Speaker Details


Andy West - Chief Development Officer, Hotwire Global 

Over 30 years in PR Andy has spent time at Text100, founded two dot.com startups and led PR programs and business development across the world before joining Hotwire in 2008 as Managing Director, Corporate and being promoted to Chief Development Officer in 2011.

Andy has group wide responsibility for business development, marketing, and the Hotwire global partner network. He is also a Director of AMEC, the international Association for Measurement & Evaluation in Communications and the Chair of the Evaluation Group of the UK PRCA.

Armon Hicks - Chief Operating Officer, Australian Public Affairs

Armon is a solver of complex problems – harnessing his 25 years of experience in public affairs to help shape the impact of government regulation and policies on client interests in Australia, the UK, USA and New Zealand.

From in-house corporate affairs positions, to political advisory roles, and as the CEO of the Australian operations of an international public affairs consultancy; Armon has experience in the full range of levers to resolve issues and build strong stakeholder engagement.

He skillfully combines the traditional approaches of government relations, research and media, with cutting edge modern campaign technology honed at the forefront of public debates on CSG and gas projects.

Armon regularly advises CEOs and Boards on matters as diverse as issues resolution, developing a social licence to operate, complex regulatory reform and awareness raising; and has a broad network of senior political, government, media and industry contacts and opinion leaders.

He has a particular focus on resources, energy, trade, waste management, and climate change policies, and has addressed a range of conferences including on social media campaigning techniques in the resources sector.

Armon is a registered lobbyist, a member of the Australian Professional Government Relations Association, and a certified NationBuilder Expert.

Arun Sudhaman - CEO and editor-in-chief, PRovoke.

In his role, Arun oversees PRovoke's global content offering, including its analysis and insight into reputation, public relations and communications trends and issues. Since joining PRovoke in 2010, Arun has comprehensively redefined the title’s content platform, which includes its digital presence and new products such as the Influence 100 compendium of key global influencers, the Global PR Agency Rankings, the Global Creative Index, and the Echo Chamber podcast. He also led the rebrand of the Holmes Report to PRovoke in 2020.

Arun has also played a pivotal role expanding PRovoke's coverage into Asia-Pacific and other emerging markets, and has helped steer the company’s international events programme, particularly the Global Public Relations Summit — which has featured such luminaries as Sir Martin Sorrell, P&G’s Marc Pritchard, Chuck Porter and IBM’s Jon Iwata. 

He brings to the position more than a decade’s experience as a journalist and digital content specialist, most of which has been spent analysing the media, marketing and communications industries. His career has encompassed coverage and analysis of reputation and leadership issues in numerous countries across the world, including the US and UK, Russia, China, India and South Africa. 

Prior to joining the Holmes Report, Arun spent more than seven years with Haymarket Media in Hong Kong, Singapore and London. He joined Haymarket title PRWeek UK in January 2009, after covering Asia’s media and marketing landscape at sister Haymarket title Campaign Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong and Singapore. 

Before Haymarket, Arun spent one year at public relations firm Weber Shandwick during its tumultuous mergers with Weber and BSMG. During his career as a journalist he has appeared on BBC News and has also contributed to The Guardian and the South China Morning Post, where he began his career as a business reporter.

In 2015, Arun became the youngest-ever inductee into the ICCO Hall of Fame.

Carl Ratcliff - Founder, This is the Day

Carl has worked both in the UK and here in Australia as an agency CEO, CSO and marketing lead, client side. His experience spans over 20 years, working across multiple categories. He has helped others - on both sides of the world - to win a lot of awards for creativity as well as for effectiveness.

Lately, he has struck out on his own as a creative consultant and seeks to help clients truly articulate their business problems, in order to truly solve them, His respect for ideas that earn attention continues unabashed as he looks to new ways to measure their commercial return.

Caroline Ruddick - General Manager, Marketing at Latitude Financial Services

In her time with Latitude Caroline has had responsibility across Sales Finance, Credit Cards, Personal Loans and Insurance for Australia and New Zealand.  Most recently she led the Latitude brand reset, which included unifying all products onto the Latitude brand. Before joining Latitude, Caroline held the positions of Head of Marketing at AGL, Head of Marketing at Transurban and General Manager of Marketing at MYOB.
 
Caroline has held senior brand marketing and strategy roles at SEEK Ltd in Melbourne, Grey Worldwide in New York and George Patterson Bates in Melbourne.  She began her brand marketing career in the FMCG sector with Procter& Gamble and Mars Confectionery of Australia. Caroline has over 20 years’ experience in General Management, Marketing, Sales, Digital Transformation, Communications and Product.  
 
Caroline has a Master of Commerce (Marketing & Organisational Behaviour) from the University of New South Wales, and a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Business Law) from the University of Melbourne.  She is also a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Chris Savage - Business Growth Specialist, The Savage Company

Currently chairman of six creative communications agencies, including three PR specialty firms, Savage is a former Asia Pacific chairman of Burson-Marsteller, co-founder of a top three financial relations PR firm, and the architect and first employee of what became and remains today the largest PR group in Australia, OPR.

Savage also served for almost a decade as chief operating officer of STW Group (now WPP aunz), where he was responsible for $300 million of revenue from PR, design, activation and other non-advertising companies in the group.

David Breen - Head of Corporate Affairs, ING Australia 

David started at ING in 2008 with responsibility for Public Relations. Since then he has taken the lead on internal communications, sustainability, reputation and media relations. 

Working to create and foster ING’s position as a challenger brand, David has helped ING maintain its position as Australia’s number 1 recommended bank and a great place to work. 

David came to ING after an extensive career in media having held editorial roles at Network Ten, News Ltd and Win Television.

David Coupland - Group Strategy Director, The Haus 

David is a cross-sector strategist with 11 years experience working in London, Istanbul and Sydney.

David started his career in London with a boutique consumer PR agency, cutting his teeth as a publicist for eBay, Dolby, Hyundai and Disney. Work at both Edelman and Hill+Knowlton (H+K) followed, where David shifted focus to corporate communication strategy for Shell (Edelman) and pladis (H+K), the food and beverage arm of the Turkish powerhouse Yildiz Holding (the people who make McVities and Godiva chocolate). For both Shell and pladis, David was hired specifically to evolve their brand strategies and provide brand narratives to engage consumer and corporate audiences through media outreach. In Australia David has headed up creative and strategy for Adobe (SMB, Mid-Market and Enterprise audiences), ATO, Amadeus, Sony Mobile, Zero Latency, Allianz, Tinder, Specsavers, Electrolux Home Products, Aussie and TAL.

David believes in the principles of deconstruction to inform his work, and is particularly interested in the changing role of 'brands' in people’s lives. In a short space of time 'brands' moved from being a provider of a good or a service to becoming cultural creators, publishing platforms, social activists, political commentators, taste makers, competitors and collaborators; they asked us to look inwards and decide who we want to be; they asked us to be an individual, and consider our choices from how we dress, to how we shop, to how we bank, to how we share information. He likes that about them.

David is two time winner of Agency of The year, and was awarded Global Digital Campaign of the Year in 2018.

Francesca Boase - Senior Consultant, Strategic Communications, EY

Francesca is a senior consultant with over 20 years’ experience in corporate communications, stakeholder engagement and internal communications, reputation management and strategic counsel.  She has worked with some of the world’s most recognised brands, including EY, PwC and PayPal.  She has developed a strong track record in managing strategic communication programs and providing senior counsel to executive teams and Boards on a range of reputational issues.  

Jo Masters - Chief Economist, EY

Jo Masters joined EY as Chief Economist in 2019 and has been an active part of the economic debate in Australia for the last 20 years. Jo is a well-regarded thought leader across economic and policy issues in Australia and the global economy more broadly.

During her time with EY she has provided insights on many of areas of the Australian economy including the housing sector, retail sector, the Federal Budget, and the current China/US trade war. Prior to EY, Jo worked at ANZ and spent over a decade at Macquarie Bank.

Kylie Cochrane - Managing Principal, Communication & Stakeholder Engagement - Australia & New Zealand, Aurecon 

Kylie is a partner in the engineering and infrastructure advisory firm Aurecon, and she leads Aurecon’s ANZ Communication and Stakeholder Engagement group. 

She is also the International Chair of the of the International Association of Public Participation - the professional association of the community engagement industry. She is on both the Australasian and the International IAP2 Boards. 

Kylie has almost 30 years’ experience in community and stakeholder engagement, strategic communication and community outrage. She brings extensive first-hand experience on infrastructure projects with extensive community outrage including WestConnex M4-M5 Link, Northern Sydney Freight Corridor and Sydney’s Desalination Project.

Kylie was the opening speaker at the 2019 UN conference on engagement. She was awarded 2019 IAP2 International Inspirational Leader and was the 2018 Consult Australia Female Champion of Change. In the last three years Kylie’s team has won more than twelve coveted industry awards including International Engagement Project of The Year, National Women in Construction Innovation Award and The NSW Premiers Award. 

Lisa Portolan - RCG Chair, PRIA and Agency Lead at The Mark Agency (Sydney)

Lisa has over 15 years experience working in the communications and marketing space. She was previously the Director of communications (Department of Communications), and the Director of Communications (AIS), and has led some of the largest Australian Government campaigns including Digital Switchover, nbn co, and the AIS rebrand. 

She was previously a Group Account Director at Herd MSL, one of Australia’s largest integrated communications agencies and led accounts such as the Treasury, CSIRO, NSW Health, and Department of Jobs and Small Business.

She is currently the agency lead for The Mark Agency in Sydney with clients such as the AFP, Defence and the Productivity Commission.

She is also a freelance journalist and writes for the Australian Financial Review, The Guardian, 10 Daily and The Conversation. She has two books published. 

Mandi Wicks - Director of Audio and Language Content, SBS

Mandi is the Director of Audio and Language Content, which includes SBS Radio. SBS Radio is the world’s most linguistically diverse public broadcaster, with 68 language services and three music channels - SBS PopAsia, SBS PopDesi and SBS Chill.

Mandi has more than 30 years’ experience in the media industry, working at four of Australia’s leading networks (SBS, Macquarie Media, Southern Cross Austereo and Nova Entertainment). She worked as a journalist for 12 years before moving to senior management roles.

Mandi is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She oversees a team of more than 200 journalists, representing more than 100 cultures, and is the Executive Sponsor of the SBS Pride & Allies group.

Mandi is driven by SBS’s purpose to inspire all Australians to explore, respect and celebrate diversity, and its important role in contributing to a more inclusive society.

Matt Francis - Head of Media & Communications, The Property Council

Matt has over two decades experience managing corporate affairs, communications and media for government and the private sector organisations, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia and the United States, Tourism Australia, Melbourne Airport and as a strategic communications consultant. He has worked for senior government ministers in policy and media advising roles across a range of portfolios.

Mylan Vu - PR and Communications Consultant, Vu Consulting

Mylan Vu brings over a decade of experience in building and implementing communications strategies for a range of enterprise, small business, not-for-profit, B2B, and technology brands. Most recently, Mylan was Managing Director of global communications agency, Hotwire. 

Currently, Mylan delivers strategic PR and communications services through her own business, Vu Consulting, and has also founded Echo Chamber Escape, an online publication providing a platform for those not considered the 'majority'. 

Nicholas Campbell - Chairman, Nexus APAC

Nicholas has more than 25 years of Corporate Public Affairs & Strategy experience, spanning corporate, government, and consultancy. His experience spans Corporate Affairs, Strategy, Strategic Marketing, Market Access, and Business Development.   

Nicholas is the Chair of Nexus APAC, a consulting firm that specialises in advising companies in corporate affairs, strategic communications, strategy, market access, M&A and stakeholder management.  In his industry and consulting career, he has worked with more than 50 Chief Executive Officers, Managing Directors, and Country Leaders to provide advice and support.  

He has also consulted to global brands such as Microsoft, Google, Nike, Swisse, Bayer, ResMed, Barclays, Rothschild, Fred Hollows Foundation, and Booking.com and supported some of the highest profile transactions in Australia including TransGrid/AusGrid Energy, CUB and Kidman & Co. Nicholas and his team are currently working to support the Mirarr, the Traditional Aboriginal Owners of Kakadu and parts of Western Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.  

He was previously the Executive Director of Corporate Affairs & Strategy for the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in ANZ and APAC.   During his 12 years at J&J he supported the Asia Pacific region on a number of projects including a Government Affairs & Policy Best Practice Program for J&J worldwide;  Minesweeper Asia, a Policy, Media and Issues Management scanning, prioritisation, training and mitigation project; Project Gauge - HIV Medication Market Access in developing markets and Strategic Marketing/Corporate Equity at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in China.
 

Penny George - Head of Public Affairs, Sanofi Australia & NZ
 
Penny George is Head of Public Affairs for Sanofi Australia & NZ and an experienced public affairs practitioner.  Penny leads a team working across Sanofi’s broad prescription, vaccination and consumer health business portfolio responsible for all elements of Public Affairs including government relations strategy, policy development and advocacy. Sanofi is a top 10 Pharmaceutical company worldwide in both pharmaceutical and consumer products, including Cenovis, Nature’s Own and Betadine. Headquartered in Paris, France Sanofi is part of the global search to discover a COVID-19 vaccine.
 
Penny has led major advocacy campaigns which have seen new medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, vaccines added to the National Immunisation Program and regulation amendments to support the growth of Sanofi’s manufacturing plant in Brisbane. 
 
Penny is a strong advocate within the healthcare sector, currently serving on the Medicines Australia CEO Advisory Committee and Government Working Group.  Through this position, Penny has served on the core campaign team advocating for a sustainable PBS through the Medicines Australia and Australian Government Strategic Agreements. 
 
Prior to her role at Sanofi, Penny was a Senior Adviser in the Coalition NSW Government supporting the strategic plan for the social and affordable housing portfolio. Penny has significant experience preparing government campaigns, community engagement strategies, having also worked as a Regional Campaign Director for the Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division).
 
Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in her mid-twenties, Penny is passionate about the delivery of healthcare for Australians and the importance of raising the voice of patients to have an active role in healthcare reform, including access to medicines.  

Peter Kent - Chief Executive, Porter Novelli Australia

Peter is a quietly spoken loud thinker with a restless mind. 

He combines diverse professional experience with continuous curiosity for how best practice communications can magnify impact or mitigate risk for a brand, a reputation, a behaviour or an idea. 

Peter is joined-up thinker known for non-traditional creative responses to genuine business problems. 

He advises on intricate public affairs issues, corporate positioning, market development and stakeholder management.

On a continuing basis he works with clients in energy, agribusiness, government, health and not-for-profit sectors. 

He is a director of Clemenger Group Limited and Australian Community Philanthropy; chairs Porter Novelli Australia; and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Public Relations Institute of Australia. 

Pino Migliorino - Chair and Managing Director, Cultural Perspectives Group

Pino is the founder and Managing Director of the Cultural Perspectives Group: Cultural Perspectives, DiverseWerks and CIRCA Research, sector leaders in consulting to, researching and communicating with culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia. 

Pino is also distinguished in his pioneering work around multicultural and multilingual communications, applying communications theory and strategies to the fast growing and diversifying CALD segment in Australia. Over 25 years he has retained currency in the plethora of developments in the ethnic media space and the growing impact of digital media both locally and serving worldwide diasporas.

Pino is a leading commentator and expert around cultural diversity, multicultural marketing & engagement in Australia. He was most recently Honorary President of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia and Member of the Federal Governments Access & Equity Review Panel. 

Pino sits on various including Migration Institute of Australia (MIA); information & Cultural Exchange (ICE), Expert Advisory Group on Suicide Prevention and has just concluded terms on the NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Interpreters and translators) Board and ANROWS (Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety) Board.

Pino is a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (FPRIA) and a Qualified Practicing Market Research (QPMR) and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAIDC).

Pino was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2017.

Richard Brett - CEO, opr

Richard has over 20 years’ experience of marketing communications, brand strategy and communications agency leadership. His passions including using public relations and social media to lead integrated campaigns, outcome based measurement and using new technology to drive innovative creativity for brands. 

He is currently CEO for opr, working across all the opr businesses to deliver stand out, effective campaigns for clients such as eBay, Netflix, Ford, Microsoft, Atlassian, KFC and IKEA. The agency was named Sabre’s 2019 Australasian Agency of the Year, and Richard was named CommsCon’s Leader of the Year 2019. 

Richard also leads opr’s annual thought leadership platform ‘Futures’, which outlines forthcoming insights that will impact Australian business, government, brands and organisations. In the last two years Futures has been presented to over 70 different organisations and almost 4000 people across Australia and New Zealand. 

Before becoming CEO, Richard spent four years as managing director of the brand marketing team of opr - Pulse Communications. During Richard’s tenure the Pulse team won or was shortlisted for over 30 awards including being named CommsCon Highly Commended Agency of the Year 2016. 

Previously Richard was managing director of Shine Communications in London between 2009 and 2013, and global VP of marketing communications for Samsonite between 2006 and 2009. 

Richard has been shortlisted or received over 120 awards for his work. He has an MBA in Management from Imperial College London. 

Snezna Kerekovic - Chief Strategy Director  thrive pr + communications 

Snezna Kerekovic has over 25 years' experience developing and executing strategic and creative integrated communications campaigns for a diverse range of industries and clients. Her career has spanned journalism, PR and brand creator/marketer.  

She has spent the bulk of her career working in the health and wellness space, first as the Managing Editor and Publisher of Australian Pharmaceutical Publishing Company - leading its esteemed stable of B2B magazines, and launching a health and beauty consumer magazine. During her tenure she became a much sought after and trusted voice for the industry.  

Her move into PR saw her working solidly with big pharma, in her own agency, which she then built out to expand into beauty. Client list included Schering-Plough, Reckitt Benkiser, Imedeen, Kosmea. 

She was Health Director at Edelman for a number of years, working with global health leads and clients to deliver best in class integrated communications programs as well as being responsible for the health care division's business and team. She led on major accounts including GSK, Kimberly Clark, NIVEA, Menarini, Cochlear. 

As Chief Strategy Director at Thrive, Snezna drives insights-driven strategic thinking focused on helping address key client challenges, working closely with the team to inspire ground-breaking idea development and execution. Snezna jointly leads Thrive Media, a collective of Australian and New Zealander specialist journalists, editors, creatives and content producers.  

Sonia Clarke - National Lead, Creative Comms, PWC

Sonia is a strategic communications expert with a passion for storytelling. At PwC, she leads a team of communications strategists, content designers, digital producers, artists, animators and creative directors. The Creative Comms team works with clients during times of change to build strategies and design experiences that educate, engage and inspire employees and stakeholders.

Prior to joining PwC, Sonia spent more than a decade in PR, where she held senior agency leadership roles and directed award-winning campaigns which spanned consumer brand building to corporate reputation management.

Sophie Walsh - Communications Lead, Finder

With over ten years of experience managing public relations programs for brands across the technology, finance and education sectors, Sophie is passionate about PR that’s genuinely helpful. 

Since joining Finder as a PR Manager for the company’s new and growing insurance vertical in 2016, Sophie has found success by putting herself in the consumer’s shoes when creating campaigns or acting as a media spokesperson.  By balancing useful consumer insights with business priorities, Sophie secured a number of high-profile media opportunities for Finder, which built up the company as an authority on personal finance trends and issues.This approach to PR has successfully driven site traffic and direct revenue for the company.  

With a background working for boutique PR consultancies both in Australia and in the UK, Sophie is acutely aware of how essential it is to employ PR and comms strategies that solve business issues and provide real business value.  Sophie believes people are every company’s best asset and has spearheaded an internal communications strategy with a focus on inclusion, transparency and culture. 

During her time at Finder Sophie has been part of an award-winning PR team that took home Mumbrella’s Best PR Team of the Year – Inhouse and PRIA’s Corporate In-House PR Team of the Year in 2017, and was a finalist for the Young Leaders in Finance (PR) Award in 2018.

Susan Redden Makatoa FPRIA - Group Managing Director, Edelman Australia
 
Susan is one of Australia’s leading corporate communications advisers, having led large practice teams and provided high-level counsel to organisations including Microsoft, eBay, Mars, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Amgen, iNova, Medicines Australia and American Express. 

Susan joined Edelman in 2020 to drive the reputation and public affairs practice with a special focus on healthcare. A trained facilitator, Susan brings a strong public affairs and advocacy skills set and many years of issues and crisis management experience, particularly in highly regulated and complex stakeholder environments. 

She has managed communications for clients on issues including medicines listings, disease awareness, product recalls, fraud, workplace accidents, regulatory and data breaches.
 
Susan was previously Group Managing Director, Corporate for Ogilvy Public Relations, overseeing the Parker & Partners government affairs practice, Ogilvy Impact employee engagement firm and OPR’s crisis and issues unit. 
 
She was formerly a partner at independent healthcare and corporate agency SenateSHJ and held senior positions at ASIC and the NSW Business Chamber. Susan is a PRIA Fellow has won a range of national and international awards for her work with corporate, government and not-for-profit clients, and regularly speaks on guest lectures on issues and crisis communications.

Vanessa Liell - Executive Director, Commtract

Vanessa is a strategic communications professional with over 25 years' experience in corporate and consumer communications, brand, reputation, executive counsel and issues/crisis management.

Vanessa was the Group CEO and co-founder of Herd MSL, she led the growth and performance of Herd MSL’s three specialist agencies - N2N Communications, Fuel Communications and Touch Creative, to become one of Australia's largest and most awarded public relations agency groups with a team of 75 talented consultants.

In 2017, Herd MSL was acquired by Publicis Groupe joining one of the world’s top five advertising groups. Vanessa was CEO and a partner in the acquisition and appointed to Publicis Communications Australia leadership team and MSL Global Senior Leadership Team.

Vanessa is a passionate communicator and executive advisor. Clients have included P&G, Facebook, Airbnb, Instagram, NBNCo, Salesforce, Audi, Lend Lease, American Express, ING and ATO among many others.

Vanessa is the winner of B&T's Women in Media PR Leadership Award and a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia.

Industry recognition includes multiple Cannes PR Lions for Creativity, Australian Agency of the Year awards and 30+ campaign awards.

Yatu Widders Hunt - Director, Cox Inall Ridgeway 
 
Yatu is a descendant of the Dunghutti and Anaiwan peoples of the Northern Tablelands of NSW. She is currently a Director at Indigenous social change agency, Cox Inall Ridgeway (CIR) which is part of the BWM Dentsu Group. 
 
At CIR, Yatu leads major communications, creative, research and community engagement projects which are aimed at driving real social outcomes with Indigenous Australians. She has worked on projects for the Referendum Council, NSW Police, Country Road Group, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Mental Health Commission.
 
Yatu has a background in Government communications and worked in a number of Federal Departments in Canberra, including to a Minister. She has also been a journalist and media consultant at National Indigenous Television, the National Rugby League and the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence.  
 
Yatu is also a key advocate for the Indigenous fashion sector and is the founder and curator of the high profile @ausindigenousfashion online communities. She regularly speaks on issues of Indigenous design and is a member of the NSW Government Architect’s ‘Connecting with Country- Expert Advisory Panel.’