Personal Development

Conferences That Will Seriously Up Your Career Game

By Emma Pegrum - 15 Apr 2018

We can all see the world morphing before us into something completely new and unknown, but we’re not quite sure what to do about it, how to harness it, or how to keep on keeping up with the ever-changing landscape that is the future of work.

Whether you’re at the top of your professional game, just starting out, looking for a career change, or just in it for the included alcoholic beverages, there’s a conference happening somewhere soon that’ll get your fire stoked no matter what industry you’re in (or want to be in). It might be inspiration that you need, or it might be specific and rigorous know-how—either way, we’ve scoured the region to bring you these conferences that’ll seriously up your career game.

Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium | 2 May—22 August

All Australian Capitals

A national series of events focusing on the experience of female leaders in the contemporary workforce, the Australian Women’s Leadership Symposiums are the most highly attended women’s leadership events in the country.

The series kicks off in Brisbane and provides opportunities for women in leadership to learn, share and plan for success in every Australian capital thereafter through keynote presentations, development sessions and panels.

This year’s lineup of speakers includes names like Annabel Crabb, political journalist and TV presenter, Catherine Fox, leading author and commentator on women in work, and Kristal Kinsela, NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year 2017. Beyond that, there’s leading women from the sporting field, corporate sector and government—and there are even some male presenters getting in on the action too.

CeBIT | 15 May—17 May 2018


Now in its 17th year, CeBIT is the Asia-Pacific’s largest and longest-running B2B technology exhibition and conference with some 15,000 professionals from the SME, government and start-up industries attending each year.

CeBIT is centred on three pillars: content and learning (obvs), product discovery and collaboration and networking. This means that not only do you get an enormous amount of insight into things like cybersecurity, big data, fintech, digital health, and next-gen innovation, you also get a show floor full of ground-breaking business technology products and opportunities to actually do stuff, like join a PitchFest, collaborate in the StartUp zone, or take part in a strategic panel.

We aren’t even going to begin to list the speakers, because their extremely impressive, almost other-worldly-sounding job titles are way too long to fit here, but you’ll wanna’ be hearing from them, guaranteed.

TechWeek | 19 May—27 May

Across New Zealand

New Zealand is renowned as a world leader in the technology and digital space, so it’s no surprise that there is a week-long, countrywide festival dedicated to facilitating cross-pollination and connection within New Zealand’s rapidly growing tech ecosystem happening in May.

TechWeek features a seriously overwhelming number of special events that address the needs of almost everyone, from women in tech, to kids and young people, to small and medium businesses, to startups, to people who work with robots.

The Opening of the Headline Series is happening in Auckland, which is a two-day deep-dive into New Zealand’s unique, interconnected and dynamic world of innovation, featuring panels, workshops and talks from some of the nation’s leading names on topics spanning AI, design-thinking, blockchain and the future of work. Huge.

Semi Permanent | Various Dates

Sydney & Auckland

If you need a good injection of creativity, look no further. Semi Permanent is presented as part of Vivid Sydney, the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas—and the three-day conference which will run from 24 May to 26 May 2018, is fitting the bill and then some.

In 2018, Semi Permanent features names such as David Campbell, the Senior Designer at MONA in Tassie, Scott Dadich (the guy who produced Netflix series ‘Abstract: The Art of Design, watch it), Nike sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield, and Alex Schleifer, VP of Design at Airbnb!

This is a place where every idea, big or small, gets its time in the sun, and where creatives across industries come together to figure out how they can adapt to or, better yet, shape the future.

Hosted at the incredible Carriageworks Sydney, its less a conference and more a festival full of talks, exhibitions, installations, innovation labs, workshops, parties and networking opps! You can also check out the Auckland chapter of Semi-Permanent, which will run from 9 August to 11 August 2018.

Mumbrella360 | 12 June—14 June 2018


The premier conference for those in the media and marketing industry, Mumbrella360 keeps getting bigger and better. The 2018 event features some huge names, including Petronella Panérus, CEO of Akestam Holst—one of the world’s leading ad agencies, famous for their ‘Where Life Happens’ campaign for IKEA and their incredibly human-centric style of storytelling that’s redefining advertising. Other big names from Microsoft, Network 10 and Buzzfeed (among others) join the lineup to chat about topics spanning ‘the new wave of creative thinking’ to ‘how to sell your ideas’.

With their masterclasses, you can also learn how to do things like verify quality influencers for social media marketing or turn data into insight. For those screaming ‘help please’ and those who are bossing it alike, plus everyone in between.

Internet of Things (IoT) Australia & New Zealand Festival | 14 June—15 June 2018


For those who haven’t yet been enlightened, the ‘Internet of Things’ describes the internet 2.0, where data is now created by actual, real-life things—such as your FitBit, or Google Home. It’s projected that more than 20 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. Terrifying? Yes. Still happening? Most definitely.

The IoT Festival showcases the dramatic transformations and new world opportunities that the Internet of Things is making possible for business and humankind alike, particularly in relation to food & agriculture, healthcare, smart cities, manufacturing, retail, and energy & mining across Australia and the Asia Pacific.

The Festival’s Major Conference attracts speakers from influential companies like Telstra, KPMG, Microsoft and Amazon, and tackles how business can harness the Internet of Things to remain relevant and grow into the future. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: there are also workshops, field tours, innovation hubs and pitch events featuring young companies doing great things with connected devices.

TEDxSydney | 15 June 2018


Recently awarded Australia’s Best Conference, TEDxSydney is one of the largest TEDx events in the world. More than just an inspirational day to witness, TEDx Sydney is also Australia’s leading platform for the propagation of ideas, creativity and innovation to the rest of the world.

This is a place for big thinkers: people who want to find their tribe of like-minded humans, bear witness to ideas that are changing the world and, above all, learn new things like never before. This year’s theme is HumanKind, so expect inspiring talks, performances, films and debates that put we humans at the forefront and get us all in sync, on the same page, and ready for action.

State Of Social | 26 June 2018


If your work involves social media and digital marketing (don't they all these days?) then State of Social in Perth is the conference for you. Covering three of the industry's biggest topics—influence, behaviour and innovation—you'll hear from names like Nick Randall, founder of the app TRIBE and consumer psychologist Adam Ferrier (who you may have seen on shows like Gruen and The Project).

Along with the keynote speakers, there will also be panel sessions on each of the three topics looking at how they currently impact the world of marketing as well as a look at where they are headed in the future.

The Travel Bootcamp | 30 June 2018

Surfers Paradise

For those who dream of making a living out of travel, or those who already do it but want to do it better, The Travel Bootcamp should take pride of place on your yearly cal. It’s run by three pros who’ve actually made it: they’ve turned their passion for travel and story into (very profitable) careers, and now they want to share their strategies, steps and secrets with you.

Who are these impressive humans? No less than Lauren Bath, Australia’s original professional travel Instagrammer, award winning editor and travel journalist Georgia Rickard, and Liz Carlson, who blogs at Young Adventuress, one of the world’s top travel blogs. They are all pioneers in their respective industries, blazing a trail for the rest of us to keep redefining. The best part? They all want to see other passionate people succeed too.

The Travel Bootcamp mightn’t be big, but it’s specific: it’s an intensive, one-day conference that’s served straight up for people wanting practical and actionable career tips.

Social Impact Festival | July 2018


If you believe in the idea of business as a force for good, Perth’s Social Impact Festival should be on your agenda. The Social Impact Festival is a platform for cutting-edge knowledge and ideas that address complex social problems concerning leadership, housing and homelessness, urban design, law and justice and place activation (among many others).

The Festival hosts a Social Impact Summit of leading academics and industry experts from all over the world, as well as Impact Sparker events that highlight and celebrate initiatives already driving significant change.

There’s only a taste of what’s on offer in 2018 available as yet, but so far that includes hearing from Dr. Otto Scharmer; he’s the man behind Theory U, which is all about transforming capitalism, shifting awareness from ego to eco and harnessing business for creating positive futures. This is the place to renew and reinvent the way you work, based on bigger thinking and a care for everything.

Pause Fest | 6—10 February 2019


Pause Fest is aptly named—it’s a space for free thinkers to come together, cross-pollinate and find shared purpose, without the noise. Coming from humble Melburnian roots, Pause Fest has grown into the leading innovation event for the creative, tech and business industries in the Asia Pacific region.

Throughout its eight year history, the festival has featured foremost thinkers from leading brands such as Airbnb, NASA, Netflix, This American Life, Pixar and Amazon.

Call for Entries for the 2019 program are opening in April, so if you’re already on the top of the ladder, you might wanna’ consider getting involved. If not, stay tuned for ticket sales - this is an ideas incubator promising content you can’t Google.

Interested in upping your money game? Here are the podcasts you need to listen to.

Image credit: Unsplash

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