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Star speakers line up as first hybrid Connecting Up Evolve Conference opens for registrations

6 April 2021 at 7:00 am
The three-day interactive event aims to help Australian not for profits get the most out of technology, training, and strategy.

Contributor | 6 April 2021 at 7:00 am


Star speakers line up as first hybrid Connecting Up Evolve Conference opens for registrations
6 April 2021 at 7:00 am

The three-day interactive event aims to help Australian not for profits get the most out of technology, training, and strategy.

The Australian not-for-profit sector’s biggest technology conference is back this year, with the Connecting Up Evolve Conference and Australian Not-for-Profit Technology Awards taking place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition centre from 5 to 7 May.

This year, we have put together an all-star line-up of speakers, consisting of some of the most respected thought leaders in Australia. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience across the not-for-profit and technology sectors.

Our new hybrid format this year gives you the option to attend in person or virtually. 

World class keynote speakers

The Connecting Up Conference is renowned for its high-quality plenary speakers, and this year is no different. Star plenaries will include Paul Ronalds, CEO of Save the Children; Noel Clement, director of Australian programs at Australian Red Cross; Melissa Kaplan, digital architect at Microsoft; and Darren Kane, chief security officer at nbn.

Ronalds is one of the most influential figures in the Australian not-for-profit sector through his work with Save the Children, which makes a positive impact in every state of Australia and in more than 120 countries around the world on children’s education, health and protection issues. He is also currently a non-executive director of the Centre for Social Impact, the Campbell Collaboration and the Community Council of Australia, and prior to joining Save the Children, was first assistant secretary responsible for the Office of Work and Family in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Clement is one of the not-for-profit sector’s most inspirational figures. He has dedicated his career to the not-for-profit sector, including spending 13 years in community health and public housing organisations, where he worked in direct service delivery, community development and program leadership roles.

Kaplan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience designing and implementing leading-edge digital and technology solutions and strategies across a wide range of clients and sectors. She has worked as a global product manager for Australian and international companies, managing clients on the Forbes 100 list.

Kane has been the chief security officer at nbn™ since 2015. In 2020, he was appointed to the federal government’s Cyber Security Industry Advisory Committee to help guide the implementation of the nation’s cyber security strategy and provide ongoing advice to address emerging cyber security challenges. 

Great value full-day masterclasses

Our full-day masterclasses offer some of the best value training in the not-for-profit sector, with courses costing under $200. This year’s presenters are Alecia Hancock, director at Hancock Creative; Jo Garner, director at Strategic Grants; and Marcus Harvey, consulting and ICT services manager at Infoxchange.

Hancock will be leading this year’s marketing and social media masterclass, giving you the rundown on how to elevate your marketing and social media game to stand out and excel in today’s digital marketing environment. Hancock is a star social media marketer and is not to be missed.

Garner will lead this year’s fundraising masterclass. Garner is one of the Australian not-for-profit sector’s most experienced and charismatic fundraising experts. She will be talking about the most effective fundraising initiatives in 2021 and how you can increase donation amounts for your not for profit.

Harvey, will bring his vast experience and technology product knowledge to this year’s IT strategy masterclass. Harvey is passionate about helping not-for-profit organisations use technology effectively to work smarter rather than harder and achieve measurable outcomes with the clients and communities they work with. 

Other speakers… with more to come!

Other speakers include Vicky Davy (Vix), co-founder of PetRescue; Wendy Williams, editor at Pro Bono News; David Gomes, executive general manager at CodeBlue; and Joe Ciancio, managing director at Maxsum Consulting.

Davy has been leading the PetRescue team along with co-founder John Bishop (JB) since 2004. She works with corporates, academics, and community rescue groups to create and run programs that create genuine impact, transforming the lives of pets and people.

Williams has a decade of experience working as a journalist in Australia, the UK, and Spain. She writes about the not-for-profit sector and the broader social economy.

Gomes has applied his passion for people and customers to build several highly successful and engaged teams throughout Australia and Asia. He has also held senior executive leadership roles with iconic brands including IBM, Telstra and Australia Post and founded two start-up companies in the technology space.

Ciancio brings clarity to organisations seeking to navigate the myriad of business technology options available. His role is to define which solution will deliver real outcomes, and design a transformation and innovation roadmap that will allow them to achieve those outcomes. 

About the conference

The Connecting Up Conference is a three-day interactive event that aims to help Australian not for profits get the most out of technology, training, and strategy.

Our 2021 conference will be a hybrid event, seamlessly merging the COVID-safe physical conference with virtual plenaries, streams, and expos, wherever you are.

And don’t forget the Australian Not-for-Profit Technology Awards which take place annually on the second day of the conference (Thursday 6 May). These awards recognise technology innovation and service in the sector across eight categories. Nominations close 18 April, so get them in soon.

Visit the conference website to find out more about the event and awards – and to register.

If you have any questions about the conference, please contact the conference manager Grant Smyth on


P.S: If you are a Connecting Up Premium member, your discounted rates apply to all ticket purchases.

We also have a special discount promo code for Pro Bono Australia subscribers. Simply enter the code PBCU202110 when purchasing tickets. 


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