Keynote Speakers

We’re excited to present two international keynote speakers; Stephen Gaetz and Melanie Redman

Stephen Gaetz

President & CEO of Homeless Hub Canada


Dr. Gaetz is the President & CEO of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, one of his key projects is the Homeless Hub, an innovative web-based research library internationally recognized as a leading example of innovation in knowledge mobilization. In 2016, Dr. Gaetz was awarded a Research Impact (Connection) award by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and in 2017 he received the honour of Member of the Order of Canada. As a scholar, Dr. Gaetz has had a long-standing interest in understanding homelessness – its causes, how it is experienced, and potential solutions. His program of research has been defined by his desire to ‘make research matter’ through conducting rigorous scholarly research that contributes to our knowledge base on homelessness and is mobilized so that it has an impact on policy, practice and public opinion. As an internationally recognized leader and innovator in the area of knowledge mobilization, Dr. Gaetz has pioneered efforts to bring together researchers, practitioners, policymakers and people with lived experience of homelessness to participate in a broad agenda of community-engaged scholarship and knowledge creation designed to contribute to solutions to homelessness.

Publications and recent news


Melanie Redman

President & CEO, A Way Home Canada


Melanie Redman is the co-founder and President & CEO of A Way Home Canada. Melanie also leads the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness, which is a national community of practice of youth homelessness service providers committed to reducing the amount of time any young person is in an emergency shelter or mired in homelessness. In her previous role as the Director of National Initiatives at Eva’s Initiatives, Melanie led a national pilot project to support a number of communities to develop targeted strategies to prevent and end youth homelessness. Learning from that project, other communities, and international best practices in planning led to the development of A Way Home’s Youth Homelessness Community Planning Toolkit, which is utilized in communities around the world. Melanie is an internationally-recognized thought leader on utilizing Collective Impact to work across the systems that drive young people into homelessness to ensure they are also part of the solutions.

Publications and recent news



Plenary and concurrent session speakers

Mark Chenery


Co-founder, Common Cause


Mark Chenery is a communications expert and trainer who works with social and environmental organisations to incorporate a science-based approach to values in their work. Since establishing Common Cause Australia in 2014, he has supported dozens of cause-based organisations to embed values in their community engagement and trained over 5,000 campaigners, communicators and fundraisers from Australia and New Zealand to do the same. Prior to establishing Common Cause Australia, Mark worked in advertising, journalism and non-profit communications. 


Cathy Humphrey


CEO, Sacred Heart Mission


Cathy Humphrey has been with Sacred Heart Mission (SHM) for more than 17 years. During this time, she has overseen the operations of SHM’s Client Services, in addition to taking on the CEO role in November 2011. Cathy has been working in the disability, community housing and homelessness sector for more than 27 years.

Currently, Cathy is the Chair of the Board of Council to Homeless Persons - the peak body for not-for-profit organisations working with people who are experiencing homelessness in Victoria. Cathy has qualifications in Social Science Training and Assessment, and Coaching. Cathy’s passion is driven by an interest in people, human rights and a desire to make a difference, and that passion continues to burn brightly through leading the development of innovative solutions to ending chronic homelessness- the Journey to Social Inclusion program.


Dr Gerry Naughtin

Strategic Adviser, Mental Health and Psychosocial Disability in the Strategic Advice, Research and Inclusion Division of the NDIA

Gerry Naughtin is the Strategic Adviser, Mental Health and Psychosocial Disability in the Strategic Advice, Research and Inclusion Division of the NDIA.  He brings extensive experience in the community mental health sector to this position.  Prior to taking up his position with the Agency, he was the Chief Executive of Mind Australia and brings nine years of sector and policy experience to his position.  He was a member of the Independent Advisory Council to the Agency and, along with Janet Meagher, led the IAC’s work on mental health and the NDIS.  He has been a member of the Expert Advisory Group to the Mental Health Service Planning Group and was a member of the VICSERV Board for five years.  Gerry has an extensive career in human services in the disability and aged care sectors and has a strong history of engagement on consumer and carer participation.


David Mackenzie


Associate Professor, School of Psychology, Social Work & Social Policy, University of South Australia

David is an Associate Professor at the University of South Australia with a strong record of research and development on youth issues and youth policy and is widely recognised for his work on youth homelessness. In 2007-2008, he was one of the four Commissioners responsible for the influential National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness [NYC]. David is the founder and current Chair of Youth Development Australia Ltd (YDA), a charitable NGO that operates as a ‘platform for change’ as well as backbone support for the ‘community of schools and youth services’ model of early intervention or COSS Model (The high-profile Geelong Project was the first pilot site). David is the founding Director of Upstream Australia. 


Samantha Sowerwine


Principal lawyer, Justice Connects Homeless Law 


Samantha Sowerwine is Principal Lawyer at Justice Connect Homeless Law. Sam has worked in the community legal sector for 15 years, including at the Homeless Person's Legal Service in Sydney, Victoria Legal Aid, and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. 


The Hon. Bronwyn Pike

Chair of Uniting VicTas and Uniting Care Australia and former Victorian Minister for Housing, Aged Care, Community Services, Health, Education and Workforce Participation


Bronwyn is the Chair of Western Heath and the South Australian Urban Renewal Authority (Renewal SA), and a board member of the Australian Health Policy Collaboration. She is the Chair of Uniting Care Australia and serves on the board of Uniting NSW.ACT. Bronwyn is also a board member of Leap In!

As a consultant, Bronwyn provides strategic planning advice, executive mentoring, and support to nongovernment organisations.

Prior to these roles, Bronwyn was the State member for Melbourne and Victorian Minister for Housing, Aged Care, Community Services, Health, Education and Skills. Her 13-year parliamentary career included 11 years as a minister.

Before entering parliament in 1999, she was the director of justice and social responsibility in the Synod of Victoria.


Bevan Warner


Chief Executive, Launch Housing


Bevan Warner is the current Chief Executive Officer for Launch Housing one of Victoria's largest providers of housing and homeless support services, reaching over 18,000 Victorians each year. As a former Managing Director of Victoria Legal Aid Bevan arranged legal advice and advocacy services for over 90,000 vulnerable Victorians each year.

Central to each role has been a concern for fair treatment of people who are vulnerable and who are exposed to the exercise of power by individuals entrusted to confer entitlements or to sanction fellow citizens.  Each role entails leading a workforce exposed to vicarious trauma, arising from the work itself and exacerbated by the many policy and system failures that set individuals and our community up to fail. 

With a belief and passion for individual human dignity, and the need to create healthy communities, Bevan believes that positive social change will always be people led.



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