TEDxMandurah Speakers

Rebecca Laffar-Smith

Rebecca Laffar-Smith

Inspiration

How can we shine a light on darkness? So often, when heartache or tragedy occur, we get mired in negative thought spirals that drag us down into the shadows. Rebecca Laffar-Smith, science fiction and fantasy novelist, mother of two special needs kids, and a mental diversity warrior, believes in the power of positive framing. She shares how one little mindset shift can make all the difference in our ability to face challenge and adversity with resilience, hope, and happiness.

Ron Barton

Ron Barton

Story / Narrative

Once upon a time Ron Barton, an English teacher and published author, became fascinated by stories. In particular, he was drawn to the way stories influence our lives. Now he has a message to share: Change the Story, Change the World, Change your World.

Michelle Wong

Michelle Wong

Education

A behavioural and learning needs specialist, Michelle is a never-tiring advocate for the underdog. Coupled with a passion for fitness, Michelle has developed some remarkable educational experiences through movement without a desk, pencil or notebook in sight.

If Michelle is not busting burpees in schools, she is researching autism, movement and motivation with the Curtin Autism Research Group.

If all of this sounds like a whirlwind of information, you have an accurate insight into being in a room with Michelle. Which leads to her favourite question, ‘Who will do the burpee?’

Dr. Michelle Olaithe

Dr. Michelle Olaithe

Science

How well do think you sleep at night? Your sleep impacts your daily function, your long-term brain health, and your mood. Dr. Michelle Olaithe is a Mother of 2, a psychologist, and a researcher with the University of Western Australia who investigates sleep and brain health. She has a drive to help people get better sleep for better health.

Despite working just 1 day a week as an academic since graduating from her PhD 4 years ago, she has 2 book chapters, 4 invited commentaries, and 22 peer-reviewed papers (4 invited) and has also found time around her clinical roles to set up an online resource for people with mental health difficulties.

Michelle has a message for those relentlessly chasing a good night’s rest.

Tom Oliver

Tom Oliver

Disability Law

Is it just to incarcerate autistic individuals for having autistic traits?

Autistic law/biomedical science student, law clerk, chairman, and director; Tom believes that for most autistic people caught up in our justice system, the underlying cause for their crimes is their autistic characteristics.

Hence why autistic people are over-represented in our justice system.

Nerida Mills

Nerida Mills

Mental Health

As a psychosomatic practitioner and human behaviour specialist, Nerida Mills is no stranger to growth, challenge or change. However, it was through a sudden and unpredictable physical illness that saw her incompacitated and bed ridden for months starting January 2020 that it all came into question. In her healing journey, Nerida was called to use it all, face it all and allow herself to be it all.

Ella Stephenson

Ella Stephenson

Technology

Ella is a First year biomedical science student in a direct pathway into the doctor of medicine at UWA. Her innate curiosity for science is driven by her passion to help others. Ella explains how changing a DNA sequence through biotechnology and transgenic organisms has the power to combat disease, malnutrition and climate change.

Paula Pownall

Paula Pownall

Agricultural

Paula is a rural woman with a passion to utilise insects a future food source for both humans and within agricultural feed systems.

In November 2016 Paula established Western Australia’s first edible insect farm “Grubs Up”, and so began the steep learning curve into insect production, food waste, becoming an entrepreneur, and never giving up on what you are passionate about.

Sue Edge

Sue Edge

Personal Challenge

In September 2010, I received news that changed my life completely. After 2 years of tests, accusations of hypochondria and disbelief (my symptoms were apparently imagined), I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I knew nothing about this perceived ‘old person’s shaking disease’ and was faced with a choice. Let it rule my life and withdraw from the community, OR research PD to both educate the general community promoting understanding and empathy, while also helping sufferers understand how to live the best life possible. I came across a quote by Michael J. Fox and my pathway and purpose became clear.

“It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass….it’s about learning to dance in the rain…..”

Vivian Greene

Candice Myers

Candice Myers

Environment

Self described waste tragic Candice Myers fell into the waste industry when she opened a small business with her sister in 2015.

With a hospitality and accounting background she never dreamed that a career in waste would be her future, however the complexities of the issues surrounding waste captured her attention and soon became a passion.
Realising she needed to know more, she enrolled in a Bachelor of Sustainability degree at 38 as a single mother to 3 children. That completed she is now enrolled in a Masters of environmental sciences. She can often be found volunteering at litter pick ups, building worm farms and debating waste issues.

Candice’s passion is focussed on waste but encompasses all the environmental issues facing us in these modern times. She passionate about educating and finding solutions to the overconsumption leading to excess waste… and wants to change the narrative on waste being something we dispose of to a resource that needs to be valued.

Lilijana Nicholls

Lilijana Nicholls

Youth

A traditional pathway was always in Lilijana’s future but a series of fortunate events led her through what could be described as a choose your own adventure. Her passion became presenting young people with opportunities to learn about science-based careers by presenting them with educational experiences.

Claire Pannell

Dr. Claire Pannell

Art/Music

Claire Pannell is an internationally recognised musician and STEAM professional. In her art practice, Claire focuses on electronic and experimental music that incorporates experimentation into instrument making. Applying acoustics and tinkering, she makes instruments using design thinking and innovative problem solving. Captured sounds created by everyday objects can be processed and morphed into electronic music. The process involves prototyping, where the instrument is adapted in how it is played and sometimes, ephemeral. Claire is also an educator and shares specialist skills in workshops that incorporate arts with science.