October 12-23: We Are Agents of Change

Founder Life at SparkFest

When you're in the middle of the hustle of starting and growing your own business, it's easy to let your own personal health and wellbeing slide. Check out these Spark Festival sessions all about taking care of yourself and creating a supportive and empathic culture in your organisation from the get-go.

The segments below are part of Spark Festival, Australia's largest event for startups, innovators and entrepreneurs. Running from Oct 12 - 23, check out the full two week program here.

Save My Spot!

12 October,
9:40am — 10:00am AEDT

The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship

In this keynote, Heather MacKenzie examines the Dark Side of Entrepreneurship - the mental health challenges that are unique to founders and ways to mitigate them. She also places emphasis on educating investors on this topic, so they can better support their founders and potentially have a faster, more robust ROI.

12 October,
2:00pm — 2:50pm AEDT

Bio and Consciousness Hacking for Founders

As entrepreneurs we are forced into a culture of rise and grind, pushing our biological limits to the edge (and beyond) in pursuit of performance and productivity. However we are now seeing the detrimental effects (burnout, chronic fatigue, amongst others) of the eternal grind which can be entrepreneurship.
It's as part of this workshop we'll teach founders how to use cutting edge Transformative Technologies to monitor key bio (HRV, Activity, Heart Rate) and consciousness metrics (Sleep, Brain Wave States) as a means to cultivate flow, into their day to day performance, optimising health, well being, whilst improving performance, creativity, insight, awareness and potential.
Founders will learn how Transformative Technologies allow us to objectively measure and optimise sleep, activity and manage our day to day states to access greater periods of flow.
Join us as we break the old paradigm that hours in front of your computer, compromising sleep, pushing our bodies to unhealthy limits is what we need to do for productivity
As a founder of theSPACE (Cairns), Troy Haines seen first hand entrepreneurs within our community push themselves beyond healthy limits and break themselves. These technologies are enabling us to objectively optimise our day to day performance for peak productivity, wellbeing and health.

13 October,
9:00am — 9:45am AEDT

How to Get Unstuck as a Startup Founder, Business Owner & Entrepreneur

Do you struggle with managing priorities and decisions that truly move your business forward? In this presentation Ram Castillo will be offering practical advice and insights on getting unstuck, lightning fast.
This includes overcoming being the bottleneck, distinguishing high vs low value activities, implementing efficient systems and processes, hiring and keeping quality staff, value pricing, diversifying revenue streams, market penetration or expansion, and strategic branding and marketing initiatives.
This session is perfect for startups, innovators and entrepreneurs of every persuasion.

13 October,
10:40am — 11:10am AEDT

Founders' Identity: 10 Tips on How to be Found

Achieving product-market fit and gaining sales momentum is the most challenging aspect of the startup journey. Being a founder is more than just founding a company, it is also about developing a personal brand and avatar with a presence that allows you to be 'found' rather than requiring you to find others. This keynote session will cover the top ten insights into developing a founders identity.
The session is applicable to everyone and covers content given in the first module of the nandin entrepreneurial learning program. Whether you are a student, postgrad, startup CEO, or seasoned professional, there's something in this session for you.

14 October,
12:00pm — 12:50pm AEDT

Setting Better Boundaries: Why Governance is More Important Than Funding

Deciding what is and isn't ok inside your startup will define every single decision from that moment on. Creating a process to align your business objectives with those decisions / values is the single most valuable activity any founder can undertake.

15 October,
11:20am — 11:50am AEDT

Patience Kills (Innovation)

The CEO of Australia’s leading tech and innovation hub, Farley Blackman, will discusses why patience, in business, isn’t a virtue to embrace. While patience is important, when driving change to create value, it’s a showstopper. This fireside chat will centre around the mindset and leadership style needed to challenge the status quo, innovate and create sustained value.

Farley will share anecdotes from his varied experiences – growing small businesses to being an executive at some of the world’s largest companies (BP, Motorola, GE). He will deliver advice on how to lead innovation with an action and ROI-based mindset, share when it is right to exercise patience and break down when patience is definitely not good for business.

This talk is perfect for any founders and leaders within the startup, scaleup and corporate innovation landscape, in Australia and from around the world. Farley hopes, attendees will leave with an urgency to propel their businesses forward through action and innovation by challenging the status quo.

16 October,
1:00pm — 1:30pm AEDT

Resilience at Work for Competitive Advantage

Workplace resilience is “the capacity to manage the everyday stress of work while staying healthy, adaptable and learning from setbacks and preparing for future challenges proactively.”

Being resilient at work means managing the everyday stress of work in a healthy way - rebounding and learning from unexpected setbacks, and being adaptable - preparing for future challenges and change in a proactive way.

Resilience is not just about better coping. It is being the best you can be in the current working environment. Learn about the Resilience at Work model and the seven characteristics, and how to apply the model in an entrepreneurial environment.

19 October,
9:40am — 10:30am AEDT

The Neuroscience of Change

The Neuroscience of Change workshop is designed to help people and organisations successfully navigate the often complex process of change. Sharing behavioural neuroscience knowledge and thereby behaviours which promote change, we’ll help you learn how to effectively structure change, drive accountability and enhance performance.
To help create this desired change we’ll empower you with, and educate you on, the behavioural tools, neurohacks (quick brain hacks) and a sound change framework to better understand yourself and thereby others.
We'll cover the Neuroscience of Change: how we change and adapt, the neurotools to communicate change in yourself and others, and how the neurotools influence and drive effective change.
By the end of this workshop, you'll have an enhanced understanding of yourself, your colleagues and how to effectively drive change across your organisation.

19 October,
3:00pm — 3:30pm AEDT

Build a Culture of Wellbeing

As a community leader, working in the regions ecosystem, running startup events and being based at the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast I see teams form, norm and then either grow and shine - or become stale, toxic and even perish. Building a culture from day dot, priortitsing employee health and wellbeing not only improves the bottom line through productivity and a reduction in absentees, but builds employee loyalty and a credible brand. A brand that becomes an employer of choice for the skilled professionals innovative business need to compete in a global marketplace.

19 October,
3:40pm — 4:00pm AEDT

Personalised Ergo and Self-Care for Screen-Intensive Work

This workshop introduces a new tier of health, wellbeing and productivity training by building self-care competencies specific for screen-intensive work.
Prof Hedge's shows over 80% of employees in offices, contact centres, etc. report aches, pains and musculoskeletal discomfort related to their work. Research also shows the WFH shift accompanied by significant increases in complaints, with over half of respondents reporting new aches and pains, "especially in the neck (58%), shoulder (56%) and back (55%)".
This unique PhD backed Ergo and Self-Care workshop, with emphasis on WFH and Laptops, demonstrates how to refine and apply ergonomics to match participants' stature, self-care competencies, including postural mindfulness, dynamic stretches and healthy work patterns, and no-cost strategies to set up the best possible home workstation.
This presentation will include video demonstrations and four illustrated PDF review sheets. Attendees will build new personal protective behaviours (PPB's) to increase comfort and productivity, avoid pain and the need for expensive trips to physics and masseurs.

22 October,
1:00pm — 1:50pm AEDT

How to Use Technology to Own Your Finances Post-Pandemic

The pandemic has caused financial stress to millions of people globally. Contrariwise, others have seen their spending decline and savings pivoted. So how do you navigate your current financial wellbeing using technology in this post-pandemic age?

Stone & Chalk has brought together a group of experts in Financial Literacy & Tech to empower us all to earn and manage money more effectively in this new age.

The event will be moderated by Marie-Anne Lampotang, General Manager at Stone & Chalk Sydney.

22 October,
3:40pm — 4:00pm AEDT

How we grew Urban Plant Growers while working full-time jobs

The founders of Urban Plant Growers have had full time jobs for most of the company's history. Limited time forged the belief that they shouldn't build anything that doesnt need to be built, leading them to find a range of simple software solutions and develop rock-solid processes that have helped them to run an efficient hardware business. If you're thinking about starting up, but not sure about quitting your day job, this is a session for you.

22 October,
5:40pm — 6:00pm AEDT

Nobody Knows What To Do, So Now What?

Innovating in the context of uncertainty: If nobody knows what we should work on, what do we do now?
Two ways to look at it:
1. We're all lost, I'll go hide.
2. Cool, I know as much as anyone, watch this.
For the first type of person, don't worry we've got you.
For the second type of person, we need to go work it out for ourselves.
It boils down to explicitly constructing information about what to do next, rather than blindly just taking a shot.
This live drawing presentation is relevant to startups, scaleups, corporates, and government alike.

23 October,
1:00pm — 1:50pm AEDT

Kill Your Competition Not Yourself

Why do so many Startup founders assume they need to compromise their physical and mental health, their relationships and even their personal values in order to be successful? Long nights, stress and burnout seem to be accepted parts of the Founders hero’s journey, leaving as many as 78% of Founders worried about their health.

At a time where Australia needs to mature its Startup ecosystem rapidly, how can Founders navigate the complexities of the Startup environment and create successful enterprises at scale - without damaging themselves in the process? We’ll step through the questions Founders should be asking, sharing mindsets and processes for self-preservation in the Startup furnace, with the aim of help Founders design not just a sustainable business, but a sustainable life.