Alexandra O'Brien

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After working as a lifestyle journalist (print, digital and books) in Sydney, Dubai and London for over 10 years, recently Alexandra left the 9-to-5 to travel the world and become a freelance content and communications consultant. 

With a passion for creating content that tells stories in new and interesting ways, she’s interested in encouraging people to share and communicate so they can together innovate to bring about creative – and peaceful – solutions for tomorrow’s world.

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Sophie Long


After a degree in Philosophy Sophie turned her hand to trading for a large investment bank and after her MBA she worked as a design and innovation consultant on large scale digital and cultural transformation programmes. It is an unusual mix that allows her to spot uncommon connections across industries.

Despite being a city girl through and through, when she’s not working you’ll usually find her on a hard to reach beach putting her kitesurfing skills to the test.

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Jean-Robert Saintil



Rising Minds co-founder Jean-Robert Saintil,has been engaged in the intersect of Technology, Business and Culture for over a decade. From working on editorial for pioneering platforms such as Nowness, to dissecting digital futures as creator and publisher of global insight and influencer platform Chorus+Echo, being editor of several publications and curating critically engaged talks, exhibitions and events. He is at current Director of Strategic Communications agency Saintil Communications.

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Erika Whillas


Erika is Chief Product Officer of CoClear, a New York consultancy specializing in interactive life cycle analysis of consumer products. Erika is a information architect with a MPA from Columbia University and is currently undertaking a PhD asking the question: "Can digital tools help scale participatory democracy to improve urban governance?" with a focus on making cities more resilient to climate change.

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Drew Smith


Drew's passion is for identifying the major shifts in technology, business and culture and sharing what he learns with the world at large.

Rising Minds, which he co-founded with Jean-Robert, is not his first rodeo: he established and ran the London chapter of Creative Mornings, too. 

Although he started out as a car designer, his love of ethnographic research and people-centred design has lead to a career helping companies develop empathy, services and products for their customers.

He’s helped create the bank of the future, a taxi service for kids, in-flight entertainment that starts before you even get on the plane and a radical new approach to selling mobile phones.

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Sophie Yin

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With 10 years of experience in brand management, PR, and growth strategy across FMCG, transportation solutions, and healthcare industries in Asia, Europe, and North America, Sophie moved to Australia to continue her international marketing journey, and more importantly, to pursue her passion for building global communities and meaningful connections. She strongly believes in collective effort and wisdom that could make positive impact on the world, and she is here to help.

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Sophie Kingsford-Smith


Passionate about celebrating the handmade and promoting conscious consumerism, Sophie is interested in the relationship between the handmade, power and knowledge, including utilising craft as a tool for positive social change.

With a background in the fashion, fine art and non-for- profit industries she is currently working towards the launch of ahlea, an intimate and sensuous collection of hand-dyed pieces for women.

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