Impact through innovation at ConnectUp 2019

21 June 2019

Impact through innovation at ConnectUp 2019


ConnectUp has successfully wrapped up for another year and let’s just say it was one you didn’t want to miss!


Last week. CoAct hosted over 100 delegates and 23 guest speakers at our annual ConnectUp conference at the Novotel Brisbane.

ConnectUp 2019 brought together changemakers in the sector and beyond to showcase exceptional leadership and service delivery, embracing this year’s theme – Impact through innovation.

From leadership to the front line, ConnectUp explored expert insights and case studies to harness new thinking on how we can continue to create impact through innovation in delivering services to Australia’s most disadvantaged.


As always, the program was packed with a range of speakers to help delegates and their business navigate the future challenges, as well as inspire, engage and ignite their creativity.

This year’s guest speakers knew a thing or two about using innovation to drive impact in their communities. The speakers all shared a common thirst for innovation that drives real impact.

The standard of content and interactive sessions was exceptional, and delegates were provided with some amazing insights and techniques to take them forward into the new world of employment services.


Here are some key highlights

Kicking off with the KEYNOTE session, we would like to say a special thanks to Community Council for Australia for releasing their report, alongside Life Without Barriers. The report recapped several CEO forums that brought together over 12 months of various charity leaders and impact investing intermediary experts to talk about the practical challenges, opportunities and way to make impact investing happen.

To follow on from the keynote session was the IMPACT INVESTING panel discussion, that equipped delegates with a practical understanding of impact investing, whilst hearing from not-for-profit industry experts who are leading the way in social investment.

CEO and founder of About My Brain Institute Silvia Damiano’s presentation on the NEUROBIOLOGY OF INNOVATION: How understanding your brain can help with leadership, creativity and innovation’ was a standout session at the conference.

The interactive session explored how leadership, creativity and innovation can be developed and owned by everybody, and ultimately, be used to better drive impact. Visit Silvia’s About My Brain website to view her presentations as well as further information on the techniques she discussed at the conference.

The next session, DES: A YEAR IN REVIEW, allowed delegates to understand and learn whether the new DES model is meeting its objectives, what more can we do and a reflection and review of the last 12 months.

We heard a different perspective on the DES model, from the NDIS. This session explored how DES and the NDIS work together to drive impact and outcomes and provide those individuals in the DES market techniques on how to strengthen relationships between themselves and referral partners such as the NDIS.

Kelly Services launched their REPORT: PREPARING FOR THE WORKPLACE IN THE FUTURE. The report explored the existing perceptions around hiring and working with employees from diverse groups. This led into the next session of the FUTURE OF EMPLOYMENT SERVICES 2022.

The all-female panel drew on a wide set of knowledge and perspective from across the employment services sector. exploring the two-year extension of the current contract and what this means for testing the new model.

The INTENSIVE CASE MANAGEMENT (ICM) session following lunch, saw our experts within the CoAct network share how they’re leading the way in ICM and explored theories of change and their key components of success – to further create innovation and greater impact.

SCALABLE INNOVATION FOR NOT-FOR-PROFITS: Leveraging opportunities for deeper, more efficient business practices and partnerships power talks and panel discussion consisted of hearing from various not-for-profit trailblazers including the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Hutt Street Centre, Burn Bright and Dress for Success Sydney.

Being the last session of a long day, it’s safe to say there weren’t any dreary eyes in the room, as the experiences shared from these individuals had everyone captivated and engaged.

Gala Evening & CoAct awards presentation

In addition to celebrating CoActs 21st anniversary, we hosted our annual Gala Evening at the stunningly beautiful Blackbird Bar and Grill. As CoAct journeyed into their 21st year of activating communities, the theme and dress code for the evening was fitting and fun: Roaring 20s!

Delegates feasted, sipped and networked in style – mingling with old and new friends. Dressed in their best from head to toe – whilst embracing the 1920’s feels and music, the Gala Evening provided the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our network through the annual CoAct Awards for Excellence.

This year’s newly re-vamped CoAct Awards program saw three awards presented including – Sustainable Employer Awards, Site Performance Awards and the Steve Lawrence Excellence Awards, which welcomed eight top-scoring Service Partner frontline staff.

The Steve Lawrence Excellence Awards winners were invited to travel to the 2-day conference and the Gala Evening in Brisbane with compliments of CoAct. They were also invited to take part in a panel discussion on day-2, delving deep into these outstanding individuals’ high-performance habits which have driven their success, strengthened their sites and made a real impact in transforming people’s lives.

They also spoke about managing people, how to wow a customer, overcoming challenges, celebrating success and more. For more information, including a list of the winners visit

We would like to say a huge congratulations and thank you to all our award winners!



We would also like to say a special thanks to our sponsors PSC Insurance Brokers and Kwik Kopy who supported this year’s ConnectUp conference, we couldn’t have done it without you and we look forward to seeing you all next year!



Tagged:   ConnectUp!
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