Introducing our INSPIRE 19 speakers

INSPIRE19: The Real Business Leadership Summit: How To Future Proof Your Business is a culmination of every question the wedding, event and creative businesses query on a weekly basis…answered by active successful leaders in these markets.

Small business owners, marketers and entrepreneurs who are in business today, need to be in tune with ever-changing sales, marketing, communications, content, graphics and social strategies.

For this reason, and our passion for driving success in creative markets and those who want to understand creatives comes the evolution of INSPIRE19, hosted at Doltone House Jones Bay Wharf on October 14.

Off the back of 2018’s success (check out last year’s event wrap-up here), we have culminated an incredible line-up of business owners and entrepreneurs, those in the trenches with us who understand the complexities of business growth and evolving business models.

Meet our INSPIRE19 speakers below, and purchase your tickets to INSPIRE19 here.

Alison Egan, Founder of Sparkling White Smile

Established in 2014, founder Alison Egan has grown Sparkling White Smile into a Cosmetic Teeth Whitening Empire, which now currently offers a range of mobile and in-salon services, with franchises Australia wide.

INSPIRE19: Alison will be on panel 2, discussing everything to do with recognising opportunities in a saturated market.
Alison Egan

Ameer El-Issa, Creative Director of The Bearded Bakers

Born into a family where food and hospitality were an integral part of his upbringing, Ameer began his journey in commercial kitchens as a kitchenhand at the age of 13.

Now, with 20 years of hospitality experience, an architecture degree under his belt, and a love for all things creative, Ameer has a unique mix of talents that drive him to be a game-changer in the Hospitality industry.

As Creative Director for The Bearded Bakers, their project KNAFEH changed the street food dining scene in Sydney, Melbourne, New York and has recently expanded to Lebanon.

Ameer El-Issa

Aaron Favaloro, World Famous Fashion Illustrator

Aaron Favaloro has cemented his place at the top of Fashion illustration, continuing his rise by being recognised by Oprah, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Demi Moore and Donatella Versace to name a few. Furthermore, Gigi Hadid, Khloe Kardashian, Charlotte Tilbury and many more have artworks by Aaron Favaloro in their home.

Aaron started out by winning a scholarship to The White House in Sydney, before moving into visual merchandising for David Jones for a number of years. Finally, he decided it was time to chase his dreams in fashion illustration.

Aaron has worked with brands including Rolls Royce, Sisley, Moet, Swarovski, Estee Lauder and Bvlgari.

INSPIRE19: Aaron will be on panel 3, discussing how to create unique concepts that make you money.

Aaron Favaloro

Bahar Etminan, Author and Founder of

Bahar founded in 2005 to connect women with what really works. Since then, Rescu as evolved into a pure publishing powerhouse, putting expertise from the best minds in beauty, lifestyle, fashion, wellbeing, career and finance at your fingertips.

Bahar has since launched RecuMe Academy, an eLearning space offering expert-led courses on beauty, wellbeing and relationships.

“I believe fabulous belongs to everyone and reinvention is a beautiful thing – we all just need a little help to make it happen.”

INSPIRE19: Bahar will be presenting a keynote presentation on mindset – transformative business practices that will double your income.

Bruce Keebaugh, Founder of The Big Group

Bruce and his wife Chyka have built The Big Group, the team, the food concepts and generated the genuine love and care for what the brand stands for over the last 25 years. Bruce’s flare, style and reputation for quality drives a fresh and unique approach to the Australian and International catering scene.

“We continue to exceed boundaries, create industry change – and the parties, well they just keep getting better and bolder.”

INSPIRE19: Bruce will be on panel 1, discussing sales strategies for entrepreneurial business & staying in your lane.

Daniella Boutros, Founder of Buttercreme Lane

Daniella is the CEO of the hugely successful Buttercréme Lane, a custom cake shop which counts P&O Cruises, football clubs, major corporations, celebrity chefs and US actors among its clients. Daniella also appears regularly on Studio10 & in the media as a dessert expert & small business spokesperson.

Daniella dropped out of high school at 16 due to severe dyslexia and went on to open her business, learning recipes by ear and watching tutorials online. She is now a Media Ambassador for Apdot Change, fulfilling her dream to help children in foster care to find loving, happy & nurturing homes.

“A capful of passion, a spoon of determination, a whole pack of people who encourage & raise you up – This is my favourite recipe of all! It always makes for the sweetest kind of success!”

INSPIRE19: Daniella will be on panel 4, discussing how evolution equals money!

Diane Khoury, Founder of Diane Khoury Events

Diane Khoury plans and styles unique luxe and bespoke weddings and events, whether it be locally, interstate or internationally. She is a passionate event planner who provides her clients with a tailored solution and not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ bolt-on answer.

“No one is you and that is your superpower”

INSPIRE19: Diane will be on panel 1, discussing sales strategies for entrepreneurial business and staying in your lane.

George Pappas, Director of Red Search

George Pappas is a Director of renowned search specialists Red Search. The agency helps grow Australian brands online through search engine optimisation.

Specifically, the agency focuses on bespoke search solutions that move away from the cookie-cutter approach that is plaguing the industry. Red Search work with brands including Coca-Cola Amatil, Eyecare Plus, Barnardos Australia and more.

Dr Joseph Hkeik, Owner of All Saints Clinic

Dr Joseph Hkeik is an aesthetic physician who is highly regarded for his experience and approach in delivering natural looking results, drawing from his sense of artistic appreciation and commitment to patient care.

Dr Hkeik graduated from the faculty of medicine at the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB.BS) in 1993. He is a Fellow of the medical faculty of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery (FFMACCS) and a Fellow of the College of General Practice (FRACGP), has a Diploma in Practical Dermatology from the University of Cardiff (UK) and is a Fellow of the Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia (CPCA).

Dr Hkeik was elected Councillor of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery in 2008 and appointed as Assistant Dean during 2009, and then Dean of the Medical Faculty of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery in 2013.

INSPIRE19: Dr. Joseph Hkeik will be on panel 2, discussing everything to do with recognising opportunities in a saturated market.

Jason James, Creative Director of Jason James Design

A Creative Director and Event Designer, Jason James specialises in the composition and construction of bespoke events, creative consultancy, luxury corporate activations and opulent weddings. With an extensive background in Interior Design and management, Jason’s ability to reimagine the ordinary means his brand installations and events make an instant impact.

With over 10 years of international experience, Jason returned home where he worked as the Event Director of The Grounds of Alexandria, conceptualising some of the most talked-about events in Sydney, Australia.

Jason has since re-launched his namesake company Jason James Design, with a focus on creating truly luxurious and bespoke events and experiences.

INSPIRE19: Jason will be on panel 3, discussing unique concepts that make you money.

John Alten, Master of Ceremonies and Event Design, Planning & Management

John Alten is one of Australia’s most outstanding Master of Ceremonies and Presenters. After starting his career as a DJ, he later went on to become a radio host where his shows were broadcast nationally. He has hosted television segments; national & international beauty pageants and major charity events for The Children’s Hospital, The Cancer Council, The Victor Chang Institute and the like. He’s even been a ground announcer for some of the biggest sporting teams in both the NRL and A-League.

With an education and career in Marketing, he knows what it takes to host a corporate event. In the past, these have included ASICS, Westpac, David Jones, Samsung, AMP, The Crown Group, Wedded World and The Australian Hair Fashion Awards just to name a few.

With one of the most distinctive voices and personalities in the country, John is both humbled and honored to be a part of Inspire ’19 alongside some amazingly talented individuals.”

INSPIRE19: John will be on panel 1, discussing growth strategies for entrepreneurial business and staying in your lane.

John Alten on stage with Nadia Bartel at Wedded World 2019
IMAGE: George John Photography

John Emmanuel, Australia’s Leading Floral Designer

With over 25 years’ experience in the industry, John is known for his trendsetting designs and attention to detail. He is best known for creating exquisite grand scale floral installations. Ranging from luxurious tablescapes to designer backdrops and grand ceiling designs.
best known for creating exquisite grand scale floral installations.

A known leader in his market, John has worked alongside many high-profile wedding planners and stylists in continuous collaboration, to create some of Sydney’s most luxurious events.

Educating is one of his passions. In 2018, John held the first luxury wedding Masterclass in Sydney and in 2019, the second in Perth. John is excited to add more masterclasses soon. He has always felt that his love for flowers and creating luxury events should be shared with others to encourage them on their journey.

INSPIRE19: John will be on panel 4, discussing how evolution equals money.

Katherine Sabbath, Author and Cake Creative

Katherine Sabbath is a proud home baker, enthusiastic cake teacher, and self-published cookbook author. Once a high school teacher, she has always been a self-confessed sprinkle-covered, sticky-fingered, bake-aholic! Her love for experimenting with new flavours and dessert concepts led Katherine to pack up her high school teaching textbooks and dive head-first into what she likes to call, “The Cake Life” full-time in 2015.

After joining Instagram in early 2013 and sharing photos of her creations and snapshots of her life, Katherine rather serendipitously has attracted a community of more than 495,000 home bakers and fans worldwide!

At the end of 2016, Katherine launched her first crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds for her debut self-published cookbook, “Katherine Sabbath – Greatest Hits – The Pop Edition”. Released in 2017, it has now sold out of its first print run of 5000 copies and currently into its second print run.

Katherine is currently working on her second cookbook with Murdoch Books (due to be released in October).

INSPIRE19: Katherine will be on panel 3, discussing unique concepts that make you money.

Kristin Fisher, Founder and CEO of Kristin Fisher Eyebrows

From humble beginnings at a small studio in Paddington, Kristin delivered a bespoke brow service which distinctly set her apart from the Sydney Beauty industry.

Kristin did not believe in a ‘one size fits all’ service, and testament of her tailor-made brow shaping and striking precision quickly spread. She is responsible for sculpting and perfecting the brows of Sydney’s elite style and celebrity set.

Forever educating herself and steadily building her repertoire, semi-permanent brows became Kristin’s passion and speciality.

INSPIRE19: Kristin will be on panel 3, discussing everything to do with recognising opportunities in a saturated market.

Lisa Messenger, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of The Collective Hub

Lisa Messenger is the vibrant, game-changing founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of Collective Hub. She launched Collective Hub as a print magazine in 2013, with no experience in an industry that people said was either dead or dying. Collective Hub has since grown into an international multimedia business and lifestyle platform with multiple verticals across print, digital, events and education – all of which serve to ignite human potential.

Lisa is an international speaker, best-selling author, and an authority on disruption in both the corporate sector and the start-up scene. Lisa’s experience in publishing has seen her produce over 400 custom-published books for companies and individuals as well as having authored and co-authored 24 herself.

INSPIRE19: Lisa Messenger will be giving a keynote presentation on what will break you, will make you.

Melissa Sassine, Founder of Melissa Sassine Cosmetics and Melissa Sassine The Academy

Empowering women to look and feel their best, Melissa Sassine is a passionate entrepreneur, multi-award-winning makeup artist, educator and the creator of Melissa Sassine Cosmetics.

With over 18 years of Industry experience, Melissa has become one of Australia’s most in-demand bridal makeup artists, makeup educators, and social media influencers. Boasting Millions of loyal followers across her social media platforms, Melissa is a cult icon of the beauty world.

INSPIRE19: Melissa will be on panel 4, discussing how evolution equals money.

Natalie Anne, Educator and Owner of Natalie Anne Hair Salon

Natalie Anne is renowned for her talent, drive and passion as a hair artist. She is a pioneer of the digital beauty age, transforming her work into online inspiration. Through the use of social media platforms and marketing, she has developed an empire, transforming a single hair station in her parent’s garage to an internationally renowned brand.

This brand includes an amazing salon with 10 staff members, a bridal hair department, and education department and, her very own hair care line.

INSPIRE19: Natalie will be giving a keynote presentation on trends – where do they stem from and how you can stay ahead of the curve.

Steven Khalil, Red Carpet and Bridal Fashion Designer

After completing fashion studies at 19, Steven quickly began to gain recognition for the quality of his workmanship and an eye for a unique design. He rose rapidly through several bridal houses and was appointed Head Designer at just 22 years old. In 2003, he established his own fashion house in Paddington, Sydney.

Being a well sought after commentator and expert on red carpet events, Steven has invaluable knowledge and experience and appears regularly on some of Australia’s most respected television and online programs.

The brand has also now extended to include a diverse and complementary range of individually designed accessories- beautifully crafted jewellery including earrings and bracelets, stunning silk robes perfect for gifts or a bridal party, christening gowns fit for a Princess (or Prince) and an exquisitely feminine and timeless Eau De Parfum.

INSPIRE19: Steven will be on panel 1, discussing growth strategies for entrepreneurial business and staying in your lane.

Taryn Williams, Founder and CEO of WINK Models and

Taryn Williams is the smart, vivacious and magnetically personable CEO & Founder of and WINK Models. With over fifteen years experience in the world of modelling, advertising and media, Taryn has proven herself to be a game-changer and one not shy to press the disrupt button.

Taryn is one of Australia’s most prolific entrepreneurs in the tech start-up and media industries. She launched in 2016, a two-sided marketplace for creative talent, making it easy, efficient and cost effective for brands to book campaigns, from TVCs, print campaigns, events and social media executions.

Wendy El-Khoury, Founder and Director of Wedded Wonderland and Wonderland Media

Wendy El-Khoury is one of the World’s leading Digital and Social Media pioneers in Weddings, and has presented at a number of local and internationally renowned conferences in this space, including DWP and Engage! Luxury Wedding Business Summits. Wendy is a wedding marketing and content expert, having appeared on and been interviewed by, Daily Mail, Cosmo Bride, Mornings 9, Studio 10 and 2GB radio, to name a few.

Wendy is often credited with the elevation and reinvigoration of the wedding industry in Australia. She understands and nurtures the power of PR and networks and connects expertly with influencers, bloggers, suppliers and wedding experts alike.​

INSPIRE19: Wendy will be giving a keynote speech on content – the relevance of audio, video, static and copy. Plus, which platform to use and why.

Jeanine Bribosia, Founder of Cru Media

Jeanine Bribosia founded The Cru in 2010 after identifying a gap in the market for a full-service communications and media agency specialising in the premium food, drink and hospitality industry.

With more than 15 years experience in media and communications, Jeanine has established The Cru as a respected and widely renowned specialist communications agency that has been nominated for and won multiple awards including Boutique Agency of the Year at mUmbrella CommsCon.

She stayed true to her original vision and rapidly cemented The Cru’s reputation as an agency valued for expertise, credibility and consistency. The business now boasts a portfolio of clients unsurpassed in the hospitality and destination sector and a team of senior staff valued for their specialist industry expertise from communications to marketing, publishing to sponsorship.

Clients include Tourism Australia, Matt Moran’s restaurant group, Kylie Kwong, noma restaurant, The Old Clare Hotel, Rick Stein and Bannisters Hotels, Bentley Restaurant Group, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Margaret River Gourmet Escape, Three Blue Ducks, chef Jock Zonfrillo and many others.

Prior to founding The Cru, Jeanine worked in advertising, journalism, events and public relations at ACP (now Bauer) and Liquid Ideas PR agency, and attended the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Chicago where she was on the Dean’s List. She chairs the Advisory Panel of Two Good Co, and is co-director and founder of The Pass food podcast, Australia’s number one food podcast on iTunes.

INSPIRE19: Jeanine will be on panel 3, discussing unique concepts that make you money.

Rita Agoulian, Co-Founder of Lick Your Phone

Rita Agoulian is a Sydney-based viral content creator and Co-Founder/Chief Eating Officer of LickYourPhone. She spends her days locating up-and-coming foodie destinations to a following of over 1.8+ million hungry people.

Within the past 12 months, Rita has successfully expanded her brand to an audience of over 53+ million people due to authentic partnerships with NBC Universal, Insider, LADbible to name a few. Her creative spin on food-based videos have been shared by over 978,000 unique people in the last year alone. On any given day, Rita is busy curating the most engaging and exciting food content to give LickYourPhone’s expanding fanbase a taste of the best eats the world has to offer.

LickYourPhone was built from the ground up only four years ago and in 2018, Rita took a leap of faith and plunged into the deep end by quitting her full-time finance role. Her aim with LickYourPhone is and always will be finding hidden food gems in Sydney and around the world, to uncover the most extraordinary foodie experiences possible.

Rita has acquired a wealth of knowledge in customer-driven content creation, unlocking a huge online following while creating a profitable online business, social media marketing, video storytelling and business development. She has worked on a plethora of campaigns with big-name brands such as Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Etihad Airways, Ben & Jerry’s and more.

Sandra El-Ayoubi, Photography by Sandra

Sandra El-Ayoubi believes that art and vision are embedded in someone’s heart and soul. Becoming a “photographer” was a given for Sandra from when she was a little girl. Sandra was the one carrying around the little disposable camera and making sure that she captured all the interesting moments that happened in her life. When going through High School, (being from an ethnic background) the arts aren’t looked at as something that will have a lasting career in or bring in the supposed dough that a “doctor” would! So like an obedient daughter, she chose 3 unit Modern History and crushed the dreams of becoming a photographer when she was 16 years old.

Sandra then went on to be a high school teacher for the next 9 years, teaching social science and working hard to be the best teacher she could be, even though her heart was never in it. Sandra loved working with children but didn’t enjoy all the other extra work that came with the job title. So it wasn’t until she became a mother in 2006 and then again in 2009 that the love and passion began to grow and started to capture and document her children’s daily lives.

Sandra realised that this was her calling and took a huge risk by quitting her permanent full-time Government position, and pursuing the passion that she knew would succeed! Sandra has never looked back and has worked her utmost best to not only be a photographer but to be the best in her genre/style of photography. Working with newborns requires a lot of patience, persistence, and courage, qualities she believes have helped her in my previous life experiences as a teacher and as a mother; her biggest advantage.

Sandra has won several State awards and has had her work shared on many social media platforms, with many videos becoming viral in the virtual world. She has also showcased her skills to other potential newborn photographers, while conducting newborn posing workshops domestically and internationally in countries such as the Netherlands, Turkey, Bahrain, and India. Just recently, Sandra was part of one of the biggest South American family and newborn photography Congresses “Click Family”. 

We trust that you have had your challenges and know that INSPIRE19 is not just about discussing the wins, but the losses and how to overcome and thrive from them!


Location: Doltone House Jones Bay Wharf

Registration will open at 9am

The event will commence at 10am and finish at 4:30pm

Click here to purchase your tickets to INSPIRE19: The Real Business Leadership Summit: How To Future Proof Your Business

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