Conference Speakers

Our speakers will inspire you with:

  • journey and survival story’s despite adversity.

In addition you will be:

  • entertained
  • informed and uplifted
  • leave motivated to focus on the future


2019-2020 RI President’s Representative


IPDG Sue Hayward PHF, JP

Sue is the Immediate Past District Governor for D9675, which encompasses the southern half of metropolitan Sydney, the Illawarra and around the base of the Blue Mountains.

Sue joined Rotary in 1995 in Adelaide, SA.  She was the Charter President of the RC Prospect Sunrise and the first female Charter President in the southern hemisphere.  On moving to Sydney, Sue joined the RC Sydney Darling Harbour, aka ‘The Darlings’, and between those two clubs has held all director positions, including being ‘recycled’ as a President in 2004-05.  Sue has been actively involved in all club activities and has nominated many members during her time as a Rotarian.

Sue has held the following roles within the District:  District Governor, Assistant Governor, Community Services Chair, Grand Stories Chair, GSE Chair, Polio Chair and Rotary Foundation Committee member. She is the Conference Chair for the D9675 2021 Conference and will be on the Learning & Development Committee in 2020-21. Sue has been a speaker at Rotary Conferences and events.  She loves ‘Smelly Dollars!’

Sue’s early career was in vocational training, and business management & consulting.  She holds tertiary qualifications in those areas and ran her own Registered Training Organisation before moving to Sydney and joining the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.  She then moved into health regulation with the NSW Medical Board and AHPRA.  She was a registered Civil Celebrant, but now conducts funerals and works as an Emcee.

Sue is married to Mike who is a retired architect and they have a son, Simon, who is a medical practitioner and a daughter-in-law, Kendall who is a veterinary surgeon.  They both live in Adelaide.


  Mayor Clare McLaughlin 
She was elected as Mayor of the City of Whyalla in November 2018; prior to this, Clare served as a Councillor from 2014 – 2018.

Mayor McLaughlin is a member of the South Australian Regional Organisations of Councils (SAROC) Board, Local Government Association Board of Directors, Upper Spencer Gulf/Spencer Gulf Cities – Deputy Chair and Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association – Deputy Chair.

City of Whyalla is located on Eyre Peninsula’s Spencer Gulf and is the region’s biggest city.  It is a city famous for captivating cuttlefish, other natural wonders, spectacular vistas and beaches, steelworks, mining, agriculture and aquiculture industry, and a variety of national retailers. Balancing a regional mix of activities Whyalla is a centre for both the Upper Spencer Gulf and Eyre Peninsula communities with a history that has supported the development of region with infrastructure for transport and energy.  Again Whyalla is in the centre of change into 2020’s.

Stephanie Woollard
Seven Women Founder & CEO

At the age of just 22, Stephanie began her Seven Women project during a visit to where she met seven disabled women making soaps and candles in a small tin shed. In Nepal, disabilities carry a strong social stigma, believed by many to bring bad fortune. The women were consequently lived in poverty, able to sell only a fraction of what they produced at market.

Stephanie used her last $200 to pay for two trainers to up skill the women to manufacture products appropriate for sale abroad. The Seven Women project has since changed the lives of over a thousand disabled Nepalese disabled women through training, employment and the sale of their ethically manufactured goods worldwide. In addition 5000 women have been positively impacted through outreach programs facilitated by the enterprise.

Education programs hosted by Seven Women include practical production skills such as sewing and growing vegetables, literacy classes and money management. “Our approach is to give a hand up, not a hand out,” said Stephanie. “All it takes it one generation to learn how to break the cycle of poverty and pass their learning down to the next to transform a village forever. The ripple effects of education are awe inspiring.”

Stephanie has recently been recognised on the global stage with a prestigious Rotary Responsible Business Award for her work, one of only six honorees worldwide. The award presentation formed the centerpiece of Rotary Day 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York with Rotary International President John Germ, more than 1500 Rotary members, UN officials and NGO leaders present. This adds to other accolades received for the project including an Ethical Enterprise Award in 2014. Stephanie recently completed her Masters in Peace and ‘Conflict Resolution’ at Uppsala University in Sweden. She has this year been nominated as Australian of the Year.

In October 2017, Stephanie was presented with an award for Sustainable Business from the Governor of Bahrain, as part of the Manama Entrepreneurship Week and the Sustainable Business Accelerator Initiative.

As Stephanie receives no payment for her efforts, in order to sustain her passion she subsequently founded ‘Hands On Development’ through which she speaks at conferences, provides mentoring and runs immersive tours to Nepal and Australian Indigenous communities. Seven Women provides traditional Nepali cuisine cooking classes, prayer flag making workshops and Basic Nepali lessons, allowing improvement of the women’s communication skills and profits used fund hospitality training to enhance their employment prospects.

Stephanie believes there is potential for all businesses to be a strong force of good in our world. “Businesses, small and large, carry a responsibility to make sure they uplift and not exploit, and respect people and the planet as well as profit. It’s not only businesses but consumers as well – we all cast our vote on what type of world we want to live in with every dollar we spend. ”Stephanie is a deeply inspiring young woman dedicated to education and empowerment of the world’s most marginalised. Her journey demonstrates how through persistence and unrelenting commitment one person can truly make a difference.


Dave Cockshell joined Rotary in 2001 with Rotary Club of Gawler Light. He has held many positions in the club since then, including President in 2005/6. Following that he was Assistant Governor Group 9 in District 9500 for 3 years and subsequently the Chairman of Donations in Kind – Central Region since 2010.

Dave is a geophysicist by profession and worked with the South Australian Government for four decades. Until July 2018 he was the state’s Chief Petroleum Geophysicist which covers promotion and regulation of the petroleum sector, specifically geophysical exploration. He was also involved in land and marine management and access issues in relation to the resources sector. He has since retired.

Donations in Kind (DIK) is a program supported by Rotary Clubs in Australia which grew out of the compassion and concern of returning overseas volunteers.

This recycling and reuse program involves the collection, sorting, packing, dispatch and distribution of donated items to countries in need of these goods.

Many goods and products, for which organisations in Australia have no further use, are valuable commodities in needy countries overseas and in some regions within Australia.


Barbara Derham

Barbara is experienced owner of the Fore Shore Motor Inn – Wateredge Restaurant with a demonstrated history in real estate (licenced) industry. Skilled in negotiation, business planning, coaching and is a business development professional. Barbara graduated from Genazzarno Catholic College Melbourne and is currently working towards a Counselling credential with Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors.

Barbara has held several roles with regional tourism committees and was one of the first Tourism Commissioners for SA.

Other achievements include,

  • Westpac Business Woman of the year 2005.
  • 15 years as a city councillor of Whyalla.
  • Held many state and federal board positions
  • Chair of Flag Choice Hotels International

Barbara was a member of the Rotary Club of Adelaide East and before moving back to Whyalla was a member of the Rotary Club of Adelaide.

The Upper Spencer Gulf region the Outback region is renowned for a number of Australia’s outback icons and for its diversity of industry and landscapes, ranging from deserts to arid wetlands and mound springs to dry salt lakes. The drivers for major infrastructure developments in the region are likely to result from private-sector investment.

The Upper Spencer Gulf is the gateway and service centre to the Eyre Peninsula, Outback and Flinders Ranges. The Flinders Ranges and Outback tourism region attracted 614,000 overnight visitors in 2000/01, including 75,000 international visitors. Spending by domestic overnight visitors to the Flinders area in 2000 was estimated to be $116 million and domestic day-trip visitors spent $31 million. Major tourism themes include adventure four-wheel driving, cycle tourism, trails, outback experience, and heritage and Aboriginal culture. A number of Australia’s outback icons are situated in the area.

 Andrew De Garis worked in the Upstream Oil & Gas industry spanned over 3 decades with a focus on subsurface engineering.  He undertook operational field work and office planning in most facets of drilling, completions and production operations in the Cooper Basin, Australia. This included management of the Joint Venture activities and extensive engagement with State Government Regulators.

Moving into management he oversaw changes in Operations Planning and the introduction of new drilling rigs to onshore Australia before heading overseas in 2012. In an Asset Management role, he worked in Bangladesh and managed Non-Operated Joint Venture relationships in Vietnam and Papua New Guinea.

In 2016 he relocated to Brisbane, managing Reservoir Development activities in both conventional and unconventional onshore reservoirs.

He holds degrees in Applied Science and Business Management and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. His interests include the local community, cycling and travelling.

Andrew’s involvement in Rotary commenced as a Rotaractor in the 80’s, the highlight of which included a FAIM construction project in PNG. He joined the Rotary Club of West Lakes in 2017 and is President Elect for 2021-22.

As part of his commitment to community service he has a family including Rotarian Ros and children Belinda and Lucas who are developing employment skills to look after Andrew and Ros in their old age.

Les Burdett OAM

Les Burdett served Adelaide Oval for 41 years from 1969 to 2010; W; 32 years as Oval Manager. Les’ expertise has been in demand in various venues around the world including India, South Africa, New Zealand and Malaysia. He has consulted to the International Cricket Council and is currently Cricket Pitch Adviser to Cricket Australia. He has prepared and assisted in the preparation of turf cricket pitches in every state of Australia. Les has been involved with ‘Variety: The Children’s Charity’ for 2 decades and is proud to be an Ambassador for SA Variety supporting children with special needs.

He is the recipient of several awards:

  • 2010 Distinguished Service Award from the Australian Golf Course Superintendents’ Association;
  • 2008 Order of Australia for services to the turf management industry, charities and the community;
  • 2003 Australian Centenary Medal for service to the sport of cricket and the turf industry;
  • 2001 Australian Sports Medal in recognition of his services to cricket.

Born and educated in Adelaide, he is one of seven boys and was a National Serviceman in the Engineering Corp. of the Australian Army.

Contact: Les Burdett Consulting Pty Ltd



Tatjana Turcinov

Tatjana was born and raised in Europe before moving to Adelaide where she has lived since 2011.

Professionally, Tatjana has excelled in positions of leadership throughout Europe in teams ranging from 15 to 250 people. The roles have been diverse: international sales, industrial cooperation, joint ventures, project management, re-organisation and re-location of companies, sales support and marketing, customer relationship management in IT and ISP services, insurance and fund management, and the training of more than 2,500 people about capital markets and investment funds.

Tatjana is a Trainer and Life Coach certified by the International Neuro-Linguistic Programming Trainers Association, a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), treasurer and member of its SA leadership team.

Having attended the international conference of the Australasia Pacific Alliance of Coaches in May 2017, she is currently contemplating how to bring western corporate life experience closer to the eastern mindfulness and “heartfulness” through the use of corporate storytelling. Tatjana see herself as a storyteller, life and business coach, mentor, consultant…

But if you have time to listen, she might tell you that “once she was apparently very successful business woman… but her preferred roles are mother, wife, grandmother, aunty… and she will say that we all play different roles through the days of our life.

Tatjana’s passion is in coaching and mentoring students, young professionals and leaders, supporting them to reach their full potential. She feels lucky to be able to utilise her vast experience by helping people and serving the community as member of the Rotary Club of Adelaide. At the same time Tatjana is volunteering for Red Cross as speaker in the community for “In Search for Safety” program where she is trying to increase awareness about asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.

Peter Borda

As owner of Peter Borda Coaching provides specialized Mindset and Emotional Management Training to individuals, sports teams and small to medium sized businesses. His training and coaching services help individuals and groups align everyday activities with their personal or company vision, creating higher and better production levels, and greater enjoyment of the challenges and joys of life.

He uses practical strategies that are simple to implement with permanent results. Peter’s capability as a coach is best illustrated by the way he lives his life and is echoed in his coaching style which is to coach by example.

Peter’s personal experience coupled with almost a decade’s worth of personal development and training in the areas of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Timeline Therapy and Hypnotherapy, has enabled him to establish successful techniques for personal coaching sessions, group training sessions and public seminars.  He enthusiastically teaches others how they can focus on their highest values in life and achieve these goals.

Peter Borda Coaching started in 2015 and since moving to Whyalla in November 2017 his services have been utilised by the University of South Australia, University of Adelaide Rural Medical Team, many local educational institutions, private clients and public events. His Facebook videos teach simple mindset and emotional management improvement strategies and have a wide following.

By teaching people how to connect their daily habits to a sensible future vision, Peter Borda Coaching can help galvanise your team to achieve its outcomes. Ultimately this will lead to a more productive team made up of happier individuals who feel better and therefore produce more for the company and achieve more personally.

Expect a highly practical and energetic exchange when you engage with Peter’s session.

Daniel Niutta is a proud member of Salisbury City Rotaract Club and the Rotary Club of Gawler Light.  Daniel is a very community minded young person who endeavours to find every possible opportunity to help wherever he can by being a volunteer for several different groups.

Daniel’s biggest passions are volunteering, public speaking, helping young people and a few geeky activities.  Daniel has graduated from University with a Bachelor in Psychological Science and a Masters in Social Work.

Jeremy Neesham is the Academy director of the Clontarf Foundation in Whyalla, overseeing the programs at Stuart high, Whyalla High and Edward John Eyre High School. As a young adult Jeremy played State and National League Water Polo, Amateur Football and has competed in marathons and Ironman Triathlons. After finishing school in 2004 at Aquinas College, Perth Western Australia, Jeremy spent the next 4 years travelling and working overseas through North and South America, parts of Europe and Indonesia. He visited places initiated by his passions for snowboarding and surfing, often in remote islands and locations with very little western influence.

He attributes this time travelling and experiencing the world and different cultures to his development as a young man. Upon returning to Perth, Jeremy gained entry into university, where he completed a Bachelor of Applied science in Construction Management and Economics. After one year of study he was picked up by multinational building company Brookfield Multiplex to work on the Fiona Stanley Hospital, which at the time was the largest Hospital project in the southern hemisphere. He completed his study part time over the next 5 years while working fulltime on the project.

Jeremy continued to travel around the World and through Western Australia and South Australia throughout his 20’s, whilst maintaining a successful career in the construction industry. In 2019 after 10 years in the industry Jeremy decided to challenge himself and purse a more rewarding career and joined the Clontarf foundation, started by his father Gerard Neesham in 2000. As regular visitor to the Eyre Peninsular for its incredible Surf locations, when a new position opened up in Whyalla Jeremy jumped at the opportunity and moved to South Australia.

Jeremy is passionate about his role to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and by doing so helping equip them to participate more meaningfully in society.

The Clontarf Foundation exists to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and by doing so equips them to participate more meaningfully in society.

The Foundation uses a unique, innovative and highly successful approach to target one of the most at risk groups in contemporary Australian society – young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

Using the existing passion that these boys have for sport allows Clontarf to initially attract them to school, and then keep them coming. It is however, not a sporting programme – it’s about developing the values, skills and abilities that will assist the boys to transition into meaningful employment and achieve better life outcomes.

The Foundation partners with schools and communities to create ‘Clontarf academies’.  Academy activities are planned within the focus areas of education, leadership, employment, well-being, life skills and sport. In order to remain in the programme, participants must continue to work at school and embrace the objectives of the Foundation.

SIMEC Cultana Solar Farm

Cultana Solar Farm will be a large-scale solar farm that will generate up to 280 MW of solar energy on vacant land to the north of the Whyalla Steelworks and contribute to the national electricity grid via the existing Cultana and Whyalla substations.

The fully energised, the Cultana Solar Farm is forecast to generate around 600 gigawatt hours of renewable energy per year – equivalent to the energy requirements of almost 100,000 average South Australian homes – drawn from 780,000 solar panels across an area 550 times larger than Adelaide Oval.

The use of this energy is also forecast to offset 492,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide that would have otherwise been created from traditional energy generation every year.

SIMEC is a part of the GFG Alliance, assisting individuals, communities, and businesses to lower energy costs, improve regional and state energy security, and to promote regional development.

The Cultana Solar Farm is designed to deliver a range of benefits to the community, grid and environment throughout its life, from construction through to energisation and ongoing operation.

It is forecast to create around 650 direct jobs during its construction phase and once the solar farm is energised, it is anticipated there will be approximately 10 ongoing operation and maintenance positions for skilled trades.


Rikki Cooke

Rikki is the founder and CEO of Treasure Boxes Inc, a not-for-profit volunteer-powered organisation which works directly with social service agencies to distribute new and pre-loved baby goods and nursery equipment to families in need.

Our mission is simple: to reduce the number of SA babies and children living in severe poverty in our state. They do this by providing high quality, safe nursery equipment and essential items such as clothing, shoes and toys, which substantially reduces the financial hardship on families. By doing this, they ensure the optimal safety and wellbeing for vulnerable children in South Australia and reduce the current strain on our environmental resources by recycling these goods to those who need them the most.

Treasure Boxes believe that by reusing and recycling much-loved babies’ and children’s gear, they not only share the joy of motherhood with each other, but collaboratively, the community can contribute in saving the earth’s precious resources at the same time.

Brenton Vanstone

Brenton is the new Chair of UniHub Spencer Gulf.  He brings to the position a wealth of experience and knowledge, having 19 years’ experience as a councillor in local government, and has held positions such as chair of the Upper Spencer Gulf Common Purpose Group (Spencer Gulf Cities), deputy chair of the Provincial Cities Association and as the current deputy chair of Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North.

Brenton was also involved in the initial development phase of Uni Hub Spencer Gulf through his involvement with Spencer Gulf Cities and for the past 12 months has been deputy chair of the Uni Hub Spencer Gulf board.

The Uni Hub Spencer Gulf is a community owned tertiary education centre for the region with more than 70 students and strong support for the Port Augusta campus opening this year.  Brenton believes it is important to grow a skilled workforce in the region by ensuring the Uni Hub can continue to grow and expand the opportunities to deliver first-class university education.

Uni Hub Spencer Gulf is a not-for-profit, community-owned and driven tertiary education facility that brings educational opportunities to people in the Spencer Gulf region. The Port Pirie campus opened in 2019 with the Port Augusta campus expected to open in 2020. The hub has an independent board made up of regional leaders.

Uni Hub Spencer Gulf provides the opportunity for people to study a range of tertiary courses without the need to relocate to a metropolitan area.

By working closely with industry, the community, schools and tertiary providers, the hub offers tertiary courses that address skill shortages in the region, with a vision to grow our own competitive, vibrant and self-reliant economy and community.

Joanne Clark

Joanne is CEO of West Coast Youth & Community Support (WCYCS) with background in psychology and Behavioural Science. Jo has a variety of roles on community boards these include:

  • Chair Lower Eyre Leadership and Services reform, Chair of Lower Eyre Health Cluster
  • Facilitator and organiser of many Regional Community Forum regarding mental health and wellness, homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse and anti-social behaviour in our community

Jo is passionate about localised community responses to needs, and she works extremely hard in all areas of her life to promote this.

 West Coast Youth and Community Support (WCYCS) has three main departments which provide services to the Eyre Peninsula:

Homelessness department supports over 240 clients per year who are people in the community facing barriers to the most basic of human rights shelter by undertake a collaborative approach to provide early intervention and outreach services aimed to engage those most in need of support. Maintain community awareness regarding issues faced by people who become homelessness or are at risk of homelessness is another important role.

Youth Programs with over 150 young people supported each year includeing; education, social, legal, mental health, housing, drug and alcohol, disability and transition support. All programs offered through Youth programs are based on the principles of genuine Youth Participation where Youth initiate sheared decisions with Adults and activities are Youth led in consultation with Adult Youth Workers as equal partners.

Counselling service provide access to a qualified youth focussed counselling service for young people aged 12-15 and their families or carers and a Therapeutic and clinical Drug and Alcohol service for anyone 15 years and older for support in recovery . Over 250 individuals and families per year are supported and many more through promotion and programs.

Mentally Fit EP is a project and subsequent program delivered across the Eyre Peninsula-designed to promote the message of Mental Wellness and promote service availability and promotion in conjunction with innovative social media and IT accessibility for people in our community.

Susie Low

Susie is CEO of Atyenhenge Atherre Aboriginal Corporation (AAAC) in Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa), south of Alice Springs. Our primary function is to ensure our programs enhance community and individual social and cultural well-being, pride, and provides education and employment pathways for all ages.


The Ltyentye Apurte Community, also known as Santa Teresa has 555 inhabitants and is situated on Aboriginal land, 85km south east of Alice Springs.  The history of the community can be traced to the 1920’s when a camp was set up in Alice Springs near Anzac Hill by local Arrernte people moving in from the bush. It was established at its current location as a Catholic Mission by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart at the former gold mining town of Arltunga in 1953 to house Aboriginal people who mostly came from the Alice Springs region. The new town included a Mission school and dormitories to accommodate Aboriginal boys and girls aged 5 to 17 years, and a hospital. The country surrounding Santa Teresa is rich in rock art, artifacts and ceremonial sites.

Keringke Arts Centre was established in 1989.  Since 2007 women in the community have painted religious crosses which are exported to Catholic churches around the world. The artists of the community are renown for their use of colour, their detailed style, and their presentations of their culture and its stories.

Atyenhenge-Atherre Aboriginal Corporation provides local governance and health and well-being programs with a special focus on building a sustainable community through the development of small enterprises. Civil services are delivered by the MacDonnell Regional Council as well as youth and pre-school programs. The community contains a Catholic School, a police station, airstrip, Catholic Church, aged care program, and clinic.

The Santa Teresa community won the 2019 Australian Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Award at the national finals in Tasmania. Their trip to the national final followed Santa Teresa being named Territory Tidy Town in 2018.