Celebrating Families Speaker Series 2023

All webinars delivered during National Families Week.

We thank our guest speakers for 2023, who generously shared their unique stories of diversity and resilience.

Celebrating Families Speaker Series 2023

Tuesday 16 May 2023 | 12:30pm AEST

Melinda Cilento
CEO Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA)

A mother of three adult children, an adventurous cook, an avid cyclist, a passionate volunteer and consummate professional, Melinda contributes every day to creating equitable, inclusive and prosperous communities.

In addition to her role as CEO of CEDA, Melinda is also the Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia and is a non-executive director of Australian Unity. Melinda’s executive and director experience covers the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors and she has a strong track record of working collaboratively across sectors.

CEDA’s Disrupting Disadvantage reports identify that Australia needs to fundamentally change how it supports and identifies people in disadvantage, using data and systems reforms to act earlier to prevent children being locked in a cycle of poverty. CEDA has called for clear and tangible reform commitments by governments set out in an overarching National Agreement to reduce disadvantage and poverty.

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Celebrating Families Speaker Series 2023

Wednesday 17 May 2023 | 12:30pm AEST

Dr Stephanie Hodson CSC
CEO Relationships Australia Canberra and Region

Prior to stepping into the role of CEO Relationships Australia Canberra and Region in 2022, Stephanie led the transformation of Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling, to meet the emerging needs of Australian Defence Force serving personnel, veterans and families.

Stephanie served in the full-time Australian Army as a Psychologist, attaining the rank of Colonel, deploying overseas and held the position as head of the Australian Army Psychology Corps. Stephanie has worked for 28 years in mental health and is passionate about supporting families with a particular interest in resilience, trauma and grief.

A mother of three children and full time professional, join us as we explore the experiences, challenges and rewards of raising a family that was regularly on the move – relocating every few years for postings, her career development in becoming a senior female leader in an overwhelmingly male dominated environment, and the enduring friendships and support drawn from an extended family of serving personnel across the country.

Whether in military or civilian life, Steph is committed to ensuring there are appropriate, effective and compassionate services for people and their families when times are tough.

Celebrating Families Speaker Series 2023

Thursday 18 May 2023 | 12:00pm AEST

Dr Amy Conley Wright
Professor of Child and Family Social Work at the University of Sydney
Director of the Research Centre for Children and Families

Amy Conley Wright is Professor of Child and Family Social Work at the University of Sydney and Director of the Research Centre for Children and Families. She is an American and an Australian citizen.

Amy holds a personal and professional interest in strengthening supports and connections to family. As part of her own family’s journey, Amy has recently discovered her Native American ancestry through her paternal line and descent from First Nations including Cherokee and Creek peoples.

She is also passionate about child and family advocacy. Her lived experience as the parent of a child with Autism fuels her passion for promoting a good life and social inclusion for people living with disabilities, and their families and carers, and social change through policy advocacy to improve the lives of all children and families.

Amy holds a BA in Child Development & Public Policy from Boston University and a Masters of Social Work and PhD in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley.

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