We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers for the 2020 Rural and Remote Forum in Dubbo.  More speakers to be announced soon!

Nathan Wallis

Nathan is a father of three, stepfather to two and foster father to many more. His professional background includes early childhood teacher, child therapist, social service manager, university lecturer and neuroscience trainer. Following his time at the University of Canterbury, he founded a private training consultancy with the goal of facilitating easy to understand professional development reflecting the latest neuroscience discoveries and their practical implications for everyday practice. Nathan is is an advisor for the New Zealand Ministry of Education, and an expert advisor for New Zealand Ministry of Vulnerable Children.

Nathan is in hot demand as a guest speaker, delivering in excess of 150 presentations every year throughout Australia, New Zealand, China, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

His increasing media profile includes National Radio and TV appearances as a guest expert on parenting, teaching and understanding the developing brain of young people. Nathan has filmed a Neuroscience documentary screened in 2017 and produced two DVDs, Brain Development for Babies and The Teenage Brain,  exploring how the brain works and how neuroscience can better inform our day to day interactions with babies and young people.

Inspirational and charismatic, Nathan’s keen ability to translate neuroscience into every day life and practice engages all audiences.

“I didn’t realise that there was so much going on in my kids heads. This information has been awesome to hear. I really feel like I have a completely new understanding of why my teenager is like he is. I’m Not worried at all any more. Thanks so much Nathan you are an AWESOME communicator. You make everything so easy to understand.” 

Resource Teacher for Learning and Behaviour


Robyn Moore

Robyn’s tailored presentations aim to:

  • Re-ENGAGE the audience with their whole LIFE! Their Vocation/Job, Purpose, Family, Relationships, Community…Themselves!
  • Re-INVENT attitudes and behaviours…attendees access personal responsibility and self-determination. The bi-products are Leadership, Integrity and Authenticity.
  • Re-GENERATE Passion, Energy, Productivity, Laughter and Work/Home balance.
  • Re-MIND the audience about “what really mattered before the circumstances changed everything”. They get to experience Possibility, Optimism and Satisfaction again…and the desire to pass this onto their staff, team, customers and their families.
  • Re-STORE confidence, hope and resilience in challenging times.

Catharine Hydon

With a Masters in early childhood education, Catharine has extensive experience in the early childhood sector beginning as a teacher in a kindergarten program in the northern suburbs of Melbourne to lead roles in a range of services and projects for children and their families.

Catharine draws on her experience and ongoing practice research to consider how theory connects and informs practice.  Specialising in early childhood practice and pedagogy, quality improvement, policy and governance, the delivery of integrated services to engage vulnerable children and their families.

Catharine’s involvement in the early childhood sector is an important part of her commitment to the outcomes for children.  She is a long-time member of Early Childhood Australia (ECA) currently serving as the Co-chair of the Reconciliation Advisory Group and is a regular contributor in ECA publications. Catharine has been a member of the ECA Code of Ethics working group for the last two reviews and is a co-author on the recently published Ethics in Action Implementation guide. Catharine is also a member of the Respectful Relationship Expert Advisory Group for the Victorian Department of Education and the EY-10 Curriculum and Assessment Committee for the VCAA and has recently been appointed as a second tier reviewer for ACECQA.

Marc de Rosnay

Professor Marc de Rosnay’s research focuses on emotional development in early childhood, with particular emphasis on the ways that young children understand emotions and the inter-play between such understanding and their emotional experiences.

Prof. Marc de Rosnay is the current Professor & Academic Head of Early Start at the UOW. In this role, Prof. de Rosnay is leading transformational initiatives between the University and the community with the goal of improving educational and social opportunities for young children in regional, rural and remote contexts. Between 2003 and 2006 Marc was awarded a prestigious College Fellowship (Churchill College, University of Cambridge) in recognition of his original work on emotion understanding in infancy and early childhood. In 2006 he moved to the School of Psychology, University of Sydney, where he held and Australian Research Council (ARC) Postdoctoral Fellowship between 2007 and 2010. Marc joined Early Start in 2014 because of his belief that early intervention provides the single best mechanism to improve children’s lives.

Meg Mendham

Meg Mendham (CEO, CCSA)  has over 20 years’ experience in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector, with direct service delivery experience in Long Day Care, Multipurpose Centres, Preschool, Mobile Children’s Services and Playgroups as an Early Childhood Teacher and Director.

Meg has extensive governance and management experience, having held various executive positions on State and National boards including the NSW Mobile Children’s Services Association, National Association of Mobile Services and CCSA.  She has also served on steering committees and reference groups working with Federal/State government departments on the development of regulations, policy and funding models.

Meg’s extensive engagement with Aboriginal early childhood peak bodies such as the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) and Aboriginal Early Childhood Support and Learning (AECSL), focussed on improving quality and rates of attendance for Aboriginal children in early childhood education.  Leading CCSA’s engagement with the Aboriginal community of Weilmoringle to establish a Community Safety Net preschool on behalf of the Department of Education.

Ian Alchin

Ian is the Services Development Manager at CCSA providing operational and professional support  with an improvement and solution focus. He has held the positions of teacher and director, as well as CEO and other senior management roles across all service types and organisations.

He is currently also a Doctoral Researcher and tutor with Western Sydney University and a consultant on leadership and management in the sector. His work promotes the development of a professional sector and the value of early years education based on the rights of children.

Ian presents locally and internationally focussing on creating healthy, capable and sustainable services. He is also a board member of Early Childhood Australia.

John Gunn

John is an experienced Finance and Business Manager in the information technology, healthcare and early childhood sectors. Qualified and experienced Company Secretary/Public Officer. His expertise in industrial relations, including acting as CCSA’s representative in Fair Work Commission Hearings.

John delivers CCSA training to ECEC services on Governance and Management. Supports ECEC services with governance reviews, including review of constitutions.  He has developed tools for the Start Strong Sector Support program, including enrollment projections, funding calculators and fee-setting / fee pass through decision support tools to facilitate community preschool compliance with funding requirements.