Melbourne – 7 March 2018



Date:    Wednesday 7 March 2018

Time:  Registration from 11:30am–12:00pm,  Lunch 12:00pm–2:30pm

Venue: Crown Palladium Melbourne, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank VIC

Dress Code: Business/Smart Casual


RedBalloon Founder

Keynote Address Synopsis:
Naomi Simson will share with you her insights and experience on how to harness the power of influence and achieve consistent results. Her presentation will explore how to create a focused and engaged team that will ultimately deliver solid commercial value. Naomi will outline the culture framework, and detail how an ongoing and relentless approach to leadership, influence and diversity creates a culture for business growth.

Learning outcomes:

  • Elements of the culture framework that you can do right now with your team
  • How to create a culture of recognition and fun in your workplace
  • The number one driver of employee engagement – no matter what the generation
  • Learn about the drivers of growth; what they look like and what you can implement in your business. You will understand what you can do to drive purpose, alignment and leadership throughout your business.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

As one of Australia’s most prominent entrepreneurs and business leaders, Naomi Simson is known as the founding director of online experience retailer RedBalloon. She’s an investor on Network Ten’s popular television series Shark Tank, a business blogger and author and is now co-founder of the newly formed The Big Red Group (BRG) an organisation housing her 4 businesses RedBalloon, Redii, Wrapped and The Huddle. After recently securing the exclusive rights to bring the world’s first AI digital marketing platform Albert to Australia and New Zealand, BRG is paving the way for fully autonomous digital marketing campaigns. A true business influencer and leader with more than 2 million LinkedIn followers, she’s Australia’s most followed person on the business networking platform. She’s author of three books including the bestseller Live What You Love, I Want What She’s Having and Ready To Soar. Naomi also assists entrepreneurs in turning their ideas into big business through her online course ‘Building your Business Brand’ through her education platform, The Huddle.

As an engaging and passionate speaker, Naomi is relatable across a broad variety of audiences and topics. Often drawing on her own personal experiences, she provides thoughtful and honest conversations on topics such as Purpose, Leadership, Business Success, The Entrepreneurial Journey and Thriving Workplaces. Before founding RedBalloon, Naomi worked for big businesses including IBM, Apple, KPMG and Ansett Airlines – all of which influenced her views on workplaces.

Naomi’s received a number of high profile awards including the 2008 National Telstra Business Women Awards for Innovation, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Industry category winner 2011, and Lifetime Achievement Silver Stevie Award 2013. And in early February 2017, she commenced her role as a member of the University of Melbourne’s Faculty’s Business and Economics Board.


Catherine McGrath Media

Catherine McGrath is an award-winning journalist and foreign correspondent. For 3 decades she has been one of Australia’s leading women broadcasters as Bureau Chief and Political Editor for SBS and ABC television, radio and online services. Earlier she was the ABC’s South East Asia Correspondent.She passionately believes it is important for women to be supported in developing speaking and communication skills and that Australia must broaden the number and scope of women who speak in the media and at conferences and events.In 2016 Catherine covered her last federal election leading the SBS political bureau and then opened her own business with a focus on communications training and events.

Catherine presents conferences and facilitates events Australia wide. She also works with some of the country’s biggest companies and public-sector organisations in media and presentation training.Catherine is a recipient of the Centenary of Federation Medal for Services to Society through Journalism. She is a member of the Canberra Convention Bureau, the Canberra Business Chamber and the National Press Club.Catherine lives in Canberra and is a graduate of the University of Sydney.


Swinburne University

Professor Dong Ruan is an expert in mechanical and structural engineering. Her primary research fields include the dynamic properties of materials, energy absorption of materials and structures, and impact mechanics. Dr Ruan has secured over $2 million in research grants from the Australian Research Council, Defence Materials and Technology Centre, Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Automotive Technology, CAST CRC and Rail Manufacturing CRC, among others.

Dr Ruan received the 2013 Eureka Prize in the “Safeguarding Australia” category as a key member of DMTC Armour Application Program.


Project Director, Arcadis 

Tania Wallace-Smith is a senior member of the project management team at Arcadis, based in Melbourne, and is currently focusing on building a market presence in Victoria for delivering Project Management Services in the building sector. Tania is MBA qualified and has a double Degree in Engineering and Science. She has 15 years’ experience working on a range of large and complex projects in Australia, England and the United Arab Emirates and has been responsible for delivery of projects in excess of $500M. Tania’s most recent project roles have been as Project Director for the development of a 72-storey tower and a hotel and resort in the UAE.


Senior Vice President & General Manager, Jacobs Asia Pacific & Middle East
Jacobs Inclusion Council Chair
Consult Australia Male Champions of Change ChairPatrick Hill is the Senior Vice President & General Manager of Jacobs’ Asia Pacific & Middle East region leading approximately 6,000 employees in the delivery of critical buildings, power, transport, water and environmental projects that shape our cities and communities.Patrick is a passionate and vocal advocate for gender equality and flexibility, and believes collaboration is key to accelerating change across the industry and society. This is reflected in his ongoing involvement with the Consult Australia Male Champions of Change (CAMCC) network which aims to bring about accelerated change in the built environment consulting industry.

Patrick also Chairs the Inclusion Council for Jacobs across Australia and New Zealand, setting the strategic direction of our Inclusion @ Jacobs portfolios: Gender Equality, Flexibility, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) engagement and LGBTI+, Life stages, CALD (Cultural and Linguistic Diversity) and living with a disability. He works with a dedicated Inclusion Manager to implement interventions to effect change within the organisation and ensure his leadership team is engaged with, and accountable for, action. These have included the introduction of a flexible working toolkit and education around our inherent bias’; establishing the ‘tipping point’ of women in leadership target of 28% across Australia and New Zealand over 5 years; extending our parental leave benefits; implementing recruitment interventions to attract more women to the business; and continuing to conduct annual pay equity reviews and action.

Patrick is also one of three CEOs and CAMCC member organisations involved in piloting a new ‘Sponsoring Women for Accelerated Success program’ – which aims to accelerate the progression of emerging talented women in the industry.He is active gender equality and flexibility advocate in the industry, helping to mature the conversation across numerous forums on the issues including; Engineers Australia, CEDA, Roads Australia and Consult Australia. Patrick is a Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Pay Equity Ambassador; and for the third consecutive year, Patrick is proud to have lead his team to be awarded the Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation in Australia by the WGEA.Patrick is a happy and proud father in a family where the gender imbalance is real – he has three incredible daughters, an amazing wife and a doting dog who also happens to be female.


FLTLT Belinda Pavlovic
Defence Force Recruiting
Belinda Pavlovic is a Flight Lieutenant for the Royal Australian Air Force and is a trained aeronautical and mechanical engineering. She also works in the Specialist Recruitment Team for Women at Defence Force Recruiting.Read more about Belinda in this article published by the Australian Financial Review.



Deakin University’s School of Engineering is delighted to be a Bronze Sponsor of Engineers Australia’s International Women’s Day.

Under the leadership of our Head of School, Professor Karen Hapgood, we are successfully striving to meet our gender goals. This includes a continued focus to increase our female students.  Our female academic staff numbers are anticipated to be at least 20% by the end of 2018.  This is a significant increase from 11% in 2016.

Industry-focus and R&D activities are also important to our School of Engineering.

Industry-specific problems provide context and challenges for our talented staff and students. Using our state-of-the-art facilities within the Centre for Advanced Design in Engineering Training (CADET), we are able to tackle the toughest challenges of Australian industry. This assists in providing the solutions that will advance our society and strengthen our economy.

We have specialists in many areas of engineering; infrastructure and environment, energy management, automation, manufacturing, product design and development, materials, additive manufacturing and more. Our facilities are world-class, with laboratories for advanced CNC machining, high-level 3D printing, VR/AR, energy and high-voltage, water treatment, concrete and corrosion testing, robotics and automation. Facing problems with a holistic approach, we can deliver solutions unrivalled by any engineering school in the country.

Latest news...