Opening speaker: SAM BLOOM

In 2013, Sam’s dream life was suddenly turned upside down by a tragic accident that very nearly took her life. Her journey since has taken her from the harrowing lows of hearing she would “never walk again” after being diagnosed with a permanent spinal cord injury, to the remarkable highs of representing Australia as a paracanoe athlete and more recently, winning two World Championship titles for Australia as an Adaptive Surfer. Sam (and her family’s) remarkable story has captured hearts and minds across Australia and around the world, so much so that their best selling book Penguin Bloom was transformed into a major Hollywood film with Naomi Watts starring as Sam. At Dietitians Unite, Sam will share with us her extraordinary and inspiring story of courage, hope, resilience and a magpie named Penguin.

Closing speaker: BEN CROWE

Ben Crowe is Australia’s most in demand professional mentor and leadership coach working with Coaches, Teams, CEO’s and executive teams in Australia and all over the world. His work involves helping people with their mindset on the field professionally with their perspective off the field personally, to find a balance between Confidence & Happiness, and Achievement with Fulfilment. He currently works with tennis world no 1 Ash Barty, 7x world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore, the Australian men’s and women’s Cricket teams, Dylan Alcott and with Richmond FC since 2017.


DR EMMA RIDLEY: What happens to nutrition post-ICU in COVID-19 patients?

Dr Emma Ridley is a Senior Research Fellow at the ANZIC-RC, Monash University where she leads the Nutrition Program and a Senior Clinical Dietitian in ICU at The Alfred Hospital. Completing her PhD in 2018, current research interests include understanding the optimum way to determine energy requirements in the critically ill, including the clinical application of indirect calorimetry, as well as the effect of optimal nutrition delivery on short and long-term outcomes in ICU patients. In 2019 Emma was named as a Finalist in the ‘Clinical Research’ category of the Premier’s Awards for Health and Medical Research for the work and outcomes within her PhD. Emma regularly delivers invited national and international presentations, is an Editor with Australian Critical Care and has authored 43 peer-reviewed publications, (including in the New England Journal of Medicine). Emma has been a named investigator on $6.3 million dollars of research funding with the teams she collaborates with and is the CIA on the INTENT trial that is investigating a whole hospital nutrition intervention in critically ill patients.

LOUISE BURKE: Tackling Scienceiness in sports nutrition in the age of the Twittersphere

Louise is a sports dietitian with nearly 40 years of experience in the education and counselling of elite athletes.  She worked at the Australian Institute of Sport for thirty years, first as Head of Sports Nutrition and then as Chief of Nutrition Strategy.  She was the team dietitian for the Australian Olympic Teams for the 1996-2012 Summer Olympic Games.  Her publications include over 350 papers in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters, and the authorship or editorship of several textbooks on sports nutrition.  Louise was appointed as Chair in Sports Nutrition in the Mary MacKillop Institute of Health Research at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne in 2014 and took up this position in a full-time capacity in 2020.

FIONA WILLER, ELISSA ROBINS AND PROF CLARE COLLINS: Health At Every Size / Weight Management Discussion Panel


KAREN INGE: The most critical success factor that no one tells you

Karen Inge is one of Australia’s most established and decorated leaders in the fields of nutrition and dietetics. She is an award-winning author of books on eating for health, fitness, sport and wellbeing and a contributor to state-of-the-art textbooks on sports nutrition. Karen was the first VFL/AFL club dietitian; the founding Head of Nutrition at the Victorian Institute of Sport; the inaugural Vice President then President and Fellow of Sports Dietitians Australia; and the first dietitian Fellow of Sports Medicine Australia. At Dietitians Unite, Karen will discuss the single most important factor for success in relationships, life and business. It’s often overlooked and has never been more important than in today’s world. You don’t often notice it but you know when you no longer have it. What do you think it is?

TARA DIVERSI: Customer Acquisition Strategies for Successful Businesses

Tara Diversi is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, down-to-earth speaker,author and entrepreneur who has worked in almost all fields of dietetics. Tara is an educator at Health Leadership Australia and the Entrepreneurship Facilitator in Cairns, working with young people to help them create their own job. She is also the Co-Founder and Director at Sophus Nutrition and Marathon Swimmer [is there anything she can’t do?]. In her session, Tara will talk about how to get new customers, keep the ones you have and maximise their spend for mutual benefit. She will talk about funding options and encourage you to think differently about the future of your business. 

TAWNYA BAHR & LUCY ALLON: Straight To The Source

Tawnya is a chef, educator, advocate and entrepreneur and Lucy is as an award-winning restaurateur; both leading food industry experts in Australia. At Dietitians Unite, you’ll hear from Straight To The Source, Australia’s regional food experts, on the importance of knowing where your food comes from and how it’s produced.

HAYLEY BLIEDEN: The Australian Superfood Co

Hayley Blieden holds a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics and an MBA in Health and Human Services. After completing her degree, Hayley started researching native Australian ingredients and set out on a journey that took her through Alice Springs, Uluru and remote Aboriginal communities. Having been exposed to the nutritional benefits of many of home-grown superfoods during her travels, Hayley started The Australian Superfood Co. Through a range of unique products including raw bars, superfood powders and dried fruits, the company not only promotes healthy eating and nutrition but also showcases the natural abundance of the Australian outback while supporting rural communities. As a mum to Mila, 4, and Levi, 2, Hayley is now busier than ever, but just as excited to see interest in Indigenous foods rising throughout Australia.


DR JASON HAWRELAK: Probiotic Myth Busting: Facts and Fallacies in the World of Probiotics

Dr Jason Hawrelak is a clinician, researcher, and senior lecturer at the University of Tasmania with over 20 years’ experience in the field of natural medicine with an emphasis on gastrointestinal disorders. He has a strong interest and PhD in the field of the gastrointestinal microbiota, looking at the clinical application of pre and probiotics. Dr Hawrelak has authored 20 textbook chapters and 35 research papers. He is the founder and head of research at

DR TIM CROWE: Beyond fibre: how prebiotics shape our health through the gut microbiota

Dr Tim Crowe is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian who has spent most of his career in the world of university nutrition teaching and research. He now works chiefly as a freelance health and medical writer and scientific consultant. He has an active media profile and a large social media following through his Thinking Nutrition blog, Facebook page and podcast.

DR CAITLIN COWAN: The microbiome-gut-brain axis and mental health

Dr Caitlin Cowan is an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Investigator who takes a translational approach to the study of the microbiota-gut-brain axis, informed by her training in clinical psychology and behavioural neuroscience. She has a PhD from the University of New South Wales and undertook a prestigious Marie Curie fellowship at the APC Microbiome Ireland in the laboratory of Prof John Cryan and Prof Ted Dinan, world leaders in the study of the gut-brain axis.

SANDRA MIKHAIL: Managing Gut Symptoms: Where are we now?

Sandra Mikhail is an internationally-known accredited practising dietitian and the founder and director of Nutrition A-Z by Sandra Mikhail. She holds a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Monash University, Australia), a Master of Advanced Studies in Nutrition and Health (ETHZ) and is a member of Dietitians Australia. She also holds a Sports Nutrition Diploma by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Being a globe-trotting dietitian, she has extensive experience in clinical practice, nutrition consulting and health promotion, working in Australia, the UAE and Switzerland. Her main areas of specialty are digestive disease, sports nutrition and eating disorders working with popular brands and partners such as the Swiss football club FCZ, She’s Mercedes, Lululemon and Adobe to name a few. As a mental health advocate, her workshops and articles on stress and nutrition have gained popularity internationally where she was personally invited by Arianna Huffington to contribute to her global platform Thrive and has appeared on CNN to talk about nutrition and stress in the workplace.


Dr Joanna McMillan originally hails from Scotland, and came to Australia in 1999, where she won a scholarship to complete her PhD in Nutritional Science at The University of Sydney. As a dietitian and former fitness instructor, she is driven by a passion to promote the influence that diet and lifestyle have on our health and wellbeing. She is a published author, an international presenter and regular on our TV screens, including being the host for the Gut Revolution series on ABC Catalyst.


See bio above under ‘business stream’


Nicole Dynan is an Accredited Practising Dietitian & Accredited Sports Dietitian. She specialises in gut health and food intolerance and is one of a handful of dietitians in Australia with qualifications in dietetics and psychology. Nicole is known as ‘The Gut Health Dietitian’ and runs a corporate nutrition service and private practice in Sydney for ‘The Good Nutrition Company’, which she founded in 2012. Nicole is a guest lecturer for The University of Sydney & University of New South Wales and is a media spokesperson for Dietitian’s Australia. Prior to becoming a dietitian, Nicole worked in chronic disease management for Merck, Sharp & Dohme pharmaceuticals.

Yoga teacher: CAITLIN REID

Caitlin Reid is a unique health professional with qualifications as an accredited sports dietitian, yoga teacher and accredited high performance manager. Caitlin spends most of her time working with athletes to improve their performance through optimal nutrition, better movement and mindfulness techniques. She spent 8 years working with the Rabbitohs and 6 years with the NSW Swifts. Today, she works as a dietitian and yoga teacher with the Wests Tigers and Bulldogs. Caitlin also spends time consulting and writing.

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