Meet your stage MC’s

The stage hosts to us are equally as important as the speakers, maybe even more, because you go through the entire experience with them each day on every stage. They are not your everyday hosts to point out where are the exits and where to get a free coffee. They are there to entertain you, introduce a speaker session, collect your questions at the end of each session and engage in the conversation with the speaker.

Not everyone can do all those things simultaneously naturally on the stage especially when it comes to engaging with the speakers. Our team has gone over and beyond to find the best stage hosts for 2019 event and we are very pleased to introduce them to you.

This year we have fourteen hosts across five venues over three days.

They are deeply engaged and successful professionals in their respective fields, they are entrepreneurial, they might be running their own businesses, they are super connectors, they are community builders or helpers, they are passionate creators and the future helpers. They go over an extra mile and for that we thank them for being part of Pause Fest 2019.


We hope you going to like them, give them your claps, smiles and questions. Here they are:

Kirsteene Phelan, Acting CEO, Rome2Rio - Global Stage / Deakin Edge    

KP is a multipotentialite with a deep interest in the intersection of creativity and commerce online. She currently serves as the Acting CEO for Melbourne-made startup, Rome2rio and has previously contributed to international tech via roles at Etsy, Inspire9, General Assembly and Startup Victoria Female Founders. Her volunteer roles include stints with Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and RMIT.  She believes in good people, good products, print media, travel, music and the power of repurposing.


Christina Canters, CEO, Podcast Services Australia - Local Heroes / ACMI 1    

Christina is the CEO of Podcast Services Australia, a company that helps organisations create, launch and run successful podcasts. They run podcast training courses for educational institutions like The University of Melbourne and RMIT.

Christina has personally produced over 200 podcast episodes, amassing over 950,000 downloads. She is passionately involved in the global podcasting community, and is a regular speaker at the world’s biggest podcast conference, Podcast Movement (USA).

Daizy Mann, Program Manager, SPARK Deakin - Growth stage  / ACMI 2   
Daizy is passionate about young people shaping the future, social entrepreneurship and women in leadership. As the Program Manager at SPARK Deakin, she spearheads Deakin University’s entrepreneurship programs including a startup accelerator for over 250 000 students and alumni.  She has campaigned for gender equality amongst South Asian women as an ambassador for the Pink Ladoo movement ft in Herald Sun, SBS and IndiaLink. Having founded Social Enterprise Collective (SeCo), she has hosted multiple Young Social Entrepreneurs Conferences to bring together university students who care about purpose and social impact. In her spare time she is working on her book, Quarter Life Crisis – a journey to the Himalayas.
Kayla Medica, Head of Marketing, Startup Muster - Tech stage / Studio 1    

Kayla is the Head of Marketing at Startup Muster - the largest survey of the Australian startup ecosystem that enables meaningful and timely connections between startups and the businesses.

Cat Hayes, Design Director, MAKE Studios - Specialist Stage / NGV    

Cat believes that design can change the world.

Garry Williams, Creative Producer, Innovation, Melbourne Connect / Science Gallery - Global Stage / Deakin Edge   

Garry Williams leads activation partnerships for the forthcoming University of Melbourne innovation precinct Melbourne Connect and the Melbourne node of the global Science Gallery network. He’s the founder of ALTS Projects, a collective focussed on unconventional career paths and projects that consume us, resulting in curation of content and events including Melbourne Tech, FuckUp Nights and various tech, culture and community initiatives.

Bec Kempster, CEO, The Churchill Club - Local Heroes / ACMI 1    

In her early twenties Bec took night classes in pattern making and garment construction. The challenge of creating 2D cardboard patterns – the concentration required to adjust measurements and calculate ratios is countered by the soothing sound of the machine humming across fabric. It’s a process that parallels that of developing emerging technologies. Trying something novel, the uncertainty of the outcome and the continuous process of iteration to develop a technology that ‘fits’ society.

At the Churchill Club, we promote discussion around emerging technologies to drive innovation within industry. Her role is to facilitate collaboration between different players to develop technologies that deliver collective benefit. Bec wants to fashion the best future possible.

Jacob Schnackenberg, Account Executive, Keep Left - Growth stage / ACMI 2    

Jacob loves a good story, and thinks a great one can change the world.

Imogen Baxter, Community, Square Peg Capital - Tech stage / Studio 1    

Imogen’s purpose is to help entrepreneurs and their teams access the knowledge and networks that they need to be successful. She does this alongside the extraordinary Square Peg team, a global venture capital firm with over $750m invested into early-stage technology companies.

Prior to joining Square Peg, Imogen was a founding team member at Sendle and the General Manager at TuShare, a peer-to-peer sharing marketplace.

To keep busy, she is a Director of the ANZ Global Shapers, a community of the World Economic Forum, a mentor at many tech-focused programs and runs side-projects that create a more engaged and equitable local community. Bec holds a First Class BA, Hons, in International History and Politics.

Josh Lipscombe, Community Lead, LaunchVic - Specialist Stage / NGV    

Having worked in the creative and startup communities for over 5 years, Josh is passionate about empowering and enabling people in the tech, creative & LGBTQI communities. He is a coworking campaigner and believes in the power of community. Josh has grown meetup groups in Melbourne & Sydney, presented at local and international events on community building and created collaborative partnerships between local, national and global teams.

Dan Monheit, Strategy Director and Owner, Hardhat Digital - Global Stage / Deakin Edge    

Dan Monheit is co-founder and director of strategy at Hardhat, a creative agency built for today. Established in 2005, the agency builds enduring brands for ambitious clients including Bupa, Deakin University, Visit Victoria and Devondale Murray Goulburn.

A regular speaker and contributor to industry publications, Dan plays a key role in setting the direction for the agency, its clients, and an industry that's undergoing its biggest change in 100 years.

Summer Howarth, Director, The Eventful Learning Co. - Growth stage / ACMI 2    

Summer has drive for and proven success in unleashing and spreading teacher led innovations and designing profound professional learning experiences.

She has been an instrumental leader in Australia’s contribution to the OECD work on Student Engagement and Australia’s TeachMeet movement. She’s deeply and unashamedly passionate and makes it her business to connect with anyone who pursues interest in improving the life and learning outcomes of all.

Summer has worked in every corner of the education scene, from school to university and government. Summer has been twice named on The Educator Annual Hotlist, holds positions on a number of boards, advises to the Global Educator Taskforce to the UN on Sustainable Development Goals and holds a Paul Harris Fellowship for her services to Education. Summer is a sought after advisor, strategist & facilitator.

Josephine Palermo, Change Enablement Principal, Global Contact Centres, Telstra - Tech stage / Studio 1    

Making a difference in organisations and communities is Josephine Palermo's passion. With a PhD in Organisational Psychology from VU and numerous publications in areas of quality enhancement, cultural change, coaching and leadership, she uses an informed, energetic and hands on approach to create lasting change in people, processes, and total systems.

Current projects include leading a $5 million program building leading edge technological capability that will put network performance visibility in the hands of large enterprise customers.

Prior to consulting in corporations, Josephine worked as a lecturer and consultant for various universities in Victoria. She has a very natural coaching and teaching style and is a mentor to many graduates.


Alicia Foreman, Marketing Manager, Digital Ventures, PWC - Specialist Stage / NGV    

Alicia Foreman is the Product Marketing Manager in PwC's New Ventures team. In this role she contributes to the creation of new technology ventures and IP allowing the firm to transform its offering to clients. Alicia works on early stage venture ideation and development and is responsible for creating the foundation of marketing, product positioning and go-to-market strategies for new ventures, executing in Australia and the APAC region.

Outside of PwC, Alicia is passionate about gender diversity in technology and supports organisations such as Code Like a Girl. Her most recent claim to fame is being retweeted by Jack Dorsey on his 2018 visit to Australia!