swarm 2017

WED 30 & THU 31 AUG, University of Sydney

Australia's Online Community Management Conference

BUY SWARM Tickets now

What is Swarm?

Australia’s only online community management conference connects established experts with new talent for a jam packed gathering of ideas, inspiration, insights, best practices, networking and collaboration.

Swarm grew out of the Australian Community Management Roundtables, founded in 2009 by Venessa Paech. Venessa teamed with co-founder Alison Michalk in 2011 to create Swarm – the first event of its kind in the Asia Pacific region.

Swarm brings together professionals from many sectors and walks of life, with a focus on actionable insights.


Years of Swarm Conf




Online Communities Represented


Coffees Consumed


Day 1– Aug 30
8:00 am: Registration & Check In
8:45 am: Opening Remarks
5:30 pm: Closing Remarks

Day 2 - Aug 31
9:00 am: Symposium: Automation, AI & Community Managemen

12:00 pm: LUNCH


1:00 pm - 2:30pm
Workshop 1: Measuring & managing community ROI -
Rachel Happe
Workshop 2: How to build a movement - Stephen Scott Johnson

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Workshop 3: Using community to drive innovation
- Bill Johnston
Workshop 4: Legal essentials for online community managers - Paul Gordon

4:00pm: WRAP UP

To secure your space in all three sections you must purchase both a Swarm 2 Day Pass + register for a Symposium ticket.


1 DAY PASS Early bird - save $100

$499 Inner Swarm Rate - Limited Tix

  • * Save $100 and score an Early Bird ticket. Limited number!
  • * Access to Conference Day 1 ONLY

2 DAY PASS Early Bird - save $200

$799 Inner Swarm Rate - Limited Tix

  • Save $200! Early Bird rates.
  • * Includes Day 1 + Choice of 2 x Workshops on Day 2
  • * Symposium registration is separate

swarm Symposium

Automation, AI & Community Management

  • * Access is free, requires registration and spaces are limited.
  • * Presentations, Panel & Discussion
  • * Does not include access to Day 1 or Workshops
Register your spot

2017 Speakers

Learn from leading global experts in online community

Sarah Hawk

Sarah Hawk

Head of Community

Formerly a developer in the corporate world, Hawk (who is a Kiwi and is only called Sarah by her mother) is an online community stalwart.

Currently she is Head of Community at UK based community consultancy Feverbee, where she works with organisations to create community solutions and deliver online community training. Her previous community roles include Community Manager for UX Mastery and for SitePoint.

Hawk will be keynoting on how to create next generation superuser programs.

Bill Johnston

Bill Johnston

Chief Community Officer

Bill is Chief Community Officer at Structure 3C in California, which helps organisations build, grow and strengthen their communities, creating long-term value for the business and the individual.

A leading global authority in community architecture and the collaborative economy, Bill developed and launched communities for Autodesk and Dell (connecting millions of customers and creating upwards of $100 million in impact). 

Bill will keynote on Building Modern Communities using innovation, integration and experience + host a hands-on workshop on creating an innovation community, ideal for start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Leah Williams Veazey

Leah Williams Veazey


Leah is a PhD researcher (University of Sydney) exploring the experiences of members and admins of online communities for migrant mothers in Australia. Leah has over a decade’s experience of working in non-profit communications, focusing on women and health.

With a professional qualification in online community management, she specialises in managing online communities and social media for NFPs. 

Leah will share her insights into what branded communities can learn from grassroots online communities and explore the idea of the accidental community manager.

Dave Earley

Dave Earley

Audience Development Editor, Guardian Australia

Dave is Audience Editor for Guardian Australia. Dave has held senior roles as digital editor at Seven News Brisbane and Quest Community Newspapers. He was engagement editor for the Courier-Mail before joining Guardian Australia in 2014.

As well as developing digital and social media strategies at these news organisations in senior leadership roles, Dave has been an innovator in digital news distribution, citizen and mobile journalism.

Dave will be keynoting on building community in an era of fake news.

Rachel Happe

Rachel Happe

Co-Founder & Principal, The Community Roundtable

Rachel is co-founder and Principal of The Community Roundtable, a company offering a peer network, community management training, research, and advisory services to advance the business of community. Clients including SAP and H&R Block use TheCR’s models, research and networks to take their communities to the next level.

Rachel has over 20 years experience working with emerging technologies, has served as a product executive at Mzinga, Bitpass, & IDe, and as IDC’s first analyst covering social technologies. Rachel will keynote on the global state of online community management - and - hold a deep dive workshop on community ROI.

Jessica Malnik

Jessica Malnik

Community Manager, The DC

Jessica is Community Manager of "the DC", aka Dynamite Circle, a community of 1100+ location-independent entrepreneurs, she manages a mix of online forums and offline events. At Bigcommerce, she scaled the community team and tripled ideal member participation in the customer support forum within 10 months.

Her writing on community been featured on: The Next Web, Buffer, Convince and Convert, Feverbee, CMX, PR Daily, Spin Sucks, SocialFresh and MSN UK, among others. Jessica will be keynoting on building thriving online customer communities.

Paul Gordon

Paul Gordon

Senior Associate, NDA Law

Paul is a Senior Associate at NDA Law and one of Australia’s leading experts in social media and privacy law, and intellectual property. Paul also advises on corporate governance, competition and consumer law, inter-jurisdictional disputes and corporate and commercial law. He is the managing director of an online ticketing company and teaches Intellectual Property Law at Flinders University

Paul has won numerous awards, including the 2015 national Lawyers' Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards (in Intellectual Property Law). He will be running a workshop on legal essentials for online community professionals not to miss.

Matt Lucas

Matt Lucas

Head of Content, Social & Search, Australia Post

Matt has overseen social media at iconic Aussie brand Australia Post since 2014, where his constituents are the entire country. Matt manages a centre of excellence around social media, social customer care, influencer engagement and more, collaborating with community engagement teams to build a vibrant community ecosystem for the organisation.

Previously, Matt led social strategies (including campaign and risk management) at Online Circle Digital for clients including Kraft Foods, Schweppes and Mercedes-Benz.

Stephen Scott Johnson

Stephen Scott Johnson

Community builder, Author

Stephen is an expert in change management who helps organisations catalyse engagement and innovation. An industry veteran with two decades experience in global business, he is a sought after international mentor and keynote speaker in customer engagement, co-creation and movements. Stephen is the author of Emergent —Ignite purpose, transform culture and make change stick (Wiley 2017). His accolades including Cannes Lion, AIMIA and webby.

Stephen will be conducting a workshop masterclass on how to build a movement - the perfect tool for catalysing a community.


Experience speaks for itself

"Expert keynotes, networking opportunities and grounded insights make Swarm the premium event for experienced community managers to stay on top of their game."

Amber Robinson

Acting Head of Digital, Microsoft

"Swarm is the must-attend event of the year for Australian community managers. The speakers always inform, challenge and inspire."

Jason hill

Community Manager, Bunnings

"Without a doubt Swarm is the best community gathering I have attended, and I have attended a lot in my 30 year career. Every detail is designed to facilitate relationship building - and it is wildly successful. I urge anyone to make the effort to go. I want very much to go again."

John Coate

Community Manager, The WELL

"You can't put a price on the value of connecting with community managers from different sectors. As a community for mental health and suicide prevention with specific needs and risks, we learn from everyone and see what fits for us. Swarm is an awesome opportunity to meet others and hear from the best."

Sophie Potter

Parents Program Manager, Reach Out

"Swarm has a signal-to-noise ratio that puts other conferences to shame. Whether you're listening to Justin Isaf wax philosophic on the infrastructure of moderation or watching Dr Michael Wu present his Good-Will-Hunting formula for Community Health, Swarm has a stunning track record of delivering the goods. Just register."

Matthew Cox

Community Manager, Envato

Leaving Swarm is like going home after school camp – you feel like you’ve been separated from your people. The atmosphere is nurturing, challenging and inspirational. If you work in the community space you’d be crazy to miss it.

Sarah Hawk

Head of Community, Feverbee

Learn, Collaborate, Build, Launch, grow & manage your community


Venessa Paech

Venessa Paech


Venessa is a global authority on community management. Previous roles include leading community marketplace Envato, Senior Manager of Community & Content Strategy at REA Group (realestate.com.au) and Head of Community at Lonely Planet, where she managed iconic travel community, the Thorn Tree.

In 2015 she co-sponsored the inaugural Australian Community Manager career survey and in 2016 launched the first Code of Ethics for Australian Community Managers with Alison. Venessa is a prolific writer, speaker and published academic.

Alison Michalk

Alison Michalk


Alison is CEO of Australia’s leading specialist community management company Quiip, with a global team of Community Managers and Strategists.

She is the former Community Manager of Australia’s largest online parenting forums (Essential Baby/Fairfax).

In 2015 she co-sponsored the inaugural Australian Community Manager career survey, and in 2016 launched the first Code of Ethics for Australian Community Managers with Venessa.

Get in touch

Swarm gives you the chance to connect with colleagues, enhance your skills and build your practice. It is *the* professional development conference for community managers.

Lvl 6, 69 Reservoir St
Surry Hills Sydney
NSW 2010 Australia