Let’s Nut it Out – Mentors & Speakers


John Willis

John Willis works for Golden City Support Services. He manages a range of projects with a community development focus and is Creative Producer for CreateAbility, an inclusive arts company that he co-founded.

CreateAbility was established in Bendigo in 2002 with the aim of generating opportunities through the arts for people of all abilities to express themselves and connect with others. Focusing on contemporary art practice CreateAbility works with artists in a variety of practices ranging from theatre performance to visual arts.

John holds a Masters of Community Cultural Development Practice (Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University). John’s area of interest is in different forms of knowledge expressed through physical, sensory and non-verbal means.

Damien Tangey

Damien is the Managing Director of Birchgrove Property. Organisations he’s been involved in include: Be Bendigo (formerly Bendigo Business Council), Regional Development Australia Loddon Mallee Committee, Remembrance Parks Central Victoria – Bendigo Cemeteries Trust, Real Estate Institute of Victoria, Urban Development Institute of Australia (VIC), Australian Institute of Company Directors, Urban Development Institute of Australia (VIC), Victorian Planning & Environmental Law Association, Australian Property Institute, Urban Development Institute of Australia 

Hayley Davis

Hayley Davis is a third year Public Health Promotion student here, at La Trobe University, Bendigo. After working as a Remedial massage therapist for over 15 years, Hayley’s interest and passion for broader community health issues was ignited through her involvement with the start-up of Bendigo Community Farmer’s market (BCFM). 


In 2008 Hayley helped establish the community group which drove the success of BCFM and, stepped into the role of market manager a year after the first market was held. Having little formal knowledge of management, she describes the experience as a crash course apprenticeship in community development. Hayley will provide a candid perspective on how she and the BCFM team negotiated potential barriers, and overcame pitfalls in the early years of the market’s life 


Andrew Quek  

Senior Engagement Support Coordinator, La Trobe Uni

Andrew has marketing, communications and engagement specialist with over ten years’ experience in the education and not-for-profit sectors. With recent postgraduate research education and regional economic development experience, Andrew is passionate about research-industry engagement and collaboration, higher education, and workforce development. 


Skill area: Stakeholder engagement

Andrea Sloane  

Director Healthy Communities, Bendigo Health 

Andy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Promotion and a Master’s Degree in research, with experience in planning and education. Roles included working for Asthma Victoria and Western District Health on integrated disease management programs; Manager Healthy Together Mildura initiative to create culture change around healthy eating and physical activity to reduce the burden of chronic illness associated with obesity. Her role at Bendigo Health includes working with partners on obesity prevention, Aboriginal Support Services and Diversity.


Skill area: Partnerships and Relationships 

Ben Landsberg 

Senior Manager, Incentives & Innovation, PwC 

At PwC, Ben advises clients on the Australian Government’s R&D Tax Incentive and other government funding opportunities. Previously Ben spent 10+ years as a federal public servant in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and Department of Transport and Regional Services. His roles included assessing business and community groups’ applications for funding, under numerous different government funding programs.


Skill area: Government Funding 

Christine Crosby 

Coordinator Volunteer Participation (projects), Australian Red Cross 

Christine has 20+ yrs experience in communications, business development and relationship management. She has managed projects that have increased the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in international volunteering, shared the stories of people throughout the world in the form of video, the written word and publications to increase awareness of poverty, human rights and the power of people. And has worked with teams and across organisations to increase participation and engagement through digital communications.


Skill area: Marketing & Communications

Brenton Johnson 

Founder, Uptake Digital 

Uptake Digital is a company specialising in cloud and security in small and midmarket organisations. Brenton is known for his innovative and strategic approach to IT which enables businesses to do more with less. Brenton is also a co-host on the ‘Need to Know” podcast which offers news and analysis for IT professionals. In 2015, Brenton earned the Microsoft Silver Competency placing Uptake Digital within the top 5% of Microsoft Partners worldwide for cloud solutions. 


Skill area: Online Business & Innovation

Ivan Rwakijuma 

Community Leader 

IvanRwakijuma is an economist who is passionate about strategic planning, capacity building in results-based systems of project and programme planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation.Ivanis currently a Non-Executive Director and Treasurer to the Board of Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Economic Policy and Planning. His experience includes working at the Infectious Diseases Institute in Uganda in project monitoring and evaluation and at the Ministry of Finance in promoting investment, private sector and financial services development.


Skill area: Strategic Planning / Program Mgt and Evaluation 

Sharon Seyd 

Director, Jumpleads NFP

Sharon is an Arts Business Specialist and Producer. In the last 25 years she has started and lead 3 arts and production based organisations, producing numerous high profile projects for: theatre, film, live events. Collaborating with some of the worlds most prestigious artists and companies, both Nationally and Internationally, she is practised in producing results with a broad range of personalities. She also teaches arts business for VCA & Deakin University, and manages, designs, facilitats and delivered community engagement & education initiatives for Jumpleads / Make a Change.


Skill area: Producing Projects and Building Teams 

Shaun Langdon 

CEO, Strategem 

Shaun is an experienced coach, consultant and business leader who is passionate about supporting organisations and individuals to create lasting change. He has extensive commercial, consumer and international experience gained working within the luxury international hotel sector. For the last two decades, he has held senior management positions across Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia, India and the United Arab Emirates. 


Skill area: Business Coaching and Leadership