Senior Solicitor, Consumer Action Law Centre
Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM is the CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Kon is proudly Greek, growing up in a working class family in a small country town in Victoria. Kon’s personal experience of racism and witnessing the exploitation of his parents in factories planted the seeds for his passion for human rights.
Kon went on to become a lawyer, social worker, and teacher. He has been recognised as an Australian of the Year (Victoria) finalist in 2007, was invited to participate in the 2020 Summit in 2008, was voted one of Australia’s 20 Unsung Heroes as part of the launch of the new Portrait Gallery in Canberra in 2008, and was voted as one of Melbourne’s 100 most influential people in The Age Melbourne Magazine. Most recently, Kon was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2010 and an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2011.
Dr. Susan Feldman was the founding Director of The Alma Unit for Women and Ageing established in 1994 at the University of Melbourne, Australia’s first multi-disciplinary research and teaching unit dedicated to promoting an understanding of the health and wellbeing of older women. Currently Susan holds the position of Adjunct Associate Professor Primary Care Research, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science, Monash University.
As a qualitative researcher Susan has worked extensively with communities of women to identify the health and wellbeing issues they face as they age. She is interested in the intersection of life experiences and circumstances and their impact on the quality of life and wellbeing for older women.
Her work has expanded to include research on gender issues across the life span particularly for older people from different multi-cultural backgrounds and experiences.
Professor Kristy Muir is the CEO at the Centre for Social Impact (Business School) at UNSW Australia, a Professor of Social Policy and an elected academic member of UNSW’s Council.
Kristy leads academic and applied research projects that help understand, measure and find innovative solutions to complex social problems in Australia. She works closely with local, state and federal government and agencies, not-for-profit organisations and civic groups, businesses and philanthropic foundations and peak bodies. Since joining UNSW in 2005, she has brought in over $10.5 million for research and capacity building projects focusing on children, young people, families and communities in addition to a broad range of social issues including housing, economic engagement, disability, mental health, place-based disadvantage and financial inclusion.
Professor Muir is widely published and cited in journals, books and is frequently a headline speaker at social impact events and academic conferences in Australia and around the world. Kristy is a member of key social purpose committees including the NSW Premier’s Council on Homelessness, Opportunity Child and Financial Inclusion Action Plan leadership groups, and her research has had a significant impact on policy, investment and practice.
Kristy Muir is currently a member of the Centre for Social Impact Executive Leadership team. Between 2011 and 2013 she was the Associate Dean Research (ADR) of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW. Her contribution in this role was recognised when she won the 2013 UNSW Staff Excellence Award for Senior Leadership. She was previously the Director of the Disability Studies and Research Centre, UNSW (2009-10) and held various roles at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW (2005-09).
Kristy has a PhD in social history and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is an alumnus of the Sydney Leadership Program and, prior to joining academia, worked in the not-for-profit sector.
Cat Newton is a Policy Officer at Consumer Action Law Centre, specialising in financial inclusion and difficulty and effective consumer dispute resolution. Consumer Action is a community legal centre, financial counselling service and national policy and research body based in Melbourne. Cat is currently leading the Centre’s campaign for long overdue reform of debt vultures – companies that spruik expensive so-called ‘debt management’ services to people already struggling to make ends meet. Prior to joining the policy & campaigns team, Cat worked as a solicitor at Consumer Action and at Allens Linklaters.
Lisa is the Director of Settlement and Multicultural Affairs for the Department of Social Services and is charged with engaging communities, key stakeholders and all levels of government to understand, assess and inform the Department and Government on priority opportunities and issues. Lisa has a background in refugee protection, and has recently returned from serving as the Australian Co-Manager of the regional support office of the Bali Process, in Bangkok where she sought to develop practical cooperation on international migration and refugee protection on behalf of 45 governments. Earlier in her career, Lisa worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where she served in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, and was awarded a public service medal in 2011. Prior to joining the public sector Lisa was a technology specialist, running her own company for a period of time. Lisa enjoys travelling and spending time at the beach with her husband who works on the professional surfing circuit.
Dr Christine Nixon has a strong history of fighting for justice and equality, especially assisting women, multicultural and minority groups. Christine commenced her police career in 1972 and, despite a corrupt, male dominated culture, rose through the ranks to become Assistant Commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force. In 2001, she became Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, the first woman in Australia to achieve this position. In 2009, after her resignation from the Force, Christine became Chair of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority for one year. She used her extensive policing skills and personal understanding of grief and loss to rebuild communities affected by the 2009 fires in Victoria. Christine is currently Deputy Chancellor, Monash University and Chair of Monash College Pty Ltd. Her qualifications include an Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Macquarie University, and Master of Public Administration, Harvard University. Christine has been awarded the Australian Police Medal, the National Medal, the Centenary Medal and the New South Wales Police Medal.
Katy Davis is a Managing Director at ideas42, where she oversees the US consumer finance portfolio and related areas. Katy has more than 10 years of experience working across public and private sectors in economic development, finance, and behavioral design. At ideas42, she has led engagements applying behavioral science insights with financial institutions, fintech start-ups, colleges and universities, housing providers, and asset-building nonprofits. As a student at Yale School of Management, Katy conducted research that explored behavioral design features of microfinance and savings products. She previously advised institutional shareholders on mergers and acquisitions at Glass, Lewis & Co., LLC and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia. Katy graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Reed College with a BA in Mathematics and holds an MBA from Yale School of Management.
Sian Williams is Director of the Financial Health Exchange at Toynbee Hall in London’s East End, where she leads programmes aimed at making money work better for people. This includes supporting organisations to understand their own impact on the financial health of their service users, as well as making financial products and services more inclusive, and developing effective financial capability interventions. Innovations include: the MAP Tool, a financial health needs and impact measurement tool; a highly effective community peer Money Mentor programme; and research and policy influencing to address significant access gaps, including on the cash and electronic payment needs of consumers, the creation of fee-free Basic Bank Accounts, and the impact on low income households of the lack of access to a free-to-use ATM. Sian is currently leading the Payments Strategy Forum End User Needs workstream, including developing a new flexible push payment to meet the needs for control and flexibility of those on low or unpredictable incomes (“Request to Pay”), enabling users to track payments and confirm the payee and payer, and add additional data to payments.
Sian sits on a range of industry advisory groups, is a Financial Inclusion Commissioner, a member of the Payment Systems Regulator’s Panel, chairs the Payments Strategy Forum End User Needs Workstream and is a trustee for the Money Advice Trust.
Prior to joining Toynbee Hall, Sian had a 15 year career with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including postings to Hong Kong and Beijing, reporting on China’s economic development and emerging financial systems.
Clare Bowditch is an ARIA Award-winning songwriter, sometimes actor (as Rosanna Harding on the hit Channel 10 show “Offspring”), speaker, writer, creative-business mentor and has just been announced as the new afternoon host on Melbourne ABC radio 774. She’s had Top Ten albums, been named Rolling Stone Woman of the Year (Contribution to Culture), Yen Young Woman of the Year (Music), co-written with Gotye, toured with Leonard Cohen, written for Harpers Bazaar and the Drum, and played in every venue, festival and truck stop in Australia at least two hundred times each.
In 2013, Clare launched Big Hearted Business, a new enterprise designed to teach creative people about business, and business people about creativity, in ways that make sense. Check out www.bigheartedbusiness.com.au for some truly inspiring interviews with Australia’s artistic and business greats.
Currently Clare is writing and recording her sixth solo album, trying to whittle down the 150 songs she has written since 2012’s “The Winter I Chose Happiness” and also hosting Afternoons on ABC 774 Melbourne.
Anna Bligh is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Bankers’ Association. Her priorities include strengthening the culture in banking and delivering the right outcomes for customers.
Anna has had a long and distinguished career in politics, and was the Premier of Queensland for almost five years until March 2012. She was also Deputy Premier and Treasurer of Queensland and held ministerial responsibilities in Education, Social Welfare, Arts, Economic and State Development and Infrastructure.
Anna’s leadership came to national and international attention as she led the response and recovery effort to devastating floods in Queensland in January 2011.
Prior to joining the ABA, Anna was the CEO of YWCA NSW, a not-for-profit organisation striving to build a safer world for women and children with programs and services dedicated to ending domestic violence.
In recognition of her eminent service to the Parliament of Queensland, and as an advocate for education, the role of women in public life and services to the not-for-profit sector, Anna received a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia award in the 2017 Australia Day Honours list.
Anna holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of Queensland and Griffith University.
Anna Bligh is a non-executive director of Medibank Private and Bangarra Dance Company.
Nicole is a financial literacy campaigner and educator across newspapers, online and on television, and in high schools around Australia. She is founder of TheMoneyMentorWay.com and developer of The 12-Step Prosperity Plan, a blueprint to take people from financial worry to well-being.
As Fairfax Media’s popular Money Matters columnist, Nicole’s advice appears on all Fairfax websites and in The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age newspapers. She is also Marie Claire’s resident money expert. Nicole was formerly editor then editor-at-large of Smart Investor magazine.
A qualified financial planner, Nicole is the author of two books on making money: Double your wealth and halve your worries and Halve your debt and double your freedom.
Nicole is proud to be an ambassador for ASIC’s MoneySmart Week and a presenter for its education portal moneysmart.gov.au. She talks money without the mumbo jumbo – fixing your finances is not nearly as hard as other experts make it sound.
Effie Zahos is one of Australia’s leading personal finance commentators with more than two decades of experience in consumer finance topics including banking, finance and property.
Starting from the ground up, as a graduate trainee for one of Australia’s major banks, she moved from corporate to TV in 1997, kick- starting her career in journalism as head researcher for Channel Nine’s successful Money Show.
As editor of Money magazine and a regular finance expert on the Today Show, A Current Affair and Sky Business News, Effie specialises in helping individuals to get ahead through personal finance tips and consumer banking awareness.
She’s also a regular on radio stations across Australia and an author of a children’s financial literacy book, The Great $20 Adventure. She has a degree in Economics from the University of Queensland. Effie is also the proud mother of two children who are now reformed spenders.
Amanda comes from a legal, government and business background with over 20 years of experience working with First Australians. From government to practising as a criminal lawyer, her career has been fascinatingly diverse; from anti-corruption, business coaching, leadership training and more recently, as CEO of the First Nations Foundation working towards financial freedom for First Australians.
Since 2008, Elliot has been working in Australia and the Pacific to influence the way financial inclusion is understood and addressed. Elliot currently leads the National Australia Bank’s (NAB) Financial Inclusion Team that is responsible for supporting and delivering the bank’s financial inclusion initiatives. This includes NAB’s $130 million commitment to provide fair and affordable finance to people living on low incomes and its work in addressing the financial disadvantage of indigenous Australians.
Elliot is driven by his interest in social justice and utilising his skills and capabilities to make a positive social and environmental change and has been heavily involved in NAB’s partnership with Centre for Social Impact and the research to understand the issue of financial exclusion and to measure the impact of initiatives to address the issue.
A background in Marketing Research & Biological Sciences with experience working in finance and financial services industries focused on data driven marketing for the past 10 years. Andrew joined Experian Marketing services in 2011 and has been involved in a number of modelling & segmentation, spatial analytics and other advanced analytical solutions to key clients. More recently his focus has shifted to leading and developing a number of analysts across the region as well as researching new analytical techniques around customer centricity and client engagement.
Dean Pearson is an Industry & Business Economist with over 25 years experience in analysing the economy and assessing the implications both in Australia and globally.
Dean leads a team of analysts responsible for monitoring key economic, business and consumer trends and identifying industries and customer segments which are likely to provide the strongest growth opportunities and greatest risks.
Dean’s team is responsible for a number of key publications including: NAB Consumer Anxiety Index; NAB Wellbeing Index; NAB Residential and Commercial Property Surveys; MLC Wealth Sentiment Survey; NAB Online Retail Sales Index; NAB Diversity Index; NAB Work & Family Survey; NAB Charitable Giving Index; and the NAB Asia-Australia Business Engagement Index.
Dean is a sought-after key note speaker at major business forums, with the ability to present complex information in a readily digestible and entertaining manner.
Nick is Director of Analytics and Consulting, Experian Marketing Services, A&NZ and has over 20 years of experience in delivering effective analytics solutions in complex business environments. He leads our experienced and innovative analytics and consulting teams and provides thought leadership in analytics strategies to our major retail, financial services, telecommunications and utilities clients. Nick joined Experian Marketing Services in June, 2014 following senior consulting and analytics leadership roles with PwC and Telstra. Nick has tertiary qualifications in Science, Statistics and Computing.
Aaron is an educator, facilitator and experience designer. His passion in education is focused on self-exploration, wellbeing and creating social impact. Aaron has been leading groups and educating for over 15 years across the globe. In 2015 he launched his own education organisation, the Bloom Collective and he is the current Fellowship Director at a social-justice non-profit Stand Up More recently he has been spending working as a lead facilitator and curriculum designer with the Centre for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania as well as education social enterprise The Making of Men.