Forum speakers

Master of Ceremonies - Dr Donna Odegaard AM

Dr Donna Odegaard, Elder, Larrakia Aboriginal Traditional Owner of the Larrakia language group Darwin NT, and CEO Aboriginal Broadcasting Australia (Australia’s largest 100% Indigenous owned television, radio and production network) comes from humble beginnings to achieving success for women at many levels in business, academia, broadcasting media and in particular, social justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

In 2016, Dr Odegaard was awarded one of the highest medals, an AM Order of Australia, for her contribution to protecting and preserving Indigenous cultural heritage, reconciliation and Indigenous broadcasting and media.

Dr Donna Odegaard

Master of Ceremonies - Rob Collins

Rob Collins was born in Darwin with a strong connection to the Tiwi Islands. Rob worked with the National Indigenous Music Awards before studying at the National Institute of Dramatic Art from 2011 to 2013. He has also been the National Indigenous representative for the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA|AMCOS). In 2013, he made his professional stage debut as Mufusa in the Australian production of The Lion King and went on to play ‘Lysander’ in Sydney Theatre Company’s A Midsummer Night's Dream. He had major roles in the Australian television series Cleverman and The Wrong Girl, both of which premiered in 2016. He made his feature film debut in Undertow and in 2017 was awarded the TV Week Logie Award for Best New Talent.

Rob Collins

Keynote speaker - Adrian Appo OAM

Adrian is currently Executive Director of First Australians Capital (FAC), Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing, Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship, Children’s Ground, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and Social Ventures Australia. He also runs his own business consulting in the not-for-profit sector in the areas of leadership, strategy, fund raising and program design.

A Gooreng Gooreng man, Adrian served with distinction in the Royal Australian Air Force. He is a graduand of the University of Sydney (UTS), Melbourne Business School and Harvard University. Other accolades include being a graduand of the Fairley Leadership’s Community Leadership and the Williamson Community Leadership programs. He is a recipient of the Defence Service Medal, the Centenary Medal and the Order of Australia Medal in 2011 for service to Indigenous youth through career planning, employment and training programs.

Often referred to as a ‘social entrepreneur’, Adrian has been the cornerstone founder of the two ‘green field’ not-for profit start-ups Ganbina and First Australians Capital.

Adrian Appo

Keynote speaker - Jason Elsegood

Jason, a proud Aboriginal man of Limilngan and Jingili heritage, has worked with a range of communities and organisations to develop projects, programs and to evaluate and monitor services. His networks and contacts in Indigenous Australia are extensive and bridge a range of sectors and communities both urban and remote, Top End and Desert, East and West coast. His excellent bicultural competence and skills in communicating with a wide range of people enable him to operate comfortably in a range of contexts particularly remote and cross cultural settings. His cross-cultural communication skills are grounded in broad life experience and his work within Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander communities. This has been extended through networks in Indonesia, voluntary involvement in settlement support for refugee families as well as cultural adjustment and mediation projects with refugee and Aboriginal communities in Darwin.

He works in a non-confrontational manner to bring together diverse stakeholders and build rapport, relationships and common ground based on mutual trust and respect. He has brokered complex situations involving government, private sector business, and community organisations and members including infrastructure projects, service delivery, income support programs, enterprise development and education programs.

Jason has a sound knowledge and understanding of Indigenous community development principles as well as a grounded understanding of participatory project management, holding a Bachelor in Indigenous Community Management and Development (Honours). He is the current chair of NTIBN and director on the board of First Australians Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FACCI) as well as managing director of CCC and IE Project.

Jason Elsegood

Keynote speaker - Luke Bowen

Luke is the General Manager of Northern Australia Development and Trade within the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation. Luke’s leadership has recently expanded from leading the Northern Australia Development Office (NADO) to include the Office of Asian Engagement, Trade and Investment, StudyNT, DefenceNT and Indigenous and Regional Economic Development.

The division showcases and markets the Northern Territory to prospective investors interested in the development of Northern Australia. NADO works with regional provinces including Nhulunbuy, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs to lead the implementation of emerging policies that are driving the development of the Northern Territory.

Luke is a member of the Australian Government Agriculture Industry Advisory Council and prior to his current role was the executive director and CEO of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, the peak industry body representing the majority of the Northern Territory cattle industry.

Luke Bowen

More keynote speakers will be announced soon.

Last updated: 20 September 2017