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SPEAKER PROFILES

 
Day 1: Wednesday, 2 June
Planning a Successful Library Development
Conference Opening & Plenary
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The Hon. Shaun Leane

Minister for Local Government, Minister for Suburban Development and Minister for Veterans, Parliament of Victoria

Shaun was elected to the Victorian Parliament as the Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region in the November 2006 Election and was re-elected in 2010, 2104 and for a fourth term in November 2018. 
An electrician by trade, Shaun has worked for a variety of organisations in this capacity and later with the Electrical Trades Union. 
As well as his electrical qualifications Shaun holds a Diploma of Community Services and has a keen interest in the education and retention of apprentices. 
Born in Oakleigh, Shaun was only young when his father, a bricklayer who fought in New Guinea in WWII, passed away leaving his mother, a nurse, to work night shift to raise their family of eight children. 
From 2014-18 Shaun served in the Andrews Labor Government as Parliamentary Secretary to the Special Minister of State and Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure. 
Shaun was elected as the President of the Legislative Council on the first sitting of the 59th Parliament on Wednesday 19 December 2018, a position he occupied until he was promoted to the Andrews Government Ministry. 
Shaun is now Minister for Local Government, Minister for Suburban Development and Minister for Veterans. 

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Kate Torney OAM 

CEO, State Library Victoria

Kate Torney has been CEO at State Library Victoria since 2015.
Prior to this, she spent six years as the Director of News at ABC, capping off a 20-year career there.
A testament to her passion for creativity and knowledge, Kate is the Chair of National and State Libraries Australia, and serves on the boards of Circus Oz, The Conversation and the Judith Neilson Institute of Journalism and Ideas.
In 2020, she was awarded an Order of Australia for her services to broadcast media and to the cultural sector.
As Chief Executive Officer at State Library Victoria, Kate Torney has overall responsibility for:

  • ensuring the implementation of the Board's directions

  • sound corporate governance

  • managing the State Collection and the Library's operations.

The Library's directors report to her.

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Chris Buckingham

President, Public Libraries Victoria

Chris Buckingham is President of Public Libraries Victoria and the CEO of Casey Cardinia Libraries. He has extensive experience working in leadership roles across business, community and government.
Chris is a Graduate, Australian Institute of Company Directors; was a Finalist in the 2012 Melbourne Awards for Individual Contribution to Melbourne’s profile; and has served the visitor industry in a voluntary capacity as Adjunct Professor, College of Business, Victoria University.
He is a member of the Australian Library & Information Association and represents Victoria on the Australian Public Libraries Association. Chris believes that public libraries play a vital role in sharing information, inspiring creativity and building community resilience.
Chris believes in ‘Paying it forward’ and ‘Looking after the neighbours’. The pursuit of a just and fair society and change for the greater good are what gets Chris out of bed in the morning along with a strong cup of freshly brewed coffee.
In his spare time, he runs a very small farm in West Gippsland with his partner Mikaela, participates in Warragul Parkrun nearly every week and volunteers in local community activities

Valli Morphett

Director, Design Jam

‘Together we are stronger’ is more than a tag line. Valli is a placemaking thought leader, webinar guru and co-design specialist who has spent over two decades driving systemic place-based change within Government & the consulting sectors. 
 
As a self-professed ‘systems nerd’ she knows that sustainable citymaking requires a multifaceted approach that leverages economic, social, cultural, environmental and political value. Vallis superpower is her ability to drive collaboration and get stakeholders on board to make places prosper. Ex-CEO of multi-award winning CoDesign Studio Valli now leads her own placemaking enterprise Design Jam.
 
Passionate about communities of practice, Valli convened the Place Jam placemaking peer network in 2015 which now has nearly 900 members from across the southern hemisphere. She is an AU representative on the global PlacemakingX network and is past South Australian IAP2 Coordinator.
 
Valli has an extensive background career in Urban Design and Landscape Architecture within Australia and the UK. In her spare time Valli is a pavement chalk artist.

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Ethan Kent

Executive Director, PlacemakingX New York

Ethan Kent works to support public space and placemaking leadership around the world, to grow the global placemaking movement that he helped found. In 2019 he co-founded PlacemakingX to network and accelerate placemaking for global impact, supporting the creation of 15+ regional networks. Ethan builds on more than two decades of experience working with local communities on public spaces and placemaking campaigns traveling to more than 1000 cities and towns, in 60 countries. He has been integral to the development of placemaking as a transformative approach to economic development, environmentalism, transportation planning, governance, resilience, social equity, design, digital space, inclusion, and innovation.

Keynote Session 1
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Ludo Campbell-Reid

Director, City Design & Liveability, Wyndham City Council

Ludo is an internationally renowned City Planner, Urban Designer and Keynote Speaker with over 28 years public/private sector experience. During this time, he has advised Communities, Developers, Mayors, Cities, Local Authorities and Governments around the world on how to improve the economic competitiveness and liveability of their cities, streets and open spaces.
Ludo is the newly appointed Director, City Design & Liveability at Wyndham City Council in Melbourne - currently the fastest growing municipality in Victoria and 2nd fastest growing municipality in Australia. He is also an Honorary Member, Designers Institute New Zealand (DINZ)

Library Project Panel Discussion
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Sarah Meilleur

Interim CEO, Calgary Public Library

Sarah Meilleur is the Interim CEO at Calgary Public Library. She led Calgary’s award winning new Central Library project, that opened in November 2018 and has seen over two million visitors since opening day. Sarah led early design thinking efforts to develop an innovative service plan for the new Central library, and the resulting culture change and implementation. Sarah also worked as a consultant for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system to jumpstart design thinking efforts and guide architecture and design decisions for their new Main Library. Recently Sarah led the re-opening efforts for Calgary Public Library in the spring of 2020, with a particular focus on the visitor experience and materials handling in a post pandemic context. Sarah completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary and her MLIS degree at the University of Western Ontario. She was the recipient of a Top 40 under 40 award in 2011. Sarah is passionate about the ways in which public libraries transform lives and she works to foster curiosity, innovation, and fantastic visitor experiences.

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Suzie Gately

Manager, Libraries and Learning City of Newcastle

Suzie Gately has over 25 years experience in public libraries as a strategic leader, and in building and generating innovative facilities and services. A former career in education has shaped the philosophy of placing libraries at the heart of lifelong learning and lifelong learning at the heart of community resilience and wellbeing. As an alumnus of the Williamson Community Leadership program 2014, Suzie has learned to embed community, diversity and inclusion into library design. And after 25 years working in local government, has developed a savvy skillset in being “shovel ready” and ever open for the next partnership opportunity which will afford new and innovative ways of delivering services.

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Prof. Rob Adams 

City Architect, City of Melbourne 

Since joining the City of Melbourne in 1985, Rob Adams has led the rejuvenation of central Melbourne.
In 2007, Rob was awarded the Order of Australia for his contribution to Architecture and Urban Design and in 2008 was awarded the Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year.

In 2018, Rob was the recipient of the Australian Institute of Architect’s National President’s Award and has led a team that are recipients of over 150 international, state and local awards for design in the urban environment.
 

Keynote Session 2
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Becky Hirst

Author, Mentor, Trainer and Consultant, Becky Hirst Consulting 

Becky Hirst is the author of For the Love of Community Engagement, a reflective memoir that calls for a rethink about how government connects with communities to inform their decision-making. 
 
Through her work over the last 22 years, Becky has worked with hundreds of government clients, helping them to engage with the people they serve. She estimates that during this time she has engaged with over 50,000 people in conversations about things that matter! 
 
Someone recently referred to Becky’s community engagement work as fingerpainting. But there’s absolutely nothing childish, soft or fluffy about what she does. Becky possesses the HARD skills that many political and business leaders find challenging: compassion, authenticity, the ability to genuinely listen and putting the needs of people first.