Keynote Speaker

Marie Vlahakis

Marie loves being part of the amazing diverse team at Plumtree. Marie is very passionate about the importance of supporting families to learn and share with and from one another whilst encouraging a strengths-based, growth mindset approach.
Marie has a lived experience of being a parent to a child with a disability. Through daily life her son has taught her, her family and the world so much especially the importance of sometimes thinking outside of the box. Marie has had many conversations with parents and carers of a child with a disability and these conversations have identified that many are not accessing community services.  She openly encourages the importance of sharing and fostering conversations about disabilities. Having these important conversations helps to break down barriers and enhance awareness and understanding which is very important when building connected communities for all children and their families.
Marie is the Team Leader, Peer Workers in the Libraries as Community Connectors project that enhances the way children's programs and services are delivered in public libraries. Marie is passionate about ensuring access has no restrictions and libraries continue to be a very valuable community hub that is welcoming and inclusive for all while allowing children to share a love of books and build lifelong connections from the early years.

Her presentations include New program aims to boost library experiences for children with a disability - ABC NewsRadio - ABC Radio and Creating connected communities at schools, Now & Next Alumni Conference 2018.