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Our 2023 Speakers

Jelena Dokic

Jelena Dokic, a remarkable tennis prodigy, emerged from a tumultuous childhood in war-torn Yugoslavia. Emigrating to Australia, she faced adversity on and off the court. Through unwavering determination, Dokic ascended to become a Grand Slam semifinalist, inspiring millions with her resilience and tennis prowess. Her extraordinary journey underscores the power of human spirit, showing that no obstacle is insurmountable with grit and determination. Dokic's story continues to motivate others to chase their dreams against all odds.

John Coutis

John 'JC' Coutis, an inspiring Australian born with a severe disability defying medical predictions, rolls through life on a custom skateboard, using humor to impart vital lessons. Recognized as a global inspirational speaker, he's reached over 6 million people worldwide, sharing stages with luminaries like Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, and Nelson Mandela. JC's mission is to empower youth worldwide and expand his school program globally. In 2018, he symbolized resilience in the Commonwealth Games Queens Baton Relay, proving that determination knows no bounds.

Em Carey

Em Carey, a multifaceted writer, artist, and entrepreneur, underwent a life-altering experience during her global travels when a skydiving accident left her paralyzed. Against all odds, she defied her prognosis by learning to walk again, emerging as an inspirational speaker and renowned author of "The Girl Who Fell From The Sky." With over 180,000 Instagram followers, Em shares her transformative journey, inspiring others to overcome obstacles. Now, she eagerly embraces the next chapter, reigniting her passion for travel and adventure, proving that resilience and determination can lead to a vibrant life beyond adversity.

Gerry Geltch

Gerry Geltch, 2023 Australian Survivor S8: Heroes v Villains runner-up and Air Fraser Island owner pilot, is a true hero. He's overcome adversity, losing his son and surviving multiple plane crashes. Gerry's resilience shines through as he defies age, excelling in Survivor, marathons, acting, modeling, and more. He's an emblem for bouncing back from life's challenges, inspiring others to persevere.

Shayna Jack

Shayna Jack, the Australian swimmer, embodies resilience and triumph. Accused of doping and losing two years of her career, she fought relentlessly through trials until justice prevailed. Her journey is a testament to unwavering determination and an unbreakable spirit, offering inspiration to those facing adversity. Shayna's story is a beacon of hope, showcasing personal triumph over adversity and the strength to overcome any challenge.

Marco Renai

As the Founder and CEO of The Men of Business Academy, he is on a mission to transform the lives of young men. Over the past decade, he has provided alternative education pathways, mentorship, and work opportunities, changing the futures of countless at-risk boys. With over 200 young men completing the program in 2023, he believes early intervention is crucial. He's a true advocate for education, innovation & community building on the Gold Coast.

Jay Wymarra

Jay Wymarra, a proud descendant of Saibai Koedal, Meriam, and Gudang peoples, shines on any stage. Whether hosting, MCing, performing comedy, acting, or in drag, he brings his heritage and unique perspective to life. With a growing writing career, he's directed films, collaborated with Steph Tisdell on GetUp! projects, and wowed audiences with his solo show "Torres Queer." From "Waltzing Jimeoin" to the Aboriginal Comedy Allstars, Jay continues to excel, and his upcoming show in 2024 promises more brilliance. His journey is a testament to creativity and cultural impact.

Rahila Abdul Hadi

Rahila, a refugee and storyteller, uses her own journey to reshape perceptions of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers. Arriving in Australia in 2014 from Quetta, Pakistan, she's become a prominent voice through panel discussions, podcasts, and conferences. Her story was featured in the book "Seeking Asylum - Our Stories," which captures the experiences of asylum seekers. Rahila remains active in the community and is pursuing a law degree with aspirations of becoming a Human Rights lawyer, exemplifying her commitment to making a positive impact.

Paul Gulinello

Paul, an Italian-born performer, possesses a unique talent in music. In the 80s, he creatively blended modern and contemporary songs, touring Northern Italy. His early years showcased a passion for Italian, Neapolitan, folk, and operatic music, which expanded to include English favorites. His love for arias and classics shines in captivating performances. Upon migrating to Australia, Paul became a sought-after solo artist at corporate events and portrayed "Jose Carreras" in the Australian tribute to the Three Tenors, earning rave reviews that often described his performances as "breathtaking."

Renee Honey

Renee Honey is a 4th generation Currumbin local, a mother, business woman and partner in Cornerstone Stores & The Warehouses. During the Eastern Australian Floods in March 2022, Renee was a part of co-ordinating the logistics of the emergency response disaster relief from the Warehouses in Currumbin. The community lead Currumbin response team coordinated delivering essential items like medical supplies, food, water & petrol to people in need. The logistics team coordinated drivers, boats and rescue helicopters. With so many donations, they were able to help other Community Hubs to open in other areas.

Gabby Kanizay

Gabby Kanizay, an aspiring mountaineer, achieved her dream by summiting Mt. Everest. She now aims to conquer all 14 of the world's 8000m peaks, despite the inherent risks. Her journey began at 14, trekking to Everest Base Camp, followed by mountaineering courses & successful climbs. In May 2022, at just 18, she became the youngest Australian to summit Everest. Described as both mentally and physically strong by her guide, her determination & family support have been key to her success. She balances her passion with her studies, deferring uni for a gap year of climbing & travel.

Brett & Belinda Beasley

In 2019, Jack Beasley's life was tragically cut short by a fatal stabbing in Surfers Paradise while out with friends, just days before Christmas. Jack's parents, Belinda and Brett, swiftly established the Jack Beasley Foundation in his memory. Their mission is to raise awareness about the devastating impact of violence and make communities safer. Through launching an educational platform, they teach young people about knife prevalence, victim prevention, and the profound consequences of carrying weapons. Jack's legacy lives on through their tireless efforts to create a safer world.

Our 2021 Speakers

Courtney Hancock

Champion Ironwoman, three-time Coolangatta Gold winner and first person in Australian Surf Sports history to win the triple crown of elite events in the same years. Courtney Hancock is also a mentor and coach with a passon for sharing her experience and knowledge to help others reach their potential.

Watch her Tedx Talk HERE

Dr. Geoff Wilson

Dr. Geoff Wilson is a world-class polar explorer, dynamic keynote speaker and entrepreneur. He’s living a vast and varied life split between being a family man, veterinary surgeon and expeditionist - constantly squeezing every drop out of life.

Geoff has developed an intense resilience, gathered by a lifetime of pushing his mind and body through the harshest wilderness. This steel-trap mindset has equipped him with the fervour to pursue audacious challenges all over the globe, inspiring men and women along the way to abandon the perils of complacency and discover their greater purpose.

Watch his Tedx Talk HERE

Dr. Libby Weaver

Nutritional biochemist, Dr Libby Weaver (PhD), is a thirteen-times bestselling author and speaker.

With a natural ability to break complex concepts into layman’s terms, Libby’s work brings to life her unique three-pillared approach that explore the interplay between our biochemistry, nutrition, and emotions.

Early on in her working life, Libby observed that knowledge alone wasn’t always enough to help people make choices that support their health. This led her to pursue an answer to the question “why do we do what we do, even though we know what we know?”. Tonight, she will share with us the insights she’s uncovered to date.

Watch her Tedx Talk HERE


From a world where Alice in Wonderland meets The Shining performance troupe Cocoloco presents raucous, hilarious and ever so slightly bent theatre. This is cabaret performance and street theatre with a twist. Cocoloco’s work has been described as “the high art of madness to perfection”, as they delve into David Lynch’s notebook and present Salvador Dali-esque, truly bizarre street theatre. A performance company with a love of the unexpected, Cocoloco brings anarchic, eye-catching, quirky and wildy funny peripatetic performance to theatre festivals throughout the world!
Cocoloco believes in a multitude of things theatrical, essentially, that difficult ideas and complex problems can be expressed in accessible ways for everybody to enjoy in street performance and entertainment. All art contains keys to the doors of perception, existentialism, the life behind the mask and often, innuendo. Cocoloco loves to present events that flood the audience with imagery and crazy ideas which you can take home and even mull over in your sleep. Cocoloco has performed all over Britain, France, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and many more.

Watch their Tedx Talk HERE

Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman is an Australian Multidisciplinary Artist hailing from the Gold Coast, who creates works of art from contemporary ink pieces, along with illustrations to fine art sketches. Amanda has always been endlessly creative and draws inspiration constantly from the world around her.

Amanda is one of the directors of the Gold Coast Music Awards and heads up the partnerships of Blank Street press. 

She has recently founded a community organisation called DISTRACTD to connect communities, deliver information via professional panel discussions, education, mingles, meet-ups, apparel, and advocacy for the often-misunderstood condition of ADHD. 

Watch her Tedx Talk HERE

Isla Freer

Isla Freer is thirteen years old and in grade eight. She’s always smiling and loves playing soccer. Her dream… to become a successful songwriter and musician, a screenwriter, activist and in later life she aspires to become a Midwife or work within the NDIS. Becoming School Captain and Dux in her primary school is her proudest achievement – equal to her TED talk – and she hopes she can communicate her perspective, provide insight, and inspire change, all whilst engaging and entertaining people. Life truly excites her, and she believes in passion, putting in hard work for all dreams, and allowing people to guide you. “Love everyone, have fun and try not worry what people think!”  

Watch her Tedx Talk HERE

William Barton

For two decades, William Barton has forged a peerless profile as a performer and composer in the classical musical world, from the Philharmonic Orchestras of London and Berlin to historic events at Westminster Abbey for Commonwealth Day 2019, Anzac Cove and the Beijing Olympics. His awards include Winner of Best Original Score for a Mainstage Production at the 2018 Sydney Theatre Awards and Winner of Best Classical Album with ARIA for Birdsong At Dusk in 2012. With his prodigious musicality and the quiet conviction of his Kalkadunga heritage, he has vastly expanded the horizons of the didgeridoo — and the culture and landscape that it represents.

Watch his Tedx Talk HERE

Timothy Buxton

Back in 2013, after more than 8 years coordinating international humanitarian trips for Times Square Church in New York City, I moved with my family to the frontlines of Northern Iraq, serving refugees that fled ISIS. There I co-founded The Refuge Initiative, a charity initiative building communities of hope by providing both homes and holistic care to refugees and displaced people.

In 2017 I moved back to Australia, where I founded 'You Belong', a charity that empowers refugees to integrate and thrive in Australia. I am also the host of Justice Matters, a podcast inspiring the fight for a world where everyone belongs.

At the end of the day I just hope that with this God-given life I’ve been gifted I can also inspire others to join me in making this magnificent world a more beautiful place for us all to live in.

Watch his Tedx Talk HERE

Reuben Kaye

After appearances on ABC, Channel 4 and BBC’s You’re Fired, multi-award winning, Australian comedian, singer and self proclaimed part-time hood ornament Reuben Kaye is the danger man to watch. With an acid wit and casual sensationalism, Kaye is fast, on the edge and brutally funny. A dazzling phantasm of anachronistic showbiz – an explosion of sequins, lashes and teeth, a much needed, hysterically funny, swarovski studded revolt against the ever narrowing views of an increasingly conservative world. Reuben Kaye is what happens when you tell your children they can be anything. 

Watch Reuben's Tedx Talk HERE

Beckah Amani

Beckah Amani takes songwriting in a new place, a place of fearless embodiment of emotions presented through utterly vulnerable and intensely profound lyrics.Her brand of honesty is rooted in her disarming vocals, expressing reflections of our world and ourselves through a candid lensintricately digging deeper into narratives meaningful and relevant. She weaves the best parts of soul, folk and pop inspired by a nuanced blend of artists from Adele to Al Green, Ed Sheeran to NinaSimone and Rihanna. 2020 saw Beckah release the thought provoking track “STANDARDS”. “STANDARDS” caught the attention of many including superstar Tones and I who went on to place “STANDARDS” in herInstagram-based competition That One Song. Moreover,Double J titled “STANDARDS”as “one ofthe best tracks added to Double J” rotation and Triple J’s Declan Byrne stated that Beckah’s“voiceneeds to be heard by millions”.

Watch her Tedx Talk HERE

Brooke Hanson

In 2004 Brooke fulfilled a childhood dream, when after missing two Olympic teams in 1996 and 2000, she won Olympic gold and silver medals in Athens.

She created history at the 2004 World Short Course Championships where she won a record six gold medals – five individual and the 4x100m medley relay in world record time.

After studying journalism, the talented swimmer released her autobiography "When Silver Is Gold" The Brooke Hanson Story  and she loves nothing more than to share her inspirational story with everyone she meets. 

Watch her Tedx Talk HERE

Kimberly Spencer

A born-n-raised Valley Girl, powered by green juice, Italian espresso, and gallons of glitter, I am proud to have helped hundreds of leaders build their empire, breakthrough their body barriers, revolutionize their relationships, and rewrite their stories of self-sabotage into a story of success, in all areas of their life.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with stories of women who go from rags to riches, from fear to success, and vice versa. What separates those who cave into their circumstances while others climb to the top?

Watch her Tedx Talk HERE

Margo Knox

Margo Knox has a qualification in age. 
Being 72 she wants to know.
“What the Hell Happened to Elder-hood”.
Margo has written, published, and talked about the the gems of ageing for the past 15 years. 
She has run many workshops for people retiring, making big changes and wanting to age consciously. Creating situations for talking about ageing in a positive and interesting way, where Wisdom is precious sacred and heard. Margo thinks we need to talk more and listen more, to taboo subjects.
Like age bias and death…or fear of both! A new poet thanks to Gran Slam, Ferros Care & Everybody Now.
Creating, sharing, listening and respecting is a working motto.

Watch her Tedx Talk HERE

Our Committee