Keynote Speakers

Professor Sally KiftProfessor Sally Kift

Professor Sally Kift is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA), a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law (FAAL), and elected President of the Australian Learning & Teaching Fellows (ALTF). From 2012-2017, she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at James Cook University. Prior to JCU, Sally was a Professor of Law at Queensland University of Technology, where she also served as QUT’s foundational Director, First Year Experience (2006-2007). Sally is a national Teaching Award winner (2003) and national Program Award winner (2007). She was awarded a Senior Fellowship by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) in 2006 to investigate the first year experience and is a Discipline Scholar in Law. In 2017, Sally was awarded an Australian Award for University Teaching Career Achievement Award for her contribution to Australian higher education.

Professor Peter CramptonProfessor Peter Crampton

Peter is Professor of Public Health in the Kōhatu Centre for Hauora Māori at the University of Otago. He started his professional life as a general practitioner and later specialised in public health medicine. His academic career spans a variety of roles including serving as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Health Sciences and Dean of the Otago Medical School. His research is focused on social indicators and social epidemiology, health care policy, health care organisation and funding, and indigenous health. Peter has served on numerous government advisory panels in a variety of policy areas related to public health, health services, and health workforce, and has taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses related to public health, health systems, health services management and indigenous health.

Professor Steven LarkinProfessor Steven Larkin

Professor Steven Larkin is a Kungarakan man. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the Queensland University of Technology, a Master’s degree in Social Science from Charles Sturt University and a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Queensland.

Professor Larkin has served on numerous national advisory committees in Indigenous affairs. He chaired the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Advisory Council (ATSIHEAC) for three years (2009-2012); and continues to provide invaluable input as a member of professional affiliations such as the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium (NATSIHEC), the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN), Beyond Blue, Member of the New Colombo Plan Reference Group and Chair of the Healing Foundation.

Sonja Braidner

Sonja is the Inclusion & Diversity Lead at Fire + Rescue NSW (FRNSW).

She began her career as a stage electrician and rigger at the Sydney Opera House before working as a theatrical and theme park lighting designer in the UK and Europe.  After being lured into a career change brought about by an interest in industrial negotiation she moved into HR.   Sonja brings experience in Organisational Development, Executive Coaching and Inclusion & Diversity, having consulted across numerous corporate and business sectors for the past 20 years. Prior to FRNSW, Sonja worked as the Deputy Director Equity & Diversity Strategy for the University of Sydney and Manager Workplace Diversity at UNSW and has shared a long history with EPHEA.

In the private sector, Sonja established the inaugural, global Inclusion and Diversity strategy for Singtel /Optus and worked in various inclusive leadership capacities within the Higher Education sector. Her passion for Human Rights saw her a founder and 1998 NSW Senate Candidate for a political party founded in response to societal issues pertaining to social inclusion and equity.

Sonja is a member of the Australian Human Resources Institute’s (AHRI) national Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Panel. She was the founder of the AHRI NSW Diversity Networking group and more recently has founded EMDIPPA for supporting inclusive practice across the Emergency Services and related industries; and formerly sat on the Executive of NEEOPA (NSW Equity Practitioners Association). Sonja holds post graduate qualification in Human Resources, commenced her studies in a Masters of Human Rights Practice, is an Alumni of Leading Together (Social Leadership Australia) and recently completed her CPHR accreditation.

In 2018 Sonja received a FRNSW Deputy Commissioner’s commendation for her work promoting diversity within the organisation; and is proud to be undertaking a Churchill Fellowship in 2019 to further delve into the multifaceted relationships between thriving workplace cultures and successful inclusion within Emergency Service organisations.

She is a regular speaker and contributor at conferences and is currently working collaboratively with researchers on a long-term Inclusion study within Australian Emergency Services.

A creative and commercially pragmatic HR practitioner, Sonja’s expertise lies in the tailored design of strategy and leading the adaptive delivery and implementation of actions to drive positive cultural change; enabling businesses and their people to share in the many successes afforded by inclusive and synergistic workplaces.

Sue WebbProfessor Sue Webb

Until late 2010 Sue Webb was Professor of Continuing Education and Director of the Institute for Lifelong Learning at the University of Sheffield, UK. She is known internationally for her research and leadership in the field of adult education and lifelong learning where she has published, lectured and provided external advice to a number of universities in the UK and in New Zealand. Specifically, she has researched the policy effects and practices related to widening access and participation of disadvantaged students in the field of lifelong learning and further and higher education in the UK. This research has been variously funded by UK government organisations and education funding agencies. Her theoretical contribution has been to develop insights into the concepts of learning identities and careers as a way of understanding risk choice and agency in decision-making and learner transitions between school, college, university and employment. Through this her work has contributed to policy development at institutional, and national and European level where she has been employed as an expert in relation to European Union research on migration, language learning and ICT.

She has also held strategic leadership roles in Lifelong Learning and Widening Participation for the University of Sheffield and between 2006-2010 directed work for the Lifelong Learning Network Higher Futures to ensure regional development, institutional change and increased vocational learner progression through partnership working between 10 further education colleges and 2 higher education institutions.Professor Webb’s research has been widely published in the academic arena and in various books and resources aimed at practitioners, as well as researchers.

Liz ThomasProfessor Liz Thomas

Liz is an expert member of the Teaching Excellence Framework panel, recognising her expertise in student retention and success and learning and teaching.

Liz researches and writes about widening participation, student retention and success and learning and teaching. She is the author and editor of over ten books, and many journal articles, reports, briefings and practice guides. She regularly delivers keynote addresses and staff development workshops and programmes at higher education institutions in the UK and abroad.