A global gathering of the international OD community

The function of OD is changing. As we and the world emerge from the turbulence of recent years, our intention at the conference is to identify key emerging themes and to consider their implications in the present and near future for the organisation development practitioners and our many stakeholders. 

IODA last visited Australia in 2011 and the world is now a very different place. This difference, and the emerging future through the lens of OD, will be the key focus of the conference. It will be an opportunity for a diverse range of OD people to meet up from around the world to collaborate, share approaches and re-imagine the role that OD could play in the world. 

Some of the things we are planning to explore together at the event include: 

Reimagining Organisation Development as a profession and a field in a rapidly changing world:

  • What OD is and what it isn’t
  • OD – Greater than the sum of its parts
  • The emergence of regional areas, remote workers and the implications for the future of work
  • OD architecture that facilitates a pivot
  • The emerging relationship between people and places
  • Harnessing indigenous wisdom to expand and elevate modern OD practice
  • What are the implications for the future of your own OD practice?


The world of work has changed. The infrastructure and systems that we have designed to support people, organisations, communities and the planet no longer quite fit as well as they did. What can we learn from a design thinking perspective to make the changes needed for us to flourish? What are the implications for the future of work? How do workplaces, architecture and community infrastructure need to be designed now?


A common question OD practitioners are asked is  “What is OD?” How do we respond to that question in a way that creates comprehension and connection? How do we tell the story of the part of OD that we each play in so that it conveys a sense of the whole of OD and the role we play in scaffolding the future?


Much of the systems and processes that organisations and leaders rely on to run their systems are based on the legacy systems from the past. What new systems are emerging that are working today? What problems are we facing that require a new approach that we don’t have systems in place to support yet?


Our intention is to explore Geelong’s UNESCO designation and the related aspects of Clever & Creative through the lens of Organisation Development. Clever & Creative is about collaborating to address our challenges and opportunities, embracing innovation, and new ways of doing things. It goes beyond being tech-savvy or emerging industries – it applies to everyone, and all business sectors and industries.

A Clever & Creative future has business diversity that inspires a broad range of education and employment opportunities, attracts start-ups, innovative businesses and a can-do attitude. It has a strong sense of community and uplifts its vulnerable community members, is devoted to research and encourages economically viable, environmentally sound and socially responsible solutions to its challenges. It has a global outlook and recognises the uniqueness and significance of its natural environments.


The traditional owners of the Geelong region are the Wadawurrung people who gave Geelong as we know it today its name from their word ‘jillong’ meaning ‘a place of the sea bird over white cliffs’. They have lived in the Geelong region for more than 25,000 years before white settlers arrived.

White settlement from the early 1800s had a devastating effect on the Aboriginal people. Sheep destroyed much of the root crops which the Wadawurrung depended on and introduced diseases. Birth rates and clan numbers fell. 

To recognise the traditional owners of the land, the Wadawurrung will be invited to perform a Welcome To Country at the conference. What can the field of OD learn from a connection to 25,000 years of history and story?

Geelong has a unique story to tell and we will consider how this small city has pivoted, in response to changing industries and demands, to be recognised as Australia’s only international city of Design.


Geelong was declared a town in 1838 with a local population of 545. The city’s humble beginnings were founded in the rich pastoral hinterland and the prosperity of the local wool trade. By the 1850s, Geelong was swept up in “gold fever” becoming the principle seaport for the gold industry. The city’s population ballooned making Geelong the fourth largest town in Australia.

In the later half of the 19th Century, Geelong turned its attention to emerging industrial development and became the major trading port for the textile industries and export of wool to Britain. Today, the City has developed as a centre of excellence in the area of education, R&D, health, hospitality and tourism.

Regional Australia has experienced a dramatic increase in population during and post COVID as city people headed towards the bush. What are the implications for this regionalisation and how does OD respond? 


Geelong Region


Less than an hours drive from Melbourne’s CBD and Tullamarine Airport, Geelong is  beautifully placed with waterfront views of Corio Bay and immediate access to the world famous Great Ocean Road and charming wine growing region of the Bellarine Peninsula.


The Wadawurrung people have lived in the Geelong Region for more than 25,000 years. These people gave Geelong as we know it today its name from ‘jillong’ meaning a place of the sea bird over white cliffs. 


Geelong was first declared a town in 1838, the city’s humble beginnings founded in the rich pastoral hinterland and the prosperity of the local wool trade. The city became the major trading port for the export of textiles. 


Geelong is Australia’s only UNESCO City of Design. As one of Australia’s fastest growing regional centres, the scene is set for a design-motivated economy where cleverness in design, creativity and culture are at the heart of a achieving a sustainable, inclusive and resilient future.

the conference organizing committee

Danielle Jacobson – Organisational Development Manager

An experienced organisational development practitioner; she is passionate about enabling workplace cultures where people feel good about being at work. She increases people engagement through customised individual programs (such as leadership development and coaching) and delivering organisational initiatives (such as culture change, program design and development and engagement strategy).

Kaliopi Tsousis – Principal Consultant

She is happiest working with people to inspire learning, growth & improvement. She is an accomplished learning and organisation development professional and brings a deep blend of theory and experience shaped by an action learning approach.

Her deep experience as leader, facilitator, coach, adviser, mentor, researcher, learning designer and project manager means facilitating relationships and learning is at the heart of what she does best. 

Georgia Ellis – Founder, Lead Facilitator, Mentor, Trainer & Coach

Her passion is to work with organisations and individuals who are caught in conventional thinking, struggling to bring ideas to life, unable to shift results, feeling burnt out and overwhelmed by all the ‘noise’ and needing to pivot quickly in order to meet the demands of our ever-changing world.

She loves providing tools, maps and models to help people and organizations thrive and contribute positively to busines growth, their team, family, social circles, community and the world we share.

Christopher “CJ” Gross – TEDx Speaker/DEI Organizational Development Consultant and Coach

The founder of Ascension Worldwide, a firm dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity training and consulting based in the Washington, D.C. area. CJ has 20-years of experience as an international organizational development consultant specializing in leadership development and Diversity and Inclusion. CJ is a certified Social + Emotional Intelligence coach, trainer, Keirsey Temperament professional, Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Administrator, and executive coach, with additional expertise in organizational mediation.

Greg Collier – Facilitator, Practice Lead, Academic

An accomplished senior leader, facilitator and executive coach who has experienced success in both the frontline as a senior business leader, and in support as a HR specialist, business partner and consultant.

Greg has a passion for unleashing the potential of people and cascading that through organizations and communities.

Rod Barnett – Organization & People Development Consultant

Helps leaders to create positive organizations, developing organizations and the skills of their managerial-leaders. 

Accredited Systems Leadership practitioner. Member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Large scale change initiatives. Greenfield start-ups. Works with teams and departments in all sectors: industry, commercial, public sector and non- profits.

Pete Canny – Practice Leader

Working with organisations, he facilitates, coaches and trains people to progress along their journey as leaders and team members. He has broad experience in organisations across many sectors, and has extensive experience working in Local Government. He works with organisations to develop holistic leaders and people who find meaning in and through their work, developing people who can take on the responsibility of leading us through the complex and dynamic times we live in.

Monica Leon – Founder

Monica is an experienced OD practitioner, facilitator and coach who believes in tapping into the collective wisdom to co-create. A strategic thinker by nature, she specialises in sticky issues, complex systems, and innovative work practices that intertwine vertical development and achieving sustainable outcomes. She has worked, lived and studied in four continents.

Vanh Mixap – Founder, Facilitator, Board Director & Coach

Vanh is a social and emotional intelligence coach and facilitator who helps professionals develop their leadership skills. Vanh is passionate about building cross-generational collaboration and innovating education. Vanh founded Yes Everyone Matters (YesEM), with a vision to create an enabling environment where every professional gives an extra mile for the work that they do and where they are respected and valued regardless of their profession, position, age, gender or appearance.

Allison Tsao –  Healthy Workplace & Leadership Consultant

Allison has had a diverse career in human capital consulting, Human Resources, and Organisation Development, working with over 35 organisations globally of all sizes and industry on their toughest people challenges. Allison learned early in her career that for any real business impact to occur, people must be wiling to adapt and change.

Fruc Menchavez III – Culture Geek, Bespoke Coachsultant, OD Practitioner

Fruc is an Organization Development practitioner and Coach who continues to partner and co-create with individuals, teams and organizations to help navigate complex situations, while tapping into their respective potentials for transformational success whatever that may mean to individuals, teams and organizations.