DIGI Engage 2020 speakers

Get to know the expert speakers, workshop facilitators and mentors who’ll be joining us from across Australia and the US for DIGI Engage 2020!

Adam Bozzetto

Heaps Decent

DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / Learn speaker

Adam is a music producer and DJ who has had an eclectic career over the past 14 years, working both in Australia and abroad. Currently working as a solo artist, he was previously half of the musical act Wordlife, appearing in many clubs, venues and main stages at festivals including Splendour in the Grass and Field Day in Australia, and abroad at Burning Man in the Nevada desert. Adam has released music on international labels such as DIM MAK, and locally on Modular Records. His music has been heard on rotation on Triple J and many other radio stations around Australia.

Whilst pursuing his own music Adam has worked as a lead facilitator with the arts organisation Heaps Decent for 8 years, running music production workshops with thousands of young people and collaborating with numerous emerging artists. This work has taken him across Australia, and he spends his days in such places as juvenile justice centres, schools, music studios and many diverse community settings – from Sydney to regional and remote areas. Adam helps young people in many challenging circumstances express themselves through music production, empowering them to share their unique stories and build skills, connections and self-belief.

Amirah Amin

Taboo Talks

DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / Learn speaker / "Coffee Break" Mentor

For 10 years, Amirah worked as a social worker with vulnerable and disenfranchised youth. With a rise in youth engaging in Islamist extremist behaviour, she became involved in PCVE efforts in 2014 as a Program Manager of a not-for-profit youth homelessness service. Amirah designed, and led an award-winning, specialist program that diverted vulnerable youth from polarising messages of hatred and positively re-engaged them in their community.

Amirah is the Founder of Taboo Talk, an offline dialogue-centred initiative confronting difficult topics in a “Brave Space”. The antithesis of a debate ground, Taboo Talk aims to depolarise sensitive topics, by introducing nuance through shared learning and understanding. Amirah expanded Taboo Talk to Egypt after relocating to Cairo in 2018. Amirah currently works for the United Nations’ Office of Counter Terrorism as a Youth Engagement Consultant where she is designing and implementing global workshops to facilitate difficult conversations around terrorism.

Bakri Mahmoud

Journalist and Content Producer

DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / Learn speaker / "Coffee Break" Mentor

Bakri Mahmoud is a journalist, dialogue facilitator and mental health advocate for young people.

Bakri is motivated by telling stories important to young people and under-represented communities in Australia. His passion for understanding difficult stories and giving light to struggle has demonstrated empowering value for his audience and those whose stories he’s worked with.

He champions men’s mental health and reimagining notions of positive masculinity. He has been a facilitator with Taboo Talk over the last three years and has published content across numerous platforms on the ABC.

At the moment he works as a producer with ABC Melbourne and spends his spare time creating art, playing basketball and having in depth discussions about place and power in society (via social media).

Charlie O’Brien

Heaps Decent

DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / Learn speaker / "Coffee Break" Mentor

Charlie is a music producer and DJ who works with Sydney-based non-profit arts organisation Heaps Decent, engaging young people around Australia through music and digital art. This work brings diverse participants together from vastly different circumstances and backgrounds, providing tools for creative expression and shared experiences, and allowing them to engage purposefully with community and broad audiences.

Charlie’s DJ career spans well over 10 years and has taken him to festivals and venues all over Australia, the USA and Asia. Charlie’s own music appears on the Aria Charts, and he is an award winning composer working with many clients in the commercial space.

Dani Weber

Project Rockit

DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / "Coffee Break" Mentor

Dani Weber is Head of Programs at PROJECT ROCKIT, driving the operations, direction and strategy of the team of young people who present workshops in schools and online webinars on topics such as cyberbullying and social leadership. Dani has extensive experience in driving social change through forums such as PROJECT ROCKIT, producing events for people of colour, and LGBT+ performance art.

PROJECT ROCKIT is a social enterprise based in Melbourne, and is Australia’s youth driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice. Our team of young, passionate presenters run workshops in schools, and we as an organisation have recently launched a series of webinars for students that can be accessed both across the country and internationally. With strengths-based, show not tell approach, PROJECT ROCKIT has been empowering young people to use their online power for good for over 14 years.

Daryl Davis

Race Reconciliator

DIGI Engage Inspire speaker

Award-winning musician Daryl Davis earned a degree in Jazz and tours nationally and internationally with The Daryl Davis Band. He has worked with Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley’s Jordanaires, The Legendary Blues Band and many others. After one of Daryl’s Rock’n’Roll/Boogie Woogie performances, a man told it was the first time he’d seen a Black man play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. Daryl explained the Black origin of Lewis’s style and the man became a fan. Turns out, he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This led to Daryl becoming the first Black author to interview KKK leaders and members, detailed in his book, Klan-Destine Relationships. Today, Daryl owns numerous Klan robes and hoods, given to him by active members who renounced their racist ideology after meeting him.

As a Race Reconciliator and lecturer, Davis has received numerous awards and is often sought by CNN, MSNBC, NPR and other media outlets as consultant on race relations and White supremacy. Daryl is also an actor with stage and screen credits. He appeared in the critically acclaimed HBO police drama, The Wire, and most recently, he is the subject of the documentary Accidental Courtesy, which filmed his real life encounters with Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi leaders as he helps to dismantle racism across the United States.

Dylan Marron

Podcast Host, Writer, and Comedian

DIGI Engage Inspire speaker

Dylan Marron is a Webby Award-winning Digital Creator. In 2015 he made the viral series Every Single Word, in which he edited down popular films to only the words spoken by people of color, which was named Tumblr’s “Most Viral Blog” of the year. As a writer & correspondent at Seriously.tv Dylan created, hosted, and produced various satirical videos, Shutting Down Bullsh*t, and his signature Unboxing series, racking up over 100 million views over various platforms. His interview show Sitting in Bathrooms with Trans People was nominated for an IFP Gotham Award for Outstanding Short Form Series.

He currently hosts & produces Conversations with People Who Hate Me, a podcast where he gets to know the people behind negative comments on the internet. It was selected as a Podcast Pick by USA Today & The Guardian and named “the timeliest podcast” by FastCompany. The show has been profiled on The Today Show, PBS, and The New York Times, and was the subject of his widely-shared TED Talk. His forthcoming book Snowflake will be published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster in 2021.

Fadzi Whande

Strategist and Social Justice Advocate

DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / "Coffee Break" Mentor

Fadzi Whande is an award-winning Global Diversity and Inclusion Strategist and Social Justice Advocate. She has worked across the not for profit, government and business sectors in Africa, Australia, UK and USA.
Over the course of her career Fadzi has received both international and local recognition for her efforts to champion inclusion and diversity including being named an Australia Day Ambassador, 2018 Western Australian of the Year finalist and recipient of the International Racial Equity Leadership Award, USA.

Fadzi is Deputy Chair of the Board of Volunteering WA, Board of Directors for the Museum of Freedom and Tolerance and is an Ambassador for 100 Women. She received an Executive MBA and Graduate Certificate in Social Impact from the University of Western Australia.

Jen McLean

All Together Now

DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / "Coffee Break" Mentor

Jennifer is a Project Manager at All Together Now. She has a Bachelor of International and Global Studies in Arabic Language and Cultures, and is currently completing a Master of Human Rights Law and Policy. Jennifer has several years’ experience working with refugee and migrant communities in Australia and abroad and is committed to advocating for the rights of people seeking asylum. She lives and works on the lands of the Gadigal, Darug and Gundangarra peoples.

All Together Now is an Australian, independent, secular, non-partisan not-for-profit organisation that was established in 2010. All Together Now’s vision is for a racially equitable Australia.

Kate Montague


DIGI Engage Learn speaker

Kate Montague is the Managing Director and co-founder of Audiocraft. As a producer and executive producer Kate has worked on audio projects for Audible, AFTRS, the ABC, CBC, NPR and FBi Radio’s All The Best. She has also led podcast workshops at the Sydney Opera House, Screen QLD, Spotify, and the NSW Writers Centre.)

Kosta Lucas


DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / "Coffee Break" Mentor

 Kosta is an independent researcher and civil society professional in preventing and countering violent extremism, with considerable experience in policy, research and grassroots program development roles. After working for the Commonwealth Government in countering violent extremism policy, he became the Chief Program Director of People against Violent Extremism (PaVE), Australia’s first bespoke countering violent extremism non-government organisation founded by the Hon. Dr Anne Aly MP in 2013.  Then in late 2016, he launched his own consultancy, SynqUp.  SynqUp’s mandate is “community through conflict”. 

Laurie Smolenski

Institute for Economics and Peace

DIGI Engage Learn speaker

Laurie Smolenski is the Outreach and Development Officer at the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a global think tank that uses data to better understand and communicate the drivers of peace. She is responsible for managing relationships with foundation and institutional supporters, disseminating IEP’s research through diverse public channels, and supporting IEP’s educational programming.

Laurie is passionate about using data for good – be it violence mitigation, progressive policy change, or the pursuit of greater equity and justice. Laurie has collaborated with Democracy Now!, the MacArthur Foundation, and Amnesty International. She has a Master of Arts in Peace and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland in Australia where she was a Rotary Peace Fellow, and Master of Arts in International Relations from the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain.

Love frankie


Love Frankie is a purpose-driven social change creative agency that designs and implements innovative research and communication initiatives addressing critical social issues across Australia, Asia and the Pacific.

Comprised of a passionate team of creative change makers Love Frankie supports socially progressive public and private organisations to design and produce evidence-based programs.  Combining unique creative thinking with deep local insight to create culturally relevant, targeted research, campaigns & events that drive real impact, our work includes democracy & human rights, digital and media literacy, hate speech and extremism, inequality and discrimination, societal violence, health, education, migration and refugees.

With behaviour change expertise, research design & strategy development is tailored to enable positive changes in target audience’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviour over time.  Our mission is clear; to support, empower and elevate groups fighting for a more just, equitable and empathetic world.

Love Frankie is one of the key strategic partners developing and hosting DIGI Engage 2020. 

Luke Pearson

Indigneous X

DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / "Coffee Break" Mentor

Luke Pearson is a Gamilaroi man, who founded @IndigenousX in 2012. Luke has worked as a teacher, mentor, counsellor, public speaker, collaborator, mediator, facilitator, events manager, researcher, evaluator, reporter and much more.

Luke’s passion for IndigenousX stems from his belief in the need to improve Indigenous media representation in Australia and to have a platform for individuals to tell their own stories in their own words.

Mark Egan

Heaps Decent

DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / Learn speaker

Mark aka Ego is a digital artist who has been working with the arts organisation Heaps Decent since 2015. This work has seen him travel to places such as Wilcannia, Engonnia, Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett, collaborating with locals to explore and showcase their local environment through multimedia. His skillset includes video and projection, augmented reality, print, and audio-visual performance – with a trademark surreal and high-intensity style.

He has created projections for Vivid Sydney, exhibited at MONA FOMA, and worked on music videos for artists including LDRU, KLP, Sachi and Favored Nations. Marks highly engaging workshop activities are on the cutting edge – exploring imagined virtual reality landscapes and the latest technologies. He collaborates with a number of companies and communities, working in both NSW and Victoria.

Marlee Silva

Tiddas 4 Tiddas

DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / Learn speaker / "Coffee Break" Mentor

Marlee Silva is a 24-year-old Gamilaroi and Dunghutti storyteller. She is the Co-Founder of Indigenous female empowerment movement ‘Tiddas 4 Tiddas’ and the host of the ‘Always was, always will be our stories’ podcast, where she captures inspiring conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander role models.

Marlee is passionate about promoting strengths-based stories of her people from all across the country as a means of creating change and smashing stereotypes. She is also an author with her debut novel ‘My Tidda, My Sister’ will be released in September 2020.

Rebecca Maakasa


DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / "Coffee Break" Mentor

Rebecca Maakasa is a media educator, producer & presenter from Melbourne, Australia. Her main area of interest is the medium of radio and podcasts, and works to train high-school students and community groups in radio broadcast and podcast production at SYN Media, a Melbourne based youth community media organisation. Rebecca is drawn to this medium as it allows for diverse voices to be heard, and a range of perspectives and experiences to be shared broadly. Most recently she has been documenting perspectives and imagery in support of Lebanon’s diaspora via @Melb2Beirut. She is the co-creator and presenter of ‘Culture Cult’ on SYN, a podcast that highlights the contributions of CALD persons from the Middle East and European region and their valuable contributions to culture.

Ryder Jack

Tomorrow Man

DIGI Engage Inspire speaker / Learn speaker / "Coffee Break" Mentor

Ryder has over 15 years experience facilitating workshops with boys and men to help foster healthy emotional dialogue encouraging the conversation of masculinity in today’s society. As a father of two boys and avid local footballer, Ryder has seen firsthand the positive impact of challenging traditional notions of masculinity and creating environments where men can explore life beyond the stereotype, and develop the ’emotional muscle’ necessary to deal with all situations.

Ryder has experience in film and television, working as a producer on the ABC’s ‘You Can’t Ask That’ as well as Hamish and Andy’s ‘True Stories’ and currently spends his time travelling throughout Australia working in schools, grassroots organisations, sporting clubs and universities through his role with Tomorrow Man

Sami Shah


DIGI Engage Learn speaker / "Coffee Break" Mentor

Sami Shah is a multi-award winning writer, journalist, and comedian. He’s been profiled in the New York Times, ABC’s The Australian Story, BBC Radio 4, NPR, and appeared on QI with Stephen Fry, and The Project.

Sami has been performing award-winning and highly acclaimed comedy for over a decade, and used his acerbic wit to address world affairs and social issues, in comedy clubs and even international platforms like TEDx.

His autobiography, “I, MIGRANT” (Allen & Unwin) has been nominated for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, WA Premier’s Literary Award, and the Russell Prize for Humour Writing. Sami has written columns for national and international newspapers and magazines, short stories for anthologies, and documentaries for radio, most recently a 5-part investigation into free speech for ABC Radio National. Sami is currently based in Melbourne, Australia.

Sara El Amine

Leading US Campaign Strategist

DIGI Engage Learn speaker

Sara El-Amine PhD (hc) is a progressive senior strategist who was one of the architects of the Obama grassroots movement, playing key roles outside the US White House to pass and implement healthcare reform, minimum wage, marriage equality, gun violence prevention, climate protections, and more during President Obama’s two terms in office. Post-Obama administration, she founded the Change.org Global Foundation and went on to build the advocacy arm of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s new social impact effort, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

She is currently Head of Community Engagement at Lyft, where she oversees driver, passenger, and local non-profit engagement for the company. She is proudly Lebanese-American and Muslim American, and was raised in the US, Spain, and Lebanon.

Sunita Bose

DIGI Managing Director


Sunita is the Managing Director of the Digital Industry Group Incorporated (DIGI), a non-profit industry association that advocates for the interests of the digital industry in Australia, with members including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Verizon Media. DIGI’s vision is a thriving Australian digitally-enabled economy that fosters innovation, a growing selection of digital products and services, and where online safety and privacy are protected.

For over five years, Sunita Bose was the Head of Global Policy for the online petition platform Change.org, based in San Francisco. She developed the company’s Privacy Policy, Terms of Service and Community Guidelines and the company’s policy infrastructure to manage harmful user-generated content, in areas such as bullying, hate speech, defamation, fake news, copyright, personal information exposure, child protection and data sharing requests. Sunita previously worked in strategic communications and advocacy at international aid agencies Oxfam and UNICEF, and has a Masters of Policy from the University of New South Wales.

Tayla McKechnie

Project Rockit

DIGI Engage Hack Moderator

Tayla is a Team Coordinator at PROJECT ROCKIT, Australia’s youth driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice. She organises the team of young people who present workshops in schools, and supports them to feel prepared and comfortable in their work empowering students to combat cyberbullying, while also running workshops herself – no two days are ever the same! She loves this work because of the important conversations with young people, facilitating empathy with their peers, and empowering them to make changes on issues they really care about.

PROJECT ROCKIT is a social enterprise based in Melbourne, and is Australia’s youth driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice. Our team of young, passionate presenters run workshops in schools, and we as an organisation have recently launched a series of webinars for students that can be accessed both across the country and internationally. With strengths-based, show not tell approach, PROJECT ROCKIT has been empowering young people to use their online power for good for over 14 years.

The Hon. Alan Tudge MP

Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs.


Alan Tudge is the Federal Member for Aston in Victoria and is the acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs. He is also the Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure. He has previously served as Minister for Human Services and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister. Before entering parliament, Alan spent most of his career in business including with the Boston Consulting Group in Australia and the United States, and worked as a senior adviser to the Foreign Minister and Education Minister. He holds a law degree and arts degree from Melbourne University and an MBA from Harvard University.


Tim Lo Surdo

Democracy In Colour

DIGI Engage Hack Moderator / Learn speaker / "Coffee Break" Mentor

Tim is the Founder and National Director of Democracy in Colour – Australia’s first racial and economic justice organisation led by people of colour. Previously, he was a Senior Organiser at United Voice where he helped low-paid workers start Hospo Voice – a new union in hospitality.

He has led campaigns at Oaktree, been an adviser to two Senators, was the Campaigns Director at Jhatkaa (the Indian equivalent of GetUp!), led national communications at UN Youth Australia, and co-founded Open Sky – one of India’s most well-known performance art communities. Tim is also on the Boards of Plan International Australia, Environment Victoria, Climate for Change, and The Wilderness Society (Vic).

TM Garret

Interfaith activist

DIGI Engage Inspire speaker

TM Garret, is a German-American author, producer, filmmaker, marketing expert, radio personality, former white supremacist leader turned human rights activist and founder of C.H.A.N.G.E, a Memphis-based non-profit organization which engages in community outreach programs, food drives, seminars, anti-racism campaigns and anti-violence campaigns. He is also the founder and organizer of the annual Memphis Peace Conference, which includes an Inter-Faith and a Community Panel and was first held at Withers Collection Museum and Gallery in Memphis on Sep 29, 2018. 

He also fills-in as an anchor on weekend news on WGN-TV in Chicago. He is also an outspoken Interfaith activist and director and board member of World Religion Day Memphis, US ambassador for EXIT Germany and campus speaker against anti-Semitism for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He has lectured at schools like Harvard, Boston Law School.

Yumi Stynes

DIGI Engage MC

Yumi Stynes is a broadcaster and writer who’s been working in Australian media for almost two decades, evolving from music reporter to her current, “more mature” focus as a writer on Arts, Culture, Food, Gender Politics and Human Sexuality. She’s known for her honesty, warmth and humour. Like many women, Yumi is juggling — she does a daily radio show, works on several writing projects (including two cookbooks, Zero Fks and Zero Fks Endless Summer ), and regularly runs 10km for a laugh — all while raising four children.

She fronts ‘Ladies, We Need to Talk’, the popular podcast with ABC Audio Studios and is the host of Is Australia Sexist on SBS television.