Neurodiversity & Employment Symposium 31 May 2019


Dyslexia, ADHD & Autism



31st May 2019, 9am to 5pm


Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, 578 Royal Esplanade, Manly QLD


About the event….

Thriving Now is hosting its inaugural Neurodiversity and Employment Symposium, promoting a positive and productive focus on the strengths that neurodiverse individuals can offer the workplace.

The goal of this symposium is to inform, enlighten and educate attendees from a variety of perspectives. Those of neurodiverse individuals with lived experience of navigating the employment realm, to professional insights and research-based evidence on the benefits of employing and supporting neurodivergent thinkers in the workplace.

This symposium is an invaluable opportunity to understand how employing a neurodiverse workforce will create a more inclusive and diverse team, bringing diversity of thought and knowledge, plus, collectively opening up new pathways for both employer and employee in attaining successful and productive futures.



About the Speakers

Jay Hobbs – Director of Thriving Now

Jay Hobbs is a psychologist and co-creator of Thriving Now based in Brisbane, Australia. Jay has worked with neurodiverse individuals (Dyslexia, ADHD, Autism) and their families for over fifteen years in both Australia and the UK. Jay worked as an Employment Services Manager at Specialisterne, has a Master of Professional Psychology and currently works with Dr. Michelle Garnett and Prof. Tony Attwood. Jay has worked on large employment programs with corporate clients such as HP, SAP and SunPork Farms. Jay is passionate about working with people on the spectrum particularly in the areas of psychology, education and employment.

Tony Attwood

Professor Tony Attwood PhD is an internationally recognised clinical psychologist, educator, and author and co-creator of Thriving Now. Recently featured on ABC’s Australian Story, Tony is one of the world’s foremost authorities on autism. His book Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals is an international best seller and seminal in the field.

Michelle Garnett

Dr Michelle Garnett PhD is a clinical psychologist and co-creator of Thriving Now and Founder and Director of Minds & Hearts, a clinic specialising in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Michelle has co-authored four books on ASD, including three books with Tony. Her most recent book, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, was co-authored with Barb Cook and 14 other women on the Spectrum.

Bill Gamack

Chief Executive Officer – EPIC Assist. An accountant by trade, Bill’s career has taken him around the world. He has worked at a major accounting firm in Australia and England, held senior management positions across a range of industries, and spent 7 years in the Middle East.

Bill’s family ties with disability inspire a sustained interest and stake in the disability employment services sector. After connecting with EPIC in Brisbane in 2010, Bill identified a strong shared value system and joined the EPIC Board, before taking on the role of CEO in 2014. Bill is passionate about raising society’s expectations around disability, and believes everyone has the right to work.

Yenn Purkis

Yenn Purkis is an author, presenter, autism advocate and community leader. Yenn is the author of six published books on elements of autism and has contributed to a large number of journals, books and websites. Yenn is a presenter and facilitator and regularly gives keynote presentations including at the 2013 TEDx Canberra conference. Yenn is a member of a number of committees and reference groups and is has a number of awards for leadership in the community, including the 2016 ACT Volunteer of the Year.

Vicky Little

Vicky Little is the National Manager – Quality and Practice at Specialisterne Australia based in Sydney. Vicky is a passionate disability consultant, trainer and mentor with over 13 years’ experience in the field of autism employment in Australia and the UK. Her experience includes establishing and delivering autism specific recruitment programs, mentoring autistic individuals to training employers and higher education institutes and establishing NSW’s first autism specific employment service, Aspect Capable. Vicky is passionate about enabling employers to tap into the skills and strengths of autistic individuals and empowering workplaces to embrace inclusion and neurodiversity.

Will Attwood

Will Attwood was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome during a three-year sentence in prison, and has written the book, Asperger’s Syndrome and Jail : A Survival Guide, to help people with Asperger’s cope with prison, and to provide better understanding for the professionals who work with them.


Barb Cook

Formally identified on the autism spectrum along with ADHD and phonological dyslexia at age 40, Barb is editor and co-author of the internationally acclaimed book Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, and editor in chief of Spectrum Women Magazine. Barb is an internationally recognised speaker and writer and was awarded a Special Commendation in the 2017 Autism Queensland Creative Futures Awards by the Queensland Governor. Barb is also currently studying a Master of Autism at the University of Wollongong (Education and Employment), an entrepreneur, and provides workshops, consulting, and mentoring services for the neurodiverse community.

Additional information

Please Select Ticket Type

Full, Neurodiverse Individuals


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