Round Table Dinners
These dinners are a benefit of membership and are for members and their guests. They have become a must-attend event on the Ballarat calendar.
We are proud of the high-calibre speakers that we have been able to attract for our members. Drawn from a wide range of backgrounds, they are experts in their respective fields who deliver engaging and thought-provoking addresses.
These dinners also provide a great opportunity for members to network with peers, gain and exchange ideas, extend their lateral thinking and generate business interactions.
July 2022 | Leigh Sales | Journalist and Author
A week after retiring from the ABC's 7.30 report, Leigh Sales joined us to discuss her insights from covering the biggest stories and most pressing social issues in the world. Leigh spoke of the importance of challenging yourself, appreciating what you have, and above...
February 2022 | Damon Gameau | Actor, Director, Documentary Filmmaker
Our February Round Table Dinner - Cocktail Gala was the first major event held at the recently opened Goods Shed. We enjoyed an inspiring evening with a presentation from Damon Gameau, including a preview of his new film, Regenerating Australia. Followed by a Q &...
November 2021 | Rachael Robertson | Antarctic Expedition Leader
Keynote speaker Rachael Robertson lead the Australian expedition to Davis Station, Antarctica. Rachael spoke of the challenges of leading in an extreme environment and her approach of "respect trumps harmony". We were also lucky enough to be joined by the Pierce...
March 2021 | Craig Tiley | CEO Tennis Australia on making the impossible, possible
Through his collaborative approach and sheer will, this global leader shares how he pulled off the impossible in the 2021 Australian Open. Craig is recognised as one of Australia's most innovative and forward-thinking executives. His charismatic and passionate nature,...
November 2019 | Ms Carly Findlay | Award-winning writer, speaker and appearance activist
Carly Findlay’s keynote address shared her wisdom to inspire inclusive community leadership for our region now and into the future. She took us through her many life experiences that have shaped her journey to activism and advocacy. A great prelude to our 2019...
August 2019 | Kevin Sheedy | Innovator, Leader and Game-Changer
Kevin Sheedy’s interview by our CEO Michael Poulton provided us with a great opportunity and insight into innovation, leadership and working together as a community. He highlighted that opportunities abound with people and hard work. We need to look at the...
March 2019 | Sir Bob Geldof | Global Philanthropist and Activist
Sir Bob Geldof, Global Philanthropist and Activist was given an experiential tour of Ballarat preceding his address. Sir Bob’s address transfixed the audience with his wisdom, truth, knowledge, incredible social conscience and his deep, astute understanding of...
November 2018 | Rosie Batty | 2015 Australian of the Year
Rosie Batty, 2015 Australian of the Year’s address focussed on "Reluctant Leadership: Effecting Change". She gave a very poignant account of how the tragedy of her son Luke's death in horrific circumstances led to her assuming the reluctant mantle of being a...
August 2018 | Matthew Guy | Leader of the State Opposition
Matthew Guy, Leader of the State Opposition shared the priorities of the State Opposition for the upcoming election for Ballarat during his address. Placing particular emphasis on population growth, the need for decentralisation and that Ballarat must prepare for the...
March 2018 | Elizabeth Proust, Chair | Australian Institute of Company Directors
Elizabeth Proust, Chair, Australian Institute of Company Directors address was "Diversity at the Table – Is It Time for Quotas?”. Elizabeth spoke about gender diversity, authentically progressive boards, token quotas and a boards role in corporate culture.
November 2017 | Leadership at the Table with Annabel Crabb
Leadership at the Table with Annabel Crabb saw an evening filled with insights, stories, and bits of gold that Annabel has collected over the 20 years of her journalism career providing us with a great opportunity to learn how best to influence and embark on advocacy.
July 2017 | Chris Riddell | Global Futurist
Global Futurist Chris Riddell’s thought-provoking keynote address covered the future trends and patterns that are beginning to emerge that will fundamentally transform our relationship with technology and the way we live in this new world of digital disruption.
March 2017 | Craig James |Chief Economist, CommSec
Chief Economist for CommSec, Craig James keynote address was on "The Australian Economy in the Trump Era". Craig's speech covered the state of the global economy, its predicted future and he concluded that Australia is faring reasonably well in these times and should...
November 2016 | Craig Lapsley | Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner
Craig Lapsley, Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner was interviewed by LBWR Chair Scott Williams and graduate Keren Day for this Round Table Dinner. He emphasised that leaders needed to be calm in stressful situations as well as possess personal qualities that...
August 2016 | Her Excellency The Hon Linda Dessau AM | Governor of Victoria
Her Excellency The Hon Linda Dessau AM’s acknowledged the importance of sport and the arts to regional communities, the changing face of the Victorian economy, Ballarat's leadership in the health sector, the need for diversity and social harmony in our communities,...
April 2016 | The Hon John Fahey AC
Guest speaker The Hon John Fahey AC’s address focussed on business in regional communities. John provided an important reminder of the values applied in organisations, are they just words or are they really applied and demonstrated by leaders?
December 2015 | Dr Susan Carland | LBWR Graduation
Dr Susan Carland delivered a stirring keynote address, encouraging current and emerging community leaders to lead by example in their everyday lives. She discussed leadership and the social challenges that leaders face in today’s society, a great topic for our 2015...
March 2015 | Corporal Mark Donaldson VC
In recognition of the anniversary of 100 years since the Gallipoli landings on Anzac Day 2015, this Round Table Dinner commemorated and acknowledged those who served not only in WW1 but also in conflicts and operations throughout the last century. Corporal Mark...
November 2014 | The Payne Family
This Round Table Dinner celebrated the region’s increasingly important equine industry. This was a rare opportunity to hear from members of the iconic local racing family, the Paynes who have helped make racing what it is in our region.
June 2014 | The Hon Daniel Andrews | State Opposition Leader
Keynote speaker Hon Daniel Andrews, State Opposition Leader, shared his vision for regional Victoria. This was in the lead-up to the state election, a great opportunity to welcome the Opposition Leader to speak to members and guests about the critical issues and...
March 2014 | “From the farm gate to your plate”
A fresh Round Table Dinner format featuring a progressive-style dinner against a backdrop of Sovereign Hill streetscapes. Guest speaker Andrew Prior of Queenie's Food Tours spoke about his passion for quality produce and shared with guests his plans to start a...
December 2013 | Janet Dore
Janet Dore’s address shared her experiences on the benefits of decentralisation due to the relocation of the TAC to Geelong and the lessons Ballarat could draw from this to support the projected population growth in Ballarat. Janet talked about making bold decisions...
September 2013 | David Smorgon
David Smorgon Director with Smorgon Consolidated Industries and as former chairman of the Western Bulldogs Football Club presented an address with David Haymes. They both shared their own personal journey and also key learnings with our members in transitioning their...
May 2013 | Tim Costello | World Vision CEO
World Vision CEO Tim Costello’s keynote address highlighted how all of us can contribute to social capital in our own way, and how we all win if we build a strong community. This was the perfect introduction to celebrate the success of the YAE (Young Adult...
December 2012 | On the Couch with General Peter Cosgrove
Guests were treated to an up close and personal look at General Peter Cosgrove at this Round Table Dinner. Committee Chair Judy Verlin conducted an interview with General Cosgrove resulting in relaxed, comfortable and generous responses.
September 2012 | Jenny Brockie | ‘Imagine Ballarat 2030’
In a change to the regular RTD format, the September dinner featured an interactive forum "Imagine Ballarat 2030'. Facilitated by special guest presenter Jenny Brockie, members and their guests were asked to imagine what Ballarat and the region would look like in 2030.
March 2012 | Ita Buttrose
Ita Buttrose gave a truly inspirational address, encouraging people to follow their passion and embrace change as an opportunity. Her humorous anecdotes of her days with “Sir Frank” and Kerry Packer delighted the audience.
December 2011 | Homer Papantonio
A different round table dinner where crowds were entertained by who they thought was an internationally renowned sports psychologist, Dr Bruno Pagano, who in the end turned out to be the Great Pretender, Homer Papantonio. It was a very entertaining, light-hearted and...
October 2011 | Ted Baillieu | Premier of Victoria
Ted Baillieu, Premier of Victoria’s address reinforced that Ballarat and the region is in a great position for the future and has potential to be at the forefront, with growing manufacturing and agricultural industries, leading to a sound economy.
December 2010 | Brian Cook | Geelong Football Club CEO
Brian Cook provided insight into the evolution of the Geelong Football Club through community involvement in his address. He encouraged Ballarat to continue its bid to have a community sporting complex built that would put the city on the national map and provide...
September 2010 | Jane-Frances Kelly | Cities Program Director at the Grattan Institute
Jane-Frances Kelly, the Cities Program Director at the Grattan Institute during her keynote address considered how to manage Ballarat’s growth while maintaining liveability, employment and investment options.
April 2010 | Jon Faine | ABC broadcaster
Jon Faine ABC broadcaster lead a panel discussion for the Round Table Dinner on a range of issues confronting the city and region. An extensive panel discussion focussed on water, its security and sustainability.
December 2009 | Christine Nixon | Former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police
Ms Nixon, former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, now the chair of the Victorian Bushfire Recovery and Reconstruction Authority covered many topics in her keynote address. Leadership, respect, passion, capacity, commitment – all of these together, plus much...
September 2009 | Chris Richardson | Head of Access Economics
Head of Access Economics, the macroeconomist group, Chris Richardson expounded his views on the current economic situation. Chris gave a colourful address on the local economy, confirming that it was not all doom and gloom and that Ballarat was in fact in a strong...
June 2009 | Dr John Harvey AM | IBM Australia’s global investment executive
IBM Australia’s global investment executive, Dr John Harvey AM, discussed the strong ties he has with Ballarat and his involvement in the construction of the IBM IT plant at Mt Helen, which is now a representation of a true success story for Ballarat and IBM.
February 2009 | Prof Ross Garnaut
Prof Ross Garnaut, one of Australia’s leading experts in the debate on climate change, discussed the merits and complexities of an emissions trading scheme in his address as well as Ballarat’s role and impact within the current economic and environmental climate.
November 2008 | Janet Holmes à Court AC
Mrs Holmes à Court theme throughout her keynote address centred on that in life people needed to be participants, not spectators. She discussed her passion for the arts, children’s programs, water, workplace safety and her successful resurrection of Heytesbury Pty...
September 2008 | Mr Rob Gell | An active environmental campaigner
Mr Rob Gell, an active environmental campaigner addressed the topic "Securing Our Water Future’ in his keynote address. He highlighted the challenges faced by business and communities in the light of ongoing climate change and shifting weather patterns.
June 2008 | Mr Phil Ruthven | IBISWorld Founder and Chairman and business strategist
IBISWorld Founder and Chairman and business strategist Mr Phil Ruthven heralded Ballarat's approach to the "magic" population figure of 100,000. He presented a detailed breakdown on Ballarat's economic base, living standards and growth – all of which will strongly...
February 2008 | Dr Ziggy Switkowski
Dr Ziggy Switkowski (former Telstra CEO and Chairman of former Prime Minister John Howard’s Review of Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Committee) keynote address focussed on the challenge of energy, sustainability and Australia’s climate change...
December 2007 | Ms Avril Henry | AH Revelations
Ms Avril Henry’s keynote address emphasised the need to nurture and strengthen young leaders. A great theme to lead in to the 2007 Leadership Ballarat & Western Region (LBWR) graduation.
October 2007 | Nobel Laureate Prof Peter Doherty
Nobel Laureate Prof Peter Doherty’s keynote address centred on global health issues and associated challenges.
We thank our members who have worked hard to help achieve these great outcomes for our community.