Meet our Debaters

This year the Women of Influence Great Debate addresses leadership and the ability for not just women to become leaders, but anyone who chooses to step up and take on the role of a leader.

We have six fantastic debaters who will no doubt keep our audience entertained and intrigued as they interpret, battle and rebut the topic:

“Will a child born today have an equal chance to be a leader of tomorrow?”

Regardless of gender, religion, race, sexuality, disability or gender identity

Debating teams can interpret the topic as they like and argue accordingly.

The Affirmative team

Trish Hogan

Trish Hogan (Dr HC Griffith University), MHA, BED, Dip App Sc

CEO – Pindara Private Hospital, The Southport Private Hospital, Short Street Day Surgery, Pindara Day Procedure Centre

Trish currently participates on the health sciences and medicine advisory committees at both Bond and Griffith Universities on the Gold Coast and is a Director of Knee Research Australia, and a Fellow in Residence at Bond University.  Trish is also a member of the Benowa State High School Council, a board member of the Titans Football Club, and a board member of the Menzies Health Institute at Griffith University.  She is a committee member and volunteer for the Mayoress Trust Fund, raising money for disadvantaged on the Gold Coast

Trish is the founder and operator of a medical adventure education company “Medicine on the Edge” which runs conferences around the globe.  She is known for getting things done and being a strong and forthright leader.

A Mother of two girls, and a popular Gold Coast personality who is known for her signature of well-dressed, professional style and a happy smile always mingling and getting involved.

Dr Robyn Cameron

Senior Lecturer, Director of Engagement Dept of Accounting, Finance & Economics

BBusAccy (Hons)  PhD CPA FIPA

Robyn is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Engagement in the Department of Accounting Finance and Economics with the Griffith Business School.

Robyn has taught in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses and has a number of years’ experience in teaching and learning leadership roles, with five years as the Program Director of the Bachelor of Commerce program.

Prior to joining Academia Robyn held accounting positions in the Finance Industry for eighteen years. She is also a CPA and a fellow of the IPA.

Robyn is the Founder of the Pink Ribbon Cup Raceday, which this year celebrates the 10th anniversary of the largest fundraising event in Queensland for the National Breast Cancer Foundation – the Pink Ribbon Cup Raceday!

Robyn has been the driving force behind many committees and has received the National Breast Cancer Foundation Patron’s Award.

Derek Cronin

Founder and Managing Partner of Cronin Litigation

Derek Cronin was admitted as a solicitor 25 years ago and is the Founder and Managing Partner of Cronin Litigation Lawyers, a well-known firm on the Gold Coast which specialises in commercial litigation, debt recovery, insolvency and dispute resolution.  The Firm employs nine full time commercial litigation lawyers, making it one of the largest litigation teams on the Gold Coast.

Derek is a Council member of Bond University and is also Chairman of the Bond Alumni Advisory Board, as well as immediate Past President of the Qld Aids Council, and Advisory Board member of Queensland Leaders Gold Coast.  His firm also sponsors local organisations including Young Professionals Gold Coast and BMD Northcliffe Surf Club, where he is honorary solicitor.

He is a keen traveler in his spare time and also likes hitting the local restaurant scene.  He is a third generation Gold Coaster and a strong supporter of local business.

The Opposing Team

Shannon Willoughby

Chief Executive Officer of Study Gold Coast

Shannon is the CEO of Study Gold Coast, a role she entered after forging an understanding for regional economic development during her time as a business journalist for the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Part of Shannon’s role with Study Gold Coast has been to launch Australia’s largest student employability program.  This program aims to create a genuine and stronger link between the workforce and our student community.

This dynamic, young single Mum has built a strong personal brand and an impressive career, proving that break down some of the barriers women face in the business world.

Shannon says “There’s nothing women can’t do. We just need to be reminded of that from time to time. Rely on your resilience and keep pushing and striving!” No doubt her young daughter, Vivian Rose, will inherit some of that drive and charisma.

Erica Bartle

Blogger, Journalist, Communications Director for Outland Denim

Erica is an advocate for vulnerable young women through her Internationally renowned fashion label, Outland Denim.  Outland is paving the way for rag traders to create “profit with a purpose” by building a successful, commercial business but with an overarching objective to help those who don’t have the same privileges as we do.

Erica Bartle is communications director for Outland Denim, the Australian jeans company changing the lives of young women in Cambodia.

Before starting Outland with her husband seven years ago, Erica worked as a freelance journalist and blogger. She got her start in media as the deputy editor of Girlfriend magazine. She has appeared at the Sydney Writer’s Festival and Walkley Media Talks, and has a passion for issues affecting women and girls globally.

Erica is the mother of two girls and calls Tamborine Mountain in the Gold Coast Hinterland home.

Luke Mathers

Businessman, Optometrist, Author

Luke is known in the retail industry as having set up the largest Optometry practice in the country, he is an Optometrist by trade but also an entrepreneur, humanitarian and an author.

Luke started his career transforming businesses and building his own, he started optometry aid service to Vanuatu, invented a revolutionary ergonomic chair and continues charity work with Orange Sky Laundry.

Luke chose to “retire” at the age of 32 and enjoy a life of fatherhood, golf and surfing. This was when he discovered that he needed the challenges that a life in business gave him, so he wrote his first book Stress Teflon.

He is a founding shareholder and adviser to the board of Nevhouse, a company that builds low cost housing out of recycled plastic for third world countries.  He loves spreading the theory of his Stress Teflon system for utilising stress he is on a mission to teach others how to do the same.