As CEO of Goodstart Early Learning, Australia’s largest provider of early learning and care since February 2011, Julia has successfully shepherded the organisation from its early beginnings to establish a unique and sustainable social enterprise employing more than 15,000 educators and supporting 70,000 children and their families.
Julia’s focus is on ensuring Goodstart is a flexible, innovative organisation in which all children, families and educators have a voice in shaping its future. Over the past three years she has worked very deliberately to nurture this culture of innovation across the organisation. She is excited by what the next five years will bring, as innovation becomes further embedded in Goodstart’s DNA.
Prior to joining Goodstart Julia had extensive senior management experience in the human services sector in Australia and the UK.
Julia Davison, CEO - Goodstart Early Learning
Gary Carroll joined Australia’s largest for-profit early childhood education provider, G8 Education, as Chief Financial Officer in July 2016 and was appointed as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director in January 2017. An ASX200 company, G8 Education comprises approximately 10,000 team members across a network of more than 500 early learning centres in Australia, providing quality early education to more than 50,000 Australian children every week.
Gary came to G8 Education having spent more than a decade with ASX listed Super Retail Group, where he commenced as Chief Financial Officer in 2006. He later moved on to become General Manager Group Development before taking on the role of Chief Supply Chain Officer during a particularly significant period of change and expansion for the organisation.
Gary’s leadership experience also includes roles with National Australia Bank as Director of Institutional Banking and retail travel group, Flight Centre, where he was General Manager, Business Services.
He holds Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degrees and is a CPA.
Gary Carroll, CEO - G8 Education Ltd
Jane Bourne is a highly-regarded expert in Early Childhood Education and Care, with more than four decades of experience to her name. Jane has held a variety of senior management and executive positions in both profit and not-for-profit organisations, including eight years as CEO of Lady Gowrie Queensland, before commencing as CEO of C&K in October 2018. Jane is also the President of the Early Childhood Australia Queensland Branch.
Jane’s management and leadership experience is an extension of her background as an early childhood teacher. She is a fierce advocate for children, and is dedicated to creating systems and opportunities that promote best outcomes for children, families, and the Early Childhood Education and Care profession.
Jane Bourne, CEO - C&K
Michael’s vision for establishing TheirCare emerged from over two decades successfully managing large service focused organisations. Michael’s passion is establishing organisations with integrity and unwavering commitment to delivery. His most recent role saw him manage an organisation with over 2,000 field based personnel and delivering complex services in medical, aged care and technology industries. His customer focus results in successful large scale projects, strict adherence to safety with quality outcomes.
Extensive exposure to public/private programs and ensuring community engagement have created the foundation of strong probity and governance of TheirCare’s operations.
Michael Abela , Managing Director - TheirCare
Rod is an Executive Community Services and Program Delivery Specialist with extensive experience in strategic community planning and innovative program expansion resulting in stronger inclusive communities. His proven success in program delivery, policy development and major event management for people of all ages and interests, in diverse backgrounds – resulting in strong community satisfaction, exceptional customer service, extensive networking, higher organisational planning, growth and operational excellence.
Rod is highly effective in leading top-performing collaborative teams and building positive culture through personal development and professional training plans. He has proven success in growing new business opportunities and developing strong relationships within local community networks (council members, local businesses, schools, residents, visitors), ensuing increased event collaboration, funding opportunities and community awareness.
Rod is highly skilled in managing both internal and external relationships and providing strategic long and short-term direction for community and project development. He has a track record in leading timely holistic programs and initiatives to meet the needs of local communities, and managing the communication and presentation of outcomes and action plans whilst strongly engaging all key stakeholders.
Rod Nadwie-Smith, Head of Early Learning
Gabrielle Sinclair is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).
Gabrielle commenced her career as a teacher and has held senior executive positions in a number of Queensland Government portfolios including Education, Infrastructure and Planning, Local Government and Corrective Services. Before her appointment to ACECQA, Gabrielle was Deputy Director-General, Early Childhood and Community Engagement in the Queensland Department of Education and Training.
Gabrielle has a Master’s degree in Education and Executive Master’s degree in Public Administration.
Gabrielle Sinclair, CEO - Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)
Sharon Gudu is the Executive Director, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services, Early Childhood Education in the NSW Department of Education, with responsibility for regulatory strategy, policy, practice and quality improvement across a sector of over 5,500 services. Sharon is passionate about making a difference to the lives of all children through ensuring access to high quality services.
Sharon has held a range of executive roles in the public sector across a broad range of areas including child protection, housing, homelessness and early intervention programs. Her work has always focused on making a difference to people who are vulnerable or disadvantaged.
Sharon’s key focus in her current role is in building strong, collaborative relationships across the sector to uplift quality and ensure safety for children; using a co-design approach to identify opportunities for continuous improvement at all times.
Sharon Gudu, Executive Director, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Early Childhood Education
Elizabeth has a broad experience base in social policy and service delivery coupled with a solid track record of achievement in both the public and for-purpose sectors. Elizabeth is highly experienced in stakeholder management, including with Ministers’ offices, government departments, universities and for-purpose organisations. Elizabeth began her career as a teacher in early learning, has deep experience as a Centre Director, multi-site management and has worked as General Manager Early Childhood Education and Care for the Northern Territory Department of Education. Elizabeth is co-author on a seminal Australian and New Zealand academic text, Programming and Planning in Early Childhood Settings, currently in its 7th edition.
Elizabeth Death , CEO - Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA)
Susan Irvine is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at QUT and was recently appointed Head of the School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, commencing in 2020.
She is an early childhood teacher who has diverse experience in early childhood education and care (ECEC). She has taught in prior to school settings and the early phase of school, led service provision and worked for many years in ECEC and child and family public policy. This eclectic work background continues to shape and influence her work and research.
She is recognised nationally for her leadership and expertise in early childhood policy and practice and engages in research to support quality improvement in ECEC. Maintaining a strong interest in the ECEC workforce, recent research projects have focused on: identifying effective strategies to grow and sustain a professional ECEC workforce; leadership that enables professional practice; and enablers and challenges to quality improvement in long day care.
Susan applies a range of qualitative research methods, and has extensive experience working in multi-disciplinary teams on collaborative research projects that include the development of professional learning programs and resources to support practice change.
Professor Susan Irvine , Faculty of Education - QUT
Sheela Edwards is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Aurora Early Education.
She brings a unique approach to early childhood development over the last decade. She embraces critical reflection and higher-order thinking and approaches her work and personal life with mindfulness and meditation embedding it into Aurora’s operations. She embraces the use of technology which brings about efficiencies in the organization’s performance and commands a high quality of delivery from all around her. Sheela spends most of her time working closely with the Aurora teams focussed on growth and continuous improvement. She enjoys the challenges of the rapidly changing landscape in the early learning sector and strives to integrate the very latest educational research and thought innovations into the Aurora model.
Sheela holds an Honours Bachelor Degree in Commerce, Finance and Advanced Accounting and has over 25 years of experience working in blue chip organisations around the world such as Time Warner, IBM and HCL Technology. Sheela is also the Vice President of TIE Melbourne, a non for profit organization that fosters entrepreneurship through mentoring, education, funding, and incubation. She brings her multifaceted corporate experience as well as her own experience as a parent into Aurora’s operations. The out of the box thinking and unique approach has made Aurora a leading child care provider that is driven by innovation and excellence.
Sheela Edwards, CEO and Co-Founder - Aurora Early Education
Jae Fraser has over 20 years’ experience in the Early Learning and Education industry. Jae is a university qualified Educator. Additional academic credentials include a Bachelor of Education, Advanced Diploma of Early Childhood Education and several business management qualifications spanning across the many spectrums of the Early Learning and education industry. To compliment these achievements, Jae has worked in all sectors of the Early Childhood industry from teacher at the hands on level across ages up to year 7, through to service management and operations senior management positions throughout Australia and Singapore.
Most recently Jae was the General Manager of G8 Education Ltd and was responsible for over 400 services, 3500 employees, 15 000 children and over 42 direct reports across Australia and Singapore. Jae began the G8 Education pathway in 2006 as the only employee of a family company called Early Learning Services that owned 2 services in QLD, in just over a year, Jae and his team had led to the group a ASX listing and was now the operator of over 140 services across Australia. By March 2010, Early Learning Services Limited merged with Payce Child Care Pty Ltd and was renamed to G8 Education Limited. The Group entered a strong acquisition phase and has grown to operating over 400+ centres today.
Jae is now the Managing Director of The Scholars Group, a specialised management and consultant company which has management agreements in place for over 25 services across 3 states and specialises in monitoring and performance development of the financial and quality assurance of child care and education services. Jae is passionate about teaching and guiding childcare directors and managers to manage a healthy business while ensuring the highest quality of care and education is being provided.
Four years ago, Jae founded the Little Scholars School of Early Learning with one centre that had less than 30 children enrolled to now successfully operating nine premium and state of the art child care centres providing unique education and care services to over 1400 families.
Jae has also been an active executive of the Australian Child Care Alliance for over 10 years. Jae is a board member of the Australian Child Care Alliance in QLD and sits on the federal executive. The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) is a not-for-profit, member-funded organisation advocating for the future of Australia's children. Jae and the ACA team work on behalf of long day care owners and operators to ensure families and their children have an opportunity to access early childhood education and care (ECEC) throughout Australia
, CEO - The Scholars Group
As the Founding CEO of The Front Project, Jane is passionate about children’s education, health and development and is committed to helping our Australian business and community leaders place a new value on children in the early years.
Jane has won a number of awards for her work, including the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur Award in 2012, granting her an ongoing seat at World Economic Forum events, the Victorian Telstra Business Women’s Award in 2011 and the Melbourne Business 3000 Award for Community Innovation in 2010. Jane is currently a Non-Executive Director of Unison Community Housing and has held senior roles in the for-benefit sector, including CEO of Adopt Change and prior to that the Inaugural Chief Executive Officer of Fitted for Work. Jane was also the Victorian Strategy and Operations Manager for Mission Australia, and has had senior experience across for-benefit, corporate and academic sectors.
Jane has a BA (Hons), MA (Hons) and Masters in Business Leadership, and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Jane Hunt, CEO - The Front Project
Laureate Professor Marilyn Fleer holds the Foundation Chair of Early Childhood Education and Development at Monash University, Australia. She was awarded the 2018 Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellowship by the Australian Research Council and was a former President of the International Society of Cultural-historical Activity Research (ISCAR). Additionally, she holds the positions of an honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Education, University of Oxford, and a second professor position in the KINDKNOW Centre, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and has been bestowed the title of Honorary professor at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark. She was presented with the 2019 Ashley Goldsworthy Award for Outstanding leadership in university-business collaboration.
Marilyn Fleer, Laureate Professor - Faculty of Education, Monash University
Anthony is one of the founders of Semann & Slattery. Often asked how Semann & Slattery was established he often has a temptation to make up a story of some well-planned out business model and long-term investment strategy but the truth of it is that the business was born out of a desire to make a difference. No long-term planning, no business model and definitely not an investment strategy. And this desire to make a difference has been the fuel that has kept Semann & Slattery going for 20 years. Qualified as an early childhood teacher Anthony spent the first part of his career working in long day care programs eager to learn as much as he could about how to make a difference. It wasn't long after he began his career that he discovered the importance of equity and social justice as been a driving force in social change. He remains committed to naming out inequity, shifting practice towards justice and living a life that embodies all that he preaches.
Anthony has grown to understand that power of leadership but the more he thinks about it the more confused he has become. This confusion perhaps has been one of the driving forces about his struggle with leadership, as he tries to find ways to unshackle himself and others from processes which dehumanize the human spirit.
Often seen wearing black, you can find Anthony most days in an airport with a smile on his face. He enjoys nothing more than a holiday abroad and a day at the beach. His family and friends are his oxygen in life and give him pleasure in the everydayness of life. His long-term plan is to live a full life which is balanced and never succumb to old age.
Anthony Semann, Director - Semann & Slattery
Joe Waters is the co-founder and CEO of Capita. A nonprofit ideas lab, Capita works at the intersections of research, policy, social innovation, design, and the arts to explore how the great cultural and social transformations of our day affect children and their families, and to foster a future in which all flourish. Joe also serves as a Senior Advisor to Openfields, a Greenville, South Carolina-based consulting firm.
Prior to starting Capita, Joe was the Executive Vice President of the Institute for Child Success. His commentary on issues facing America’s families has been published by Investor’s Business Daily, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The State, The Charlotte Observer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and other outlets, and he has moderated public dialogues with diverse figures including National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds, Washington Post columnist Arthur Brooks, and architect Itai Palti. Joe has been an invited speaker at the White House’s first forum on social impact finance, the Aspen Forum on Children and Families, the Lego Idea Conference (Denmark), Think Future (South Africa), and the World Forum on Early Care and Education (China).
He is a member of the Board of Directors of AIR Serenbe, the acclaimed artist-in-residence program in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, the Felician Center, which helps those who struggle to meet their basic needs in South Carolina’s rural Pee Dee region, and the Greenville Chorale. He also chairs the South Carolina Advisory Board for Nurse-Family Partnership, an evidence-based home visiting program that serves first-time mothers across the state. He graduated from Furman University (BA, history) and earned a master’s degree in divinity from Duke University.
Joe Waters, Co-Founder and CEO - Capita
Peter Dixon is Co-CEO of Storypark - an organisation synonymous with innovation in the family engagement and digital documentation space internationally.
Storypark is Australasia's leading platform and now supports over 7,500 centres in 37 countries. As a purpose-led organisation, they're focused on deepening impact for children, families, educators and organisations by supporting quality practice.
Peter works with academics, partners, practitioners and other experts to understand challenges within the ECE sector globally. He has a background in social enterprise - supporting innovation across multiple sectors.
Peter Dixon, Co-CEO - Storypark
A Senior Lecturer in the School of Early Childhood at Queensland University of Technology, Dr Megan Gibson is a respected researcher in her field. Her background as an early childhood educator with experience in teaching and leadership positions, culminated in her role as Director of an industry-leading childcare centre in Brisbane. Megan’s award-winning doctoral research examined the professional identities of early childhood educators. This work combined with her extensive professional experience have laid the foundations for her ongoing program of research in attracting, preparing and retaining the early childhood workforce. Megan is currently engaged in research across a number of workforce studies, including the Exemplary early childhood educators at work study and a community-based action research projects in Tasmania, where she is a Research Associate with Gowrie Training and Consultancy. In her current role at QUT, Dr Gibson co-ordinates the Master of Teaching (Early Childhood) program and is responsible for teacher education units on leadership, professionalism and health and wellbeing. Megan is a Non-Executive Director of the Creche and Kindergarten Association and Chairs the Early Years and Innovation Committee. Recently Megan was appointed to the ELACCA Early Childhood Workforce Expert Advisory Panel. Above all else, Megan is an early childhood teacher, who is passionate about building and sustaining the early childhood workforce.
Dr Megan Gibson, Senior Lecturer, School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education - QUT
Paul brings over 15 years of experience as an early learning service provider to the role of President. Formerly the Secretary of the ACA National Executive Committee and currently President of the ACA Victorian Committee, Paul has played a key role in advocating for the interests of members at the Federal and State Government levels. He is dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to high quality, affordable early learning services in Australia.
Paul has a long established history in early learning and child care which started through his work in the family business from the age of 13. Since then Paul has built and managed his own services and currently has one service in Victoria. Throughout his time in the sector Paul has spent time filling most roles within the daily operations of the service and continues to work day to day in these services with children, families and educators. As a result Paul has developed a strong understanding of the challenges facing families in accessing affordable early learning services which has resulted in the desire to take a leadership role in the advocacy space.
Paul Mondo, President - Australian Childcare Alliance
Daniel is currently the Senior Advisor for Innovation at the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.
He has spent two decades working, researching and creating at the intersection of play, technology and learning. This includes developing and designing programs to support young people's mental health through better use of technology, producing alternate reality games to teach the fundamentals of Chinese language and inventing LEGO poetry to support literacy development in primary school students.
Daniel's work continues to explore engagement and learning driven by his interest in how we connect to each other. He believes our greatest mistake is turning learning into a chore and not drawing on, and out our early experiences of learning that are the foundation of every life. His passion is finding ways to reintroduce awe, wonder and curiosity into our lives.
Trained in childhood development though his work in childcare, as a toy librarian and in early childhood intervention Daniel took this knowledge into government policy work and research with public policy think tank OzProspect where he explored child and family policy. His two books Idolising Children (2007) and Adproofing Your Kids (2009) both centre around the importance of respecting children and providing ideas about how to do this and shift the systems that govern children’s lives to improve outcomes.
He brings a curiosity and enthusiasm to all of his work which has recently included the content development and design of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s Media Literacy Lab and development of an early childhood technology project, Playing IT Safe.
Dan Donahoo, Senior Advisor for Innovation - Alannah & Madeline Foundation
Olde is the Managing Director of childcare services at FROEBEL Australia Ltd and responsible for launching Little Scientists as a professional development initiative in 2013.
He is a Renaissance man with skills and interests across the spectrum. He has a background in law, an interest in design, can multi task and has an eye for detail
while overseeing the big picture.
Olde was obsessed with Lego as a child, so his advocacy for STEM started at an early age. He is proud of Little Scientists funding collaboration with the Australian Government, as well as leading his passionate team who are committed to re-imagining the Australian early childhood education landscape.
Olde Lorenzen, Managing Director - FROEBEL Australia
Over the past 15 years, Jason has held multiple generalist HR and organisation development leadership roles in organisations such as South32, BHP and Xstrata. He has worked and consulted across a wide range of industries including Mining and Resources, Government, Manufacturing and the Not for Profit sector.
Jason has achieved success through his ability to understand how businesses operate at their core providing solutions that make a difference from day one. This unique approach delivers tangible outcomes in core people practises including talent acquisition and management, leadership development, organisational culture, inclusion and risk management.
Jason has a passion for pragmatic solutions to address people risk within organisations.
Jason Rogers, CEO and Head of Human Resources - Effectus Consulting
cott has 18 years of experience as an executive Psychologist and HR Practitioner. Scott has a unique background that combines Orgsanisational Psychology with his previous roles as a Consultant, HR business partner, and leader of large multi-disciplinary teams. His experience spans small, medium and large sized businesses within the private and public sector.
Scott has specialist knowledge in: Attraction and Selection, Psychometric and Talent Assessment, Safety Assessment, Talent Identification and Development, Leadership, Performance Management, Engagement and Executive Coaching. Scott uses his knowledge of contemporary research and best practice to deliver pragmatic and fit-for-purpose solutions that exceed customer expectations.
Dr Scott Krebs, Managing Director & Head of Business Consulting - Effectus Consulting
Deepak has over 15 years’ experience in building and leading high-performance teams to solve complex problems utilising design thinking and lean concepts to deliver outstanding results - quickly. He is currently working with multiple established and start-up organisations to get the most out of their technology investments.
Over his career, Deepak has been recognised for his strong leadership across Human Resources, Utilities, Retail, Telecommunications, Education and Public Safety (Police & Emergency Services) industries across Commercial and Government sectors.
He is well versed in utilising modern enterprise applications, integration methods infrastructure services and concepts of digital disruption across Operational Technology (OT) & Information Technology (IT).
Deepak Oberoi, Head of Technology - Effectus Digital
Focussed on aligning HR efforts to organisational goals, Summer has worked with some of Australia’s leading organisations to successfully implement and achieve measurable outcomes from human capital management technology and services for 15 years.
An avid observer on the advancements in workforce management and how organisations achieve efficiency and deliver improvements in this area Summer provides on-going strategic advice and direction in relation to improving HR related practices, increasing workforce capability and implementing business technologies.
With vast experience in client-facing roles Summer prides herself on her solution-focussed approach and has built a reputation as a service orientated and dependable consultant.
Summer Garcia, Head of Clients & Partners - Effectus Consulting
Jason joined Goodstart in June as the organisation’s inaugural Chief Learning Officer, with a remit to apply the same attention and rigour to adult learning as we customarily do for our children in ECEC settings, and to ensure that Goodstart thinks its way forward as an overwhelmingly learning organisation. Prior to this he has held Chief Learning Officer roles with Australian Unity, the Australian School of Applied Management, Women and Leadership Australia and the National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative. He led the transformation of the University of Melbourne’s approach to Masters Degrees designed specifically for online delivery, and worked extensively with UniMelb’s Graduate School of Education. Jason started out as an ESL teacher, and has run bilingual/bicultural kindergartens in South Korea. He was that country’s national Young Learners and Teenagers Special Interest Group Director for a number of years, lectured in Education at one of Korea’s most highly ranked national universities and also served on IATEFL’s international Young Learners Special Interest Group Committee. Jason’s coursebook series for young learners of English – the Boost! Longman Integrated Skills Series, published with Pearson Education – has sold several million copies in more than 30 countries worldwide. Jason’s other experience includes senior roles in TAFE and VET contexts, and the development of leadership and capability programs across sectors diverse as Education, Law, Defence, Engineering, Health and Medicine.
Jason Renshaw, Chief Learning Officer - Goodstart Early Learning
Joining ChildcareCRM as CEO in 2019, Matt brings over 20 years of combined experience in the childcare and software industries. Matt’s family has owned and operated childcare centers for nearly three decades. Most recently, Matt was Chief Customer Officer helping to scale a SaaS solution through three successful equity cycles, while building teams known for world-class customer support and an inspirational culture. As CEO at ChildcareCRM, Matt is responsible for guiding the company through its next phase of growth while benefiting its customers, partners, employees and ultimately powering the childcare industry.
Matt Amoia, CEO - ChildcareCRM
Arthur Charlaftis is a proven executive with over 30 years of company and strategic leadership experience in product development, sales and marketing across Australia, Asia, Europe and the US. The former pharmaceuticals executive turned Realestate.com.au COO, childcare centre owner operator and medical tech entrepreneur, is agile, innovative and driven in his leadership approach and launches Toddle with significant knowledge in the child care and tech sectors.
Arthur Charlaftis, Founder and CEO - Toddle
Scott Wayman is the Founder and CEO of Kangarootime, the leading software for early learning service and preschools. A passionate entrepreneur, Scott spent more than a decade working with many healthcare systems across the United States and enjoyed founding a successful Healthcare Informatics business, Medstreaming.
In 2015, as a young parent-guardian, Scott was inspired to found Kangarootime when he discovered that many of the ground breaking technologies being used in health systems and physician offices could greatly benefit early childhood education owners and leaders in the education industry. He designed Kangarootime to bring the same efficiencies to early childhood education and to give education professionals the tools to scale their service, automate their businesses and better communicate with the families they serve.
In 2017 Scott was invited to Australia to discuss integrations and visit a number of Early Learning Services and organisations. From this day Scott has worked closely with his Australian network to create the next generation platform.
Scott’s ethos is to work relentlessly for the customers. He believes in partnering closely with all customers to ensure Kangarootime accommodates their business, directors, centre managers, educators and families alike.
When he’s not coming up with new ways to improve the world around him, he enjoys cycling, brewing beer, being a devoted husband, dog-lover and prankster.
Scott Wayman, CEO - Kangarootime
Jason Roberts entered the ECEC sector in 2013 as CEO of G8 Education. He spent four years in senior executive positions before transitioning out of the business in January 2018. Since leaving G8 Jason launched Sector Publishing which operates The Sector - News, views and reviews platform and Events series and also continues to actively consult across the sector on matters of strategy, due diligence, business performance and market dynamics. Jason is an active contributor to The Sector platform with responsibility for covering policy, provider and innovation related topics.
Jason Roberts, Founder and CEO - The Sector