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yLead is proud to partner with the following speakers for our 13 location roadshow across Australia. These young people are all role-models in their community, committed to driving change and making a difference in the world. We are excited to welcome them to the Altitude Day stage to inspire and empower your Year 9 students.

Find the speakers for your specific location below.


Krushnadevsinh Ravalji

Krushnadevsinh (Kano) Ravalji is an award-winning advocate, speaker and the founder of Third Culture. Kano works with young people and multicultural communities to promote inclusion, equity and leadership. Kano worked with the North Melbourne Football Club to encourage multicultural people to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations and conducted research with the Australian National University and UNICEF into the experiences of young people with institutionalised racism. Currently, Kano is on a mission to share his message of inclusion all across the world and encourage others to join him in creating a more just and accepting world!

Kano will be speaking in: Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Playford, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Toowoomba

Abbie Williams

Abbie Williams has suffered with anxiety, depression and OCD since her teens. Her lived experience fuelled a passion to help others going through similar circumstances and share her story to help others feel less alone. In 2018, Abbie founded mental health charity Letters of Hope, sending handwritten letters to people struggling with their mental health and filling them with kind words and coping strategies in the hope of showing people that there is good in the world, even on the darker days when it might not feel like it. Abbie is a Licensed Mental Health First Aid Instructor, an Ambassador for the Australia & New Zealand Mental Health Association, and was 1 of 5 social entrepreneurs selected to represent Australia in the 2022 Emerging Leaders Program.

Abbie will be speaking in: Gold Coast

Alex Stalling

Alex Stalling is an Australian visual artist and cultural practitioner. Born in Mount Isa, Queensland, Alex has a strong bond to land, community, flora, fauna and connection. Her career includes a professional arts practice, exhibitions, public art, committees, community activations, professional development & mentoring, gallery services, digital content creation, maker and product designer, event coordinator and business entrepreneur. Alex helps others to reach their goals, for communities to work together to create connection opportunities and to establish meaningful change in the creative landscape of regional Australia.

Alex will be speaking in: Toowoomba

Amy Tobin

Amy Tobin is an athlete and business woman. She has represented Regional Australia in the Oceanic Championships and opened sporting clubs across Australia. Having been was born with cerebral palsy, Amy often felt isolated from mainstream sporting communities when growing up. After training and competing in wheelchair racing, Amy discovered Race Running (an innovative sport for people with disability) and found the freedom and independence she’d been missing. Amy wanted to bring this joy to people across Australia, founding Now I Can Run. She sponsors athletes in remote and rural areas to attend Race Running Camps, workshops and competitions. Amy works to create opportunities for other people with disabilities to participate and work in group sporting events to feel connected, empowered and celebrated.

Amy will be speaking in: Gold Coast

Ben Pettingill

Imagine waking up one day at the age of 16 to find out you had lost 98% of your vision overnight to a rare genetic syndrome… This is a fraction of Ben’s story; one we never tire of hearing. Ben Pettingill’s perseverance and change in mindset has allowed him to achieve some amazing things; being the only legally blind person to ever compete in a Spartan obstacle race, competing in the Southern 80 (the fastest water-skiing race in the world), and trekking the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea not once, but twice, just to name a few. It has also facilitated an innate ability to impact young people with tangible tools to see life with “Limitless Vision”. Facing challenges in life is certain, how we respond to them is a choice.

Ben will be speaking in: Canberra, Melbourne

Billy Blackett

Billy Blackett is a dedicated educator and entrepreneur, with a strong passion for supporting young people in finding their purpose. Billy started his entrepreneurial journey while still studying at the University of Tasmania. At the age of 18, he founded Milestone Mentoring, a disability support business, and Affordable Tutoring Tasmania, a tutoring platform that now has over 50 tutors. Through these businesses, Billy has been able to provide young people with the guidance and support they need to succeed and learn. Billy’s ultimate goal is to continue expanding his reach and impact in the education sector. As an economics student, he understands the value of education in shaping the future of our society. He believes that by supporting young people in their learning journey, we can make a positive difference in the world.

Billy will be speaking in: Hobart

Callum MacPherson

Callum MacPherson is the 2022 South Australian Young Achiever of the Year and creator of the national award-winning mental health video podcast, Young Blood – Men’s Mental Health. A qualified journalist with years of experience reporting for 7NEWS in Queensland and South Australia, Callum has conducted countless interviews in both traditional media and as a podcaster. After losing his friend James to suicide in 2019, Callum launched the podcast with the vision of creating a public platform for men under 40 to openly share their struggles. The podcast is a preventable health strategy that promotes community mental health awareness and seeks to increase mental health literacy through shared lived experience. Callum also works full-time managing media for the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and has facilitated both podcasting and wellbeing workshops in schools.

Callum will be speaking in: Playford

Claire Harris

Claire Harris is the co-founder of Hoedowns For Country Towns – a 46,000km bootscooting road trip around Australia last year, teaching line dancing in rural communities and raising money for rural charities. In 273 days on the road, the dancing duo ran 75 hoedowns across seven states, raised $38,250 for charity. Prior to trip, Claire was an agricultural journalist for Stock Journal, South Australia’s rural weekly newspaper. Now based in Adelaide as a freelance writer, Claire is taking on a number of agriculturally-related journo and comms projects.

Claire will be speaking in: Adelaide, Playford

Darian Brooker

When Darian Brooker was 8 years old, she was suddenly taken from her mother and placed into foster care. She changed schools 26 times and lacked stability in every way. She never had a consistent mentor or parental figure. Darian learned a lot about growing up and how to make the most of school the hard way, but the messages from the many fleeting yet inspirational people in her life always stuck with her and ultimately helped her get through it all. Darian wanted every Australian child to have at least one positive role model in their life, because she knew it only took one inspiring person to make all the difference. In 2017, she created We, Future Leaders, which has assisted hundreds of students and their parents and carers to holistically solve academic and personal issues through tutoring and coaching. Darian was a NSW Young Woman of the Year Finalist in 2021.

Darian will be speaking in: Sydney

Francesca Caccamo

Francesca Caccamo’s journey with Consent Labs began in December of 2019 as the organisations very first intern. Working in a range of different areas her passions quickly developed within the field of facilitating and facilitator development. In this space, Fran was able to utilise her public speaking and performing arts experience when facilitating and training others. Currently working with the team as Head of People and Programs, Fran is eager to develop a robust facilitator training and development program. Working in the not-for-profit space she is able to combine her passion for social change and transferable skills to engage in meaningful work that impacts thousands of young people across the nation.

Francesca will be speaking in: Sydney

Han Worsley

Han Worsley is a passionate educator, gender equality advocate, and proud non-binary person. Growing up on the family farm north of Nullamanna NSW, population 40, has driven their passion for rural and remote communities. Han works on Ngarigo Country in Cooma, at the Country Universities Centre Snowy Monaro. They coordinate outreach and engagement programs to support locals to access tertiary education despite their geographic isolation from university campuses. Prior to this, Han was the CEO of Country to Canberra, a national not-for-profit dedicated to empowering young rural women and non-binary people to reach their leadership potential. Han was named ACT Canberra’s Community Champion Under 40, and in Out For Australia’s 30 under 30 Awards in 2021. Han is most proud of their 2023 TEDx Talk “Breaking the Binary – A Country Kid’s Guide to Gender”, but is also pretty pleased with their ability to horseride, touch their toes, and swim long distances.

Han will be speaking in: Canberra

Harrison Oates

Harrison Oates is a youth advocate passionate about the space where technology and society intersect. A CAS Hawker Scholar, he studies a double degree in Advanced Computing (Research & Development) (Hons.) / Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, specializing in artificial intelligence, at the Australian National University. Harrison is a member of the eSafety Commissioner’s Youth Council, Youth Advisor at the Ethics Centre, and Competition Lead at ANU Solar Racing. Previously, he was a UNICEF Australia Young Ambassdor, where he worked to ensure young people’s voices are at the forefront of the national conversation, and with Project Rockit and Meta on how the metaverse can be designed to protect and elevate the voices of youth. Hailing from Cairns, Harrison welcomes the opportunity to share his story.

Harrison will be speaking in: Canberra

Jack Anderson

At 22 years old, Jack Anderson is a four-time co-author, the co-founder of Elucidate Education, an engineering honours student and a documentary producer. With 45 university student volunteers, Elucidate Education creates not-for-profit textbooks, world-class online content and videos to support more than 82,000 students annually to have free access to all the resources they need to succeed in high school. The organisation has successfully published four, not-for-profit Year 12 textbooks in Chemistry and Maths, where the proceeds from every two sales are used to produce and donate a third textbook to the library of a school in a low-socioeconomic area. These books have supported more than 1000 students through school booklists and hundreds of students in rural areas have received donated copies. Additionally, with twelve subjects taught on the platform, Elucidate provides more than 82,000 students per year with access to the content they need to succeed.

Jack will be speaking in: Perth

Jackson Auld

It’s safe to say that Jackson has a very interesting story. Having been severely injured from a footballing incident during high school, Jacko’s life was flipped on its head. This was no hinderance to his drive, passion and determination. Overcoming his adversity, Jacko has gone on to change many lives by staying true to the incredible person that he is. Jackson attended SEQ ASLC in 2013 and spent 18 months working for yLead on our IMPACT team.

Jackson will be speaking in: Toowoomba

Joel Coughlan

Born in Mount Isa and growing up in Rockhampton in a family of nine (Mum, Dad and seven kids), Joel began playing table tennis at the age of eight. His passion for the sport grew from that moment and continued to flourish, winning his first state title at the age of 11. In June 2007, his whole world changed when half a tonne fell from a forklift and landed on his foot, landing him in hospital for 64 days straight. After 22 operations and numerous years of rehab, Joel was ready to get back into sport. He was now a minor amputee with numerous muscles removed from his right leg including loss of ankle function. He had never considered Para sport until he received a phone call from an old Queensland table tennis coach who was working as the National TT Para Program Manager. Joel played his first international tournament for Australia in Amman, Jordan in 2009, then pursued a Paralympic Medal. While he narrowly missed out on selection for the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics Games, Joel realized his dream when selected for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, where he went on to claim a silver medal. He was selected as Captain of the Australian Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Table Tennis Team.

Joel will be speaking in: Rockhampton

Joshua Robson

Joshua Robson is a motivational speaker, testicular cancer survivor and founder of Turn Up. The purpose of creating Turn Up has been to share Josh’s story about fighting testicular cancer with as many people, companies and organisations as possible. Josh wants to share how his toughest days taught him how to live his best life. Turn Up wants to bring awareness to appreciating your health, getting regular health check-ups, and not ignoring any warning signs. Turn Up emphasises to the world how important it is to take that first step, which can be as simple as turning up to each day with a smile on your face and having a positive attitude. Josh also speaks about how important it is to set goals and surround yourself with the right people to help you achieve your dreams and give you courage when you need it most. 

Josh will be speaking in: Hobart

Kurt Jones

Kurt Jones is an incredible young person who has an inspiring life story. Where he has come from to where he is now, at 19 years old, as founder and managing director of one of Australia’s fastest growing conservation movements is an amazing tale. Growing up in a low social economic area, Kurt experienced a troubled childhood. After being expelled from various primary schools, Kurt was enrolled in a secondary school for disengaged youth. He had an incredible experience at high school that re-engaged him into society and led him to finding his passion for youth, the outdoors and wildlife. Since then, Kurt has been heavily involved in the community. He followed his dream f starting a movement to engage young people with the environment and today Co-Exist Australia has a wide influence right across our nation.

Kurt will be speaking in: Sunshine Coast, Townsville

Laura Byrnes

Laura Byrnes is an avid motorsport competitor, competing in dirt track Late Model racing, who has raced for over 17 years . In her first season of Late Models, she was the 2020/21 Rookie of the Year, 2nd Overall in the Winter series and 10th overall in the Pro Dirt Series (out of 36). Racing has been a fantastic opportunity to jump into motorsport marketing – where she has gained marketing partners along her journey at a local, state and international level, and is proud to demonstrate diversity in a male-dominated field. Laura is passionate about furthering opportunities for women and youth in motorsport. She has competed internationally, attending the AIS, gaining a scholarship for UWA and being a stunt driver, so she takes any opportunity she can to pass on the knowledge she has gained into the next generation of racers. In 2021 and 2022, Laura was a finalist in the WA Young Achievers Award for the Sports Award, and has also received a mentoring scholarship with Women Sport Australia.

Laura will be speaking in: Perth

Mannie Kaur Verma and Sheeba Singh

Mannie Kaur Verma is an award-winning lawyer, a social justice advocate and a dedicated mother to two beautiful children. Mannie also sits on the board for YWCA Australia and Refuge Victoria. Using professional and advocacy platforms Mannie has always sought to empower communities through voice, agency and leadership.

Sheeba Singh is an IT Project Director working with the State Government, has led numerous multi-million-dollar programs both in corporate and for VIC State to deliver critical services; is a mother to two beautiful children.

Mannie and Sheeba will be speaking in: Melbourne

Maddy Jones

Maddy Jones is the co-founder and joint CEO of Australian based Charity – The Good Box. In 2017, at 23 years of age, Maddy and her co-founder saw the homeless community in need of dire help and took it upon themselves to create The Good Box and help thousands. The Good Box has now distributed close to 30,000 Good Boxes to people in need and have delivered their popular school and corporate engagement programs to thousands of students and adults. Maddy was the 2022 QLD Young Australian of the Year Finalist, Young Change-maker of the Year in 2021 and has appeared in mainstream media such as The Project, ABC, Nine news, Mamamia and more.

Maddy will be speaking in: Brisbane

Mason Hope

Mason Hope experienced parental abandonment and bullying, and decided that he wanted to find a positive path through this, as he has always felt helping others helped him. Mental health advocacy fast became his passion. At age 12, Mason joined his first Headspace committee. Then at age 17, Mason joined the Headspace national high-energy group training in peer support, media and LGBQTI+ support. Mason is the Sunshine Coast Young Citizen for the Year 2023, Headspace National Ambassador and Stories of Hope Australia Ambassador, mental health advocate, author and award-winning singer songwriter.

Mason will be speaking in: Sunshine Coast

Megan Christiansen

Megan is the Brand and Marketing Manager at Orange Sky Laundry, a for-purpose organisation that works hand in hand with the community to raise funds to positively connect with the community through clean clothes, warm showers and conversation. Orange Sky plays a role in supporting remote Australian communities by improving access to laundry facilities. Megan will be sharing the journey of the organisation and why they do what they do.

Megan will be speaking in: Townsville

Mikayla Forruria

Mikayla Forruria grew up in Townsville, attending the Townsville Grammar School. She was involved with yLead both as a student, attending Altitude Day, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in 2011 after graduating high school and then as yTeamer in 2012 as part of the Australian Student Leadership Conference. As a true animal lover, she graduated from James Cook University as a veterinarian in 2016. In her career so far, Mikayla has treated most types of animals including elephants, zebras, leopards and bears. Mikayla’s love for travel and hiking has taken her all around the world from snowboarding the Canadian Rocky Mountains to exploring the deserts of Egypt. In 2019, Mikayla competed in season 4 of The Amazing Race Australia, with her sister Hayley. Mikayla currently lives in Cairns where she works as Head Veterinarian at Southside Veterinary Surgery and is currently undertaking postgraduate studies in Internal Medicine. yLead helped ignite Mikayla’s passion for making an impact on the world through her career, travel and hiking.

Mikayla will be speaking in: Townsville

Mitch McPherson

As the founder of Tasmanian based organisation SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY, Mitch McPherson’s journey to raise awareness of suicide prevention and reduce the stigma around mental health began after his younger brother Ty took his own life in 2013. Mitch, the 2017 Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year and National R U OK? Day Ambassador has had a remarkable journey transitioning from an everyday tradie into a well-respected and purpose-driven public speaker. Mitch leads with an extraordinary vision for change, courageously harnessing his lived experience of loss to encourage our community to speak up about their mental health and take action.

Mitch will be speaking in: Hobart

Tara Lord

Tara Lord works in a number of spaces across the mental health sector. She has qualifications in Youth Work, Community Services, Community Sector Management, and more. Tara sits on a number of advisory committees and participates in research projects around Youth Mental Health, Advocacy, Holistic Health, Accessing service and much more. She was awarded the Youth of the Year award by the Mental Health Foundation of Australia in 2022, and was the 2021 and 2022 Youth Citizen of the Year, she was also named a finalist in the 2021,2022, and 2023 Young Achiever of the Year Awards. Tara is currently a Youth Ambassador for the Mental Health Foundation of Australia and has her own business in Animal Therapy. She presents in a range of spaces, including schools, youth forums, and mental health conferences, sharing her story of living with mental illness and talking about the importance of mental health, aiming to reduce stigma and break down barriers.

Tara will be speaking in: Perth

Tom Price

Tom Price founded You Are Not Alone in late 2021, as a year 11 student, after seeing youth mental health affect him and people around him for the first time. He found that speaking about mental health was the best way to normalise young people struggling, and felt like he should do something to raise awareness. Tom made a short film with the support of his peers, which featured young people, celebrities and community members speaking about mental health. He continues to build on the initiative, and has grown significantly since 2021, with the awareness Fun Run being the pinnacle of You Are Not Alone’s work in 2023. Funds raised through the event will allow the organisation to introduce positive mental health programs into schools around Australia.

Tom will be speaking in: Brisbane

Trudy Lin

Dr Trudy Lin is one of only 24 Special Needs Dentistry specialists in Australia, providing oral healthcare to people with disability, psychiatric conditions, and complex medical conditions such as cancer. She also treats people experiencing homelessness, trauma, and domestic violence. Trudy is also a passionate advocate for equitable access to oral healthcare as President-Elect of the Australian New Zealand Academy of Specialists in Special Needs Dentistry (ANZASND), volunteering as an Associate Advocate for Citizen Advocacy SA, supporting people with intellectual disability, and through her role in the National Disability Oral Health Collaboration (NDOHC). She has been recognised with multiple accolades including the 2022 Young Australian of the Year for South Australia, 2021 Young Achiever of the Year for South Australia, a Fellowship to the Pierre Fauchard Academy in 2017 and a Fellowship to the International College of Dentists in 2022.

Trudy will be speaking in: Adelaide

Zhanae Dodd

Zhanae is a proud Ghungalu, Birri, Widi/Wiri and Kaanju woman who lives on Darumbal Country. Zhanae has worked across many sectors inclusive of the Arts and Culture Sector, First Nations Community, Youth and Social Care, Government and agriculture. She brings with her a range of expertise in First Nations Cultural Advocacy, Human Rights And Social Action, Pacific Relations, Entrepreneurship, Community/Stakeholder Engagement and Journalism. Zhanae owns and runs her own business, Groove Co. while working as a researcher, stakeholder engagement adviser, uni student and board member. She is proud of her work spearheading the Yambanga Yuindi program – a cultural immersion and exchange program between Indigenous Australia and New Zealand – and was honoured to be a finalist for the Australian Human Rights Youth Medal in late 2022.

Zhanae will be speaking in: Rockhampton