The past twelve months have changed us all. To deliver care throughout the pandemic, you and your teams have had to work differently, at pace and under unprecedented pressure and often without a playbook. As organisations dare to look to the future new ideas are emerging about how we look after our people, about how we support them to deliver care, about how we solve new challenges like retaining staff, reducing elective backlogs in acute settings or attracting staff to work in aged care.

People Summit Australia 2021 will bring together workforce leaders from across Health and Care to learn from experts, share best practice and connect with peers. Together we will explore the learnings from the past 12 months and what this means for the future of workforce planning, deployment, staff engagement, wellbeing, and culture.

This event will help you answer:

  • How do we address the psychological impact of the pandemic within our organisations and beyond?
  • How will the Royal Commission Report transform the future of Aged Care in Australia?
  • How can you maximise efficiency while protecting your staff from burnout?
  • What does the future employer of choice look like for the healthcare workforce?
  • What does a more connected and engaged workforce look like?

People Summit Australia 2021 will be delivered digitally online using cutting edge technology. Sessions will be interactive, discussion or workshop based with delegate participation encouraged.

Our Speakers

The Honourable Jeff Kennett, AC

43rd Premier of Victoria; Chairman of Hawthorn Football Club

Jeff Kennett is one of the most decorated premiers in Victorian history, resigning in November 1999 after 23 years’ service, including 7 as Premier.

From 2000-2017, Mr Kennett was the founding chairman of the highly successful national depression initiative beyondblue. Mr Kennett was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for his work with the Victorian Parliament, as well as his social and economic initiatives. He has served as President of the Hawthorn Football Club from 2005 to 2011, and again from 2017-present.

Prof Natasha Smallwood

Consultant respiratory physician, Royal Melbourne Hospital; principal research fellow, Monash University

Prof Natasha Smallwood (BMedSci BMBS MSc FRCPE FRACP PhD) is a consultant respiratory physician at the Alfred and Royal Melbourne Hospitals and a principal research fellow at Monash University. In addition to her respiratory qualifications, she holds postgraduate qualifications in Palliative Care and Epidemiology.

Natasha has clinical and research interests in breathlessness and severe lung disease, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. She established and leads a specialist integrated respiratory and palliative care service. As a ‘frontline” healthcare worker she designed and co-led the Australian COVID-19 Frontline Health Workers study, which is the largest multi-professional, national study that has examined the psychosocial effects of the pandemic on health workers.

Natasha is a Board Director for the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, and serves on multiple national committees for the Lung Foundation Australia and the Palliative Care Clinical Studies Collaborative. Additionally, she is a taskforce member for various national and international respiratory guidelines.

John Stanway

CEO, The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne

John Stanway was appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in April 2017. Prior to commencing in this role, John was the Chief Operating Officer at the RCH for more than ten years, overseeing clinical operations. From 2012, John also held the position of Deputy CEO.

Before joining the RCH, John managed Monash Medical Centre, was Chief Executive of the Transport Accident Commission and held various senior management roles at General Motors Holden.

John has a double major in Economics and a Graduate Diploma in Industrial Relations, and he is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

John is the President of Children's Healthcare Australasia and a Board Director for The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Ltd and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. John was also previously the President of the Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association.

Professor Karen Willis

School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport, La Trobe University, Melbourne

Professor Willis is a health sociologist and health services researcher. She has had 30 years’ experience researching the health care system, examining the choices that consumers make about health and health care as well as the roles of health professionals within the system.

Her research interests include private health insurance, chronic condition self-management, and mammography screening. Together with Prof Natasha Smallwood, she co-led the 'frontline' health worker study, the largest multi-professional survey examining the psycho-social impacts of COVID-19 on health workers.

Pat Sparrow

CEO, Aged & Community Services Australia

Pat Sparrow is a social policy leader and innovator. She has specific and detailed expertise in ageing policy and aged care, having worked as, and with, a diverse range of stakeholders including consumers, service providers, workforce, health professionals, corporate organisations and Government. This unique ‘360 degree’ perspective informs ACSAs work and approach in all its endeavours whether that is advocating on behalf of members to Government or building key stakeholder relationships to support ACSA members.

As CEO, Pat’s breadth of knowledge, depth of experience and constructive approach are enabling ACSA to achieve results that benefit members and contribute to the best possible outcomes for older Australians.

Renzo Mostacci

CIO, Uniting NSW

Renzo Mostacci is CIO of Uniting NSW.

Gillian Shedden

Executive Director, Eastern Health

In this position she plays a leading role in the implementation of systems that drive cultural improvements. As such, she is responsible for creating a values-based safe workplace in delivering healthcare excellence, whilst assisting Eastern Health to become a more agile organisation.

With particular experience and skill in workplace and employment law, Gill is a highly skilled HR professional who has supported the delivery of business objectives through various business cycles and strategic change programs.

Eastern Health is one of Melbourne’s largest metropolitan public health services. We provide a range of emergency, surgical, medical and general healthcare services, including maternity, palliative care, mental health, drug and alcohol, residential care, community health and statewide specialist services to people and communities that are diverse in culture, age, socio-economic status, population and healthcare needs.

Gill holds a Master in Workplace & Employment Law and a Graduate Diploma in Workplace & Industrial Relations from Monash University and a Bachelor of Arts from Deakin University.

Richard Ainley

Partner, Health and Aged Care, PwC Australia

Richard is a management consulting partner at PwC Australia. He is national leader for Aged Care and lead partner for health in Victoria. He brings more than 25 years’ experience in consulting, executive, board director and clinical roles. Richard is committed to achieving positive change and new value for systems, organisations and people.

Richard is equipped with a broad span of proven strategic and operational consulting expertise. He has worked extensively with government, public, private and member-based organisations. Richard combines an engaging and inclusive style with a rigorous, analytical approach to deliver exceptional client outcomes.

Richard is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the
Australasian College of Health Service Management, where he has a special interest in developing and mentoring future leaders. He has a clinical background as a physiotherapist.

Angi Bissell

Director of People & Organisations, PwC Australia

Angi has an extensive clinical and senior health leadership profile that enables her to engage with clinicians, leaders and executives.

She has an interest in working with clinicians to build business and leadership skills, working across Australia with executives, pre executives and emerging leaders.

Using her experience in managing healthcare operations in the UK, Australia and South East Asia she has successfully implemented a number of large scale transformational change programs and stakeholder engagements. With a background in health and social welfare, she is be an active contributor to policy change, service development, government and health service reform initiatives.

She has extensive leadership experience with particular interest in developing high performing teams through workforce engagement, performance management and executive team alignment.

Michelle Fenwick

Executive Director, People & Culture, Northern Health

Michelle has been the Executive Director, People & Culture for the past 5 years.

Northern Health is a public health service with 4 hospital campuses and employs 5,400 staff. It is located in Melbourne North and has an expected local population growth of 64% by 2031. This growth has a direct impact on the hospitals clinical workforce that it needs to attract to service the healthcare needs of the community.

Over the last 12 months we have had to deal with issues and challenges due to covid-19 outbreaks in the community, health service and aged care within Melbourne’s north and needed to activate workforce plans, redeployed staff, staff engagement and their wellbeing whilst attracting and building a workforce that is safe, kind and works together.

Kate Nolan

CIO, Ballarat Health Services / Grampians Rural Health Alliance, Victoria

Kate Nolan is the Chief Information Officer for Ballarat Health Services and the Grampians Rural Health Alliance leading teams in Information Technology, Health Information Services, Applications, and Decision Support. With primary responsibility for setting digital strategy and ensuring its integration with Health Services strategic and business planning processes. As CIO, clinical engagement and ensuring technology solutions are integrated is paramount to delivering digital health systems. As we prioritise patient safety and the shift to person-centred care.

Kate has been involved with leading, implementing and supporting a number of transformation projects, both clinical and non-clinical at the Ballarat Health Services and within the Grampians Region.

Kate has a Bachelor of Health Information Management and a Master of Business Administration; and bringing more than 20 years’ experience in the Health Care Industry.

In 2020, Kate was Acting Executive Director Redevelopment & Infrastructure dealing with issues and challenges that COVID-19 presented. Working in an unfamiliar role through unprecedented times and pressure across the whole healthcare system; Kate further developed her adaptive leadership skills. There are many learnings from the past 12 months, especially how we responded as a team and the infrastructure required for the rapid adoption of technology in health and care.


10:00 – 10:10 | Stage 1


Richard Hazeltine, Director of Sales, Allocate

10:15 – 10:55 | Stage 1

Opening Keynote: Leading through crisis - how did the Royal Children Hospital battle through COVID-19?

John Stanway, CEO, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne

  • What are some of the challenges the Royal Children’s Hospital faced over the past 12 months?
  • How did you balance the delivery of care while maintaining a focused and engaged workforce?
  • What are some of the lessons learned through the process?
  • Have any changes or initiatives implemented during the pandemic been kept?
  • What was it like running the Good Friday Appeal during the pandemic and setting a record with over $18m fundraised in a year like 2020?
  • How has the pandemic shaped the future roadmap of not only the Royal Children’s Hospital, but for health and care organisations?

11:00 – 11:30 | Stage 1

Workforce planning post-Royal Commission Final Report: What can Aged Care leaders do now?

Pat Sparrow, CEO, Aged & Community Services Australia
Richard Ainley, Partner, Health & Aged Care, PwC Australia

  • How to foster a culture within the workplace that support the upcoming aged care reform and changes
  • Is there a workforce shortage or is it an issue on retention?
  • How to improve the image of the aged care workers and how to attact future employees
  • How to retain staff

11:30 – 11:40 


11:40 – 12:10

The contingency workforce as part of an emergency response: from the perspective of a deployed worker

Kim Willcox, Member of the Victoria deployment team to support the COVID-19 response for Aged Care and Operation Bushfire Assist

  • What personal experience do you have with deploying to be part of a contingency workforce?
  • How would you compare and contrast the different deployments you have undertaken?
  • Is there such a thing as a typical deployment?
  • As a member of a contingency workforce, what is the most important thing during a deployment?
  • From your experience supporting the health and aged care industries in Melbourne during the pandemic, what are some of the learnings you can share?
12:15 – 12:45 | Stage 1

HRD roundtable: Harnessing lessons learned in 2020 to create the future roadmap

Angi Bissell, Director of People & Organisations, PwC
Michelle Fenwick, Executive Director, People & Culture, Northern Health
Gillian Shedden, Executive Director, Eastern Health

  • The strategic value of HR and why now is the right time to shape the future
  • How can we respond to changing needs of the workforce?
  • Discover how others creating a psychologically safe workplace for employees to thrive
  • Discuss the bold moves that are making health and care organisations stand out and be an employer of choice
12:15 – 12:45 | Stage 2

Crisis as opportunity: how has COVID-19 intensified the need for rapid adoption of technology in health and care?

Renzo Mostacci, CIO, Uniting NSW
Kate Nolan, CIO, CIO, Ballarat Health Services / Grampians Rural Health Alliance, Victoria
Chair: Dean Seeley, Senior Product Manager, Allocate

  • What are some of the technology initiatives that are driven by COVID-19?
  • What’s your experience rolling out new technology during the pandemic?
  • How has the technology roadmap at your organisation changed now? And what is the future focus?

12:50 – 13:20 | Stage 1

Workforce: Plan, Engage and Retain (Technology Solution Keynote)

Creating the best experience for staff from schedules to pay while ensuring resources are managed smartly for a sustainable future

Simon Courage, Chief Solutions Architect, Allocate

13:20 – 13:45

Lunch & Expo

13:45 – 14:15 | Stage 1

Understanding the psychologial impact of the pandemic on the healthcare workers and lessons learned: Results from the COVID-19 Frontline Health Workers Study

Prof Natasha Smallwood, Consultant respiratory physician, Royal Melbourne Hospital; principal research fellow, Monash University
Prof Karen Willis
, School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport, La Trobe University, Melbourne

Released for the first time, this session will reveal the below findings from the study:

  • The prevalence and severity of mental health symptoms in frontline health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic 2nd wave in Australia
  • Who is more at risk within the workforce to these issues?
  • The positive and negative coping factors utilised
  • The detailed experiences that healthcare workers described
  • What solutions did healthcare workers adopt and what can health leaders learn from these?

14:20 – 15:00 | Stage 1

Keynote Presentation

The Honourable Jeff Kennett AC, 43rd Premier of Victoria; Chairman of Hawthorn Football Club

15:00 – 16:00



People Summit Australia will take place on:

Wednesday 28 April 2021

  • 8:00-13:00 AWST
  • 9:30-14:30 ACST
  • 10:00-15:00 AEST


People Summit Australia 2021 will be delivered digitally online using cutting edge technology.

Sessions will be interactive, discussion or workshop based with delegate participation encouraged.


People Summit Australia 2021 is free of charge.

However, places are limited and must be booked in advance.


What technology platform will the People Summit be using?

After attending a number of virtual events ourselves, we selected Hopin as we felt it was straightforward and simple to use with 5 different areas that you would expect to see at an in-person event: Reception, Stage, Sessions, Networking and the Expo. Click here to download a short User Guide to help you navigate the platform.

I registered on the website, do I also need to register on Hopin?

No, you don’t have to reregister for Hopin if you have already registered for the People Summit using the form on the dedicated event webpage. All you need to do is activate the unique link that will be sent to your registered email address.

Can I use Internet Explorer or Edge for the People Summit?

No. You will not be able to access the People Summit at all using Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge.

Most of the features that the Summit makes use of, including live streaming audio and video, are not supported by Internet Explorer and are supported in a very limited way with Microsoft Edge. This is because Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft, even if your organisation still uses it.

If you would like to take part in the summit, you should use Google Chrome or Microsoft Firefox on any computer. You may even be able to using a tablet or your mobile phone.

Can I join using a mobile device?

The People Summit can be accessed by Attendees on most modern mobile devices. You can view the Stage, view Sessions, view Expo, chat, and use the Networking features.

Mobile browsers supported


  • Google Chrome

iOS, iPadOS (Apple)

  • Safari

Note: There is no dedicated app for desktops or mobiles on the Stores, no downloads are required.

Can I catch up on sessions that I've missed?

Yes! Every presentation will be recorded and will be shared with everyone who has registered for the People Summit, even if you couldn’t attend on the day.

Look out for more information on this very soon.