A recent appointee to the board of the Australia Council, Khoa Do was awarded Young Australian of the Year in 2005 for his work with disadvantaged communities. Khoa has received many awards for his work in film, including an AFI Award for Best Direction. He is regarded as one of the funniest and most moving speakers in Australia.
Darren was one of the heroes of the Beaconsfield Mine Disaster. When the mine collapsed in 2006, trapping two miners, it was the start of an extraordinary and dramatic story for Darren Flanagan. Trained as an explosives expert, he was eventually able to blast to within 300mm of the two trapped miners. Darren’s story is one of endurance, courage and persistence which eventually led to the rescue of Todd Russell and Brant Webb.
Theo is the only man known to have survived being electrocuted with 22,000 volts. He was working as a linesman and failed to follow procedures. The results were devastating and the recovery painfully slow. It had both physical and psychological repercussions. He’s now a determined advocate for workplace safety.
Anna won cycling gold at the 2004 Athens and 2012 London Olympics, but it was the lead up to her silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics which showed the most grit and determination. Anna was involved in a terrible cycling accident in January 2008, breaking her C2 vertebrae as well as other injuries. Despite this, she was back on her bike within weeks in order to qualify to attend the Games.
Matina is a brave Australia soldier, who rose to the rank of Major. She twice saw active service, and was involved in peacekeeping missions to the Solomon Islands and Lebanon. She’s a member of the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council and Ambassador for the Australian Peacekeepers Association and Peacemakers Veterans Association. Matina Jewell is an expert on leading teams in hazardous and extreme circumstances.
Li is the author of the international best-seller, Mao’s Last Dancer. The book was adapted into a successful film directed by Bruce Beresford and written by Jan Sardi. Li was born into poverty in Mao’s communist China and was selected for training at the Beijing Dance Academy. He became one of the best dancers that the country has ever produced. The story reminds all of us to seize the day and to live our dreams more fully. Li is currently the artistic director for the Queensland Ballet.
Adam’s film Harvie Krumpet won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2004, beating the work produced by Pixar, Disney and Fox. His feature film Mary and Max opened the Sundance Film Festival, the only animated film ever to do so. Adam is a former Young Victorian of the Year, and is recognised as an Australian National Treasure. His story is funny, inspiring, motivating and universal.
Rachael led a twelve month expedition to the Davis Station in Antarctica, only the second woman in history to do so. She was responsible for 18 very diverse people living in complete isolation. Her stories are remarkable and a great many lessons were learnt along the way. She developed an awareness of the importance of self-awareness, boundaries and personal resilience.
The 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht is remembered as one of Australia’s worst maritime disasters. 12 yachts were abandoned, five yachts sank and six men lost their lives. Amid the terrible storm and at great personal risk, Peter Davidson was lowered from a chopper to winch eight men to safety from the stricken yacht ‘Standaside’. Peter is one of the most inspiring speakers in Australia.
Benjamin is the most highly decorated soldier currently serving in the Commonwealth. He was awarded the Medal for Gallantry in 2006 and the Victoria Cross in 2010. He has been on two tours of East Timor and six in Afghanistan, as well as serving in other parts of the world. As a commander and key planner for Special Operations missions, Ben has a deep insight into the processes and protocols necessary for success.