the Communication and Stakeholder Engagement practice at global engineering and infrastructure advisory firm Aurecon. Over the last eight years the Aurecon engagement group has won more than 26 coveted industry awards including IAP2 International Engagement Project of The Year, the National Women in Construction Innovative Team award, and Consult Australia’s Gold Excellence Award.

Leigh Moran

Director, Counsel House

Leigh is a leading government relations practitioner, who has worked in and around Canberra and Parliament House for more than a decade.

Throughout Leigh’s lengthy career in political advocacy, Leigh has delivered government relations strategies for Australian and multinational companies, not-for-profits, national peak bodies, and leading think tanks. He has held senior roles in business and has first-hand experience of the business impacts of government decision making.

Leigh sits on the board of Garran Primary School ACT, one of the roles he holds to give back to the community. 

Lynne Welch

Community Engagement Manager, Homes NSW

Lynne is a dedicated cheerleader of stakeholder consultation with over 15 years’ experience driving innovative, collaborative and meaningful interaction within diverse communities.

Lynne cites her lived experience (which includes 8 years living in a tribal community in the Indian Himalayas), as a catalyst for her passion and expertise in thinking outside the box and finding creative ways to involve people in decision-making processes.

With a background in community development and a deep commitment to social justice, Lynne brings a unique blend of empathy and expertise to her work - inspiring people to have a say in the decisions that have the potential to impact them... even if their voice shakes.

In her free time, Lynne dabbles in creative social media pursuits to stay relevant and impress her 8-year-old son who constantly reminds her that young people are the future.

Margot Hammond

Transmission Social Performance Manager, Western Power

Margot Hammond is the Transmission Social Performance Manager at Western Power and has the exciting role of managing the development and implementation of social performance framework and strategy to support transmission expansion projects across the network.

With more than 15 years of experience in communications and engagement, and a proven track record of managing extensive stakeholder relationships, business governance, and sustainability and community investment across the sectors of arts, commercial, government, and large infrastructure among others, Margot is well placed in integrating social considerations into Western Power’s transition to a cleaner and more resilient energy system for Western Australia.

Her success in building strong and diverse professional teams that deliver social impact assessments, strategic engagement, environmental performance, land management, and statutory approvals is well known across industry and her contribution to social investment performance and innovation has been recognised by an Australian Institute of Energy “Women in Energy” Award.

Marion Short

Chief Executive Officer, IAP2 Australasia

A transformational leader with 15 years’ experience as a CEO in the not-for-profit sector, coupled with extensive senior management experience in the private sector and 20 years’ experience working within collaborative models.

Under her leadership, IAP2 Australasia focused on delivering a suite of valued initiatives to members which has resulted in tremendous growth, membership has more than tripled to over 14,000 and revenues have likewise increased.

Marion has an MBA from Henley Management College, UK. She has been married to Kevin for over 30 years and is enormously proud of her two adult sons.

A resourceful optimist, she grew up in the Northern Territory, and much of her life has been shaped by her dad’s words “well it can’t be that hard”.

Melissa Hagedorn

IAP2 Australasia Board Director

Mel Hagedorn is an Executive Leader with over 15 years of experience in community engagement, communications and service design, spanning all tiers of government, not-for-profit, and corporate sectors. Renowned for delivering exceptional client experiences and best practices in digital engagement, Mel's core competencies include developing and implementing customer experience models, strategies, and services that result in positive long-term outcomes for both organisations and the communities they operate in.

Passionate about engaging and empowering communities through authentic engagement, digital transformation, and social licensing, Mel has made significant contributions to the industry. She was a finalist for the Women in Digital Indigenous Leadership Award, recognising her impact on the community and business leadership. Mel also serves as a current IAP2A Board member as her way of giving back to the Community Engagement sector.

Merryn Spencer

Engagement Lead, Jemena

Merryn is an accomplished practitioner with extensive experience managing complex stakeholders. Appreciating the importance of relationships and how they reflect the level of trust and respect between parties, she is passionate about the complimentary practices of research and engagement.Merryn is also an experienced social and market researcher, soliciting opinions and reporting with extensive qualitative and quantitative experience across the planning, energy and infrastructure disciplines. 

Michele Barry

Deputy Chair, IAP2 Australasia Board

With over 20 years of experience in engagement, strategy and transformation across a number of sectors, Michele brings together a wealth of experience in Public Health, Emergency Management, Commercial and Executive leadership to the IAP2 Board.

Michele is currently working in a key role with the Victorian Government, leading Stakeholder and Community Engagement for the Office of Suburban Development.

Michele has an academic background in Health Promotion, Public Health and Business Administration and is passionate about engagement and reaching new segments to create and deliver better outcomes.

Michelle Howard

Founder and Managing Director Collaborations Pty Ltd 

Michelle is an internationally accredited facilitator and strategic planner with over 30 years’ experience working with agencies in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. In that time, she has developed a reputation for facilitating complex processes of change in contexts as diverse as disability reform, health, Indigenous governance, community planning and major infrastructure/design projects.

Her experience across all levels of government includes working on major urban renewal projects, legislative reform, stakeholder management and numerous ministerial advisory positions. Michelle is known for building effective, collaborative relationships with clients and constituents to inform sustainable project outcomes.

Michelle is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia,  a professional mentor and facilitator of training and development programs in Australia and internationally.

Mike Butler

First Nations Engagement Coordinator and Mediator

Mike has been connecting with First Nations communities for nearly 25 years in places including PNG, Australia, Vanuatu and NZ. He is a trained mediator and completed a Juris Doctor (Law) degree in 2018. His strengths lie in his enthusiasm and dedication to communities. He most recently received the City West Housing 2021/2022 leadership award for his involvement in Community Housing.

A Murri man originating from Wangan and Jagalingou country, Mike is an Aboriginal representative in his Sydney home (Pyrmont & Ultimo). Mike grew up in highly cross-cultural environments, and his engagement with the community is long and varied. Originally trained as a professional engineer, Mike followed on to a career in journalism, where he learned communication on a number of levels. His recent engagement has been with traditional custodians and land councils in NSW, QLD and the Northern Territory around mining, infrastructure projects, health, child removals and incarceration.

His recent engagement has been working with traditional custodians and land councils in Papua New Guinea, NSW, QLD and the Northern Territory around mining, infrastructure projects, health, child removals and incarceration. He recently won the City West Housing 2022 leadership award for his involvement in Community Housing.

Dr Robyn Cochrane

Director/Lead Researcher of Cochrane Research Solutions

Dr. Robyn Cochrane is Director/Lead Researcher of Cochrane Research Solutions, a home-based research consultancy business. Robyn is highly qualified and has extensive experience in research, policy, planning and training roles across education, local government and community settings. Robyn provides a variety of research and consulting services to inform evidence based decision-making. She has worked collaboratively to produce Community Visions, a range of Council plans, masterplans and strategies and has successfully evaluated services and programs. Areas of expertise include benchmarking, literature reviews, engagement design, survey design, data collation, data analysis and reporting. Empowering communities is at the heart of Robyn’s work and volunteer pursuits. In 2022 she was awarded Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the City of Kingston in recognition of her contribution to the community. Robyn is committed to advancing the practice of community and stakeholder engagement.

Sarah Wilcox

Communications and Engagement Consultant, Cooee Communities and IAP2A Licensed Trainer

I am a Palawa woman from Lutruwita/Tasmania, whose greatest enjoyment is swimming in the local waters.

I started my communications career as a child, helping in the family business. There I learned the power of establishing positive relationships as the critical foundation for success. This has remained true throughout my career, working across various industries, including the last 20 years in the public and not-for-profit sectors.

Since returning to Australia in 2013, after 16 years working in the UK, I have strengthened local connections to develop collaborative approaches between government agencies and local communities.  As an IAP2 trained Engagement Practitioner, I have enjoyed demonstrating the power of the IAP2 ethos “meaningful engagement every day” on projects such as the Kanamaluka/River Tamar Vision 2022, Kingston Park Project, Kingborough Council’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025, and multiple urban design projects improving the quality of recreational spaces across Kingborough.

Stu Reeve

Managing Director, Micromex Research

I have 30 years’ qualitative and quantitative research experience across a broad range of industries and topics

I am the co-owner of Micromex Research, and since 2010 I have been involved in community consultation and research for circa 100+ government organisations. In that time I have developed research products and formed close industry contacts with both government and partner organisation. In 2017 I was one of the key note speakers at LGNSW’s annual conference.

At Micromex  I use qualitative and quantitative community engagement and research to inform and assist the development of better community outcomes As a category consultant I am more interested in the meaning of the outcomes, rather than the process of research. I have been a member of the IAP2 research working group since its inception, and keenly interested in advocating the values and benefits research and engagement bring.

I live on the Sydney’s northern beaches and enjoy trail and distance running, speculative fiction, and a strong coffee and a beer to bookend a day.

Tanya Jackson

Head of Sustainability, Communications and Engagement, RES

Tanya Jackson is the Head of Sustainability, Communications and Engagement at RES, overseeing these three specialist portfolios for the business in Australia to address their ESG goals. Tanya has as background in environmental science, stakeholder engagement, community consultation and communications management along with expertise in investor relations, risk management and regulatory compliance.

Over the past decade Tanya has held multiple positions within RES including in the Construction and Asset Management team to deliver five large scale wind and solar farms.

Prior to joining RES, Tanya was engaged by IAP2 to co-Author the Quality Assurance Standard of Community and Stakeholder Engagement

Tony Clark

Chair, IAP2 Australasia Board

Inaugural Kimberley Kitching Award for Human Rights recipient (August 2023).

Tony brings extensive communication and engagement expertise having led major transformational and infrastructure projects in the disability, health, and housing sectors. Tony is Chair of International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Australasia and a non-Executive Director on the State Trustees of Victoria. He brings the benefit and value of lived experience of disability to all that he does.

Further exciting keynotes and speakers to be announced!

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