/NEW is a celebration of all things technology, uniting the most innovative thinkers and passionate techies that are building a brighter future for the Hunter.

8:00 - 9:00 a.m


9:00 - 9:30 a.m


9:30 - 10:15 a.m

Radical Innovation

Chris Riddell

In the chaotic state of our world today, there’s never been a more critical time for optimism with rigour. The uncertainty, unpredictability and sheer pace of our hyper-connected world is Chris’ passion—and life’s work. His obsession with making sense of the discomfort and challenges of this rapidly changing landscape has powered his thinking for over 15 years. Equally potent across myriad industries, Chris’ insight and expertise has benefitted trail-blazing start-ups, government bodies, and Fortune 500 companies.


As a renowned strategist and senior business advisor, Chris has worked globally with some of the biggest and most influential brands and businesses on the planet including Jaguar Land Rover, Facebook, Australia Federal Police, Ebay, Vodafone and Macquarie Bank. His intuitive and instinctive approach to tracking global patterns and unlocking opportunities has had significant impact on how businesses—and humans—can take purposeful steps towards creating real and lasting positive impact.


And making an impact is what Chris is arguably most famous for… because being in a room with Chris Riddell is an immersive and transformational experience. A combination of rigorously detailed insights delivered with unparalleled enthusiasm, and dynamic screen content… all wrapped up in sensational showmanship—any amount of time spent with Chris is a wildly entertaining and deeply revolutionary experience.


His unique skill of taking what we know—and fear—about our world and encouraging changes in attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and mindsets—is critical to business and social transformation. No sector, subject or stone is left unturned in his quest to make sense of the challenging and disrupted world of ‘the future’.


This is the power of the Chris Riddell experience. It’s real… relatable… relevant… and revelatory.

10:15 - 11:00 a.m

Building and Leading Technology Teams
Panel Session

Local Technology Leaders
11:00 - 11:20 a.m


// Tea, Coffee
11:20 - 11:50 am

The future relationship between education and the workplace
Professional Track

Ria O'Donnell

The speaker: Ria O’Donnell is a thought leader on learning technologies and the future of the workplace. She has a published book titled Transformative Digital Technologies for Effective Workplace Learning and is also the founder and Managing Director of Custom Learning Design.


Ria believes in adapting to technological advancements and challenging the status quo so that skill gaps can be closed, and education can be current and relevant to each individual lifelong learner.


The talk: The future workplace is fluid and includes three likely successful scenarios. 1. Human-Centred Design, 2. Agile Adaptors, 3. Integrated AI. How can we learn, unlearn and relearn to keep up with changing trends? What is the importance of lifelong learning and how that fits into the nature of work?


This talk analysis the ways in which technology and collaboration can facilitate the learning journey and how we can identify and fill ongoing skill gaps.

11:20 - 11:50 am

Visualisation of local data sources
Technical Track

Andrew Goodwin

The speaker: Andrew Goodwin is an experienced data engineer with a track record of developing innovative and novel spatial and temporal analysis systems, including the software that formed the foundation for local spatial analytics company Anditi.


Andrew is currently nearing completion of a PhD through the University of Sydney where his research focuses on modelling data flow through clinical systems.


The talk: Andrew will guide the audience through several examples of visualisation of local data sources. Examples will include weather events such as the June 6, 2007 storm, visualisations of local flooding, 3D point cloud visualisations from throughout the Newcastle region, and a visualisation showing a heatmap of six months of local music activity in the Newcastle CBD.


As the developer of these visualisations, Andrew will take the audience on a “behind the scenes” tour, explaining the data collection process, and describing the steps that were taken to generate the them.

11:55 - 12:25 pm

Are technologists the new city planners?
Professional Track

Nathaniel Bavinton

The speaker: Dr Nathaniel Bavinton is an urban sociologist, social researcher and city strategist who has researched, planned and implemented urban and social innovation for over fifteen years.
Nathaniel is an Associate Director at Urbis, and is focused on the complex challenges of creating technology and data-enabled places, and sustainable, future-focused cities and communities.


Previously the Innovation and Futures Manager at the City of Newcastle, he has a longstanding interest and history with the revitalisation and transition of Newcastle and led the city’s multi-award-winning smart city program.


The talk: We are beyond the hype of smart cities. This does not indicate that digital, data and technology will cease to impact the design, function, and experience of places but, rather, the opposite. It reflects the point where technology is now having wide-reaching and profound effects. All cities are confronted with this challenge. This is not a passing trend: Everything is affected.


We cannot ignore the acceleration of place-based technology infrastructure and digital services, so need to plan for their integration into our urban fabric. They are, when understood, powerful enablers of positive change.

11:55 - 12:25 pm

Scaling delivery with an inside out database
Technical Track

Mark Tranter

The speaker: Mark is a Principal Consultant with Equal Experts. He has worked in tech for over 15 years as a software engineer and consultant. He has spent the majority of the last 7 years of his career helping teams build microservice systems on Apache Kafka, both greenfield and migrating away from monoliths. He has a passion for event driven architecture, continuous delivery and pushing directly to trunk.


The talk: This is a talk about scaling delivery using a log based architecture.
It will look at the problems faced when using microservices, introduce the concept of existential coupling and demonstrate how “Turning the Database inside out” can overcome these challenges.


We will examine how this architecture enables autonomy and agility, and discuss how to implement appropriate architectural controls for organizational cohesion. We’ll finish up by highlighting some common anti-patterns and provide patterns for pragmatic implementation this architecture.

12:25 - 1:30 p.m


// Catered Lunch
1:30 - 2:00 p.m

Why the Consumer Data Right is a win for individuals in the current security climate
Professional Track

Sarah Wallis

The speaker: Sarah Wallis is one of the masterminds behind Skript, a financial tech (FinTech) start-up taking on the new frontier of open banking.
A prolific tech innovator, Sarah has worked at the ever-evolving intersection of IT and financial management for more than twenty years, building countless bespoke solutions for medium to large enterprises while in senior roles at nib and Qvalent – a wholly owned Westpac subsidiary.


Having based her entire career out of Newcastle, Sarah is evidence of the immense talent in regional Australia. An experienced and visionary leader, she is passionate about creating opportunities for others.


The talk: Recent high profile data breaches at Medibank and Optus have brought information security into the mainstream and caused concern among the population that the companies they deal with can’t be trusted to safely store their personal data. This comes as the Australian government are looking to expand the Consumer Data Right initiative. The CDR provides individuals with the ability to give informed and explicit consent to share their customer data from companies such as banks and telecommunications providers with third parties.

1:30 - 2:00 p.m

DevOps need not apply: a developer's utopia
Technical Track

Alex Diamond

The speaker: Alex has a broad skill set in technical team leadership, solutions architecture, DevOps and data driven application development. He has worked in the construction, health, energy, logistics and materials research industries. His particular focus is balancing pragmatic delivery of business outcomes with rigorous, principled software design and development. He is passionate about programming language design and implementation, and its impact on product development. He is currently leading Sendle’s USA engineering division as they scale up to take on entrenched players in the USA logistics market.


The talk: We are in a prison of our own making. Complicated, tangled deployment pipelines and wasted cpu cycles on endless automated testing. A haunted forest of branches no one dares to look at.


All programming languages, continuous delivery pipelines and hosting infrastructure suffer the same fate because they are all built on the same foundation. In this talk we will peel pack the layers and face something hiding in plain sight. We will also look at one of the most unique projects in open source software aiming to do it differently. Aiming build a utopia.

2:05 - 2:35 p.m

Maximising the effectiveness of your Information Security program
Professional Track

Dan Clements

The speaker: Daniel is the Security Operations Manager at nib where he leads a dynamic team that supports internal teams in maintaining and uplifting the security posture of the nib Group. Prior to that he was Information Security Manager at Honeysuckle Health and led the implementation and expansion of the Information Security program.


Daniel has a background that covers running small businesses to the UK operations of a multinational web systems development company, which provides a unique insight into the delivery of Information Security practices and the development of lean business systems.


The talk: Every business is different. The Information Security risks and business processes to match are developed in the way that works for you. It is with this in mind that this talk will show you a way to align the common aspects of Information Security risk management to your business and the way you do things.


You will be shown how you can leverage an agile approach to the development of your Information Security program to create something that works for your business, keeps you teams focussed on delivery value and minimises the bureaucracy of standards compliance.

2:05 - 2:35 p.m

The rise of ChatGPT and need for AI ethics
Technical Track

Aleena O'Neill

The speaker: Aleena is a Data & Analytics thought-leader with over 12 years experience in Data, Analytics and Governance. She has experience in Cloud platform establishment, Data Warehouses, Data Lakes, Data Marts, Business Intelligence, Machine Learning and AI. Aleena is particularly passionate about leveraging data to drive better insights, improve decision-making, and help organisations achieve business objectives.

Aleena leads the Data, Governance & Analytics division at Newcastle Permanent. Her strategic mindset and drive has resulted in the adoption of data driven decision making and the machine learning based solution across the organisation. Aleena is a champion of the ethical use of data and sees the understanding the adoption of this as vital as the world start to become more reliant on AI.


The talk: The ethical use of data has moved from a nice to have to a must have for all organisations. AI technology has become part of our day to day lives through stealth. AI software is used to make determinations about health and medicine, employment, creditworthiness, and even criminal justice without having to answer for how they’re ensuring that programs aren’t encoded, consciously or unconsciously, with structural biases. Will the coming age of AI bring a faster way to potentially discriminate and divide at scale? And if this is the risk, what can we do about it?


This is where AI and Data ethics come in. AI presents 3 major areas of ethical concern for society:


1. privacy and surveillance,


2. bias and discrimination,


3. the role of human judgment


My talk with dive into this topic, bring awareness and will include some practical takeaways for the audience on what they can do in their personal and professional lives to improve their data literacy and bring conscious awareness to Data and AI ethics.

2:35 - 3:00 p.m

Afternoon Tea

// Tea, Coffee
3:00 - 3:30 p.m

Open Space 1

// A chance to discuss relevant topics with fellow attendees
3:30 - 4:00 p.m

Open Space 2

// A chance to discuss relevant topics with fellow attendees
4:00 - 4:45 p.m

Data and Digital at the ATO

Elly Stinchcombe & Daniel Bamford
4:45 - 5:00 p.m

Closing remarks

9:00 - 9:15 a.m


9:15 - 10:00 a.m

The future of work

Claire Madden

Claire Madden is a leading voice internationally on Generation Z. As an author, social researcher, keynote speaker and media commentator, Claire is in high demand as an expert in interpreting social trends, demographics and implications of generational change.


Claire is the author of Hello Gen Z: Engaging the Generation of Post-Millennials. Claire is highly regarded for her dynamic and engaging presentations where she translates robust, research-based content into strategic applications for educators, managers and business leaders. Claire is commissioned by some of the nation’s largest companies and leading brands to interpret the changing landscape and communicate the implications for business and society.

10:05 - 10:35 a.m

From Steel to RUST - the renaissance of Newcastle
Professional Track

Geoff Campey

The speaker: Geoffrey is a proud Novocastrian, having been born whilst listening to the crashing waves at Newcastle Beach. He has always been a nerd, is a former lawyer, and currently works as a consultant in cybersecurity and digital forensics, particularly where those matters collide with the justice system. He regularly appears as an expert witness in court in digital and mobile forensics.

Geoffrey has worked across a variety of industries and continents, including legal services, software development, tertiary education and financial services in Europe, North America and Australia. Outside of work Geoffrey loves traveling, playing golf, drinking wine, ideally with his family.


The talk: When I left Newcastle in 1997, the city was on the brink of a monumental shift. From The Steel City to…what? It has taken a long and winding road, but Newcastle is now a hotbed of technology: software development, IoT, cyber security, renewable tech. After graduating university with a degree in Computer Science, I knew that there was no place for me here in Newcastle. Now, I can’t think of a place I would like to be more!

10:05 - 10:35 a.m

Get to production - Fast & Furious style
Technical Track

Matt Wicks

The speaker: Matt is an SSW Solution Architect, trainer, and Certified Scrum Master. He has been developing solutions using the full Microsoft stack since .NET 2 (the old one) was in beta.


Matt loves DevOps, DevOps and DevOps. These days he prefers GitHub Actions and Azure DevOps Build Pipelines over other tools. Matt likes clean architecture, using the right tool for the job, seeing developers push changes to production with confidence, automated tests, running solutions on Azure, and now he never has to reminisce about Webforms.


The talk: To do great DevOps we need to continuously delivery value to our end users. This means code needs to be in Production! The faster you can do this, the better the ROI. In this talk, Matt will break down some of the DevOps theory, give you ways to measure your progress, and map out some strategies on how to deploy code and deliver value to your end users.

10:35 - 10:50 a.m


// Tea, Coffee
10:50 - 11:20 a.m

Growth marketing in the age of AI
Professional Track

Andrea Hoymann

The speaker: Andrea is the Head of Strategy at Brand chemistry where she is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of client marketing strategies, driving innovation across the agency and mentoring up-and-coming strategists.


Prior to this, Andrea worked for over 3 years as the Marketing Director at China-focused marketing technology start-up, Sinorbis, where she was in charge of building awareness and demand for the brand in ANZ, as well as leading initial expansion efforts into the US and UK.


The talk: From ChatGPT to DALL-E 2, AI tools have firmly landed in our professional lives in the last couple of months. And the possibilities to apply the technology to drive efficiencies in your marketing seem endless. At the same time, adopting these new tools without fully understanding the implications and limitations is risky.


This presentation will provide practical use cases for tech companies leveraging AI tools in their growth marketing. Attendees will walk away with an understanding of AI’s current capabilities and limitations and how the new technology can help drive growth more efficiently in economically challenging times. It will also provide recommendations for setting guidelines and policies for using AI in marketing.

10:50 - 11:20 a.m

Is your organisation cyber ready?
Technical Track

Elena Scifleet

The speaker: Elena Scifleet is an experienced Cyber Security Professional with over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field. She has a broad background working in the commercial, government and not for profit sectors. Currently employed as a Principal Consultant in the Cyber Capability, Education and Training practice of CyberCX and a key contributor to the curriculum of CyberCX Academy. Over her rich career in education and IT, she contributed to shaping many new IT professionals by teaching at The University of Auckland and TAFE NSW.

She is a strong believer in lifetime learning and is in the final year of Masters program in Cyber Security at Charles Sturt University.


The talk: As a result of multiple high-profile breaches, there has been an increased focus on cybersecurity awareness for many organisations in Australia. However, Cyber Security readiness does not stop at the end user; it is the responsibility of everyone.


Does your IT team know what to do when an incident occurs? Is your staff well-versed in your communication plan when an incident occurs? Will you pay the ransom? When was the last time your security team looked at your Incident Response plan? This talk will provide tools and ideas to ensure that you are cyber-ready and that targeted cybersecurity training is done on all levels of your organisation.

11:20 - 12:05 p.m

Local companies, global impact
Panel Session

Local Founders
12:05 - 1:15 p.m


// Catered Lunch
1:15- 1:45 p.m

Breaking Barriers: Empowering Students and Employers through Work Integrated Learning
Professional Track

Mark Wallis & Alex Mendes

The speakers: Joint presentation – Dr Alexandre Mendes is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle and runs the Work Integrated Learning program for the Discipline of Computing and I.T. Dr. Mark Wallis is the CTO of Skript and Director of Hunter Orbit who is a long-term industry partner of the WIL program.


Dr Alex Mendes is a Senior Lecturer with the School of Information and Physical Sciences (SIPS), University of Newcastle. He has been part of the university academic body for almost 20 years and in the past 6 years has been the Coordinator for Work Integrated Learning (WIL) for Computing and Information Sciences, which includes Computer Science, Information Technology and Data Science.


Dr Mark Wallis is a computer scientist, software and network engineer who specialises in system architectures, security, compliance (ISO27001, Open Banking and PCI-DSS), project management and education. With over 25 years of experience in I.T., Mark holds roles as the CTO of Skript, who are disrupting the Open Banking landscape and as a Director of Hunter Orbit, a boutique consultancy firm based in Newcastle, Australia.


The talk: The Discipline of Computing and I.T. at the University of Newcastle has a long track record of industry engagement through their ‘Work Integrated Learning’ program. In this presentation we will present some of the highlights from the program over the past few years and discuss where the program is heading in 2023. We will focus on what the program is providing the students, as well as how industry can be involved in shaping the skillset of the next generation of graduates.

1:15- 1:45 p.m

A statistical analysis of street harassment
Technical Track

Madhura Killedar

The speaker: Madhura Killedar is a Provider Insights Analyst at the Honeysuckle Health where she builds data products to improve healthcare outcomes. Madhura received her PhD in astrophysics in 2011 at the University of Sydney, then spent the next few years designing computational models and creating statistical tools to bridge the gap between complex simulations and real-world data for applications across both fields of astrophysics and epidemiology. She has also provided data science and statistical consultancy for research academics across many disciplines. Throughout this time one of her key interests has been probabilistic uncertainty within the context of Bayesian inference.


The talk: After one too many experiences of being followed or hassled while minding my own business, I did what any normal person would do: collect data and perform a Bayesian statistical analysis.

1:50 - 2:20 p.m

Authorisation and access across applications; a guide to OAuth 2
Professional Track

Klee Thomas

The speaker: Klee Thomas is a Software Developer working at Atlassian, a
member of the Auth0 Ambassador program, and a passionate member of the Newcastle developer community. He’s an organiser of the Newcastle
Coders Group and an admin of everyone’s favourite Slack organisation
newwwie. Klee is an advocate of agile and Clean Code software
development methodologies who loves to talk about what we can do to
build better quality, maintainable software that measures its lifecycle in
decades, not days. Outside of software development, Klee enjoys Martial
Arts, Motorcycles, watching too much TV and spending time with his wife
and cats.


The talk: OAuth 2 has become the de-facto standard by which
authentication and authorisation are done on the internet. An entire
industry has spun around it with players like Auth0 offering SAAS solutions,
every major company with a user base offering login with
Google/Facebook/Twitter/etc., and companies offering to build you a better
experience if you give them access to your data on these platforms. We’ve
all used it, but how confident are you that you could explain how it works
under the covers, where to use which variations and the vulnerabilities they
present? In this talk, Klee will dive into OAuth 2 so that you can be confident
that you’re keeping your consumers secure.

1:50 - 2:20 p.m

Everything you need to know about electronic hardware development
Technical Track

Adam Amos

The speaker: Adam Amos is an Australian Mechatronics Engineer and the founder of Robotic Systems, an on-demand manufacturer based in Newcastle, NSW.


Adam specialises in accelerating the journey of the initial idea to working prototype and into manufacturing of other business high-value tech hardware products. Adam’s mission is to empower every tech hardware business with on-demand globally competitive scalability.


Adam has led Robotic Systems to be recognised by Deloitte as being in the top 100 fastest-growing hardware businesses in APAC 2021 as well as Robotic Systems customers being awarded 4 patents for tech developed on their behalf.


The talk: Find out what it takes to develop electronic hardware in Australia for industrial use. This covers developing a product from an initial idea, developing a concept, designing the electronics, creating the software and then incorporating the industrial design for the intended industrial use. Once the device is designed and working, it has to be ready for repeatable, reliable and scalable manufacturing.

2:20 - 2:45 p.m

Afternoon Tea

// Tea, Coffee
2:45 - 3:15 p.m

Open Space 1

// A chance to discuss relevant topics with fellow attendees
3:15 - 3:45 p.m

Open Space 2

// A chance to discuss relevant topics with fellow attendees
3:45 - 4:30 p.m

Building a Future-Proof Community

Local Community Group Organisers
4:30 - 5:00 p.m

Closing Remarks