Meet our Speakers
Born in Ireland, Angela migrated to Australia in 2009 to be with her daughter and family. After receiving assistance from Irish Guide Dogs throughout her childhood and adult life, upon her arrival she was put in touch with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. One of the hardest things for Angela upon her arrival was having to leave her retired Guide Dog Inca backed in County Cork, Ireland. However now with her fourth Guide Dog Hamish, Angela enjoys travelling and spending time with her family.
Available: Central Coast
Barbara was born with a vision impairment that has caused her to lose her sight gradually over her life. She spent early life relying on others to help her get around safely, until she contacted Guide Dogs.
In her spare time, Barbara enjoys walking, shopping, cooking and meditation. She and husband Allan go dancing every week. Barbara has now been matched with her third guide dog Nara, who loves going for long walks and travelling all around Sydney for Barbara's talks.
Sarah has recently completed her Arts degree (majoring in English Literature) and a public relations course at TAFE. When she's not studying and working, Sarah enjoys reading, writing, walking the dog, movies, theatre, jazz music, and visiting bars in the city with her friends.
Sarah has been legally blind since birth and was born with Leber's Congenital Amaurosis.With only a small amount of remaining vision, Sarah gets around independently with her beloved guide dog Ally, a golden Labrador who Sarah describes as 'stubborn and a bit aloof." Ally has been by Sarah's side for four years.
As the proud father of two young children, Will hasn't let his vision condition stop him from fulfilling his life ambitions and pleasures. Along with completing a Certificate Four in Community Services at TAFE, Will also has a passion for outdoor activities, including camping, bushwalking, fishing and most of all tandem bike riding with his wife. Will is also a mad drummer and loves to communicate through music with his band and musician friends.
Available: Central Coast, Newcastle
A country boy from the border town of Barham, Daniel developed a rare eye condition at 16. After completing his HSC in 2008, Daniel gained entry into Charles Sturt University where he is now studying Physiotherapy and due to Daniel's progress in the course, other visually impaired students have been encourage to do them same.
A recent highlight for Daniel was a US trip to NASA Space Camp last year, where eight vision impaired Australians were chosen to undergo astronaut training.
Available: NSW Riverina District
Since early childhood Darcy has suffered from two vision conditions; Myopia and Nystagmus which has seen his sight badly reduced. But after receiving his first Guide Dogs Rizzo in 1998, Darcy has not looked back and maintains a very active and independent life. Before his extended vision loss, Darcy worked as an Electorate Secretary to the State and Federal Members of Parliament. Since his retirement in 1993 Darcy has now found a new labour of love, presenting radio programs on a range of community radio stations.
Kathryn Stephens was 24 years old in 1992 when she collided with a semi trailer leaving her blind. Before the accident Kathryn completed an economics degree and was working in the banking industry as an assistant economist, in agribusiness. After overcoming many of the injuries sustained in the accident, she now undertakes a range of activities including; tutoring in maths, assisting with youth mentoring programs, becoming a disability adviser for the University of New England, as well as spreading the message about living successfully with vision impairment.
Available: Northern NSW
Due to a genetic disease of the cornea called Kerataconus, Jo started to lose her eyesight when she was around 18. Over the years, Jo has used a number of different mobility aids, including identification cane, but her favourite by far is with a Guide Dog. Jo's first guide dog was Khan. She has recently started working with her second guide dog, Wiley.
Jo has an all-consuming love of animals, especially dogs and has a particular interest in training using positive rewards. She has lived on a farm raising and training all sorts of animals including alpacas and llamas.
Jo, Khan (her first guide dog), along with the alpacas were featured in a documentary called "Miracles from the Wildside", which was about how animals can positively impact the lives of people with disabilities.
As a Public relations and education Speaker for Guide Dogs, Jo regularly runs training sessions for new bus and taxi drivers on how they can best assist their passengers that are blind or visually impaired. She also gives talks to school and community groups on her experiences with vision loss and working with a Guide Dog and educating the public about how Guide Dogs assist people who have impaired vision live independent and full lives.
As busy mum with two young children and her own psychologist practice, Leonie loves to take time out to practice her other passion, public speaking. At age nine, Leonie begun to gradually lose her eyesight. By her twenties, her sight had deteriorated so badly that she feared to leave the house, even with her white cane to help her. Leonie says her life was transformed when her husband encouraged her to get a Guide Dog.
Now, despite her initial fear of dogs, Leonie couldn't live without her Guide Dog Desiree, who once saved her life by stopping her from walking into a ten foot hole.
To book one of these inspiring speakers please contact our Speaker Co-ordinator on (02) 9412 9307 or complete the online form on this page.