Keynote speakers

Conference cancelled due to government ban

As you may have already seen today, the government has placed a ban on gatherings of more than 500 people due to the COVID-19 virus.

It is with a heavy collective heart that ACORN follows the directive of the government and cancels the ACORN International Conference.

We understand you will have many questions about this. We ask that you respect the College's staff as they manage the the many critical processes that need to be resolved. Please know that we will be in contact with you as soon as possible regarding refunds and/or credits for future services.

If you do have any enquiries please email

Mary ChiarellaMary Chiarella, PhD, LLB (Hons), RN, RM, is Professor of Nursing at the Susan Wakil School of Nursing, University of Sydney. She was a founding member of the Australian Bioethics Association and the Australian Institute for Health, Law and Ethics, was chair of the Advanced Care Planning Committee for NSW Health and is currently a member of the Clinical Ethics Advisory Panel for NSW Health.

Mary has provided professional expertise to many organisations including Justice Health and NSW Law Reform Commission, NSW Nurses and Midwives Board, Nurses and Midwives Board of Australia and Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council. She was also a ministerial appointment to the NSW Quality Council, a board member of the NSW Institute for Clinical Excellence, a former co-chair of the Clinical Council for the Clinical Excellence Commission and one of the federal minister for health’s three independent members on the Board of Health Workforce Australia.

Mary has undertaken projects for World Health Organization including a global review of nurse-led models of primary health care, a review of policy and leadership in primary health care and policy development related to MDG 5. In 2015 she undertook a review of the Nurses Act and developed a professional practice framework for nurses and midwives for the Tongan Ministry of Health in 2018. 

In June 2019 Mary was awarded an AM for significant contributions to nursing and midwifery education and health care standards.


John ClarkeDr John Clarke has a PhD in Psychology and consults for corporations experiencing problems with a suspected workplace psychopath. He is the author of three books Touched by the Devil (with Andy Shea), Working with Monsters and Pocket Psycho, and is currently writing a fourth, Living with Psychopaths. Dr Clarke has commented on workplace psychopaths and related topics in many radio and television programs, including CatalystThe Today Show and Today Tonight, as well as for documentaries on forensic psychology. He has also provided his expert opinion on radio and in print media including Sydney Morning HeraldCourier MailHR MonthlyAustralian Financial ReviewBoss and Company Director Magazine.

Dr Clarke has done extensive research looking at psychopaths in the workplace as well as criminal profiling, serial killers, serial rape, animal cruelty offenders, domestic violence and sexual homicide crime scene analysis. He has also consulted for the NSW Police in developing offender profiles for homicide (sexual and non-sexual), child abuse, paedophilia, stalking and serial sexual assault cases. 

Dr Clarke has lectured on psychopaths in the workplace, criminal profiling and criminal psychology at the University of Sydney and for government departments, charities, corporations, professional bodies and training organisations including Diversity NSW, Institute of Internal Auditors, Diabetes Australia, Department of Defence, NSW Police Service, WA Police and the RSPCA.


Dr Jordan Nguyen - Width:200Jordan is Founder and CEO of Psykinetic, a start-up social business aimed at creating futuristic, inclusive and empowering technologies to improve independence and quality of life. Currently focusing on disability and aged care, Jordan and his team have successfully created a mind-controlled wheelchair, virtual and augmented reality rehabilitation, devices that make it possible to control household appliances or even drive cars using only the tiny electrical signals created from eye movements and inclusive gaming, an instrument that enabled a friend with cerebral palsy to play music with her eyes.

Jordan is a passionate ambassador for STEAM education, adaptable mindsets and big-picture thinking. He holds a degree in Electrical Engineering, Diploma in Engineering Practice,and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Technology Sydney. He has taught university engineering master’s students in Artificial Intelligence design and Biomedical instrumentation, and has supervised many research students. He believes our young generations are the change-makers of tomorrow and have the potential to create solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.

Jordan is also an award-winning documentary maker and presenter and has collaborated with Australian and international production companies to create a number of TV documentaries including ‘Becoming Superhuman’, ‘Meet the Avatars’ and ‘China 2049’. He recently founded his own media company, Time-Captain Productions.

Gail Obrien

Gail O'Brien AO is a director of Chris O'Brien Lifehouse and prominent advocate for holistic and integrated cancer care.

A health professional of 40 years, Gail trained in physiotherapy and is skilled in a diverse range of therapies including orthopaedic rehabilitation, gerontology, and women's health. For 20 years she was practice manager of a large head and neck surgical practice at Royal Prince Alfred and St George Private Hospitals.

Gail’s late husband, Professor Chris O'Brien AO, is the celebrated surgeon, cancer specialist and visionary behind the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, an integrated cancer centre and not for profit hospital in Sydney, Australia. Since his death from brain cancer in 2009, Gail has dedicated herself to bringing to life Chris's vision of a purpose-built, state of the art complex that offers everything a cancer patient needs in one place from surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to allied health, education, complementary therapies and psychosocial support. 

Amid her grief for her husband and also her eldest son, Adam, who died suddenly in 2011 from undiagnosed epilepsy, Gail stepped forward to fill the gap left without Chris, as well as harness the lessons of her husband's and son's illnesses and deaths. She joined the board of directors of Chris O'Brien Lifehouse in 2009 and took on the role of steward for the culture and vision of the organisation. 

Gail currently works in the hospital in an executive role as patient advocate. She continues to serve as an active member of the board, public advocate and spokesperson, patron of the Bequest Society and member of the Chris O'Brien Foundation.

On Australia Day 2018, Gail was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia (OA) for distinguished service to the community as an advocate for and supporter of cancer sufferers and their families.

Craig ReucasselCraig Reucassel is an Australian writer and comedian who is best known for his work with The Chaser.

Over the years Craig has written and appeared in a swathe of TV programs including The Election ChaserCNNNNThe Chaser’s War on EverythingYesWe CanberraThe Hamster WheelThe Unbelievable TruthBalls of SteelThe Chaser’s Media Circus and The Chaser’s Election Desk. Most recently he’s appeared on ABC in the satirical consumer affairs show The Checkout and as the host of The War on Waste.

Craig has also co-hosted the Triple J shows Today TodayBloody Sunday and The Race Race with fellow Chaser Chris Taylor. He has also performed in David Williamson’s Jack of Hearts and Tim Firth’s Neville’s Island at The Ensemble theatre.