Communication is a key ingredient in marketing these days, and the spoken word remains the most powerful means of communicating your ideas and infecting people with your passion. As a Brand Ambassador, James can help promote your service or product through persuasive presentations and powerful video content. Reach your target audience and put your business at the forefront of the health industry.
Contact James if you’d like to speak to him about communicating your next great medical idea.
James is an enthusiastic and engaging keynote speaker, and is keen to speak at your next event.
Following his medical internship in 1988, James lived and worked as a doctor in Africa and subsequently as an eye surgeon in the Middle East, battling malaria, wild animals, rebel soldiers, and insurgent groups. He founded Sight For All in 2008, turning his passion and boundless energy into a fight against blindness in the Aboriginal and mainstream communities of Australia and some of the poorest countries of the world.
In 2016, James had to prematurely retire from surgery as a result of a neurological disability that impaired the function of his dominant hand. Throughout his career, he has been a researcher, a teacher, an author, a musician, a photographer, and a film creator, and uses his many skills to deliver passionate, fascinating, and at times confronting presentations about his life, work, philanthropy, and social entrepreneurship.
Contact James if you’d like him to speak at your next corporate or medical event. His presentations are available as webinars or at live events.
1. Forging resilience – a personal and global journey (40 mins)
James’ career as an eye surgeon, humanitarian and social entrepreneur has enriched his life with extraordinary characters and confronting experiences. He has witnessed powerful stories of resilience that he wants to share with the world – a man who woke blind in both eyes, a group of disabled children in an impoverished country, and a global health crisis crying out for help. And through the re-telling of his own story of loss, James explores the critical elements needed to build resilience, at all levels.
“Dr James Muecke AM recently presented to our ‘Leadership in Action’ series, delivering his virtual presentation Forging Resilience to the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force. James’ presentation was truly inspirational, providing insights into his 32 year medical career and his extraordinary life journey as an eye surgeon and humanitarian. His messages on resilience were very clear, finding new ways to innovate and move forward, grasping every opportunity and adventure in life. By keeping a positive mindset and being thankful for three things each day makes us stronger to face life’s challenges”. Learning & Events Management Team, Department of Home Affairs
2. Harnessing your passion to change the world – the art and science of social entrepreneurship (20, 30 and 40 min versions)
James is an eye surgeon, humanitarian and social entrepreneur, and for 30 years has been fighting blindness in Australia and some of the poorest countries of the world. In this fascinating and at times confronting keynote presentation, James uses powerful stories from his work with social impact organisation Sight For All, to outline the three key elements of social entrepreneurship – a spirit of adventure, a humanitarian spirit, and an entrepreneurial spirit. He also discusses the ingredients that make up an entrepreneurial spirit and how you can harness your passion and use these ingredients to change the world for better.
“What a privilege it was to have Dr James Muecke, 2020 Australian of the Year, speak to the community of his old school on the occasion of the inaugural CGS Gough Whitlam Address, an annual event intended to inspire young agents of change through the example of those from the School before them who have gone on to make a difference in the world. Connecting easily and personally with the students, James sketched the arc of his journey from childhood through Africa, Asia and Australia, repaying his life’s good fortune through skill and passion in the fight against blindness. It was a great pleasure to see his humour and candour, dignity and determination ignite in our students their own sense of adventure and their realisation of how deeply they may give to the lives around them. I cannot thank James enough.” Dr Justin Garrick, Head of School, Canberra Grammar School
3. Blinded – the toxic impact of sugar and the rise of type 2 diabetes (20 and 30 min versions)
Blinded tells the story of Neil Hansell, a man who woke one morning blind in both eyes due to neglect of his diabetes. In this confronting 20-minute keynote presentation, James discusses why type 2 diabetes is a growing worldwide epidemic and explores a number of strategies to curb the toxic impact of sugar on our health and on our world. There are versions of this keynote designed for parents and teachers.
“James is an utterly compelling presenter who takes his audience on a fast-paced journey of discovery. The science behind our sugar addiction is explained simply but powerfully, as is the message for our law makers about the need to act decisively to better protect ourselves and our children. Highly recommend.” Phil Martin, Managing Directors, Michels Warren PR
“I last night attended an online presentation given by James Muecke, AM. Although I thought I knew something about the health impacts of diet, I learned so much. Dr Muecke’s clear, reasoned and interesting presentation helped me understand the insidious effects of excess sugar consumption and has made me think about parallels between big tobacco and big food. What each of us put in our own mouths makes a difference to our own health. This presentation helped me make better choices. Thank you.” G Richards, member of the public, Melbourne, Victoria
4. Social entrepreneurship and beyond – the power of innovation (40 mins)
Innovation is a key element of social entrepreneurship. It’s also a key element for building personal resilience. In this timely and engaging presentation, James draws on powerful experiences from his humanitarian work with Sight For All to illustrate how innovation is a critical ingredient for people wanting to make a difference in the world. And through the re-telling of his own story of loss, James explores how innovation is an essential tool to forge inner strength and to help us overcome some of life’s toughest challenges .
James is available for Q&As following his presentations to round off a 60 min experience.
See below for past major keynote presentations.
“Dr James Muecke AM, Australian of the Year 2020 offers a commanding presence as he delivers powerful speeches on diabetes, its impact on the health of our population and modifiable lifestyle factors to reduce our risk of developing this disease. He takes the important information that we all need to hear about the prevention of diabetes and its link to blindness to a new level. Through storytelling and the use of evidence-based research James shares with the Australian public compelling evidence that cuts through. His years of experience as an eye surgeon both internationally and within Australia enables James to offer a truly unique perspective on these important health challenges of our time. His speeches are timely and necessary across our nation and globally.” Jan Chorley, CEO Australia Day Council of SA
“James Muecke presented the 2021 Smallwood Oration last night at Austin Health to a large online audience of health professionals. His insightful presentation “Blinded” confronted our practise of treating patients within specialities without considering the profound positive impact of improving diet. James argued persuasively that there are important, simple actions that we can take to turn around the epidemic of type II diabetes. He gave us ideas about what we can all do that will help patients we see on a day-to-day basis. His clear, reasoned and interesting presentation has encouraged much discussion and interest in the way health professionals can engage in their support for improving dietary guidelines and other big picture measures to reduce the burden of T2D.” Dr Mark Lubliner, Chief Medical Officer, Austin Health, Melbourne, Victoria.
“James arrived with a smile, a sparkle in his eye. He was prepared and poised to present to over 80 people at our highly anticipated SAHMRI Impact Insight event, attended by health care professionals and supporters of our organisation. What we saw, heard and felt that evening was an uplifting, inspiring and heartfelt story. James connected with us instantly and through his remarkable re-account of his early years, proved that with true conviction and passion, we can all make a tangible, impactful difference. The power of one. Most of our guests lined up to speak with James afterwards where he took the time to answer questions by individuals, business leaders, philanthropists, doctors, professors, students and many others. His presentation left us wanting more through his inspired story-telling. James’ humility, enthusiasm, hope and excitement for the future was infectious. If only we could have him at every one of these events! Thank you so much James!” Rosanna Senesi, Philanthropy and Engagement Manager, South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute
“James is an utterly compelling presenter who takes his audience on a fast-paced journey of discovery. The science behind our sugar addiction is explained simply but powerfully, as is the message for our law makers about the need to act decisively to better protect ourselves and our children. Highly recommend.” Phil Martin, Managing Directors, Michels Warren PR 2021
“Dr James Muecke was invited to give a presentation at the Annual South Australian Royal Australasian College of Surgeons dinner. The process of contacting Dr Muecke, discussing and arranging the logistics of the evening were easy and streamlined; he was a pleasure to deal with. The presentation entitled “Blinded”, on the effects of sugar in our diets and the marketing and misinformation surrounding this issue, was agreed upon from a number of potential presentations. On the evening, Dr Muecke was punctual and professional; he was present throughout the night and immersed himself in the evening, being available to any of those present, to discuss his presented topic and other passions and projects. His presentation was delivered with style. He delivered the talk with the use of slides to illustrate points and add interest, never as an aide memoir being so well prepared, and throughout he remained focussed on the audience. His delivery was easily intelligible and engaging, without over use of technicalities, sometimes with humour and was extremely well received. The presentation was entirely appropriate and thought provoking. I have no hesitation in recommending James as an after dinner speaker.” David King, President, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons 2021
“I had never seen Dr James Muecke deliver a talk on health matters, until I introduced him to the audience at the Clinpath Pathology conference. There was an anticipation and energy in the room of GPs and GP Practice Managers, possibly due to the honour of having a former Australian Of The Year address them. But it became clear, very quickly, that this audience became hushed and leaned forward, as James led them on a journey of discovery about sugar’s addictive and destructive qualities in terms of human health and the health sector. I’ve been an MC for many years but this is the first time I have seen an audience demand a keynote speaker continue beyond his allotted time. Had the organisers not yielded, there might have had a revolt on their hands. Personally, my habits, and those of my family, have changed dramatically since that talk. I estimate that I am consuming half the raw sugar I once did, and we’ve all but eradicated white flour, white rice, and white potatoes. Quite simply, Dr James Muecke’s talks are evidence-based and lifesaving.” Steve Davis, Talked About Marketing, Adelaide
“As an Australian of the Year, James Muecke is a one-in-25.7-million man. This distinction was earned not only by his exceptional qualities as a star ophthalmologist but as one with an awe-inspiring humanitarian outreach to the vision needs of the Third World. He has subsidised his charity work with the skills of his third eye, the camera lens, and photographic art ventures. But what brought him to the 2020 headlines was a First World problem – sugar, an insidiously addictive substance which is killing and maiming millions through type 2 diabetes and obesity. And, as he lost the manual dexterity he needed as an ophthalmic surgeon, Dr Muecke turned his medical intellect and his physical impetus towards helping humanity on an even greater scale by confronting this scourge of affluenza. Thus has the gentle doctor become a ferocious advocate, proselytising a low-sugar, low-carb revolution and going to war against the giants of the “it’s-in-everything” corporate food and beverage world – even going so far as to dare to suggest a tax on sugar. “Brave” does not begin to describe this man. Samela Harris, SA journalist, critic, blogger and member of the Journalists’ Hall of Fame 2021
“Dr James Muecke AM recently presented to our ‘Leadership in Action’ series, delivering his virtual presentation Forging Resilience to the Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force. James’ presentation was truly inspirational, providing insights into his 32 year medical career and his extraordinary life journey as an eye surgeon and humanitarian. His messages on resilience were very clear, finding new ways to innovate and move forward, grasping every opportunity and adventure in life. By keeping a positive mindset and being thankful for three things each day makes us stronger to face life’s challenges”. Learning & Events Management Team, Department of Home Affairs 2021
“Dr James Muecke AM was invited to deliver the 2020 Australian Society for Medical Research AWT Edwards Memorial Oration at the 59th National Scientific Conference. While originally scheduled as a face-to-face event which had to adapt to a completely virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, James seamlessly adapted to deliver a wonderful and meaningful address sharing his inspiring messages about harnessing your passion to change the world with our attendees from the health and medical research community. James’ oration was delivered in an engaging and dynamic way highlighting the importance of drawing on entreprenurial spirit to change the world for the better.” Dr Erin McGillick, Co-convener, National Scientific Conference 2021
“What a privilege it was to have Dr James Muecke, 2020 Australian of the Year, speak to the community of his old school on the occasion of the inaugural CGS Gough Whitlam Address, an annual event intended to inspire young agents of change through the example of those from the School before them who have gone on to make a difference in the world. Connecting easily and personally with the students, James sketched the arc of his journey from childhood through Africa, Asia and Australia, repaying his life’s good fortune through skill and passion in the fight against blindness. It was a great pleasure to see his humour and candour, dignity and determination ignite in our students their own sense of adventure and their realisation of how deeply they may give to the lives around them. I cannot thank James enough.” Dr Justin Garrick, Head of School, Canberra Grammar School 2020
“It was an honour to have Dr James Muecke AM deliver our inaugural Vision 2020 Australia Barry Jones Vision Oration in October 2020. Dr Muecke is an expert and engaging speaker. His breadth of experience, depth of knowledge, and ability to combine entertaining anecdotes with insightful and thought provoking content was extremely well received by our diverse audience, a number of whom have already indicated they are intending to seek him out to participate in future events.” Judith Abbott, CEO Vision 2020 Australia 2020
“Flinders University was honoured that Dr. James Muecke accepted our invitation to give the 12th Southgate Oration. The title of the oration was ‘Blinded by Sugar’ and drew on clinical and public health knowledge and evidence. Dr. Muecke described the massive increase in diabetes globally in last 40 years and reminded us that there are 250 new cases of type 2 diabetes every day and an 80 times increase for Indigenous people as colonialism removed traditional healthy diets and replaced it with unhealthy-diabetes causing diets. He identified diabetes as the main causes of blindness in working age Australian adults. Dr. Muecke brought the topic alive with stories of patients and how their lives could have been different had they not been exposed to an environment rich in sugar. The oration was especially notable in that he provided an important role model of a medical practitioner who is able to move from their specialist knowledge about the body (in his case the eye) and see beyond the clinic to the broader picture, the way in which society organises its food supply. He note the importance of using a range of public health measures to reduce the amount of sugar in diets including through taxation and dietary guidelines. His oration was inspiring and the recording made of it will be used to introduce health professional students to the idea of social accountability in medicine. Dr. Muecke delivered the oration in a very engaging manner and drew on his own experience to consider the difficulties of avoiding sugary products in our society.” Prof Fran Baum, Director Southgate Institute for Health 2020
“James delivered a fabulous keynote presentation for our Newday 2020 Reimagining Leadership eSeries. We received outstanding feedback. James provides an engaging, entertaining presentation with valuable and practical tips on how to harness your passion to change the world. Highly recommend James as a speaker for any industry event.” Katrina Webb, Director NewDay 2020
“Thanks James for sharing your story of social entrepreneurship with our senior leaders. Your story is one of the best lessons in resilience and belief driving action to make a real difference in our society and community. We could have listened to you all day – it was not just an engaging and interesting talk, but your humility, passion and the way you talk about the work you’ve done across the world left us all feeling inspired.” Craig Drummond, CEO, Medibank 2020
“It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from James, and I know that many of us listening were too emotionally moved to speak or ask a question. If we all took a moment to reflect more often on our lives I am quite sure we would all be surprised that each and every one of us can recall a moment, a time, a situation where resilience has been our saviour – and gathered unknowingly the strength to accept, embrace and go forward. James has himself applied in all he spoke about and more and his story is uplifting and heart-warming and sends a message of survival against many odds. We all do have a story to tell and James has reiterated this so very well in his talk to us today” Lipman Karas Lawyers 2020
“James inspired the business leaders in the SA Leaders network to ‘harness their passion to change the world’ through a webinar that was engaging, powerful and truly inspirational. Each of our members manage and operate growing businesses across a wide range of industry sectors, and the intent of the session was to engage business leaders to think beyond, to make an impact in their business, personal life, local community and beyond. James achieved this through his ability to story-tell, engage the audience with humour, and truly inspire. His real story is evidence to others that you can change the world. Everyone walked away with a new perspective ”. SA Leaders 2020
“James Muecke has an inspiring and courageous story to tell. He engages his audience in a way that invites them to walk in his shoes and share his experiences as if they were there. His webinar presentation was engaging and involved the attendees as if they were present in the room. There were multiple comments from the audience throughout the presentation that indicated they were fully engaged and enjoyed hearing about his remarkable journey.” Matt Davey, SA Leaders 2020
“We asked James to inspire our groups with a presentation and discussion on social entrepreneurship. Although all of our members come from a business background, the topic was relevant and engaging. James spent the afternoon with our members and provided a forum for people to think outside of their own business and how they can make an impact within and outside of their own communities, whether they be business or personal. James is an experienced and engaging speaker and importantly provides a message that is needed across society as a whole. Inspiration is one thing but to provide a message that motivates is so much better. I would recommend James to anybody seeking these aspects in a speaker and The Executive Roundtable members certainly appreciated everything James had to say.” Executive Roundtable forum 2019
“James is a true inspiration that oozes passion and dedication, which can be seen in everything that he does. The City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters had the pleasure of working with James Muecke AM to launch the inaugural Raising the Bar Entrepreneurship event in the world in October 2019.
James is personable, pro-active and was a delight to work with through every stage of the event. James’ ability to deliver an engaging, funny and inspiring talk was second to none and showed that if you have a passion for something, you truly can, change the world. As a speaker, James earns the Council’s highest recommendation.” Raising The Bar Entrepreneurship 2019
“Dr James Muecke provided an insightful guest speaker presentation that was specifically tailored to our conference theme and aligned with our group messaging. The presentation focussing on using your passion and social entrepreneurship to create change was thought provoking and encouraging. The presentation was relevant and interesting for all delegates and we look forward to welcoming James back in the future.” Nova Group Conference 2019
|“James was a keynote speaker at the 2017 Social Capital Conference, a peak event for the social innovation and entrepreneurship community. His address held the audience spellbound – and received a steady flow of praise for quite some time after the event. James has the rare ability to seamlessly present both a strong rational case for change, and to humanise it. His combination of deep professional insight and personal stories is powerful. Certainly, the tremendous and selfless work he, and the Sight for All team, are doing is a story that many more people must hear.” Professor David Paterson, Co-Founder & Chair, Social Capital 2017
“I organised and was the MC of the Social Capital Conference in Adelaide in July 2017, one of the key events of Entrepreneurs Week, attracting some 250 attendees. James Muecke was one of our keynote presenters. I was fortunate to witness him from the stage and I could see how his powerful story resonated with our audience. In the breaks and also in days following the conference, I spoke with numerous people who spoke of how James’s talk and the excellent presentation media had a powerful impact, with many noting it was the conference’s stand-out keynote.” Matthew Wright-Simon, Engagement Lead, Social Capital 2017
“James Muecke is a captivating speaker. His superb storytelling, global perspective and passion for his field is a powerful combination. He engages easily with his audience, as demonstrated by his recent presentation to the Celebrating 50 Years of ASEAN Business Forum in Adelaide. He would be a valuable contribution to any event seeking an intelligent and thought-provoking edge.” Belinda Heggen, former national broadcaster, public speaking and presentation coach, MC for Celebrating 50 Years of ASEAN Business Forum 2017
“The 2017 Australian Medical Students’ Association’s Global Health Conference attracted over 750 medical students from around Australia, New Zealand and the wider Pacific region. In full attendance, the delegates were delighted to welcome Dr James Muecke AM who spoke of his experience working outside Australia with his not-for-profit organisation, Sight For All. He provided practical advice and examples about the challenges and rewards of running a non-governmental health organisation, as well as inspiring stories of the positive impact that a few committed and enthusiastic individuals can achieve. Delegates were captivated by his engaging style of presentation, with images from his work overseas accompanied by anecdotes as well as key information about the population and diseases concerned. Afterwards, many delegates expressed their enjoyment of Dr Muecke’s engaging session. It provided a rare insight into the daily activities of a medical NGO, and demonstrated that a doctor does not need to be a public health physician to make a tangible impact on global health issues. I can wholeheartedly recommend Dr Muecke as a motivating, engaging and informative speaker.” Annie Collinson, Academic Convenor, AMSA Global Health Conference 2017
“Dr James Muecke delivered the Hollows Lecture at the RANZCO Congress in 2016. As the invited speaker for this prestigious lecture, he gave a thoughtful presentation of his journey in ophthalmology which has led to the growth and success of Sight For All as an international development agency. It was a great example of the positive impact that eye surgery can have on not only those receiving, but those giving.” David Andrews, CEO, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists 2016
Past major keynotes
– Austin Health Smallwood Oration (webinar), November
– Fundraising Institute of Australia Showcase, November
– Dental Hygienists Association of Australia Annual Symposium (webinar), October
– Primary Health Network Annual Ball, October
– Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Dinner, October
– Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, September
– Clinpath Annual Conference, September
– NSW Bar Society (webinar), September
– Campbelltown Council Service Clubs Annual Dinner, August
– Victoria League Lunch, August
– Australian Medical Students Society Annual Conference, July
– Australia Day Council of SA Australian of the Year Lunch, June
– Royal Societies Presidents Dinner, May
– University of Adelaide Graduation Ceremony, April
– Rotary D9510 District Conference, April
– Rotary D9675 District Conference, March
– Optometry Blue Sky Conference, February
– Australian Society for Medical Research AWT Edwards Memorial Oration at the 59th National Scientific Conference (webinar), November
– Canberra Grammar School Gough Whitlam Address (webinar), October
– Vision 2020 Barry Jones Vision Oration (webinar), October
– Flinders University Southgate Oration, October
– NewDay Summit (webinar), July
– Medibank Private, Executive Team (webinar), July
– Australian Taxation Office, Executive Team (webinar), June
– Showcase SA lunch, June
– Nova Systems (webinar) June
– SA Leaders (webinar) May
– AmCham Australia (webinar) May
– Showcase SA (webinar) May
– Lions National Conference (webinar) May
– Public Health Association of Australia National Conference (webinar) May
– The George Institute of Health Sciences (webinar) May
– Executive Roundtable, December
– Trinity College Speech Day, December
– Raising The Bar Entrepreneurship Event, Adelaide, October
– Nova Systems Annual Group Conference, Adelaide, August
– Australian Medical Student’s Association’s Global Health Conference, Adelaide, August 2017
– Social Capital Conference, Adelaide, July 2017
– ASEAN’s 50 Years Celebration Business Forum Dinner, Adelaide, March 2017
– United Nations Youth’ Annual Conference, Adelaide, March 2016
– Hollows Lecture: Cataract and Beyond, RANZCO Annual Congress, Melbourne, November 2016
– Medical Technology Association of Australia’s Annual Conference Dinner, Sydney, November 2015
– TEDx Talk: Restoring sight, alleviating poverty, saving lives, Adelaide, November 2015
– University Senior College’s Graduation Ceremony, Adelaide, December 2014
– Slipperyfish’s Positive Lunch Club, Adelaide, July 2014
– Flinders University Surgical Society’ Beyond Borders, Adelaide, July 2013
– Australian Institute of Project Management, Adelaide, April 2013
– Trinity College’s Annual Awards Ceremony, Adelaide, December 2011
– Scotch College Junior School’s End of Year Ceremony, Adelaide, December 2010
Medthink can help bring your medical projects to life.
There are many ways we can help you achieve your goals, whether it be a medical facility, the development of a device or app, or content creation for your business. We also have the skills to launch your product, service or business.
James utilises his expertise in medical research, education, infrastructure support and health awareness, coupled with writing, photography, and music & film production. Mena draws on her experience as a commercial interior architect, event planner and project manager. Together they will work within your brief to deliver a solution that is perfect for you.
Contact Medthink if you’d like to speak to the team about making your next medical project a reality.
– The Specialists is a documentary series, currently in production, that explores the fascinating and yet mysterious lives of medical specialists. Episode 1 features Dr Than Htun Aung, a paediatric eye surgeon who is leading the way in the fight against childhood blindness in Myanmar. Please visit the Our Library page to view the teaser for the documentary which will be launched in early 2020.
Medthink loves to create and share powerful medical stories. With a strong skill set in documentary film making, content creation, and photojournalism, we can work with you to capture the essence of your vision.
Contact Medthink if you’d like us to create your next medical story.
James has produced a number of short films, many for the not-for-profit organisation Sight For All:
– Little Bang’s New Eye, set in Vietnam and featuring a family from an ethnic minority group, tells the story of a young girl battling a rare form eye cancer. The award-winning film has been played at a number of international film festivals.
– Please Don’t Rush is a deeply moving film set in a school for the blind in Lao that delivers an extraordinary insight into the world of blind children. It was selected for the New York and St Kilda Film Festivals.
– Eyes is an award-winning music video featuring a song by Aboriginal hip hop artist Caper, using the spoken word to deliver powerful messages about eye health.
Please visit the Our Library section of this website for a wider selection of Medthink’s short films.
Medthink are currently producing and co-directing a documentary highlighting the ground-breaking work of a paediatric ophthalmologists’ fight against childhood blindness in Myanmar.
Combining travel writing and photography has always been a passion of James’s:
– Chin State Odyssey tells the story of a medical team travelling to a remote region of Myanmar to establish an eye clinic for Sight For All.