We are in the process of confirming speakers for the conference. Please check this page again in the future for updates as they come to hand.

Michael Barbato

Michael spent 20 years working as a specialist physician in rural NSW before moving to Sydney in 1989 to commence work in palliative care. Prior to his retirement in 2012 he directed palliative care services in NSW and the ACT and did regular locum work for the Northern Territory Palliative Care Service. His areas of interest include the holistic care of the dying, end-of-life dreams and visions, the experience of dying and the moment of death.

Together with Ann, he facilitates Caring for the Living and the Dying workshops for professional and community groups. He has spoken at state, national and international conferences. He is the author of three books on palliative care and has published widely. Michael believes the Midwifing Death Correspondence Course gives participants a better understanding of what it means to be an amicus or companion for those who are dying and the skills required to take on this important role.

Michael shares his life with Ann, their four adult children and partners and four grandchildren. His outside interests bonsais, fungi, bush-walking, swimming and the environment.
Ann Barbato

Ann has worked as a counselling psychologist for 30 years in private practice and at Macquarie University and The University of New England.
As well as co-facilitating the Midwifing Death Correspondence Course and other workshops on death and dying with Michael, she does bereavement counselling, teaches yoga and meditation and facilitates personal growth groups.

Ann’s main focus is the psycho-spiritual aspects of the course. She is also interested in anything that promotes the wellbeing of those involved in caring for people with life-limiting illnesses. Personal and spiritual growth is enhanced during the course and participants are encouraged to pursue inner awareness through the essays and journal writing.

Before becoming a psychologist Ann was a registered nurse and midwife. She has been a community palliative care volunteer and, together with Michael has established several volunteer groups in Sydney.

Family life is important to Ann and Michael. They are blessed with 4 children and 4 grandchildren. Ann enjoys yoga, walking, swimming, table tennis and reading.
Phillipa Leonard MBBS(Hons) UNSW

Dr Phillipa Leonard is a medical doctor who has taught resilience for the past 14 years. She has worked with a wide range of people in Australia and overseas, from medical staff and cancer patients to traumatised African youth. She has also had the privilege of being trained by MinMia, a senior Wirradjirri law woman, in the wisdom of the Australian Indigenous people. As a singer and poet Phillipa is passionate about the use of creativity, ceremony and ritual as tools for psychological and emotional health.
Jacqueline Martinez

Jacquie has been working as a Palliative Care Volunteer Co-ordinator for Sydney Local Health District for 10 years co-ordinating volunteers both in the community and at the Concord Centre For Palliative Care In-patient Unit. In 2014, Jacquie completed studies in Leisure and Health in order to introduce Diversional Therapy Activities to her patients after witnessing a need for this within the unit.

Jacquie also has 16 years experience working in Human Resources as a Training Manager. This work experience has been invaluable in her current position which involves recruitment, training and retention of volunteers.

Jacquie says, "My most rewarding experiences have been to witness the delight and joy that complementary therapies bring to our patients and I work towards engaging my volunteers to continue working on the programs that have been introduced."
Katrina Simmons

Katrina has been working as the Service Manager for the Blue Mountains Palliative Support service for 7 years. The service supports Palliative care clients and families primarily in the community setting from Emu Plains to Lithgow and also has volunteers in the local hospitals.

With a background in Teaching ( High School ) and Sales/Marketing, in 2007 Katrina came to the Community Services sector as a Case Manager for the Anglicare Community Options Program, Nepean/Hawkesbury area. For 4 years her role there coordinated the provision of services and advocacy to aged, disabilities and complex clients.

Katrina holds a BA/Dip Ed in French/German/Italian from Macquarie University and a NSW TAFE Case Management Diploma.

She has an interest in Complimentary Therapies including massage, Reiki and Native American drumming.
Lynda Kings

Lynda currently works as a Community Support Advisor for the Department of Veterans'​ Affairs. Previously, she has managed volunteers for Anglicare, the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, and the Centre for Volunteering. Lynda also has 4 years experience as a trainer at the School of Volunteer Management, Centre for Volunteering.

"Lynda is a gifted leader with the ability to create, coach and lead her team in amazing ways. She empowers those around her and is passionate about volunteering."