Brisbane Innovate event speakers

The Brisbane Innovate 2018 event, held on 7 November, featured a keynote speech and panel discussion.

Keynote: The creation of a true circular economy

Traditionally waste is seen as a burden. As a manmade problem which needs to be managed and minimised for the sake of humanity and a cleaner world. However, waste can also be an opportunity or a resource which can be unlocked to create other products and energy.

Leanne leveraged her extensive background in emerging technology, business, insurance and jewellery to challenge our thinking around the circular economy, including fundamental changes in supply and value chains and provided foresight on future trends.

Speaker: Leanne Kemp, Everledger Founder and CEO and Queensland Chief Entrepreneur

Leanne Kemp is the Founder and CEO of Everledger, a leading emerging technology enterprise that tracks the provenance of high-value assets on a global digital ledger in an authenticated immutable manner. Using her extensive background in emerging technology, business, jewellery and insurance, Leanne is pushing boundaries with Everledger in building a global verification system that asserts transparency along the entire supply chain process. This enables the tracking and protection of high-value assets, consequently mitigating risk and fraud in global marketplaces.

Her leadership role in technology has been recognised, winning awards including Innovator of the Year 2018 at the Women in IT Awards (London) as well as being named in UK Business Insider’s 26 Coolest Women in UK Tech 2016 and Brummell Magazine’s Top 30 Female Innovators 2016. Leanne is Queensland's Chief Entrepreneur, is an appointed member of the World Economic Forum’s Blockchain Council and a Co-Chair for the World Trade Board's Sustainable Trade Action Group.

Panel: Get your projects off the ground with creative funding models

Don’t let funding stop you from solving a critical problem for your community. 

Host: Cat Matson
Panellists: Tom Dawkins, Anna Guenter, Peta Harwood and Anthony Ryan.

Cat Matson, Chief Digital Officer, City of Brisbane

As Brisbane's Chief Digital Officer Cat is charged with the digital transformation of the city. Cat is an experienced digital and start-up strategist and respected business leader, and drives the Digital Brisbane strategy. Cat's focus and strength in the digital sector sees her taking a natural lead on innovative projects in Brisbane. From educating children on coding to supporting local budding entrepreneurs, she is also a key driver behind Brisbane Innovate. Cat is a passionate advocate for human-centric smart cities, recognising that digital is an enabler, not an outcome in its own right. She is a regular panellist and moderator for key industry events, talking on everything from digital to small business to the problem with smart cities. Cat endeavours to discern trend from fad in the digital space and determine how businesses can leverage new technologies to reach their full potential.

Tom Dawkins, Co-Founder and CEO, StartSomeGood

Tom Dawkins is an entrepreneur, speaker and Co-Founder and CEO of, a crowdfunding platform for social enterprises, non-profits and community initiatives globally. He was previously the founder of Australian youth non-profit Vibewire, the first Social Media Director at Ashoka, a global NGO fostering social entrepreneurship based in Washington DC, and the founding Director of the Australian Changemakers Festival. He has supported numerous non-profits, governments and businesses to better engage their community using technology. He has also been recognised with awards and fellowships from the World Summit Youth Awards, International Youth Foundation, Nexus Summit, The Future Summit and the Australian and New Zealand Internet Awards.

Anna Guenther, Co-Founder and CEO, PledgeMe

Anna Guenther is the co-founder and Chief Bubble Blower of PledgeMe, New Zealand's first crowdfunding platform. Since launching six years ago, over 1200 creative, community and entrepreneurial campaigns have raised over $30 million through PledgeMe. Currently, the platform offers equity, lending, and project-based crowdfunding. One of their most recent claims to fame was a Dunedin based chocolate company raising over $2million in 32 hours when Cadbury decided to move their production offshore. Anna has also worked for the New Zealand Government, MIT and Harvard, and completed her Masters in Entrepreneurship with a focus on crowdfunding. She moved to Australia when changes in the legislation came into effect allowing equity crowdfunding. PledgeMe is now licenced to provide equity crowdfunding in New Zealand and Australia and will stay firmly focused on social enterprise and democratising capital.

Peta Harwood, Partnering and Innovation Manager, Brisbane City Council

Peta Harwood is the Partnering and Innovation Manager in procurement at Brisbane City Council. Through Better Brisbane Proposals, suppliers and entrepreneurs can work with Peta and her team to quickly connect to the right business areas in this large, diverse Council to test, trial and implement service and product innovations that enhance Council services and operations. Peta is a member and contributor to Council’s Smart Connected Steering Committee. With 25 years’ experience working in planning, infrastructure, data analysis, project delivery and procurement, Peta can spot and help realise innovations that make Brisbane better.

Anthony Ryan, CEO, Youngcare

Anthony is highly regarded in the not-for-profit and business sector of Australia. He has received recognition for his innovative approaches to uniting the business sector with worthy community causes and received the honour and title of Queensland Great in the Centenary Queensland Awards.

Anthony has been an instrumental leader in creating innovative programs to support some of Australia’s most impoverished and was the creator of the acclaimed Corporate Immersion Program “Gone Fishing” which has provided life-changing experiences for many Australian business leaders.

Anthony has now turned his attention to the disability sector and has been the CEO of Youngcare for the past 14 months. He is leading change in the sector, particularly in engaging with developers and investors in building platinum accommodation for young people with high-care needs. Anthony believes strongly in advocating for the thousands of young people across Australia with high-care needs who are trying to navigate through the NDIS and live with dignity and choice.

Last updated:7 May 2019