Future of Leadership 2023 Series: BUILD

23 May 2023

As we approach the Future of Leadership 2023, a conference series that is run through our social enterprise Hands Group, we would like to take some time to introduce our prestigious lineup of speakers and some of the key issues that they will be addressing at this year's event.

Each year, the Future of Leadership conference brings in the necessary funds to cover the administration costs that allow Hands to continue supporting the kids and our homes in Thailand with minimal impact on supporter donations.

Future of Leadership is a unique experience to develop leadership skills for yourself, your team, or to reward your employees.

This year, Future of Leadership will focus on the theme of BUILD. In preparing for this year's conference, we've asked all of our speakers to provide answers to the following questions:

1. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing leaders right now in business?

2. How will you session contribute to answering the challenges faced by leaders?

3. What is the one thing you think leaders could/should be doing more of?

4. What is the one thing you think leaders could/should be doing less of?

See their responses below...


Darren Hill is a thought leader in leadership and organizational development from Pragmatic Thinking. When asked about the biggest challenge facing leaders in business today, Darren believes that shaping the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) through new ways of work is a significant challenge emerging in the future landscape. With expectations of what work is and what it needs to be shifting rapidly, the critical role of leaders in setting the tone and strategy of how a team does their work remains unchanged. Unfortunately, some early responses from leaders have fallen well short.

In Darren’s session, he will explore the most powerful intersection of employee engagement and productivity: the relationship between the leader and their team. By focusing on personal growth, leaders can create a better blueprint for being a better human and, in turn, a better leader.

One of the key takeaways from Darren’s session will be the importance of asking questions, especially big, bold, and brave ones that don’t have a binary answer. By daring to sit with these questions long enough, leaders can fundamentally reshape not just the way they lead, but also their lives for the better. Darren will share some of the most powerful questions he’s collected over the past two decades.

On the flip side, Darren believes that leaders could benefit from doing less of slipping into default patterns that only lead to frustration and melancholy. Instead, they should imagine designing a life they don’t need to escape from.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from Darren and gain valuable insights into leadership and personal growth. Register for Future of Leadership now!


Dr. Louise Mahler is a highly sought-after media figure and commentator. From analysing politicians during the federal election such as Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese to the royals such as Prince Harry and Meghan. She is regularly interviewed on Sunrise, The Today Show, SBS, the ABC, and radio stations across Australia.

As leaders, what are the biggest challenges we face in business today? According to Dr. Mahler, it's all about getting out and being visible, communicating and presenting our ideas with gravitas, and learning from the age-old skills of the Ancient Romans.

But how can we tackle these challenges head-on? Dr. Mahler's session is designed to inspire and entertain us, while also giving us useful, practical, and immediately applicable skills to take away. By learning to express ourselves with our bodies, particularly through gestures, and by embracing the power of our voices, we can become more effective communicators and leaders.

So what should leaders be doing more of? Dr. Mahler believes we need to move away from relying solely on the written word and start using our bodies and voices to convey our messages. And what should we be doing less of? Hiding away from being visible, staying static, and reading notes when communicating with audiences.

Don't miss this opportunity to learn from one of the most dynamic and engaging speakers in the business world. Register now for the Future of Leadership Conference and join us in taking on the challenges facing leaders today!


Ashley Fell is an esteemed social researcher, TEDx speaker, and Team Leader of Communications at the internationally recognized McCrindle. Here's a glimpse into what Ashley's session will bring to the table at Future of Leadership:

🔸 Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing leaders right now in business?
Ashley's Response: "The future of work is changing due to a range of factors. Generational shifts and leadership transitions are emerging through changing life-stages, new expectations, and emergent careers. In addition, workforce trends such as remote working, tenure shifts, multi-career expectations, new types of work, and emerging attraction, retention, and engagement factors are having big impacts. All of these trends are important to observe through the generational lens."

🔸 Q: How will your session contribute to answering the challenges faced by leaders?
Ashley's Response: "My session will provide an overview of the key megatrends transforming the future of work and how organizations can be prepared for the intergenerational transfer and use it to their advantage."

🔸 Q: What is the one thing you think leaders could/should be doing more of?
Ashley's Response: "Leaders will do well to be responsive to the changing times and create a culture of collaboration where people of different generations feel safe to be challenged, encouraged, and to work together."

🔸 Q: What is the one thing you think leaders could/should be doing less of?
Ashley's Response: "The emerging generations interact in far more engaging and participative ways than previous generations. As a result, I think we need to move away from a command and control, top-down leadership model and instead focus on collaborative leadership styles."

Ashley Fell's expertise in understanding generational dynamics and her ability to decipher the future of work make her an invaluable addition to the Future of Leadership Conference. Join us as she shares her insights and provides actionable strategies for leaders to navigate the evolving business landscape successfully.

Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to hear from Ashley Fell. Book now for Future of Leadership!


Calling all leaders seeking to unlock the secrets of high performance teams, meet Ian Schubach, Founder and Director at Red Leaf. With his extensive experience as a professional African safari guide, keynote presenter, and conference facilitator, Ian brings a unique perspective to the realm of leadership.

Ian's session will captivate your imagination as he draws parallels between leadership and animals of the African bush. Discover how these majestic creatures can inspire and guide you in building and nurturing high performance teams in today's dynamic business environment.

In the face of rapidly evolving challenges, the biggest hurdle for leaders today is the task of cultivating and maintaining a high performance culture in the hybrid workplace. Ian recognizes the seismic shifts that have taken place over the last five years in our understanding of "High Performance." It's no longer about sacrificing everything; it's about sustainable success.

During his session, Ian will delve into the fundamental aspects of teamwork and collaboration, emphasizing the importance of selecting the right individuals to bolster your team's growth and ensure collective triumph. His insights will empower leaders to navigate the complex landscape of team dynamics and unlock their full potential.

Listening is a skill often overlooked but indispensable for effective leadership. Ian believes that leaders should prioritize actively engaging with their staff and clients, seeking to understand their challenges and perspectives. By venturing out and immersing themselves in the realities of their team members and customers, leaders can build stronger connections and drive meaningful change.

On the flip side, Ian urges leaders to reassess their commitment to non-critical meetings that merely fill up their calendars. True leadership lies in focusing on the WHY and the WHAT'S NEXT. Dedicating excessive time to the minute details of the WHAT and the HOW can detract from the bigger picture and hinder progress. It's time for leaders to reclaim their focus and prioritize strategic decision-making and transformative action.

Don't miss the opportunity to learn from Ian Schubach at the Future of Leadership Conference. Join us as we explore the secrets of high performance teams and unlock new avenues of success.


Erica Bagshaw is a renowned leadership expert and Executive Coach. Erica's exceptional work focuses on empowering leaders in top-rated organizations across Australia, helping them build cognitive agility, enhance leadership capability, develop professional presence, improve communication skills, and foster resilience.

In today's fast-paced business landscape, leaders face unprecedented challenges. Regardless of whether they operate in a large multinational corporation or a local SME, the common struggle among leaders is navigating the relentless pace of change and the imperative to transform their organizations to stay competitive amidst digital and economic disruptions. While leaders have already weathered the storm of the global pandemic and ongoing supply chain issues, they now require the determination and energy to continue forging ahead, all while cultivating compassion for themselves and their teams. Unfortunately, the escalating stress levels and fatigue experienced by leaders and their teams can hinder their ability to maintain perspective, innovate, be agile, communicate effectively, and respond rather than react to challenging situations.

During her session at Future of Leadership, Erica will deliver a practical "how-to" session that equips leaders with evidence-based techniques to create more energy, reduce stress, and address challenges in the moment. Her session will provide step-by-step guidance, ensuring participants can immediately implement these techniques and experience tangible benefits within their leadership roles.

Now, more than ever, leaders need to carve out dedicated moments in their day for cultivating positive energy and engaging in deep thinking. Erica believes that time blocking daily for such activities is crucial for leaders to recharge, maintain their well-being, and unlock their full potential.

Equally important is recognizing that leaders cannot expect to operate in the same manner they always have. As the saying goes, "What got you here won't get you there." Leaders must shed the expectations of traditional approaches and embrace new strategies, mindsets, and behaviors to thrive in this ever-evolving landscape.

Make sure not to miss Erica Bagshaw's enlightening session. Her expertise and practical advice will empower you to navigate the challenges of today's business world, fostering personal and organizational growth. Join Future of Leadership and book your ticket now!


Turning the worst day of your life into your best is no easy feat, but sometimes there is simply no other option. In Brett Connellan’s case, this day included the moment every surfer’s worst nightmare became his reality when he was attacked by a Great White Shark. Brett Connellan is an extraordinary individual who has taken his near death experience to develop a different mindset towards resilience which he will share at Future of Leadership as part of his presentation.

In today's rapidly changing business landscape, leaders face numerous challenges. When asked about the biggest challenge facing leaders, Brett shared his powerful insights: "Purpose! Effective leaders are those who are connected to a purpose that is stronger than the mere status of being a leader." This resonates deeply, as understanding the "why" behind our leadership roles is crucial for making a lasting impact.

During his session, Brett will contribute immensely to answering these challenges faced by leaders. His inspiring journey from an unlikely leader, driven by unfortunate circumstances, has taught him invaluable lessons. Since the shark attack, Brett has witnessed the transformative power of his actions on those around him, igniting a fire within them to strive for more. While he remains humble about considering himself a leader, he believes that true leadership lies in inspiring momentum and providing perspective to others.

By attending Brett's session, you'll gain invaluable insights into resilience, purpose-driven leadership, and the ability to inspire positive change. Brett's personal experiences will leave you motivated to go beyond limitations and make a real difference for yourself and those around you.

Don't miss this incredible opportunity to hear from Brett Connellan at the Future of Leadership Conference series. Join us in July/August to unlock the secrets of resilience and impactful leadership. Let's embark on this transformative journey together!

Introducing The Attention Seekers: The Perfect Speaker Duo for the Future of Leadership comprised of Jacqueline Furey and Adam J Williams.

Are you ready to capture the attention of your team and audience like never before? Look no further! We are thrilled to present The Attention Seekers, the ultimate keynote presenters who bring together the best of education and entertainment, guaranteed to captivate at this year's Future of Leadership.

The Attention Seekers are experts in their field, fusing Positive Psychology and Behavioural Science to create stronger individuals and organizations through the science and psychology of Attention. Their dynamic mix of stories, science, case studies, and videos will leave your audience inspired and equipped with actionable strategies to navigate the challenges of the modern leadership landscape.

The Biggest Challenge Facing Leaders Today: Attention Deficit

In the fast-paced business world, leaders are grappling with a significant challenge: Attention Deficit. The Attention Seekers recognize the shortfall in applied attention caused by the overwhelming number of things vying for our focus. With ever-increasing demands on leaders' attention, capturing the attention of both staff and consumers has become a real battle. Attention is a finite resource, and simply having our eyes open is no longer enough. We must learn to harness and direct our attention effectively.

How The Attention Seekers Address Leadership Challenges

During their session at the Future of Leadership, The Attention Seekers will provide invaluable insights and practical strategies to help leaders overcome the attention deficit challenge. Here's a glimpse of what their session will cover:

🔹 Educating the Leader: Discover how attention is the behavior used to focus the senses and why it is crucial for creating successful outcomes.

🔹 Strengthening Connection: Learn how being more strongly connected through our senses enhances clarity, confidence, and our ability to attract the attention we need from others.

🔹 Purposeful Behavior: Gain insights into how all behavior is purposeful, especially distractions. Uncover the keys to overcoming distraction and regaining control of your attention.

🔹 The Power of Mindfulness: Witness the transformative effects of a simple, five-minute, once-a-day meditation practice, which can significantly enhance your ability to give full attention to what truly matters.

🔹 Regaining Control: Walk away with simple yet effective solutions to reclaim your attention and maximize your leadership potential.

What Leaders Should Be Doing More and Less of

The Attention Seekers firmly believe that leaders can optimize their impact by focusing their attention effectively. Instead of seeking more time, leaders should prioritize what they pay attention to, making the most of the time they have. Additionally, leaders must be mindful of unconscious distractions that lure them towards an easier state of being. By avoiding these shortcuts that ultimately lead to the long way, leaders can maintain their focus and achieve greater success.

Join us at the Future of Leadership to witness The Attention Seekers in action! Prepare to be inspired, informed, and equipped with the tools to become a leader who commands attention, drives results, and creates lasting impact.


Introducing Gihan Perera, a renowned futurist, online presenter, conference speaker, and author. Gihan is here to equip leaders with the essential skills needed to thrive in a fast-changing world and make a remarkable impact on their organizations.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing leaders right now in business?

In these times of rapid change, uncertainty, and disruption, leaders are grappling with the daunting task of leading amidst uncertainty. They are tasked with meeting organizational KPIs and goals while simultaneously looking after their people, who are responsible for driving success even when the path ahead is unclear.

How will Gihan Perera's session contribute to answering the challenges faced by leaders?

Gihan's session is designed to empower leaders by equipping them with the knowledge and strategies to become future-ready leaders. He will shed light on the intricacies of the future, enabling leaders to provide clarity and instill confidence in their teams. By gaining a deeper understanding of the future, leaders will be able to make better decisions today that prepare them and their organizations for what lies ahead.

What is the one thing Gihan believes leaders could/should be doing more of?

According to Gihan, leaders need to invest more time in contemplating the future, particularly the medium-term future. By considering the impact of external events and pressures on themselves, their teams, and their organizations, leaders can proactively navigate uncertainty and stay one step ahead.

What is the one thing Gihan believes leaders could/should be doing less of?

Gihan urges leaders to avoid inadvertently shutting down new ideas. Too often, innovative concepts are dismissed with statements like, "We tried that once, but it didn't work" or "What's the return on investment?" By encouraging a culture that fosters open-mindedness and embraces fresh perspectives, leaders can unlock the true potential of their teams.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to learn from Gihan Perera and gain invaluable insights into being fit for the future! Join us at the Future of Leadership 2023 and be part of the transformational journey.


What would Future of Leadership be without Peter Baines? Peter developed his unique leadership style by leading teams into Indonesia and Thailand following acts of terrorism and the 2004 South East Asian Tsunami. After meeting the children orphaned by the Tsunami, Peter founded the Australian charity, Hands Across the Water, the charity partner of Future of Leadership. Read on to learn more about what he will bring to this year's presentation...

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing leaders right now in business?

There have been significant changes to the way we work, and leaders are grappling with how to respond and meet these changes effectively. The demands placed on leaders come from various directions. They must create an enriching workplace that attracts and retains top talent while ensuring productivity meets targets and businesses remain profitable. On paper, it may sound easy, but herein lies the challenge leaders face.

How will your session contribute to answering the challenges faced by leaders?

Courageous leaders make tough decisions—it's a fundamental part of their role. I am thrilled to share insights gained from working closely with numerous leaders who, in challenging times, had the courage to make decisions and kept making them. Making the right decision every time is not guaranteed, but waiting until you're absolutely sure may cause you to miss valuable opportunities altogether.

What is the one thing you think leaders could/should be doing more of?

The most powerful trait great leaders possess is presence. They demonstrate genuine care and understanding by being present with those they lead or have influence over. The value of being present is often underestimated, yet it plays a crucial role in effective leadership.

What is the one thing you think leaders could/should be doing less of?

Leaders should avoid being afraid of the implications of taking risks. Organizations often create extensive processes and policies to guide their direction and reduce risk. However, when we excessively focus on risk avoidance through endless policies and procedures, we stifle creativity and innovation within our teams. Decision-making and leadership become removed from the individuals, leading to a loss of desire to make difficult decisions when something goes wrong.

Don't miss out on Peter Baines' thought-provoking session at the Future of Leadership 2023. Join us as we delve into the challenges faced by leaders and discover actionable strategies for success.

We are thrilled to introduce Dr. Sean Richardson, an esteemed expert in the psychology of excellence and high performance, as a featured speaker at Future of Leadership 2023.

In his session, Dr. Richardson will shed light on the three key factors influencing individual and team motivation: energy, purpose, and mindset. These factors have become even more critical in our post-COVID, hybrid work world. Leaders and their teams are grappling with demanding economic conditions, increased workloads, and the constant need to do more with less. Fatigue and burnout risk loom large, making it essential for leaders to master the management of energy—the foremost human resource driving overall performance.

Furthermore, Dr. Richardson will delve into the significance of purpose as a catalyst for consistent long-term performance. While monetary rewards are important, they have a diminishing impact beyond a certain level. Leaders must understand how to tap into the power of purpose, which ignites discretionary effort, particularly during challenging times.

Additionally, Dr. Richardson will tackle the role of mindset in achieving high performance. Emotional reactions to successes and failures are an inherent part of being human. Leaders must navigate this emotional roller coaster alongside their teams, understanding that emotions greatly influence motivation. By cultivating effective and high-performance mindsets, leaders can create an environment that supports emotional expression, vulnerability, and ultimately fuels effort and action.

During the conference, Dr. Richardson will contribute invaluable insights on building counter-intuitive mindsets that inspire focus and extraordinary effort in the face of setbacks, challenges, and change. This session promises to equip leaders with practical tools and strategies to cultivate resilience, adaptability, and sustained excellence within their organizations.

As leaders strive to unlock the full potential of their teams, one key step is gaining a foundational understanding of brain science and applying it to optimize performance. Dr. Richardson encourages leaders to embrace learning the basics of brain science, enabling them to harness the full potential of their teams and drive exceptional results.

On the flip side, it is vital for leaders to move away from assuming people's intentions behind their actions. By refraining from making assumptions, leaders can foster an environment of trust, open communication, and collaboration, allowing individuals to thrive and contribute their best.

Don't miss this incredible opportunity to learn from Dr. Sean Richardson at the Future of Leadership. Join us as we uncover the keys to motivating individuals and teams, harnessing the power of purpose, and nurturing high-performance mindsets.