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DEA’s Practitioners’ Forum in Association with genU Training

The Forum is designed for front-line staff to build capacity to deliver on key parts of the current and future DES program. This half-day workshop will give delegates a chance to ask questions and give feedback throughout the session. The Practitioners’ Forum is aimed at staff who work in disability employment, including new and existing team members, front-line staff, business development and compliance staff, as well as other operational team members. It’s a terrific opportunity for leaders to support the commitment of early to mid-career staff, so they can experience the benefits of Conference, with specific content tailored to their needs.

The event will be facilitated by Wayne Herbert from Lead Employment, and will include the following key topics:

• The new DES – how is it different?
• Job plans
• The new Quality Framework and your role
• The interim and new Performance Framework
• Community engagement and attracting participants
• Working with employers
• Ongoing support
• The NDIS employment supports
• Compliance
• Working with employers!
• Best practice discussion

Forum speakers will provide an insight on what they will discuss individually during the session.

Matt Levy OAM:
With over 22 years experience as a motivational speaker, Matt uses his Success Framework to talk about mindset, resilience, goal setting, team work and attitude in how you approach life. The Success Framework will allow users to set manageable goals and targets, create an action plan and inner circle, engage key people within their circle, strategise what you need for success and how to get it, and also how to stay focused. You will be inspired, educated and motivated by Matt’s story of overcoming adversity.

Lauren Peacock:
The practitioner workshop will cover an intriguing topic: the use of the behavioural assessment tool DISC to better understand and communicate with clients. Everyone has a preferred communication and behavioural style. DISC helps practitioners break down these styles into four easy to remember preferences: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. Everyone has a unique mix of behavioural traits, but most people have a preferred style. Using the DISC model can help practitioners understand how to get the best out of their clients by identifying what motivates, excites and frightens them. Speaking to style gets to the heart of what really matters to each client leading to better conversations and longer lasting outcomes.

Paul Diviny:
Taking a participant-led approach to employer engagement
There are many different models for finding sustainable employment for people with disability.  Evidence suggests a participant-led approach, particular for higher funding level customers, is more successful than “vacancy gathering”.  However, how can this be done efficiently and effectively – particularly given our limited time to invest in employer engagement?   Learn how service providers in Australia, NZ, Canada, United States and the United Kingdom are using simple tools and techniques to achieve remarkable results.


Wayne Herbert

Wayne Herbert

Director of Progress and Property , LEAD Disability Services

Wayne is currently the Director of Progress and Property at LEAD Disability Services.


Wayne is an international speaker, writer, comedian, disability and LGBTIQA+ community activist. Wayne is an experienced not-for-profit board member, currently representing the ACT on the board of LGBTIA+ Health Australia having previously served as Vice President of Meridian, and a board member of Sharing Places Inc.  Wayne is also a member of the NDS ACT Territory committee and has previously served as Deputy Chair of the ACT Government LGBTIQ Advisory council and as a member of the ACT Disability Reference Group.

A highly values-driven, ambitious, and outspoken advocate for people with disability and people in the LGBTIQ community, Wayne was a nominee for the 2018 ACT Australian of the Year for services to the disability and LGBTIQA+ communities. Wayne has a proven track record of taking on a strategic leadership role in driving regulatory and organisational change at a local, national, and international level. Wayne takes a unique approach enabling people to embrace change and integrate initiatives that promotes diversity, inclusivity, and respect. Wayne combines comprehensive knowledge of working within peer lead organisations, organisational governance and personal lived experiences along with a genuine passion for driving positive change in our community and empowering people with a disability to unleash their potential.

Instagram @waynecjherbert

X/Twitter @waynecjherbert

Photo credit: Valent Lau, Corporate Photographer

Matt Levy

Matt Levy OAM

Author, gold medal winning swimmer, motivational speaker & inclusion advocate

In 1987, Matt Levy was born prematurely at 25 weeks. He has cerebral palsy, is legally blind, and has had 40-50 operations on his heart, lungs, ears, and even brain.

Matt is also a swimmer. You might have seen him win gold for Australia. He has competed at five consecutive Paralympic Games, winning 3 gold 1 silver, and 5 bronze medals. He’s also swam at 5 World Swimming Championships – winning 20 international medals and holding 4 World Records.

Matt has a degree in Business (Management), an Australian Institute of Company Directors qualification and MBA (Leadership), as well as an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to sport.


Lauren Peacock

CEO, Institute of Capacity Building

Lauren has worked in the employment and community services industry for eighteen years. Working across frontline, operational leadership and strategic roles has given her a broad understanding of the challenges of working as a job coach, especially when working with people with disabilities. In her time in the sector Lauren has contributed to strategic committees on workforce development, and designed and delivered training for a number of organisations including Disability Employment Australia and the Institute of Employability Professionals. She is a prolific writer and is publishing a book later this year on job coaching called “Progress is Everything”. Her practical and tested strategies for engaging clients has helped hundreds of practitioners better coach clients into work.

Dan Gavin

Dan Gavin

National Manager of Disability Employment, GenU Training

As a seasoned leader with over two decades of experience in steering teams and enhancing workforce capabilities within customer service organizations, Dan transitioned into the Disability Employment Services (DES) sector six years ago, at a pivotal moment when prioritizing customer experience has become crucial.

Having excelled in operational leadership roles and spearheading DES strategy, Dan now brings his wealth of expertise to genU Training as the National Manager of Disability Employment. Leading a groundbreaking partnership between genU Training and Disability Employment Australia (DEA) to develop and deliver a comprehensive suite of five microcredentials known as Disability Employment Fundamentals.

These microcredentials are crafted to fortify the capabilities of the DES, (NDIS), and employer workforce. Their primary goal, to ensure staff can deliver exceptional, customer-centric services that facilitate meaningful employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Dan’s passion for creating impactful, targeted training programs is matched by his extensive experience in spearheading organizational change. He is currently working with DES providers, helping them adopt and implement Fundamentals for DES, to support their transition to innovative approaches to delivering exceptional customer experiences that result in exceptional outcomes.

Dan will be discussing the importance of investing in specialised training for a specialist model, and will share how increasing staff capability to deliver high-quality customer service and an exceptional customer experience results in customer progression and provider sustainability.


Paul Diviny

CEO, Prospert

Paul Diviny is the founding Director of Prospert, an international learning, consulting and tendering management business with a focus on employability services.

Since commencing his business in 2020, Paul has directly helped over 1,000 employability professionals in learning the art of effective employer and community engagement. His and his team’s advice is sought out by Boards and senior executives in such areas as: strategic growth; tendering strategy and execution; learning and development; operations management; program management; and organisation design.

As an employer engagement mentor, Paul provides coaching and mentoring to frontline employability staff and their line managers, assisting them to master employer engagement and grow sustainable employment and strong, trustworthy bonds with employers.

With social justice values embedded in his upbringing, Paul is particularly passionate about transforming lives, businesses and communities – one job at a time. His passion rubs off on his team who share this in everything they do.

Rana Kordahi

Rana Kordahi

Reverse Marketing Sales Coach, Employment Services Training

For the past 10 + years Rana has helped thousands of employment practitioners and job seekers in employment services learn how to sell. Whether it’s to sell their services and job seekers to employers, or helping job seekers sell themselves into a job. She has won several awards for placing the most people into work, as well as awards in ‘innovation’ in her training workshops.

One of Rana’s favourite things to hear when coaching employment practitioners is when they tell her just how much they are now enjoying picking up the phone and making reverse marketing calls.

Her achievements include speaking at TEDx, being recognized as a Top 10 Female Sales Coach by Yahoo Finance, and featuring in The Australian Business Journal’s Top 15 Sales Experts to Watch as well as being featured as a Top 27 Sales Influencer by Salesforce.


Keryl Neville

CEO, Lead Employment

Keryl Neville, CEO of LEAD Disability Services and Board Member of Disability Employment Australia has worked in disability services for more than 30 years. Originally trained as an Occupational Therapist she has worked in employment services, vocational training roles, sexuality and education, accommodation support and community participation. Keryl enjoys travelling which she hopes to do more of now the kids have grown and moved.


Tania Jovanovska

Campbell Page

Tania is a dedicated and experienced professional with 9 years of expertise in Employment Services, having spent 7.5 years with Campbell Page. Her passion for empowering individuals and communities has driven her to continually develop her skills and knowledge. With qualifications in Employment Services, Mental Health, and Community Service, she has also pursued a Diploma in Counselling to further enhance her abilities.

Tania is committed to making a meaningful impact in the community she serves, ensuring that everyone has access to quality employment opportunities. Her dedication to continued learning and personal growth enables her to confidently contribute to the betterment of those around her. With a strong sense of purpose and a drive for excellence, Tania is a valued asset to Campbell Page and a shining example of the positive impact that can be made through hard work and determination.