Sydney Business Analysis Professional Day Speakers

Sean Hall    
Success Reimagined – Opening Keynote

TEDx speaker, awarded innovator, and Chief Energist, Sean Hall, says that he's on this fifth career (fitness, marketing, technology and HR have come before). He has over two decades of leadership experience include running a $10B telecommunications brand impacting 16 million customers, five world firsts in bringing tech innovations to life, and designing culture strategy for 40,000 employees. But perhaps most importantly, Sean learned why wellbeing is important the hard way by suffering burnout, or what he calls an energy crisis, twice in three years. This ultimately led him to create wellbeing company Energx,and work with global brands like Facebook, Unilever, Intuit, Deloitte, Contiki and AON who believe their most valuable asset is the collective energy and creativity of their people.

Sean Hall is a case study in our theme of discover, innovate, transform at both a personal and business level.

Sean will share how his first startup failing lead him to discover a universal insight at the heart of innovation, develop a new capability for the future of work and ultimately transform his focus to create wellbeing company Energx. His data-led approach is humanising productivity and in a very short time attracted global brands like Facebook, Unilever, Deloitte, Intuit, AON and Contiki.

At the heart of this is reimagining success from an exclusive source of inequality to an inclusive driver of social change. 

He'll share how we'll all benefit from this new way of thinking and how any business that doesn't will be left behind.

Louise Watts    
The Future of Work – Closing Keynote

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  Global executive coach, director of High Performance Coaching and founder of Transition Hub, Louise has led her teamof expert coaches to success for over 15 years, building an international client base with brands such as Citi, BAML, SAP, PWC and BNP Paribas. 

Advising organisations on ambitious personal development initiatives, Louise has seen the power of presence, confidence and connection, as a way of positively impacting employee engagement and enhancing the client experience.

A progressive thinker, highly attuned to the future of work from a human perspective, Louise launched Transition Hub in 2018 to provide a path to the future for the vast majority of people who will find themselves in transition from old ways of working to new. Transition Hub offers the chance to re-energise, reimagine and enhance the decision making skills needed to thrive in the future of work. Nothing less is going to satisfy the need for a transformational experience, to transition today’s worker into tomorrow’s jobs.

Across this closing keynote, Louise will share her thoughts on the key transferable skills that will shape our career paths and determine our personal brand and presence. Learn about the steps we must take to bolster our specific technical knowledge with training to develop our human skills of collaboration, creativity and communication, and enhance our ability to remain agile and relevant in the future of work

Lisa Harrison  
Influencing without formal authority

Lisa is a performance development consultant who works with organisations to build productivity, relationships, and team performance through emotionally intelligent behaviours.

Her learning is fun, interactive, and full of tangible takeaways that equip people to apply the skills to their own context and challenges.

Her well-honed influencing skills were developed through experience in leadership roles in film and TV (with some challenging personalities!) followed by professional services consultant roles. But she says her greatest source of learning was influencing her teenagers!

She has qualifications in business leadership, emotional intelligence, and staff development. But more importantly, a keen eye for making the complex simple and the learning immediately transferable into your own context

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The ability to effectively perform the BA role depends on your ability to influence than you may realise – in fact influencing is a key part of business communication for business analysts. Influencing skills are not just useful for selling or marketing – BAs need influencing   skills to do many aspects such as deliver messages successfully, shift the direction of a conversation or interview, get a point across successfully, encourage stakeholders to share key information, and shine a positive light on findings and recommendations. Often a BA will find themselves needing to influence someone that they don’t have formal authority over, and that’s when it can often be the  most challenging.

 Influencing, done effectively, ethically and collaboratively, is key to success in most projects, proposals and negotiations. And while we  imagine ourselves as logical data-driven creatures, the reality of our brains will ensure that there are several different factors at play in decision-making. The most logically supported proposal or message can be lost if delivered without attention to maximising the influence of the message.

 Topics covered:

 ·Why influencing is necessary - understanding contexts where influencing is useful 
 ·Is influencing ethical?
 ·Distinguishing influencing from manipulation
 ·Using key principles of influence

​ ·Tangible ways to influence

 This interactive session explores key concepts using real life practical examples, and it will equip you with techniques and skills to successfully leverage a range of influencing techniques, whether presenting to senior leaders or interviewing a stakeholder.

Suke Ridler  
Innovate through challenges like a BA

M Suke Ridler is known as an entrepreneur currently preparing to launch BioJars, a secure, encrypted platform to ‘Build Living Bio’s & Curate Awesome Legacies’. BioJars was designed, developed and funded by Suke from her initial concept and has won a NSW Government Grant and attracted interest from Legacy Australia.

Suke has had a varied and extensive 20 year career as an Acoustic & Vibration Consultant after graduating at a Masters degree level in engineering.

Alongside technical ability, Suke demonstrates a creative mind and business acumen having been a Business Development Manager for a major Australian environmental consultancy and has established & operated a successful family vineyard & winery alongside her career.

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Suke’s journey is an example of how to continually reinvent yourself; From an acoustic engineer to a physics teacher, establishing an agri-business and a tech start-up BioJars, Suke inspires you to overcome personal & business challenges by applying a growth mindset.

In her new innovation, Suke challenges you to consider your physical & digital footprint.

With the world now fully immersed in the information age, and with the explosion of digital data it has brought, how do we protect our personal & organisational data?

Audiences will learn:
- Why publishing or using data without permission and hacking of accounts is a serious problem.
- What to do about privacy, security and controlling access to our personal data.
- Why the enormous physical & digital footprints we are leaving is a problem, and what we can do about them for future generations

Mark Atkins  
The Numbers Game

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Mark Atkins co-founder of Intraversed that specialises in helping business leaders of medium and large organisations achieve better business performance through quality information.

He's best known for simplifying complex information landscapes and saving floundering projects.

A former Chief Data Architect for Telstra, he has over 30 years of experience working across several countries, including the UK, USA, and Australia, with: major corporate brands, like Optus, Exxon/Mobil, Teradata, Bank of New York, IAG and QBE; universities and government agencies like Macquarie and the NSW Dept. of Education.

Mark has held executive positions with DAMA Australia and DAMA Sydney. He has guest lectured on Information Management and Data Warehousing at the ARCS Scientic Congress and to undergraduate and post graduate students at the University of New South Wales.

He is the co-author of "The Numbers Game - A business leader’s guide to fighting spiralling costs and conflicting metrics by getting reliable information for making decisions that count", due to be published early 2020.


We are living in an age where disruptive innovation is fuelled by advances in digital technology. This puts business leaders under enormous pressure to ensure their organisations not only survive but to find opportunities to stand out against the competition. And the risk of disruption is increasing now that competition can emerge from businesses that have limited capital but compelling market appeal and innovative business models for their digital products. Then there are threats from new legislation, regulatory bodies, environmental pressures, and generally from a rapidly changing landscape.

Business leader rely on timely and trustworthy information to make decisions in order to navigate this landscape of opportunities and threats.

Mid and large organisations are challenged to become more dynamic, and to remain profitable, usually by reducing direct cost. Meanwhile, new technologies like big data, data lakes, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are pitched with promises to provide better market insight or improve productivity, but with high price tags and arguably limited proof of ROI.

The race to adopt these new technologies, often means they’re implemented without the necessary foundation, which is like building a house of cards. And the issues around maintaining the foundation of information management that is needed for business-as-usual reporting get ignored, undervalued, or even hidden by the organisation as a whole. This means that leaders have to rely on conflicting numbers and either accept that they are at high risk of regulatory non-compliance or expend excessive resource on risk mitigation strategies.

In this session I present a methodology to improve the foundation for information management and the quality of the numbers that are relied on, whilst building opportunities for internal innovation and awareness of the internal issues and struggles that must be addressed to ensure organisations are on their best footing to compete

Georgiana Mannion  
The Playful BA – innovative approaches to BA practices

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  Georgiana has been working in the analysis and change space for over ten years and is currently the Vice-President of IIBA Australia. She has spoken internationally on BA and Change Management subjects with a twist. She speaks on bringing games and play into our field and has even gamified Lean! She has spoken in 4 countries, owns a suitcase of Lego, and outside of being a BA, she enjoys playing music.

When we are focused on process and efficiency, it is sometimes hard to explore the fun side of what we do. Business Analysis is an art and science, so why do we sometimes view the artistic side as having less merit? You needn’t be a clown to be playful. This talk will look at tools of the playful analyst and how to work with resistance from the joyless stakeholder! You will leave with an understanding of why we need play and creativity, how it can improve the state of your facilitation and projects, and when play is probably not a good idea (disclaimer, there will be toys!)

Susan Yu  
Innovation and Disruption - The Chinese Way

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SUSAN YU is a futurist, a creative and experienced technology consultant enabling changes across large organisation such as IBM, Accenture, Commonwealth Bank, Optus and Flexigroup for over 35 years.

Susan is currently the Marketing Director of International Institute of Business Analysis, Australia Chapter.

Susan is the founder of National Institute of Chinese Education and co-founder of STEAM Education Australia to promote holistic and innovative after school programs in Australia.

A respected Chinese community leader, Susan was VICE President of Australian Fujian Association, the honorary president of the Australian Chinese Health Association

Growing up in Hong Kong surrounded by survival stories of struggles, resilience and victories during the turbulent time of Chinese history shaped her unique East meets West view of the world.


With a population of 1.4 billion, China is the world’s second largest economy. In 40 years, China has leapfrogged from an agricultural economy on the way to leading the 4th industrial revolution. China’s GDP growth has averaged nearly 10% a year – the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history. According to latest report from World Economic Forum, China is now the world’s innovation superpower. Yet for many, what drives the success of China remained shrouded in mystery. In this talk, Susan will open the lid and help people to understand:

. What drives China’s success?
. How is China brand’s of innovation and disruption different from the west?
. What’s next in AI and innovation?
. What’s BA’s role in this future world?
. How can we future proof ourselves?

Dianne McCabe  

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Dianne is a former Corporate Leader, a Prosci accredited change practitioner and the recipient of the Global Best Practices Award by software giant SAP.

Dianne’s lived experience of mental illness and burnout, have sparked a passion for improving Mental Wellbeing in the workplace. Her Life Coaching and Mental Health First Aider accreditations have given her a deeper understanding of what is required to help people adapt to change in a sustainable way.

Dianne confesses that while she can readily mobilise large organisations through complex change, she often struggles to get her 9 year old daughter out the door for school!

Build your Psychology NOW, so you can ADAPT & THRIVE in the era of constant and never-ending Change

BA’s are accustomed to working in high-stress environments where ambiguity is high and control is low.

Being an Agent of Change is hugely rewarding, however the increasing pace of disruptive change, coupled with the business mantra of “Do more with less” means the role of a BA is getting more stressful. Can come at a cost to your Mental Wellbeing.

Research shows that when stress increases, our performance and our abilities to plan and problem solve are significantly reduced.
The BA of the future will need to become an expert at managing their mental wellbeing so they can enable change in a sustainable way.

In this session Dianne McCabe will show you how to leverage your core BA skills to Build your Psychology NOW so you can ADAPT & THRIVE in the era of constant and never-ending Change:

  • Analysis: Identify your unique stressors and warning signs
  • Requirements: Document the requirements for the “future you” to ADAPT & THRIVE?
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Enlist your “go-to support crew”
  • Test & Learn: Ongoing self-assessment and continuous improvement
Terry Haayema  
The dysfunctional game

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Terry has filled almost every role in the delivery of literally hundreds of business and technical solutions in a career spanning the last 3 decades, including everything from complex technical solutions to managing sales teams and call centres for some of the largest and most successful companies in Australia, Europe and the USA.

As a Business Analyst, Terry’s focus was always on communications, relationship building and making sure everything in the system is directly targeted at delivering value to the people.

As a Senior Agile Coach at Commonwealth Bank, Terry is blessed to operate in an environment that empowers him to help people see differently so they can find joy and contribute their complete and authentic selves

Learn business analysis ‘hacks’ through this fun, chaotic game that draws heavily on systems thinking, design thinking and the psychology of Teams.
Systems Thinking brings tools and techniques that help when analysing a system, especially the human systems we so often ignore when caught up in the analysis of business systems, we’ll focus in on the technique of causal-loop diagrams as a sense-making tool.
Design Thinking brings a creative, non-linear, iterative approach to human-centred design, we’ll learn how we can apply Design Thinking tools to understanding the people elements in the system.
Then we’ll apply a game design model to create a game that helps teach the people in the system how they can operate in a way that overcomes the dysfunction.
Finally, we’ll explore the ‘sting in the tail’ that turns everything else upside down.
You’ll leave this session with tools and models you can use to make sense of chaotic systems and design solutions that are better for the people operating them, if you’re lucky, you’ll walk away with a solution to the biggest dysfunction in your workplace!

James King  
A product development based approach to designing a BA

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James is an experienced BA, Product Owner and Agile Coach. He has managed business analysts and worked as a problem solver for many years.  He currently works as an agile coach and is interested in how organisations can make the best use of the potential they have in their people and their market.

James worked as Chief Technology Officer at Ezy Pay. He also presented in many conferences including opening keynote for Sydney BAPD 2018.

As BA’s we know that we should start with an understanding of the problem before we recommend a solution.  Yet, when BA’s ask what an agile BA is, they often start by taking a set of existing features and then try to adapt them to the “problem.”

In this workshop, we will do the opposite.  We will use agile and customer focused approaches to define the problem that needs to be solved and then design a “fit for purpose” product that will solve that problem. 

Hopefully, we will find that a BA is a good solution to the “jobs to be done” that our stakeholders.

Otherwise we will learn that maybe people do not need an agile BA after all, in which case we will leave the room quietly and not tell anyone.  At least we will have practiced some techniques that we can apply to product development work when we need to hang up our BA caps.

Haydn Thomas  
Interacting with ALL Stakeholders

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“Engaging”, “Pragmatic”, and “Passionate” is the resounding feedback from clients of Haydn Thomas and Mindavation. As a very proud Director of Mindavation Pty Ltd in Australia and President of Mindavation, Inc. in the United States, Haydn has been delivering on successful outcomes for more than 25 years. 

Business Transformation is his hallmark, based on experience with his innovative training, coaching, consulting and keynote presentation practices across Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Asia & North America.

Mindavation’s worldwide success can be categorised into 4 core values:

•Holding ourselves and clients to account
•Fail fast (First Attempt In Learning)
•Don’t shy away from fierce conversations; and
•Ensure your Head, Heart & Gut are aligned, or do something about it

In recent years, Haydn is following his passion of sharing his insights and experiences through course facilitation, consulting, coaching, capability maturity and international speaking engagements.


Through project lifecycles and iterative releases, we are being asked to interact with various stakeholders and ensure that we collectively come away with the understanding of our next steps and actions. So why is that we are still getting this so wrong.

Stakeholder engagement has increased, as has stakeholder misunderstanding. Stakeholders have defined preferences in sharing and consuming information. These are played out through Social Styles form a model of personality that focuses on our outer behaviour, rather than the inner you. In this presentation, Haydn Thomas, will show how we can prepare for these interactions and have the flexibility to apply improvisation techniques based on the verbal and non-verbal feedback we are constantly receiving. 

Presentation Value/Learning Points:

•Upon completion of this seminar, participants will be able to: 
•Determine your own engagement preferences
•Become aware of the 4 different Social Styles 
•Recognise situations when you need to adjust your engagement style  
•Discuss techniques to prepare in collecting and sharing information  

Kelly Slessor  
The Future of Retail – how data is the key to future survival

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Kelly Slessor is a digital retail strategist, and Founder of Shop You (an artificially intelligent personal stylist). Kelly's focus is on increasing conversions, creating emotional connections and developing technology to solve real customer problems. Kelly began her career with British Telecom, UK's largest telecommunications provider and has gone on to work with iconic brands including Westfield, Suria KLCC, Woolworths, Glue Store, Big W, Showpo, Sunshades Eyewear Le Specs, Suncorp, David Jones, Lendlease

The way we shop is changing rapidly. Retail industry is experiencing a major disruption and will change more in the next 10 years than in the last 1000 years. Kelly will show us:

•         The major changes impacting the Retail industry

•         How traditional business models are being disrupted?

•         How the old ways of understanding the customer no long works? (e.g focus group)

•         How AI enhances the journey of retail?

         How data is the key to the business’ future of business survival?

•         What data is showing us about the future?

Richard Kaupins  
Tackling the BA role on a Scrum team

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Richard Kaupins is a Senior Trainer and Agile Coach at AxisAgile. He has helped major financial institutions, high traffic public websites and government organisations to instigate and optimise their Agile capabilities.

Richard has worked with Agile teams for over 15 years, fulfilling various roles such as Systems Analyst, Programmer, Product Owner and Scrum Master.

For those interested in the alphabet-soup of certifications, Richard is a Scaled Agile Framework Program Consultant (SPC), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Certified Scrum Professional (CSP).

What should I document? How does my role change? Does everything need to be a User Story? How detailed should the requirements be?

These are some of the common questions from BA’s when they start working on an Agile project. This session will answer those questions and dispel common myths, such as “Agile teams don’t document”, or “Scrum teams don’t need BA’s because it’s not on the Scrum diagram”. We’ll dive into how a BA can effectively support their Product Owner and Delivery team.

With a firm understanding of how the role of the BA changes on an Agile team, we’ll then take a closer look at the most popular requirement format that you will encounter on an Agile project – the User Story. We’ll workshop examples in teams, and demonstrate why and how to use them.

Lastly, we’ll dispel another very common Agile Myth – “Agile teams must use the User Story format”. We’ll look at a new format that is becoming an increasing popular alternative, the “Job Story”.

Cynthia Baldwin  
Purpose-inspired Innovation

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As a Digital Personalisation & CX Manager, Cynthia thrives to create successful consumer-brand experiences across multiple channels through extensive data analysis, effective user research methodologies and by enabling digital personalisation capabilities and integrating cutting edge marketing technology capabilities across Optus. Her main objective is to uncover business problems and apply my digital expertise to create optimal customer driven solutions. She promotes growth and drive experimental problem-solution techniques.

As a certified Agile Practitioner, Product Owner and Scrum professional and a driven senior digital Customer Experience expert, Cynthia foster collaborative work environments in order to achieve profitability and successful consumer-brand experiences across multiple digital channels. She thrives to create an outstanding work environment through her passion and can-do attitude to work in a dynamic agile environment.

In addition, Cynthia has a strong analytical mindset which is heavily focused on applying extensive data analysis, effective user research methodologies in order to resonate customer needs and present optimal experience solutions and increase conversion through online channels.

We need a holistic strategy that involves more than trying to predict trends like a futurist or crossing our fingers and hoping our engineers, designers and product teams are the ones who come up with the next big idea.

What we need is Innovation with “purpose”.

These are a few key points in order to achieve this:

1. The Om moment - Finding your meaning: Inspire, engage and find a purpose for your product. Innovation is an elevated behaviour. Purpose drives innovation.

2. Create a Mantra: This is more than trying to have a vision statement.

3. The higher-self - Jump to the next curve: Ideation, design thinking, think of the benefit of your product.

4. The universe - Implement: build it, then improve it.

This is when we face the real corporate universe, when you require the skill sets to be able to initiate innovation. To be inspired by insights that are socially desirable, technologically feasible and commercially viable.

5. Reincarnation - pivot and churn: improve, iterate and increase the relevance and salience of what you do already. But while you’re doing that, make time to consider how you might lead your category and drive true innovation.