Speakers

Learn a little bit about some of the experts presenting sessions this year.

Keynotes

Annie Parker

Annie is a startup ecosystem and community leader. She’s built and run 15+ accelerator programs globally with deep knowledge of startup communities across the US, Europe and Australasia. She’s invested in hundreds of startups through these programs and has lost count of how many entrepreneurs she’s worked with over the years.

Annie joined Microsoft earlier this year as the global head of their Startup programs, based out of Sydney. This role covers the broad market offers Microsoft provides to the startup community, and also the ScaleUp initiative. The ScaleUp program works with later stage enterprise startups to help them get ready to sell to a large customer audience. Based in 8 cities globally, the ScaleUp programs offer a genuinely unique opportunity for startups not only to grow in their home markets, but into international locations as well.

Prior to Microsoft, Annie held a number of roles in the startup ecosystem covering early stage co-working space Fishburners, as well as a number of accelerator programs. Annie co-founded muru-D – Telstra’s startup accelerator program with 5 locations in Australia and Singapore. Annie was also Head of Operations for Wayra, Telefonica’s startup accelerator program which had 7 startup hubs across Europe.

A firm believer in the importance of paying her knowledge forward, Annie spends a lot of her spare time supporting growth across the wider startup ecosystem too. In 2014 she co-founded and continues to Chair Code Club Australia, a charity helping to teach primary school kids the basics of coding through after school clubs. This network of clubs is now stands at 2,200 with over 165,000 kids in Australia having been educated for free.

Annie also co-founded Techfugees Australia a global movement connecting the technology ecosystem together with newly arrived refugees in Australia to help solve some of the problems they face. Through Techfugees, companies have been created, jobs found and most importantly lives changed for the better.

Passionate about diversity and inclusion, and helping wherever she can, Annie is an active angel investor and mentor and loves helping founders achieve their full potential.

Follow on Twitter: @annie_parker

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Nicolas Steenhout

Inclusivity is vital to a democratic Internet. And for more than 20 years, Nicolas Steenhout has been addressing this subject head-on as a web accessibility expert. Working as a developer in the mid-’90s, Nic was approached by colleagues, clients and friends with web-based issues that weren’t yet part of the public consciousness. Images weren’t being properly announced to people who are blind; video-only tutorials didn’t account for people who are deaf; over engineered webpages made it impossible for those with ADHD to engage. Nic quickly realized that amid a major technological revolution, a significant part of the digital landscape was being neglected.

In 1996, he took on a federally-funded position in the US disability sector. The world of non-profits allowed him to work closely with people with a wide variety of impairments. It gave him an even greater understanding of the web’s shortcomings. At the same time, the experience introduced him to new assistive technologies—technologies that were breaking barriers for people with disabilities. Over the next two decades, Nic continued his work for both the non-profit and private sectors. He has held several Executive positions and currently provides his services as an independent consultant. Businesses and government agencies seek Nic’s expertise in strategic planning and training.

All over North America, Europe and Australasia, he’s engaged with thousands of individuals with disabilities. These interactions have fuelled his passion for storytelling. Public speaker, avid blogger and podcaster, Nic provides real-world insight into everyday accessibility issues. He explores everything from disability awareness and security to how JavaScript can be used to better the web for all. He’ll even share the occasional anecdote about his service dog.

Follow on Twitter: @vavroom and @a11yrules.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Sophie Farthing

Sophie Farthing works at the Australian Human Rights Commission as a Senior Policy Adviser to Edward Santow, the Human Rights Commissioner. In this role she provides advice and support to the Commissioner in relation to a range of human rights issues and is currently leading the Commissioner’s projects on human rights and technology and the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.

Before joining the Commission in April 2017, Sophie worked in legal policy for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Sydney; at Liberty, a human rights campaigning organisation in London, UK; as the Judicial Assistant to Baroness Hale in the United Kingdom Supreme Court; a Research Assistant at the Law Commission of England and Wales; and the Associate to Judge Raphael in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Sophie is a non-practising solicitor. She has completed a Masters of Human Rights Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science (Distinction) and a Bachelor of Laws and Social Work (Hons Cl 1) at the University of New South Wales. Follow on Twitter: @sophiefarthing2 and @AusHumanRights

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Speakers

Amanda Mace

Amanda is currently working at Web Key IT as Project Manager and Senior Website Analyst. Her work includes website and document auditing, document remediation and project management. Since joining the Web Key IT team she has undertaken a wide variety of courses, all with a focus on website and document accessibility. Amanda was a presenter at the 2016 OZeWAI conference and the Perth Accessibility Camp earlier this year, as well as conducting various other presentations. She is passionate about ensuring digital products are inclusive and is a known fan for the correct usage of WAI-ARIA. Amanda is also a member of two W3C working groups, the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group and the Education and Outreach Working Group. Follow on Twitter @webkey_it.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Andrew Arch

Andrew Arch works as a digital accessibility consultant with Intopia. From 2015 to mid-2017 he worked in the Digital Transformation Agency on the Digital Service Standard and supporting guidance with a particular interest in ensuring the widest range of users are assisted to interact digitally. From 2011 to 2014 he was part of the team in the Dept of Finance responsible for the supporting the implementation of the Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy for the Australian government to adopt WCAG 2.0. Andrew has a long history with web accessibility, including working with the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative in Europe and with Vision Australia. He has been a member of the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative’s Education and Outreach Working Group since 2001 to promote awareness, understanding, and implementation of web accessibility.. Follow on Twitter: @amja

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Andrew Downie

Andrew Downie is TAFE NSW’s Adaptive Technologies Officer. He is a psychologist with a post-graduate diploma in education. He appreciates the benefits that both mainstream and specialised technology offer. He is not, however, a fan of gadgets for their own sake - equipment should be useful rather than gimmicky. An issue that Andrew is passionate about is the potential benefit to people who have disabilities by the effective use of technology.

Andrew Lizzio

Andrew is an Architect specialising in pragmatic business solutions. He has achieved this capability through 10 years of organisational business development, strengthened by 15 years of application development. During this time, Andrew held key roles such as Business Architect, User Experience Architect, Enterprise Architect, Information Architect and Solution Architect .

Andrew owns and manages two companies, one specialising in bionics to help paraplegics walk again, and the other in artificial intelligence to assess students without exams. Andrew’s hobbies include publishing his first children’s novel, catching venomous snakes as a trained snake handler, and raising and releasing orphaned kangaroos and wombats. Follow on Twitter: @jocdart.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Bri Norton

Brigitta Norton is the Canberra Lead of Backelite (the Service Design Agency of Capgemini) and more recently was the Digital Transformation Agency’s Accessibility and Inclusivity Lead. She is a digital strategist with 16-years experience enabling organisations to achieve a competitive digital presence, creating a user friendly and accessible experience for optimal stakeholder engagement; providing effective and efficient service delivery. She turns disengaged end users into enthusiastic contributors and understands that digital services need to be searchable, accessible and user-friendly for all visitors to find and access using all kinds of devices from anywhere around the world. Follow on Twitter: @algazel.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

David Masters

David has worked in the technology industry for close to two decades. He has been a Ministerial policy adviser, a consultant, a journalist and a public servant in previous incarnations. In his current role he is increasingly passionate about the ability for technology to empower people with a disability. Follow on Twitter @mastersofdavid and @MSFTenable.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Dr Manisha Amin

Dr Manisha Amin is the CEO of the Centre for Inclusive Design (formally Media Access Australia), a not-for-profit social enterprise that uses the power of the marketplace. As the real and the digital worlds collide CfID help people to build and design products, services and policies that are inclusive and usable to as many people as possible. As technology becomes more complex they work to provide simple solutions to that everyone has opportunity to participate in economic, social, civil, political and cultural life. Follow on Twitter: @manishaamin and @CfIDAus.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Dr Scott Hollier

Dr Scott Hollier specialises in the field of digital accessibility and is the author of the book ‘Outrunning the Night: a life journey of disability, determination and joy’. With a Ph.D. in Internet Studies and project management experience across the not-for-profit, corporate and government sectors, Scott is an internationally-recognised researcher and speaker. Consultancy areas include consumer-based support for service organisations, developer-based support for ICT professionals for web and app-related work and support across different organisational roles to achieve compliance with digital accessibility standards such as WCAG 2.0. Services include direct consultancy, project management, accessibility training and resource development. Scott also lectures at Edith Cowan University and the University of South Australia in the areas of information management and web accessibility.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Gerry Neustatl

With 15 years’ experience in digital strategy, communications and accessibility across corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors, Gerry is a passionate vocal disruptor of conventional product design at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Projects he’s recently caused trouble for include ABC and ABC Listen mobile app relaunches, and the triple j, Hottest 100, 7.30 Report and Australian Story websites. Currently he’s wreaking havoc for dedicated ABC News editors, teams committed to children’s media and the Heywire Storytelling competition for young regional Australians. He has two cats. Follow on Twitter: @a11yoz.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Greg Alchin

Greg Alchin is an inclusive design consultant and disability advocate with over 30 years’ experience across education, industry and government contexts. Greg helps organisations to create experiences that are engaging, useful and dignified for all. He does this by building awareness and capacity on how inclusive design inspires innovation in how we live, learn and work. Greg is certified by both Apple and Microsoft as an accessibility consultant and a member of the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative. Greg’s work on inclusive publishing has seen him consult with the United Nations, Apple, U.S National Centre for Accessible Educational Materials, Australian Publishing Association, Assistive Technology Industry Association and the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Ian Laslett

Ian is Managing Director of Adelphi Digital Australia since 2013. For over 10 years, Ian has passionately and successfully coordinated the release and management of hundreds of web projects from commercial to government sectors. He provides a wealth of knowledge both on contemporary web technologies and CMS technologies. Follow on Twitter: @adelphidigital.

Jocelyn Dart

Jocelyn is a SAP Technology Ambassador who is passionate about software accessibility. Her day to day role is as User Experience Architect & Strategist, with her main focus on SAP’s modern design for enterprise apps SAP Fiori. She assists SAP customers to maximize accessibility compliance, and advocates both internally & externally for software that makes people’s working lives better. Follow on Twitter: @jocdart.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Julie Grundy

Julie is a digital accessibility consultant with over 15 years experience as a front-end web developer in the health and education sectors. She believes in the open, democratic web and helps organisations make their websites inclusive of everyone. Follow on Twitter: @stringy.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Matthew Putland

Matthew has established a passion for providing accessible solutions to websites and applications to ensure that everyone can benefit from an inclusive experience. With a background in IT and experience in working with people with disabilities, Matthew works to ensure that technology can enable access for everyone. He’s been working full-time in the accessibility industry for over 2 years, and has provided accessibility consulting for Federal, State and local governments, Universities, Banks and many other organizations large and small. He specialises in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0/2.1 and has become proficient in website/app audits, remediating issues, and educating project managers, content authors, designers and developers about accessibility. Senior Analyst, Digital Accessibility at the Centre for Inclusive Design. Follow on Twitter: @Mattcessability.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Renata Zanetti

Renata Zanetti is an inclusion specialist and an accessibility consultant with Intopia. Renata is passionate about promoting inclusive communication, dignity and human rights. Renata has progressed work in aid and development, health, education and mainstreaming disability inclusion over the past ten years. She helped teach public speaking at Harvard University, where she was a Kennedy Fellow. She has a background working with UN (UNICEF, UNESCO), NGOs, think-tanks, foundations and Australian government. A qualified facilitator, Renata also has high-level experience in stakeholder engagement and project management and is an avid ideas generator. Engaging in the nexus between health, disability and inclusion, Renata managed the Avoidable Blindness Initiative at AusAID, worked on the team that won an Australia Day Award for the Malaria 2012 conference, and worked to advance disability-inclusion throughout the Australian aid program.

Globally, Renata has worked to create an inclusive communication module for UNICEF, and guidance on universal design. Renata supported a foundation and the DIAUD working group to promote inclusion through the UN Habitat conference and events. She has a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University and a Masters in International Affairs from Geneva. Her thesis on access to education for people with disability through the Marrakesh Treaty was nominated for the best thesis in international law.

Russ Weakley

Russ Weakley has worked in the design field for over 20 years as a Design System Architect, User Experience professional, Front-end Developer and trainer. He is the producer and presenter of 12 video courses on CSS and Responsive Web Design and is passionate about accessibility and web standards. Follow on Twitter: @russmaxdesign.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Sarah Pulis

By day Sarah is cofounder and director of accessibility services for Intopia. By night she is an accessibility avenger, bringing you Australia’s largest community events A11y Bytes and A11y Camp. Sarah has over seven years’ experience in digital inclusion, having worked for PwC Australia, Stamford Interactive and Media Access Australia. She helps organisations make digital inclusion a part of their everyday processes in a practical and pragmatic way. Her technical background and experience working with all levels in corporate makes her a great all-rounder. People describe Sarah as passionate about inclusion – and then some. She loves sharing her knowledge at Australian and international conferences, and is an active member of the accessibility community. Her team also call her the walking WCAG encyclopedia – don’t hold it against her. Follow on Twitter: @sarahtp and @Intopiadigital

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Scott Avery

Scott Avery is descendant from the Worimi people and is the Research and Policy Director at the First Peoples Disability Network (Australia), a non-Government Organisation constituted by and for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with disability. He is undertaking a PhD at UTS on disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and has recently published the book ‘Culture is Inclusion: A narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability’ based on this research. He has been appointed to Research Advisory Committee at Lowitja Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research, and is an Ambassador for the Mayi Kuwayu study on the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait IsIander cultures to health and wellbeing. Follow on Twitter: @ScottTheHolWrld

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Sean Murphy

Sean Murphy works at Cisco Systems, Inc. in the Accessibility compliance USA based team from Sydney Australia and is one of the Global Disability Awareness Network employment resource organisation leads. He received the USA Career Magazine disable employee of the year 2010 award for his work in the field of disabilities. In 2018 he was invited to join the expert Reference Group for the Australian Human Rights Commission – Human Rights future technology project, AI in accessibility. In August 2018 he obtained the IAAP CPACC and WAS certification. In 2001 to 2003 he worked for Freedom Scientific as a Jaws script developer. Follow on Twitter: @mhysnq1964

Sean is a member of the Digital Gap Initiative who is a grass roots project dedicated to bringing about legal and other systemic reforms in accessibility. A member of the Vision Australia Client Reference group in Information Access. Sean is a role model through his ‘can-do’ attitude which inspires others in their daily life. If a barrier is found, he always seeks and finds a solution. A quote from one of Sean’s many presentations that he has done within Cisco, sums his attitude up nicely - “don’t look at me differently, rather look at the similarities between us”.

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Susanna Laurin

Susanna Laurin has more than 20 years experience in working with disability-related issues at senior management level, since 2003 as CEO for Funka. She has previously been the CEO of one of the subsidiaries of the Swedish Association of the Visually Impaired’s corporate group IRIS, and she has been managing external funding and projects at the Swedish Independent Living Institute. She is a frequent international lecturer and debater and she serves on a number of program committees for conferences in the field of accessibility. Follow on Twitter: @FunkaNu

Find them online at LinkedIn.

Vivienne Conway

Vivienne is the Founder and Director of Web Key IT, and leads our team of passionate accessibility specialists. She is an internationally-recognised expert in digital accessibility and speaks at many events both within Australia and Internationally, particularly in the Middle East. Web Key IT Pty Ltd is an active member and Business Agent of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Within the W3C, Vivienne has participated on several of the working groups for the past seven years. Particularly applicable to digital accessibility, Vivienne was one of the members of the W3C Task Force which created the WCAG Evaluation Methodology (WCAG-EM). She is also an active member of the W3C Education & Outreach Working Group, and also participates in the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group and the Silver Task Force. Vivienne is a Steering Committee member of the Web For All (W4A) Conference. Vivienne’s vision is to improve the lives of people with disabilities by improving digital accessibility. Follow on Twitter @webkey_it.

Find them online at LinkedIn.