Leadership through change

9-10 May 2022

Venue: Mantra Epping

250 Cooper Street, Epping

Welcome to CVGT Australia’s leadership conference at Mantra Epping

Over two days you’ll get to immerse yourself in a range of engaging and energising speakers and activities. Learn more about the big changes coming up for our organisation and the broader for-purpose sector, and how our business can lead the transition. It’s our first big gathering for some time, so enjoy each other’s company, share ideas and help us set a course for the coming year.

Travel safe and stay well

Look after yourself, to look after us all. If you are suffering from COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home. Notify your manager of your pending absence. If you prefer to wear a mask at the conference, we support you doing so. Hand sanitiser and face masks will be available for you throughout the conference. 

How to get there, and where you’re staying

Mantra Epping is located at 250 Cooper Street, not far from the Hume Freeway.

If you are staying at the hotel, accommodation has been booked for you – you won’t receive an individual confirmation email. Sunday check in is from 2pm, and check out on Tuesday is by 10am. It’s best to check out of your room before attending Tuesday’s sessions – bags will be tagged and left in concierge storage. If you are arriving on Monday morning, all rooms should be available for immediate check in, or you can leave your bags with concierge storage.

The hotel itself and surrounding areas (it is a 15-minute walk or five-minute drive from Epping Plaza) feature a range of shops and eateries, including many good options for you to find dinner on Sunday evening ahead of the conference.


Leadership conference program

Monday, 9 May 2022 

8:30 am
Coffee/tea mingle
9:00 am
Welcome and Acknowledgement of Country

CEO Jason Russell and conference MC Matt Connell

9:15 am
Session 1
10:15 am
Session 2
11:00 am
Morning tea
11:15 am
Session 3
12:00 pm
Session 4

Marina Williams and Jolene Warren – CVGT’s brand evolution

12:30 pm
1:15 pm
Session 5

Delegates will be attending each 30-minute breakout workshop

Workshop 1: CVGT Service Delivery Model Mark Little
Workshop 2: Emotional Intelligence and Case Management Matt Connell

2:15 pm
Afternoon tea
2:45 pm
Session 6
3:45 pm
Session 7

Delegates will be attending each 30-minute breakout workshop

Workshop 1: Employer engagement Mark Little
Workshop 2: Partnerships Bree Mills

4:45 pm
Wrap and close
5:00 pm
Free time
6:30 pm
Pre-dinner drinks
7:00 pm
Dinner commences
7:45 pm
Dinner activity Trivia Minute to Winnit
9:15 pm
Dinner concludes

Tuesday, 10 May 2022 

8:45 am
Coffee/tea mingle

Coffee/tea mingle and stand-up recap Matt Connell

9:15 am
Session 8

Each delegate will be attending one 45-minute workshop: real cases in the workplace to draw on the Mental Health for Leaders session from Day 1.

Workshop 1: Marg Duncan and Karly Stewart
Workshop 2: Todd Foster and Tracy Gillies

10:00 am
Session 9

Delegates will be attending each 30-minute breakout workshop

Workshop 1: Delivering the Digital Strategy: Our Roadmap to Transformation Amanda Finnis
Workshop 2: Aurion Recruitment Module – Ben Osmond and Tracy Gillies

11:00 am
Morning tea
11:30 am
Session 10
12:00 pm
Session 11

Peak bodies, an industry perspective with Jobs Australia, National Employment Services Association, Apprenticeship Employment Network and National Disability Services

1:00 pm
1:30 pm
Session 12
2:45 pm
Wrap up and close

Jason Russell and Matt Connell

3:15 pm
All delegates depart for home

Meet the speakers

Tim Dwyer

Tim Dwyer

Managing Director, Business of Brand and One Earth Partner

Session 1: Keynote address – Leadership through change, 9 May at 9.15am


Craig Kelmar

General Manager, Accor

Session 2: Employer Panel, 9 May at 10.15am

Charlotte Roberts

Charlotte Roberts

Indigenous Program Coordinator, Crown Resorts

Session 2: Employer Panel, 9 May at 10.15am


Jeff Walkley

CEO, Belgravia Foundation

Session 2: Employer Panel, 9 May at 10.15am

Tracy Bartram

Tracy Bartram


Session 3: The Lived Experience, 9 May at 11.15am

Session 12: Laughaholics, 10 May at 1.30pm


Silas Issa

The Workshop Lab

Session 6: Mental Health for Leaders, 9 May at 2.45pm


Sally Sinclair

CEO, National Employment Services Association

Session 11: Peak Bodies, 10 May at 12.00pm

Laura Notman

Laura Notman

Community Engagement Lead, Infoxchange

Session 10: Ask Izzy, 10 May at 11.30am

Debra Cerasa

Debra Cerasa

CEO, Jobs Australia

Session 11: Peak Bodies, 10 May at 12.00pm


Gary Workman

Executive Director, Apprenticeship Employment Network

Session 11: Peak Bodies, 10 May at 12.00pm


Sarah Fordyce

State Manager Victoria, National Disability Services

Session 11: Peak Bodies, 10 May at 12.00pm

About the sessions

Session 1

Keynote Tim Dwyer – Leadership through change, 9 May at 9.15am

Tim Dwyer says his purpose is to release the true value of people into the world. As a Global Partner One Earth and Managing Director of Business of Brand in Australia, Tim works with industry leaders who have chosen to do things differently. These are the pioneers of industry who, when they see a trend or a gap in the market, take action to create the value the market wants to see.

One Earth is changing the way modern business operates, helping build brands, grow businesses and impact industries to shift into a new era. True growth impacts everyone and everything in a business ecosystem. With real impact comes real change. 

To create sustainable change, Tim believes in the need to continually shift mindsets and create space for positive action and growth. 

Tim’s career spans 30 years. He has worked with thousands of clients across global brands, large corporates, SMEs, and solopreneurs. Previous roles include Head of Telstra’s strategy for the SME Sales division, 15 years with Shirlaws Group as their Australian Director and CEO. 

By helping business leaders shift from 20th to 21st Century mindset, Tim believes this will benefit our communities and society – something he is most passionate about enabling.

Session 2

Employer Panel, 9 May at 10.15am

With Craig Kelmar (General Manager, Accor), Charlotte Roberts (Indigenous Program Coordinator, Crown Resorts), Jeff Walkley (CEO, Belgravia Foundation) 

Craig Kelmar – General Manager, Ibis Melbourne Hotel & Apartments, Ibis Budget Dandenong and Ibis Budget Fawkner

Accor is a world leading hospitality group known as Accor Live Limitless (ALL) with more than 390 hotels across Australia including brands such as Sofitel, Mercure, Ibis, Pullman, Peppers, Novotel and Mantra. Craig will discuss the challenges of recruitment in the accommodation sector.

Charlotte Roberts – Indigenous Program Coordinator, Crown Resorts

Crown Resorts is well known for resort properties in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Charlotte will discuss the opportunities available for and supports given to First Nations people seeking careers in the entertainment and accommodation sectors. 

Jeff Walkley – National Disability and Diversity Manager, Belgravia Leisure, and CEO, Belgravia Foundation

Belgravia Leisure manages a range of health clubs, wellness and spa centres, accommodation venues, caravan and campsites, golf, aquatic and sporting venues across more than 160 locations in Australia and New Zealand, partnering with more than 40 local governments and state government authorities. Jeff will discuss their recruitment process and opportunities for participants from all diversity groups.

Session 3

Tracy Bartram – The Lived Experience, 9 May at 11.15am

Tracy Bartram is a British-born Melbourne based comedian with a career spanning more than 30 years.

Tracy threw in a successful sales and marketing profession to tread the boards of stand-up comedy clubs and before long, found herself co-hosting a top-rating breakfast radio show after travelling to Perth for the ARTRAGEarts festival.

She has performed sell-out seasons in stand-up comedy Australia wide for Arts and Comedy festivals, and as far afield as the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she was nominated Best Newcomer as part of the Perrier awards in 1994 for her self-penned show Six Foot Silly and Six Months Pregnant. She has performed all over the globe.

Three years in the west saw her rise to the top in her radio, TV, stand-up comedy and corporate work.

She was soon packing up her young family after being poached to return home to her beloved Melbourne, where her stellar breakfast radio work for Fox FM, Mix FM and ABC Radio made her a household name.

She co-hosted Fox FM’s Tracy & Matt In The Morning for six years, which was the highest rating show of that era.

Session 6

Silas Issa – Mental Health for Leaders, 9 May at 2.45pm

The Workshop Lab specialises in employee health and well-being training solutions for forward-thinking organisations across Australia. 

As part of the Acacia Connection Group, The Workshop Lab has a strong foundation in wellbeing science and organisational psychology that has been tailored for the unique Australian workplace environment. The workshops are designed to create well-equipped employees, thriving teams and happier workplaces for a sustainable working future.

According to an Australian Bureau of Statistics study, 45 per cent of Australians aged between 16 and 85 will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. It is estimated that untreated mental health conditions cost workplaces about $10.9 billion per year. 

Silas Issa develops emotional intelligence programs, specialising in meeting the challenges associated with today’s corporate environment. Silas is passionate about diversity, equality, and leadership, and working with people to bring out their unique potential to thrive and succeed. 

He has more than 20 years in leadership experience, 14 of which as a CEO within the challenging non-for-profit sector. 

This workshop is designed to bring awareness to the importance of mental health within the workplace. The session aims to build mental health literacy and equip our leaders with the skills and resources you need to have a conversation with someone at risk of mental health issues.

Session 10

Laura Notman – Ask Izzy, a platform for community engagement, 10 May at 11.30am

The Ask Izzy website from not-for-profit social enterprise Infoxchange connects people in need with a range of support services including housing, a meal, financial assistance, family violence support and counselling. 

As Community Engagement Lead at Infoxchange, Laura Notman specialises in innovative training and employment programs that are focused on social impact in the not-for-profit sector.

Laura will explain the simplicity of Ask Izzy and highlight some of the fantastic future directions for this platform of support.

Ask Izzy has been designed and developed in consultation with people in the community with a lived experience in homelessness and family violence. In 2021, Ask Izzy responded to 2.3 million requests for help.

Session 11

Peak bodies – An industry perspective, 10 May at 12.00pm

With Jobs Australia, National Employment Services Association, Apprenticeship Employment Network and National Disability Services

Sally Sinclair – CEO, National Employment Services Association

The National Employment Services Association is the peak body for the Australian employment services sector. As CEO, Sally has been instrumental in informing key stakeholders both domestically and internationally on addressing employment and inclusion challenges including strengthening the integration of employment, education and training, and increasing employment of disadvantaged job seekers including Indigenous job seekers, people with disability, long term unemployed, youth and mature aged.

Sally has more than three decades of domestic and international expertise in the design, development and delivery of employment and related services. Her experience spans the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors, as well as numerous government appointments and industry expert groups.

Debra Cerasa – CEO, Jobs Australia

Debra Cerasa joined Jobs Australia in 2018. Debra is an experienced CEO who has worked in both the public and not-for-profit sectors across a diverse range of businesses, including member-based organisations. 

She has a reputation as a transformational leader who is invested in working with people to encourage them to be the best version of themselves. 

Recognised for her passion, energy and commitment to supporting individuals Deb provides leadership to Jobs Australia and works closely with the entire team who are committed to providing ongoing support, evidence-based advice and excellent service to its members.

Gary Workman – Executive Director, Apprenticeship Employment Network

Gary Workman leads AEN and its members on public policy and research activities, including overseeing relationships with a wide range of industry and government stakeholders.

Gary has more than 20 years’ experience in the Vocational Education and Training sector, and has worked on numerous government and industry projects including the areas of workforce development, apprenticeships, OH&S and the environment.

Since 2016, he has been a member of the Victorian government’s Apprenticeship Taskforce through the Victorian Skills Commission Office.

Gary is also an ambassador for the Bullyzero Australia Foundation, which supports the awareness of workplace bullying and mental health issues.

Sarah Fordyce – State Manager Victoria, National Disability Services

Sarah Fordyce was appointed State Manager Victoria of National Disability Services (NDS) in 2020, having previously been Victorian Policy Manager.

Sarah has worked in the human services sector in a range of policy, operational and management roles for many years, and is passionate about developing and delivering high-quality services.

NDS is Australia’s peak body for non-government disability service organisations, and represents more than 1100 non-government service providers. Collectively, NDS members operate several thousand services for Australians with all types of disability.

Sarah understands the array of challenges facing NDS members as services reset to meet COVID normal requirements, changing participant demands, and greater scrutiny of quality and safeguarding measures.

Session 12

Tracy Bartram – Laughaholics, 10 May at 1.30pm

As we move out of the long-term effects of COVID-19, there has never been a better time for teams to connect in a gentle, fun way with comedian Tracy Bartram. 

When staff can laugh openly and safely with up-line management, we create a new business blueprint based on a different level of trust. These workshops create cultural change in the workplace. 

Our bodies don’t know the difference between real and intentional laughter, but our brains do. So, Tracy’s workshops are designed to ensure that the body sends messages to the brain to convince the brain that it is happy.

When that happens, the brain emits the stress releasing hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin while reducing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. When we laugh, we release the same happy hormones from our built-in chemical factories and gently, we let go of our stress, to replace it with relaxation and a genuine sense of wellbeing.

The class starts with some gentle breathing exercises, in itself a take-home tool for stress management. We then ease gently into some sitting stretches and gradually move into simple laughter exercises that will surprise even the most cynical.

Deep breathing is a vital part of this work allowing the body to relax. Most people are very shallow breathers and only breathe into their chest. In this work, participants are encouraged to breathe into their bellies, stretch deeply and allow their bodies to take over from their heads.

This is a mental health workshop and is a safe forum for all participants. We often include singing, a little boogying and always finish with a soothing meditation, personalised and created by Tracy. There is also time for a debrief at the end with communal sharing. 

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