Our Team

Our approach is not that of ‘me guru – you dumb disciple’,  rather one of a mutual learning environment.  It is not a case of here’s our seminar – hope it fits your situation.

We are committed to working with you to identify the most effective program for your students.

Peer Power seminars are a lively combination of information and interaction, so that the students take part in an enjoyable learning experience. Through these seminars, a framework is created allowing the students to think through the issues and apply the lessons individually.

These seminars are user-friendly for the students and school administration as they are modular in format and can be tailored to suit your school’s timetable / schedule and students’ needs.

Our Director

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MICHAEL KNIGHT

A good education leaves a lot to be desired…

Over the last three decades, Michael Knight has engaged with hundreds of thousands of young people. He has lost about the same number of hairs from his head. The founder of the Australian arm of Peer Power has an established record for generating classroom dynamics that get results for schools, teachers and students. During his youth work journey, Michael has focused on classroom and large scale seminar presentations, crisis counselling, adventure therapy (camping), administration organisational management and development. Michael Knight is still learning, but has walked down the road of experience enough to be able to make a genuine difference for schools.

Our Presenters

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TOM GILLILAND

The question is… why WOULDNT the chicken cross the road?

Imagine a giraffe in a turtle neck, riding a Harley on a dirt bike track – well, that’s NOT him. Tom’s passion is encouraging, empowering, valuing and giving guidance to those younger than him (and even learning from them!) – whether that looks like: leading Beatles or Queen sing-alongs, doing impressions of famous people, running counselling sessions on his school bus or inciting Mexican Waves and singing Whitney Houston songs in a Peer Power seminar.

Tom’s last six years in youth work saw him enjoying plenty of laughs and tears with young people all the while never giving up on them. Tom holds the core conviction that no matter the circumstance teenagers find themselves in, they do not have to become bound and hindered from it, rather they can learn from it, through it and become a better human being because of it.

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ALEXA FIELD

Loving people and loving conversation…

Alexa loves talking with people and believes we call all learn something from each other. She equally loves being outside. When she’s not at work you’ll find her either horse riding, drinking coffee or at the beach… after 2 years in the UK, the entire year = beach season.

Above all though, she loves discovering places to which she’s never been. Whether that’s the countryside of Sweden… or a north side coffee shop she’s yet to go to, she thrives off the unknown loves expanding her horizons through new experiences. She is passionate about helping young people discover the vast potential within them – a potential that’s too often over shadowed by what the world asks and expects of them.

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SHAINA ALLEN-ANKINS

The most interesting kinds of people are those who do not sweeten or dilute themselves. Like coffee, they are full strength, searing hot, and able to rouse the world’s weary, idle heart… 

Well, Shania doesn’t like coffee but she loves that quote. Her passion is people and aim is to make sure that no one goes through life feeling unnoticed or unvalued (apologies to Ninja’s). Shanaia loves to have real, meaningful and important conversations that draw out who the person is called to be instead of who the culture tells them to be. Through this, Shainiqua recognises that life’s uncomfortable growing pains take us to greater levels of self-awareness and inform better choices for the future. Consequently, Shana will be sure to carefully consider the consequences of what she names her children.

PS. “It’s Shaina”. Thanks Mum, I told you people would keep spelling my name wrong!

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ANDY SAWDEN

An enigma – not as in the machine…

Andy grew up in the jungle hills of Tamborine but finds himself more comfortable in the ocean.  He gets nervous in crowds but is a professional mc/public speaker.  He looks 35 years old but in reality he’s only 18… well, that’s what his wife says anyway. Andy has a heart for the hurting. However, rather than filling young minds with fanciful dreams of an easy life, Andy encourages adolescents to face their struggles for he believes endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

Frustrated by the amount of young lives wasted due to a lack of hope, Andy has devoted the past 10 years of his life to inspiring the next generation through humour, story telling and education.

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AMELIA PHILLIPS

It’s our choices that show what we truly are…  far more than our abilities.

Originally a native Townsvillian, Amelia migrated south to Brisbane to undertake the study of drama. While passionately holding on to her creative flare (and often found wearing a fun item or three from her ‘costume cupboard’), Amelia found her niche for working with people when she in a role with children who have disabilities.

Amelia’s ‘happy place’ is interacting with people, learning from them and sharing her passion and enthusiasm for life with them. Thriving off adventure and new experiences, a lot of her ‘holidays’ are spent on youth camps, engaging with adolescents and sharing in their journey of life. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Behavioural Science, Amelia is currently exploring the world of honours in Psychology, majoring in areas of Educational and Developmental Psychology (not to be confused with the study of riding bicycles). She is so excited to be part of the Peer Power team, who adore her ‘informed opinions’!

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JUSTINE GILLILAND

Digest the lessons of the past, savour the taste of the present, and be hungry for what the future will hold… 

Justine is one colourful individual (or quite possibly a bit strange), whose passion for the arts and pursuit of knowledge, was fostered throughout her time as a St Margaret’s girl. People never cease to intrigue her, and she loves interacting with a diverse spectrum of personalities.

Having navigated the roller-coaster of adolescence and what it means to grow up in an ambivalent society – Justine has learnt the importance of allowing experiences to inform you, but never to control you. This, along with her zeal for life and peculiar food combinations (such as avocado smoothies) is what she hopes to impart to the students in a fresh and relevant way.

Our Engine Room

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IDA KNIGHT

Meet the real boss…

Hidden deep within the engine room is the powerhouse of Peer Power – Ida. Quietly tapping away at a hot keyboard, she keeps this well-oiled machine ticking over.

Ida doesn’t ask for much from the team – just straight answers, promptly submitted paperwork, correctly filled-in forms and, of course, good coffee.

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TEGAN GRAINGER

Passionate…

Passionate about thriving communities; passionate about seeing people fearlessly back themselves.

With a background in business management and stakeholder engagement, Tegan plays the vital role within the Peer Power team of keeping things on track (which is a nice way to say she’s super effective cat herder!)

It should be noted that Tegan loves trees but won’t chain herself to one. She prefers tea to coffee and won’t pass up an opportunity to talk politics (local, state, federal, global or intergalactic). She isn’t full of crazy fun facts, and doesn’t run for fun but she is a connoisseur of people “and has all of the time in the world for most of them” or “but she wouldn’t chain herself to one of these either”.

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GEOFF REES-THOMAS

Why get all stewed up and anxious today with only half the information, when tomorrow, fully informed… you can have a proper and decent panic!

From an architectural design and management background, our incredible volunteer Geoff brings a different creative perspective to Peer Power. His well-developed eye for visual and written detail and a keenness for clear and accurate communication is matched only by his keen sense of the invaluableness of systems.

As a certified ‘baby –boomer’ (he doesn’t recall much of the 60’s, so was clearly there), therefore Geoff needs to accept some responsibility for the confusion in our society today. He really values the dynamics, energy and enthusiasm of Peer Power in schools, but doesn’t venture into the craziness of the seminar room. He’s more at ease providing essential back-up to the team in the office. Out of the office, Geoff loves time with family & grandkids and camping and bushwalking with a camera, reminiscing the days of old with his much beloved ’74 square bumper Kombi van.