How a collective and collaborative approach can lead to change

Session 1: What does it take to Future Proof {sport}?

Thursday, 5th November - 5:00pm - 6:00pm (AEDT)


Moderator: Dr Sheila Nguyen (Sports Environment Alliance)

Dr Sheila Nguyen was named among the Australian Financial Review’s 2019 Top 100 Women of Influence.  She is the published author of over 50 book chapters & research articles on sport and environmental health.  Sheila has been quoted and her opinion pieces have been seen in The Guardian, The Australian, The SYDNEY Morning Herald, and most recently in The New York Times.  

Sheila was the MC for Sustainable Innovations in Sport 2018 (Amsterdam), presented at TEDx 2015 (Geelong, Australia) as well as at COP21’s ClimateSolutions (PARIS); she has presented at many other leading industry forums.

Sheila has worked in licensing/marketing (PGA Tour, USA), corporate consulting (William Morris Agency, Beverly Hills, USA), and as part of the broadcasting team at the 2010 Asian Games (Guangzhou, China) with clients such as NHK, Al-Jazeera, KBS, and CCTV. 

Sheila is Secretary and a Non-Executive Director at the Melbourne Forum, and a former Non-Executive Director of Baseball Victoria.  Sheila is an alumna of both the Committee for Melbourne's leadership program and Cranlana's Executive Colloquia. 

She passionately advocates for environmental leadership within and beyond the sport industry for our communities and clean future.

Sheila is Co- Founder and currently the Executive Director of the Sports Environment Alliance Inc (SEA), a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to: EMPOWERING SPORT TO DO MORE {for the world} WITH LESS {footprint}.


Welcome to Country: Aunty Zeta Thomson

Aunty Zeta Thomson is a respected Elder and descendant of the Yarra Yarra Clan of the Wurundjeri people through her father and grandfather, Alexander Briggs, and is a descendant of the Ulupna Clan of the Yorta Yorta people on her mother and grandmother, Teresa (Yarmuk) Clements’ side. She is a renowned artist, culture teacher and advocate for the rights of Aboriginal prisoners in Victoria.


Welcome: The Hon Ros Spence (Minister for Community Sport)

Ros Spence is the State Member of Parliament for Yuroke, covering Craigieburn, Greenvale, Attwood, Mickleham, Kalkallo, Oaklands Junction, Yuroke, and parts of Westmeadows, Somerton, and Roxburgh Park.

Ros attended Eltham High School in Melbourne’s north east and graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. She later received a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Leo Cussen Institute and was admitted as a Lawyer in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2006.

Ros was admitted as a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors in 2012 and was awarded a Company Directors Course Diploma.

Prior to being elected in November 2014, Ros worked as an Operations Manager, an Electorate Officer and in a range of administrative and office management roles. She has also served as a Councillor, Deputy Mayor, and Mayor on Hume City Council between 2008 and 2012 and as a volunteer solicitor with the Broadmeadows Community Legal Service.

In addition to serving as the Member for Yuroke, Ros was appointed as the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Community Sport and Youth in March 2020.


Panelist: Julia Pallé (Formula E, UK/France)

Julia Pallé is an expert on sustainability within motorsport.
She is Sustainability Director at the world’s first fully electric single-seater racing series, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

Most recently, Pallé lead the charge to certify the championship as “net zero” - being the first sport in the world to achieve such status since its inception after previously having achieved sustainable events certification (third party ISO 20121
accreditation) making it the first ever motorsport series to achieve this prestigious standard together with a renewed three stars level for FIA’s Environmental Management system.

Away from the track, Pallé is President of Sports and Sustainability international (SandSI), an international association of sustainable experts working to broadening and harmonising the international sport and sustainability movement.

Her primary area of research has focused on Business & Sustainability, Change Management and Project Management especially in Motorsport.


Panelist: Blair Trewin (Bureau of Meteorology)

Blair Trewin is a senior climate research scientist at the Bureau of Meteorology. He is a lead author for the forthcoming IPCC Sixth Assessment Report and of the annual World Meteorological Organization State of the Climate report. He is also President of Orienteering Australia and a previous national representative at World Championships level.


Panelist: Matthew Hill (CSIRO)

Associate Professor Matthew Hill is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and the Winner of a 2014 Australian Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.  Matthew leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers that are actively involved with industry partners to bring exciting discoveries in the laboratory to market. He holds a joint position between CSIRO and Monash.  His research areas include development and application of porous materials: storage, separation and triggered release of small molecules with adsorbents and membranes, flow chemistry, lithium-sulfur batteries and supercapacitors.


Session 2: How to be a planet champion- a workshop

Thursday, 12th November - 10:30am - 12:00pm (AEDT)


Moderator: Tegan Higginbotham (Comedian, The Age)

Tegan Higginbotham is an actress, writer, and comedian who is best known for her work on projects including Whovians with Rove McManus, Have You Been Paying Attention?, Whose Line Is It Anyway? Molly – the TV series, and feature films Oddball and Holding The Man. 

Tegan has performed stand up and over the past decade, has also established herself as a frank, funny and intelligent female voice amidst Melbourne’s sporting landscape. She co-hosted Sideliners on the ABC alongside Nicole Livingstone, The Greatest with Matt Tilley on Fox Footy, and was a regular panellist on The Bounce. Tegan also hosted AFLW’s The Warmdown. Tegan’s first two critically acclaimed stand up shows for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (Million Dollar Tegan and Touched By Fev) investigated the world of boxing and football respectively, with Tegan actually taking part in two pro-rules boxing matches for research.

She is a regular contributor for The Age and has been published in books including She’s Having A Laugh (Affirm Press) and Balancing Act (Brow Books). 

In recent years, Tegan has been proud to work with organisations and at events including The Australian Ballet, The NGV, The Hamilton Pride Cup, Stella Sparks and Carlton Football Club as their Ambassador for The Blue Foundation.



Workshop host: Sharni Layton (SEA Ambassador, AFLW Collingwood FC)

Sharni Layton is former netball star who has recently transitioned into the AFLW. She made the switch from International/Super Netball to AFLW with Collingwood FC for the 2019 season. Layton means serious business on court but her off court demeanour is warm and friendly. Off the court she is in the media with Fox Footy and Channel 9. She is available to motivational talks from her athletic career, mental health struggles and also uses her personality to emcee events and loves a yarn.

Layton is passionate about continuing to build women in sport. She is determined and confident in her sporting career, as well as in other aspirations. She is also open to talking about the setbacks she has faced as well as her mental health. After taking 6 months off of sport due to exhaustion in 2017, she believes in paying forward the lessons she has learned about wellbeing. 


Workshop host: Jo Weston (SEA Ambassador, Melbourne Vixens & Australian Diamonds)

Jo Weston is an Australian netball player for the Melbourne Vixens in the Suncorp Super Netball league. She was part of the Australian squad that won silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and was selected in the Australian Diamonds squad for the 2018/19 international season.

Moving from Eurobin in alpine Victoria, she grew up in Melbourne and loves living in such a vibrant city. Outside of netball, she is back studying a Master of Communication at Deakin University since graduating with a BCom from The University of Melbourne. Currently she is the Vice President of the Australian Netball Players’ Association and sits of the Melbourne University Sport Board plus the Suncorp Super Netball Competition Committee.

She is passionate about protecting our environment and using sport as a platform to help others. Away from the court, she helps with the Sports Environmental Alliance, BCNA and Connor's Run. 



Workshop host: Amy Steel (SEA Ambassador, Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Former Australian netballer, Amy Steel knows first hand the consequences extreme heat can have on players.

Amy was a dual premiership player for the Queensland Firebirds and Melbourne Vixens before she suffered a heat stroke during competition in 2016 that ended her netball career and resulted in potentially lifelong health difficulties.

She has since been working with various sporting groups and organisations on climate change.

Amy works as a manager in Deloitte’s sustainability services team, helping clients to understand the risks of climate change on their organisation, and to successfully map out pathways to a low-carbon future.

She is an active ambassador for the Sports Environment Alliance (SEA).



Judge Panel: Ciaran McCormack (The Climate Reality Project)

Ciaran McCormack is Manager of the Australia and Pacific branch of The Climate Reality Project led by former US Vice President and Nobel Laureate, Al Gore. Ciaran is a sustainability communications specialist with over twenty years’ experience across Australia, East Africa, Japan and Europe.

He has delivered projects ranging from ethical investment to energy efficiency to corporate responsibility. He previously launched an impact investment fund for WWF in East Africa and managed global cohorts of research volunteers for Earthwatch Institute.

Ciaran grew up playing gaelic football for his club in Ireland but was captivated by Aussie Rules from afar. Later, he got the chance to play footy for Ireland in helping the Irish Goannas reach the Asia AFL Grand Final. These days his main sporting activities are Sunday soccer and cycling.


Judge Panel: Layne Beachley (Surfing World Champion)

7-time world champion Layne Beachley is widely regarded as the most successful surfer in history. The only surfer to claim 6 consecutive world titles, Layne’s story is the testimony to the power of self-belief. 

A traumatic childhood ignited a flame of desperation to prove she was worthy of love. Layne’s affinity for the ocean and competition created the perfect storm to achieve her dream of becoming the best of the best. 

Learning how to lose taught her how to win. 19 years on tour, 29 tour victories, 7 world titles (6 won consecutively), 5 in a state of fear. 

Her career was an emotional rollercoaster of happiness, injury, adventure, depression, failure and ultimately, success. 

An officer of the order of Australia, Chair of Surfing Australia, and founder of the Awake Academy, Layne lives a life of unapologetic honesty, sharing her experiences with humour and humility, standing firm in her values with a clear vision for the future. Her sights are firmly set on cultivating connection, growth and happiness in humanity.



Judge Panel: Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film, 2040)

As a director Damon wrote, directed and performed vocals for the 2011 winning Tropfest short film, ANIMAL BEATBOX, which has now played at over 25 festivals worldwide. THAT SUGAR FILM was Damon’s first feature length film as a director and won Best Documentary at the Australian AACTA awards and became the highest grossing Australian documentary of all time. THAT SUGAR BOOK is his first published book and was published in 9 languages.

Damon’s new film, 2040, is an innovative feature documentary that explores what the future would look like by the year 2040 if we embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet. It was released in April 2019 and is already in the top 5 highest grossing documentaries of all time in Australia at the cinema.

Damon is a sought-after speaker and spoke at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit in New York. Damon has also addressed numerous Governments around the world and spoken at organisations such as Google, BP, PWC, ANZ , Zurich, Atlassian and many more.  He was a NSW nomination for Australian of the Year in 2020. 


Session 3: How do we play for our planet?

Thursday, 19th November - 5:00pm - 6:00pm (AEDT)


Moderator: Anthony James (The RegenNarration)

Anthony is a fifth generation Australian man living with his family by the ocean in the city of Perth, on traditional Noongar lands. He is host of The RegenNarration podcast, an award-winning facilitator and educator, widely published writer, Honorary Research Associate at the University of Western Australia, and Warm Data Lab Host Certified by the International Bateson Institute.
He features in a range of media nationally and internationally, is a regular speaker, and hosts conversations on regenerating the systems and stories humanity lives by, at both live events and on The RegenNarration podcast. He is currently also producing and hosting a spin-off series for the Clean State podcast, dedicated to regenerative transitions in his home state of Western Australia. His writing has appeared in publications locally and overseas, including The Conversation, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, WA Today, ABC Online, World Economic Forum, Eco-Business, EconoTimes, Business Standard, Resilience, The Epoch Times, Energy Post, and The Footy Almanac.



Panelist: Joanna Rule (Wellington Shire Council)

Having originally worked in conservation land management for a range of land owners including Bush Heritage Australia, private philanthropists and state governments across Australia, Jo has more recently delved into the world of corporate and community sustainability and is particularly interested in the interface between community sport and the natural environment. As Sustainability Project Officer for Wellington Shire Council, and a keen tennis player, she is delivering the “Playing the Climate Game” program across the region to help community sporting clubs make the connection between climate change and human health & wellbeing and facilitating both mitigation and adaptation actions at the club level.



Panelist: James Parkinson (Auckland Stadiums, NZ)

James has been involved with Auckland Stadiums since he first joined RFA from the consulting industry in 2012. Earlier in his career, he spent four years with Ernst & Young before becoming a director with tourism and leisure specialists Horwath HTL Ltd. It is here he gained the deep insight into the New Zealand leisure sector that has helped guide RFA's growth and stadium strategy over the last eight years. James spent three years as Head of Business Improvement for Auckland Stadiums before becoming Head of Operations, Head of Strategy, before taking the helm as Acting Director, and then Director in 2019. He is passionate about enhancing our network of stadium assets and using them to their full potential to maximise the benefits for all Aucklanders.


Panelist: Rachel Parnaby (West Coast Eagles Football Club)

Rachel has worked at the West Coast Eagles Football Club for the past 13 years, the majority of the time as Project Manager, Business Strategy and Growth. Together with General Manager Deane Pieters, Rachel is responsible for initiating and driving commercial and community projects and leading strategic organisational growth. Most recently, Rachel’s role has seen her involved in a number of major projects including the club's strategic brand review and new visual identity; the transition to the new Optus Stadium; the introduction of WAFL Eagles and AFLW Eagles teams; and driving organisational change to minimise the club's environmental impact on game day and at our new Lathlain headquarters. Rachel recently completed Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership training in 2020.


Session 4: How to be {sport & planet} resilient- a workshop

Thursday, 26th November - 10:30am - 12:00pm (AEDT)


Co-Moderator: Amy Steel

Former Australian netballer, Amy Steel knows first hand the consequences extreme heat can have on players.

Amy was a dual premiership player for the Queensland Firebirds and Melbourne Vixens before she suffered a heat stroke during competition in 2016 that ended her netball career and resulted in potentially lifelong health difficulties.

She has since been working with various sporting groups and organisations on climate change.

Amy works as a manager in Deloitte’s sustainability services team, helping clients to understand the risks of climate change on their organisation, and to successfully map out pathways to a low-carbon future.

She an active ambassador for the Sports Environment Alliance (SEA).



Co-Moderator: Aileen McManamon (5T Sports, USA)

Aileen McManamon is the Founder and Managing Partner of 5T Sports Group, a sports management consultancy focused on creating triple bottom line impact for professional sports leagues, teams and marquee events.  Her start in the auto industry set the wheels in motion for a career crafting top-performing partnerships between brands and sports properties.   Her field of play has included the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Nürburgring Classic, Winter Olympic Games, Minor League Baseball, the NFL, Major League Soccer and numerous skiing World Cups. On the sponsor side, she has worked with global brands including FIAT, Alfa Romeo, General Motors, Molson, EA Sports, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Hewlett Packard. 

Aileen is passionate about leveraging sports for sustainable development, and has delivered economic legacy programs, most recently for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2015 Canada Winter Games. She is an also an ongoing advocate for diversity and inclusion in sports.


Workshop Host: James Reid (Victoria Racing Club)

James Reid is the Executive General Manager Operations at the Victoria Racing Club (VRC). In this role at the VRC, James is responsible for the oversight, strategy and management for all operations of the heritage-listed Flemington Racecourse and the Melbourne Cup Carnival – one of Australia’s largest major events. 

Some of James’ achievements include, the implementation of a waste management program, whereby he was instrumental in the significant increased waste diversion from landfill, from 21% to 98%, through positive waste initiatives such as, organic waste streams and education processes resulting in budgetary savings. Under James’ leadership as Operations Manager, SecondBite was appointed as VRC’s Food Charity in 2007, since this time in excess of eight tonne of food has been diverted from landfill, and repurposed to those in need.

James has also overseen the planning, construction and implementation of the $128million Club Stand, that was delivered for the 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival. 

As a highly skilled event and venue operator focusing on mass public gatherings, James has played a pivotal role in repeatedly delivering one of the most high profile events on the Australian calendar rising through the ranks to become Executive General Manager.

His professional priority is to continue to deliver safe and commercially viable events that continue to attract public support.

James credits his team of talented staff, contractors and stakeholders for maintaining Flemington as a world class racing and entertainment venue. Through a commercial approach to all matters and a commitment to implementing benchmark compliance standards, James has earned a reputation as a leader of the industry.


Workshop Host: Omar Mitchell (National Hockey League, USA)

Omar Mitchell is Vice President, Sustainable Infrastructure and Growth Initiatives at the National Hockey League. Working in the Social Impact, Growth and Legislative Affairs (SGL) Department, Mitchell focuses on growing the sport of hockey through physical infrastructure - the places and spaces where the sport is played – from pro arenas to community rinks and multi-use outdoor spaces. He is responsible for promoting strategies, business models and innovations that address economic, social and environmental sustainability within such infrastructure to ensure they ultimately create vibrant and healthy communities where the game is played.

Mitchell started at the NHL in 2012 as the League’s first environmental sustainability director, overseeing NHL Green - the award-winning, comprehensive, environmental sustainability initiative. He has also led corporate social responsibility, public affairs and philanthropic initiatives over the past eight seasons including oversight of the NHL Foundation, the NHL’s Legacy Projects and Stanley Cup. He started his career in architecture and real estate and holds an M.B.A. from MIT’s Sloan School of Management; a master’s degree in architecture from Columbia University in the City of New York; and is a lifelong University of Florida Gator.


Workshop Host: Norman Vossschulte (Philadelphia Eagles, USA)

Norman Vossschulte is originally from Berlin, Germany. His culturally rich background included ten years living abroad in Africa, Iraq and Spain before moving back to Germany to finish High School and College. He studied Biology and Physical Science before deciding to move to New York City in 1996 to attend the Herbert Berghof Institute for Fine Theatre Arts and Drama. 

Norman’s work experience is as eclectic as his upbringing. He has worked in the hotel industry, the non-profit industry, as well as both sports and entertainment industries. Twenty years of practicing customer and client relations, has given him an overview of which techniques consistently enhance guest experiences.  Norman has over 14 years of staff training and team leadership experience working with The Walt Disney Company and currently the Philadelphia Eagles.