Speaker Profiles

PDG Gina GRowden - RI Presidents representative

Gina was invited to join the Rotary Club of Lane Cove in 1998 shortly after commencing as the Chief Executive of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, an organisation established by the Rotary Club of Lane Cove and strongly supported by it.
The following year she became the Vocational Service Director and Bulletin editor and so began her involvement in and passion for Rotary.  During the next five years Gina’s Rotary experience widened significantly as she took on other Board roles within Lane Cove and became the partner of the future District Governor of District 9680.  Gina’s husband, Harold Sharp, then a member of Crows Nest Club, was Governor of District 9680 in 2002-03 which was a truly exciting and rewarding time for both.
In 2004 Harold and Gina relocated to the Central Coast and Gina transferred her Rotary membership to the Terrigal Club.  Her retirement from full-time work at that stage meant she then had more time to devote to Rotary.
Gina’s District Rotary experience began in 2004 when she was invited to join the District 9680’s Scholarships Committee and she served on that committee for the next eight years, the last three as its chair.  In 2008 she was very fortunate to be selected to lead a Group Study Exchange team to Brazil and two years later chaired the GSE District Committee organising an exchange with Germany, and along with Harold, a Wheelchair Group Study Exchange with Arizona – the first time such an exchange had been carried out in Rotary anywhere in the world.  Both were extremely successful resulting in a Rotary Foundation District Service Award being presented to each of them at the District Awards Night that year.
Gina became the first female president of Terrigal club in 2008-9 and served a second term as president in 2012-13.  She has also held most board positions since joining Terrigal.
In 2010-11 she served as an Assistant Governor and then as the District Secretary between 2011-2013.  During that period Gina served on the re-districting committee for the establishment of District 9685.  She was District Governor for District 9685 during 2015-16.
Gina is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow, a Centurion and a Benefactor of The Rotary Foundation.
Harold and Gina have been married for 24 years.  Harold has 3 married children and seven grandchildren ranging in age from 21 to seven.   Gina enjoys tennis, swimming, going to the gym, reading and entertaining, and is an avid Central Coast Mariners supporter

Gill Hicks

Gill Hicks is considered to be one of the most thought provoking, powerful and life affirming speakers in Australia and the UK. She is globally known as an Advocate for Sustainable Peace and a valuable resource in Countering Violent Extremism.
Her devotion to making a personal greater contribution and positive difference to the urgency of building peace was realised when she was made permanently injured in the London terrorist Bombings on July 7th, 2005.
Her ‘lived experience’, from survival to rehabilitation as a double amputee created a clear demarcation from all she had known before the bombings, being at the helm of some of the UK’s most prestigious and respected institutions – including Publishing Director of the architecture, design and contemporary culture magazine, Blueprint, Director of the Dangerous Minds design consultancy and Head Curator at the Design Council, along with being one of the first women to be invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (the RSA).
Her 2nd Life is built on what she describes as a series of conscious choices, of mindfulness and being aware of the importance of the moment. Sharing what she has learnt about herself, about humanity and the extraordinary and what she believes is an inherent ability to not only face but to rise in the wake of adversity is not only inspiring, but it is a valuable insight into what is possible in life. 

Prof. toby coates

Toby COATES is a full time clinician-scientist in the Central Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplantation Service at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Renal Transplant Nephrologist, Clinical Professor in Medicine at the University of Adelaide.
He undertook his PhD in Transplant Immunology at the University of Adelaide supported by NHMRC Post Graduate Medical Research Scholarship (1997-2000), Don and Lorraine Jacquot Travelling Fellowship and Post Doctoral studies with Angus Thomson at the Thomas E Starzl Institute at the University of Pittsburgh supported by a CJ Martin Fellowship from the NHMRC (2001-2003).
Returned to Adelaide in July 2003 as Renal Transplant Nephrologist. He is past Honorary Secretary Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand. He was appointed as the sole Australian Associate Editor for the International Society of Nephrology’s Journal Kidney International (2012-2017).
He was the recipient of South Australian Tall Poppy Science Award for his research from the Government of South Australia in 2004. His total research funding since 1st July 2003 is over $10.2 million, including 2 CIA project grants from the NHMRC and Project grant funding from the JDRF for Clinical Islet Transplantation. In June 2016 he received JDRF USA funding for development of alternative sites for islet transplantation and was appointed to the International JDRF Islet Encapsulation Consortium.
He is currently the Director of South Australia’s first (and only) Nationally Funded Centre for Islet Transplantation and the Head of Kidney and Pancreas Islet  Transplantation at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. In 2013 he was the lead clinical investigator in the  $59 million  Collaborative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing (CRC-CTM) to manufacture new technologies to support islet transplantation (2013-2018). He was awarded the Ian McKenzie Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Transplantation in 2013, from the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand.
He has 110 peer-reviewed publications and has supervised 16 Honours and PhD students to completion within the University of Adelaide. He is a consultant to the National Transplant Service and a member of the Renal Transplant Advisory Committee of the Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand.
He is married with 2 children, restores classic / vintage cars  and collects antiquarian books.

Gary Newton

Polio Survivor with a BIG sense of humour
Radio, Voice Over & TV Presenter 
Director, Polio Australia 
Disability/Pro Vaccine Campaigner 
'Ride The Bellarine' Ambassador 2018 
Sometimes Motivationalist 
And a somewhat obsessed AFL Geelong Cats fan 
 I share my experiences in Life and touch on many things such as: 
- What it's like to have polio, what happened when I contracted the disease and what it meant for my family 
- My early school days at a special school for 'crippled' children and where that lead me 
- The secret 'benefits' of having polio (it's not all about the handy parking) and how I realised my career dreams 
- How I've overcome many personal challenges and gained a bright viewpoint in Life; to be thankful for each day and to never give up because 'you never know just how close you are to succeeding' 
I talk about my passion to eradicate polio from the world FOREVER, my humanitarian project to India and my volunteer work with Polio Australia 
I also often take people 'back in time' to the horror that summers brought during the first half of the 20th century before most vaccines. Dark, fearful days, now largely forgotten, when major diseases such as smallpox, polio, rubella and many others struck with frightening regularity and often horrible consequences.
And I stress the importance of vaccination and outline the clear, irrefutable science that vaccines work and serve the greater good 


Scott de Bruin

Scott de Bruin is the Managing Director of Mayura Station, one of Australia’s leading luxury beef producers.
A second generation beef producer, he has spent the last 20 years honing his skills and further developing one of Australia’s most revered Full-blood Wagyu operations into a truly unique Full-blood Wagyu brand that is served in some of the world’s top restaurants.
Well respected within the Wagyu industry he has spent time as the President and Chairman of the Australian Wagyu Association.
Under Scott’s stewardship Mayura has won many accolades including multiple gold medals for the quality of his steaks.
He has gone on to develop Australia’s first cellar doors for Beef, ‘The Tasting Room’ restaurant located on the Mayura Station property which is a recipient of Restaurant and Caterers award for Best Steak restaurant and has also won the SATC best tourism award in 2016 and 2017.
Scott is passionate about developing beef with the ultimate WOW factor and believes your steak experience should be one that you never forget!

Stephanie Woollard

Seven Women Founder & CEO
Stephanie Woollard is a Melbourne-born social  entrepreneur, Rotary Foundation Peace Scholar and Rotarian who has created the international aid organisation Seven Women,
 tour-company Hands On Development and the International Training and Hospitality initiative.Stephanie started her Seven Women project when she was only 22 years old, after visiting Nepal and meeting seven disabled womenmaking soaps and candles in a small tin shed.
In Nepal, disabilities carry a strong social stigma, believed to bring bad fortune. The
women were consequently able to sell only a fraction of what they produced at market and
lived in dire poverty.Disturbed by the injustice and isolation these women were facing, she spent her last $200 oftravel money to pay two trainers to help up-skillthe women and sell their products abroad.
Since then Steph has devoted the past decade to changing the lives of disabled and
marginalised women in Nepal. The organisation has trained and employed over
1000 disadvantaged women and has helped more than 5,000 women in remote villages in Nepal offering shelter, medical assistance and education.
The multipurpose International Training and Hospitality initiative provides cooking classes for tourists, funding disadvantaged women to learn culinary and hospitality skills, creating diversified opportunities for employment. At the Seven Women headquarters, women
manufacture fair trade products that are sold both locally and to an international market.These enterprises fund literacy, skills and
income generation programs for thousands of women in Nepal. Education programs hosted by Seven Women include practical production skills such as sewing and growing vegetables,literacy classes and money management.
In 2016, Stephanie was recognised on the global stage with a prestigious Rotary Responsible Business Award, one of only six honorees worldwide. The award presentation took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York with Rotary International President
John Germ, more than 1500 Rotary members, UN officials and NGO leaders present. Other accolades received include, Moral
FairGround’s, National Most Ethical Enterprise Award in 2014, the Nepali Association of Victoria’s award for “Commendable service to
the Nepalese Community, “ and the distinguished La Trobe Young Achiever Alumni of the Year Award in 2016. She has this year
also been nominated as Australian of the Year. Stephanie is a deeply inspiring young woman dedicated to education and empowerment of the world’s most marginalised. Her journey demonstrates how through persistence andunrelenting commitment one person can truly
make a difference.
Stephanie holds an Undergraduate degree in International Development from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia and a Masters degree in Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution from Uppsala University, Sweden.

Greg Barton

Greg is one of Australia’s leading scholars of both modern Indonesia and of terrorism and countering violent extremism. For more than 25 years he has undertaken extensive research on Indonesia politics and society, especially of the role of Islam as both a constructive and a disruptive force. He has been active in the inter-faith dialogue initiatives and has a deep commitment to building understanding of Islam and Muslim society. The central axis of his research interests is the way in which religious thought, individual believers and religious communities respond to modernity and to the modern nation state. He also has a strong interest in international relations and comparative international politics. Since 2004 he has made a comparative study of progressive Islamic, with particular reference to Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah in Indonesia and the transnational Hizmet movement inspired by Turkey’s Fethullah Gulen.
Greg also has a general interest in security studies and human security and a particular interest in countering violent extremism. He continues to research the offshoots of Jemaah Islamiyah and related radical Islamist movements in Southeast Asia. Greg is a frequently interviewed by the Australian and international electronic and print media on Islam, Islamic and Islamist movements around the world and on Indonesia and the politics of the Muslim world. He is a regular expert guest on ABC TV’s News Breakfast and Sky News Australia
and a variety of programs on ABC Radio National, ABC Local Radio, Radio Australia, SBS Radio and SBS TV, Voice of America (Washington), China Radio International (Bejing), BBC radio and television, Hongkong Radio, Radio New Zealand, China Central Television (CCTV), Channel News Asia (Singapore),
   and commercial radio and TV in Australia, including 3AW, 2GB, 2UE, Channel Seven News, Channel Nine’s Today, and Channel Ten’s The Project. He also     writes opinion pieces for the Melbourne Herald Sun and the Australian Financial Review

Research Professor and Chair of Global Islamic Politics

July 2015 - Present
Greg leads research on social inclusion and pluralism, Islam and civil society, democratisation, and countering violent extremism.


2015 - Present
The Australian Intervention Support Hub (AISH) is a pioneering collaboration between Deakin, ANU, AGD, AFP and DFAT to work with community groups in developing responses to the challenge of violent extremism.

Senior Fellow

2013  -  Present
As a non-residential Senior Fellow with the UAE-based Hedayah Center in Abu Dhabi, Greg works on countering violent extremism.

Deputy Chair

2007  -  Present


2007 - Present
Islam and Christian Muslim Relations is a journal edited by University of Birmingham, UK, and Monash University, Australia

Herb Feith Research Professor for the Study of Indonesia at Monash University

January 2007 - July 2015 (8 years 7 months)
From 2007-2015 Greg was the Herb Feith Professor for the Study of Indonesia at Monash University where he taught politics and international relations and led research on radicalisation disengagement in the Global Terrorism Research Centre (GTReC).

Associate Professor

January 2006 - January 2007 (1 year 1 month)
Greg continues to be involved in teaching counter-terrorism courses at the Asia Pacific Centre for Security Studies (APCSS) in Honolulu and with other institutions and agencies

Associate Professor at Deakin University

February 1992 - December 2005 (13 years 11 months) Greg taught and researched about Politics

Senior Lecturer at Deakin University

1997 - 2004 (8 years)
Greg focussed on Religious Studies & Politics

Lecturer at Deakin University

1993 - 1997 (5 years)
Greg specialised in Indonesian Studies

Barbara allen

Barbara Allen is a Kurnu Baakandji descendant from the Darling River area of New South Wales.   She is the Chairperson of Toorale National Park, part of her traditional lands, and is actively involved in preserving Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and park management in partnership with NSW NPWS.
Barb is a Registered Nurse, a Australian Rotary Health Indigenous scholarship recipient and a graduate of the Institute of Koorie Education, Deakin University.
After graduation she spent several years working in Far North Victoria in the areas of district nursing, aged care, rehabilitation, medical, and surgical nursing. And even though she was doing well building a nursing career as an all rounder and moving up the ranks quickly, Barb felt that there was something missing, she wanted to give back to community and help others like herself.
Two years ago she applied for a job as a nurse lecturer at the Institute of Koorie Education, back where she started, where she currently holds the position of Nursing program co-ordinator.  With both of her roles of equal important to her, she has learned to embrace both her traditional and western skills and knowledges to her benefit and over the past 2 years has presented at the World Archaeology Congress (WAC) in Japan, the Australian Archaeological Association (AAA) in Terrigal NSW, and World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) in Canada.
On top of her nursing role Barb is currently involved in one education and two health related research projects with Deakin University and local Victorian community.