Keynote Speakers and Educationals

The District 72 2024 Conference will host amazing keynote speakers to inspire Toastmasters, as well as educational workshops to improve Toastmaster skills in areas of communication, leadership and/or membership. 

Each educational session will allow conference attendees to pick between at least two options, so you can be sure to attend a workshop that will benefit you. There are three educational sessions across the conference weekend, each running at ~45 minutes.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ian Griffin

Ian Griffin, Director of the Tūhura Otago Museum, completed his PhD in Astronomy at University College London before spending over 20 years leading cultgural institutions in various places such as Northern Ireland, Florida, Auckland, Maryland, Manchester and Oxford. Ian arrived in Dunedin in 2013 and oversaw the construction of the Perpetual Guardian Planetarium and the design and development of the Tūhura Science Centre, across his 10 year tenure at the Museum. Ian's love for the Southern skies was sparked when he witnessed the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) above a Dunedin beach. In his pursuit of the perfect photograph of the Southern Lights, Ian arranged the first-ever charter flight to the southern auroral zone. Ian has since been on numerous flights on board NASA's flying observatory SOFIA. He was awarded the Prime Minister's Science Media Communication Prize in 2015 and was made a Companion of The Royal Society Te Apārangi in 2019. Dr. Ian Griffin will be sharing, through a photographic journey, his passion for the night skies at this year's D72 Conference.

Educational: Marea Colombo

Marea Colombo has been making things up for as long as she can remember. This skill has led her to be the Artistic Director of Improsaurus, an Ōtepoti-based improvisation troupe. Her PhD in social psychology investigated how we can “see through other people’s eyes,” and she loves intertwining both her academic and creative sides. Colombo is the co-creater of multi-award winning company Late Bloomers, a production company which creates unique pieces of art. Join Marea in a workshop on how to overcome the mental barriers we face when speaking on the spot!

Educational: Jonathan Usher

Jonathan Usher has been a comedy magician since 2003, performing all over New Zealand and Australia and totaling more than 150 shows each year. He is one of New Zealand’s finest comedy magicians. In 2021 at the New Zealand Magicians convention in Auckland, Jonathan walked away with the awards for the best comedy magician, the best performance of the convention, as well as the best performance in the evening Gala Show. In 2022, the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand awarded him the prestigious Variety Artist of the Year. Jonathan will be using his comedic expertise in a workshop on how to use humour effectively and what to do when it goes wrong!

Educational: Roger Hynd (DTM)

Roger Hynd, a Toastmaster since 2006, will use his leadership experience to explore the dynamics of attracting and retaining members. The key is to put the club member at the heart of everything you do. This educational will explore how the club and its committee can work together to create a membership experience that everybody will embrace and enjoy and in which they can grow. Roger is a Distinguished Toastmaster, past Distinguished Area Governor, and currently an Area Director.

Educational: Lovey Ratima-Rapson

Lovey Ratima-Rapson has spent over two decades working in various sectors of the healthcare industry, primarily focused on Māori Health. Lovey’s background in a diverse range of health settings, and her present role managing a team of Health Relationship Managers in Otautahi/Christchurch, has given her the experience and passion to support whānau. Lovey has held roles such as Club President and VP Education over her past seven years as a Toastmaster. Lovey will speak about how we can support members to engage and improve relationships.

Educational: Karen Hoyland

Karen Hoyland has an accounting background and a love of board games, so when she was introduced to the board game ‘The Game of Business’ she was naturally inspired to adapt the game from a business perspective to Toastmasters. Karen wants to inspire the audience to think outside the box when looking for new members, and to encourage committees to be more proactive about membership growth. Play the Game of Toastmasters with Karen as she takes you through topics such as past, present, future members; club vision, public events, advertising and systems documentation. All will be explained with personal stories from Karen's experience as an Area Director.

Keynote Speaker: Cheryl Adams

Being the CEO of Animation Research Limited, one of Australasia's leading Computer Graphics production houses, seemed an unlikely career choice for Cheryl Adams when she was grubbing thistles on her parent's farm. After all, she was going to be an accountant, until a calculus teacher suggested she'd get bored and advised her to head to engineering school. Cheryl's journey from mechanical engineering through the energy sector and into award winning computer graphics, is a story of practical empathy, and proves the wisdom of her calculus teacher: her life is far from boring. She’s an empathetic people leader with a passion for encouraging people to try things they don’t believe they can do. Her engineer’s brain drives a need to understand how things work and her leisure time is filled with the outdoors, gardening, cooking and of course her bookclub. Join Cheryl for a highlights reel of her career pick-a-path and brief insight into creativity at Animation Research Ltd. She’ll share some stories about how to create a space for innovation along with some tales of when things didn’t go well. Come along to get a insight into the behind the scenes of live sports broadcast - the good, the bad and the ugly.


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