Steiner Education Australia

presents the

2024 Governance, Leadership and Management Conference


Business Managers’ Forum 

Thriving together: building community in challenging times


2-4 May 2024
Chrysalis Steiner School, Thora NSW


Keynote speakers for 2024:

Meaningful parent engagement – lessons from the research

Amanda Watt, Executive Officer, Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network
Jacky Dawson, Parent Engagement Program Manager, Independent Schools Queensland

Amanda Watt, Executive Officer, Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network Jacky Dawson, Parent Engagement Program Manager, Independent Schools Queensland  

This keynote session will discuss the nature of parent engagement, highlight the long-standing research which demonstrates the links between effective parent engagement and children’s learning and wellbeing, and what the research indicates are promising approaches to parent engagement at a whole school and individual teacher level.


Ending Loneliness Together

Michelle H Lim, Associate Professor and CEO of Ending Loneliness Together

Steiner school communities value strong, positive social connections for all members of the community – students, staff, parents and carers, and social responsibility is one of the key tenets of our education.

This is reflected in the Core Principles for Australian Steiner Schools, particularly Core Principle 2 – Steiner /Waldorf education fosters social renewal by cultivating individual who serve an ethical world future, and Core Principle 5 – The conscious establishment of human relationships fosters individual and community health. 

Loneliness and social isolation are on the rise in Australia, particularly in young people. In this keynote, Associate Professor Michelle Lim will present the latest evidence on the prevalence of loneliness in Australia from the State of the Nation Social Connection in Australia report. She will speak about the differences between loneliness and social isolation, and present on the current challenges facing young people including social media.

Associate Professor Lim will also provide recommendations on how to identify loneliness in young people, how to talk it in a non stigmatised way, and how to better help young people who are lonely.


CEO and Scientific Chair of Ending Loneliness Together
Prevention Research Collaboration, Sydney School of Public Health, Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, Australia
Co-Chair, International Scientific Board – Global Initiative on Loneliness and Connection
Clinical Psychologist

Associate Professor Michelle Lim is CEO of Ending Loneliness Together a national Australia network made up of universities and industry partners who are focused on combatting chronic loneliness in Australians across the lifespan. Associate Professor Lim is also the Director of the Social Health and Wellbeing Group at the School of Public Health, the University of Sydney.

Associate Professor Lim led the development of the National Strategy for Loneliness and Social Isolation in Australia and have written two government White Papers on this issue. She is also chief investigator of the Australian Loneliness Report (2018) and the Young Australian Loneliness Survey (2019). Her work informs the Australian government, not-for-profit, and corporate sector.

Her findings notes that one in four Australians aged 12 to 89 report problematic levels of loneliness. In 2020, Dr Lim also cofounded and was the inaugural co-director of the Global Initiative on Loneliness and Connection, an international coalition of organisations across 12 countries committed to ending the pressing global issue of loneliness and social isolation. 


Understanding family economic pressures and their impact on school relationships

Jack Stevens, CEO Edstart

Families are increasingly facing a myriad of cost pressures causing financial stress, the impacts are extending further than just the family finances including their ability to manage school fee payments.

In this keynote presentation, Jack will provide an update on the latest economic data, examining the impacts on the family household budget and the implications for families when making fee payments.

Drawing on empirical evidence, he will explore the significance of family financial stress, how it influences the relationships between schools and families, and why understanding the type of support to provide – like flexibility – can help strengthen relationships and build a thriving school community.


Jack Stevens is the Co-Founder and CEO of Edstart, a technology and financial services company providing funding and payment services for education. He has extensive experience across the finance and education sectors, holding senior consulting and corporate finance roles at KPMG prior to founding Edstart in 2016.

Having grown up with parents as school teachers, Jack is passionate about advocating and building solutions to help support access to education, as well as championing the critical role that schools and teachers play in developing our next generation. He currently serves as a Board Director at the Australian Industry Trade College, has supported several social enterprises in a voluntary capacity and been awarded Australian Young Businessperson of the Year.

He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Business from Bond University.


Stay tuned for more details and booking info…