Dick Smith is one of Australia’s most recognised individuals, leading thinkers and entrepreneurs. He has established numerous successful businesses such as Dick Smith Electronics, Australian Geographic and Dick Smith Foods.
As well as a successful business career in retailing and publishing, Dick has achieved much in his personal life as an avid adventurer. His notable aviation career saw him pioneer many record-breaking flights by helicopter, aeroplane and balloon around the globe.
In 2000, he and a co-pilot were the first people to successfully complete an east west crossing by balloon from New Zealand to Australia. He has also been active in public service having served as Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority and later as chair of the Civil Aviation Safety Board.
Dick is a passionate supporter of environmental and conservation efforts and since 1995 has been Chairman of the Australian Geographic Society. He is a supporter of many charities, has been awarded an Order of Australia (AO), ‘Australian of the Year’, and received the honourable Lindbergh Award for his efforts of balancing technology and nature. More recently he was recognised by Stanford University for his work in educating the public and students about issues such as overpopulation, consumption and unsustainable economic growth.
In August 2010, Dick announced The Wilberforce Award, which is an offer of $1 million to a person under the age of 30, who becomes famous by advocating alternatives to increased population and continuous growth. To date he is still looking for that young person.
As keynote speaker for Tomorrow’s Business Dick Smith will talk about Challenges for Tomorrow’s Business. He will share his passion and insights into the future of business and economy over the coming decades.
Joining Dick Smith will be Sam Johnson founder of Christchurch’s 9,000 strong Student Volunteer Army (SVA), which was recently collectively named RSA ANZAC of the year. A senior law student at the University of Canterbury, and an elected member of the Riccarton/Wigram Community Board, he is an inspiration and testament to what initiative, action and creativity can achieve.
Sam is an advocate for change and leads projects that incentivise youth to engage and challenge the status quo. He is driven by a sense of community and ideas that integrate the virtual world with the physical community in creative, sustainable and socially responsible ways.
In 2011, he travelled to Japan to share his experiences and knowledge, where he helped establish a student volunteer army after the earthquake and tsunami. Not long after, he spoke on ‘Youth in Diasasters’ at the World Summit for Youth Volunteering in Colombia.
This year he received the honour of being named Young New Zealander of the Year.
Hosting this exciting event is Rod Oram who is currently a columnist for the Sunday Star-Times; a regular broadcaster on radio and television; and a frequent public speaker on business, economics, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, in both NZ and global contexts.
For more than a decade, Rod has been helping fast-growing New Zealand companies through his involvement with The Icehouse, the entrepreneurship centre at the University of Auckland’s Business School.
He was named the Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year for 2009. Last year, Rod was the winner in the individual category in the 2010 Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards and was Columnist of the Year in the consumer category in the national magazine awards for his columns in Good, a consumer sustainability magazine.