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An inspiring line-up of speakers

By Admin Whangarei

Earlier this month, nearly 3,000 Ray White members converged on the Gold Coast to take part in our biggest event ever, Connect 2022.

What a huge couple of days, and what a fantastic lineup of speakers…

Rt Hon Sir John Key

Sir John Key had a meteoric rise from millionaire head of global foreign exchange for Merrill Lynch to leader of the parliamentary National Party in New Zealand, where he served as Prime Minister for eight years.

Pursuing a childhood dream of becoming Prime Minister of New Zealand, Sir John Key entered politics in 2002, before becoming the 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand in 2008.

Leading New Zealand through the GFC, unprecedented earthquakes in Christchurch and the Pike River disaster, Key retired on his own terms, and on top. – At the time of his retirement from office, New Zealand had one of the highest growth rates and best fiscal position of any advanced economy.

In his keynote address, former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir John Key, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated former politicians, discussed politics, life and the idea of mastering leadership.

Duncan Wardle

Imagine spending your days bringing your imagination to life in the world of Mickey, Minnie, Luke, Leia, Tony Stark, Woody, Buzz… Well, that’s what Duncan Wardle did for 25 years of his stellar career.

Wardle was head of innovation and creative strategy at Disney, where he oversaw creativity at LucasFilms, Pixar, Marvel and their world famous theme parks. Teaching huge teams about strategic thinking to create moments of innovation, Wardle revolutionised Disney’s commercial offering, and was integral to heralding the new golden age of the company.

Travelling to the conference from Los Angeles, Stephen provided a thought-provoking and fascinating presentation applicable to all teams in the Ray White Group who want to start thinking outside the box.

Jana Pittman

Not many people – if any – can add two time world champion, four time Commonwealth Games champion, Summer and Winter Olympics representative, mother of four, and medical doctor to their resume. The 2021 Sports Hall of Fame inductee Jana Pittman can.

This inspirational woman has pushed every physical, emotional and mental boundary life has thrown – and has thrived and excelled in every aspect of her life. Jana’s at the cutting edge of science, having completed a Masters in Reproductive Health at UNSW after graduating from Western Sydney University with a Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery in her life outside of top-tier sports competition.

Jana recently featured on Australian Story and appeared as a contestant on the grueling reality TV show, SAS Australia. She made it to the last day of the show and was the last woman standing – despite having given birth five and a half months earlier.

Jana’s uplifted and inspirer us all, proving the phrase ‘impossible is nothing’.

Samantha Bloom

What is resilience? And how can we cultivate it when things don’t go to plan? Samantha Bloom answered these questions and more in her visually immersive and deeply personal presentations, sharing her experience of a dream life turned to a nightmare in an instant.

Sam led us through the extraordinary highs and painful lows of life before, during and after a near-fatal accident in 2013. She shared how she led her way back from deep physical suffering and depression through family, love and a unique connection with the natural world. Through adversity, Sam has gone on to become a bestselling author, two time World Para Surfing champion and inspiration behind the international hit movie Penguin Bloom.

Sam’s true story holds powerful messages and new perspectives for us all as we navigate our own personal and professional challenges, inspiring us to be the best version of ourselves, and to live and be grateful for each day as we never know what tomorrow holds.

Stephen McGown

Stephen McGown knows the power of patience – he was held captive in the Sahara desert by Al Qaeda for six years. No one would blame him for coming out of that experience with a bleak view of the world, but McGown has done the complete opposite. He used his experience as a teaching exercise – how could he come home to his family a better person than when he was captured?

In this inspiring and heart-wrenching talk, McGown convinced us all of the power of human resilience, healing, and focusing on the good things in life. After all, when you’re held captive for six years by one of the world’s worst terrorist organisations, you learn not to sweat the small stuff.

Vinh Giang

With only 6 months to graduate, Vinh Giang left his degree in commerce and law to become an online magic teacher ultimately building a hugely successful online business, 52kards, which now serves over 800,000 students all around the world. This earned him the award of Top Young Entrepreneur in Australia.

Vinh’s real magic journey began when he finally understood what Robert Houdin (an amazing magician) meant when he said: “A magician is an actor playing the part of the magician.” Once Vinh understood the meaning behind this quote, he focused all his energy on studying the art of performance and not the art of presentation. He has spent the last 15 years mastering the art of performance-enhanced communication, helping thousands of professionals worldwide to learn these skills.

Lisa O’Neill

Lisa is obsessed with people living the lives that they want to live – to honor themselves by being more of themselves. Helping companies improve their staff and customer engagement and individuals to have more energy, more passion and more happiness in their lives. Lisa gives people the tools and the permission to be the best version of themselves.

Lisa spoke about the importance of energy, excellence and enthusiasm, the power of personal presentation, the myth of work-life balance and how to live a magnificent life.

Author of ‘Look Gorgeous, Be Happy’, ‘Juggling in High Heels – How to Organise Chaos’ and ‘The Lickable Third’, New Zealand born Lisa has a great ability to work with people from all walks of life.

She believes we all want to be happy, to have energy, to feel amazing but so few know how. How to have, do, and be the vibrant energetic person that they dream of being. Lisa’s keynote presentation left us feeling motivated, inspired and full of energy.

Daniel Flynn

Daniel Flynn is one of Australia’s great success stories: at the age of 19 he was jolted into action after learning that 900 million people lack access to water, while Australia’s bottled water industry was worth $600 million.

Together with his best mate Jarryd Burns and then-girlfriend, now wife, Justine Flynn, in 2008 he launched Thankyou, a company that has turned typical notions of consumerism on its head by investing 100 per cent of its profits into ending global poverty.

To date, Thankyou has raised over $17 million and is well on its way to helping a million people in need across 22 countries. But Daniel hasn’t had things handed to him on a platter: Thankyou has had to fight for its corner in a very tough retail market and overcome some pretty incredible odds to get where they are today – and we were all amazed at the stories he had to tell.

And then of course there was Jimmy…

Jimmy Barnes, whose career, both as a solo performer and as the lead vocalist with the rock band Cold Chisel, has made him one of the most popular and best-selling Australian music artists of all time rocked the conference crowd – who were also treated to performances by Furnace and the Fundamentals.

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