Meet our speakers for the 2018 Diversity and Inclusion in Sport Forum.

Francis Leach

Francis Leach
Francis Leach will be your host for the 2018 Forum. Francis is a regular on ABC TV’s Sunday Sports program ‘Offsiders' and creator and curator of Australia’s only literary festival dedicated to sport – ‘The Sports Writers Festival. Broadcaster, journalist, writer and passionate fan of The Clash, Francis is a man in love with ideas. He’s passionate about people and their capacity to create and achieve greatness and he explores the human condition through his love of sport, music, popular culture and great writing. Francis engages in meaningful conversations and asks the right questions, even the tough ones, and his extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge across any number of fields has given him a unique perspective on life and an amazing ability to connect with his audience.

Megan Mitchell

Megan Mitchell
Megan Mitchell is Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, appointed in 2013. Megan has previous experience in both government and non-government roles in child protection, out-of-home care, youth justice, disability, and early childhood services.Megan also holds qualifications in social policy, psychology and education. In her role as Commissioner, Megan focuses solely on the rights and interests of children, and the laws, policies and programs that impact on them.

Each year, Megan presents a statutory report to federal Parliament on the state of children’s rights in Australia. In her work to date, Megan has focused on the prevalence of suicide and intentional self-harm in children and young people, the impact of family and domestic violence on children and young people, the oversight of children and young people in correctional detention, and the experiences and trajectories of young parents and their children.

Dr Sean Gorman
Dr Sean Gorman has worked in the Indigenous studies programs at Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University, the University of Melbourne and Curtin University. Gorman’s PhD was published by Allen and Unwin in 2005. Brotherboys: The Story of Jim and Phillip Krakouer was adapted for theatre and commenced a national tour in 2011.

He was the lead Chief Investigator on an ARC grant entitled: Assessing the Australian Football League’s Racial and Religious Vilification Laws to Promote Community Harmony, Multiculturalism and Reconciliation which produced in 2016 The Biggest Game in Town: An Analysis of the AFL’s Vilification Policy (Taylor and Francis).

Julia Symons

Julia Symons
Julia has worked in sports administration, community engagement, communications and philanthropy across the corporate, not-for-profit and sports sectors in Australia, Hong Kong and Fiji. She currently works in the Strategic Partnerships and Projects team at Australia Post.

Julia was a recipient of a 2017 Churchill Fellowship, investigating cultural diversity in elite women’s sport.

Chyloe Kurdas

Chyloe Kurdas
A former elite Australian rules footballer, television and radio sports commentator, Chyloe Kurdas has spent a decade building the catalyst for Australia’s first ever national women’s professional competition, AFLW, as AFL Victoria’s Female Football Development Manager. In doing so, Chyloe combined her studies and work in health promotion, psychology and education to build award winning high performance sporting programs for adolescent girls that focus on the whole athlete. Chyloe has shifted the focus of her passions for cultivating cultural change and gender equity through sport to golf. Chyloe, as the newly appointed National Female Participation Manager for Golf Australia, is charged with leading the implementation of Vision 2025, Golf Australia’s long term strategy to enhance the engagement of women and girls in golf. A 2018 TEDX Sydney keynote speaker, Chyloe is also an Associate of the Melbourne Business School, presenting to Department of Defence leadership programs on cultural change and gender equity. Chyloe credits being one of the first women to play football on the MCG as one of best days of her life.

Lisa Laing

Lisa Laing
Lisa has worked in the AFL Industry for 14 years, 9 years in the AFL leading a team responsible for membership services across the AFL Industry and 5 years St Kilda FC initially leading the Consumer Business and currently the Saints Community Engagement and Football programs. Lisa is an alumni of the Leadership Victoria FOLIO Community Leadership Program and is passionate about bringing social issues to the fore through the powerful voice of elite sports people and clubs. 

 

Jeff Walkley

Dr Jeff Walkley
Dr Jeff Walkley is the National Disability & Diversity Manager with Belgravia Leisure, and CEO of the Belgravia Foundation. Over four decades, Jeff has made exemplary contributions in sport, inclusion, physical activity, physical education, and disability. He has created sustained improvements in sport, physical education and inclusion in Australia. His achievements have led to his advice being sought by government departments and national and state sport organisations. He has provided expert advice in legal proceedings related to inclusion, culminating in improved access to sport for girls and women. His work has impacted on government policy leading to improved sport and recreation opportunities for children and people with a disability throughout Australia, and has been acknowledged through several industry and professional awards, and through invitation to join national and international collaborations.

Travel Ilalio

Tavale Ilalio
Tavale is the Creative Director of Mahana Culture. He works to support people and organisations to harness the power of Culture and Diversity in their professional lives. Tavale brings a passion for what truly harnessing and celebrating diversity in the sport and community looks like, and the endless possibilities it can bring if done well and with cultural dignity.

 

Wayne Herbert

Wayne Herbert
Wayne is a prominent, in-demand, and outspoken public speaker, presenter, advocate, and writer promoting the rights of and opportunities for people with disability and people in the LGBTIQ community. As a leader, Wayne has a unique, humorous, thought-provoking, and challenging insight into why diversity and inclusion matters.

 

Jo Fernandes
Jo has worked in football administration for more than 20 years. On graduating from the University of Canberra, she commenced her professional career at the ACT Women’s Soccer Association, before becoming the Team Manager for the Westfield Matildas – a position that she held for 13 years. She was then appointed to the role of General Manager Westfield W-League within the FFA, before moving to her current role at Football NSW. In whatever spare time she has, Jo can be found supporting her young son in his footballing exploits, consulting with FIFA as a General Coordinator (GC) and the Asian Football Confederation as a Match Commissioner. Jo was the first female to be appointed to manage a Final at a Men’s Football Tournament - the 2017 FIFA Under 17 World Cup in India – and only a few months ago she worked as a GC at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia - the first time a female had been appointed to this role. Clearly Jo lives and breathes the round ball game, but is also passionate about gender equality in sport.

 

Emma Staples
Emma is the Diversity & Community Engagement Manager at Cricket Victoria. With Post Graduate studies in Public Health and an equality and equity advocate, her work involves driving cultural change across the business and the broader cricket community to embrace diversity. Previously she has worked as a senior advisor in community sport and recreation for the Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation and as a Health Promotion project lead using sport for social change in India, Fiji and remote Australian Indigenous communities.