Matina Jewell is the kind of soldier every country is proud to have – fearless, honourable and highly skilled. A star graduate from the Australian Army’s prestigious Royal Military College Duntroon, in the years that followed she had become a highly valued army commander.
In her military career she earned eight war medals, tracked militia leaders in the Solomons, fast-roped out of Navy helicopters and boarded smuggler ships in the Arabian Gulf. She also served on operations with the American Navy Seals and Australian Special Forces.
In 2006, while part of an unarmed UN peacekeeping team at the border junction of Lebanon, Israel and Syria, Australian Army Major Matina Jewell and her colleagues were caught in a full-scale war with tragic consequences. In the days that followed she and her team-mates reported hundreds of violations of the peace agreement as Israeli artillery, tank fire and aerial bombs, as well as rockets fired by Hezbollah fighters, exploded only metres away and shrapnel rained down around them. But the story does not end there......
Whilst commanding a UN convoy through the war torn Lebanon, Matina was seriously injured (five fractured and crushed vertebrae plus nerve damage and other internal injuries) and had to be evacuated. Meanwhile her team-mates back at the border were attacked by Israeli fighter jets and all were killed. Matti’s injuries ended her military career.
Matti is a remarkable woman by anybody’s standards. Speaking Arabic and Bahasa Indonesian, she has a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in Project Management, is a qualified Navy Diver, and has represented her state and Australia in multiple sports. At just 24 years of age, Matina had been promoted to acting Major as commander of Amphibious Operations on HMAS Kanimbla. In her 15 year military career Matti deployed on five overseas operations, including on active service in the North Arabian Gulf and Kuwait in the war on terror. She also played a critical role in the capture of the notorious Solomon’s Islands militia leader Jimmy “Rasta" Lusibea.
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“Matina’s presentation style is impressive, but even more impressive are the core thoughts within her speech."
CEO Bunnings & Officeworks
“Matina is a speaker that will truly inspire any audience and take most on a journey of self-reflection as a result. I would recommend her to any organisation considering her for future events."
Director Performance & Rewards, Optus
“You had our finance executives in a spell... a most fascinating and moving account of a very special life experience. You draw excellent parallels to relevant leadership competencies."
Head of Finance Australasia, Intercontinental Hotels
“The crowd loved your presentation and there were quite a few emotions flowing. Feedback on your section was superb, with participants rating it the most engaging presentation of the day."
Communications Manger, Westpac
“Matina is a powerful and engaging speaker with a story to match. Our audience was captivated... were able to take away some valuable business lessons on leadership and change management in particular."
Head of Aligned Investments, Challenger
"From a place of war and violence, injury and betrayal, Matina Jewell emerges with grace and wisdom and still retains her humour and youthful spirit.
Matina takes her audience to a world we know little of and astounds us with her courage and integrity.
A speaker to inspire the young and remind those older what is possible amidst adversity."
Australian Rural Women's Awards
“Matina gave a highly informative presentation. Her personalization of her own role was extremely professional. It must have been difficult for her to recount some of the details, but she did so objectively and with courage and candor. It was clear to all that she is a highly skilled, honest, intelligent and well informed public speaker. As a measure of her skills, the audience response was to give her a standing ovation and many stayed back after the presentation to speak personally with her."
Canadian Peace Support Training Centre
"Matina delivered a captivating presentation that was motivating and inspiring. Everyone in the room was silent, fascinated by her story. She has an ability to recapture the moments of her experiences and emotionally move the audience, whilst drawing out key messages that we can apply in our own lives. The standing ovation she received was thoroughly deserved."
Managing Director EASA
“ Matina’s address was most inspiring indeed, and showed the leadership she so obviously possesses as well as her ability to emotionally engage and hold the attention of a large and diverse audience for the entire length of the presentation. She is a very articulate and well presented speaker who gave us an amazing insight into the challenges of leadership."
Rotary District 9800 Conference
“As the Manager of the NSW SES' Critical Incident Support Program and Counselling Services I asked Matina Jewell to speak to teams of Peers and Chaplains from NSW, QLD and VIC State Emergency Services. Not only was Matina the ultimate professional in the sharing and presentation of her personal experiences in a critical incident to a team of emergency services personnel, but she also engaged with the diversity of the audience. Sharing her experiences in a way that the members of SES could understand; she reinforced the value of support personnel in the SES to ensure we always remember the value of supporting those who help others nationally and internationally in the field of Crisis Intervention. I recommend Matina as a speaker of high calibre and one of Australia's unsung heroes."
WOW!! What an amazing Australian we have in Matina Jewell. Matina’s moving, awe-inspiring presentation showed us how a remarkable team leader/member works under pressure. She was an ‘inspiration’ to all.
Shoalhaven’s Women’s Conference.
Matina is an inspiring and generous presenter who had our audience of over 600 enthralled from her first word. Her story of service, honour and friendship moved us to tears and laughter and ultimately left everyone present with a renewed faith in the power of love and the human spirit. Not only is she an excellent presenter, Matina is one of the most courageous and empathetic people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Matina Jewell surprised the audience with the story of her operational service as a young Australian Army Officer. The group of mainly ex-serviceman with their own operational experience from WWII, Korea, Malaya or Vietnam were very proud to hear how the current generation of Australian Soldiers, both men and women, are handling the complex and difficult tasks in dangerous places around the world on behalf of our nation. While this may only be one young soldier’s story, it is an emotional and inspiring story worth hearing. It will leave you with admiration for what these young Australians are doing on our behalf and the burdens we ask them to bare."