Mark Bouris heads Hunter Innovation Festival speaker line-up

This article was first published in the Newcastle Weekly.

Finance guru Mark Bouris AM will headline a star-studded line-up of speakers at next month’s Hunter Innovation Festival.

The Australian business leader and executive chairman of Yellow Brick Home Loans is expected to join 2021 Newcastle Citizen of the Year and 2023 NAIDOC Person of the Year Professor Kelvin Kong and NSW Modern Manufacturing Commissioner Lisa Emerson at the Thursday 19 October conference.

The trio will lead the keynote sections of the forum, each addressing topics that are certain to spark discussion and collaboration.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes with Professor Kelvin Kong and Citizen of the Year 2020 Michelle Faithfull.

Established in 2002, the Hunter Innovation Festival now boasts an expanded program of events, which includes workshops, interactive sessions, performance installations, guest speakers and much, much more hosted in different venues across a range of different industries.

Chair Alex Brennan said he was thrilled to welcome Mr Bouris, Professor Kong and Ms Emerson in 2023.

“We’re excited to have such a high-calibre of speakers headline this year’s event,” he stated.

“Mark Bouris has been at the forefront of Australian entrepreneurship for decades having established Australia’s second largest non-bank mortgage lender Wizard Home Loans, while Lisa Emerson is the first-ever Modern Manufacturing Commissioner for NSW and Australia.

“We are also delighted to have Professor Kelvin Kong attend.

“He is no doubt one the Hunter region’s most outstanding individuals who will bring a wealth of insight into the future of medical research.”

Mr Bouris explained he would cover topics ranging from leadership, innovation, success and resilience.

“The growth of the Hunter region is clear, as one of the country’s largest regional economies,” he said.

“Within this, the innovation and development of complex industries, such as medical research, technology, and education, all contribute to the communities continued growth.

“It will be interesting to hear first-hand about this development and what factors have attributed to these advancements, while looking ahead to the future of the region.

“The Hunter Innovation Festival presents some amazing opportunities to learn about new emerging technologies and their effect on our commercial landscape and relevant industries.

“It is also an opportunity to showcase the amazing level of innovation within the region.

“On top of this, I am a serial learner, and love learning about new innovations and technological advancements, and it is especially interesting to see this in a regional community.”

Professor Kong will discuss the field of healthcare and how it was experiencing a transformative shift through continuous innovation, and the profound impact this innovation has on health – spanning from advanced medical technologies and treatments to novel healthcare delivery models.

“I’m looking forward to talking about the synergy between technology and medicine, and how breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, telemedicine, genomics, and medical devices are enhancing diagnostic accuracy, personalising treatment plans, and improving patient outcomes,” he said.

Host Hunter iF will announce the full conference schedule imminently, featuring speakers from Hunter-based companies who are leading the way in the technology, renewables, manufacturing and innovation space.

“Innovation isn’t just about creating new things,” Mr Brennan said.

“It is about applying what you have learnt in different ways to achieve different outcomes than you have before.

“We have put together a diverse and engaging line up of speakers that will inspire, challenge and motivate the crowd to do just that.”

Tickets for the Hunter Innovation Festival are now on sale at