Shelley Gare

Editor, Feature Writer, Author & Sharp, Witty Social Commentator

Shelley Gare is a well-respected Walkley award winning editor, writer, author and commentator who has worked for Australian, British and American media companies.

Her expertise is in joining up the dots; seeing trends and events and making the links between them that allow us to see the kind of future we are building. Whether it looks promising or dubious, and how we can interpret the trends and make a difference ourselves.

In demand as a keynote speaker, Shelley communicates thought provoking, highly relevant information with humour and sharp examples that her audiences "get" and respond to with their own ideas. Her upbeat delivery is entertaining and her message motivating and inspiring.

More about Shelley Gare:

What is driving us now? And where is that taking us? Shelley is especially interested in researching how we can build a society that encourages good ideas and creativity while recognising humbug and hot air. How do we spot the difference?

For six years, she worked as an editor at The Australian Financial Review where she launched and then ran the popular weekend features and analysis section, Weekend Fin for AFR Weekend. The newspaper won Best Weekend Newspaper of the Year in the 2016 PANPA awards.

In December 2017, she went back to her first passion: writing and working out how our world really works, what we can learn from the past, and what forces are driving us now.

This world of ours is an exciting, textured place, with an amazing history, and every generation helps shape what comes next. It is up to all of us to question, to stay alert, to live the well-lived life of curiosity, engagement and discernment that helps build a better ordered world as each generation passes on to the next.

It can be as simple as the current craze for decluttering - to what can we learn from the daily notes of Leonardo da Vinci, written 500 years ago.

Over ten years ago, her witty and acute book, The Triumph of the Airheads, predicted where we are today. She wrote presciently and satirically in 2006: "The challenge of the 21st century is not how to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse; it's how to make sure we can get away with pretending that nothing is actually something. This is the age of empty-speak and empty-think, which is the only way an airhead society can get itself up out of bed each morning and keep going."
Playwright David Williamson described Airheads as "A scorching book of social criticism, beautifully written."

Her current interest is how society can get itself back together for a saner and much brighter future. There are now promising glimmers that more and more of us are gradually seeing through the hype, hot air, jargon, self-serving political mantras, management non-speak and plain nonsense posing as brand new theory that got the developed world into so much trouble in the first place.

Shelley's research is addressing the following questions:

  • What is a civilized society - and how can we protect such a thing?
  • What can we learn from the best times of the past about how to tackle the future?
  • The excitement of creativity - and what we can do to nourish it. 
  • Who are the people breaking truly new ground in everything from politics to culture, to science and technology.

Shelley has been an editor of both Good Weekend and Sunday Life, in the Fairfax group, was a consultant editor for Time-Warner on the start-up of WHO magazine, and was the first woman deputy editor appointed to The Australian newspaper, after working as an editor for The Sunday Times in London.

At The Australian, she ran all the newspaper's features areas; she has been motivating staff and readers since she was appointed as editor of Cleo magazine in her early 20s. As founding editor of The Australian's Review of Books, she won a Walkley for her editing.

"Truth always matters, and so does commonsense," she says. "And now, more than ever."

Client testimonials

Shelley certainly brought the “WOW” factor to our event… She was fantastic! … very down to earth and a real hit with our audience.

Group Training Association of NSW

As a past speaker at the Sydney Institute, we would strongly recommend Shelley Gare as an entertaining and broadly informed current affairs speaker. Her address to the Sydney institute, in November 2006, on the topic “Triumph of the Airheads – retreat from Commonsense” was not only full of witty and cleverly constructed detail, but given an excellent sense of timing for the quick one liner.

The Sydney Institute.

Shelley was excellent … a perfect speaker. She helped out whenever she could, was approachable and stayed around to talk to the guests after her speech. Communication was open and clear, before and after each event. Her preparation was great, she discussed what we were looking for and feedback from the previous year with our team and worked around it. Shelly reviewed and adjusted her speech where she thought necessary in response to audience’s questions and queries. She also contacted each state Patron before and after, to discuss the event, which was greatly appreciated.

Heidelberg