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Guest Speakers

John O’Sullivan

Managing Director
Tourism Australia

As Managing Director of the nation’s global tourism marketing agency, John is responsible for driving Tourism Australia’s strategies to increase demand for Australia’s tourism experiences and help to grow the sector to more than $115 billion by the end of the decade as part of the Tourism 2020 strategy.

John joined Tourism Australia in March 2014. He was previously Chief Operating Officer of Fox Sports. John has also held executive positions with Events Queensland (Chief Executive) and Football Federation Australia (Chief Commercial Officer), as well as with the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee. John has over 20 years’ experience in sports marketing, event management and media across Australia, the UK and the Middle East.


Stephen Ferguson

Chief Executive Officer
Australian Hotels Association (AHA)

Stephen Ferguson is the CEO of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA), the national voice of Australia’s vibrant hotel industry. The AHA represents more than 5,000 hotels from country pubs to five star resorts.

Prior to AHA, Stephen was CEO of the Brisbane Racing Club, the owner of Doomben and Eagle Farm Racecourses. BRC’s core business is thoroughbred horse racing, supported by a diverse portfolio including property development, gaming, hospitality and events.

Stephen holds a Masters of Business Administration, Bachelor of Social Science and is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Bernie Dean

Chief Executive Officer
Industry Super Australia

Bernie assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer in September 2018 after five years in senior roles at ISA, and a long career working with government, unions and employer groups to improve the lives of working people.

Prior to joining ISA, Bernie held a number of senior positions in the Victorian public service. As the Executive Director of Marketing and Communications for many years Bernie led WorkSafe Victoria’s award winning marketing program to drive down rate and cost of workplace injuries. Bernie later became the General Manager of OHS Strategy, leading collaboration between the regulator, employer and union bodies to develop policy and regulatory solutions to tough problems faced by workers; like asbestos removal, dangerous machines and manual handling.

Previous to his departmental roles, Bernie was a senior adviser to the former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks on issues including infrastructure and public transport.

Before his career in government, Bernie worked as an organiser with the ACTU in the mid-1990s where he represented and campaigned alongside workers across the public, hospitality and finance sectors.


Alison Telfer

General Counsel and Head of Compliance
BlackRock Australia and NZ

Alison Telfer, Managing Director, is General Counsel and Head of Compliance for BlackRock Australia & NZ and a member of the BlackRock Australian board and executive committee. Ms Telfer joined Blackrock in September 2013. Prior to this, Ms Telfer held various senior positions over more than 9 years with Challenger Financial Services, initially in the position of senior legal counsel and later as Director, Specialised Product. Prior to joining Challenger Financial Services, Ms Telfer held the position of Senior Associate with Blake Dawson Waldron, focussing on asset management and, prior to that, Mallesons Stephen Jaques specialising across a number of areas including tax, intellectual property and asset management.


Dr Sarah Cotton

Co-founder/Director/Psychologist
Transitioning Well

Dr. Sarah Cotton is a registered and endorsed Organisational Psychologist who specialises in best-practice strategies to help individuals and organisations navigate the challenges of modern work. In light of demographic shifts and committed to supporting work-life change, Sarah co-founded Transitioning Well™ in 2011. Drawing upon over 15 years of coaching, training and consulting, Sarah brings a comprehensive background across the university, corporate and not for profit sectors in addition to private practice. Providing the space to get out of ‘automatic pilot’, Sarah’s facilitation provides the opportunity to unpack both the practical and emotional elements of transition.

Sarah’s academic background includes a PhD in the area of work-stress. Further trained in the areas of political psychology and Participatory Action Research (PAR), Sarah’s point of reference is to work collaboratively to meet unique organisational challenges.

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