Speakers: Search for Meaning

May 26: Eliot Reynolds

Eliot Reynolds is an accomplished musician, songwriter, music teacher and audio engineer. He has written and performed on over 250 albums for different artists, films and TV shows, and has toured with bands such as the Beach Boys and Matt Finish.  He currently plays with Sideshow Annie, a Blue Mountains based band he co – founded with his wife Gill. Eliot is committed to promoting original music in the Blue Mountains and runs monthly open mic sessions for singer songwriters at local pubs. Eliot has explored various forms of spirituality and among his many talents reads the tarot. As a recovered alcoholic since 2003, Eliot is happy to assist others who need help. All this adds up to an enormously talented man keen to showcase his own talents and bring out the best in others.

June 30: Jay Hedley

Managing Partner at The Coaching Room,
Executive Leadership Coach & Facilitator

Coaching high-performance leaders, enable them to see with clarity, the blind spots in their professional and personal life that are limiting them and their potential. If you work with me you will learn how to get the very best out of yourself; to identify the strength needed to challenge the very structures that are maintaining the status quo and take action on what is needed for you to be different, which isn’t easy, or you’d already have done so.

Currently working with CEOs globally, and partnering with organisations like Waratahs Rugby; coaching their leadership group, coaching staff and on-field playing team, in the role of their developmental coach, I understand how to facilitate you awakening the very best from yourself – in high-pressure situations.

Current clients include: Fiji Airways, KPMG Australia, Waratahs and NSW Rugby, Rugby Australia, Beiersdorf Australia, Alcon, Amadeus, Ipsos, Goldfields, Optus, UTS Insearch and many more.

August 25: Mary Waterford and Jude Finch

Jude Finch has a worked and personal history as a yoga teacher and a community worker in a range of NGO and government settings in NSW. She has also worked in Timor-Leste for a few years and is a regular visitor and passionate advocate for this small and struggling neighbour. Jude is not retired from the formal workforce but stays active with yoga, as chair of the local women’s health centre and an organiser for the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group.   

Mary Waterford AM has spent almost 40 years working the community sector in the Mountains and Western Sydney, supporting community development, advocacy and social inclusion. She is now Chair of Sydney Alliance – community building for the common good and involved in many community projects in the Mountains & in Timor Leste.

Together Jude & Mary establishes Blue Mountain East Timor Sisters in 2004 and have both spent time as international volunteers in NGOs there.

Feminists, lesbians, bushwalkers and gardeners – they have been in a partnership for over 25 years and they proudly have 4 children and 6 grandchildren between them. 

September 22: Dr John Merson

Dr John Merson is the Executive Director of the Institute and an honorary professor at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

John is the former Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies at UNSW and has been a consultant to UNESCO, APEC, IUCN, DEST and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

He was a member of the Australian Indonesia Steering Committee on Science and Technology, and the Australia Korea Forum. He is the author of six books and a wide range of academic papers and research covering issues of environment and development; adaptive environmental policy and management; and climate change adaptation and mitigation. For his journalistic work he is the recipient of a United Nations Media Peace Prize.

October 27: Kunchok Gyaltsen

Born 1971, Amdo Tibet, and as a Buddhist monk I believed in freedom and the need to respect all human life. I was not happy living under the Chinese Governments’ oppressive regime, and in I fled my homeland in the grasslands of Tibet to gain a better life. I did the arduous trip, like so many before me, by foot and arrived in India as a refugee.

Whilst a monk I studied Tibetan medicine both inside and outside Tibet.

I met and married my Australian wife in India and migrated to Sydney, Australia in 2005. In 2009, we moved to Katoomba where I currently live with my wife and two children.

For as long as I remember I have been passionate about photography and engaging with people. In my photographic work I combine the love of both and capture unique moments that have the ability to move ones’ heart.

November 24: Lulu Bull

My journey with Iyengar Yoga began in 1984, in Haymarket, Sydney. In 1986, I was offered to teach “all of the morning classes” and I never looked back.
The practice, the expression, the insights, the language of yoga captivated me and I grew to love it with a passion.
I co-founded the Newton Yoga Room with my ex-husband in 1987 and we both taught there for 12 years. We moved to the Blue Mountains in the early 90’s and set up the Blue Mountains Yoga Studio in Katoomba. The studio has been running ever since and I have been principal director for the past 16 years.
Over the years, I have regularly visited {and continue to} the Iyengar Institute in Pune, India, to attend classes with BKS Iyengar, his daughter Geeta and son Prashant.
I have gained the various levels of teaching certificates and at present hold a Senior Intermediate Level Two Certificate. I have been a board member of the BKS Iyengar Association,and Teacher Rep.
At present I am a member of the Association Certification Committee which regulates all teacher certification in Australia. I run teacher training programmes within the Studio ,and regularly sit as an assessor for teachers nation wide.
I feel blessed to have this practice in my life. It sustains me, humbles me, and brings insights through the trials and tribulations of parenting and life. I feel honoured to be able to live, practice and teach in the Blue Mountains community and landscape, and to be surrounded by a wonderful group of teachers and students who continue to support and teach me everyday.