The event, hosted by Halogen and formerly known as The National Young Leaders’ Day, has been inspiring students for nearly 20 years and has built a reputation as Australia’s premier youth leadership event.

An impressive calibre of speakers featured throughout the day including Alex Malley, Chief Executive of CPA Australia and author of The Naked CEO, Bianca Chatfield, former vice captain of the Australian Diamonds and Melbourne radio host, Kate Austin, social entrepreneur and founder of Pinchapoo and Channel Seven TV presenter and journalist, Melissa Doyle. 

The theme of Halogen’s IMAGINATION event is ‘Together We Can’

“Many young people overlook the power of their network, when it comes to initiating positive change,” Samantha Skinner, a former principal and General Manager of Halogen told the audience.

“In today’s hyper-connected society, great leadership can be demonstrated in so many ways,” she added. 

The high energy event has evolved and is moving towards encouraging students to tap into their networks to build communities and to be true to their values. 

Teenage Pro-Skater and young entrepreneur Poppy Starr, was a hit with the crowd.

“Leadership to me is about showing people how much you love something. It's about being passionate and positive and encouraging others to take a chance and go for it,” she said. 

She also spoke about a new term coined #flearn (learning through failure) and the benefits of learning about entrepreneurship which has lead her to create, make and sell jewellery and direct the profits to her fund her overseas competitions.

Chief Executive of CPA Australia, Alex Malley provided an honest and refreshing approach to student life, encouraging students to “stretch the boundaries and learn from experiences, the good and bad” after openly admitting that he was suspended in school.

Jarrod, one of the students at the conference says Malley was his favourite speaker of the day because he says it’s “okay to make mistakes”. 

CPA Australia returned to the stage as the major sponsors of the ATLAS (Australia’s Team Leadership Award for Students) Initiative.

A team of student leaders from Mt Waverley Secondary College was recognised for their efforts as they transformed their school’s culture and enhanced positive teacher/student relationships through a program called “Leaders at Mount”. 

After hearing from former netballer Bianca Chatfield, Andrew from St Joseph’s College in Geelong asked her  “What are your tips for leading a team?” and she stressed the need to maintain and build positive relationships with others. 

Seasoned media personality Melissa Doyle spoke about her role as an ambassador for World Vision.

“I have a voice and I use it, to tell stories, to bring up issues that matter and to champion great causes”.

“We all have a role to play to keep the world turning. A leader inspires and encourages you to find yours,” she told delegates.

Students also visited an exhibit where they could talk about further education, employment, travel and volunteer opportunities with representatives from a wide range of organisations including Deakin University, Monash University, Charles Sturt University, World Vision, Thankyou and the Australian Defence Force. 

They also had the opportunity to participate in the 10,000 Ideas Film Initiative, where students filmed a piece about their vision for creating positive change.

Teachers and students travel some distances to attend the event.

A teacher at Murray High School in Albury, drove a mini-bus with 15 students accompanied with two teachers on Sunday afternoon to attend the event.

He said the school felt it important to attend and the principal helped fund the trip

“Living in the country you often miss a lot of these type of events,” he said.

Halogen run events for primary and secondary students in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide each year.