Ryan Dowd

Homeless Training

Do you have patrons who bring in too many bags?  Smell really bad?  Panhandle? Argue?  In this interactive training you will learn why homeless individuals do what they do and the practical tools for resolving problems.  After this training, you will have more confidence with homeless patrons.  The trainer, Ryan Dowd, has spent most of his career running a large homeless shelter outside of Chicago.  His book on the topic was published by the ALA.

Sami Shah

Comedian, Writer & Broadcaster

Sami Shah is an accomplished comedian, writer and broadcaster.

Sami’s credits include co-hosting ABC Radio Melbourne’s Breakfast show, creating multiple documentaries for ABC Radio National and BBC Radio 4, and being a guest on The Project and QI. He’s performed comedy shows across Australia and won multiple awards for combining humour with thoughtful insight.

As a published author, Sami Shah has written a memoir about immigrating from Pakistan that was nominated for multiple national awards. He has also written a fantasy novel, a non-fiction research book on Islam in Australia, and published many short stories internationally.

Sami is a passionate advocate for diversity, free speech, anti-racism and multiculturalism. He also regularly mentors in debating and public speaking, as well as lecturing in journalism at universities.

Jahan Kalantar

TEDx Speaker, Lawyer & Entrepreneur

Jahan Kalantar came to Australia as the child of refugee migrants from Iran. Growing up as Middle Eastern Person in a dominantly Anglo-Saxon zeitgeist, he developed a strong sense of the injustice that occurred based On matters of race and class.

Obtaining a Bachelor’s degree from Sydney University before obtaining his JD from UTS, Jahan subsequently left a career in banking to start at the NSW Bar at the age of 25. After practicing at the bar for 5 years, Jahan left to establish the law firm of Executive Legal where he heads up the Major Crime, Mental Health, Family and Administrative law practice.

Jahan’s work focuses on the power of the word to transform lives and uses stories from the courtroom and the drama of that experience to teach practical, concrete examples of how to communicate better with others and ourselves.

In addition to his legal practice, Jahan regularly lectures at the Sydney City School of Law on the topics of Evidence, Criminal Law, Family law and advocacy. He is regarded as one of the more popular lecturers are the university and his classes are very well attended with strong positive feedback.

Jahan’s unique legal background and his reputation attracted TEDx to allow him to speak on the main stage in 2018 and that launched his speaking career with Jahan regularly being engaged by companies to better create authentic discussions around sensitive and challenging topics.

Jennie Garner

Library Leadership Podcast: 96. Policies of Yes with Jennie Garner

Jennie Garner (she/her) is the library director at the North Liberty Library (IA) where she has served in a variety of roles for 25 years, the last six as library director. Garner is a staunch advocate for rural libraries and is currently serving as the Vice President-President Elect of the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL). She also serves on the Executive Board as the immediate past president of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature. Garner is a 25-year member of the Iowa Library Association (ILA) and this year started her second term on the ILA Executive Board (first term 2006-08). Additionally, she has served on and chaired multiple ILA subdivisions and committees including Intellectual Freedom, Library Leadership and Management Association, Public Library Forum, Leadership Committee, and Conference Planning. She has particular interest in library leadership and policy development, and in social justice, diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. Garner received her MLIS from the University of Iowa. She and her husband, Shawn, both Iowa natives, are empty nesters with two wonderful adult children and a lovely daughter-in-law. They have lived in North Liberty since 1990 and enjoy camping and being active in the community.

Dr Kirsten Thorpe

Kirsten Thorpe Profile | University of Technology Sydney

Kirsten Thorpe (Worimi, Port Stephens) is a Senior Researcher at Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research, University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Kirsten has broad interests in research and engagement with Indigenous protocols and decolonising practices in the library and archive fields, and the broader GLAM sector. Kirsten advocates for the ‘right of reply’ to records and capacity building and support for the development of local Indigenous digital keeping places. Kirsten is a PhD Candidate at Monash University, Faculty of Information Technology where she recently submitted her thesis titled “Unclasping the White Hand: Reclaiming and Refiguring the Archives to Support Indigenous Wellbeing and Sovereignty”. Kirsten’s research interests relate to supporting Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty over the management of Indigenous knowledges, with a particular focus on engagement with archives. Kirsten has extensive experience working in major collecting institutions, across public libraries and archives to support Indigenous engagement and priorities. Kirsten is an invited member of the International Council on Archives Expert Group on Indigenous Matters.

Dane Cross

Dane lives life to the fullest after injury « Spinal Life Australia

A dedicated practitioner in the provision of equitable access for people with disability. A specialist in developing inclusive communities through advocacy, planning, consultancy and accessing grant funding.

Terri Janke

Terri Janke and Company

Dr Terri Janke became a lawyer to advance the social justice of Indigenous Australians. She is of Meriam and Wuthathi heritage, and is the owner and managing director of Terri Janke and Company, an award winning legal and consulting firm founded in 2000. The team at Terri Janke and Company strive to empower Indigenous people to manage their culture and attain their business goals – the key to Indigenous self-determination is being able to control and manage their own future. Terri is an international expert on Indigenous cultural and intellectual property. Her book True Tracks: Working with Indigenous Knowledge and Culture was recently published in July of 2021 and is now available for purchase. Terri is also the Co-Chief author of the State of Environment Report 2021.

Jess Wilson

Good Things Foundation Australia

Jess leads the work that Good Things Foundation does in Australia. She supports the team, connects with local, state, national and international stakeholders and most importantly ensures that we are building a strong, collaborative and supported network of great community organisations across the country. Jess is a community worker at heart and has lived in three states of Australia, so she loves travelling to all the different parts of this wide-brown land to meet people doing great work in their communities. She ensures that the Good Things Foundation team is providing high-quality support to our Network Partners and knows that to do that, we need to be constantly listening, learning and improving.

Leisa McDermott

Leisa is Library Administrator at Cassowary Coast’s  Mission Beach Branch.  She has been integral in bring Makerspace to CCRC Libraries.

Megan Spagnolo

Megan coordinates technology for Cassowary Coast Regional Libraries, from  public PC management to the LMS. 

Robyn Chester-Master

With more than 32 years library experience Robyn has found her niche as part of Mackay Regional Council Libraries’ Community Outreach team.

Kate Landsey

Kate has been with Noosa Library Service for eight years in various roles, her favourite being her brief stint in the Errol the Frog First 5 Forever mascot suit. Her current role of Young People’s Librarian is a close second.

Jacinta Ward

With a love for learning and all things creative, Jacinta is the Programs and Marketing Officer for Western Downs Libraries. She’s a firm believer that libraries are more than books, and are at the hearts of the communities, they serve.


Jaala Beauchamp

Public libraries have been an enjoyable constant in Jaala’s life. It was this love of public libraries that lead her to transition from teaching to becoming a librarian. Jaala is the Youth Services Librarian with Bundaberg Regional Libraries.

Jacqui Ruhle

Jacqui Ruhle is a Ngiyampaa woman, with experience working in education, health and community development.  Jacqui has recently joined the State Library of Queensland to support libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres across Queensland to engage with First Nations families through the delivery of First 5 Forever.

Gabrielle Byrne

Gabrielle coordinates community outreach programs and weekly First 5 Forever sessions with Banana Shire Libraries.  She has so much to learn and is super eager to continue diving into this world of public libraries.

Ilona Gibson

Ilona has worked in the Queensland Public Library system for almost 10 years and am passionate about equal access for all to the joys and benefits of a public library.

Sharon Millett

Sharon is the Library Coordinator of the Gin Gin Branch at Bundaberg Regional Libraries with a passion for community engagement and creating safe, inclusive and welcoming spaces in the library for everyone.

Nadia Ruttley

Nadia is the Coordinator Reading at Brisbane City Council Libraries. In her role she looks after children’s early literacy (First 5 Forever), author talks, children’s reading clubs, literary events and school holiday programming across Brisbane’s 33 libraries.

Melanie Mills

Melanie Mills is Libraries Coordinator at Balonne Shire Council.  Having been a primary school teacher and Teacher-Librarian for 31 years, Melanie made the move into Public Libraries in January this year.