Gerry Gannon

One of Ireland’s finest exports, Gerry Gannon has been a journalist, broadcaster, MC and media trainer in Australia for the last 30 years and is now one of the best known speakers and facilitators in WA.
After a decade with ABC radio in Western Australia, Gerry left to pursue a career that would bring him closer to audiences and allow him to explore parts of the world he couldn’t do from the inside of a radio studio. He established Indonesia’s first English language radio station in Bali, served on the council, and as President, of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and on the board of the Tourism Council of WA.
Gerry is committed to community and non-profit organisations and has also been a board member of Access 31 Television, Kids Help Line and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
A specialist conference MC, facilitator and media expert, Gerry is renowned for his wit, passion, easy-going nature and commitment to those he works with. He has worked extensively in both Australia and overseas and provides media skills training to government, not-for-profit organisations and industry entities, as well as conducting speech and presentation training courses.
Gerry’s real passion is people; whether it is helping them reach their potential through training and support, MC at an event or providing valuable perspective and advice, Gerry’s easy humour and experience provides a refreshing opportunity for growth and knowledge for everyone he meets.
Twitter: @GerryGannon
Gerry’s attendance at the conference is proudly sponsored by


Jessica Christiansen-Franks

Jessica is CEO of CoDesign Studio, a design and placemaking consultancy dedicated to reinventing Australian neighbourhoods. A qualified Urban Designer and Landscape Architect, Jessica has spent the past decade looking into the social impacts of urbanisation, including identity construction in existing and emerging communities and social marginalisation of urban migrants.
Prior to joining CoDesign Studio, Jessica worked on a range of notable and complex urban projects including the Ho Chi Minh City BRT Transport and Land Use Study, Port Melbourne Waterfront Urban Design Framework, Brisbane’s Vibrant Laneways and Small Scale Spaces Strategy. She has also worked with public and private sector clients including the World Bank and donor agencies.
Jessica is currently the Project Director for The Neighbourhood Project – Australia’s largest Tactical Urbanism experiment that will see eight local councils enable the delivery of up to 40 community-led placemaking projects.
Topic: Short term action, long term change: How pop up urban experiments can change the health of our cities

Natasha Cole

First Assistant Secretary Health Services Division Department of Health
Natasha is an experienced senior executive with over 25 years’ service across a range of Australian Government agencies.
Natasha was appointed as First Assistant Secretary, Health Services Division within the Australian Government Department of Health in November 2015. In this role Natasha has oversight of policy and programs for acute and primary care, including Primary Health Networks, mental health and suicide prevention, chronic disease, allied health and dental programs. Natasha was appointed as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Champion in July 2016, a role focusing on promoting diversity and inclusion, and providing advocacy and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in the Department.
Prior to this Natasha held a range of senior executive positions spanning health policy areas of primary care reform, sports administration, rural health and health workforce at the Departments of Health, Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport. Natasha has also worked as a ministerial advisor in the health and sport portfolios.
Natasha commenced her career at the Department of Immigration as a graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in political science and history.

Daniela Hongell

Daniela launched hongell&me in 2012 and has never looked back.
A specialist marketing practitioner for over 20 years in the Barossa Valley and interstate, Daniela offers bright business ideas to SMEs and organisations looking to establish or grow through powerful marketing and communications strategies.
Starting her career as an advertising copywriter for radio and TV, Daniela progressed into the wine industry as a graduate management trainee, and then managed the brand communications for Australia’s largest selling wine exported to the UK.  Moving to the Barossa Valley with her winemaker husband in 1998 and in between having three children, Daniela worked as a senior wine marketing consultant, a lecturer in strategic marketing and management, and a business development manager.
Helping businesses with a positive and practical approach to marketing, Daniela is a lateral thinker and a creative problem solver.  She enjoys building relationships with her clients and taking a personal approach to their business solutions.
Participating in the Barossa Future Leaders Program, Barossa B2B Program and Transforming Business Conference, Daniela contributes back to her community.
When she’s not driving her children across the Barossa for their school, sports and music activities, Daniela can be found tucked into the corner of the couch, enjoying her iPad, favourite Netflix series, design magazine and freshly made G&T; each at the same time.
Daniela is a graduate of the University of Canberra with a BA in Communications.
Topic: Are you REALLY marketing your business?

Professor Karen Grimmer

Karen Grimmer is Professor of Allied Health in the School of Health Sciences. She is the Director of the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE) ( Karen’s interests are diverse. They include the philosophy and practice of implementation of evidence, adolescent musculoskeletal health and its public health implications, posture and its determinants, allied health service quality and outcome measurement, discharge planning from hospitals, the frailty trajectory and the systems which underpin good allied health practices. Karen has been a supported researcher at UniSA every year since 1997. iCAHE’s visionary researchers pursue diverse research interests of their own, although all the research is linked by the desire to improve allied health teaching and clinical practices nationally and internationally.  Karen is the Scientific lead on Project SAGE (2015-2017). This is a cross-institution, international research project being conducted in South Africa, on improving the quality and uptake of primary health care clinical practice guidelines. Karen is a member of a collaborative partnership between Californian Baptist University (California), University of Santo Tomas (Philippines) and University of South Australia, investigating evidence based practice implementation, and adolescent obesity. Karen supervises Honours students, Masters by Research and PhD students. Karen has vacancies for one new PhD student in January 2016, in the areas of evidence production and implementation and clinical guideline activities.  Karen’s teaching interests are in research methodology, biostatistics, allied health epidemiology, evidence-based practice in allied health, clinical practice guidelines and allied health systems evaluation, Karen has received a number of UniSA awards for excellence in teaching in research, related to research projects conducted with students and other staff in the School of Health Sciences, and also to her supervision of higher research degree students. Karen is a Professor Extraordinaire (adjunct professor) at Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa. She is an honorary professor at University of Santo Tomas, Manila. She is adjunct faculty at Nova Southeast University, Florida. She consults to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority on allied health evidence and quality practice.
Topic: The importance of allied health leading health care reform, national & international perspectives

Anne Skordis

Anne Skordis is the General Manager, Scheme Transition, for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). Anne has responsibility for leading the NDIA’s collaboration with the Commonwealth, States and Territories on arrangements for transition to full implementation of the NDIS. The Scheme Transition Division also leads development of NDIA approaches related to mental health, supporting transition to employment and interface with mainstream services. Prior to joining the NDIA Anne held several roles within the NSW government related to disability and aged care policy and service delivery. Her most recent roles were in intergovernmental negotiations and disability policy reform including a role as the Executive Director, NDIS Implementation and Transition for the NSW Department of Family and Community Services. Originally from Victoria, Anne studied social work and her early career was in income support programs, concessions and customer policy for gas and electricity providers in Victoria.
Topic: NDIS  – In rural and remote areas

Debra Kay PSM

Debra is a health consumer representative. She originally trained as a teacher and has undertaken health curriculum development, policy and research. She has worked with The Smith Family and was CEO of Asthma Australia. Debra is currently a Guest Research Associate in Consumer Engagement at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI); holds several federal and state government committee appointments; is an NPS MedicineWise Director; Chairs the Board of the Health Consumers Alliance of South Australia; and undertakes pro bono roles with a wide range of community organisations.
Topic: Partnering with consumers –how do you know it’s working?

Sarah Powell

Sarah Powell has made a name for herself as a change agent Australia wide as the founder of Champions Academy’, a cutting edge leadership development initiative that uses country sporting clubs as a vehicle to attract and inspire future leaders, and helps them to recognise their potential to revitalise rural communities.
Beginning her career in banking and finance, Sarah worked in Eyre Peninsula in SA and the East Kimberley in WA, before transitioning into accounting and business advisory work in Far North Queensland in the early 2000’s.  This foundation paved the way for Sarah to take on a role with the peak economic development agency in Cairns, and soon after, she became the inaugural CEO of Regional Development Australia for Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait Islands.   Throughout her corporate career Sarah worked in both the public and private sectors, playing a pivotal role in major projects that were designed to stimulate business and industry growth.
During this time Sarah naturally gravitated into the role of mentor to many up and coming young business people, passing on the knowledge and insights she had gained in her experience. She was appointed Chair of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce’s Young Chamber and worked closely with a contingent of young community members and future leaders in Papua New Guinea to set up a Young Chamber there as well.

In 2012 Sarah found herself back in South Australia, quite literally, by accident.   Returning to the region where she grew up, Sarah was shocked by the change that had transpired in one generation – everywhere she saw evidence of cataclysmic regional population decline and the resultant loss of basic services such as health and education, disappearance of small business and deterioration of infrastructure in rural townships.  It spurred her into action and subsequently, the creation of a concept called Champions Academy, which aimed to attract and develop future leaders who would become Champions for rural areas and advocate on their behalf.
The Champions Academy is based on the philosophy that ‘a Champion is a person whose actions motivate and inspire others, and leave a legacy’.  The Pilot Program which was rolled out at Ports Football & Netball Club in the Arno Bay-Port Neill district in 2015 attracted the attention of struggling communities across the country, and Sarah is presently undertaking due diligence with sporting clubs in those areas to find out how a Champions Academy can be established there.
In 2015 Sarah was recognised for her efforts to strengthen rural communities and make them more resilient to change, when she was honoured with the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation’s Rural Women’s Award for South Australia, and went on to be named Rural Woman of the Year in Canberra later that year.
Sarah lives in the farming community of Wharminda in South Australia with her partner Caleb Prime, and their 11-month old son, Tex.
Topic: Revitalizing rural communities through sporting leadership

Bronwyn Venning

Bron Venning graduated from Podiatry at UniSA in 1997 and is currently the CEO of her own life; a role for which she feels horribly underqualified.
After about 14 years of Podiatry in Country Health SA Local Health Network, a series of happy accidents saw her move into community development and then community engagement – fields that she is most passionate about. She maintains that the best and most important things she has learned have not been in a formal learning institution.
In her workplace, Bron is renowned for thinking in different ways, saying “yes” to almost everything and drinking way too much coffee.  She believes in people, she believes in creativity and she believes in leaving the world better than she found it.
Her views are best described by two great men:
Walt Disney with “you can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world but it takes people to make the dream a reality” and Martin Luther King Jr with “Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted”
Topic: That IKEA talk.  A model for radical innovation in health service design

Tanya Lehmann

President of the national peak body for rural and remote allied health (SARRAH) and Deputy Chair of the National Rural Health Alliance Board.
Tanya is passionate about rural and remote health.  From a career foundation of a broad-scope of rural Dietetics practice, she progressed into Community Health Management, Project Management and Allied Health Leadership roles. She is President of the national peak body for rural and remote allied health (SARRAH) and Deputy Chair of the National Rural Health Alliance Board. Her strengths are in leadership, communication, strategy, change management, policy development and political advocacy.
Tanya has an insatiable appetite to learn, solve problems and lead change; to make a positive difference to the health and wellbeing of our rural communities and the staff who serve them.
Topic: What does this mean for Rural and Remote Allied Health and SARRAH?
Tanya’s attendance at the conference is proudly sponsored by:

Robyn Adams

Robyn has been a long term advocate for rural allied health professionals and the services they provide. Continuing her interest in rural health, Robyn has recently completed her PhD investigating factors affecting service provision in rural physiotherapy. In her current role of Executive Officer for the Australian Council of Pro Vice-Chancellors and Deans of Health Sciences, Robyn draws upon her leadership experience in both the health and education sectors, and her advocacy experience gained in   representative roles within professional organisations. Robyn is proud to be a founding member and previous president of SARRAH and always values attending rural allied health conferences.

Rob Curry

Although semi-retired and now living on the Mid North Coast, NSW, Rob spent much of his working life in the Northern Territory working in Aboriginal health as a physiotherapist and later in numerous roles involving health projects, health promotion, health services management and public health in the Aboriginal domain.
Rob is currently Deputy Chair of SARRAH and has been a member since the inception of the organisation in 1994.  He has previously served on the boards of the Australian Physiotherapy Association and the National Rural Health Alliance, and has recently joined with other interested allied health professionals to form the North Coast Allied Health Association.
It is Rob’s contention that SARRAH has played a pivotal role in providing a coherent national voice for Australia’s rural allied health professionals and has been important in raising awareness of the allied health professions in providing effective health care for rural communities. SARRAH needs to continue providing supportive services for AHPs and building its capacity for advocacy to ensure effective development of rural health services and better outcomes for Australians living outside the major cities.

About provides delegate registration, website and app solutions, and financial management for conferences, conventions and scientific meetings.

Terms & Conditions

All registrations and bookings are subject to our standard term and conditions.

Contact Us

Please contact the team at with any questions regarding the conference.
© 2017 - 2020 Conference Design Pty Ltd. is a division of Conference Design Pty Ltd.