Connecting to culture at Gold Coast conference with Madison Financial Group

Our partners at Madison Financial Group approached us recently to deliver a half-day 'Workshops In Nature' professional development session for their advisers and key stakeholders to kick off their yearly conference, themed 'The Obstacle is the Way' on the Gold Coast in South East Queensland.

Against a backdrop of widespread financial services industry reforms and public scrutiny, the conference theme was selected to provide the Madison community with a timely refocus on resilience, connection, leadership and wellbeing. The theme (in reference to Ryan Holiday's book) was selected by CEO Annick Donat to inspire unity and belief among her growing ranks that impossible situations can be turned into astounding triumphs.

Bringing this theme to life in a high impact learning experience, we partnered with Aboriginal cultural facilitators, Stuart McMinn and Uncle Paul Callaghan.

To kick off the event, Author and Aboriginal community leader, Uncle Paul Callaghan, delivered a captivating keynote presentation to all delegates titled 'Weathering the storm - terrible to triumphant'. The presentation drew upon his extensive traditional wisdom and life experience to explore Aboriginal culture, values and beliefs while providing practical strategies around leading with greater resilience, connection and wellbeing.

After lunch, advisers swapped trousers for shorts and hit the beach for their next session, a walking workshop with Dharug & Wakka Wakka cultural man, Stuart McMinn. Stuart's session provided an opportunity to learn from Aboriginal culture in an interactive format while enabling deeper bonds to form within the group.

In pairs and small groups, advisers walked, talked and participated in activities that connected them with each other and catalysed further insight into leadership, culture and wellbeing.

The group embraced the opportunity to get outdoors and connect with one another in a more relaxed and natural environment while learning about traditional Aboriginal culture.

By the end of the day, the culture of the conference had been markedly impacted. Advisers were energised by the time outdoors, opportunity to learn about traditional Aboriginal culture and depth of connections they had formed with each other.

As a parting gift, Madison Financial presented signed copies of Uncle Paul's book, Iridescence: Finding your colours and living your story, to all delegates, enabling them to deep-dive into traditional concepts explored throughout the sessions and support their ongoing personal and professional development.


"I can't express enough how much of an impact your session has had on our community. They are so engaged and connected. Thank you so much for making the session incredibly special, heartfelt and vulnerable. It has helped change the course for our community."

Annick Donat, CEO, Madison Financial Group