Conference Keynote Speakers
From suspended schoolboy to educational pioneer. Taj Pabari is living proof that anyone with determination and passion can change the world. Taj is a seventeen-year-old inventor, social entrepreneur and educational pioneer passionate about inspiring children discover and embrace the world of creativity through technology and innovation.
In late 2014, Taj founded a social enterprise called, Fiftysix Creations, a build-it-yourself tablet and creativity kit for kids. As easy as a puzzle, as fun as a computer game. The organisation also runs workshops in schools helping ignite the creative spark in all students, regardless of age, demographic or knowledge base. Fiftysix Creations is now affiliated with over one hundred schools internationally.
To date, Taj has had his work and story featured by National Geographic, 60 Minutes, ABC, Sky News, Sunrise, CNBC, The Australian, Channel Seven, Channel Nine and Channel Ten. He is also the 2017 Young Australian of the Year – QLD.
Taj was the Winner of The Australian Young Innovator of the Year for 2014. He recently finished high school at Brisbane’s John Paul College. When he is not chatting to students or ‘working’ on his ventures, he divides his remaining time between tennis and travelling.
In his keynote, “Creating Future Innovators” Taj will explore his journey through the schooling system, the problems within the education system and how parents and educators together, can prepare their young people for the challenges of the innovation economy. The talk will highlight the importance of enterprising, creativity and STEM skills for success in this day and age.
Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen
Dr Jenine Beekhuyzen is a futurist who questions existing structures which won’t serve tomorrow’s digital landscape. Providing insight into the disruptive nature of technology, she will help us to prepare for an unknown future, engage the next generation of workers and leaders, and transform our approach to innovation. As a well-known advocate for technology innovation and diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), Jenine draws on her 15+ years of internationally published academic research and university teaching, 8 years as CEO of her own technology consulting company, and her work with her not for profit to prepare our school children to be technology leaders of the future.
In her highly engaging presentations, Dr. Jenine Beekhuyzen, creator of the Tech Girls Are Superheroes campaign, Founder & CEO of the Tech Girls Movement and Gumption Trigger author discusses the necessity of overcoming the inertia that is debilitating our leaders and their visions of our technology futures. She proposes that we invest in digital literacy and education to mobilise a tribe of next generation leaders who are engaged and committed to solving real world problems with technology. She provides practical suggestions for the future of leadership in the digital space.
Jenine’s unwavering commitment to advocacy has seen her awarded on the world stage as a Westpac/Fairfax 2016 100 Woman of Influence, the 2016 Griffith University Sciences Alumnus of the Year, 2016 Advance Queensland Digital Champion, 2014 Australian Information Industries Association (AIIA) Queensland ICT Woman of the Year, 2014 Microsoft Community Educator of the Year, 2012 Claudio Ciborra Award for Innovation in Research (Europe). As an internationally acclaimed author of the Tech Girls Are Superheroes series of books, Jenine has reached more than a quarter of a million children with her innovative approach to storytelling and STEM. She also supports youth entrepreneurship through her national competition – the Search for the Next Tech Girl Superhero – reaching more than 2000 school girls in 2017.
Dr Leanna Read
Dr Leanna Read is the fourth Chief Scientist for South Australia.
Leanna is a renowned biotechnology expert and brings a wealth of executive, board and investment experience in technology-based businesses.
In addition to her Chief Scientist role, Leanna chairs SA Science Council as well as the Cooperative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing. She is also a member of the SA Economic Development Board, the Federal Government Biomedical Translation Fund Committee and the Council for the University of South Australia. She is also on the board of two biotechnology companies and a member of BioAngels, an Adelaide-based Angel investor network.
Leanna has led a number of successful research and commercial ventures, including the Child Health Research Institute and the Cooperative Research Centre for Tissue Growth and Repair. She was the founding Managing Director and CEO of Adelaide biotechnology company, TGR BioSciences from 2001-2012.
A physiologist by training, Dr Read has published over 90 scientific papers. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and has received a number of awards, including an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia; the 2006 South Australian of the Year (Science and Technology) and the 2011 Central Region winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Technology Category.