HOPE: Leadership for the Future

Registrations are now open for the 2022 PDN School Leaders’ Conference, taking place from Wednesday 24th August to Friday 26th August 2022 (Main program 25 & 26 August).

Join Queensland’s top school leaders from the public, private, primary, secondary and special school sectors for the Professional Development Network's (PDN) 2022 School Leaders’ Conference.

The conference theme is HOPE: Leadership for the Future. With five keynote speakers, panel discussions and four workshops to choose from over two days, plus a special welcome reception on 24 August with guest speaker Professor Pasi Sahlberg, PDN celebrates over 25 years of provoking leadership excellence.

We look forward to bringing you this incredible program in 2022.  We are also excited to announce that the PDN Conference will be presented as a hybrid event for the first time, with tickets available to access the program online or attend in-person.

The PDN Conference is the perfect chance for your leadership team to culminate their shared experience in a rewarding, collaborative and stimulating environment that promotes networking across schools.

Click here to view the virtual conference information or register your team now.

Please view Frequently Asked Questions or contact your conference organisers at pdn@dotdashevents.com.au or on 0447 031410  if you have any queries.

School Leaders' Conference

24-26 August 2022

What to expect

PDN will celebrate its 25th Anniversary and 24th Annual Conference with a Welcome Keynote and Reception, with world-renowned Finnish educator, author and scholar Professor Pasi Sahlberg joining attendees to share some of his wisdom in an unmissable keynote presentation, followed by drinks and canap├ęs.

This very special event is included in the full conference registration, or purchasable as an individual event ticket. Afterward, conference attendees can choose to have an early rest ahead of the big two days to come, or enjoy a team dinner and set your goals for the conference at one of the hotel’s inviting restaurants and bars.

Rise and shine, it’s registration time! Collect your satchels and complimentary coffee vouchers at the registration desk and fuel up for a jam-packed day of learning and strategic planning.

Our opening Keynote speaker Jane Caro AM is a social commentator, writer and lecturer who is passionate about education.  Jane will come together with David Gillespie, a recovering corporate lawyer and author of eight bestselling books, and Prof  Pasi Sahlberg in a panel discussion, cracking open the can of worms on provocations and opportunities school leaders are facing right now.

Take a morning tea break to discuss with your teams, before we return to the plenary room to hear pitches for our two workshop options.  Unconventional leader William Gooderson will explore leading through complexity, and psychologist and behavioural economist Phil Slade will delve into using emotional intelligence to lead with power and influence.  The difficult choice is yours!

Before we break for workshops, enjoy dedicated marketplace time where you can explore the wide range of activities, products and services on offer in our exhibition areas, before a delicious lunch is served.

Directly after lunch, attend your workshop of choice. Workshops have been extended to 1.5 hours this year to allow you to dive a little deeper. Grab some afternoon tea before hearing from our final Keynote speaker for the day, BOSS Magazine’s Young Executive of The Year and one of Westpac AFR’s 100 Women of Influence, Felicity Furey, who will offer a practical toolkit to empower current leaders to tap into, retain and attract the next generation of leaders.

You will have a couple of hours free to debrief with your teams or get glammed up, before everyone’s favourite part of the conference – the Gatsby themed Gala Dinner is the time to celebrate, laugh, and dance the night away!  Put on the ritz and don your swankiest 1920s attire for a night of glitz and glam, with special entertainment that will have you shimmying and swinging like it’s the Twenties all over again!

We hope you saved one of your complimentary coffee vouchers, because you may need an extra kick-start after the celebrations last night!

First up, hear from Dr Kirstin Ferguson, award-winning and globally recognised leader, who will speak on the art of modern leadership.  Enjoy an extended morning tea, marketplace and dedicated team collaboration time before we hear from today’s workshop choices - Professional Speakers Association Educator of the Year Amanda Gore will help you join the dots between neuroscience and the heart of leadership, and Dr Michael Rosemann, Director of QUT's Centre for Future Enterprise will delve into trust opportunity and scaling up empathy.  To keep things moving we offer a delicious express lunch before the final keynote, presented by Australian artist Tim Sharp and his mother Judy. They will share their incredible story about the power of love and art, following Tim’s journey from being diagnosed with severe autism to becoming an internationally acclaimed artist.

Let's not forget the prize draw before you depart.  Who doesn't love the chance to win something, especially the amazing products that the sponsors have donated!


Pasi Sahlberg

Prof Pasi Sahlberg

Pasi Sahlberg is a Professor of Education Policy and Research Director at the Gonski Institute, University of New South Wales (UNSW), in Sydney. His working experience includes Director General at the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland, Senior Education Specialist at the World Bank in Washington, Lead Education Specialist of the European Training Foundation in Torino, and Visiting Professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. He has analysed education systems, researched school reforms, and advises governments about education around the world. His latest book is “Let the Children Play: How more play will save our schools and help children thrive” with William Doyle (2019). He lives with his family in Sydney, Australia.

Jane Caro

Jane Caro AM

Jane Caro has a low boredom threshold and so wears many hats; including author, novelist, lecturer, mentor, social commentator, columnist, workshop facilitator, speaker, broadcaster and award-winning advertising writer and Walkley Award recipient. She has published nine books; “The Stupid Country: How Australia is Dismantling Public Education” co-authored with Chris Bonnor (New South, 2007), “The F Word. How we learned to swear by feminism” co-authored with Catherine Fox (New South, 2008), “Just a Girl” her first novel (UQP, 2011) and “What Makes a Good School?” co-authored with Chris Bonnor (New South, 2012). Jane was awarded an AM in June 2018 for significant service to the broadcast media as a journalist, social commentator and author.

Kirstin Ferguson

Dr Kirstin Ferguson

As an award-winning and globally recognised leader, executive coach, company director, writer and speaker, she’s one of Australia’s most prominent leadership experts, derived from her 30-year executive career in addition to her PhD in leadership and culture. Kirstin’s unique combination of skills and experience has driven her passion to inspire and educate all - because she believes everyone is a leader - to lead from the head and the heart. Kirstin is deeply committed to helping people become the best leaders they can be and helping them to leave a positive legacy in the world. Kirstin believes that while curiosity, analysis, strategy and technical expertise will always be important; humility, insight, courage and empathy is just as vital. Leading with the head and the heart is the art of modern leadership and is an ethos Kirstin embodies, and inspires others to live by, every day.

Felicity Furey

Felicity Furey

An inspirational leader and in-demand speaker, Felicity’s engineering mindset is primed to help leaders and teams reignite performance, reframe challenges as opportunities and redefine what’s possible in the future of business and leadership.

From BOSS Magazine’s Young Executive of The Year to being one of Westpac AFR’s 100 Women of Influence and the Director of four multi-million dollar businesses, Felicity has made a career out of making the ‘impossible’ possible.

In the world of engineering Felicity skyrocketed to the top to lead some of Australia’s most innovative mega infrastructure projects for the likes of Arup, fortune 500 company AECOM and Brisbane City Council, where she delivered a $45 million dollar transport infrastructure project portfolio at just 23 years-of-age.

One of just twelve women in her graduating class of 120, Felicity remains committed to fueling diversity across all industries by equipping current and emerging leaders from all backgrounds with the skills and tools to make an impact.

Tim and Judy Sharp

Tim and Judy Sharp

Tim Sharp is an internationally acclaimed 27-year-old artist from Brisbane, most famously known for his creation of a superhero called Laser Beak Man. Tim has Autism, diagnosed when he was three years old, the doctor's advice was to "put him away and forget about him". Rejecting the prognosis, therapy began and bravely Tim tried to overcome what was so terrifying and difficult to him. After being told that Tim would never speak, drawing was used to help him communicate. At age eleven Tim invented Laser Beak Man and has been drawing his superhero ever since. Tim’s joyful drawings involving his superhero, Laser Beak Man, have been exhibited around the world. From the Powerhouse in Brisbane to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, some of the world’s greatest galleries have showcased Tim and his amazing career.

David Gillespie

David Gillespie

For the last ten years, former lawyer and best-selling author David Gillespie has devoted himself to exposing forces in today's society that work against our interests as consumers and citizens.

David’s first book, Sweet Poison, was published in 2008 and remains a best-seller. Sweet Poison, is credited with starting the current wave of sugar awareness in Australia. He followed this up with another four books on nutrition and diet. Having upset the dietetics industry by writing about stuff in which he had no qualifications, David turned his focus to something else he was unqualified to write about, education, in his 2014 work Free Schools. David then briefly detoured back to nutrition in his next books Eat Real Food (2015) and The Eat Real Food Cookbook (2016). David’s latest focus is psychology and in 2017 he released his much-anticipated book on surviving contact with psychopaths in the workplace and at home, Taming Toxic People. In 2018 David released Teen Brain, a book about how teenagers are uniquely susceptible to addiction and the severity of this problem in an age where addictive screen time is the norm for every single teen.

Michael Rosemann

Dr Michael Rosemann

Dr Michael Rosemann is the Director of QUT’s Centre for Future Enterprise and a Professor for Innovation Systems at Queensland University of Technology. His areas of interest are revenue resilience, innovation (eco)systems, systemic ideation, process management and trust management.

As Head of QUT’s Information Systems School he established the Woolworths Chair in Retail Innovation, the Brisbane Airport Chair in Airport Innovation and the PwC Chair in Digital Economy. Dr Rosemann is the author/editor of seven books, more than 300 refereed papers, Editorial Board member of ten international journals and co-inventor of US patents. His publications have been translated into Russian, Mandarin, German and Portuguese. As a member of an innovation advisory committee, he provided for many years advice to St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School. More recently, he spoke at selected schools (e.g., Queensland Pathways State College, Wavell State High School) about the role of managing.

William Gooderson

William Gooderson

Learning resilient leadership from the battlefield to the boardroom outlines how William Gooderson has shaped his personal and professional journey. A retired British Army Major with combat and corporate experience leading small and large, high performing teams in complex environments, William leverages his insights on what makes a good leader and how to manage your own resilience, through his work as a motivational speaker, workshop facilitator and coach. Working with all levels of government and in both public and private enterprise as well as lecturing at the University of Tasmania, William has refined his battlefield learnings to provide effective resilience and leadership training for the spectrum of workplace employees.

Phil Slade

Phil Slade

Behavioural economist, psychologist, award-winning musician, author of best-selling books such as “Going Ape S#!t”, Podcast host of The Turnaround Mindset and co-founder of Behavioural change and mental health company Decida, Phil has a driving belief that we can solve most of the social, environmental, economic and political problems around the globe if we all become slightly better decision makers. Phil makes neuroscience simple, interesting and fun, highlighting irrational ‘blind-spots’, increasing awareness of cognitive biases that influence perception and behaviour, and inspiring people to become less reactive, and more responsive. His humour, casual approach and unique background has made him a sought-after speaker, helping people to master their own choices and design their own destiny.

Amanda Gore

Amanda Gore

Amanda Gore is CEO of The Joy Project, a business woman, an author and award winning speaker. She is one of 4 Australians inducted into the USA
Speaker Hall of Fame. Her philosophy is based on Carl Buchener’s quote: "People will forget what you say; they will forget what you do– but they will never
forget how you made them feel". She believes everything in life and business is about feelings! The way we feel about ourselves, a product, organization or person influences how we behave and informs our decisions about how we spend – our time and money, or with whom we conduct business. The way we feel during a meeting or conference impacts our ability and desire to learn and change. She works with small and large organisations, associations, hospitals and schools to help them create cultures of joy and engagement and to bring the humanity and joy back into their organisations.

Sarah Kanowski

Sarah Kanowski MC

Sarah Kanowski co-hosts ABC Radio’s Conversations, Australia’s most downloaded podcast. She has worked on a variety of other programs with ABC Radio, including Books and Arts and Late Night Live. Sarah has a masters in literature from The University of Oxford, which she attended on a Commonwealth Scholarship. At home, much of her time is taken up by her three children and her three chooks.


* The PDN Management Committee reserves the right to alter the program if circumstances change.  Please also note that timings are approximate only.

TimeWelcome Activity
5.00-7:00pm Keynote by Professor Pasi Sahlberg - 'Innovation or Improvement? Opportunities, alternatives and provocations for leaders' from 5:00-6:00pm.
Followed by drinks, canapes and networking from 6:00-7:00pm.
Please feel free to make your own dinner arrangement offsite, or make a reservation at any of the Hotel's Restaurants and Bars.

* The PDN Management Committee reserves the right to alter the program if circumstances change.  Please also note that timings are approximate only.

7:15-8:15am Registration

Acknowledgement of Country

Conference Opening 


Keynote: Jane Caro AM  - 'Don't buy the BS, listen to your instincts'

Table talk / Q&A

*In person only


Panel Discussion:  'Leadership for the Future'

Prof Pasi Sahlberg, Jane Caro AM, David Gillespie

Table talk / Q&A

11:00-11:20am Morning Tea

Workshop Introductions:

1.  William Gooderson - 'Leading through complexity'

2.  Phil Slade - 'Empathetic Leadership: Using emotional intelligence to lead with power and influence'

11:50-1:20pm Marketplace / Lunch

Concurrent Workshops:

1.  William Gooderson - 'Leading through complexity'

2.  Phil Slade -  'Empathetic Leadership: Using emotional intelligence to lead with power and influence'

2:50-3:10pm Afternoon Tea

Keynote:   Felicity Furey - 'The Modern Leader's Toolkit'

Table talk / Q&A


Gatsby Gala Dinner (1920's dress)

*In person only

9:00am Welcome

Keynote - Dr Kirstin Ferguson - 'Head and Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership'

Table talk / Q&A

10:30-11:30amMarkeplace / Morning Tea / Team Discussion Time

Workshop Introductions:

1.  Amanda Gore - 'Neuroscience and the Heart of Leadership'

2.  Dr Michael Rosemann - 'Trust Opportunity:  Scaling Up Empathy'


Concurrent Workshops: 

1.  Amanda Gore - 'Neuroscience and the Heart of Leadership'

2.  Dr Michael Rosemann - 'Trust Opportunity:  Scaling Up Empathy'

1:30 -1:50pmExpress Lunch

Keynote: Tim and Judy Sharp - 'A Double Shot of Happiness'

Table talk / Q&A

3:05-3:30pmConference closing and prizes

Registration information

In order to save on your Conference registration and a range of quality programs throughout the year, subscribe now to the PDN . Complete and return the 2022 Membership form.

PDN Member Fees

Non PDN Member Fees

What do registrations include?

PDN Virtual Event Fees

Cancellation Policy

Venue: RACV Royal Pines Resort


To book your accommodation:  RACV Royal Pines Resort Reservations Department can be contacted on +61 7 5597 8402 or email Teresa at teresa_richards@racv.com.au.  Advise of your PDN Conference affiliation and arrival and departure details.

Check In: 2:00pm / Check Out: 11:00am
Porterage & Self-Parking: Complimentary

RoomsRoom OnlyRoom + 1 x BreakfastRoom + 2 x Breakfast
Mountain View & Superior Rooms$210.00$238.00$266.00
Spa Suite$310.00$339.00$366.00




Mary-Ellen Feldhagen

+61 403 035 146

Conference organisers

Dot Dash Events

  • Leisa Thompson
  • Tina Gaudry

+61 447 031 410


Contact conference organisers if you would like to be a sponsor and or hold an exhibit.