Professional Staff Conference

13-17 September 2021

WELCOME.


The Professional Staff Conference has become an important event in the University calendar.

The Conference provides Professional Staff members the opportunity to share what they do across the University.

The 2021 Conference theme is EMBRACE AND INNOVATE

This year, the Professional Staff Conference is being held via Zoom over a 5 day period. All concurrent sessions will be held at various times between Monday 13 - Thursday 16 September, with the Conference Closing (including a keynote speaker and prize draw) being held on Friday 17 September.

Presentations from the conference will be available to watch on-demand following the conference.

Key Highlights

  • An address by the Vice-Chancellor and President;
  • Presentations by professional staff;
  • Speed mentoring sessions;
  • Keynote addresses from the following:
    • Luke "Cookie" Cook, Founder and CEO, Cuppa of Life - Opening Keynote, Monday 13th September
    • Dr Gill Hicks, Founder of M.A.D. for Peace - Closing Keynote, Friday 17th September
  • Mood booster sessions on topics including Mental Health, Wellness, Productivity & Communication, Diversity & Inclusion, Motivation & Mindset, Leadership by:
    • Commando Steve Willis
    • Sean Hall
    • Shannah Kennedy
  • Information sessions with our Sponsors and a bit of space for fun and prizes!

Monday 13 September

Time (AEST) Session Name / Title Zoom Registration
09:30AM – 10:45AM Acknowledgement of Country
Conference Opening and Welcome address by Chris Youness
Staff Giving Session - Ray Villarica

Keynote: Luke “Cookie” Cook, Founder and CEO, Cuppa of Life
Find out More

10:45AM – 11:00AM BREAK
11:00AM – 11:30AM Concurrent Session: Engineering soil microbiome to increase plant productivity using a root exudate (Hongwei Liu)
Concurrent Session: Embracing Tech at Western - the Years ahead! (A/Prof Daniel Saffioti)
11:30AM – 12:00PM Concurrent Session: RuralUP 2021 - Changes/Improvement/Amendments (Nathan Rollinson)
Concurrent Session: The NDCO Program: innovation to support student and graduate employment success (Caroline Crix and Jacqui Lentini)
12:00PM - 12:45PM BREAK
12:45PM - 1:20PM Speed Mentoring Session 1
1:30PM - 2:05PM Speed Mentoring Session 2

Tuesday 14 September

Time (AEST) Session Name / Title Zoom Registration
09:30AM – 09:50AM A message from our Sponsors – UniSuper:
Join the UniSuper session to learn more about your options.
10:00AM – 10:30AM Concurrent Session: Access to Justice through lockdown: Responding to the legal needs of our students and external clients through our WSU Justice Clinic and Student Legal Service (Rebecca Dominguez & Jenni Whelan)
10:30AM – 11:00AM BREAK
11:00AM – 11:15AM Mood Booster Session - "Commando" Steve Willis
Find out More
11:30AM – 12:00PM Concurrent Session: Innovating professional skills: Implementing a mock graduate interview program for online nursing students (Amy Stenning)
12:00PM – 12:30PM Staff on the Couch Interview and Q&A: Western Sydney Alum, Amy Morris will be speaking about her journey from Western Sydney student to Chief People Officer.
12:30PM - 1:00PM BREAK
1:00PM - 1:30PM Concurrent Session: Streamlining Assessment and Timetabling Processes (Sree Chandra)
1:00PM - 2:00PM Concurrent Session: The Fast and Furious! Secondment as a professional development tool (Veronica De Paoli & Kelly Whitney )
1:45PM - 2:15PM Concurrent Session: Alumni Engagement Beyond the Pandemic Bubble: Keeping the Engines Running! (Maya El Hajjar)
Concurrent Session: How can I help? A snapshot of MECSH International's service approach (Fiona Byrne & Tracey Bruce)

Wednesday 15 September

Time (AEST) Session Name / Title Zoom Registration
09:30AM – 09:50AM A message from our Sponsors – Fitness Passport: 
Join the session to learn more about Fitness Passport and how it works.
10:00AM – 10:30AM Concurrent Session: Digital Innovation and the Future of Learning Abroad (Steven McDonald & Isis Kowalkiauskas)
Concurrent Session: Innovating with new teaching technologies (Andrew Komoder & Liz Lai)
10:30AM – 11:00AM BREAK
11:00AM – 11:15AM Mood Booster Session - Sean Hall
Find out More
11:30AM – 12:00PM Concurrent Session: Working SMART with SMARTSHEET (Radhika Bhandari & Iman Sohail)
Concurrent Session: The Perfect Match: Technology Edition! (Sally Leggo & Natalie McLaughlin)
12:00PM - 12:45PM BREAK
12:45PM - 1:20PM Speed Mentoring Session 3
1:30PM - 2:05PM Speed Mentoring Session 4

Thursday 16 September

Time (AEST) Session Name / Title Zoom Registration
09:30AM – 09:50AM A message from our Sponsors – sgFleet:
Join the session to learn more about sgFleet and how it works.
10:00AM – 10:30AM Concurrent Session: Meaningful Engagements: What we can learn from Widening Participation's Community Programs? (Alfred Mupenzi & Ana Setiu Tuala)
Concurrent Session: Say "Hello' ... zooming into digital Client Services (Joanne Witt & Georgena Bowmer)
10:30AM – 11:00AM BREAK
11:00AM – 11:15AM Mood Booster Session - Shannah Kennedy
Find out More
11:30AM – 12:00PM Concurrent Session: Embodying a Mindset Shift for Agility and Creativity
(Uma Panch)
12:00PM – 12:30PM Staff on the Couch Interview and Q&A: Western Sydney Alum, Professor Yi-Chen Lan will be speaking about his journey from Western Sydney student to Pro Vice-Chancellor, Global Development and Provost, Vietnam Campus.
12:30PM - 1:00PM BREAK
1:00PM - 1:30PM Concurrent Session: Bold Conversations – practical tools for supervisors and managers to encourage constructive and purposeful conversations with staff (Lucienne Tessens & Amy Morris)
1:45PM - 2:15PM Concurrent Session: Peer Support: A Catalyst for Student Engagement and Retention (Kritika Rana & Jinal Parmar)
Concurrent Session: Embracing our new Student Management System (Meagan Myles & Libby Hughan)

Friday 17 September

Time (AEST) Session Name / Title Zoom Registration
09:27AM – 09:30AM Acknowledgement of Country
09:30AM – 10:45AM Senior Executive Group Panel

Speakers:

  • Professor Barney Glover
  • Professor Clare Pollock
  • Professor Simon Barrie
  • Professor Deborah Sweeney
  • Professor Michelle Trudgett
  • Peter Pickering
  • Angelo Kourtis
10:30AM – 11:00AM BREAK
11:00AM – 12:00PM Keynote Speaker - Dr Gill Hicks
Find out More
12:00PM – 12:30PM Conference Close and Prize Draw:
Chris Youness, Executive Director, People and Success

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS & MOOD BOOSTER SESSIONS

Keynote speakers

Monday 13th September - Opening Keynote Speaker

After receiving his career break in radio, Cookie, over the last  20 years has established himself as a senior leader in media and helping companies improve their culture. Cookie is an ideas man, change maker, connector, employee culture specialist, entrepreneur, host of Cuppa Of Life, father and husband.

He is also someone who has battled burnout, lost people very close to him, had to reinvent his business in a day, and been on the brink of losing it all! Cookie found his purpose when launching Cuppa Of Life at a time when people (and himself) needed it most (during COVID).

After interviewing over 230+ experts and personalities, Cuppa Of Life showed him first hand how the power of story-telling and conversations can change a person's life forever and also galvanise a community to do good.

He is passionate about two key areas:

  1. Helping people realise how important understanding their story is to shaping their overall future;
  2. Helping individuals and companies build their conversational muscle in a time where we are so dependant on technology. Cookie believes that whilst we have never been more connected as a community we have never been more disconnected in our relationships (personal and professional).

Topic Areas

  • Mental Health
  • Productivity & Communication
  • Motivation & Mindset
  • Leadership

Friday 17th September - Closing Keynote Speaker

Dr. Gill Hicks is one of the only survivors of the London terrorist bombings on 7 July 2005 and only one person stood between her and the bomber. An impressive career before the bombings, including publishing director of the architecture, design and contemporary culture magazine, Blueprint, Hicks decided to dedicate her life to being an advocate for peace.

In 2007, Hicks founded M.A.D. for Peace, a platform that connects people globally and encourages us to think of "Peace as a Verb", something that we have an individual responsibility to do every day.

Her unique and compelling projects, aimed at both deterring anyone from following the path of violent extremism and building sustainable models for peace, draw upon Hicks's previous roles within the Arts, a passion she has recently returned to as a practising artist and musician.

Topic Areas

  • Mental Health
  • Happiness & Fun
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Motivation & Mindset
Mood booster session speakers

Tuesday 14th September

Known all-over Australia as ‘Commando Steve’, Steve is one of the country’s most recognised and respected fitness experts.

Steve has helped change the lives of thousands of Australians over the years from his time as trainer on eight series’ of Channel Ten’s hit show ‘Australia’s Biggest Loser’, his three books 2010 No Excuses, 2015 Get Commando Fit and 2015 Get Commando Fit Cookbook and appearances over the whole of Australia.

In 2018 Steve decided to challenge himself by joining Australian Survivor ‘champions’. With a multitude of skills from his time in the Army and years in the Fitness industry, it was not the physical challenges that Steve struggled with, it was the separation from his family that he believes was the hardest.

He wants to encourage everyone to be active, participate and come together through fitness.

Topic Areas:

  • Mental Health
  • Wellness
  • Productivity & communication
  • Motivation and Mindset

Wednesday 15th September

TEDx speaker, awarded innovator & mental health advocate Sean has built his career on being an energising force of change for individuals, teams & brands. And it all started as a lycra-clad aerobics instructor in NZ!

Sean has 5 world firsts in bringing tech innovations to life, has run a $10B telecommunications brand impacting 16 million customers, and designed culture strategy & transformation programs for 40,000 employees. He’s built 2 start-ups and been employee #11 in another.  But perhaps most importantly, Sean learned why wellbeing is important the hard way by suffering severe burnout, or what he calls an energy crisis, twice in 3 years.

As Chief Energist of human performance company Energx he has worked with 6,000 professionals to improve their wellbeing and overcome burnout.

Topic Areas

  • Mental Health
  • Wellness
  • Productivity & Communication
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Motivation & Mindset
  • Leadership

Thursday 16th September

Shannah Kennedy had an incredible career in sports management and sponsorship working with over 200 Olympic and elite athletes until she hit burnout and was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She hired a life coach and quickly learned her lesson that 'health is your wealth' so she decided to study and become a life coach herself!

She is the best selling author of "The Life Plan" and speaks internationally about the importance of protecting your most important asset – yourself – with a life plan.

Shannah is considered one of Australia’s best and time tested coaches with 20 years experience in the industry and is known as 'the person behind the most successful person'.

Topic Areas

  • Mental Health
  • Productivity & Communication
  • Motivation & Mindset
  • Leadership

OUR SPONSORS