Linda is the first Aboriginal Australian to be elected to the NSW Parliament and a proud member of the Wiradjuri Nation. Her commitment to Indigenous issues spans more than 30 years. She was elected Member for Canterbury in 2003 and has held various NSW Government portfolios including Minister for Women 2009. She led the whole of government reform of child protection in response to Justice Wood’s recommendations through the five year-plan Keep Them Safe. In 2011 she was appointed Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Planning, Infrastructure and Heritage; Sport and Recreation; the Hunter; and Central Coast. Linda has held senior leadership positions in the non-government sector and has served on a number of boards including SBS, the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, the NSW Board of Studies, Board of Trustees of the University of Western Sydney and Chairman of the Natural Resources Advisory Council. Linda was also an executive member of the National Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, President of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and is a former Director-General of the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Linda is the current Chair of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council and Patron of Beyond Empathy Ltd.
Marlikka is a genuine multicultural Broome girl. Her mother is Nyikina and Waawa, Timorese and European. Her father is Barkinji, Wangkumurra, European and Afghan from the east coast. Marlikka was home-schooled by her parents in a remote Aboriginal outstation in the Kimberley bush. This was a special education grounding her personal identity in relationship to family and country. Marlikka has achieved catwalk and photographic modelling work, as well as acting and presenting which gave her the tools to conduct self-esteem workshops for girls in remote Aboriginal communities with the Kimberley Girl Program. Academically, she has completed a Bachelor of Commerce Degree externally, winning an Outstanding Academic Achievement award. Currently Marlikka is in 3rd year of a Juris Doctor at The University of Sydney where she is the First Nations Officer for the Sydney University Law Society and a mentor with Mentoring Our Brothers and Sisters program. Marlikka works part-time as paralegal for Gilbert and Tobin and as an Emerging Producer with Create NSW.
Kim McConville is the co-founder and former Executive Director of Beyond Empathy (BE). For 15 years she has collaborated with communities across Australia to shift perceptions and generate positive social change through the process of creating and sharing art. Kim is a skilled leader who is able to connect, to think laterally and to respond to the needs of each individual and community. Her experience over a 30-year career has helped her develop a unique way of working, influenced by the First Nations communities she has spent time with as a teacher, learner, community producer, mentor, guide and true friend. It is in these communities she feels most at home. Kim designs arts projects as a first response to community needs. These projects are developed and implemented over a long period of time and are driven by the needs and aspirations of those who participate. Everyone is welcome to contribute and each person involved is treated as an equal. Her lived experience has helped her develop unique skills that allow Kim to act as a conduit, finding common ground to bridge the needs of disparate groups with whom she works. Her ability to shift register – to know which one is right for which occasion – creates a sense of belonging, validation and respect for all involved. Her work is renowned for its resolute ethics, respect for cultural protocols and the self determination of the people involved. Kim has been awarded for her collaborative practices and forging new partnerships between government, philanthropy and the community sector.
Phillip is the co-founder of BE and currently works in the organisation’s Illawarra team. After several years of working in the community welfare sector, Phillip moved from Sydney to Melbourne to complete a Bachelor of Film and Television at the Victorian College of the Arts. His graduating film DENIAL won best short film at five national and international film festivals. In 1998 Phillip started working with BIG hART and over the following seven years he collaborated with communities all around Australia on various performance, installation and multi-media projects included in the programs of major arts Festivals: Adelaide, Melbourne and Ten Days on the Island in Tasmania. In 1999 Phillip won an AFI Award for his work on the BIG hART film project HURT, which screened on SBS television and was transformed into an installation work for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Phillip also won an award from the Film Critics Circle of Australia for HURT’s innovative combination of fiction and documentary, the Inaugural Justice Fellowship of the Arts from the NSW Law Foundation and Best Short Doco at Flickerfest. Phillip produced and was the overall creative director of kNOT@Home an eight part TV series screened on SBS in 2006 and which was nominated for AFI and ATOM awards in Australia. In 2006, Phillip received an Australia Council Fellowship in Community Cultural Development. Through this Fellowship he has coordinated the Lake Illawarra MAP (Memory And Place) Project which utilised digital story telling techniques. He is the Director of the award winning film Rites of Passage.
Vivienne is the Principle of Metropolis, a consulting firm working with the government and corporate sector in urban development, transport strategy, the arts and media. Until September 2013, she was speechwriter and senior adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. She was arts adviser to Premiers Nathan Rees and Bob Carr, and between 2006 and 2008 was communications manager for Regional Arts Australia. Vivienne has always believed that the arts can be used as a tool to improve the lives of marginalised young people. After growing up in the small NSW town of Cooma, Vivienne trained as a nurse before completing an arts degree at the Australian National University and beginning a career as a journalist. She worked as both a television and radio reporter with the ABC and was a newsreader with Channel 7 in Canberra. She has written for a variety of publications including the Sydney Morning Herald. Vivienne is a member of the Women’s Advisory Committee for The Big Issue and is a member of the Centennial Parklands Community Consultative Committee.
Rachel is a Senior Adviser in Strategy for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission. She previously worked for Policy Cures Research, a not-for-profit global health think tank who work with governments and philanthropic groups, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to enable them to make optimal policy and funding decisions for R&D in diseases of the developing world. Rachel has been part of the NEXUS Australia Committee since 2017, working with NEXUS’ international network of young philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and influencers to increase philanthropy and social investing. Rachel has been a mentor through the Foundation for Young Australians’ Young Social Pioneer program and was a member of the Sydney 10×10 Philanthropy Committee in 2018. Rachel is a member of Philanthropy Australia’s New Generation of Giving program and is passionate about bringing about positive change to improve our world.
Elias Rees first became involved with community arts projects and Beyond Empathy aged 11, participating in Music, Dance, Visual Arts and Circus workshops. With BE he attended 2 Youth Leadership Camps and in 2009 got into film work with the short film 2506, Indigenous Health Promotion “Your Choice Now” and feature film Rites Of Passage. Elias then landed feature roles on ABC’s Redfern Now, Sydney Film Festival Short The Chuck In and feature film Around The Block working alongside icons like Jack Thompson and Christina Ricci. Elias has also more recently appeared in ABC’s Cleverman and taken on a mentoring role to the young stars of BE’s feature film Protection.