Speaking

A Captivating Speaker

“Sue Pieters-Hawke is a captivating speaker who inspires and motivates her audience to positively tackle issues that arise in their personal and professional lives. She entertains and empowers with her sharp mind, quick wit and understanding of a broad range of topics. Her personal stories spark the imagination and make you feel anything is possible.”
Jackie Crossman, Crossman Communications.

Sue-Pieters-Hawke-speakingSue has that rare ability to stand in front of any audience and engage them due to her capacity to stay present and connected. She clearly enjoys the process of communicating with people, and is noted for her humour, her empathy, her pithy ability to present complex ideas in an accessible manner, and her ability to powerfully convey and evoke a range of emotions.

Sue has a repertoire of conversations and subjects where she weaves in heartfelt personal experience, up-to-date knowledge and masterful insight to bring the audience along on a journey of understanding.

“I think part of what I so enjoy about what I do is that to me, it’s not a static egoic process of ‘stand and deliver’, but rather a dynamic and respectful interaction between members of an audience and myself where we’re all open to learning from each other”

As a schoolgirl, Sue was nicknamed ‘Squawke’ for both her name and the fact that she rather enjoyed sharing her interests and opinions. She might have mellowed, and found she enjoys listening as much as speaking, but her kids might say otherwise not much has changed……

“When Sue Pieters-Hawke talks she commands your absolute attention. To a group she speaks with authority, strength, warmth and wit. As a listener she is attentive and absorbed. Sue is one of the most articulate, engaged and engaging people I’ve ever met.”
Guy Allenby, Author and Feature Writer

Sue’s office is always happy to discuss tailoring topics and presentations to particular audiences and occasions, and also Sue’s availability as a panel member, moderator, interviewer or MC

Sample topics/ areas:

Living well - Drowning, Surviving, or Thriving?
Sue has enjoyed a diverse and colourful career. At different times in her life, she has been an activist for law reform and Aboriginal land rights, an artist’s model, and a rock ‘n roll barmaid. She has a fascinating and broad-ranging perspective on how to live well and find a happy and productive balance in life. Her talk is informed by her insights into western medicine and health systems and her experiences with cancer and as a carer, as well as her long-standing interest in eastern philosophies and traditional practices such as yoga, meditation and quigong.
Positive ageing
An oxymoron! Or not? At some point in our lives we have, or will, reach a point where drooping bodybits or some life event drags us out of the whole denial-of-death-and-ageing thing that is an embedded part of our culture. As this happens, it is all too easy to unconsciously succumb to the negative stereotyping – fear, diminishment, inevitable frailty, irrelevence – that frames the underlying drivers of our ideas of what it is to be ‘old’.

Exploring the personal choices that can positively shape our own ageing and the social implications of these issues form the substance of my latest work in the speaking and writing arena.

Current knowledge tells us that, contrary to the bleak and powerless message of our inherited ideas of ageing, we actually ‘create’ our own ageing to a significant degree. Genes play a role, but epigenetics tells us that lifestyle and other choices affect how our genes play out. Neuroscience tells us so much about the importance of social connection, new learning, and other factors in creating a vibrant older age. Research has demonstrated the importance of maintaining exercise and activity as part of the road to health and strength in body and mind.

None of this is to deny that ageing does have aspects we cannot ‘control’ and may well prefer not to experience, but is, rather, saying two things: that the stereotypes ignore the positives that come with accumulated experience and maturity; and that cutting edge knowledge shows that we have far more influence over our ageing destinies than we may previously have thought.

We are, all of us, part of a pioneer generation heading into uncharted territory both personally and as a society. Longevity has almost doubled in only a couple of centuries! Really, the old drivers to our thinking and choices need no longer apply, we can be proactive in redesigning ageing. As with any such quantum change, the cliche “both challenges and opportunities” signifies yet understates the potential scenarios.

The caring challenge
Sue speaks about being a carer from many perspectives. She has personal experience as a carer, as an advocate and as an activist for a more humane society. Recognising the deep importance of our care for others, Sue also talks compellingly and practically about the need for effective ‘self care’. Her talk is inspiring, informative and relevant for anyone involved in caring for others – whether elderly parents, sick children or patients – as well as for policy makers and service providers.
“How we care – especially for our young, our elderly, our disadvantaged, our ill and dying – speaks volumes about us as a society. Our capacity to care is a both a measure and an expression of the essence of our humanity, of our decency as human beings and of our viability as a community.”

Reframing dementia - Restoring humanity
Underlying much of the fear and stigma surrounding dementia is a plethora of inacurate beliefs, outdated information, lack of education and downright prejudice! On this subject, Sue dissects much of the baggage surrounding dementia, updates audiences on best-practice understanding of dementia and approaches to care and relationships with people with dementia. She leaves audiences with an experiential understanding of the fact that people with dementia still fully experience their own lives, and of ways we can support them in a manner based on respect and appreciation.
The dementia journey
Sue was the primary carer for her mother, Hazel Hawke, who died in 2013 after living in her final years with Alzheimer’s disease. Tens of thousands of Australians laughed and cried as they read her best selling book, Hazel’s Journey. Sue speaks about the highs and lows of adjusting to the new reality that comes with an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis. Her talk is funny, sad and thoughtful. It is helpful to those grappling with dementia or other serious illness – and also very moving for those many Australians who have a special place in their hearts for Hazel Hawke.
Death and Dying - Let's talk about it
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