Communicating to Get the Right Outcomes

A day to discover, learn about and master the art of meaningful communication strategies.

Great communication won’t make a poor policy good, but poor communication can guarantee that policy doesn’t deliver. Add to that, the third decade of the 21st century is bringing a perfect storm of issues that will make it harder than ever to get people’s attention and affect the behaviour change needed to get the desired outcomes.

The Mandarin in partnership with the WPP Government and Public Sector Practice presents a conference that includes the latest research findings about what Australians are thinking but not necessarily disclosing. Come and learn as some of the leading thinkers in public sector communication talk about the trends, insights and tools that will help your message cut through, both inside government and outside with the public.

The program features one of Australia’s most respected social forecasters Rose Herceg Chief Strategy Officer at WPP, and leading UK consultant and director of government and public communications strategies Sean Larkins, along with a suite of sector leaders participating in the plenaries and workshops.


8.00am – 8.45am Registrations open
8.45am – 9.00am Introduction
MC Virginia Haussegger
Open & Welcome from The Mandarin & WPP
9.00am – 10.00am Plenary 1A – Keynote presentation
Secrets and Lies
Rose Herceg, Chief Strategy Officer, WPP


10.00am – 10.45am Plenary 1B – Keynote presentation
What is family now? – a multicultural perspective

  • Lou Petrolo, Managing Partner, Etcom
  • Alison Tilling, Chief Strategy Officer, VMLY&R
10.45am – 11.15am Morning Tea Break
11.15am – 12.15pm Plenary 2A – Keynote presentation and panel discussion
How to rebuild trust in government

  • Joan Young, Research Director at The Behaviour Change Collaborative
  • Professor Mark Evans, Director Democracy 2025 and Professor of Governance at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis
  • Nino Tesoriero, Managing Partner, OPR Agency
12.15pm – 1.15pm Plenary 2B – Keynote Presentation
What next in the fusion of technology and communication
An exploration of government case studies that show how a unified design process that embodies human systems thinking can help to create more connected, inclusive and non-biased future societies, plus the concept of inclusive data strategies and how behavioural and personal data can work together to enable inclusive experiences. 
1.15pm – 2.00pm Lunch Break
2.00pm – 3.30pm Concurrent Sessions: 25 minutes each

  • Behaviour change and communication for the government – Alison Tilling, Chief Strategy Officer, VMLY&R; Dane Smith, Behavioural Strategist/Regional Consulting Partner, Ogilvy
  • Pitching your policy or program to media – Chris Johnson, Editor The Mandarin
  • From internal communications to culture change – Richard Brett, CEO, opr; Miriam Wells, Creative Director, opr
3.30pm – 3.50pm Afternoon Tea Break
3.50pm – 4.50pm Plenary 3 – Keynote address and panel discussion
The role of communication in public policy development
Sean Larkins, Director of Consulting & Capability, WPP
4.50pm – 5.00pm Wrap-up
5.00pm – 6.00pm Reception – Drinks and canapes


Virginia Haussegger

Your MC, Virginia Haussegger AM
Virginia is founding Director of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, at the University of Canberra’s Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA), and Chief Editor of BroadAgenda, Australia’s leading research based Gender Equality media platform. She is also the 2019 ACT Australian of the Year.

A leading communications strategist and gender equality advocate, Virginia has worked across Commonwealth departments on the design and delivery of bespoke Masterclasses on strategic communication; media knowledge & insights; presentation skills; and women’s leadership.

Virginia is an award-winning television journalist, whose extensive media career spans more than 25 years. She has reported from around the globe for leading current affair programs and for 15 years (2001-2016) anchored the ABC’s flagship TV News in Canberra. She is widely published, both as a former columnist with the Canberra Times, and a regular contributor to the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Her book Wonder Women: the myth of ‘having it all’ (A&U) was launched by Julia Gillard in a live broadcast at the National Press Club.

In 2014 Virginia was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to the community, as an advocate for women’s rights and gender equity, and to the media. In 2011 she received an Honorary appointment as Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, UC. In 2019 Virginia was named a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG).

Rose Herceg, Chief Strategy Officer, WPP AUNZ 

Rose Herceg has built a career as one of Australia’s most respected futurists and social forecasters. 

Rose’s first business, Pophouse launched in 1999, became known as Australia’s best regarded company for innovation, social trends and business strategy. BRW Magazine named Rose the number one innovative thinker in the country and Pophouse the country’s best place to go for new business models and emerging trends data. In 2007, Rose sold her company to the STW Group. 

In March 2015, Rose was appointed as the Chief Strategy Officer for the STW Group, now called WPP AUNZ after its merger with global communications powerhouse WPP. 

Rose has had audiences with some of the most distinguished leaders of the global community including Lord David Putnam – filmmaker and head of Tony Blair’s NESTA – The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, American publishing and media giant Oprah Winfrey, Bob Mansfield former Chairman of Telstra, Michael Lynch former Chief Executive of the Sydney Opera House, Google founder Larry Page and one of the world’s most distinguished architects, Frank Gehry. 

Rose has written three books – her latest ‘The Power Book’ has been translated into several languages and is selling in Europe, Asia & the Middle East and is soon to be launched in the US market. 

Sean Larkins
Global Director of Capability, WPP Government & Public Sector Practice

Sean is Global Director of Capability for the WPP Government & Public Sector Practice. He works with governments and public bodies around the world to improve how they engage with and communicate with their citizens; heads the Practice’s executive education programmes at Oxford University and the National University of Singapore; and leads the Practice’s thought leadership programme.

Sean is the author of two major global research studies into government communication – The Leaders’ Report: the Future of Government Communication and The Leaders’ Report: Increasing Trust Through Citizen Engagement.  Over the last three years he has led government communication consulting projects for WPP clients in countries including Australia, Gabon, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  He is also a frequent international speaker on the role that communication can play in public policy delivery.

Before joining WPP Sean was Deputy Director of UK Government Communications, with responsibility for the capability and professional development of over 4,000 government communicators.  Outside of the public sector, Sean has also worked for organisations including Save The Children and The Body Shop International. An obsessive about the power of education, he is a trustee of the UK’s Further Education Trust for Leadership.

joan young

Joan Young, Director, Research and Evaluation, The Behaviour Change Collaborative

Joan is recognised as one of Australia’s leading social researchers.  She is passionate about the potential for insight to create a better world and has dedicated her career to working with organisations to deliver better social outcomes. 

Joan recently joined The Behaviour Change Collaborative to lead its research and evaluation function.  In this role Joan provides insight to inform the development, refinement, monitoring and evaluation of behaviour change programs, providing an evidence base for government, not for profits and social enterprises in Australia and overseas. Prior to this Joan was the CEO of Colmar Brunton Australia where she founded one of the first government and social research businesses in New Zealand and Australia.  

Over the last 30 years Joan has contributed to successful behaviour change programmes across a wide range of areas including reduction of domestic and family violence, child abuse, risky alcohol consumption, community violence, unemployment, discrimination, preparing communities for natural disasters, increasing sea safety, road safety, positive parenting, gender inclusion, social inclusion, reading to children, eating well, being physically active, community connection and participating in cultural activities.  Most recently Joan has led research into mental health service design, alcohol and drug prevention programs and advanced care planning and goals of care evaluation. 

Richard Brett, CEO, opr

Richard Brett has over 20 years’ experience of marketing communications, brand strategy and communications agency leadership. His passions include using public relations and social media to lead integrated campaigns, outcome based measurement and using new technology to drive innovative creativity for brands. 

Richard is currently CEO for opr, working across all the opr businesses to deliver stand out, effective campaigns for clients such as eBay, Netflix, Ford, Microsoft, Atlassian, KFC and IKEA. The agency was named Sabre’s 2019 Australasian Agency of the Year, and Richard was named CommsCon’s Leader of the Year 2019. 

Richard also leads opr’s annual thought leadership platform ‘Futures’, which outlines forthcoming insights that will impact Australian business, government, brands and organisations. In the last two years Futures has been presented to over 70 different organisations and almost 4000 people across Australia and New Zealand. 

Before becoming CEO, Richard spent four years as managing director of the brand marketing team of opr – Pulse Communications. During Richard’s tenure the Pulse team won or was shortlisted for over 30 awards including being named CommsCon Highly Commended Agency of the Year 2016. 

Previously Richard was managing director of Shine Communications in London between 2009 and 2013, and global VP of marketing communications for Samsonite between 2006 and 2009. 

Richard has been shortlisted or received over 120 awards for his work. He has an MBA in Management from Imperial College London. 

Get your tickets here

Tickets details

Ticket Cost: From $693

Ashley Carolan


Old Parliament House, Canberra