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Hi and welcome to Speakers Bank’s online or virtual exhibit featuring some of our members who have been kind to share to us some of their thoughts, ideas, activities and words spoken or shared visually through photos and the written word. This is one of our simple ways of celebrating National Volunteer Week for 2021. Last year we organised an online forum via Zoom and discussed the impact of COVID-19 and volunteering. A year on, it would be interesting to catch up on what has been keeping our members busy.

We’d love for you to explore each member’s contribution and share this online exhibit with your networks.

If you are interested to meet some of our speakers or book us to attend your event, please contact speakersbank@annecto.org.au. You can also visit our official website at www.speakersbank.org,au or call our office at (03) 9687 7066 and look for Mimi Laurilla, Program Coordinator.

Thank you!

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Not only does Rocca know a lot about the law being a lawyer and a disability advocate, she also knows how to dance!!!

Rocca is one of the leaders of DANCE AND ROLL, a club that promotes para dance and sports not only for hobby purposes but also to make you fit and healthy.

The club is on Facebook and are happy to take on participants in their programs. https://www.facebook.com/danceandroll

Rocca talks to students and organisations around disability awareness and the law, Rocca is also passionate around accessibility rights.

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Brian is unstoppable. He is not only a disability advocate, he is also passionate about transport and access. Brian recently worked as a support coordinator because he believes that people deserve the best care with the right NDIS plan in place.

Here’s a message from Brian about his activities and role as speaker with Speakers Bank.


You will be amazed by Dianne Ioannou who is one of our senior speakers and whose advocacy is around mental health, community development and of course anything about seniors!

Dianne kept herself busy with gardening, cooking and sewing dresses during the pandemic — please refer to the photos she shared with us recently.

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Storm is one of our very proactive and enthusiastic speakers.

Here is Storm.

I am Storm Robbins, one of the volunteers of Speakers Bank. Mostly I do public speaking, podcast and gigs.

As a volunteer for Speakers Bank, I am a disability advocate for people with special needs.

I do some presentations on a range of topics such as my life journey. Helping people understand what a disability actually is, health debates on disability, and changing your opinion on disability.

I like volunteering because I always want to get involved and engaged in the community and also because I like talking to people.

Volunteering makes you become more independent, you learn a lot of things and you meet new people. Some great opportunities open up for you if you put the work involved in volunteering.

These days, I am busy with attending physio appointments, disability issues, anime, sports, podcasting…

The main topics that I wanted to talk about:

  • My life experiences
  • Advocacy
  • Community engagement

When the pandemic started, it was really difficult specially during the hard lockdown because I couldn’t do anything. And it hurt a lot because there was no gigs at all and I can’t go out in the community either…

But now that things are better, I started to get involved again. I started to re-engage with activities for Speakers Bank, though mostly online, I am hoping that once I get the Covid vaccine, I would gradually be able to engage again in the community.

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Mary Anne has had a tough year recently but this didn’t stop her from pursuing her business and other passions. She loves arts and crafts as a hobby would not mind selling if there is an interest in her craft and paintings. Some of her works are shared here, and she is also into marketing products of brands that she trusts and love.

Mary Anne speaks to organizations and students in the Geelong area mostly but can also travel around if required. Mary Anne can be contacted for anyone interested in her art work and crafts.

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Aaron said he missed going out to have coffee with friends during the pandemic, and it was difficult to stay motivated, but the occasional podcast and online speaking gigs gave him an opportunity to engage with the community.

Aaron is supported by his loving family and has been trying to keep fit and healthy.

Aaron is determined to raise awareness about his lived experience in order to help people understand what it is like living with an “invisible” disability.

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Peter moved to Daylesford recently and have dabbled in poetry to express himself and nurture his creative juices. Samples of his poems can be accessed HERE.

In the meantime, Peter shares some photos of what he’s been up to and what mattered to him. Let’s hear it from Peter:

I am Peter Walters and am one of the volunteers of Speakers Bank. Mostly I do public speaking, podcast and gigs.

I like volunteering because I always want to get involved and engaged in the community.

I like helping people understand life with a disability.

The main topics that I wanted to talk about:

  • Life with a disability
  • Advocacy
  • Care work
  • Community engagement
  • Football
  • Horse racing

But when the pandemic started, specially during the hard lockdown, I was not able to do anything, no job, no gigs/podcast and definitely no community engagement so I keep myself busy by writing poems.

Now am in fulltime care it would be difficult for me to go places to be engage in the community, at the moment am still new to my local area as I only moved here about 8 months ago. I still want to get pretty much involved but haven’t figured out how.

With support, I can still do podcasting but face to face as I don’t know how to do it online. I am very much willing to have the proper training if offered.

I already have my first dose of the COVID vaccine, once it’s completed, I will gradually go out more in the community.

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Let your dreams exceed the parameters of your mind”

– limitless-

This is Julie Kent’s motto.

Julie is one of our newest speakers who have come on-board during the pandemic.

In this video, Julie shares a bit about herself, and why she loves volunteering.

Find out more about Julie by watching her share her story.


Make is with Speakers Bank as an admin/speaker support and office volunteer. She started when our current Program Coordinator Mimi Laurilla commenced in her role. Make can be considered one of the long-standing non-speaker volunteers of the program and we are lucky to have her on board.

Make assisted speakers during their presentations and helped around the Werribee office whenever she is free. She currently works as an early childhood educator in Truganina.

This is what she says about volunteering:

My passion to work as a volunteer with Speakers Bank is to serve the community and support the gigs of our speakers; and also to support the Coordinator of Speakers Bank because I admire her enthusiasm and humility to help people.

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Michael Burrowes is a favorite speaker being booked by universities for his unique story and the use of technology for communication.

We caught up with Michael recently and this is what he said about his current activities:

Here’s my daily activities that keeps me very busy and my Volunteer Work I do on every Friday at Box Hill Town Hall Artspace.

The main role is to be a door greeter — I do usually greet all the customers when they came to Gallery and tell the customer about the exhibition.

I do the Arts program at Interchange Drama, Music/Art and at the moment I’m putting together a collection of Artworks for my Art show which will be happening around about September at the Box Hill Town Hall.

Apart from that, I do gigs for Speakers Bank when invited to speak to students about my lived experience.

Here are two photos related to my art volunteering.

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Gerard is currently working with a friend Andrew at the Royal Botanical Garden to build a food forest gardening project. They will start fundraising for the food forest. Gerard is passionate around sustainability and the environment. He is also a testament to what resilience and determination is all about. Gerard’s video will give you a glimpse of his story.

Here is what Gerard thinks about volunteering.

I enjoy volunteering because i think it’s a two way street. It’s important for all ages to volunteer. It brings energy and enthusiasm. It’s Important to share stories and wisdom. I enjoy it because I can see the effect I can have on people. I get a lot of joy and satisfaction in knowing that I have been able to help people.


My name is Jessi.

I started volunteering with Annecto Speakers Bank at the start of March 2021.

At Speakers Bank I work on the Social Media side of things, creating posts for different days and posting the content that our wonderful Speakers and students create.

It has been absolutely amazing volunteering with Speakers Bank. I get to learn so much about the different people who are a part of Speakers Bank as well as many health conditions and diseases, as well

as the different types of disabilities. It has been such an eye opening experience so far, and I can’t wait to keep learning more!

Volunteering in this space has been really great. Being online means that it works really well with my personal and uni schedules, but I still get to have some great interaction with others, including Mimi, as well as students and other volunteers.

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Speakers Bank

Speakers Bank is a group of people with a personal experience of disabilities, all of whom are trained in public speaking and are available to share with the community the story of their lives, their challenges and triumphs.
To book one of our speakers at your next event, contact speakersbank@annecto.org.au.
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