Inspirational Women's Breakfast 2021

Celebrating our 10 Year Anniversary!

A rare opportunity to hear from inspiring and motivating women about overcoming the challenges faced in life, family, workplace and modern Australian society. 


  Wednesday 3 March 2021
  7am - 9am 
   Tea Rooms, QVB

Inspirational Women’s Breakfast is Special Olympics Australia’s annual networking breakfast celebrating the inspirational and powerful women from Australian society. Join us to meet and hear from iconic women who will share insights on their life and our times and help us raise funds for people with intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympics-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Guest Speakers

Dr Helen Christensen
Director and Chief Scientist, Black Dog Institute

Scientia Professor Helen Christensen (AO) is Director and Chief Scientist at the Black Dog Institute and a Professor of Mental Health at UNSW. She is Chief Investigator for the Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Elizabeth Blackman Fellow in Public Health, and previously one of only two NHMRC John Cade Research Fellows.

Professor Christensen is a leading expert on using technology to deliver evidence-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of depression, anxiety, suicide, and self-harm. Her research also encompasses prevention of mental health problems in young people through school-based research programs. These programs are aimed at prevention of depression and suicide risk through eMental Health interventions.

Natasha(Nas) Campanella
Disability Affairs Reporter with the ABC

Nas Campanella is totally blind and lives with a neurological condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) which means she can’t read Braille. After completing a Communications degree at the University of Technology Sydney, majoring in journalism she started with the ABC as a cadet. Nas has worked as a regional reporter in south eastern New South Wales and then as a triple j newsreader for seven years. In taking on this role, Nas became the first blind newsreader in the world to read and operate the studio for herself live to air. In 2020 she was appointed to the senior national Disability Affairs role.

Nas travels the world to speak at events, helping to motivate students, teachers, parents and industry on issues ranging from inclusive education, adaptive technology, accessible travel and the importance of empowerment and leadership for women. As well as working in the area of policy development in Australia and across the Pacific, Nas has volunteered abroad creating disability awareness training programs for the United Nations and has held several board positions in the disability sector.

Janet Whelan
Social work educator and researcher, and community advocate

Janet hails from Toowoomba, QLD, where she was the recipient of a rather restrictive 1950/60’s Queensland education. She benefitted, however, from encouragement from mostly female teachers and a working class family who recognised the importance of education for girls, as well as boys. She enrolled in Social Work at University of QLD and benefitted from strong female role models. Hence, she was never hampered by concerns that women could not achieve or make progress in their careers.

Janet moved to Tasmania where she worked in social work for over 40 years. She completed a Master’s Degree in Social Work at Charles Sturt University and a post-graduate course in Ageing and Social Planning at UTAS. She was actively involved with Australian Association of Social Workers throughout her working life, acknowledged by the award of life membership.

Master of Ceremonies: Peter Overton

Presenting Partner



Principal Partner

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