Key Note Speakers

Dr. Catherine Ball

Exclusively represented by Saxton

Dr. Catherine Ball is an author, founder, and ethics advocate working across global projects where robotics and new technology meet environmental protection.

A sought after voice in industry, Dr. Ball is now working with the application of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) aka drone technology across remote communities, schools, industry, and citizen scientists.  Dr. Ball is leading the call for discussions around the ethics of spatial data, and commercial drone operations.

Dr. Ball’s biggest passion is found working on projects that have a humanitarian aspect, ranging from the use of RPAS for emergency response, to recording cultural heritage, and agricultural assessments.  Dr. Ball has travelled and worked globally on cutting edge projects that combine science, entrepreneurship, empowerment, education, and training.

Dr. Ball’s latest passion project is #SheFlies (; whereby women and girls get a chance to fly and try drone technology. She Flies aims to reach 100,000 Australian women and girls by 2020, and is already expanding internationally.

Dr. Ball continues to support Australia as being the world leader in the non-military application of drone technology, also known as “drones for good”. As such, Catherine has co-created a new, global congress to be held annually in Brisbane starting in August 2017 The World of Drones Congress will run annually and will be the first significant global drone conference to focus on all parts of the drone economy, and the future of the industry.

Dr. Ball holds a BSc Honours (Environmental Protection) and a PhD (Spatial Ecology, Descriptive and Predictive Statistics) from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom.

Some of the awards Dr. Ball has won include:
• 2015 AFR’s BOSS Magazine Young Executives of the Year – Winner?
• National Telstra Business Woman of the Year 2015, Corporate and Private Award
• Queensland Telstra Business Women’s Awards Winner 2015: Queensland Business Woman of the Year, Queensland Corporate and Private.
• Innovator of Influence, 2015 at Innovation Week.?
• Courier Mail Q Magazine: Queensland 50 Best and Brightest, 2015
• Westpac 100 Women of Influence 2016 (Innovation)
• Top 25 Women in Robotics List- 2016


Professor Michael Milford

Michael conducts interdisciplinary research at the boundary between robotics, neuroscience and computer vision and am a multi-award winning educational entrepreneur. His research models the neural mechanisms in the brain underlying tasks like navigation and perception to develop new technologies in challenging application domains such as all-weather, anytime positioning for autonomous vehicles. He currently hold the position of Professor at the Queensland University of Technology, as well as Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Microsoft Research Faculty Fellow and Chief Investigator at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision.

His research has attracted more than 22 million dollars in research and industry funding, and his papers have won (4) or been finalists (7) for 11 best paper awards. His citation h-index is 27, with 2723 citations as of 08/2017. He has given more than 80 invited presentations covering robotics, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and education across 13 countries at top international conferences, universities (including Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge) and corporations (including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, OpenAI, Toyota).

As an educational entrepreneur, he have written innovative textbooks for high school students for 17 years, with more than 6000 physical sales and website and YouTube views in excess of 1.5 million. He recently launched the company Math Thrills which combines mass market entertainment and STEM education. Math Thrills received pre-seed funding on Kickstarter ($2500), seed funding ($50,000, QUT Bluebox) and an AMP Tomorrow Fund award ($25,000), and honours including the 2015 Queensland Young Tall Poppy of the Year Award, a 2015 TedXQUT talk and 2017 World Science Festival event. He recently launched the STEM Storybook for young children in a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign ($7400).

He has dual citizenship between Australia and the United States, and have lived and worked in Boston, Edinburgh and London.


Joshua Nester, Education Director at SEEK

Josh is a conscious leader committed to helping people improve their lives by: 1) Helping make better career choices and 2). Improving access to education.

He has spent the last 14 years pursuing his passion with SEEK Limited, a US$5BN global leader in online Employment and Education spanning 20 countries.  In Asia, brands within the SEEK portfolio include Jobstreet (#1 in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore), Zhilian Zhaopin (#1 in China) and JobsDB (#1 in HK).

As SEEK’s Education Director, Josh’s focus is on developing services to help people across SEEK’s diverse geographic markets make more informed career and education decisions, and to make quality career-related education more accessible.

He advises governments, non-profits, companies and individuals on the future of work and education and is regularly invited to speak at international conferences on these topics.

Josh is a Board Member of Online Education Services (OES), a leading online university platform jointly owned by SEEK and Swinburne University.  He also is an Advisory Board Member to The Huddle, a joint initiative of the North Melbourne Football Club and Scanlon Foundation, assisting migrant youth in Melbourne through study support and mentoring.

Prior to SEEK, Josh worked as a Strategy Consultant with Accenture and National Australia Bank.  He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (International Business and Japanese) from University of Tasmania and is a graduate of the Kansai Gaidai Asian Studies Program in Osaka, Japan.


Ivan Neville Biography

Ivan Neville is the manager of the Labour Market Research and Analysis Branch in the Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business (formerly the Department of Employment). Ivan leads a team that undertakes in-depth analysis on a range of Australian labour market issues, including identifying the current and future demand for skills; understanding recruitment issues and what employers are looking for; and helping job seekers prepare for the changing world of work.

Ivan has had an extensive career in a range of labour market research, statistics and policy roles in a number of government organisations. Ivan is regularly asked to provide his unique perspective on the ever evolving labour market story and he delivers presentations both here and overseas.


Jane Thomason

Experienced CEO and thought leader in the applications of blockchain technology for social impact. Development entrepreneur and innovator who built her own company, and merged with Abt Associates in 2013. Dr Thomason led the growth of Abt Australia to achieve a tripling of revenue and diversification into governance and women’s empowerment across Asia and the Pacific.  Jane has been a leader of a wide range of development programs globally, regionally and in Australia, Asia and the Pacific. She has also held senior appointments including Director of Women’s Health, CEO of the Royal Children’s Hospital, Chairman of the Wesley Hospital Board.  She is a thought leader on blockchain and social impact and conference speaker globally.

She published peer reviewed articles in 2017, on blockchain and climate finance and the poor and on blockchain as an accelerator for women’s and children’s health. Jane is an adviser to several blockchain startups with applications that solve global problems, and is currently working with collaborators to co-develop blockchain POCs in several emerging economies. She was a hackathon judge and mentor at London Blockchain Week, London Fintech Week and the Consensys Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition Hackathon. She is an advocate for the education and empowerment of women generally and #WomeninBlockchain.

Dr Thomason is a Global Ambassador and Advisory Board member of the British Blockchain Association.  She was recently named in the Top 10 Digital Pioneer Women and was awarded the UN DecadeOfWomen Quantum Impact Champion Award on International Women’s Day in New York.


Biography Rebecca McIntosh

Throughout her career, Rebecca has utilised her knowledge of both startups and career development to host training sessions for Career Advisors in collaboration with startups as well as building a series of tools to support young people adopt a ‘lean’ approach to a career strategy and build entrepreneurial skills. Rebecca was appointed Community Manager, ilab University of Queensland, and manages the accelerator program, has built a brand for the accelerator within UQ and continues engagement with ilab’s external startup network. Rebecca has facilitated 3 intakes with over 30 startups, introduced an intern program connecting over 75 startups with 200 UQ students to date and provided training sessions at FireStation 101 and the Precinct in collaboration with the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur to support startups recruit and hire university interns. Rebecca has recently launched a website and podcast called Pop Perceptions to highlight people not represented in careers across age, ability, ethnicity and gender. She has an unwavering passion to assist young people in accessing opportunities in startups and organisations that can foster the development of an entrepreneurial skill set to prepare them for the future of work.