Matthew Johnstone was once just like you. A classic high achiever, perfectionist and workaholic. 15 years in the advertising industry brought Matthew to a cross-roads: continue on his unsustainable trajectory or make a radical change to focus on quality of life and wellbeing.

Matthew's new trajectory has made him the go-to speaker and consultant on improving personal and organisational wellbeing. His vast experience from both sides of the corporate divide gives substance to his simple strategies for improving mindsets, lifestyles and wellbeing in a way that can only benefit your business.

Speaker Video

Matthew Johnstone Young Minds

Matthew Johnstone Young Minds


How is he still alive? Lucky for us he is.  His beautiful illustrations & lovely…

Geometry Global

Awesome illustrations, loved the slides. Great for internal events – 'Leadership…

REA Group

Amazing life story, makes you really think about what you can & can’t control.  Great…

Cockram Construction

Engaging & great motivational speaker.

Parliament NSW

More than six million working days are lost each year to sickness, burnout and depression. Mental health issues alone cost the Australian economy $20 billion per year.

How productive could you be if your corporate DNA could be reshaped to avoid employee burnout? Is your business doing enough to reinforce positive psychology in the workplace? Is it possible to improve the mental resilience of your team?

These are the questions Matthew Johnstone has the answer to.

Matthew Johnstone has written, illustrated and photographed 8 books, 6 of which have been international best sellers. Hatthew is passionate mental health and wellbeing advocate he spends much of his time speaking to companies about their resilience and wellbeing. A a creative consultant for the Black Dog Institute, The Golden Door Elysia, Geelong Grammar, CommBank, Sydney Trainsand other major corporates. He develops and delivers illustrated programs on mental health, resilience and wellbeing.

Matthew created a video based on I Had a Black Dog for Mental Health Awareness Month, for the World HealthOrganisation. It is the most viewed video in the history of W.H.O and has had over 7 million views on Youtube.

Speaking internationally on the topic of resilience, Matthew helps individuals and companies improve personal and organisational wellbeing. Through his vast experience, research and unique storytelling ability, Matthew demonstrates simple strategies to manage mindsets, lifestyles and wellbeing.

As an experienced advertising professional, Matthew has both the communication skills and experience to address teams, managers and CEOs. It’s this experience that also underpins his enormous capacity for understanding a business inside and out. His relaxed, authentic style resonates with audiences and his presentations are designed to by dynamic, highly visual and engaging.

Matthew is the author and illustrator of five international bestsellers, including his renown work on overcoming depression, ‘I Had a Black Dog’.

If you’d like your team to communicate more openly and effectively, become more resilient, driven and productive, then Matthew Johnstone is the ideal speaker for your organisation.

Clients typically look to Matthew to help their people:

  • Communicate more openly and effectively both at home and work
  • To understand that good can come from adverse situations if we're prepared to learn from it
  • To strive towards living more authentically
  • To be more mindful, present and productive
  • To be inspired to create more purpose at home and work
  • To strive towards what makes them productive and happy

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Speaking Topics


Developing personal armour

It’s fair to say that we all set out in life with the hopeful expectation that everything will turn out OK, but life doesn’t always go to plan or play fair. It’s not to say that we should look at life with a sense of endless foreboding but more; we should greet each day as an opportunity. It’s about owning problems not your problems owning you. It’s about acknowledging what may not be working in your life, but putting your energies into what is. Do we stay down or do we get up again? Are we a victim or a survivor? Do we become stuck or do we grow and learn from an experience. The upbeat messages and imagery will resonate long after the talk is over.  


The A to Zen of Life

A is for Adventure, B is for Balance, C is for Compassion, D is for Daring and so forth. Just because we stop growing physically doesn’t mean we should stop growing mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

This is no twee expose’ on how to become 'happy' it's more about how we can learn to live life authentically. Be true to ourselves. Discover our greater purpose.

It's a creative, inspiring seminar on work, life, passion and balance. It raises important questions and offers some solid answers through simple wisdom.  


Being present, being in the moment, being in the NOW - all lovely, easy things to say but trickier to put into practice. This is because we humans aren’t very good at sitting with ourselves, our emotions and what ever might be going on.

If meditation and mindfulness were taught in businesses, schools and on the sporting field you’d see better results, greater productivity, more harmony and greater team dynamics. 

With simple meditation and mindfulness practices comes better moods, improved concentration, we can become more engaged with others, less stressed and most importantly be more in the moment.

This is a no nonsense, non cosmic, easy to understand guide to a more mindful and healthier life. Omwards and upwards!


This seminar is all about our mental health and what can happen if we don't look after it. It also covers how we can regain and build mental fortitude and toughness. This is an inspiring journey about what makes us tick and what can bring us undone. It’s full of hope, humour and guaranteed to start a 'mentally healthy' conversation. An absolute must for any company wishing to ensure their staff's wellbeing as well as looking after the bottom line.

Bestselling author, speaker and mental health and wellbeing advocate Matthew Johnstone has been invited to Geneva to deliver a keynote for the World Health Organisation.

Matthew, a survivor of the perfectionism and workaholic tendencies typical of the advertising industry he was once a part of, he is now a writer, illustrator and speaker. Four of his (self-illustrated) seven books have become international best sellers , these books help explain the fragility of mental health, how to develop resilience, mental fortitude and wellbeing. His first book, I Had a Black Dog, dealt with a subject so few of us are willing to discuss: depression.


Read more >

ABC News recently profiles Matthew Johnstone in the piece'Snap happy: bestselling author Matthew Johnstone finds peace through photography':

Much has been written about the elusive search for calm and happiness, and the latest offering comes from an author who says the best place to look might be through your camera's lens.

Read more

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Over the last couple of years the world of work has undergone a massive transformation. From portfolio careers to teleworking, from the gig-economy to the growth of the start-up culture. How, where and why we work has significantly changed. This session looks at how to recruit, retain, manage and train top talent, and how to create a workplace culture and engage a diverse workforce to bring about greater productivity and engagement.

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For the emerging generations who would rather watch a video explaining something than read an article, and for a busy, easily distracted business audience, you need your data to tell a story, to move, to engage. McCrindle are internationally regarded for their visual communications, from infographics to animated videos and web-based storytelling. As Team Leader of Communications, Ashley manages these strategies and in this session, will highlight how to communicate important information in visual ways, and how to effectively transform your data into a story.


Brilliant! It was very well received, we have had a lot of positive feedback.
- Darebin City Council

Pitched exactly at the right level and very engaging.
- The Agency for Clinical Innovation

Incredibly well received, great content.
- Millennials Marketing Conference

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Daryl’s life was shattered in 2000 when he was TWICE SHOT in the face and shoulder while on a routine callout to a neighbourhood dispute. Despite critical injuries, he drew his firearm and began searching for the gunman. A year later, for his actions that night, he was awarded for his bravery, but Daryl was only just embarking on his harrowing road to recovery.

Ben Pettingill

Imagine waking up blind. One moment you can see, and in the next moment, your vision is made up only of childhood memories. At the tender age of 16, this became a reality for Ben Pettingill when overnight he lost 98% of his eyesight to a rare genetic syndrome, Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. While the shock, then grief of losing one's eyesight cannot be discounted, once Ben processed his new reality he realised that he had to make a choice that would define the rest of his life. Ben believed that a blind man could see, and his miracle was the activation of ‘True Vision' and 'Limitless Vision'. Vision enabled through purpose, perception and empowered decision making.

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Holly Bryar

Crowned Miss Sydney Australia (2016) at the 6th annual sustainability pageant, Holly was determined from a young age to chase her dreams of working behind and in front of the camera.

After High School, she secured early entry into Charles Sturt University undertaking a double degree in TV Production & Graphic Design. It was during those four years Holly developed her love for creating children’s content within film, television and design.

Upon completing her degree, Holly relocated to Sydney taking time to pursue her passion for acting. She completed various short courses at NIDA under the guidance of Don Christopher, Brendon McDonnell & Serhat Caradee (AFI/AACTA nominee). Soon after she was accepted into NIDA’S part-time course - Advanced Screen Actors Studio with Writer/Directors Elissa Down (Black Balloon) and Craig Boreham (Teenage Kicks).

Holly has worked alongside the talented production teams of much-loved children’s programs Giggle & Hoot and Play School at ABC Kids TV. She currently works freelance and still continues her passion for performing arts.


A massive thank you to you both for all your assistance from selecting to co-ordinating the speakers for our annual ProLoan conference. Feedback was that this year’s speakers where the best they had EVER heard at ANY event. So this is pretty amazing, because they do go to a lot of sessions like these.

Director of Network Relationships - Proloan (aust) pty ltd

Again this year you and your team have been fantastic and extremely helpful.  In regards to you, you have been an absolute star and phenomenal help with our speakers and presenters, a great communicator, wealth of knowledge and so prompt with responding and looking at ways to cater to our needs.

Event Manager Fitness Australia

I would recommend, without hesitation, the services of Jane Rowland Smith and Ovations. Jane answered a last minute call to arrange a guest speaker for our principals. Nothing was too much effort, all was arranged within hours, and went very smoothly. The guest speaker was exactly what we required and our brief was followed. Thank you Jane and the team at Ovations.

Executive Director of Schools Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta

All aspects of the process has always gone seamlessly with Ovations and we will continue to seek your assistance for the awards in the coming years.

Thank you again, your help has meant that our Awards are very professional and extremely well received by our members and guests.

Executive Assistant BSCAA NSW Division

Jane, I personally want to thank you for all of your support, advice, patience and all round kindness that you have given me over the last 3 or so years.  This event would not have been as successful without the valuable MC’s you have recommended and the support you provided me when it all just seemed too hard

Shona Dilley – Smart School Awards, Department of Education
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