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2019 Gathering Presenters

A Gathering of inspiring and kind people
 From a variety of Australian and international backgrounds, and with a wide range of interests, our friends are united in their commitment to a more compassionate healthcare environment.  We’re excited to hear what they have to share with us and we hope you are too!

Professor Dr Catherine Crock


Founder of Hush and

Gathering of Kindness




Professor Catherine Crock is a

medical pioneer, producer of

music and theatrics,

humanitarian, mother and

advocate for change. 

A Physician at The Royal

Children’s Hospital Melbourne, Catherine has successfully implemented a raft of positive changes to healthcare in organisational culture, services and patient/family support. She is a Professor in the Faculty of Health, Deakin University.

She is Chair of The Hush Foundation, a charity working to transform healthcare by improving partnerships, culture and the environment to support health and wellbeing. Hush, in collaboration with some of Australia’s finest musical talent, has commissioned 17 albums of music specifically for application within healthcare.

Working in collaboration with renowned playwright Alan Hopgood, Cath has produced three theatrical plays, “Hear Me”, “Do You Know Me” and "What Matters". These productions have been performed in hospitals and Aged Care settings across Australia more than 180 times, to raise awareness of patient-centred care, communication and patient safety issues and to encourage a shift in the culture of healthcare.

Cath & Sue
Linda and David
Julia and Alan

Alan Hopgood AM



Alan Hopgood has been one

of Australia’s leading

playwrights since 1963, when

the first of his successful plays

for the Melbourne Theatre

Company And The Big Men Fly

was presented. He followed

this in 1964 with The Golden

Legion Of Cleaning Women

and in 1966, the first play in

the world on the Vietnam war,

Private Yuk Objects.


Then followed a career in film and television, winning Awgie awards for The Cheerful Cuckold and The Bush Bunch and writing several feature films including Alvin Purple and the documentaries The Prophecies Of Nostradamus and The Fountain Of Youth.


As an actor, he spent ten years with the M.T.C., six years as the popular Dr Reed in Bellbird and then Wally in Prisoner and Jack Lassiter in Neighbours.


In January 2005, Alan was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the performing arts as an actor, playwright and producer to the community through raising awareness of men’s health issues. 


Dr Crock approached Alan to use his skill of combining drama and a health message to write the first of what turned out to be a series of three plays, which have toured Australia, giving over 180 performances, including conferences in Hong Kong and Auckland. He was privileged to be made an Inaugural Kindness Ambassador for the Hush Foundation.

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Sue Robins

Canadian Patient Storyteller

and Author 




Sue Robins is a New York Times 

published writer, speaker and

mother of three.  Her youngest

son has Down syndrome.  Sue

was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. This life experience grants her the unique perspective of being both a patient and caregiver in the health system.

She is passionate about family leadership, peer support, patient engagement, storytelling and nurturing compassion in health care settings.


Sue’s work experience includes paid family leadership positions in children’s hospitals.  She is also senior partner in Bird Communications, a health communications company.


Sue has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a certificate in Health Care Administration.  She graduated from the Professional Communications program from Royal Roads University in 2012.


Sue’s first book, Bird’s Eye View: Stories of a life lived in health care, has just been released. It will be available at the event and is on



Dr. Lorraine A. Dickey


Dr Dickey is a senior U.S.

physician, board certified in

Neonatology and Pediatric

Palliative Medicine.  More

importantly she became a

long-term patient in the U.S.

health care system after

catastrophic ski injuries in

2001 and cancer in 2013. 

She has experienced the

patient-physician relationship

up close from both

perspectives.  Those experiences along with the experiences of her family and friends have made her a zealous advocate for improving the culture of healthcare for patients and providers. Dr Dickey founded The Narrative Initiative, LLC, in 2017.  


TNI’s Narrative Kindness Project brought the principles of The Gathering of Kindness to the U.S. earlier this year with The First Annual Gathering of Kindness USA. She continues to research how TNI’s unique facilitated narrative techniques using personal story enhance personal and professional resilience, help develop close listening skills and improve team dynamics.

Dr Linda Barclay

Senior Lecturer, Philosophy

Monash University 




Linda Barclay is a Political

Philosopher at Monash

University in Melbourne.

She works in the area of

disability, justice and human rights, and has recently published Disability with Dignity (Routledge, 2019). In addition to her academic research, Linda engages in numerous outreach activities such as collaborating with dementia groups and teaching human rights courses in Vietnam. In 2014-15 she spent many months in hospital with AML, which triggered her philosophical interest in the notion of dignity.


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Toula Saltas



Biography to come

Adjunct Associate Professor

David Brewster ,

Deputy Director Intensive

Care and Anaesthetist,

Cabrini Health

Clinical Dean,

Monash University Cabrini

Clinical School

Adjunct Associated Professor,

School of Medicine,

Monash University



At Cabrini, David Brewster is the Director of Medical Education, the Deputy Director of Intensive Care and the Clinical Dean for the Monash University Clinical School. David is currently a practising specialist in both anaesthesia and intensive care medicine. He has a strong clinical interest in intensive care after cardiac surgery, advanced airway management in intensive care, and anaesthesia for both high-risk patients and the elderly.


David has had significant experience in developing and implementing medical education. He has held a variety of undergraduate teaching roles for the medical school at Monash University since 2006, culminating with his appointment as the clinical dean at Cabrini by the Central Clinical School in 2017. He is a strong advocate for student well-being and has published on improving collegiality through kindness in the workplace. 

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Julia Harper, Director,

Health, Ageing and Human

Services, KPMG



Julia Harper leads work with

Victorian public and private

hospitals and DHHS in her role

as Director in KPMG’s Health,

Ageing and Human Services

team. Prior to joining KPMG

Julia worked in leadership roles in Victorian and London health services, and now enjoys bringing her hospital experiences into a broader consulting role in the health sector. 


Julia has a huge passion for the role of kindness in healthcare leadership and the way that the arts can enrich us personally and professionally. Her partnership with the Hush Foundation has been a real pleasure. Julia keeps herself grounded to what it is actually like in healthcare through several clinical family members. Outside of work Julia enjoys classical singing, gymnastics and 4 small children (most of the time).


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Dr Gemma Sharp

NHMRC Early Career Fellow/

Clinical Psychologist,

Monash Alfred Psychiatry

Research Centre



Dr Gemma Sharp is a National

Health and Medical Research

Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellow and Clinical Psychologist at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc) at Monash University in Melbourne. She leads the Body Image Research Group at MAPrc. 

She originally trained as a biomedical scientist and was awarded a Master of Science from the University of Cambridge in the UK in 2010. She then transitioned to the study of clinical psychology and was awarded a PhD from Flinders University in Adelaide in 2017. 

Dr Sharp’s current research focuses on the factors leading to body image concerns and novel therapeutic interventions using digital technologies to address these concerns. She has won over 25 prizes for her research and makes regular appearances on mainstream television and radio. 

Dr Sharp also has a private psychology practice where she specialises in the treatment of body image disorders and other mental health issues.


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Gemma and Lorraine
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Andrew Gill





For over 25 years, Andrew Gill

has immersed himself in events.

His formative years in

performance, sports

entertainment and media paved

the way to corporate and public theatre, event production and event direction.


He has worked with numerous global and Australian brands along with government agencies, not-for-profit organisations, educational institutions and SMEs.

With a deep understanding of ‘what works’ for any given audience, he is the consummate MC, facilitator or host. Andrew brings unique perspective and energy to any occasion.

With a sincere passion for person-centred care approaches in healthcare, Andrew also volunteered his services for four years as Director of the Australian Institute for Patient and Family Centred Care. He has proudly worked with Catherine Crock since meeting her over 15 years ago.


Dr Cathy Balding,


Managing Director,



Cathy is managing director

of Qualityworks, dedicated

to ‘making quality make

sense.’ Cathy is an adjunct

professor at La Trobe

University, and a former

aged care board member

and acute care accreditation

assessor. Her goal is to

create great care across

health and human services through her work with organisations, research, books, training, blog and podcast. Her latest book, ‘The Point of Care’, is the ‘fictional’ story of how a new CEO and team in a health service that’s lost its way turn things around, showcasing best practice tools, governance and leadership for high quality care. 

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Cathy and Tom

Dr Paul Harrison, PHD, GAICD

Co-Director, Deakin Business

School's Centre for Employee

and Consumer Wellbeing



Dr Paul Harrison is the

marketing lead in the Deakin

MBA program, is director of

The Centre for Employee and

Consumer Wellbeing, and a

senior lecturer at the Deakin Business School, Deakin University. He researches, consults and advises government, industry and NGOs predominantly in the field of consumer behaviour and marketing. 

In addition to his role at Deakin University, Paul is International Professor of Marketing and  Governance at Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy, Special Counsel on Consumer Behaviour at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), a director of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), former chair of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, and a member of Consumer Affairs Victoria’s Advisory Forum, the Consumer Policy Research Centre’s Vulnerability Advisory Board, and VicHealth’s Expert Panel in Social Marketing.

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Tom Symondson

Chief Executive Officer,

Victorian Healthcare Association



Tom Symondson has been the CEO

of the Victorian Healthcare

Association, the peak body for

Victoria’s public hospitals and

community health services, since 2015.


Tom has almost 15 years’ experience in public policy development and advocacy. Previously, he held senior roles at the VHA, the Property Council of Australia and was principal advisor in Southwark Council, for one of the UK’s largest local authorities.  


Tom sits on the Victorian health sector taskforce for family violence and the community health taskforce, is a board member of the Deeble institute for Health Policy and Research, a board director of First State Super and is chair of the International Federation of Community Health Centres. 


He is also CEO of the Australian Centre for Healthcare Governance, an arm of the VHA which supports the health and community sector to improve their clinical and corporate governance. 


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Paul and Duane

Duane Attree, 

Managing Director,

Potential(x) and CEO,

Health Roundtable.



Duane is an experienced leader,

executive & management

consultant. He has previously

held local leadership positions

with DuPont, a Fortune 100

company, and in global consulting firms PwC and KPMG, focused on the health sector. In addition, Duane spent many years working within the health industry, in roles such as CEO, Executive Director and various health service management positions. 

Duane now leads Potential(x), an aspiring ‘for purpose’ organization that seeks to improve lives through partnerships that deliver high value analysis and knowledge-based services to improve health and human services. 

Most notable is the unique partnership with the Health Roundtable (HRT) a not for profit membership organization of over 190 public hospitals across Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East – where Duane performs the role of CEO, serving members in the delivery of deep industry analysis, benchmarking and innovation sharing platforms. 

In addition, Potential(x) supports the delivery of knowledge and insights to over 160 private hospitals, large disability services and health advice / telehealth services internationally. 

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