2017 Speakers

Elizabeth Proust AO 

Elizabeth Proust has held leadership roles in the private and public sectors in Australia for almost 30 years. She has worked in local, State and Federal Government, the oil industry and in banking. She has held senior positions in the Victorian Government and was CEO of the City Of Melbourne. 
Elizabeth is Chairman of Nestle (Australia), Chairman of Bank of Melbourne, and Chairman of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is also Deputy Chairman of the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council. Elizabeth has a Law degree (University of Melbourne) and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from La Trobe University. 
She was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2010 for distinguished service to public administration and to business, through leadership roles in government and private enterprise, as a mentor to women, and to the community through contributions to arts, charitable and educational bodies.

Nicholas Marchesi & Lucas Patchett, Co-founders of Orange Sky Laundry

In October 2014, two best mates had a crazy idea to put two washing machines and two dryers in the back of a van and wash and dry clothes for free. Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, the 2016 Young Australians of the Year, founded Orange Sky Laundry – a world-first, free mobile laundry service for the homeless. On a mission to improve hygiene standards, Nic and Lucas stumbled on something much bigger and more significant – the power of a conversation. Now facilitated by more than 700 volunteers across the country, Orange Sky Australia aims to positively connect the community.

 Tanya RussellTanya Russell

Tanya Russell is a registered psychologist with over 10 years’ experience and is also the manager of the Counselling and Clinical Services team of Access Newcastle and CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning. Tanya completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Newcastle and went on to obtain her Honours degree through the University of New England.



Peter LewisPeter Lewis

Peter will start the year with a visual comment. His work is widely known in the Newcastle area through his 30 year role as the Newcastle Herald’s editorial cartoonist.
Peter was educated in Newcastle and has held a variety of jobs during his career including pizza cook, taxi driver, labourer, commercial artist and support ballet dancer! He has won several awards for painting and cartooning, including 1st prize in the National Rotary Cartoon Awards in 1994 and 2002.

2016 Speakers

StudentsSenior Students, CSO
Accepting a New Reality – The Youth Perspective.

We don’t often get to hear the voice of our youth and they have an important insight. We invited four senior students to submit their views on our theme, Accepting a New Reality. Their speeches will be presented at the October Luncheon.



John ConnorJohn Connor
John has been CEO of the Climate Institute since 2007 and is a leading analyst and commentator on the rollercoaster that has been Australia's domestic and international carbon policy. John has also overseen the Institute's additional focus on institutional investors and climate risk.

LISTEN: Climate Institute CEO John Connor recently paid a visit to Newcastle to speak at the Assembly of Catholic Professionals luncheon. He spoke to Paul Turton beforehand on 1233ABC. 

David ManneDavid Manne

David is a human rights lawyer, and Director of the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre (RILC).




Phil GlendenningPhil Glendenning 
Phil is the Director of the Edmund Rice Centre and current President of the Refugee Council of Australia.




Listen to May 2016 speakers, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre and President of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), Phil Glendenning, and human rights lawyer, David Manne, on 1233 ABC's morning program, 12 May.

John SandyJohn Sandy
John a local Newcastle refugee and Project Officer at CatholicCare Refugee Service.




Katherine McGrathKatherine McGrath
Former CEO, Hunter Area Health and Deputy Director, NSW Health

Katherine is a widely respected health care executive with more than 30 years experience in public and private health, in management, clinical and academic posts. Her roles have included Deputy Director General of NSW Health, Chief Executive Officer of Hunter Area Health Service, Professor of Pathology at the University of Newcastle, and Group Manager of Strategy and Corporate Affairs at Medibank Private. She was a foundation commissioner on the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare. Her current roles include Board Member of Little Company of Mary Healthcare, Chair of Breastscreen Victoria, and Chair of the Coronial Council of Victoria. Katherine originally trained as a doctor specialising in haematology.

2015 Speakers

David CroftsMr David Crofts
Principal, Strategy Hunter, providing consultancy for strategic urban planning and policy development

David spoke about the Diocese's important and very significant 150th anniversary year redevelopment project, the Restoration of St John's church, Maitland (our original Cathedral) and the adjoining Bishop's House.

David helped the Diocesan team share the details of this significant Diocesan project and outlined the broader and longer term vision for the redevelopment of the Cathedral Street Precinct in Maitland. This development is supported by Maitland Council and is being progressed in harmony with the Council's current CBD revitalisation program.

PaulMr Paul O'Rourke
CEO of Emily's Voice, a fledgling, culture-changing ministry educating about and advocating for the unborn

Paul eduated on Emily's Voice. Through its advertising and advocacy, Emily's Voice is trying to help Australians fall in love with the unborn and also to provide support for women and families dealing with unplanned or crisis pregnancy.

Paul a former newspaper editor and CEO of Compassion Australia, is married, lives at Lake Macquarie, and has 3 children and four grandchildren. Paul has authored five books, completed a Master's Degree in Child Development as well as achieving qualifications in theological studies.

Kevin BaileyMr Kevin Bailey
Retired businessman, philanthropist, mentor and passionate family man

Kevin is a man of energy and passion – energetic to be of service and make a difference and passionate about his family, his Faith (particularly Pope Francis' call to be "missionary disciples") and, therefore, helping others.
Kevin began his working life in the Army and SAS before moving into the field of finance.

Now in his 50's, the Melbourne based ex-financier, after building a successful business, Shadforth Financial Group, writing two books on money matters and finance, and advising radio listeners for over 12yrs, has embarked on a second career helping others to make their lives significant, not just successful. Kevin is a board member of a number of community based organisations as well as being a member of the Prime Ministers Community Business Partnership.