This talk is presented by
Mike believes in the inspirational power of cities and spends a good amount of time encouraging anyone in his orbit to get out of the house, to know their city and to have more fun.
While working as a lawyer in the Middle East, he spotted an opportunity to launch global lifestyle brand Time Out in Sydney in 2007 to achieve these aims. In 15 years at the helm of Time Out Australia he has grew the brand across print, digital, event and social channels, which now reaches 1,000,000 Australians monthly. He also co-founded the Time Out Bar Awards and the Time Out Food Awards. Time Out’s contribution to our cities was recently recognised in 2020 when Time Out was awarded the Mumbrella Publish Awards Publishing Company of the Year, and Mike himself was awarded Publish Leader of the Year.
Since 2017 and prompted by the challenges facing Sydney's night time economy, Mike has focussed his efforts on aligning and empowering industry to actively engage in the political process in order to effect change. This saw him take a leading role in launching an independent bars association for Sydney in May 2018, followed by the launch of a Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) in November 2018 of which he was the inaugural Chair. The NTIA was at the forefront of the development of the NSW Government strategy for a 24-Hour Economy, and in February Mike was announced as the State of NSW’s first 24 Hour Economy Commissioner, a role that commenced formally on 29 March 2021.
Mike is also co-host of leading hospitality podcast Back of House, a board member of UNSW Art & Design’s advisory council and a board member of Torrens University Hospitality advisory council.
Garage Sale Trail is a not-for-profit community enterprise founded by Andrew Valder and Darryl Nichols. Garage Sale Trail aims to promote re-use, reduce waste to landfill, create awareness about illegal dumping, unite communities, and stimulate local economies.
The program encourages people to hold garage sales on the one day across Australia. In addition, it turns the humble Garage Sale into a way for people to make a few dollars, meet their neighbours, divert waste to landfill all whilst having a whole lot of fun.
Heather Whitely Robertson is the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Assistant Director, Audiences & Creative Learning. She connects people with contemporary art, culture and ideas and is responsible for positioning the MCA locally, nationally and internationally as a place for experiencing creativity, engagement and exchange. In her role, Heather drives the strategic direction of marketing, public relations, visitor experience, public engagement and student and teacher engagement.
Heather was born in Perth, Western Australia, where she completed her secondary schooling and undergraduate studies before relocating to Melbourne to pursue further education. Heather holds a Masters of Education (Arts Administration), Graduate Diploma in Visual & Performing Arts) both from RMIT University, Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Notre Dame Australia, and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Architecture) from Curtin University, Western Australia.
Prior to joining the MCA, Heather worked as a Learning Manager for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London with responsibility for audience development initiatives for families and mass-participation festivals; Head of Learning at Open House London; Curator of Family and Community Programmes at Tate Modern and as an Educator at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. Heather is passionate about contemporary art, learning, engagement and pushing the boundaries of imagination.
Kaj is the Director of The School of Life Australia, a cultural enterprise dedicated to exploring good ideas for everyday living. The School of Life works on developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture, addressing such issues as how to find fulfilling work, how to master the art of relationships, how to understand one’s past, how to achieve calm and how better to understand, and where necessary, change the world.
Prior to this, Kaj served as the Director of Strategy at Small Giants. Small Giants invests in businesses that are shifting us to a more socially equitable and environmentally sustainable world. Even further back in time, Kaj had a number of other dream jobs with Engineers Without Borders and Engineers Australia. He is currently serving as a director on the board of Engineers Without Borders.