Alumni in focus

Alumni from the University of South Australia are achieving great success in a range of areas and it is rewarding to hear their stories. Share some of these experiences through their profiles below or tell us if you have a success story that you would like to share.

2018 - 2020

UniSA Clinical & Health Sciences


UniSA Allied Health & Human Performance


UniSA STEM

  • Dr Aidan Cousins, Doctorate by Research Engineering (Minerals and Materials)
  • Emilio De Stefano, Director & Principal, De Stefano & Co
  • Alex L. Kabwe, Principal Irrigation Engineer, Ministry of Agriculture, Zambia
  • Malcolm Lai, Managing Director, Head of Construction & Development - Asia, Baring Private Equity Asia Ltd
  • Aishath Niyaz, Consultant, UNICEF and Founder, aishaniyaz consulting

UniSA Business

  • Associate Professor Svetlana Bogomolova, Senior Marketing Scientist, Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science
  • Andrew Bullock , Chief Executive Officer, 1834 Hotels - 1834 Hospitality, Chair, South Australian Tourism Commission
  • Josh Carmichael, Renewable Energy, Grid & Mobility Specialist (Transdev – Connexxion)
  • Professor Albert P.C. Chan, Head, Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Chair - Professor of Construction, Engineering and Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Abok Dau, Financial Assistant, Anglican Diocese of North WA and Co-Founder and Chair, Athiolget Women’s & Children’s Health Association
  • Nahtanha Davey, Chief Executive Officer at SACARE
  • Jeff Ellison, CEO & Managing Director, SeaLink Travel Group
  • Kathryn Harby-Williams AM, CEO, Australian Netball Players Association
  • Becky-Jay Harrington, Disaster Management and Urban Resilience Consultant
  • Chad Hermsen, Portfolio General Manager – Retail (Global Real Estate) for QIC
  • Ken Ip, Group Head of Marketing, B.S.C. Group Limited
  • Shaila Koshy, freelance Investigative Journalist
  • Poh Kait Lee, Director of Asia and Pacific, Air Canada
  • Nick McNaughton, CEO, ANU Connect Ventures
  • Erma Ranieri, South Australia’s Commissioner for Public Sector Employment
  • Michael T. Smith, Regional CEO (Europe and USA), Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd
  • Helena Wu, Team Leader New Development, Santos Ltd and At Large Director, Society of Petroleum Engineers International
  • Dr Leo Yeung, Co-Founder, Cashmere Song Fashion Co Ltd and Founder, Maisson (Hong Kong) Commercial Property
  • Egidio Zarrella, Clients and Innovation Partner and ASPAC Head of Banking and Capital Markets, KPMG
  • Professor Henning Bjornlund, Research Professor in Water Policy and Management
  • Rick Woo,Co-Founder, LOST
  • Caroline Burns,Founder & Managing Director, Workplace Revolution
  • Denise Bennett, Management & Improvement Systems Coach, Lean Enterprise Australia
  • Sarah Nur
  • Dr Tian Gao, Director, Jinan Central Hospital, Vice Chairman of Quality, Safety, Health and Environment (QSHE), Specialized Committee of Chinese Research Hospital Association, Vice Chairman of Balanced Scorecard Specialized Committee of China Federation for Hospital Quality Management
  • Julian O’Shea, Founder & CEO, Unbound
  • Gerrie Mitra PSM General Manager, Provider and Markets Division, National Disability Insurance Agency

UniSA Education Futures

UniSA Justice & Society

UniSA Creative

 
Past Alumni in Focus 2017  |  Past Alumni in Focus 2015-2016  |  Past Alumni in Focus 2011-2014

Pipa BradburyPipa Bradbury

Interior Designer, Pipa Bradbury Design
Director of Interior Design, NORR
NCIDQ #027693, ASID, Registered Interior Designer Illinois

Bachelor of Applied Science (Conservation and Park Management)

August 2020

Pipa Bradbury’s interior design career has enabled her to live out her dream; collaborating with artisans and manufacturers to develop beautiful products and spaces that enhance all your experiences.

As Director of Interior Design at NORR, and steering her own vision at Pipa Bradbury Design, she has seen firsthand the transformative impact design can have, and how during this pandemic it’s even more important that our space really encompasses the effect on all of our senses.

Her passion for interiors has taken her from designing the first Aesop store in Melbourne early in her career and having her furniture creations shown in Milan’s famed Salone Di Mobili, to conceiving palaces for middle eastern royalty and their London apartments with rich elaborate fabric and wallpaper designs, and even plans for a contemporary private air terminal in Brunei. Pipa’s career has been colourful and wide-ranging even before she branched out on her own and began her firm, Pipa Bradbury Designs.

She notes her design career, and subsequent success, has been strongly influenced by her first job at Nexus Designs under the tutelage of legendary creative director, Janne Faulkner AM. The late great always stressed the importance and placement of uniqueness and local art in interiors, and Pipa was given the opportunity very early on to design furniture as well as custom interiors for hospitality, retail and residential clients – her first product design being a proposal for radiant stainless steel products and high-end modular design-driven and curated stainless steel kitchens, which set the scene for the rest of her career.

Now based in Chicago in the United States, Pipa takes her homeland’s sensibilities and experience down under – the diversity of Australian design, the outdoors and nature, attention to detail, the mix of materiality in a stylized way, and the ease of open spaces with good focal points – to the enormous stateside market that has begun to embrace our Aussie discernment.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Pipa really struggled at first to understand the American design style and imperial system, even having to study again for notoriously difficult exams for the National Certificate Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ), including Americans with disability acts, material and flammability, and building codes.

“Americans had their own style, fabric, furniture, lighting companies and back then not so much flow over from Australia, UK and Europe, which was a little disconcerting at first as I realised, I had a lot to learn – including the imperial measurement system,” Pipa says.

“But it totally was necessary and made me learn all I needed to successfully work in the US. I also joined ASID (America Society of Interior Designers) which enabled me to meet fellow designers and learn the ways they tackled pricing and client proposals.”

When Pipa first settled in the United States, she quickly became part of a large hospitality studio in Atlanta, and this spun out into her own practice which grew mainly from Australian clients in America, and as a result turned out many award-winning projects for kitchen and bath design. However, she soon fell in love with Chicago and all the possibilities that lay in The Windy City.

“I love the history of design in Chicago, the skyscrapers, the respect for the modernist architects, and the merchandise mart, which takes up an entire block of the city and houses many of the fabric, furniture, lighting and plumbing lines.”

“Directly behind this area is the more contemporary European design area, and before the lockdown in March there were constant product launches, panel discussions, and NeoCon, the largest US contract market design show. Having this all at your fingertips is very inspiring.”

On top of her massive interior design projects and overseeing how the different moving parts come together – the initial space planning, lighting, details, acoustic design, seating, custom pieces, textiles and art – Pipa has also always had a passion for furniture design and manufacturing. In doing both, it has enriched her design thinking and really developed her eye for detail.

“I think my passion for furniture started when I couldn’t find the right piece I was searching for, so it made sense to just design it,” Pipa says.

“Furniture design is great as it usually has a faster timeline. Although that being said, the rug collection I just launched with iconic AfriCOBRA artist Robert Earl Paige and Oscar Isberian Rugs, took two years to manifest and produce from our very first discussion.”

“The first time my furniture was in Salone Di Mobili in Milan, I thought my dream had come true. Now every time I get to go and see one of my designs and see people react to it, I always felt exceptionally lucky and grateful that people liked my vision creation enough to make it.”

“One of my designs – the Aurora Sofa – was a best seller for a few years and actually they just stopped making it after 16 years in production.”

Despite all her success, it’s still a thrill for Pipa every time she wins another award or experiences how rewarding it is seeing the difference that good design and ergonomics can make to enrich people’s lives.

“I’m always so grateful that my design peers recognised a quality in my work that they thought fit to celebrate with an award,” she says.

“We, as creatives, often wear our heart on our sleeve, and sometimes second guess some choices we make, so it’s always an honour being recognised in the industry.”

“I’m just drawn to people who truly appreciate and want to be part of the journey, who want the story telling so they can continue telling it once the project is complete.”


Nick BowmanNick Bowman

Director, Destination Trails

Bachelor of Applied Science (Conservation and Park Management)

August 2020

Nick Bowman is proof that you can turn your passion into a fruitful and successful career. Doing what you are passionate about, more often than not, is an authentic way to produce tremendous work with a labour of love, and this could not be truer in Nick’s case.

The keen mountain trail biker (MTB) developed an obsession for bikes growing up and quickly became intrenched in the lifestyle. Hooked on the freedom of riding and gratification of a day well-spent hurtling through the stunning Adelaide Hills, Nick became an expert in all things mountain trail biking and soon could not imagine doing anything else.

When he wasn’t playing Hacky Sack at the University of South Australia, Nick was immersing himself in Conservation and Park Management, gaining knowledge that has continued to inform and influence his career and creations since. After roles promoting sustainable mountain trail bike opportunities around the country, sharing his knowledge and skills to design world-class trails and with Bike SA, IMBA Australia and World Trail Australia, ever ambitious, he established his own company.

Destination Trails craft thoughtful mountain bike trail networks to enhance and compliment the iconic Australia landscape. Nick and his team work towards establishing sustainable and proactive community programs, legitimate trail access, and acceptance of the mountain bike in our beautiful rugged nature – all while “crafting journeys into nature”.

Nick has generously taken us through his background and process behind each project, what he sees for the future of the industry, the satisfaction in creating something so tangible and why we should all pay more attention to the journey once in a while.

When did your love of Mountain Trail Biking (MTB) begin? Is it something you’ve been involved in since childhood?

I started riding BMX bikes in the early 1980s. I was hooked. Hanging out with the cool kids, doing skids and building dirt jumps, and that went on for a long time! In the early 90s I got a road bike which was a great way to enjoy the Adelaide Hills, but I soon noticed that MTB was going to be way more fun and social.

I already had a love of the trails from early bushwalking expeditions, so the MTB seemed like a natural progression. Then I was even more hooked! Mostly though, I have always ridden bicycles, any kind of bike! On the bike is my happy place and more than that, its recreation, transport and freedom! It was that way as a kid and not much has changed.

Could you tell us a bit about Destination Trails? Why you decided to branch out on your own after roles with IMBA Australia, Bicycle SA, and World Trail Australia?

Destination Trails is a professional company specialising in trail design and construction, which also involves trail maintenance and consultancy around the benefits of trails. We also provide ‘Trail Workshops’ for organisations, MTB clubs, and government, which is aimed at giving volunteers the knowledge and skills they need to design and build their own trails. Through this knowledge sharing we aspire to help communities grow and prosper on all levels.

Forming my own company was both a desire and a necessity. After years of helping a wide range of communities develop trails, flying back and forth across the country, and spending too much time in front of the computer, I just wanted to get back to where I started and back to the reason of why I got involved in the first place; to create trails. Really good trails! Personally I find it quite satisfying to create something physical; tangible, useful and beautiful. It has been better for my physical and mental health too.

In a way I also had to prove to myself that I could do it after years of telling everyone else how to do it. When I started down this path as the Trail Officer at Bike SA in 2002, we were still only using basic hand tools to build trails. Then everything became mechanised and much more specialised, so I had to learn how to drive machines and keep chainsaws working in good order, so it was a bit of learning curve. Some may even call it a mid-life crisis! But the other reason to start my own company was that it fitted much better into family life in the Adelaide Hills. Working for World Trail in Tasmania was incredible and I loved it, but I was away from the family too much and I couldn’t talk them into moving to Tassie! So yeah, the endless quest for work/life balance is part of it!

What does designing and building a trail or world class mountain bike courses actually involve?

That’s a big question! Well it seems to be a combination of discipline, community engagement, creativity, respect, empathy, and lots of hard work. For any area wanting these kinds of trails we start with conceptualising loops using maps or geographic information systems (GIS), then it’s time to get out on the ground and start planning the physical trail alignment. Sometimes I might get the chance to explore first to find the really iconic features of the site so that we can then link them up into a trail experience. Nice views, rock outcrops, natural trail features, points of interest, basically. This is when the discipline comes into it because it’s best to follow the guidelines for sustainable trails.

Using a clinometer, we aim to flag out suitable gradients in the most appropriate locations. This process is the proven way to make great trails. From experience we need to listen to what the locals want, and respect local soils, and climatic conditions. I try my best to create a trail that sits lightly on the land but is still fun for the majority. Quite often it feels like I am being guided through the landscape by the ancient spirits as a kind of synchronicity starts to occur, and a strong sense of it’s meant to be prevails. Other times is just doesn’t feel right, so it’s best to reassess and try something else. Principally ‘measure twice, cut once’ is a good way to proceed.

Once the trail design is signed off and construction can start, it’s all about making the trail long lasting. Do it right the first time so to speak! There is no substitute for quality. Furthermore, if you can go above and beyond to make the trail experience outstanding and add something special, then you are well on your way to creating a ‘world-class’ trail.

For more detail I recommend my book ‘Zen and the Art of Trail Maintenance’!

You studied Applied Science (Conservation and Park Management) at UniSA, how does this impact the way you produce trails, their sustainability, and the way they complement the environment?

Having studied Conservation and Park Management has provided me a great deal of insight into where is the most appropriate location for MTB trails, but also how different soils and ecosystems produce different results for trails and what may be required for maintenance.

Understanding conservation objectives and land management requirements has been paramount to my success in this field. In the beginning of my career the skills and knowledge I gained at university enabled be to find common ground between the bike riders and land managers in order to find a way forward, together.

What challenges have you come up against in your career advocating for sustainable trails and developing cycling policies?

20 years ago, there was a lot of prejudice against bicycles in natural areas. It was new and definitely caused impacts on the older walking trails which were not designed for bikes. There were also the perceived risks around shared use and potential collisions on trails. Unauthorised trail construction also caused impacts too.

Moreover, there were elements of the MTB community that were quite radical and difficult to deal with, which didn’t help. All in all, over time we managed the address all of these concerns and ensure bikes could get accesses to public open spaces with a sensible, rational land management approach.

Are there any projects or particular trails you are proud of creating over your career?

Professionally, the chance to work for IMBA Australia was a dream come true and helping all states to work through their Cycling in Parks Policy development was intense and humbling. It was a pivotal time for MTB access in Australia. And, at the same time, I was able to meet like-minded people all over the country and help them to realise their trail dreams too. That was the best part. Mountain bikers are great people! I was also lucky enough to visit many beautiful places I would not have seen otherwise and meet great Park Rangers who do amazing work on the land.

Personally, it has been amazing to be part of development of Fox Creek Bike Park (Cudlee Creek Forest) since 2002. It’s not been the big budget project it could one day become so everything that has been achieved to date is at the grass roots level in an organic fashion. It has been amazing to work with ForestrySA and the bike clubs to achieve great outcomes for all. All this has meant that I have put countless volunteer hours into making that place special. It’s been a home away from home, and those trails have been the home trails for a long time. I’m proud of what I have helped to achieve there and it has been so good to see the Adelaide Hills community thrive in the face of many challenges.

At the end of the day, when you see people having fun on the trails you’ve made, it’s the best feeling of all and certainly evokes a sense of accomplishment.

What positive outcomes could we see for tourism, health, economy around Australia if more emphasis was put on mountain biking and trails?

Well places like Derby (Tas) and Thredbo (NSW) are already seeing massive benefits from their investment in good quality trails. Many other destinations are looking to capitalise on trail tourism too! But not every trail network can become a world class destination, and that is okay.

A good trail network lets locals connect with nature without impacting on it, and this helps us mentally, physically and spiritually. The flow on effects of this positivity is hard to measure, but it is sure to enhance lifestyles and in some case property values!

In a town like Melrose (Southern Flinders Ranges) even a modest amount of trail tourism has allowed the school to stay open and the bike shop to prosper. This means sustainable jobs for locals. As the trail network grows, it means young people have a future in their home town, and don’t have to move away from family to find work. To put it simply, it’s quite easy to make money from MTB tourists; sell them strong coffee in the morning and craft beer in the afternoon!

Lastly, do you have a favourite trail or ride you have taken anywhere in the world?

I am a bit spoilt! I have ridden is some pretty exotic places, but the standout trail is one called ‘The Whole Enchilada’ in Moab, Utah. 2400 vertical metres over 40 kilometres, from high alpine to blazing desert next to the Colorado River. Mindboggling scenery and an outstanding day out that is for sure!


Darren FlemingDarren Fleming

Behavioural Scientist & Influence Expert, Darren Fleming Pty Ltd

Bachelor of Psychology

August 2020

Darren Fleming admits his career has not been a conventional straight line. By the time he was 35-years-old, he’d had five separate careers and countless jobs. But after being blocked from any career move in his last employment role, Darren knew it was time to take a leap of faith and he tapped into his knack for people – and valuable learnings from his Bachelor of Psychology – and set up his own practice. He hasn’t looked back since.

Now Darren has made a name for himself as a behavioural scientist and spends his time travelling and meeting fascinating people, with his career taking him to boardrooms high above Singapore, to clients in far-flung places such as Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa, Germany, the United States, and all over Australia.

As a speaker, author and trainer with his consulting company, Darren Fleming Pty Ltd, Darren identifies clever people and works with them on how they think, speak and behave – helping them to become better communicators and influence stakeholders and industry.

“When you can understand what drives people, what they are thinking and what they are likely to do, you become valuable to people who need to know how to do this,” Darren says. “Salespeople and corporate leaders are the people who want to know this. These are the people I work with.”

“When your experts and salespeople ask clients the right question – in the right way at the right time – the client sees the value they offer. The audience cares about themselves and not you. So, when you tell the audience what you want, they think, ‘I don’t care what you want, I care about what I want.’ When you frame your message through that lens everything changes.”

“Talk about your audience and they will start to listen. When you understand this, the world opens up and you see what is possible.”

Darren credits his time among the peaceful open lawns and trees of UniSA’s Magill Campus studying psychology as giving him a solid grounding for understanding people; how they operate and an insight into what drives them.

However, it was his own meandering career path and trials in starting his own practice that cemented him with an innate empathy of the struggles professionals experience on a day to day basis, giving him a unique view of the cutthroat business world.

“The challenges I’ve experienced are the same as everybody else who has started a business,” he says.

“Everything from the imposter syndrome of ‘Am I good enough? Who will buy me?’, through to finding clients, and learning how to operate a practice without running myself into the ground. I had to find my unique view on the world and start to share that.”

“Then there were the logistical challenges of starting a new venture when I had small kids, no cash flow and was still working full time in paid employment. Then the Global Financial Crisis hit.”

“But you just keep going – what else can you do?”

He says that now as we go through the pandemic, the same rules apply; lean into the discomfort and grow through the experience. He says, “It’s not how will COVID change us, but rather how will we change to grow though COVID.”

Six books and a copious number of loyal clients later, Darren is thankful for this resilience and steadfast frame of mind he developed coming away from that time. The valuable knowledge he gained, he still passes onto his high-flying clients from different industries and parts of the world.

"Two things stand out. The first is that the imposter syndrome is rife in every organisation. Even those that we look to as strong confident leaders suffer from the imposter syndrome at times. If they say they don’t – they’re lying. It’s part of the human condition. It’s a big area I address and show people how to navigate through.”

“The second thing is related to the first. The whole game of life is made up. Everything is made up and we convince ourselves that there is only one way to do something, or that someone else knows best. It’s not true – everything outside of the laws of physics and chemistry is just a make-believe story we tell ourselves.”

“Get out of your own way and be yourself. Many people try to be someone else when they speak and present. They forget who they are. This often makes them nervous and boring.”

He also has some sage advice for the average person who may not be heading up massive businesses to use his psychology expertise to improve personal and professional relationships and circumstances.

“It’s simple – think of others and what they may be going through today,” Darren says.

“Social media has amplified our narcissism and disconnected us from those around us. Put the phone away and turn your attention to the person next to you and listen without judgement or interruption. This simple act will do more to build relationships than any other thing I know.”

“It’s summed up in the mantra: ‘don’t turn your back, don’t cover your ears, don’t close your heart’.”

Keep up with Darren Fleming and his powerful tips and insights below:

darrenfleming.com.au LinkedIn Twitter


Truc TruongTruc Truong

Artist

Bachelor of Contemporary Art

July 2020

A rising star in the Australian art world, and a recent graduate of UniSA’s Bachelor of Contemporary Art, Truc Truong doesn’t shy away from hard questions in her work. Truc is a Vietnamese-Australian artist working primarily in installation and sculpture. Broadly, her art explores her family’s experience of multicultural Australia through a lens of racism, hybridity and displacement.

Truc’s journey towards developing her arts practice has been punctuated by the pressures and challenges that accompany any major opportunity. She happened upon art school almost by accident – in the midst of training to be a teacher, an elective ceramics class opened her eyes to the possibilities of creative practice and set her on a new course.

“I started off wanting to be a ceramicist, but after getting halfway through the degree, I found myself drawn to a range of mediums,” says Truc of her gravitation towards sculpture and installation.

“The best thing about studying is the opportunity to just experiment and fail without having the pressure of what sells and what will be picked up for an exhibition.”

For Truc, the challenge of breaking into an industry that can be exclusive and tight knit at the best of times, has been compounded by the transcultural nature of her work. In Unicorn Land, Truc battles with the shared family trauma of migration and its lasting effects on her own cultural identity.

Comprising a traditional lion’s head imported from Vietnam atop a frame draped in her own shredded, bleached clothing, the work stands in front of three large black banners emblazoned with the words ‘thanks for the bread but we good’.

The words, written with bleach, reference the French colonisation of North Vietnam and resultant social and cultural damage, and are written in English, Chu Nom (Vietnamese pre-colonial script), and Chu Quoc Ngu (contemporary Vietnamese script).

Unicorn Land was first exhibited as part of In Situ, the 2019 Bachelor of Contemporary Art Graduate Exhibition at UniSA. From there, it was selected for exhibition as part of the annual Helpmann Academy graduate show which features outstanding emerging artists from tertiary education programs across South Australia.

Prior to selection for the Helpmann show, Truc had already gained exhibition experience after being selected for a group show in Melbourne, where she exhibited alongside industry heavyweights like Hoda Afshar and James Nguyen.

Truc describes the experience of being selected for these shows as utterly transformative.

“I have been able to build an incredible network of supportive, talents and generous artists who have been able to guide me through an industry where I often feel like I don’t belong,” she says.

“I was very unsure about how people would view my practice, but I have been very surprised and honoured to be given incredible opportunities to collaborate as well as exhibit.”

Most recently, Truc’s work has been selected for inclusion in the prestigious national graduate exhibition Hatched at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts in Northbridge. An annual graduate show that features the work of outstanding visual arts graduates from across the nation, this year’s iteration includes 24 artists, two of whom hail from Adelaide. The exhibition opened in early July after a delay due to closures and runs through until October 18.

“Being a part of these major exhibitions has given me a glimpse of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. I have become much more aware of how things work and what it means for me as an emerging artist seeking opportunities and networks,” says Truc.

Those networks are indispensable for an emerging practitioner like Truc, who has already begun to form connections interstate and internationally.

“Most of my mentors are from Melbourne… I admire Phyuong Ngo and Nikki Lam, who created a stage for artists with transcultural practices like myself,” she says.

“There were some pretty unconstructive things said about my work amongst the art world in Adelaide. I heard a group say that I played the race card, which I found really hurtful.”

Despite these pressures, Truc also believes that her work can have a positive influence on the environments and institutions that often serve to reinforce racism and whiteness.

“Art has given me the opportunity to explore and unlearn things… I know there is an argument about whether representation is enough, but when I was at school and came across someone that looked like me… it made me comfortable and willing to learn,” she says.

Explore Truc Truong’s work

Hatched will run at PICA until October 18. The Hatched catalogue is available for viewing here.


Corey DeCandia and Jordan KalliosCorey DeCandia

Co-Founder & Director, Vacay Swimwear

Bachelor of Marketing & Communication

Jordan Kallios

Co-Founder & Director, Vacay Swimwear

Bachelor of Management (Marketing)

July 2020

After striking up a friendship bounding to marketing classes and navigating group assignments together while at the University of South Australia, it was clear to both Corey DeCandia and Jordy Kallios – not only was this a significant friendship – it had the potential to be an expansive and lifechanging business partnership.

Shortly after graduation, the ambitious boys launched Vacay Swimwear, and brought a whole new take on European-inspired, sophisticated swim and resort wear to combat the often-uninspired swimwear options for men.

Thanks to their sharp business acuity and ingenious designs inspired by iconic holiday destinations, the brand has grown at breakneck speed and is set to turn over six figures in revenue this year. Having conquered the online market and attracting sales on a global scale, you’ll now also find their bold, colourful shorts on David Jones shelves around the country.

We asked Corey and Jordy what it’s been like building a fashion business from the ground up, drawing inspiration from the legendary beaches of Europe, how their relationship has changed with their ongoing success – both at just 25 years-old – and even some fashion tips for good measure.

Could you tell us a bit about your company? What did you set out to create with the Vacay Swimwear brand?

Corey: Vacay Swimwear is a men’s swim & resort wear label that aims to fill the suitcase with all the vacay necessities of every travelling man. We’ve both always had a huge love for travel and fashion so it was only right we followed this space with the brand. We’ve always set our sights high for the brand but never imagined it to become globally recognised as quick as it did.

You came up with the idea for the line on holiday in Mykonos. What did you find inspiring – or uninspiring – about the style?

Jordy: Throughout studying at UniSA, Corey and myself did a lot of travelling between semester breaks. While abroad, we noticed a lot of Europeans were wearing a more snug fit, mid-length swim short, this fit was a lot more stylish and elongated the leg and body. Back home, everyone was still wearing your typical below-the-knee baggy boardies, which has now become very outdated. We knew this particular fit was going to eventually hit the Aussie market, but I think we sped that up when Vacay Swimwear was born.

What about this European sensibility did you want to bring to Australia?

Corey: European trends always make their way to Australia, but usually a number of seasons later. Both Jordy and I try to keep up with these European trends both before and as they’re happening to try stay on top of our competition. The style of Europeans is just so effortless, and bringing that sense of style to other markets is something I feel we do quite well. We heard you both met at University – could you tell us a bit about this meeting and your time at UniSA?

Corey: If I remember correctly, our first class together was Market Analysis in our third year. I’d always known of Jordy through mutual friends but this is where we officially met. We partnered up for a group assignment and instantly made a strong connection. We both loved having a laugh and always tried to not take the whole university experience too seriously… like a lot of others did. UniSA was not only a great place to further our Marketing knowledge, I more importantly found it to be a really welcoming place where you get to network and meet some really interesting people you probably would have never had the chance of meeting. Business is all about relationship building and forming connections, so UniSA was a great steppingstone for this. Going from friends to business partners is a significant change in any relationship, how have you navigated this added element to your friendship?

Jordy: Initially, Corey and I built a solid friendship at uni, being put in group assignments together, we always had our problem-solving cap on, finding solutions to problems, which still hasn’t changed to this day! Together we have developed an amazing working relationship. On the weekends we have a great friendship, we can go out and get dinner and not let business intervene. In the office is where it’s all strategic thinking. Separating our business from our friendship is vital to us and an important quality we both have.

Do you feel that menswear – and creative/appealing menswear at that – is often not represented in terms of fashion and the retail market?

Jordy: In the past it's something that has lacked attention in the retail space. However, it is definitely a growing industry in terms of style in the fashion and retail sector. We believe Australians are becoming more fashion conscious with the swimwear they wear and looking their best while holidaying abroad.

It’s just been announced Vacay Swimwear will be stocked in David Jones. Congrats! How did it feel when you got the news?

Jordy: Thank you! It’s an incredible feeling, this is definitely our biggest career success thus far and once upon a time we only dreamt about having this opportunity. It’s very surreal that an Adelaide-built brand has achieved this milestone. We can happily tick this one off our goals list!

While deals with brick and mortar stockists are a big get, social and e-commerce sites seem to have also played a part in your success, especially early on. How important has the online sphere been in building your business?

Corey: The online portion of our business is absolutely vital for us. Without it, I don’t think we’d be where we are today. We invest heavily in online advertising as this is where our consumers are spending most of their time, and it’s of course the way of the future. In saying that, we are not shying away from brick and mortar stockists, and are placing a huge emphasis on continuing to grow this avenue. Currently retail stockists make up for 35% of our revenue and we are hoping to continue growing this figure.

What are your plans for the future of the brand and Vacay Swimwear?

Jordy: The future is big for us, right now our main focus is continuing to grow rapidly and eventually become the largest swim and resort wear brand in the world. Collaborating with the biggest beach clubs and bars, and building a strong Vacay community with all our followers. The sky's the limit.

Do either of you have a personal favourite piece you have designed or created?

Corey: As designers of the brand we love every piece we bring out. We essentially design our collections based on what we love to wear throughout summer. You’ll find both Jordy and I in swim shorts and a relaxed linen shirt on any given day, it’s honestly a great look that can get you through so many occasions no matter what the environment.

Find Vacay Swimwear and their offerings on their website here.


John 'Jak' AhJohn 'Jak' Ah Kit (1950 - 2020)

Certificate in Community Development
Associate Diploma in Social Work

July 2020

CULTURAL ADVICE: We are using Mr Ah Kit's full name and image with permission from his family. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should also be aware that this article contains images, names, and quotes of a deceased person.

Earlier this month, the family and loved ones announced the passing of trailblazing politician, tireless advocate for Aboriginal people, and University of South Australia alum, Mr John ‘Jak’ Ah Kit. Remembered by everyone he encountered as a man with a great sense of humour, endless wisdom and strength, and profound his love of country, friends and family.

Mr Ah Kit made an indelible mark on Australian life and his community as the Northern Territory’s first Aboriginal minister and his continuous advocation of Aboriginal people’s countries and their rights.

Born in Alice Springs on July 22, 1950, Mr Ah Kit was raised in Darwin at Parap Camp, with his early jobs involving carting parcels for customers at Woolworths, selling newspapers on the streets, work at the abattoir, and cattle stations mustering bullocks on horseback.

Mr Ah Kit cites this time period as incredibly influential, setting him on a path to campaigning for justice and politics, recalling these fond memories in a 2002 speech for the 'Understanding and Implementing Good Governance for Indigenous Communities and Regions' Conference in Canberra.

“Right through this period, I am now aware that I was storing experiences and ideas in the back of my mind. I was coming to realise that politics – mainstream, Aboriginal, sporting, you name it – affected all of our lives.”

When in 1971, at 21-years-old, Mr Ah Kit attended his first NAIDOC march in Alice Springs to hear activist and first Indigenous Australian to graduate tertiary education, Charles 'Kwementyaye' Perkins AO speak. Their meeting proved life changing for Mr Ah Kit.

“I found myself marching in the street yelling out radical things. In those days, Aboriginal people who came out and showed their colours and started to support the cause were always labelled as stirrers. They put you down.”

“But I just felt, ‘No, I'm not going to be put down, you can say what you like but I need to march. I want to march and I need to find out more about politics’.”

Mr Ah Kit had been struck by a yearning to return to study. He then enrolled in the Aboriginal Task Force at the then South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) – now the University of South Australia (UniSA) – where he obtained a Certificate in Community Development and a Diploma in Social Work towards the end of the seventies.

Adelaide was however not without its difficulties as Mr Ah Kit says it was here, he became acutely aware of prejudice, and gained a valuable understanding of racism and its impact on Aboriginal people, and other minority groups.

But in returning to study he says he was able to sort himself out, where he was heading and what he wanted to achieve, which included “coming to grips with my Aboriginality”. He came back changed and “determined to make a contribution.”

After graduating and spending time as a District Officer with the Department of Social Security in Katherine, Mr Ah Kit quickly became involved in Aboriginal-controlled organisations proving to be a true asset. First, in charge of Kalano, Katherine’s Aboriginal town organisation, and then seven years as the Director of the Northern Land Council where he campaigned for land rights for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

He helped to establish the Jawoyn Association and eventually became the Association’s Director from 1991 to 1995. Here he made strides in the Jawoyn traditional owners’ battle to prevent mining at Coronation Hill, a sacred site to the community, eventually winning over Prime Minister Bob Hawke AC and his support too.

1995 saw Mr Ah Kit elected as Labor member for Arnhem becoming the Northern Territory’s first Aboriginal cabinet minister in the Martin Labor Government in 2001. He was the ninth Indigenous parliamentarian in Australia and served in the NT Legislative Assembly as the member for Arnhem for 10 years.

In this role he never stopped advocating and fighting for Aboriginal rights, serving as Minister for Community Development, Housing, Local Government, Sport and Recreation, Regional Development and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Indigenous Affairs.

Even after his retirement from Parliament, Mr Ah Kit served as the chairman of the Nitmiluk National Park Board of Management, an adviser to the Jawoyn Association, and served on the reference group to the Anderson-Wild inquiry into child abuse in Aboriginal communities. All culminating in a National NAIDOC Awards lifetime achievement award in 2007.

On Wednesday, July 22 2020, on what would have been his 70th Birthday, hundreds of people congregated in TIO Stadium in Marrara, Darwin for his state funeral, paying tribute to a man that always stood his ground and gave a voice to those that needed it the most.

John 'Jak' Ah Kit wore his Aboriginal heritage with pride and his wisdom and strength will continue to inspire generation after generation.

“One of the loveliest things I've seen in my lifetime of the struggle, is coming out of the seventies, into the eighties where Aboriginal kids started to wear our colours with pride. You know, the anklets, the necklaces, the watches, and the t-shirts.

“It’s now very much a pride and there's no second thoughts about “my Aboriginality”. It’s now “That's our colours and I'm wearing them.”

“Indigenous Australians all have to learn to do this, too, and it is up to us to keep our eyes out for bright young Indigenous leaders coming through in the future. They’ll be the ones that will take our place – but they will remember the old people, and still be wearing the colours.”


Alana GiaccioAlana Giaccio

Director, All Abilities Cheer and Dance
Project Officer, University of South Australia

Bachelor of Communication and Media
Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies

July 2020

After a 2012 back injury and stress fracture, talented lifelong dancer, Alana Giaccio’s hopes of pursuing a career in dance were dashed. Little did she know eight years later she would be launching her very own studio, All Abilities Cheer and Dance (AACD).

AACD is the only studio in South Australia that offers recreation, competition and online cheer and dance classes, under the one roof, solely for people of all ages with all types of disabilities.

Each class has a parent, guardian and carer viewing area, as the studio is dedicated to bringing together people with disabilities to express themselves through the fun and creative world of cheerleading and dance in a supportive and safe environment.

Having been dancing for 14 years and involved in competitions for 11 years, with experience in jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, cheerleading and pom, Alana's dance career involved everything from performing at Disneyland Resort in California, Disney California Adventure Park and at Universal Studios Hollywood, as well as competing interstate, performing at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre and in the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant seven times.

But it was Alana’s 25 years of personal experience with disability, growing up with two brothers with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability, that made her deeply aware of the barriers many face.

With this intimate knowledge – armed with her experience as a dancer – she then set off on a path to combine her love of dance and passion for the equal rights of people with disabilities, spreading kindness and contributing to inclusion support in the dance world into All Abilities Cheer and Dance.

It was obvious to Alana there was a clear need in the community for this type of sport and the rapid growth of AACD has proved this. Despite classes only launching this month, the studio already has 50 excited students signed up.

“Growing up, I always knew there was a gap in the market, I just didn’t think I’d be the one filling it!” Alana says. “Personally, I am proud to offer a unique sport to people who might not have had the chance before.”

“I’m glad that more people can be included and I’m so happy to see their parents joyous that their child can participate in something, make friends, develop new skills and have fun. Professionally, I’d like to expand and reach as many people as I can.”

Earlier this year, Alana became a volunteer cheer and dance coach at Special Olympics SA seeing firsthand the joy that comes from belonging to a local sporting community and how dance is a great way to build self-confidence, motor and communication skills for this cohort.

It was here she became affiliated with Special Olympics Australia under AACD and saw the real difference dance can make to a person with disabilities’ balance and proprioception, spatial awareness, visual stabilisation, let alone musicality, teamwork and all-important communication skills.

“There are 14 athletes ranging from 10-years-old to 39-years-old in the team,” Alana says. “It is great to see all the girls interacting and helping one another, despite the age differences.”

“The parents and carers view the class every week which has provided a supportive environment for everyone. They all cheer the athletes on, take photos and videos, and the athletes love practising in front of an audience.”

“It’s been wonderful seeing the athletes progress in their dancing and skill level. As we are a competition team, I teach the athletes skills to be performed in the routine to ‘wow’ the judges. Seeing the athletes learn the skill and then master it after a few weeks is really rewarding.”

Special Olympics Australia’s General Manager Sports Development, Terry Visscher is supportive as well, even saying, “Access and inclusion are the key factors that can break down barriers, and it is organisations like All Abilities Cheer and Dance that assist Special Olympics Australia (SOA) in their mission to provide sport to people with intellectual disabilities.”

Even though Alana has never been busier – with work at UniSA three days a week, teaching dance at schools every fortnight, and an additional seven classes throughout the week in the evenings – she has many exciting performances planned and high ambitions for AACD.

In September the studio has their very first competition and will also be performing in CanDance for a Cure at the Entertainment Centre in November, but Alana also has her sights set on the global stage.

“Being affiliated with Special Olympics Australia could put Adelaide residents on the national or international stage!” She says. “Our goal is to one day compete at the International Cheer Union World Championship (ICU Worlds) in the Special Olympics section in Orlando, Florida.”

AACD classes offer something for everyone who has a passion for dance. With each class individually tailored to suit the abilities of its students, and a great way to build self-confidence and communication skills, it's a place to make connections and friends for a group often not provided the opportunity.

Find out more about All Abilities Cheer and Dance here.

Follow their journey on social media –
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Thalia KoutsThalia Kouts

Primary school teacher

Bachelor of Education (Junior Primary and Primary)

July 2020

A chance hike in the lush Dandenong Ranges set primary school teacher, Thalia Kouts, on a path to creating her very own functional and fashionable, and most importantly sustainable, activewear with her new brand, Ethica.

Ethica crystallised her passion for the environment and commitment to living in harmony with our natural world, along with her fitness background and busy lifestyle, into practical and contemporary pieces that could be worn 'from studio to street'.

We had a talk to Thalia about launching Ethica and the values and thought behind the spandex.

1. Congrats on launching Ethica! Could you tell us a bit about the brand?

Thank you! Ethica supports the slow fashion industry. We’ve crafted eco-friendly, ethical activewear for people who care about fashion and our future generations. Our sustainable fabrics have been carefully chosen to have minimal impact on our natural resources.

Endless hours have been invested in researching environmentally conscious fabric suppliers who align themselves with our ethical values and sustainable vision. Our commitment to support local communities means that your garments are designed and made in Adelaide, Australia.

2. What do your days consist of now? You studied Education at UniSA, are you still teaching while building Ethica?

My days start between 5:00am and 5:30am where I work on Ethica in the morning and then start my usual teaching day. I also spend Saturdays working on Ethica (usually sitting with my laptop in a café) and try to have a rest on Sundays!

In my teaching, the environment and sustainability are always relevant and often aligns with what I’m trying to achieve with Ethica. Last term in my class, the children learnt about the 3 R’s – reducing, reusing and recycling. During this unit, they learnt how glass, plastic etc can be melted down and turned into other products. Just like our activewear!

3. Where did the idea of starting your own activewear brand come from?

I wasn’t even searching… Ethica found me.

It all started when I was visiting Melbourne, Australia in April 2017 and found myself on a scenic hiking route in the Dandenong Ranges (also known as the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk) which was simply breathtaking. I knew it would be a great way to embrace myself in nature, get the heart rate up and burn some calories!

On my way down, a gorgeous young woman was walking in front of me wearing natural coloured activewear immersed in this lush green, native forest. At that very moment, I had an epiphany! I decided I was going to build an ethical, sustainable brand that had minimal impact on our environmental footprint and was kind to Mother Nature. My mind went into overdrive and the journey begun!

I started to research and sustainable fabrics and once I discovered the benefits of both bamboo and PET fabric, nothing could stop me. Three years later, Ethica was born.

4. For many people, I’m sure the process from a plastic bottle to some slick activewear leggings would seem quite foreign. Could you take us through a little bit of the process?

When these empty, used plastic bottles are ground down and treated in a particular way, they can be carefully crafted into fine yarns. These yarns are then woven, (just like bamboo) turning plastic bottles into high quality, activewear ready for you to wear!

Our high quality, luxurious Recycled Polyester fabric is breathable and durable. It is also moisture wicking (it can be worn many times and then washed in cold water and air-dried) and will not pill or abrade easily, meaning it will last a very long time. Another added bonus for our environment!

5. What made you want to put the environment and sustainability front and centre at Ethica?

I want to raise awareness in others around the world so that the slow fashion industry continues to grow and evolve. The future of our children and our children’s children depend on our ability to minimising the environmental impact on our world.

I want to help make that difference by using good quality, sustainable fabric (and biodegradable fabric such as bamboo) that won’t end up in landfill. I want to slow down the clothing consumption rate, producing garments of better quality, that are bought less often (quality over quantity).

6. What does slow fashion and sustainability mean to you? How has your life changed since you began paying more attention to where your clothes come from?

Purchasing ‘quality’ over ‘quantity’ means we are slowing down the clothing consumption rate and are buying garments of better quality, less often. Slow fashion = guilt-free fashion and less impact on our environment.

I support local businesses and always look for made in Australia on the tag. I also shop at op shops now and ensure the fabric, care labels, fashion labels that have been used to make the garment is environmentally friendly.

7. The fast-fashion sector is a massive industry – what would you say to people that are unconsciously contributing to this damaging industry?

Research the number of textiles that end up in landfill each year and the impact this has on our environment. Copenhagen Fashion Summit reported that fashion is responsible for 92 million tons of solid waste dumped in landfills each year.

The clothing that ends up in landfills can sit there for over 200 years, and as it decomposes, it emits methane—a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon. Much of what we done gets, shipped, and re-sold overseas or gets dumped in landfills anyway.

Read Ethica’s 5 ways to support the Slow Fashion industry...

Visit Ethica’s website here for ethically produced activewear.


Jacqueline Costanzo PSM and Gerrie Mitra PSMJacqueline Costanzo PSM

Ceduna Service Reform Manager, Department of Human Services, South Australian Government

Bachelor of Teaching (Junior Primary)

Gerrie Mitra PSM

General Manager, Provider and Markets Division, National Disability Insurance Agency

Bachelor of Accountancy

June 2020

Earlier this month, the Queen’s Birthday Honours were announced recognising the diverse achievements and contributions made by Australians each year from all walks of life. Among them were many of our own University of South Australia (UniSA) graduates and wider community. Including none other than a set of twins that, despite studying vastly different courses at university, have both been honoured for their work – one after the other.

Both Gerrie Mitra PSM and Jacqueline Costanzo PSM have been key in the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) with the Australian Government – one of the largest and most intensive social reforms of our generation – earning them both Public Service Medals in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Jacky was honoured this year for outstanding public service to the communities of the APY Lands in South Australia through her work with Aboriginal Place Based Projects and Community Services as the Ceduna Service Reform Manager with the South Australian Government’s Department of Human Services.

Here she has supported the implementation of initiatives such as Street Beat, an active outreach program promoting safety and wellbeing in and around Ceduna, a no-cost community bus service, a Mothers’ and Babies’ House for young Aboriginal women, and a Vulnerable Person’s Framework for individual’s at risk of harm.

Even before her role as Service Reform Manager, Jacky’s career trajectory has taken her and her family to some of the most remote and fascinating places in the world – from Titjikala in the Northern Territory, Vanuatu, and now to Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in regional north South Australia – where she put her education and talents to work in building community capacity.

“I’ve spent many years working in remote communities and believe it is important community members receive the support they need to navigate the systems to receive the service they need,” she says.

“My work in the APY Lands initially involved providing youth, aged and disability programs to the communities. Currently the work is focused on transitioning the disability clients to the NDIS.”

“Having a teaching degree led me to my first teaching job on a remote community. Good teachers build relationships, and this has been the key to all the work I have been involved in.”

Similarly, as the Group Executive Director for Disability Services at South Australia’s Department of Human Services, Gerrie was honoured for outstanding public service through the implementation of the NDIS when faced with the impending upheaval of the existing disability support structure, affecting some of the most vulnerable communities in our country.

Armed with years of business experience in both interstate and international markets, Gerrie devised the idea to establish a new type of organisation – owned and operated by the current disability therapists – to deliver services under the NDIS.

Now with her new role as the General Manager, Provider and Markets Division at the National Disability Insurance Agency, she is continuing her work leading the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategic plan for the stewardship of the market of NDIA providers.

When news hit her twin sister would be receiving a Public Service Medal, just a year after her own honour as well, she could not contain her pride.

“I was very excited when Jacky was awarded the PSM. I think I said I was really proud, and she really deserved it, as she has made such an enormous impact in her work over many years,” Gerrie says.

“Her focus has always been on building capacity in local communities and she does that with such compassion and consideration for people.”

In addition to excelling in their respective careers and making a real difference in some of the most vulnerable communities, both sisters are similarly humble – this must run in the family as well – making sure to communicate the awards were also thanks to the great team behind them and acknowledging their upbringing played a factor.

Jacky echoed Gerrie’s sentiment and pride for her twin’s achievements too.

“It was great to see Gerrie recognised for the work she did in disability last year. Even though we are twins there has never really been any competition between us – we have quite different skills that are complimentary,” Jacky says.

“We have very different education backgrounds, and up until now worked in different areas, so it is amazing that we have both ended up in the same area of work now.”

“It is testament to our mum that we have both ended up in social justice work.”

For the full list of 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours in our University of South Australia Community announced earlier this month, visit our website here.




Dr Sera WatersDr Sera Waters

Visual Artist

Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours)
Doctorate by Research, Visual Arts

June 2020

Dr Sera Waters is fascinated by the stories that domestic and textile arts have to tell. Traditional skills and techniques like sewing, weaving and knitting have historically been passed over as, for some, a kitsch revival of semi-obsolete crafts, and for others, a derogatory notion of ‘women’s work’ – but Dr Waters’ research has centred around understanding the knowledges and histories embedded in these centuries old practices.

Dr Waters received her PhD in Visual Arts from the South Australian School of Art at UniSA in 2018. She also holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) and a Masters in Art History. Over the course of her highly prolific career, she has contributed to a diverse range of exhibitions and publications, including participation in local and international shows. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Art Gallery of South Australia’s Ramsay Art Prize for Falling: Line by Line, a seven-metre long-stitch piece that depicts a fallen tree set against a sunset landscape.

Dr Waters describes her journey from undergraduate art student to research candidate as an odyssey that opened creative and conceptual doors for her.

“I was 17 when I started my undergraduate degree … the skills I learnt from my lecturers at the South Australian School of Art came at the right time in my life to ignite in me a love of exploring big and complex ideas,” she says.

“It was an important realisation for me that visual arts research is interdisciplinary and I embrace the creativity in colliding research from across many fields.”

Her doctoral research explored ‘genealogical ghostscapes,’ a term Dr Waters coined to evoke the haunting that lingers across Australia as a result of settler colonial homemaking practices and an ongoing history of denial surrounding the realities of invasion. She explored closely the role of domestic arts and craft practices to gain insight into how colonial behaviours and traditions are literally woven into the fabric of our home lives.

More recently, Dr Waters’ research has developed to address the aftermath of colonisation through a lens of climate change. She draws these themes together, categorising her own work as “underpinned by an ethics of care, a push for truth-telling, taking responsibility and listening.”

The past few months have seen a major disruption for artists, with the ramifications of a global pandemic causing shockwaves across the art world – galleries closed, exhibitions postponed, and for many, income streams worryingly and indefinitely dried up. Despite this unfriendly landscape, Dr Waters describes her most recent project as “intentionally hopeful.”

The Survivalist Sampler project began as a collaborative contribution to a planned exhibition that was delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak. In response, Dr Waters took to Instagram, inviting the creative community at large to participate in a mass stitching project aimed at recording what is occurring now, preserving important information about survival, and above all, preserving our sense of community and hope.

Of the project, Dr Waters notes that “samplers have long given voice to girls and women who have otherwise been lost to history … [and] as an artist, I have been grappling with a way to respond to the overwhelming plethora of information and feelings about our shared precarious future.”

Her decision to invite the community to join her personal journey to channel her anxieties into craft has garnered a strong response with many people from around Australia and beyond taking part.

“All humans are connected by traditions and ways of living that have passed along lines and between individuals, families and communities and have done for as far back as can be imagined,” says Dr Waters of the value of domestic arts and crafts in a contemporary world.

“To me the underestimation of domestic textiles, home-craft … equates to a failure to comprehend the important knowledge embedded in these practices. Such practices record information from their time and speak to the intricacies and particularities of local histories and places.”

Dr Waters emphasises the importance of both preserving the knowledge and understanding contained within these practices and interrogating the truths and untruths they present about our shared colonial pasts.

“Like all traditions which are reworked to suit different eras and needs, I too rework them and repurpose them to redress concerns of our time. At the same time, I, and many others, are continuing these valuable ways of making and preserving them for future generations.”

Dr Waters currently features in an online exhibition for Crafted Vancouver, Make the World Again - an exploration of the power of weaving to bind the world together in the face of international chaos. Later this year, her solo show Domestic Arts will tour to seven regional galleries across South Australia supported by Country Arts SA.


Julian O’SheaJulian O’Shea

Founder & CEO, Unbound

Master of Business Administration

June 2020

A University of South Australia MBA and the Pank & University of South Australia Prize for Social Innovation and Enterprise catapulted engineer, Julian O’Shea, into an exciting new international development career path that saw him launch ambitious and impactful projects with the company he established.

Based in Melbourne, but always on the move travelling, Julian is the Founder and CEO of Unbound, an educational social enterprise that leads programs teaching students about important global, social and environmental issues through overseas experiences.

With Unbound, he has travelled the world creating opportunities from new sustainable forms of transport in rural Nepal; to creating maternal health kits in Vietnam; and school outreach initiatives across remote Australia.

“Unbound aims to create programs that students out of the lecture theatre, and connecting with real world issues across the Asia-Pacific region. We take university students to learn from inspiring projects and people across Asia and beyond,” Julian says.

“The idea was to re-think how education can be delivered. Our approach is to work with universities, including UniSA, to design programs that form part of student’s degrees, and make travel and working on social impact projects a part of the university experience.”

Julian acknowledges the positive impact the Pank & University of South Australia Prize for Social Innovation and Enterprise had in building and establishing Unbound, as the learnings and recognition was a great inspiration.

The Pank & University of South Australia Prize for Social Innovation and Enterprise, now awarded under the Innovation & Collaboration Centre’s Venture Catalyst program, is funded by the Pank Family supporting social innovation and enterprises developed by UniSA students or alumni.

Through the Venture Catalyst program, the Pank Family have ensured that new ideas that come out of the University have the support and mentoring needed to set up a new and innovative social enterprise across the country.

“The UniSA Pank Prize came early into building Unbound, and recognition like this was a great motivator and recognition that I was on the right path,” he says.

“Doing the pitch was a nervous experience – but hearing that I was successful was a wonderful moment in my career.”

Julian carried this support and inspiration into designing the innovative education programs Unbound leads, also involving working with many inspiring partners and projects around the world.

Just like the team’s Nepal Innovation Program exploring community development and sustainable innovation in collaboration with a local social impact organisation, Abari – a world-recognised firm in bamboo innovation.

They have built numerous buildings out of bamboo, including after the earthquake, and continue to innovate on sustainable products and most recently worked together on a bamboo electric cargo bike, and low-cost educational toolkits.

Similarly, in Fiji, Unbound focuses on climate change, and explores actions that can be taken in Australia to avoid negative impacts in the Pacific, particularly around beach erosion and extreme weather events.

This involves spending time in both coastal and interior villages, to gain a great insight into Fijian and Pacific culture, as well as meeting with inspiring leaders who are working hard towards shaping a better future for their country.

“Over time I’ve come to realise that social change is something that happens across disciplines and that sustainable impact needs to be supported. Social enterprises – business that have positive social and environmental impact – are a great way of creating lasting change,” Julian says.

“For me the transition from being a technical engineer, to leading projects and businesses, was a great step forward in doing this. I still consider myself an engineer and am always working on a side project or two – I’m currently attempting to build the world’s fastest solar electric bike, so watch this space.”

Of these side projects, many have of course involved travel, as Julian describes it as one of his true loves. Even though he has visited around 150 of the world’s 193 UN member countries, he’s still on a personal mission to visit every country in the world.

“There are so many wonderful highlights but waking in up in rural Nepal with a hot cup of lemongrass tea and watching the sunrise over the Himalayas is about as good as it gets.”

“I travel there regularly and have some wonderful colleagues that I collaborate with, on sustainability projects – such as building bamboo bicycles and education kits – so it's a great mix of work and play,” he says.

Most notably was a memorable adventure where Julian and a dedicated team converted a Thai-built tuk tuk, into a solar-powered, sustainable outreach vehicle.

The SolarTuk Project took them on many memorable journeys including driving across bumpy dirt tracks across the vast Queensland outback – avoiding the highways and roadtrains (the natural enemy of the slow-moving tuk tuk) – and driving through the Chennai traffic in India. The latter which was an intense experience, and the sheer volume of cars, motorbikes, rickshaws, bikes and cows is something he won’t forget any time soon.

“We drove this zero-emission vehicle across the length of Australia from Melbourne to the Great Barrier Reef at just 50 km/hr, to promote low-carbon transport and explore ways to live and move more sustainably,” he says.

“It got a lot of attention, with so many wonderful communities who hosted us and let us share the story and spark conversations with community, school groups and the media. It was such a silly and fun adventure that we have since taken the tuk tuk and driven across Thailand and India.”

All these experiences have only strengthened his belief that the idea your education finishes when you receive your degree is one that’s long gone. Julian and Unbound embody the idea that lasting change will always be led by local community leaders and it’s great to work and learn together.

“In Australia, it’s exciting to help support emerging innovators with the skills and mindsets to launch projects that matter,” Julian explains.

“I’d encourage anyone to continue to learn and grow throughout their career, particularly in fields beyond their core. Now this can be online, through travel, further study and university, and spending time with people to learn how they live and work.”

“I’m so inspired to see students bring their ideas to life – from projects around fighting waste at music festivals; to creating engagement projects connecting refugees to local residents over art classes.”


Emma Grigson-GairEmma Grigson-Gair

Disaster Preparedness & Resilience, SA Health

Bachelor of Health Science (Health Service Management)

June 2020

Emma Grigson-Gair always wanted to join the army. Since she was five, growing up in Adelaide’s Northern suburbs, she dreamed of flying M*A*S*H style ‘Huey’ helicopters. She made this her reality when straight out of school she signed up for the Royal Military College, graduating as a pilot in December 2004. Although Emma discovered her heart laid in the medical field and she transferred to Royal Australian Army Medical Corps a couple years later where her University of South Australia Health Science (Health Service Management) degree became a vital tool.

Emma remained as a Medical Officer for the next nine years, supporting various humanitarian missions and outreach programs. This included postings to South East Asia with Malaysian, Thai and Singaporean forces where she trained in jungle warfare, Washington D.C. conducting analysis of disease and unusual health activities across the globe, and Afghanistan with the NATO forces on medical missions implementing telemedicine (distance medicine) programs and women’s clinics, and participating in combat medical patrols.

Below Emma takes us through her incredible career with the Australia Defence Force, her love of learning, and what’s next for her and her family.

1. Could you tell us a little about your career in Australian Defence Force (ADF)? We know you’ve been a part of many outreach programs and medical missions both as a medical officer and in intelligence roles. What does this entail?

I joined the ADF in 2001 straight from school. I was certain that the ADF was the path for me from an early age and I never faltered from this viewpoint. My initial objective was to fly helicopters in support of medical operations, but despite graduating from the Royal Military College - Duntroon into the Aviation Corps; I soon found my interests and heart lay in the medical realm solely.

Throughout my career I was fortunate enough to deploy and support various medical programs – from disaster relief (both nationally and internationally), humanitarian operations, and in the Middle East supporting the growth and wellbeing of thousands of people.

As a General Service Officer (GSO) within the Medical Corps, and later the Intelligence Corps, it was my role to provide leadership, direction and management of my people. To support them, enable them and progress forward with them. I also provided expert advice, so that planning and operations could be carried out with precision.

Watching my two children grow up in the safety of our local community in Adelaide, I’m acutely aware of how critical and essential the work we did in Afghanistan was and around the world.

Every child should have the opportunity to play, learn and laugh without worrying about the evils of war.

2. Are there any experiences that stand out from your time in deployment or your experiences in South East Asia, Afghanistan, and Washington D.C.?

My job in Afghanistan had been to work on training systems, supply systems and planning support to the Afghan Division operating in Southern Afghanistan. A new training program we implemented resulted in growing trust for our medical staff from coalition forces.

One day, during a patrol, a young American soldier hit by an IED (improvised explosive device) was in danger for his life and under fire, my Afghani medical staff provided the aid that saved his life.

Witnessing their compassion and care for him at that initial point (despite language, religious and cultural barriers) was truly special – I will never forget the sight of his head cradled lovingly in their arms.

Seeing how the medical system came together (his next point for help was a Coalition hospital at a small base filled with colleagues, before finally hitting the massive hospital in Kandahar) to save his life was truly inspiring.

It was a reminder of why I had joined the Medical Corps and the ADF – to help people.

3. Why did you choose to study Health Science (Health Service Management) at UniSA?

As a medical manager, I always ensured that I had an understanding of each and every one of the specialisations that worked with me. I think this is crucial to being successful in the medical field. To manage doctors, for example, does not require you to be a doctor, but you must have an understanding of what this entails. This includes the hardships they face, the challenges, and how you can assist to make the job on the ground easier.

I, therefore, sought learning and ‘hands-on’ opportunities as much as possible as they allowed me a greater breadth of understanding and knowledge.

Studying the Masters of Health Science (Health Service Management) at UniSA was a part of this journey. The breadth of the degree and the insights I gave into the unique challenges facing medical staff have proved essential for me in both my Army career and post-Army career.

Being a good manager is not the same as being a good leader; but understanding how to manage your people in the best way is an essential part of the journey to becoming a good leader.

My Master’s gave me the theoretical knowledge, which I could then implement in my workplace. It improved my management style and enhanced my ability to understand the sector in which I wished to work.

4. You’ve expressed how important education is and why we should never stop having a passion for learning and growth. Could you tell us about this and why you feel this way?

I see learning as a way of growth – and growth is how we live our lives to the fullest. If you aren’t actively learning (from experiences, from university, from reading, etc.) then you have closed your mind to the possibilities of what the next step can be; and that would be incredibly sad.

The most successful people in the world (no matter how you define the term ‘successful’) continuously learn as it develops the minds, stretches boundaries, and builds confidence. I think it is also comforting that a process of continuous learning makes us realise that we don’t yet know it all – both a grounding thought and a challenge!

5. What’s life been like since May last year when you officially retired from the Australian Defence Force?

I've worked with SA Health as the Director of Disaster Preparedness and Resilience from 2019; a fantastic team doing amazing work, but an under-resourced capability. The work they do benefits all South Australians and they work as an integral part to the Emergency Management sector in South Australia. I think the recent fires and the pandemic's extreme circumstances are a stark reminder to all that this sector is not only essential, but requires support.

For the most part, life after the ADF is filled with family; reconnecting with my hometown and spending quality time with loved ones. Life after the ADF, presents many challenges and opportunities. I don’t think that anyone who has served has the same journey and therefore understanding what that next step will be takes time and introspection.

Though I may not wear a uniform anymore, the desire to serve still remains. It’s a privilege to be home in Adelaide, I love this city and it’s always been home.


Pallab ChakmaPallab Chakma

Executive Director, Kapaeeng Foundation

Master of Mediation and Conflict Resolution

May 2020

Inspired by feature stories produced by the Australia Awards – South and West Asia program: A battle to save the livelihoods of indigenous groups in Bangladesh and Alumni successfully lobby for environmental reforms. Imagery has also been drawn from these sources. Australia Awards are prestigious international Scholarships and Short Courses funded by the Australian Government.

Pallab Chakma’s upbringing in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh amongst the lush green, deep forests and rugged valleys and waterfalls in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), has shaped both his career and firm strength of character.

Growing up immersed in his indigenous Chakma culture – Village Common Forest (VCF) customs, a traditional practice of collective forest management by the community; Jum cultivation (slash-and-burn agriculture) for growing crops; and the Bizu Festival, a celebration of end of the year and welcoming new year that has its origins in preparing the earth for a generous harvest – all reinforced his connection with his ancestors and their special relationship with the land.

Eleven Indigenous ethnic groups reside in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), named Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Tanchangya, Mro, Lushai, Khumi, Chak, Khiyang, Bawm and Pangkhua, who collect

ively all identify themselves as the Jumma people (High Landers who practise Jum cultivation). “The Jumma people, and a small number of descendants of Assames and Gorkhas, have been living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts for centuries,” says Pallab.

“I belong to the Chakma indigenous group. The largest among the all indigenous groups in this area. We have our own traditional customary land management system and judiciary headed by our Circle Chief. Apart from regular state law, we also practice our customary system of land management and judiciary by our own way.”

Pallab is now a fierce advocate for these indigenous rights and fighting for his community’s equality through his current role as the Executive Director of the Kapaeeng Foundation, a human rights organisation of indigenous peoples of Bangladesh run by indigenous peoples themselves.

He has also made his name with the Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples’ Forum where he holds the position of Assistant General Secretary in the National Committee and is one of the editors of the Annual Human Rights Report of Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh, a regular report on indigenous peoples’ human rights situations.

The Chittagong Hill Tracts are described by Amnesty International as a little-known place in Bangladesh where great beauty is the backdrop to a sordid brutality.

After decades of displacement and violent conflict, 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord was signed between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government and the Jumma people of the CHT over their lands and other administrative issues.

While the Peace Accord ended much of the decades of armed conflict in the troubled region of Bangladesh, many of the issues still persist – including legal recognition by the Bangladesh Constitution, ownership, settlement and their rights to traditional lands, livelihood and culture, military occupation, and the Jumma’s political autonomy – and action to combat these human rights violations have been stifled.

“Indigenous peoples in Bangladesh are discriminated against in many ways. Their traditional lands are being grabbed by influential and majority groups of people. Sometimes they are forcefully evicted from their ancestral land due to implementation of development projects in the name of establishment of tourism complexes, military bases, reserve forests, and eco-parks,” he says.

“Due to their ethnic identity indigenous peoples often become victims of wage discrimination in some parts of the country, and do not have access to justice especially in the cases of violence against indigenous women.”

“These indigenous peoples in Bangladesh are not even recognised in the country’s constitution.”

Pallab has made it his life’s work to uphold these traditional collective rights over land, territories and resources, to ensure all civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights to protect the vulnerable indigenous peoples in the country.

As Executive Chief of the organisation he leads his team and the wider community through a range of activities to protect their culture and customs including policy advocacy, awareness, capacity building, networking, mobilising funds, research, and community mobilisation.

One of the most successful projects Pallab has been a part of is when last year, he and his fellow Bangladeshi Australia Awards alumni – Janet Naco, Shohel Chandra Hajang and Lelung Khumi – successfully lobbied the country’s Government for legal reforms to stop the pollution of CHT water sources in their indigenous community.

After years of campaigning and community empowerment from the group, the Bangladeshi High Court has directed the involved authorities to immediately stop extraction of stone from Sangu and Matamuhri rivers in Bandarban, and declared the practice illegal.

While there is still lots of work to do, this is a major step in protecting the local Jumma peoples and their homeland, and the dangers that they have been facing concerning access to clean drinking water, the coinciding health issues, and subsequent environmental hazards.

Education has been a significant part of this journey too, as growing up he noticed many people in his community were not aware of their rights and were therefore often unable to contribute in preserving, protecting and developing their traditional culture and customs.

However, he witnessed the influence education had in empowering educated members of the community and galvanising these indigenous groups to protect their rights, so he decided to pursue higher education as well.

“I consider myself lucky that I got this opportunity to contribute in rising the community.”

After earning a Bachelor in International Relations in Bangladesh, he cemented a keen interest in international affairs and politics, and how these structures contributed to conflict, peace, and negotiation.

He then spotted an opportunity to study peace and conflict studies through an Australia Awards Scholarship, formerly known as an Australian Development Scholarship, and immediately applied for it. He was successful in this application, and as a result, landed a place in UniSA’s Master of Mediation and Conflict Resolution program.

After graduating from the University in 2013, and now as Executive Director, Pallab has led the Kapaeeng Foundation through a number of successful programs, however, he still sees his voice as a great privilege.

“Indigenous peoples are one of the most vulnerable groups in the society in respect of enjoying civil and political rights in the country. Therefore, indigenous leaders thought they should have a human rights platform of their own from where they could raise their voices against any kinds of human rights violation perpetrated against indigenous peoples,” he says.

“Now Kapaeeng Foundation is that platform which works for promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in the country. Being an indigenous rights activist and leading the KF as Executive Director, I am very happy with the work I am doing for my own people.”

“I consider myself lucky that I got this opportunity to contribute in rising up the community.”

“I believe that, if we stand together and fight together, we could bring positive change to our society,” adds Pallab.”


Dr Tian GaoDr Tian Gao

Director, Jinan Central Hospital
Vice Chairman of Quality, Safety, Health and Environment (QSHE), Specialized Committee of Chinese Research Hospital Association
Vice Chairman of Balanced Scorecard Specialized Committee of China Federation for Hospital Quality Management

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Business

May 2020

Dr Tian Gao has spent his entire three-decade spanning career in the healthcare industry, working in various departments at the Jinan Central Hospital in China’s Shangdong Province. Yet, the disruption and chaos the COVID-19 outbreak has spread throughout the world has been unlike anything he has seen before.

Currently, as a senior member of the hospital and one that has held roles in the past such as Director of the Blood Purification Center, Director of the Planning and Finance Department, Director of the Performance Management Department, Dr Gao was poised to play a vital role in curbing the spread of the virus in his department.

In order to respond to the epidemic, Jinan Central Hospital – the largest hospital owned by the Jinan Municipal Government with more than 2000 beds – established the Anti-Epidemic Headquarters, which comprised of hospital leaders, relevant functional department leaders with experts in infectious diseases, intensive medicine, and respiratory medicine.

“It has been very difficult for the hospital at work during these past few months,” Dr Gao says. “We ended our public holiday early on January 25 and returned to work immediately.”

“Jinan Central Hospital was part of the first batch of designated hospitals for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, so all the work quickly turned to epidemic prevention.”

This whole new department of the hospital became the centre of the battle against COVID-19 in the area – dispatching the anti-epidemic work daily, organising video learning, training all hospital staff on the latest diagnostic guidelines and protection requirements, and sorting through the work dispatches from the Jinan Municipal Government anti-epidemic headquarters every day.

Once how contagious and potentially deadly the virus was understood to be, the hospital’s workload and efficiency it prided itself on was abandoned. Safety became the number one priority.

Certain clinical departments were closed down and the admission of patients in most other departments were controlled as well. To avoid infections originating in the hospital, all other patient admissions, except for emergency patients and those requiring maintenance treatment, were restricted.

“In the early stages of the epidemic, our medical personnel faced a great deal of pressure as the diagnosis and transmission of COVID-19 patients was at a stage of continuous recognition.”

“However, it strengthened the management of our fever clinics, forced us to set up isolation wards, and from the end of January we began to undertake the task of nucleic acid detection of COVID-19.”

“As a result, the hospital's performance pay plan was also temporarily adjusted. It is now fully tilted to the frontline medical staff who are at the highest risk of epidemic protection.”

Dr Tian Gao completed his PhD at UniSA in 2012 and continues to draw from his time in Australia. His learnings in this period have kept him in good stead in the face of such crises and the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“It should be said that through my study in UniSA, my overall ability to learn, research and work has been systematically improved. So that when I now encounter problems, I am more willing to evaluate on the whole and seek systematic solutions,” he says.

“These teachings made me firm in the early stages of the epidemic. With the limited and cluttered information analysis at that time, I was able to strengthen my confidence in overcoming the epidemic and quickly overcome the panic, actively seeking countermeasures in my work. This included quickly formulating a designated epidemic work performance plan for the hospital as well.”

Jinan City as a whole implemented control over its communities by just allowing community residents to venture in and out, while at the same time measuring all temperatures and those with fevers were sent to the hospital immediately.

The City established such effective control measures, that as of early April, all patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in the area have been discharged.

While these past few months have been a trying time for both China and Dr Tian Gao’s contingent in Jinan, the country is slowly emerging from mandated lockdowns and are finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“In Jinan, although people entering and leaving the community are being tested for temperature, entry and exit controls have begun to loosen,” Dr Gao says.

“Due to the impact of the epidemic, people are still maintaining good protective habits, such as washing hands frequently and wearing masks in public places. But the daily life of Jinan citizens has basically returned to normal, and restaurants, shopping malls, parks and other public places have resumed business.”

With COVID-19 under control in Jinan since late January, as part of requirements from the Shandong Provincial Government, the Jinan Central Hospital has even sent five separate batches of 17 doctors and nurses to work in COVID-19 patient treatment designated hospitals in China’s hardest hit province, Hubei.

Now with even the Chinese COVID-19 epicentre –Wuhan in Hubei – beginning to open back up, the epidemic resistant measures and the effectiveness in China is providing hope for harder hit countries still in the midst of their outbreak and lockdowns.

“China has implemented these measures, so the epidemic has been quickly and effectively controlled. In some other countries, such as South Korea, similar measures have been adopted. The Italian epidemic has also started to get under control,” he says.

“Viruses have no borders and are not treated differently based on race. Control of the epidemic needs cooperation, including domestic and international cooperation, and resources of the whole society.”

With much of the world still battling the virus and UniSA alumni in more than 134 countries feeling the grave effects of both the health and economic damage, few corners of the globe will not be touched by the devastating COVID-19 fallout.

While efforts in Australia are proving hopeful and seem to be effectively ‘flattening the curve’, the tough lockdown measures are becoming increasingly frustrating for some. However, Dr Gao encourages such parts of the world to remain vigilant and not give up just yet.

“Up to now, people's understanding of COVID-19 is still in constant progress, and its infectivity and harm are beyond people's previous understanding.”

“You need to still take effective measures to conduct comprehensive screening for suspected patients, track all contacts according to the epidemiology, and isolate them.”

“Stop the gathering activities of people in public places and wear masks to protect themselves and prevent infecting others. Those who do not want to wear masks and observe isolation measures should understand that personal freedom should not jeopardise the safety of others. Give up such freedom in time to protect yourself and help others.”

“With the joint efforts of the whole society, the epidemic situation in other countries in the world will eventually be effectively controlled.”

“Epidemic control needs global and social cooperation.”


Terry IntarakhamhaengTerry Intarakhamhaeng

Head Chef & Co-Owner at Soi38

Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Sustainability

May 2020

An encouraging upside of the disruption the COVID-19 crisis has produced is seeing all the ingenious and enterprising ways a number of our University of South Australia Alumni have respond to the chaos and uncertainty.

The thoughtful and entrepreneurial – and often compassionate – solutions we have seen is something every business owner and alum around the world can learn and take inspiration from.

One of these people is University of South Australia Environmental Management and Sustainability alum, Terry Intarakhamhaeng.

If you’ve ever strolled down Pulteney Street on a Friday or Saturday night – or any day of the week for that matter – you may have spotted a storefront opposite Rundle Mall bursting with avid restaurant goers and the unmistakeable smell of authentic Thai food emanating from Terry Intarakhamhaeng and Daisy Miller’s Soi38.

These city streets today, however, are virtually empty and the silence marks a dark and uncertain time in our once thriving hospitality and food industry.

When the COVID-19 shutdown measures came into effect across the country, our favourite cafes, restaurants, pubs, and bars had to react quickly and adapt to the rapidly changing landscape.

Among those acting swiftly to the new normal is UniSA alum, Terry Intarakhamhaeng, Co-Owner and Head Chef of Soi38 on Pulteney Street, consistently named one of the country’s best Thai restaurants and Winner of Best Thai Restaurant at the National Savour Awards for Excellence 2019.

When the mandated shutdowns came into effect, Terry joined forces with two other celebrated Adelaide chefs – Paul Baker of the Botanic Gardens Restaurant and Emma McCaskill of Sparkke at the Whitmore and previously Penfold’s Magill Estate – to establish Chefs on Wheels.

Chefs on Wheels is an ingenious collaboration between the group of chefs and a wholesale distributor to deliver a collection of dishes and food products from Adelaide’s favourite restaurants, chefs and brands, with the simple ethos: ‘if Adelaide’s chefs can’t feed you in their restaurants, let them feed you in your home’.

“We all feel passionately about good food and good hospitality and when we looked at the reality of our restaurants closing, we still wanted to do what we loved anyway – cooking great food from great producers for as many people as possible,” says Terry.

“The joy of going to a restaurant is that you can relax while someone else does all the work and you catch up with the people you are eating with.”

“While the Chefs on Wheels team aren’t going to come over and help you with the dishes, we do hope that our meals are easy enough, and special enough, that you still feel the magic of sitting around a restaurant table a little bit.”

The concept was originally designed to make sure suppliers and producers were looked after, but also so that frontline health workers, as well as vulnerable communities and the homeless, would have affordable, quality meals that would be easy to prepare.

The meals are either picked up at their kitchen in Glynde or delivered directly to your home by staff that would normally be serving you or working hard to manufacture your favourite products.

The enterprising initiative has been such a success more dishes and chefs are being added to the line-up each week, with pastry enthusiasts and City West neighbours, Abbots & Kinney, Hahndorf’s Comida, K&R Produce, and a new drink menu, joining the most recent offerings.

Growing up in Thailand’s Khao Yai National Park, conservation and environmental sustainability was always an unmistakeable passion and gift for Terry.

After moving to Australia following a 10-year career as a tour guide, specialising in the conservation of birds, Terry worked for Zoos SA during the day and in Thai kitchens in the evening, on nights he wasn’t studying Environmental Management and Sustainability at UniSA.

Then, after scoring a place on the opening team at Jock Zonfrillo's famed, Restaurant Orana, and also working in the kitchen of Jock’s street-food restaurant, Street ADL, his love of food began to materialise as a legitimate career path.

“Working with Jock introduced me to native Australian ingredients for the first time. Jock’s passion for both food and environment changed the way I thought about my career,” he says.

“After my experience there, I saw how my knowledge of environmental science and sustainability could work hand in hand with my love of cooking. Soi38 came from mixing my career path with my culture and history.”

His time at UniSA and immersion in the Environmental Management and Sustainability teachings still ring true for Terry and his team at Soi38, influencing both his food and restaurant’s practices.

“My menu at Soi38 used to change every three weeks to ensure we were using seasonal produce. We chose to do this because of the amount of water that non-seasonal produce uses by comparison to in-season produce.”

“We also use as much local produce as we can, with the exception of our rice, which we choose to import from Thailand due to issues around water use in rice production in Australia. I also use native and wild ingredients where I can.”

“Our menu is very traditional Thai, but it doesn’t make sense to use water buffalo in South Australia for example, when Kangaroo serves a very similar purpose.”

With such experienced and illustrious chefs backing Chefs on Wheels it’s no wonder the growing collection of dishes from Adelaide's favourite restaurants, has been providing the city with a little reprieve during these unprecedented times.

“So far the response has been so much better than we could have anticipated,” says Terry. “We are proud of what we create, but to hear people talk about how much they have enjoyed the quality, the flavour and the options, has been incredible.”

“We have had our hiccups – it has only been a month after all – but we are proud of how each of us has worked together passionately and positively to continue to improve the product and service.”

So, what does Terry recommend for your next ready-made meal delivered directly to your door from Chefs on Wheels?

“Currently my favourite dish is the Beef Massaman curry.”

“I love this dish because of the producer I get to work with. Tom Bradman, from Nomad Farms, grows Black Angas and Murray Grey beef on his farm in Finniss and uses Regenerative Farming practices across his property.”

“Tom also grows the chickens that we use in the restaurant in the same way, and his neighbours, Kat and Luke, run Farmer Falkai where we get our pasture raised eggs.”

“Working directly with producers, especially producers who are so passionate about the environment is a privilege that I am very grateful for.”

We want to know if you – or another UniSA alumni you know – has responded to the COVID-19 crisis in an inspiring or enterprising way, just like Terry and the Soi38 & Chefs on Wheels teams. Send through your stories or tips to jacinta.mazzarolo@unisa.edu.au.

SOI38 Alumni Discount

Soi38 is now also creating cook-at-home recipe boxes you can order from their website here. The brilliant team at Soi38 have been generous enough to provide all UniSA Alumni with a special discount too.

You can get a 5% discount off of all orders using the code UNISA5 at checkout!

Chefs on Wheels

To order your own ready-made meals from the state’s best restaurants through Chefs on Wheels visit their website here.

Order by 5pm Sunday each week for delivery. Pick up also available from their Glynde kitchen Wednesday, Thursday or Friday via click & collect.

The team have also launched an initiative together to provide meals to those experiencing homelessness through the Chefs on Wheels kitchen, delivered to those in need by the Hutt St Centre.

Make someone’s week by purchasing a $12 ‘Motel Meal Kit’ with your next Chefs on Wheels order here.


Wawira NjiruWawira Njiru

Founder and Executive Director, Food 4 Education, Kenya

2018 UniSA Alumni Award Winner
Bachelor Nutrition & Food Sciences

May 2020

Wawira Njiru started Food 4 Education feeding 25 children with little money while still at university. Now the organisation has grown beyond her wildest dreams having delivered more than one million meals to Kenya’s most vulnerable children.

Even today, she’s still just as driven and admirably ambitious.

At the beginning of this year, the Food for Education founder and her dedicated team, made a commitment to feed 100,000 Kenyan children by the end of 2020. And while these past few months have already seen unprecedented events and subsequent disruption, it’s a goal they’re still committed to – albeit with a couple of detours along the way.

Wawira’s brainchild, Food for Education, provides regular nutritious subsidised lunches to over 10,000 school-going children in public primary schools in Kenya, brilliantly leveraging the technology platform Tap2Eat to provide these meals.

However, when news of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Wawira and her team acted quickly and swiftly employed a three-part response to counteract the effects the Kenyan community – already vulnerable – would be feeling.

“We are currently following the Government’s directives to stay and work from home as much as possible and observe social distancing as well as maintaining the highest standards of sanitation,” she explains.

“But we wanted to make sure our children and community are taken care of as we continue to navigate this new reality.”

“A lot of families have been affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 and we are trying to build safety nets such as food banks to shelter them.”

“Most of the children we work with come from vulnerable families where parents are casual labourers relying on daily wages.”

When we talked to Wawira, schools in Kenya had been closed for about four weeks and Food for Education had to unfortunately shutdown all operations in their central kitchen. Therefore, they had to act fast.

“With the economic impact of this pandemic felt across the country and globe, our children and their families remain at grave risk of hunger and malnutrition.”

“This is why we decided to set up a food bank for our 6000 families, that will help cushion them during this period and ensure our children still have access to nutritious food.”

“Each family will receive a dry food basket that includes rice, beans, maize and maize flour, sufficient to feed a family for 6 weeks, in the event that an ongoing lockdown disrupts their access to food staples.”

“We are also caring for our staff by providing full wages in this crisis and health subsidies to those who are in need. We are also increasing our school lunch subsidy for the rest of the year to cushion parents once schools resume.”

With such a rapid, compassionate and thoughtful response, it’s no wonder Wawira was voted the 2019 Most Influential Young Kenyan in Social Enterprise & Philanthropy by Avance Media, Africa's Leading Rating, Media and Public Relations Agency.

The proof also further lies in the millions of meals delivered to children that have continued to thrive as a result, leading to improved nutrition, school attendance, performance and higher high school transition rates in Kenya.

And how is Wawira faring personally during this time?

“We are doing great, all things considered, just trying to stay positive and hopeful that all this will be over soon.”

“At the beginning of 2020, our goal was to feed 100,000 children by the end of the year, a goal we are still committed to. Our second central kitchen is also currently under construction and that will allow us to feed more children.

“We can only hope for an end to this pandemic so we can go back to doing what we love to do and that’s feeding the future.”

To support Food for Education’s vital work, please visit their website: www.food4education.org.


Clare RawlinsonClare Rawlinson

Senior Producer at Stitcher Originals

Bachelor of Journalism

May 2020

When Clare graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of South Australia in 2010, podcasts had not quite yet become the cultural phenomenon they have become today.

After she began her career working for a country newspaper and cutting her teeth in various ABC radio and television newsrooms, Clare looked to New York City where she was continuously inspired by the audio content being produced there.

After many failed online job applications, she found talking to people – even via Twitter – quickly led to a great opportunity at Stitcher as a development producer. “New Yorkers would call this hustling, and it worked!” In just the short three years she has been there, Clare has developed and launched several shows, including Unladylike, Household Name, The Dream, Mob Queens, Science Rules with Bill Nye.

Now from May onwards, she starts a new adventure working with Audible Australia to help build a slate of factual shows for the Australian and international audience.

We talk to Clare about her journey, personal recommendations and why now in a world mired by COVID-19 – essentially shutdown – podcasts are still dominating the media landscape and becoming more important than ever.

1. The COVID-19 situation is pretty serious in NYC currently. Are you still in the US? How have you been spending your days in isolation?

We decided to move back to Australia the day the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Coronavirus a pandemic, which was also the day New York workplaces were advised to move to a work-from-home policy.

Stitcher announced we would be moving to an exclusive work-from-home policy and most businesses that could do so also made this choice in early March. I could see that it was just the start of a very difficult time for New York.

I was already planning to move back to Australia at some point this year, so the pandemic just, let’s say, bumped my schedule up. It was not how I wanted to leave New York, and I still hope to return to have proper farewells as soon as it’s safe to do so.

In Melbourne, I’ve been working in quarantine and doing a lot of cooking, phone calls, and also napping. I get up at 4:30am to have a few hours of overlap with New York still, and go to bed really early.

I live with my partner and our two housemates that we lived with in New York, who are also Australian, so we’re all dealing with the same struggle of having left the city we love so suddenly and feeling a little caught between two worlds.

But I’m incredibly grateful to have a safe place to live and meaningful work to do.

2. So for those that don’t know, what does being a Senior Podcast Producer at Stitcher Originals actually entail?

Being a podcast producer can mean all kinds of things.

For me, it is a mix of talent scouting, coaching new hosts, developing new concepts, pitching shows and stories (a lot!), finding and booking great guests, editing audio, writing narrative scripts and sometimes just setting up simple show formats, leading teams of producers and talent (showrunning!), and working alongside story editors and external partners to bring shows to life in the best versions they can be.

Unlike working in a newsroom, it is less demanding on a daily and hourly deadline level, but I find it takes more leadership, time management and creativity.

3. I’ve noticed lately my friends and I turn a lot to podcasts – both when we want information from trusted professionals and when we need a distraction from what’s going on in the world – what do podcasts mean to you?

Podcasts are companionship for me. Whether I want to digest the news, or be inspired by art and music, or catch up on TV gossip, I find podcasts are the most friendly and intimate place for me to do that.

I love having my headphones in on the subway, or while doing chores, and often catch myself laughing out loud at something shared between me and the podcast I’m listening to.

I think it is also a place a lot of voices have the greatest platform to present themselves unfiltered. It’s not like a TV show, newspaper or even live radio, where there is a sense of the host in a public place or on stage performing a version of themselves.

On a podcast, the conceit of talking to a crowd or some distant vast audience always falls flat.

4. Do you have any thoughts about the importance of podcasts and a service like Stitcher in our world today?

Social distancing is hard, and our usual mechanisms for comfort and intimacy are either impossible or don’t feel safe (sharing meals with friends and family, hugging, or maybe going to book club).

The intimacy that podcasts provide is something I’m leaning on now, and that I hope I can provide to others as a producer.

Yesterday I listened to a 9-minute poetry podcast (Poetry Unbound) on repeat a few times, because it brought me a lot of peace when I was feeling anxious after reading the news.

Equally, podcasts can provide news and information in useful and personal ways, and this is what Stitcher aims to achieve with the new Coronavirus Edition of Science Rules that I’m producing.

Clare’s Personal Recommendations

With her unmatchable knowledge of all things podcasting, we asked Clare what shows she would personally recommend for any occasion. Check the goldmine below!

What podcast would you recommend as a reprieve from what is happening in the world right now?

Floodlines. This is an incredibly beautiful and moving podcast by The Atlantic about several people’s experiences of Hurrican Katrina in New Orleans. It is scored by jazz legend Christian Scott and narrated by the writer Vann Newkirk.

Yes, it is about a disaster, but the time and distance it is told from has a soothing effect for the listener: there will also be a day when a podcast is made about COVID-19, as a moment in history and not a current crisis.

What podcast would you recommend as a source of useful information as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold?

Personal plug, but obviously Science Rules! With Bill Nye. And the ABC’s Coronacast, or the NYT’s Sugar Calling if you want some self-care listening.

What’s the best podcast to listen to while cooking?

The Guilty Feminist.

What’s the best podcast to listen to while exercising?

I don’t think I could listen to a podcast while actually exercising, but I like long interview shows for going on walks – Longform Podcast, On Being, New Yorker Fiction.

What’s the best podcast to listen to while on your commute to work?

News and chat podcasts – NYT’s The Daily & Still Processing, NPR’s It’s Been a Minute, Gimlet’s The Cut on Tuesdays (R.I.P.), Unladylike.

Do you have a favourite podcast at the moment?

Floodlines. But my favourite from the past year was The Ballad of Billy Balls.


Professor Henning BjornlundProfessor Henning Bjornlund

Research Professor in Water Policy and Management

Bachelor of Business (Property)
Doctorate by Research, Business & Management

February 2020

When UniSA’s Professor Henning Bjornlund first arrived at the Silalatshani irrigation scheme in southern Zimbabwe in 2013, he was confronted with contrast.

In one field an old woman was struggling to tend a maize crop overcome with weeds; too old to tackle the weeds, and too poor to afford fertilizer, she was ready to give up. In another field, a young farmer was organising a group of workers, growing garlic in what looked like a profitable enterprise.

Oddly enough, the scheme’s Irrigation Management Committee had asked the young farmer to cease planting, simply because garlic was not listed on the scheme’s 50-year-old cropping calendar of prescribed plantings.

Six years on, the garlic farmer has come to represent the remarkable improvement in the lives of farmers and their families in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe thanks to UniSA research by international water policy and management expert Prof Bjornlund.

Switching focus from researching water solutions for the Murray Darling Basin to investigating viable water options in sub-Saharan Africa in 2013, he says the positive impact on lives in rural Africa has been deeply rewarding.

“Working in Africa is absolutely the highlight of my career,” Prof Bjornlund says.

“Certainly, I look to the irrigators in Australia and see that I’ve contributed to various developments and policy changes, but until now I haven’t been able to point to an individual family and say: ‘have a look at these people – they now have tin roofs. Or, look at this girl – she just finished university’

“Seeing how the irrigators have gained confidence, material wellbeing and capacity to educate their kids has been extraordinary.”

Prof Bjornlund has been working on a series of irrigation projects to alleviate poverty, improve food security, and provide economic growth and development for people in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Funded through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), in collaboration with CSIRO, ANU and undertaken in partnership with African researchers alongside small-holder irrigators and agencies, the projects have focused on improving farm productivity and profitability in tandem.

Until recently, irrigation in sub-Saharan Africa has been inadequate due to weak water governance, poor market integration, degradation and poor use of irrigated land.

A major challenge was shifting old habits entrenched since the first Zimbabwean irrigation schemes were built in the late 1960s.

“At that time, countries like Zimbabwe and Mozambique were able to secure donors to invest in these schemes so that they could produce staple food and counteract their concerns about food security.

“But over time, climate and weather patterns changed, and so too did productive crops, trapping many farmers in farming unprofitable staples.

“As staple food became cheaper to buy than to grow, farmers couldn’t productively maintain their crops, leaving them unwilling to maintain irrigation infrastructures until the structures simply deteriorated and collapsed.

“Today, the Director of the Irrigation Department in Harare no longer prescribes what farmers grow, so long as they make money and there is less conflict on the irrigation scheme. This is a direct outcome of research and education.”

The first research project introduced on-farm soil moisture monitoring tools and Agricultural Innovation Platforms (AIPs) to five small-scale irrigation schemes in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

UniSA researcher Karen Parry has been working on this project as part of her PhD. Recently returned from a three-month trip to Zimbabwe, she says the soil monitoring data is available to farmers.

“This data lets farmers ‘see’ the soil moisture status at three different depths and they record this in a field book alongside details about inputs, crop volumes, prices received, rainfall and irrigation events,” Parry says.

“The AIP process helps farmers overcome barriers such as access to markets, realising profit from improved yields, and building social capital, through problem solving and training. As a result, the project has created large-scale changes in behaviour and significant water savings in the small-scale irrigation schemes.

Parry says this has led to more water being available for downstream users, which in turn, has reduced conflict on the irrigation schemes and contributed to more people ensuring the maintenance of the system.

“We’ve also seen reduced labour requirements for irrigation, more opportunities for off-farm activities and income diversification, improved crop yields, better food security and more capacity to pay for health, education and irrigation charges,” she says.

“It’s been incredible to see the resourcefulness and motivation of the farmers as they quickly adapt their practices.”

This first irrigation project ran from 2013-2017; an expanded project is now halfway through a four-year period which finishes at the end of June 2021.

The ethos of the monitoring tools is providing an experiential learning opportunity – farmers learn on the job and the new knowledge spread saround the scheme.

Prof Bjornlund says the project has now been expanded across the three countries with farmers from the initial schemes helping to introduce the tools and set up AIPs in the new schemes.

"It’s becoming really powerful,’’ Prof Bjornlund says. “Farmers involved in a new scheme change their behaviours more quickly because there are other farmers showing them what to do.”

Prof Bjornlund says while the use of the soil monitoring equipment has improved farm productivity – through for example, reduced water requirements and increased yields – it was important to introduce the tools and the AIP together to address poor market linkages and other challenges. In this way, farmers can achieve better returns and increased profitability from their crops.

“Until we start to think about irrigation schemes as complex socio-ecological systems, rather than concrete channels, diversion systems and pumps, we won’t change anything,” Prof Bjornlund says. “Building this understanding is basically the underlying philosophy of the project."

Prof Bjornlund says more productive harvests mean more money for farmers, enabling them to access additional land, farm inputs such as fertilizer, hired labour and equipment, as well as having enough money to send their children to school. It also lets them grow higher value crops, or use the increased income to buy staple food instead of producing it.

“We are very much looking at changing mindsets and encouraging behavioural change. Ultimately, the goal is to get farmers, and the institutions that surround them, thinking about how they can shift from subsistence growing to considering that they’re in business,” Prof Bjornlund says.

“Farmers now maintain field books and compute gross margins at the end of each season. They’re also starting to learn that other crops, like certain peas, beans and green maize have better gross margins.

“At our last meeting in Zimbabwe, farmers told us that the gross margin for garlic was up to 100 times more than grain maize. As soon as people can see that they can make money and save time, they adopt the new processes.”

He says time saving has been a major driver for change.

“Labour is one of the most constraining factors in the African farm household because most families can’t afford to pay for people to work, relying solely on their family labour.”

The benefits of lifting farm profitability through the new irrigation management practices have allowed families to diversify their income with some women able to use one day a week to bake buns to sell at the market or to open a hairdressing salon.

“This diversification is critical, as it introduces a secondary income should something happen to their primary crop,’’ Prof Bjornlund says.

Prof Bjornlund asked a Mozambique project partner why he was so engaged in a project that focused on farmer innovation and not water infrastructure, given that the partner’s in-kind contribution to the project was much higher than the research project funds.

Farmers are also using technology to link to buyers. Mobile phone use is common (network permitting) and farmers use the WhatsApp platform to connect to buyers and transporters, facilitating multiple small farmers to fill large orders, and get higher prices for their produce in markets outside the scheme.

Prof Bjornlund says the use of CSIRO-developed soil monitoring tools used in the research project are now being made in a South African production facility.

“By addressing water use productivity and profitability you start a self-reinforcing cycle of development,” Prof Bjornlund says. “I have seen middle-aged women stand out in the field saying, ‘we are now in business!’, and that’s because they’re starting to see something that’s profitable.”

Prof Bjornlund asked a Mozambique project partner why he was so engaged in a project that focused on farmer innovation and not water infrastructure, given that the partner’s in-kind contribution to the project was much higher than the research project funds.

“I can get untold millions to pour concrete, but I couldn’t get $50,000 to organise AIPs. Nobody wants to fund that kind of work,” the project partner said.

“Yet this approach engenders mindset change and leads to locally-driven solutions for the complex challenges bedeviling small-scale irrigation. “And, we’re changing people’s lives for the better.”

For more information, visit: unisabusinessschool.edu.au/magazine.


Max HuntMax Hunt

Director & Designer, Hunt Furniture

Bachelor of Design (Product Innovation)

February 2020

When Max graduated from what was then called the product innovation program at UniSA in 2011, he had hopes of practicing as an industrial designer. Things didn’t quite go to plan – but the success and ubiquity of Max’s business, Hunt Furniture, since its inception soon after graduation, speaks for itself.

“Initially I thought I’d be a pure industrial designer who designed a little furniture, but I ended up the other way around,” says Max. “I decided to continue to push through with self-initiated projects until something worked. Expect nothing but the unexpected.”

Though often dismissed in terms of career opportunities, Max sees South Australia as a prime destination for furniture design thanks to its long history of craftsmanship that has resulted in irreplaceable expertise.

It is true that South Australia has a rich history of local knowledge in furniture design and manufacturing. Many staples of the mid-century modern – for some the golden era of Australian design – were locally designed and made.

National players T.H Brown, Leo Conci and E.R Noblett all called Adelaide home. Small to medium generational manufacturers thrived, and demand for these pieces steadily grew. A fascination with this influential era in South Australian design persists – original modernist pieces that carry the T.H Brown or Noblett seal are a staple for vintage stores, second-hand sellers and collectors, and fetch a high price for their notoriety.

Since the collapse of the manufacturing sector, a gap between history and cultural knowledge has emerged. A catalogue essay that accompanied a 2018 exhibition at Adelaide’s JamFactory acknowledged the difficulty of tracking the industry’s development: “the furniture manufacturing industry has been overlooked in records of the State’s relatively short history since colonisation … information about furniture manufacturing in South Australia is scarce.”

In more recent history, local conditions have driven changes in the strategies used to produce pieces. New manufacturing techniques emerged, facilitating unique combinations of industry production and hand-finishing, and mirroring concurrent architectural developments in a melding of disciplines that would come to characterise 21st century design trends. In South Australia, these strategies have survived better than elsewhere.

“We have an amazing wealth of manufacturing knowledge right here and we are very competitively priced," says Max. “South Australia should be a destination for designers all over Australia to make their products.”

Hunt Furniture has operated for almost a decade on a philosophy of original design, local craftsmanship and collaboration. Born in the UK and immigrating to Australia as child, Max’s early interests in art and design led to his pursuing industrial design.

He began working at a furniture retailer, moving to an electrical drafting job after university and eventually moving on to manage Hunt Furniture full-time. These days, Max’s recognisably modern pieces are a feature of many local fit outs across Adelaide, as well as interstate and international applications.

Max cites influences far and wide, emphasising the importance of taking inspiration from outside of your discipline: “I can’t just focus on one part of design. I like it all … the big goal is to establish a multidisciplinary studio. Keep it interesting.”

Hunt Furniture is known for authentic, original design and affordable prices that reflect the craftsmanship of each piece. Much of the changing of the South Australian furniture manufacturing industry was set in motion long before Hunt Furniture came into its own, so Max’s goal is to build on the legacy and utilise the wealth of knowledge at his fingertips.

For many designers, finding a balance between high quality, authentic design and affordability presents a major challenge. When asked about the future of furniture design, Max points to Australia’s rising problem with imitation and replica products as the design industry’s major contemporary dilemma.

“It seems crazy that the laws around copyright and intellectual property that apply to a photographer or artist don’t apply to design … [corporations] should be held accountable for ripping off so many designers.”

Like so many other designers and makers, Max has felt the effects of the replica industry. Still known to some as the Hunt stool thanks to its success, the HS650 was inspired by the classic workshop stool found in sheds and studios across Australia. It was one of Hunt Furniture’s earliest successes and one that put the burgeoning brand on the map.

In 2015, after approaching Hunt Furniture at a design fair in Melbourne, a major retailer released a near-exact replica of the HS650 for a fraction of the cost. Sales of the original product quickly tapered off, and Max was informed by legal aid that his design was not covered by intellectual property law.

It’s unfortunately a story that is all too familiar for designers, sellers and makers across Australia. In 2010, discontent with the state of Australian intellection property law led to the creation of the Authentic Design Alliance, an organisation that has campaigned heavily against the practice with a renewed focus in the last few years.

Despite a growing trend towards ethical and local consumption in some parts of the community in recent years, Max says this shift is not being felt at the base level that needs it most, and government response remains minimal.

“There needs to be a change in the law … if we can’t change the protection for designers, price always wins. Not many people want to buy something for $300 from a designer if people mistake it for a $25 stool from Kmart.”

With this in mind, Max’s advice for new students, recent graduates, and emerging creatives wondering how to navigate the minefield is simple but clear.

“Start designing and making and the rest will fall into place. Don’t quit your day job if you don’t have to. Build things people want. Learn new ideas. Pay yourself first. Be obsessed."

"Be authentic.”

For more info about how tertiary study in product and industrial design at the University of South Australia can lead to a range of careers across design disciplines, visit the website here.


Leonora ChiengLeonora Chieng

Manager, Infrastructure & Projects at Queen Victoria Market

Bachelor of Architecture (Honours)

January 2020

When Malaysian native, Leonora Chieng, arrived in peaceful Adelaide 25 years ago, her first impression was far from the frenetic pace of a big developed country she was imagining. The contrast was disorientating at first.

“My first thoughts were: it is a country town! Where are the high rises and flyovers?” She recalls. But soon the budding architect grew to love the city – the weather, beaches, and easy way of life eventually winning her over.

“The weather is better than Melbourne where I now live! And not forgetting the beaches… I think Adelaide, of all the capital cities in Australia, has the best beaches.”

Leonora has since adopted Australia as her home country contributing to some of its most impressive landmarks as an architecture graduate and project manager, including the Australian National Botanical Gardens, Old Parliament House and Federation Square thanks to her Australian education.

She now serves as Manager of Infrastructure & Projects at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne driving their AUD$250 million renewal project, the biggest investment in Melbourne City Council’s history.

“I was head hunted for my current role at Queen Victoria Market as I was working at Federation Square which has similarities in terms of them both being iconic precincts of Melbourne,” she says.

“I was also interested in being part of the history in the making, working on the project that is the largest and most ambitious investment in the history of Melbourne City Council.”

While the role is history making – helping drive the world’s largest market infrastructure renewal project – Leonora is responsible in ensuring that the new facilities meet the operational requirements for the Queen Victoria Market which she says requires a lot of meetings.

“Whether that’s to improve processes, attending design workshops, collaborating with all departments of the organisation to ensure the future facilities meet our operational needs, I’m always meeting with my team to ensure that I provide the support that is required to facilitate smooth delivery of these projects,” she says.

“My role as the Manager of Infrastructure & Projects also means that I’m constantly planning for future capital asset projects as well.”

Leonora cites the practical focus of the architecture course at UniSA as giving her the confidence to accomplish her professional goals and access to industry connections, such as some of the most respected Australian architecture and engineering firms, crucial steps in her success.

“I was fortunate enough that in my last year of university, one of the biggest and oldest Australian engineering firms, GHD, visited our final year architecture students’ exhibition and contacted the Head of School that they were interested in hiring the top graduating student,” she says.

“Lo and behold, I received a phone call from the Head of School at the time asking me if I had any intention to stay back and live in Australia – and I certainly did.”

It was here she became a Registered Architect and made the transition into a more a project management professional path, where she has seen great success two decades on.

“I spent close to six years working with GHD from the role of Graduate Architect and progressing through to a project management professional. I became a Registered Architect after only working for over two years due to the great exposure and experience I had at GHD.”

From there her career skyrocketed. She had found her niche in project management, working in many of GHD’s offices, from Adelaide to Canberra, Brisbane and Abu Dhabi. Leonora played a key role in refurbishments of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Australian National Botanical Gardens and Old Parliament House.

She also had the chance with GHD to contribute to their major Abu Dhabi Airport upgrades. In fact, Leonora’s expertise was so sought-after, she was headhunted to join the Supervision Committee for the USD$5.7B expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport (SCADIA).

“I relocated to Abu Dhabi after being headhunted for a program management role for one of the world’s most iconic airport projects, which is still under construction now,” Leonora says.

“This involved the construction of a new midfield passenger terminal, a second runway at a distance of 2,000 metres from the existing runway, cargo and maintenance facilities, and other commercial developments.”

“The project saw a doubling of the existing airport land area to 3,400 hectares, with dedicated buffer zones to the north and south, and the new facilities designed for an ultimate capacity of 50 million passengers a year.”

“It was an enormous project.”

After returning to Australia, Leonora worked for both private consulting and government-owned organisations, before ending up at Melbourne’s iconic Federation Square spearheading delivery of the AUD$11.7M Capital Asset Replacement and Renewal Works Program, and later the Queen Victoria Market.

Despite the twists, turns and new heights her career has reached as a high-level project manager, her love and enthusiasm of creating structures from the ground up and places for the public to make memories has always remained.

“I love how not one project is the same,” says Leonora. “Every project has its own challenges, but you are continuously learning something new!”

“…And who doesn’t like to see things being constructed and built – appearing right in front of your eyes.”


Jason ZielkeJason Zielke

A320 Captain and Route Instructor

Bachelor of Applied Science (Civil Aviation)

January 2020

A320 Captain and Route Instructor, Jason Zielke, always knew he would eventually end up above the clouds piloting his very own airplanes. Recalling as a child how exciting it was to visit Adelaide Airport and for him to receive a wave from the pilot in the cockpit, he’s always been particularly enraptured by the idea of flying all over the world.

Here he gives us a little insight to his life in Japan, how he became a Captain and leader at Peach Aviation, and what it took to achieve his dreams.

Jason also explains the power of having good people around you, what his wife and two children have taught him, and why he still keeps in contact with his classmates 25 years later.

1. You call yourself an Airline Professional, A320 Captain and Route Instructor, would you be able to expand on your work and these particular roles?

Presently, I work for budget carrier airline, Peach, based in Kansai, Japan. My official title is an A320 Captain and Route Instructor. What does this mean? Well it means I am the Captain of the aircraft (or what’s called the pilot-in-command). We have a fleet of A320, 180-seat, short haul passenger jets flying domestically (within Japan) and internationally within Asia. Being an airline pilot, my schedule is not always the same – my days vary anywhere from early morning to midnight red-eye flights.

Additionally, I am also a route instructor. This entails teaching new pilots how to fly our aircraft and how to operate the aircraft according to our company standard procedures and within our route network throughout Asia. New pilots range in experience from veteran captains from other airlines to newly licensed co-pilots with little or no previous experience.

2. Did your love of airplanes and flight begin in childhood? Could you tell us about when you decided to pursue this professionally?

The story about my love of aviation is somewhat clichéd. As a young boy growing up in Adelaide our summers were very hot. I recall spending time with my grandparents during these hot summers and not having air conditioning at home they would take me to public attractions, and most importantly to the Adelaide Airport. Whilst I enjoyed the libraries and the museums, and the respite from the heat that they provided, I remember being captivated by the airport.

I can recall spending hours looking at the Vickers Vimy (British heavy bomber aircraft) display located in the parking lot of the airport and then inside the terminal watching all the aircraft arrive and depart their gates. On the odd occasion a pilot would wave from the cockpit and I would be enraptured with the idea of flying one day myself and being that pilot waving to other children from behind the cockpit windows. This was all before you had to do security screening to go to the departure gates… how times have changed.

From a young age I had this connection with aviation and as grew I realised that if I wanted to fly, if I wanted to be that pilot who was waving through the window, it was up to me to make it happen.

There were always two routes to take in aviation, one being civil flying and the other being military. At the age of 13 I enrolled in the Air Training Corps (now the Australian Air Force Cadets) where I nurtured my love of flight and appreciation for the Royal Australian Air Force. It was during my time at cadets where I experienced my first training flights and I can still recall the exhilaration of conducting my first solo flight in a glider at the Adelaide Soaring Club in Gawler.

Whilst the cadets had given me so much and a military career was definitely attractive, I realised that I wanted to go to university, I wanted to further my academic education. I researched possible courses (science was where my strengths were) and I found the University of South Australia’s Applied Science (Civil Aviation) degree program. I could combine academia and my love of aviation into one course, it was perfect, and I knew right away that I wanted to join this program. With hard work and determination, I was accepted, and in 1995 I commenced as a freshman at the Levels campus.

The rest they say is history!

3. What do you remember from your time studying Applied Science (Civil Aviation) at UniSA?

Aside from the technical and academic aspects of the degree I remember a great deal from my time at the university. Our Chief Pilot, and the head of our course at the time, Roy Garthwaite, stands out. His unwavering commitment to his students, his dry and pointed wit, his absolute professionalism and his whole-hearted desire to see us, the next generation of aviation professionals, be successful is something that I will never forget.

My classmates of 1995 are still very important people in my life to this day. The journey of learning during the degree program nurtured some of the closest interpersonal relationships I have. We were all young, eager and like-minded individuals at the start of our course, and by graduation we were a coherent group of supportive young adults.

I have regular, near daily, contact with some of my former classmates, and regular contact with most others. I still keep in touch occasionally with previous lecturers and former staff of the university too.

4. How did you end up in Japan working for Peach and other Japanese airlines?

I was working for a small family-owned and operated airline in Mount Gambier at the time. I was newly married and my wife and I were starting to make a new life for ourselves. We realised together that there were many opportunities throughout the world and it would be exciting to undertake a new adventure together.

At the time, airlines in Japan were seeking qualified pilots to crew their expanding fleets. So, in 2006, we decided to move to Japan and I commenced working for All Nippon Airways (ANA) flying turboprop aircraft. I worked for the All Nippon Network as a Captain for six years. As the aviation industry started to expand rapidly in Japan, a new low-cost airline, Peach Aviation, was created.

I was fortunate to transfer to this new company in 2013 and become part of the training department responsible for teaching the next generation of crews to take the airline to even greater success in the future which is where I am today.

Recalling as a child how exciting it was for me to receive a wave from the pilot in the cockpit, I always try to engage with my passengers – especially the children – greeting them with a smile and an enthusiastic wave when I can.

5. You have also listed your role as a husband and father on LinkedIn as something you take great pride in – which is very refreshing. Could you explain a little more about this and what this role in your life means to you as well?

For me, this is one of the most important questions.

Single-minded, dogged professional determination will make you successful. I have no doubt about that. But, I firmly believe that having people around you who support you, challenge you, comfort you, and guide you can give you a perspective on life which you might otherwise overlook.

My wife, Jessica, has been instrumental in my development as a professional, and quite simply as a human being. She has taught me the value in relationships, how to better nurture them and how to embrace the differences in people and places. As a sociologist Jessica’s personality type is quite different to mine. Jessica brings the balanced, educated, and thought-provoking perspective I might have missed.

My children are an extension of my relationship with Jessica. While my wife and I guide them through their journey of childhood and learning, they also teach us about the importance of relationships, forgiveness, patience, and love.

When I combine the personal relationships within my family and the academic and professional skills, I feel I have become a more well-rounded individual who is responsive to a greater number of life’s challenges.

6. Could you name any particularly proud moments – personally or professionally?

Proud moments include graduating university, getting married to my wife, Jessica in 2005, the birth of our two children in 2009 and 2012.

I guess when you combine the questions into ‘personally or professionally’ I will gravitate towards the ‘personally’ spectrum of achievements. This is not because I don't consider my professional achievements significant at all, but I feel that my professional life is part of who I am personally. People experience me as a person. You are reading these answers as a person, not as an aviation professional, so I feel that is more important to me overall. Being a professional pilot is what I do, how I interact with the people around me is who I am as person.

7. Have there been any particularly challenging moments in your career?

After graduation, there was an abundance of new pilots throughout Australia. I was fortunate enough to be employed by the University as an instructor. 1998/1999 was a great time and a difficult time. It was great since I could pass along the skills and knowledge I had acquired at university to the new classes who followed mine, and difficult in that I knew my relatively stable existence at uni was coming to an end. A big fish in a little pond kind of analogy.

My life that I had become accustomed to at the university needed to evolve. I had to mature and enter the bigger world. I used the advice of Roy to help guide my decisions. He was acutely aware of the of the issues of supply and demand regarding pilots and he knew that it would only be a matter of time before the industry realised it required the services of more highly educated trained professionals.

Of course, he was correct. I started my first commercial job at Wagga Air Centre flying freight in early 2000, and my first airline job for O’Connor Airlines based in Mount Gambier in late 2000.

8. When you are not working, how do you like to spend your time?

When I’m not working I spend time with my family. Being a team at home is as important as being a team at work. I try to alleviate the emotional and physical stresses my wife has accumulated while I was away at work. I volunteer at our children’s school. I’m a handyman so I’m forever fixing things the kids have broken! I also love to cook and host dinner parties. I love hosting as I get to see the interactions between my guests and how it can break down barriers and nurture interpersonal relationships.

9. Could you share any travel tips you have for us less experienced travellers?

Okay, travel tips… I have some.
• Look for signs at the airports to help guide you – usually airports have clearly marked signs, but not always in the most obvious locations. Look up and down, many signs are above our eye level but some are below eye level. Some airports have signage on the ground in the walkways or carpets, and many have overhead signs near the ceilings or roof. Be alert.
• Pack light – you rarely use all the stuff you take in a suitcase, unless you’re going backpacking for months, then you’ll use everything until it falls apart.
• Be prepared when you walk up to check-in, security, and boarding gates – have your documents in your hands ready to go, passport, boarding passes etc. We all know security checkpoints can be troublesome, but being prepared by getting your laptop out early will save frustration for you and your fellow travellers.
• Don't pack everything you can think of in the seat pocket in front of you – the seatbelt sign will go off at some point and the three magazines and two novels you purchased in the terminal will be nice and fresh when you take them out from the overhead locker after departure. All you should have in the seat pocket is your wallet or purse and passport… Think of it, if something untoward happens and you have to get out quickly all you should grab is your passport and wallet or purse – that's it!
• Also… The first rule about chemtrails is: we don't talk about chemtrails.

10. Do you have a favourite place to fly?

Adelaide. It’s my hometown, its where I learned to fly, and it will always have a special place in my heart.


Dr Jocelyn KernotDr Jocelyn Kernot

Doctorate by Research Health Sciences

Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy)

January 2020

Occupational Therapist and Lecturer, Dr Jocelyn Kernot, is spearheading a mental wellbeing program for young men in rural communities in partnership with community-based male mental health support groups and regional South Australian football clubs.

Men in rural communities have been found to experience more apprehension about seeking help for mental health issues and providing opportunities for men to have a safe conversation about mental health is essential to address this stigma.

“Death by suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians and for men in rural areas the incidence is twice as high than that of their urban counterparts,” Dr Kernot says.

“This alarming statistic is one which we particularly wanted to try and address. Having lived rurally and being in a family who are heavily involved in sport, I understand how important clubs are in providing social support to their players and members.”

The mental wellbeing program will bring together community groups I'm Not Afraid To Talk (INATT) and Hope Assistance Local Tradies (HALT), and UniSA staff and students to assist community clubs in the Greater Flinders and Eastern Eyre Football leagues.

They will together deliver mental wellbeing strategies to men at risk in these rural areas guided by evidence-based principles – the program will include community workshops, speaking engagements, and a specialised toolkit to assist clubs to implement the program.

Funded by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) – the $19,900 grant will enable UniSA, INATT and HALT to deliver a series of targeted workshops and follow up sessions through the football clubs located in Kimba, Cleve and Tumby Bay to improve mental health and reduce suicide risk.

The funds will support the delivery of the workshops, UniSA program support and evaluation, accommodation and local venue hire, with UniSA also providing significant in-kind expertise.

“We have developed a relationship with INATT and HALT over the last two years through our UniSA Occupational Therapy students’ Participatory Community Practice projects,” says Dr Kernot.

“During these projects, students have worked with the South Whyalla Football Club and the general community to explore their mental wellbeing needs and have worked with the community to come up with strategies and recommendations to address these needs.”

“This project will build on these relationships and the capacity of local football leagues to support the mental wellbeing needs of their communities through workshops, resources and ongoing support.”

The hope is to eventually enable the team to refine a model and resource that could be adopted by community clubs (sporting and other social clubs) across regional Australia, reaching as many people as possible to make a real difference in people’s lives and combat those shocking suicide statistics.

“We felt that teaming up with local Eyre Peninsula men’s support group I am Not Afraid to Talk (INATT) in delivering workshops to local Eyre Peninsula football clubs may be a good means of starting up a conversation about mental health,” says Dr Kernot.

“Helping men to identify supports available and to come up with their own strategies for managing mental wellbeing is also important. These workshops will also help to support clubs in coming up with ongoing strategies to support their communities.”

Before transitioning into an academic teaching role, Dr Kernot worked as an Occupational Therapy clinician for 17 years in community, hospital and private settings, specialising in neurological rehabilitation for children and adults.

She also held senior positions including Deputy Head of the Occupational Therapy Department and Head Paediatric Occupational Therapist at East Surrey Hospital, which has influenced her research now as a proponent of lifelong learning.

“My work as an occupational therapist has helped me understand that all communities are different and that a one-size fits all program is not going to work for everyone,” Dr Kernot says.

“For this project to be successful it needs to be driven by the community and delivered by people that they already have a relationship with and trust, in this case local support groups like INATT.”

“Our workshop model that we are developing can be adapted to address the specific needs of each community.”

“We hope that this project will provide the support that participating clubs and communities need to develop and implement ongoing strategies to promote mental wellbeing and to reduce the stigma in relation to mental health issues.”


Dr Katia FerrarDr Katia Ferrar

Physiotherapist & Open Door Health Justice Clinic Founder

Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) Doctorate by Research, Human Movement

December 2019

In 2016 the ABS Census determined that on any given night 1 in 200 people in Australia found themselves homeless. In fact, 60 per cent of people ‘sleeping rough’ were under 35-years-old and 17,845 were children under 12-years-old.

Struck by the unending cycle of poverty and homelessness in her own backyard – driven by her strong sense of social justice and dedication to being an ethical health practitioner – UniSA Academic and Physiotherapist, Dr Katia Ferrar, established the Open Door Health Clinic in 2017.

The aim of the Clinic, which is an initiative between the University of South Australia and The Salvation Army, was to address these alarming numbers and support some of the most vulnerable people in our community by offering free health appointments in a welcoming and non-judgemental environment.

Following the Clinic’s initial success, in 2018 it expanded to include legal services and is now known as the Open Door Health Justice Clinic – a ground-breaking service being the first student-led clinic in Australia using the health-justice model.

Now two years later the Clinic is going from strength to strength having provided over $50,000 worth of quality physiotherapy, podiatry and legal services free of charge to adults in crisis or experiencing homelessness in South Australia at its Pirie Street location.

“People experiencing homelessness suffer many of the same conditions as the rest of the population, but they also suffer some unique problems,” Dr Ferrar says.

“Sleeping rough and homeless people often experience low back and neck pain. Plus, as many don’t have appropriate footwear, they can present with toenail issues and injuries to their feet, that can easily develop into larger issues.”

The Clinic is dedicated to delivering hands-on quality care to vulnerable individuals to help restore, maintain and promote optimal function across a variety of different areas – with health issues they treat everything from foot and ankle injuries, chronic neck and back pain, joint and muscle injuries, and neurological conditions.

For example, a client may come in seeking treatment for chronic back or neck pain and they can also access free legal advice on issues such as housing eviction or managing welfare payment requirements if they are unable to look for work.

Every week up to nine physio appointments, six podiatry appointments, and five law appointments are available in one afternoon. The Clinic therefore has the capacity to help up to 20 people experiencing disadvantage and homelessness each week, providing services they otherwise would not access.

Dr Ferrar and her team have been awarded an Australian Communities Foundation Grant, with support from sub-fund the Wanless Family Fund, to continue the vital work and expand the Clinic with funds going toward linen and consumables, portable treatment beds, specialised client software and laptops, and other services that keep the doors open on this much needed support to Adelaide‘s most vulnerable.

But evidence indicates that people experiencing homelessness still do not receive the type and quality of care required when they seek out health services in the wider community. In fact, they are routinely judged and not treated with respect.

This leads to a mistrust of health service providers and avoidance of seeking treatment. Unfortunately, this has major impacts on the physical and mental wellbeing of people who are already living in vulnerable circumstances.

This why Dr Ferrar and the Open Door Health Justice Clinic team’s work is so important in targeting social inequity by increasing access to desperately needed health and legal services for vulnerable and disadvantaged South Australians.

“People experiencing homelessness face many challenges in accessing health and social services. Even attending a medical appointment in a traditional clinical setting can be daunting,” Dr Ferrar says.

“This presents a barrier to people seeking help, so we established the clinic to address an identified need and to help alleviate the cycle of social disadvantage and social problems in a practical way.”

The Clinic’s current expansion, aided by the $15,000 Australian Communities Foundation and Wanless Family Fund Grant, will also benefit UniSA undergraduates with the delivery of these high quality, evidence-based services provided by highly skilled students in a safe and welcoming environment, with the provision of a rich and rewarding learning opportunity for these health and law students.

The program has already assisted in the education and training of over 80 UniSA undergraduate students during their degrees who will now go on to provide these services professionally with compassion.

“Our clinic is unique and ground-breaking, being the first wholly student-delivered service in Australia that acknowledges the links between law and health – providing desperately needed services and improving the lives of people experiencing homelessness,” Dr Ferrar says.

“This will also ensure the next generation of health and law practitioners are compassionate, socially aware, and able to respond to disadvantage within the community, coming that much closer to ending the cycle of homelessness in South Australia.”


Alexandra BrownAlexandra Brown

Director & Founder of Ms BROWN

Bachelor of Journalism

December 2019

After being immersed in the world of women’s luxury fashion as an editor for magazines brands such as Harper’s BAZAAR, VOGUE Australia and VOGUE Living, UniSA Journalism graduate, Alexandra Brown, developed a keen eye for beautiful considered products – ones that actually work.

With this knack for recognising beauty in simplicity and a desire to remove harsh and toxic ingredients from our everyday routines, she established own line of natural, beautifully branded and packaged, environmentally-conscience products for the home and body.

Ms BROWN takes inspiration from her idyllic childhood growing up on a merino sheep farm in Kangaroo Island – implementing plant-based, chemical-free ingredients – to provide the most effective and gentle wash for your most precious clothes and delicate skin, something the environment is thankful for too.

Alexandra tells us about how she become a thriving entrepreneur with the coolest cleaning products on the market, and why you no longer have to choose between natural and luxury with her simple approach to products for the home and body.

1. You originally studied journalism at UniSA and spent many years at leading Australian Magazines, could you tell us about this period in your career?

I enrolled in the journalism degree at UniSA with the goal of becoming a print journalist and was already quite interested in women’s magazines at this point. Halfway through the degree, my mind was made up, and I spent many of the uni holidays (and most of the final year actually thanks to accommodating tutors and lecturers!) doing work experience and internships at a broad range of lifestyle magazines and newspaper inserted magazines in both Adelaide and Sydney.

I aimed to meet as many people in the industry as possible and get as much experience as I could. This included working in the press department at UniSA too! I worked for one year at Jigsaw Publications in Adelaide on a range of custom and consumer titles before moving to Sydney where I interned some more before getting a job in the advertising department at ACP Magazines working on Madison (now closed) and Harper’s Bazaar.

Eventually I landed my dream job at Vogue where I began as assistant to the editor then edited the arts section of the magazine. I moved from there to run the website for Vogue Living. While it wasn’t without it’s hard work and persistence, I feel so lucky to have had the career I long dreamed of. Each were wonderful places to work and in addition to some pretty incredible experiences – meeting and interviewing talented and fascinating people, some fabulous overseas travel and cultural experiences – I also made lifelong friends.

2. What made you branch out and begin your own business – what was this transition like? Did your previous career as an editor influence you at all?

I suppose a big part of the reason I was drawn to magazines was because I love fashion, I love clothes. I also had in the back of my mind for some time that I wanted to have my own business at some point. Throughout my career I was exposed to so many beautiful brands and products and noticed there was an opportunity to create an environmentally-conscious garment care product that was not only natural but beautifully branded and packaged – special, like the clothes you want to wash with it.

My career in magazines certainly prepared me well for running my own business – as a magazine journalist, in my experience at least, you need to be very resourceful, adaptable and willing to work hard and sometimes long hours.

The biggest or most difficult part of the transition for me was leaving a fun and busy office filled with colleagues who had become friends, to working alone and from home. I found it very isolating. I much prefer it now that we have a small team and an office and warehouse.

3. What was the inspiration behind Ms BROWN, your garment care and body care line? Did your upbringing on a Merino sheep farm influence this?

Growing up on a merino sheep farm on Kangaroo Island I learned about the benefits of natural fibres and how to care for them. Then, while working in magazines I realised there was an opportunity to create a product for this purpose and to educate the customer on how to care for wool and other seemingly tricky to care for garments. A key ingredient in our Wool & Cashmere Wash is pure Kangaroo Island eucalyptus, sourced from a small, family owned distillery not far from our family farm.

4. All your products are natural, plant-based and organic – what was the thought behind this more considerate and environmentally-conscious approach?

Growing up we used only natural products (like KI Eucalyptus) for washing and cleaning and as I grew older this translated into my skincare and other products around the home. So, when it came to creating my own brand there was no question that the ingredients would be stringently chosen to be safest for both the consumer and the environment.

Caring for beautiful clothes properly will ensure they stay looking lovely and you can enjoy them for much longer. This of course is better for not only your purse, but the environment. Additionally, part of the motivation for creating the garment care was to offer an alternative to dry cleaning – which is not only damaging to the environment, but over time to the clothes themselves as well.

5. How has it felt going from writing for magazines to being featured in Elle Australia, Vogue Australia, Vogue Living, Harper’s Bazaar and Gourmet Traveller?

It has been wonderful to have Ms BROWN supported by the Australian press. Even though I worked in the industry (or perhaps even more so because of that), it’s always very flattering to be contacted by a publication. It’s still such a thrill to see our products on the pages of magazines and newspapers and it is a great way for people to discover our products as it is still a very young brand. It also helps that I know what and how the editors like images and copy to be sent!

6. Do you have a favourite scent or particular product from your line?

I use the Wool & Cashmere Wash on almost all our washing at home – and that now includes my daughter’s clothes. I also use the Unscented Hand Cream every single day as an all-over body cream for both my daughter and myself.

7. What’s next for you – are you planning on expanding the line?

We do have rather a large pipeline of products on the way in the next 12 months, so watch this space! I also recently became a mum so am enjoying spending precious time with our daughter Louisa, who is now four-months-old.

For more on Alexandra and her stunning line of body and home products visit the Ms BROWN website here.


Rick WooRick Woo

Co-Founder, LOST

Graduate Certificate of Business Master of Business Administration (MBA)

December 2019

Hong Kong entrepreneur, Rick Woo, has built an escape room empire from the ground up that – just six years after its inception – now spans eight countries and 13 separate branches. Rick attributes the rapid growth and success of LOST not just to smart, ambitious business decisions, but the power of the team-building, unity, and the great equaliser his escape room and physical adventure games have become.

LOST is a series of real-life escape rooms based on different historical adventures and legends, UniSA MBA graduate Rick co-founded, where players must solve a series of puzzles and find clues, using a combination of their interpersonal and observational skills, to ‘escape’ within a time limit.

When you step into LOST anywhere in the world all airs and graces are put aside. You must together work through the series of riddles that may take you on a journey through the ancient ruins of Castiglione's Tuscan Castle or escape the infamously unforgiving Alcatraz Island.

Rick established his first interactive escape room in 2013 in Hong Kong’s energetic retail heart, Causeway Bay. Now just six years later, he and his LOST team have created over 100 different themed rooms and currently operate 13 branches in eight countries, including Canada, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, and Australia.

“At LOST, there is no language barrier, it brings those from different cultural backgrounds and players with different abilities together to participate,” Rick says.

“We don’t care about who you are, we encourage people to work together, to use your brain and not your physical strength during these escape games.

“It really is a team work game that can expose a person’s strengths and weaknesses but is also a great experience for unlocking a person’s hidden power and increase group bonding.”

10 years ago, Rick was an ambitious entrepreneur looking to enhance his business know-how with a flexible but reputable master course. Hence, he enrolled in UniSA's 5-star MBA experience.

Since the day he graduated in 2011 he was determined to start-up his own business wanting to “work with” inspiring entrepreneurs instead of “work for” someone and found he most enjoyed creating a brand and had hopes to penetrate to overseas.

In 2013, Rick Woo noticed his friends and colleagues were throwing themselves into Hong Kong’s growing online boom – building e-commerce services, app matching platforms, social applications became all the rage.

While this was an exciting time full of innovation and new technological conveniences, Rick was always one step ahead, looking to the future wondering what will happen when the bubble inevitably pops.

“Many retail outlets and shopping malls were facing a big challenge, and still are, thus I started to do some research and realised the experiential business is picking up in some other countries,” Rick says. “So, we started up LOST in October 2013.”

“Our advantage was we adopted a range of real adventure historical stories and legends, to make it a true reality-based escape game, paired with our own proprietary designed auto-gadgets, giving players an unforgettable experience.

“We found people loved to be immersed in a different world to be engaged during the game, and if it sounded like a movie or the narrative was inspired by a true story, that made the audience more into it."

However, even though Rick carved out his own niche with LOST in the experiential retail store space, there was still many naysayers that didn’t believe it was a viable business in such a technology-focussed industry amongst the online boom.

“At the very beginning, around two years after LOST started up, the escape game industry seemed to be shrinking and people around us were adamant this wasn’t a long-lasting business,” Rick says.

“But I love the challenge of building brands, problem solving, and brainstorming different ways to tackle issues. This challenging moment pushed me to breakthrough with our LOST competitive advantages, and eventually prove to the market that escape game rooms were a successful business venture.

“We did in part by marketing to corporate clients as the perfect experience for team building, retail clients for fun-based social activities, and school-aged clients for play-based learning.”

The success of which spurred Rick and his team to create a now thriving sub-brand LOST Junior which targets children aged 6-14 and fully embeds STEAM education elements within the games as an educational and exciting experience.

In the past six years, LOST has accomplished so much more than Rick could have ever imagined and been awarded with a number of accolades that Rick attributes to his hard-working, devoted team which he is undoubtably proud of.

This year, Rick was also nominated for the 2019 Australia China Alumni Awards in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation category, in which Australian Alumni who have demonstrated their entrepreneurial abilities are honoured.

“It really is the greatest honour to be a finalist in this award – especially as I treat Australia as my second home.”

“Being a Hong Kong brand and being recognised by the Australia China Alumni Association is definitely motivating for my team and I, and we are thankful for the endorsement of our efforts and achievements.

“Sharing my success and failures to young entrepreneurs is another motivation which drives me and makes me more hopeful and energetic for the future.”


Lindon LarkLindon Lark

Graduate of Architecture and Founder Blend Etiquette

Bachelor of Architectural Studies
Master of Architectural Studies

November 2019

What started out as a hobby and labour of love for Lindon Lark has now blossomed into a thriving beverage company. Blend Etiquette was first established with their bespoke premium mixer, Snake Oil Tonic Syrup, and now are developing with their very own gin, for even the most particular of gin connoisseurs.

With a little help from the Innovation & Collaboration Centre’s flagship incubation program, Venture Cataylst, and access to the UniSA’s Business School’s best advisors and mentors, Blend Etiquette has gone from strength to strength. Their latest concoction, Gin Pangolin, boasts an Australian-focussed seaside palette and an environmentally-minded conscience, collaborating with Save Pangolins to spread awareness and raise funds for pangolin conservation.

Lindon takes us through the inspiration behind the brand, the South Australian gin industry, and how he impressively managed his burgeoning business while finishing his Architecture degrees at UniSA.

You recently graduated from UniSA’s Master of Architecture this year, but have already established a beverage company - how would you describe what you do?

I am currently employed as a graduate of Architecture across two offices, but in my spare time I co-manage Blend Etiquette. My business partner (and fellow UniSA graduate), Geordan Elliss, does the day to day management of stock, accounts and deliveries, where I spend most of my time working on the business growth and direction.

This involves for instance, researching and obtaining the infrastructure required to launch a new product. I am working through the logistics of financing our brand-new distillery as we speak. Fingers crossed it’ll be launched before Christmas.

Why did you and your Geordan begin Blend Etiquette? Have you always been interested in Australian spirit industry?

I founded Blend Etiquette on my own with what began as more of a hobby. The interest initially was around business management and skills that I was hoping to acquire through a sandbox environment. However, along this journey, Snake Oil Tonics has become my little passion project. I love it.

The reason for starting with Snake Oil Tonics in the beginning, was hugely influenced by my father who, to this day, is a co-owner of Kangaroo Island Spirits. He introduced me to Tonic Syrups and gave me the fundamental recipe that we, unashamedly, still use today.

Blend Etiquette’s most recent release is Gin Pangolin. It’s a product with a conscience - could you tell us a bit about it, the campaign, and what you hope to achieve with it?

Gin Pangolin was created probably because of the complete saturation of gin in our lives!

Both my business partner and I work/ed at the Howling Owl as bartenders specialising in gin and gin-based drinks. We also watched good friends of ours – Lyrebird Distilling Co - establish their brand in the market and were able to see how they achieved what they did.

The key for us was to make a gin that was great neat. Above all else it had to be smooth and clean. With our recipe we drew inspiration from our coastal upbringing. With strong citrus notes and a slight saltiness, it sits very well in a martini. Garnish with two olives and a twist (there’s a recipe on the back of every bottle).

The name was picked by my mother who has spent several years in and around Cambodia. She spent some time in a struggling eco-tourism village with ties to wildlife alliance, Chi Phat (Chee – Pat). It was here that she discovered the plight of the pangolins and the rest is history.

We made a trip last December to go and visit the wildlife centre my mother had visited and when we returned, we ran our Pozible campaign. 10% of which went to Save Pangolins (a not for profit that works closely with the WCN).

We would love to get Gin Pangolin to a stage where we can dedicate a portion of all profits raised to help re-establish ex poachers with a sustainable source of income. We met a few of these in Cambodia, and with even the smallest amount of investment, it would be possible to generate some great change.

Blend Etiquette joined UniSA Innovation & Collaboration Centre’s Venture Catalyst program in 2017. How did this impact or change the company? Could you tell us a little bit about your experience with the ICC?

ICC was game-changing of course.

At the end of 2016, we were awarded $33,000 to establish Snake Oil Tonics and attempt to get it to an export stage. We still aren’t there yet but being in the ICC helped us to start thinking bigger than operating out of our home kitchen.

Since winning Venture Catalyst, we have had massive exposure to the entire UniSA faculty, which has aided in getting advice from various departments. The ICC has provided us with advice on getting investor-ready, as well as giving advice on when it is a good time to take on an investor.

It has also strengthened our reputation within Adelaide as a small start-up due to the known support at the ICC. I had a mentor, Jana Mathews, who was fantastic and a big shout out to Jasmine Vreugdenburg for always being so supportive.

You’ve just recently graduated from Architecture here at UniSA, congrats! How did you balance running a small business and your studies?

This was tricky, before going into my Masters I decided to give half of the company to my current business partner Geordan Elliss. This was stressful but was the best decision I’ve made. This gave me the flexibility to study, work and manage the business while Geordie was able to manage most of the day-to-day stuff and all the accounts.

We were able to launch our first batch of Gin Pangolin at my graduate exhibition late last year. That was a great conclusion to years of sweat and hard work.

Did your studies at UniSA – and what you were learning and experiencing – influence or bleed into Blend Etiquette at all?

Architecture has been surprisingly helpful. From the ability to draw up our own plans for development applications, to having an okay eye for basic graphic design. My studies have absolutely been a blessing.

Adelaide has seen its spirit and bar industry go from strength to strength in recent years. Why do you think this is and how does it impact you?

I should know more about this than I do! A few years back, after my father had started his distillery the Adelaide City Council handed out some ludicrous number of small bar licenses (something like 175). Since then we’ve seen the likes of Peel and Leigh St blossom, changing the nightlife scene in Adelaide to a more accessible and sophisticated one.

As a spirit producer, this is great, more people out there who want to know about your product, and if they believe in it, they take care of your customer education in the best way possible.

With the rise of gin, we have also seen a boost in gin dedicated bars, which in turn are churning out a new pedigree of young bartenders who really know their stuff. The next step for this is generation (we hope), will be to take the small step from bartender to brand ambassador or become producers themselves.

If we were ever to hire a distiller, they would need to have a palate that can pull flavour profiles from 86% abv spirit as it’s coming out of the still. Whether that’s someone with a degree behind them or someone from the bar scene whose been tasting raw spirits every day for 3 years, who knows.

What would you like to see more of in the industry? What would you like to see less of?

Way more originality. Way less mimicking. Too often we see a great product released only to be followed up by six of the same things from other producers. Our plan is to launch two or three core products, and then just work on single release flavours.

What we love about the industry in South Australia though is the community. The only reason we have committed to the idea of a distillery is because we have always enjoyed and appreciated the people we work alongside.

A huge shout out to Prohibition Liquor for letting me work on their cellar door design with them and helping us with our logo and branding.

To 36Short for selling us empty bottles in the early days.

To Lyrebird Distilling for always being willing to split the cost of stalls at events.

To Never Never Distilling Co for the advice on the stainless Enolmatic head advice and for putting SA gins on the map again and again.

To Red Hen for just being the nicest guys in the industry.

To Ounce (Imperial Measures) for the advice of cellar door costs, investors, sorting us a distributor and helping make further connections in the industry.

To Adelaide Hills Distillery for the conversations around bitters and syrups at the first Tasting Australia we all worked at.

To KIS (Kangaroo Island Spirits), for everything.

And all the rest we haven’t yet worked with but are looking forward to doing so.

What’s next on the cards for Blend Etiquette?

Probably a nap.

And finally, what’s your poison of choice?

An impossible question. But you’ll find me at the Howling Owl most days after work, sinking an ice-cold Mismatch Session Ale.


Caroline BurnsCaroline Burns

Founder & Managing Director, Workplace Revolution

Bachelor of Business (Property)

November 2019

A self-described “serial entrepreneur and technology nerd”, Dr Caroline Burns has dedicated her professional life to providing corporate clients with bespoke advice in envisioning future business and workforce scenarios in the digital age across the Asia-Pacific region.

Workplace Revolution – a consultancy service intelligently transforming workplaces – is Caroline’s third business established in her fast-paced, consultancy career as a highly sought-after leader in the workplace and workforce profession.

She and her team identify and optimise opportunities for the transformation of “work + place” for competitive advantages in a company’s often cutthroat and saturated field.

Most of the world’s population (58%) spend one-third or 90,000 hours of their adult life at work (World Health Organisation), contributing greatly not only to an individual’s wellbeing, but societies at large and their effectiveness.

“We believe workplace matters and that an intelligently created workplace is a powerful business tool for supporting employee engagement, productivity and effectiveness,” Caroline says.

“It connects people to the purpose and values of the organisation, supports culture, and can be a powerful statement of identity.”

“All our clients in one way or another are grappling with the inherent tensions between aspiration versus operational capability, employee effectiveness versus experience, consistency and scalability versus customisation and personalisation, present functionality versus future flexibility, and increasingly, control of versus access to resources.”

“In essence, organisations are challenged to ensure they extract maximum value (in their terms) from their limited workplace resources.”

And that’s where Caroline and Workplace Revolution come in.

Caroline originally decided to pursue a career in property development and real estate – earning a Bachelor of Business (Property) from UniSA – as it combined her love of design and architecture with her mathematics capabilities and knack for business.

After securing a fulltime job before her final exams as a Facility Planner at Woods Bagot, Caroline thrived on the variety, independence and trust that came with consulting for clients across the eastern seaboard which would set her up in good stead for her future professional career.

However, as an innate traveller and explorer, Caroline had her sights firmly set on Asia (even her final year thesis analysed the investment trends of Asian direct investment in Australia), so after a few attempts to relocate didn’t materialise, she seized opportunities to firstly to do projects in Asia, then permanently relocated to Singapore to establish and grow the Geyer workplace design and strategy business in Asia.

She hasn’t left since, finding the fast-paced, competitive and innovate mindset of Asia the perfect environment for Workplace Revolution.

“I love Asia because it’s incredibly diverse and a magnet for interesting, intelligent people from all over the world,” Caroline says. “Everything here happens two to three times as fast compared to Australia, and often on tighter budgets, so it forces you to approach client service and business operations differently.”

“It also suits my professional values and style as its very relationship and reputation driven – more so than Australia. If you

invest in relationships and build trust you will have a solid foundation for long-term success.”

Caroline and her company as a result have carved out a brilliantly successful niche in the Asian market transforming and modernising a myriad of companies from Asian family-owned agglomerations to Fortune 100 organisations.

Continually seeking out opportunities to explore different aspects of “work + place” in the evolving digital economy, Caroline says the competitiveness of Singapore and Hong Kong being global hubs is constantly inspiring.

“You are always challenged to innovate and take calculated risks which I love – it’s never boring here!”

“I believe Asia will be a leader in the innovations that will profoundly influence the way we work and create communities. I am passionate about exploring how these changes may affect the environments in which we will work, live and play as well.

“I certainly never anticipated early in my career that this would be my ‘calling’, but I love the variety and independence, the opportunity to build longterm relationships within the profession, and the ongoing learning and accumulation of knowledge that is essential for any reputable consultant.”

The future of the workplace

Dr Caroline Burns is widely recognised as an independently-minded leader in the workplace and real estate profession and has written and presented extensively on a wide range of business topics.

As one of the foremost trusted experts and advisers in work + place transformation and organisational design, her extensive experience is sought-after by clients and colleagues worldwide.

Below we’ve asked her some questions and advice about workplace effectiveness and the future of work.

1. Could you take us through some workplace trends and changes you have seen in your career and what you believe we will be seeing in the near future?

Great workplaces are tuned into the unique mix of roles and types of people in an organisation and approach the environment holistically. Ensuring employees are engaged and know what to expect and that managers understand how to lead by example, investing in technology training and reinforcing office etiquettes (especially for open team areas) are essential ingredients for success.

I started my career in a private office in a prestige building in Adelaide, and now I work from anywhere and everywhere that work takes me around the world. By some measures I have therefore ‘lost’ a lot in twenty-five years, but to my thinking I have gained enormously; I don’t have a dedicated office, I get to wear jeans not just on Fridays, I travel light and am constantly in touch with everyone I need to be connected with – and I find inspiration everywhere that nourishes our teams’ innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

This is why I am loving this period of time on the brink of the digital age and see enormous opportunity to reimagine the typical ‘day at the office’ with our Clients and colleagues. It took most of my career to go from a private office, desktop PC and a suit, to jeans, a smart phone, and a favourite work café in every city.

Successful organisations in the new economy will use digital capabilities to improve processes, engage people and drive innovation. They will make it easier for people to get work done and focus on what matters by overhauling work practices, policies, systems, and processes, and by driving a culture of trust and empowerment.

I am hopeful these business trends will bring more of a focus on how workplaces perform, not just how well they photograph!

I advise our Clients to be inspired but not blinded by other organisations’ ‘instagrammable’ workplaces and current ‘design trends’. Be smart and dig into why the space works for them (and what doesn’t work) – are there parallels to your organisation or too many differences? Organisations and people are unique, dynamic, complex and reactive – your new workplace needs to be the same.

2. What do you think of the flexibility of the modern workplace, including trends like the rise of working remotely, open plan offices, and swapping formal spaces for hot desks and co-working spaces?

I’ve written and presented extensively on these topics (see my website or LinkedIn), so it’s hard to keep this short. I’ll just leave you with two quotes from recent articles that summarise my perspective:

These are examples of the trend towards the ‘on-demand’ workplace or ‘workplace as a service’ in response to the increasing need for flexibility, scalability, customisation and collaboration. This ‘trend’ is continuing to evolve in different directions in response to changing organisational and worker needs and preferences, and to different real estate/business contexts in different regions of the world.

There have been many articles recently (credible and not so credible) describing the negative effects of ‘open plan offices’ on productivity and experience in the workplace. But this is the wrong debate. Setting aside the fact that ‘open office’ is a very broad term that encompasses a hugely diverse range of workplace designs, like many things in life when done excessively it can be bad for you, but used in moderation in the right context for the right purpose, ‘open plan’ has a place in the workplace toolkit.

We should resist the temptation to get caught up in the ‘open plan is the enemy’ debate, instead of reviewing the facts available and applying these rationally to advance the quality of decisions about work environments. How we combine and apply the settings in the workplace toolkit can have a negative – even if unintended – influence on team effectiveness, so it is incumbent on advisers and influencers to avoid 'groupthink' and apply evidence from other workplaces thoughtfully.

Open plan environments may indeed be the enemy of workplace effectiveness and employee experience in many situations, but let's ensure we don’t make critical workplace decisions based on 'fake news'.

Conversely, coworking spaces challenge people to unlearn their old thinking around work, individualism and control. In this way, the coworking movement can help shift our relationship with work to be one that is more purposeful, collaborative, holistic, and self-directed.

This is the attitude people and organisations will need if they are going to successfully navigate the new economy. Human resources and corporate real estate leaders need to be part of the future of work discussion within their organisations, encouraging multi-disciplinary approaches to enabling great people to do great work. Increasingly, this work will be distributed across space and time, drawing on physical and digital resources, and access to people, inside and outside the control of the organisation.

3. What role do you think Artificial Intelligence will play (or is already playing…) in the future of our workplaces and professional life?

Change and technological innovation is not new in business. What is different about the period we are in now, compared to the dawn of the internet age at the start of my career, is that the rate and complexity of change, and the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) environment in which it is occurring means that the stakes are higher for everyone.

AI is still at the level of automation, robotics and machine-learning within fairly narrowly defined fields, experts suggest it will be a while before we have ‘general AI’ which could make a lot more jobs redundant.

So, for at least the next decade I believe knowledge workers will increasingly work with AI rather than be displaced by it, enabling us to focus on creative, collaborative, coaching and learning capabilities. For example, there is increasing investment in virtual assistants (such as Alexa for Business) and augmented reality in the workplace.

This means the places we work need to support these activities more effectively, especially constant, on the job learning and capability development. The internet of things and development of ‘smart buildings’ and ‘smart cities’ will also give rise to workplaces that are more intuitive, responsive, and hopefully healthier.

4. What are you most important insights you have discovered through your work that make a happy, successful business and workplace?

Trust and its opposite side, accountability.

It’s the foundation of everything good that follows.


Sarah NurSarah Nur

Bachelor of Quantitative Finance
Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours) (Industrial & Applied Mathematics)

November 2019

Welcome to the Summer of 2014. That’s Sarah Nur in the pink dress at the opening of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s new head office. At the time she was just twenty-five and was selected to speak alongside its Chairman, Managing Director, and (then) prime Minister, Tony Abbott.

Sarah is a proud Indonesian-Australian of Sasak descent. Her journey from a fishing village living in backpackers digs, to pursuing three maths and science degrees, rubbing shoulders with Australia’s biggest business titans, is a testament to the power of self-determination and generosity.

Raised on the tiny picturesque island of Lombok in Indonesia amongst roaming chickens, sandy beaches, and the stunning backdrop of bright green rice fields and towering mountains, Sarah Nur could have never predicted where she’d eventually end up.

Now working as a Data Scientist in one of Australia’s biggest retail banks – she’s come a long way from West Nusa Tenggara.

The village Sarah and her siblings grew up in was basically an unsealed road with maybe 100 houses, separated by alleyways just wide enough for motorbikes to pass. Horse-pulled carts rambled alongside small covered pick-up trucks or ‘bemos’ loaded with vegetables for market, and fast food chains were non-existent.

While a happy existence, the opportunities an international education can bring were a world away.

After Sarah’s parents’ marriage breakdown, her mother who had always dreamed her children might receive an education in Australia, moved the family to Adelaide.

The cultural transition to a new country wasn’t smooth sailing for Sarah though, and as a teenager trying to fit in, it was even more complicated.

“Coming to terms with a vastly different way of life in Australia was a big adjustment for a fourteen-year-old. On my very first day of school I came home and asked my Mum how to say, “I hate school” in English,” says Sarah.

“Far from the high-achiever I had been all my life, I now grappled with subjects where I had to translate English back to Indonesian in my head to understand it.”

For Sarah, only mathematics with its common universal language, felt familiar and it became her favourite subject.

“I have always had rather thick skin and gradually my natural resilience came to the fore. When I was teased for the way I spoke I would turn it around into a joke and make people laugh. I learnt not to take things personally. If I didn’t easily fit, I would make my own way.”

However, Sarah’s final year of school was devastating. Her father passed away suddenly and in dealing with his death, she didn’t have the energy or inclination to think about anything long term.

That was until she stumbled upon an advertisement on the back of a Year 12 exam preparation book for the UniSA SA Water Hypatia Scholarship.

“It changed my life,” says Sarah. “Until then, I wasn’t aware that you could study mathematics degrees at university.”

“I succeeded in achieving the requisite ATAR in my Year 12 results and was extremely honoured and privileged to be awarded the Scholarship over three years, commencing at UniSA in 2008.”

The scholarship set her life on a completely different trajectory.

It was more than just the money; what drove me was the knowledge that others believed in me and my potential to be successful as a woman in a traditionally non-female field.”

“I think there’s a lot to be said for sheer optimism and positivity in all situations and the belief that you can do anything if you’re given the opportunity.”

At UniSA Sarah thrived and her impressive academic achievements and the scholarship opened unimaginable doors for her.

“In my final year I was fortunate to participate in a Financial Mathematics semester exchange to the University of Twente in the Netherlands which was an amazing experience,” she says.

“After returning I decided to enrol in a Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours) (Industrial and Applied Mathematics) which I completed in 2012 and I was selected into the graduate program at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank soon afterwards.”

Still at the Bank today, Sarah was offered a role as a Financial Analyst after the graduate program and a year later successfully progressed to Product Analytics Manager.

She’s since seen great success in her career. In the summer of 2014, Sarah was even selected to speak on behalf of staff at the opening of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s new head office.

In 2017, still enthralled by the world of data and analytics, Sarah commenced a Master’s degree in Data Science at UniSA and was later offered a Data Scientist position within the Customer Analytics and Insight team – a role she has been in for two years.

“I am very proud of working for a bank which has a strong regional presence and locally governed branches. Our Community Enterprise Foundation directs charitable funds into hundreds of causes, with profit going back to local communities,” she says.

“This is important to me because I recognise that the generosity of others was transformative in my own journey. Generosity can make a huge impact.”

“It can be the jump start that someone needs to pursue their passions and transform their world.”

“My achievements are not just my own. They can be attributed to the sacrifices my mother made and the vision and support of donors. Looking back to the girl I was playing on that Indonesian beach, I am aware that I owe so much to the kindness of others.”

UniSA is also proud of its commitment to social equity and academic excellence as number one in the state for the success of economically disadvantaged students and number three worldwide for reducing inequality (2019 THE University Impact Rankings).

Nearly 30 per cent of commencing students to the University come from an economically disadvantaged background and UniSA is the leading university in South Australia for first generation students in their families (2020 Good Universities Guide).

This is largely thanks to the generosity of scholarship donors impacting countless deserving individuals – helping write their success stories.

For disadvantaged individuals with worthy dreams and aspirations, a scholarship can be the one thing they need to change their life forever.


Alexander KindlenAlexander Kindlen

Graduate of Architecture, Snøhetta Tutor, University of South Australia

Bachelor of Architectural Studies
Master of Architectural Studies

September 2019

Alexander Kindlen concluded his studies at the School of Art, Architecture and Design in 2014 when the industry was facing challenges.

The local architectural landscape in many ways seemed to be a bleak one: like so many other industries, graduates were vying for an increasingly finite number of jobs, searching for a way to stand out from the crowd.

“The architecture industry was still in a big slump following the financial crisis – jobs were few, which of course added to the pressure,” says Alex of his biggest concerns about the future upon entering the professional world.

“But I was still optimistic. I believed that all my university choices were the right ones.”

Alex’s career has seen him work across multiple studios on local and international projects, including work with JPE Design Studio and Walter Brooke. Since 2015, he has been employed by Norwegian integrated design practice Snøhetta’s Australian studio, based in Adelaide.

He paints the early stages of his career post-graduation as a winning combination of serendipity, optimism, and dedication.

“My first opportunity came from JPE, where I was lucky enough to work with Snøhetta on the University of South Australia Pridham Hall project. I was supposed to be there for two weeks, but apparently did and said the right things, as I ended up staying around for another two months,” he says.

By early 2015, Oslo-based Snøhetta already had Adelaide in its sights as the location for its new Australian studio. Kaare Krokene, then Director at JPE, was approached to spearhead the development of the Adelaide practice.

“[Kaare] asked whether I would be interested in staying in touch and helping him start the studio in the near future. I absolutely said yes.”

The decision to open in Adelaide – rather than one of the nation’s more globally connected capitals – turned heads. Though the move was unusual, it was in keeping with the brand’s hallmark design approach that saw offices established and thriving in Innsbruck and San Francisco. Setting up a new office presented a significant challenge – one that Alex was eager to meet.

“I spent the rest of that year building experience where I could and crossing all my fingers and toes while I waited for the call,” he says.

“It eventually came in late 2015, and I’ve been with Snøhetta (and still pinching myself over it) ever since.”

When asked about his approach to professional practice, Alex emphasises the importance of international travel in expanding his worldview.

“My exchange semester in Liechtenstein was an incredible experience and gave me so many perspectives which I think really redefined my approach to architecture during my final years at uni, and eventually led to that early experience at JPE,” he says.

“It proved to me that travel has always been the best way to grow.”

In 2016, Alex was named the recipient of the Jack Hobbs McConnell Travelling Fellowship, awarded by the Australian Institute of Architects to a promising South Australian architect with a demonstrated commitment to and interest in developing the local architectural landscape.

Established in 2007 following a bequest from the late modernist architectural figure, the Fellowship is intended to support an emerging architect who might ultimately practice within the state to undertake research or further study abroad.

Past recipients of the Fellowship include Matiya Marovich of Sans-Arc, Dave Bickmore of studio - gram, Dino Vrynios of Grieve Gillett Andersen, and Stephen Hooper of Skein, all of whom studied at the University of South Australia.

Already engaged with Snøhetta at the time, Alex points to his Fellowship experience as a defining moment in his career.

“More than anything it reaffirmed and reinforced my direction and aspirations at a seminal time in my emerging career. I spent some days with the Oslo office, which brought into perspective the opportunities that Snøhetta has to offer.”

The perspective gained from the opportunity to travel is by no means limited to Alex’s professional life.

“I often draw from personal experiences when designing – reflecting on memorable places, atmospheres, experiences … [the Fellowship] gave me an unbelievable opportunity to continue to travel, grow, and impart so many vibrant experiences that continue to resonate through my career and life in general.”

You could be forgiven for wondering, then, why Alex has chosen to live and practice in Adelaide. Indeed, the widely recognised phenomenon of ‘brain drain’ – the propensity of young talented South Australians to be lured interstate to pursue their careers – is often touted as the cause of a lamentable loss of vitality and energy in the creative industries.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy in some ways; as our bright young sparks head for the ostensibly greener grasses of Sydney and Melbourne, the less incentivised the next generation of architects and designers are to remain. Given this context, Alex combats the popular trend to denigrate Adelaide as lacking in growth in order to defend its unique value.

“Adelaide’s a great place to be. Unassuming and maybe underrated by some, but the opportunities are there for those who are looking… we try to take a design approach that is often a little ‘outsider’ or unexpected, and Adelaide has that quality.”

But he also feels that the tides are shifting.

“Since I was studying, it feels Adelaide has grown rapidly, for the better – becoming more diverse, more experimental. There seems to be a sense of optimism in architecture. There are more projects that embody a sense of belief and trying new things.

I think it’s an exciting time for Adelaide and I’m keen to see where the next years lead.”

Originally published here.

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Tessa Henwood-MitchellTessa Henwood-Mitchell

International Director TIA

Bachelor of Social Work

September 2019

Tessa Henwood-Mitchell's four months spent working at a children’s home in Bolivia during her social work degree, changed everything for her.

Inspired by the needs of the children in the region, Tessa upended her life and established TIA (meaning Aunty in Spanish) and launched the ValenTIA (meaning courage in Spanish) program, an initiative in the region which reaches out to Bolivian children and youth with the aim of empowering them to reach their full potential.

ValenTIA, provides education, employment, and accommodation support to 14-18-year-olds who are making the transition from state care into independent living. Aiming for all young people, who are leaving care or have left care, to be empowered and able to achieve an independent and successful life, contributing to society in a positive way.

Tessa kindly took some time out of her day to answer some of our questions at her home in Bolivia about what she’s been up to since finishing her degrees and the brighter future she is carving out for so many vulnerable youth in Cochabamba.

You’ve been called a Social Entrepreneur and Young Leader in the field of International Development, but how would you describe what you do?

I am the International Director of TIA, based in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and I work in a small local team of five staff, overseeing all of TIA’s projects.

My role is quite varied, but the main areas I focus on are stakeholder relationships (donors, funders, partners etc.), supervising our team, representing TIA in the public sphere, guiding the strategic direction of the organisation and our projects, being the link between Australia and Bolivia, looking and exploring more funding opportunities.

What led you to set up TIA Australia? Could you tell us a bit about the organisation?

I first set up TIA at the age of 21 when I was a first year Social Work/International Relations student at UniSA. I had come to Bolivia as part of the Hawke Ambassador International Volunteer Experience and I volunteered at a children’s home here.

From the short time I was here it struck me how the children and young people in care in Bolivia had such a lack of opportunities to thrive, and so I decided to try to fundraise and do something, albeit small, to change that a little bit.

10 years later, and TIA has grown and blossomed into a very effective not-for-profit organisation working specifically with teenagers and young people who are going through the transition from care into independent living at the age of 18. We run a number of programs and services to ensure that these young people receive the preparation and support they need to make this transition as smooth as possible.

All too often, without the adequate guidance and preparation, many young care leavers in Bolivia return to the cycle of poverty, family violence, and disadvantage from which they were removed originally. We aim to break this cycle and empower these young people to achieve their goals to make a positive contribution to society.

Was social justice something you were always attracted to growing up?

As a child I was always taught to be kind to others, and encouraged to do whatever I can to help those less fortunate. I started volunteering from quite a young age, and realised very early on that I had lived a life of extreme privilege in comparison to others.

In my gap year I did volunteer work in South Africa and Kenya, which confirmed the passion I had for development work and social justice. I had originally wanted to be an investigative journalist to be able to report on the injustices of the world, however after one year of studying Journalism and International Relations (also at UniSA), I realised that I was more interested in working directly with people. This is when I changed to Social Work and International Relations, and came to Bolivia for the first time.

What are the challenges of not-for-profits and this kind of work? Particularly in a place like Bolivia so far from where you grew up?

One of the main challenges for any not-for-profit is funding. It is constantly stressful to find the funds to both sustain and grow the work we do. Ongoing, sustainable funds are the elusive goal that all not-for-profits strive to achieve, but few manage.

One of the other challenges for our work is the political context of Bolivia. Working within the child protection system means dealing with the government on a constant basis, which can be difficult for various reasons. Instability in staffing within public offices here is very common, leading to inefficiency and miscommunication. In the time I have been living here, there have been four different directors of the Social Services Department.

For me personally, the cultural differences can be hard to navigate sometimes. I have learned so much about Bolivia and the culture over the last few years, but I will always be a foreigner here and have unconscious bias that can shape how I interpret things. I have done my best to find a balance between respecting the local culture, and challenging the aspects that I believe can be improved.

Could you take us through any memorable moments or experiences you have had with TIA?

There are so many memorable moments. One that was incredible was to be invited to present at the CREATE Foundation conference for Kids in Care and Care Leavers in Sydney in 2017, and be able to travel with one of our young people from Bolivia to Sydney to present at the conference. I have been so fortunate to receive so many amazing invitations to participate in various events and conferences over the years, and it makes me so happy to see our young people start to be involved in these events, and have their voices heard. Last year one of our young people went to Colombia for an event, and this year we have three young people and three team members travelling to Mexico for a congress!

There are so many other amazing experiences I could share, but I think really the most incredible and memorable moments are the simple moments when we see one of our young people thrive, and we get to be a part of their journey. Getting to go to a graduation ceremony, or being the first people to be told about a new relationship or a new job, is the most rewarding feeling.

I think one of my greatest accomplishments is that TIA is still alive and still thriving over 10 years after I began this crazy journey. I honestly never expected to still be doing this after so many years! It started as an ambitious fledgling organisation and I’m so proud of what it has grown into.

When you are not working, how do you spend your time? What do you love about your home in Cochabamba?

I have a wonderful group of friends here and a fantastic boyfriend who I love to spend time with, having game nights, doing dinners, camping and going for hikes. I love riding my bike on the weekends, and spending time in my garden or doing yoga. I also have a Bolivian family who were my host family the first time I came here; they have adopted me into their family so we often have family lunch on Sundays. I have three cats at home too so I really enjoy just spending time relaxing at home with them and cooking yummy food with fresh produce from the local market.

I also sometimes teach English classes to high school students, and I am a volunteer in a group called Global Shapers, which is an international initiative of the World Economic Forum. We do community service projects in the local community. I was the Curator of the Cochabamba hub last year, and have just handed over leadership to my successor in July. We do a lot of activities in the local community like planting trees, cleaning up rubbish, community development, education projects etc. I currently teach Expert Social Work at the local public university on Saturday afternoons too.

I love the climate! Cochabamba is known as the city of eternal spring, because it has beautiful weather almost all year round. I also love the proximity of the mountains and nature, and how green the city is. The city reminds me a bit of Adelaide for its size and how easy it is to get around, so I feel very at home here.

How can UniSA Alumni around the world help TIA and your efforts with vulnerable children and youth in Bolivia?

Help with fundraising! As I mentioned, finding funds is the hardest part of our work, so any help from Alumni to get more funding for our work would be amazingly helpful! We also always need more volunteers both in Australia and Bolivia to help with all aspects of the organisation.

For more information about TIA and how to support their efforts visit: http://tia.org.au/e/.


Denise BennettDenise Bennett

Management & Improvement Systems Coach, Lean Enterprise Australia

Masters of Business Administration

September 2019

Management & Improvement Systems Coach, Denise Bennett, has taken her Lean expertise all over the world. From California to Singapore and back to Adelaide and Melbourne, Denise has followed her love of engaging with people and helping them learn and grow – and her desire to get amongst the action – into a successful career in supporting leaders in service industries transform their organisations.

After spending many years as a Nephrology nurse leader in Tasmania, Denise was offered an opportunity in 1998 to lead the development of a new private dialysis service in Adelaide. During her time here, she needed to learn more about business management, and so commenced her MBA studies at the University of South Australia.

This period signified a major turning point in Denise’s career and where she learnt the building blocks of Lean Thinking and Practice that put her life on an exciting trajectory.

As she soon learned, Lean Thinking and Practice – particularly in recent years – has been a proven methodology of effective business management. A tool that helps align leaders and engages staff to work on the right things, making improvements everyday as part of the vital work that achieves organisational goals.

And in healthcare this sometimes means the difference between life and death.

“No other sector needs Lean Thinking and Practice more than healthcare. Our patients deserve it,” Denise explains.

“Lean is in essence a management system that provides guidance on how to work every day to deliver more value and less waste to customers. Most importantly, it’s about developing people to solve problems and solving problems to develop people – the two go together.

“In service, this often means reducing the amount of work that gets re-done because it doesn’t happen the right way the first time. So as well as being better for clients or patients, it is better for staff and the organisation.”

After juggling her MBA, plus the pregnancy and birth of her son Fin, Denise impressively landed a role straight out of university with the Flinders Medical Centre where she transformed its processes and the way the organisation worked.

In fact, Flinders Medical Centre was one of the first healthcare services in the world to use this Lean approach and as a result its work became internationally recognised.

The innovative path Denise trail-blazed in South Australia allowed her begin privately consulting, and eventually attracted the attention of Dr Kathy Alexander, the CEO of City of Melbourne in 2010.

This commenced a period of tremendous growth for Denise both personally and professionally.

“I had the opportunity to work closely with the CEO and the executive team at the City of Melbourne to bring together corporate planning and people development with process improvement and realise the benefits of aligning these efforts,” she says.

“The approach had not been tried in local government before in Australia and there was no documented international experience.”

Fresh off the confidence of her successful stint at the City of Melbourne, and the revolutionary work she had a part in there, 2015 saw Denise take a leap of faith and moved her family across the Pacific Ocean to Palo Alto, California, taking a position as Lean Coach at Stanford Children’s Hospital, where many of the country’s sickest children’s come for expert, life-saving care.

“In this highly technological, complex university hospital, we had a lot of problems every day and we used the Lean Management system to help us solve them, with a structured system that allowed problems to flow up to the CEO and executive team daily by 10.00am.

“But the system ensures that problem solving occurs at the right level and staff or frontline leaders are supported and coached to solve problems when possible.”

The reason Denise became a nurse was her mum, Thelma. Denise describes her as an incredible person and fondly remembers her tenacity and compassion raising three girls on her own, always wanting to learn and improve, even in the final years of her career as a Director of Nursing.

Denise has followed in her mother’s footsteps, always striving to develop and learn from the world and professional environment around her, all with an innate desire to improve their lives and make their day run just a little smoother.

After all, the Lean methodology is all about developing people to solve problems and solving problems to develop people.

“I love developing people so that they can spread their knowledge and practices to other departments or organisations,” she says.

“My ultimate reward is when a team member comes to me and tells me that they have been selected for a new position.

“I also love watching and observing the work. You learn so much by taking the time to understand. I hate solving problems from a meeting room or an office – I love to go where the work takes place and learn deeply from the people who do the work.”

Today, Denise continues her work as a Coach for Transformation and Improvement and also works with UniSA as a course facilitator within our Executive Education programs.


Dr Leo YeungDr Leo Yeung

Co-Founder, Cashmere Song Fashion Co Ltd
Founder, Maisson (Hong Kong) Commercial Property

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), International Business

May 2019

Dr Leo Yeung has followed his heart, chased his family’s dreams and cleverly cross-stitched his fashion, business and property industry experience to carve out a niche property company Maisson Commercial Property and fashion brand Cashmere Song all over the world.

Dr Yeung started his career in the fashion industry in the late 1980s, working in far flung cities across Asia, North America and Europe. In 1989 he settled in Hong Kong as Design Manager for Esprit Asia.

“As a student in Hong Kong in the early 80s there were few opportunities for students to get a university degree, but higher education had long been a dream for me” says Dr Yeung.

When Esprit Asia publicly-listed in 1991, Leo found an opportunity to further his education. He quit and enrolled in a Master’s degree at Hong Kong Polytechnic University to explore the research topic ‘Push and pull factor in China Economic’ after Deng Xiao Ping’s South China tour.

His interest in furthering his education didn’t end however, he says, “I saw an interview with a PhD candidate who had just graduated at the age of 80 – he regretted not finishing his PhD 20 or 30 years before so he had more time to contribute to society. His interview drove me to undertake my PhD at UniSA in International Business.”

In the mid-90s, while studying, Dr Yeung was then invited to start up the Australian brand Jeanswest in China. He served as Director and General Manager for Jeanswest China from 1994, guiding the development of 1000 stores before the company publicly listed in 1996.

In the new millennium a serendipitous opportunity arose, leading to a career shift from fashion to commercial property.

“A renowned real estate company had invited our fashion brand to open a flagship store in one of their new shopping malls. I found the mall location good but the wrong trade mix,” Dr Yeung says.

“I suggested brands for the real estate company and the shopping mall opened successfully. Then the CEO of the real estate company asked me to join them as the China Commercial Property Retail Head.”

After a number of years leading teams in commercial property for different companies Dr Yeung started his own company – Maisson Commercial Property – an asset management company for commercial property development.

Dr Yeung says that different businesses have their challenges. He sees fashion and design as a merging of art and science.

“Property on the other hand is a complicated business,” he says. “Once we design and build a shopping mall there are thousands of workers in the mall at different periods of time." Regulations on construction, fire safety, legal… Each day presents a new challenge – which I enjoy.

“Currently I am working on a theme park project based on designs that were originally made by a famous Chinese Kung Fu internet game, which I hope will help more kids feel happy in the environment.”

In his spare time he is also supporting his wife’s dream to lead her own high end fashion design business – Cashmere Song - which he co-manages.

Dr Yeung’s wife Song Hong had harboured a dream to run her own fashion label since graduating from the Inner Mongolia Design School in 1992. When she decided it was time to pursue her dream she enlisted her husband’s support.

“We travelled to her home town to talk with the shepherds in the grasslands of Mongolia,” he says. “The local people like a drink and they are hospitable and willing to share their experiences."

“We started to talk with people about their changes in living and the culture due to development in Mongolia. They enjoyed their life in grasslands where they have their own culture, generation to generation. City development has changed their living and their culture as well.

“One night, I walked with my wife under the moon, the grassland was so silent, and we came up with an idea to develop a fashion brand by using the cashmere that the shepherds crafted.

“I put the Cashmere and her surname Song together as her namesake. We knew the brand should have Mongolian culture, using local materials but with international designs. And that’s how the brand Cashmere Song started.”

Originally the couple planned to open a small shop but this plan quickly changed from retail to wholesale to further sales that in turn help many in the Mongolian shepherd business. It now sells through showrooms in China, Hong Kong, New York and London.

When asked if he has plans to extend sales in Australia he says, “It is a great idea to have a wholesale showroom in Australia due to the different season in the southern hemisphere.”

“The brand has limitations to sell cashmere in winter – but our buyers expect summer lines, so together we have developed new technologies by mixing silk and cashmere for Spring/Summer, and mixing cashmere with leather or fake fur for Fall/Winter.”

With the high quality of the Inner Mongolia cashmere and Song Hong’s design skills, the brand has won multiple awards and is now featured in more than 500 shops in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the United States & China.

Dr Yeung’s business and family interests bring him great joy, which he hopes to share with others.

“Happiness is all we need, I hope my skills through our endeavours brings more happiness to the people who enjoy them,” he says.

To learn more about Dr Yeung’s businesses, visit Maisson (Hong Kong) Commercial Property and Cashmere Song.


Ayesha AggarwalAyesha Aggarwal

Ceramicist, and Marketing and Publicity, Wakefield Press

Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Bachelor of Communication (Media and Culture)

February 2019

Communications graduate Ayesha Aggarwal’s creativity is instinctual. She moves easily from one creative outlet to another. At the Wakefield Press she works as a marketing guru, creating interest for the latest manuscripts to hit the shelves. In her spare time she crafts unique, handmade one-of-a-kind ceramics.

“I started work at the Wakefield Press the very same day I went to my first pottery class, so there’s a nice symmetry to my two careers,” she says.

“I love that I still get to do creative work in my day job but it uses a completely different part of my brain – having that balance is really fulfilling.”

Toward the end of her studies at UniSA, Ayesha yearned for a creative outlet. Years were spent experimenting with different techniques.

“I’ve always dreamt of a creative career,” she says. “Before I found ceramics I couldn’t fathom how I could realistically make a living making art.”

“I dabbled in many creative hobbies. I made fabric totes for a while, tried my hand at crochet, made lampshades from slides, embroidered pop culture references that I framed … but nothing really stuck until I finished my first year working with clay”.

As a child, Ayesha had always been fascinated by the potters in India. After a year of weekly night classes, that she admits were frustrating at times, she tried her hand at making a vase.

Born in India into a family of women she calls extremely creative, Ayesha was immersed in a life of the handmade, botanicals and artistic expression that continue to influence her work today.

“I grew up listening to conversations about colour, pattern and design. I like to think that I bring all of these conversations into the studio with me,” she says.

“I see my mum’s love of gardening expressed in my obsession with plants, the patterns and colours of Indian textiles in my bold, graphic designs.”

“The second I’d made my first botanical vase I decided to make a commitment to clay,” she says.

A combination of wheel throwing and hand-building techniques are used in the studio, but Ayesha works freehand on the final form.

“A pattern forms in my head as I go along so I simply let my hands decide where to apply the colour,” she says.

“I strive to make work that is unique to me; that no one else is making. I don’t really prescribe to what is trendy, I try to make work that speaks to me and hope that others will feel the same way about it.

“My inspiration comes from the unique shapes and colours of leaves. I’m particularly drawn to Australian native flora with their almost alien like shapes and vibrant colour and to tropical plants, which always transport me to my childhood in India. They translate to pattern so easily in my head.”“I began to feel the excitement of having created something that I really liked. For the first time I felt like I had a product that people might willingly pay me for – and that was pretty exciting.”

Ayesha has also recently turned her craft to handmade ceramic jewellery, experimenting with thinly rolled and hand cut shapes that bring aspects of her wheel thrown work into the design. She intends to keep working and experimenting with clay for as long as it brings her joy.

“Ceramics is still really my side hustle, but it’s what I spend the majority of my days thinking about and doing,” she says.

“I’ve often been told that I should outsource my designs for production and get someone else to do the making so that I can focus on the profits, but that defeats the purpose for me.

“I started making pots because I wanted to make things with my own hands and I think that’s what makes each creation all the more special.”

“As a child I was taught that a handmade gift was of more value than a store bought one. Handmade to me is a sign of care and affection. It feels increasingly important in our throwaway economies.

“I know the curves of each and every pot I make, the marks from where I accidentally nicked them with my fingernails, the slip of my hand where the paint went on a bit too thick. Each pot is a little piece of myself, a labour of love. That’s the intimate magic of the handmade.”

To learn more about Ayesha’s work visit www.ayeshaaggarwal.com. Her work can also be purchased in Adelaide at Urban Cow Studio, The Jam Factory and Art Images Gallery, and in Queensland at Brown’s General Store and the store at the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA).


Marie AlfordMarie Alford

Head of Implementation, Dementia Centre HammondCare

Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)

July 2018

Dementia does not discriminate – it currently affects more than 400,000 people in Australia of all different backgrounds and ages, and has a huge impact on the physical, mental and emotional health of not only the patient but also on their carers and loved ones.

According to Dementia Australia, it is estimated that nearly one million Australians will live with dementia by the year 2050, and with the country’s ageing population and no known cure, social worker Marie Alford is working to inspire the next generation of leaders in dementia and aged care.

“My grandmother, who was my last living family member, lived with dementia. There was never a formal diagnosis, but I watched her transition from independent to fiercely independent as a way to protect herself from what she knew was coming,” says Marie.

“If you had told me I would end up working in dementia and aged care, I wouldn’t have thought it possible – but I discovered that I could use all my skills in counselling, mediation, advocacy and research to create a better quality of life for people living with dementia and their carers.

Marie was the General Manager of Alzheimer’s Australia South Australia (AASA) for 10 years before moving to Sydney in 2013 to work for HammondCare in the Dementia Centre alongside Associate Professor Colm Cunningham, an inspirational leader in the industry.

“I had watched the work of the Dementia Centre from afar and visited HammondCare facilities to learn more about their simple model of domestic, homelike cottages for aged care and wanted to be part of this journey and the challenge to make dementia a national health priority.

The Dementia Centre is an international program with offices across Australia and the UK, and Marie’s current role as Head of Implementation supports the strategic stakeholder and political engagement with the organisation’s funders, partners and collaborators.

“I have the best job in the world – I get to work with fantastic teams who translate learning from our clients into new opportunities for funding, research and policy. Every day is different, and I love meeting with people living with dementia and hearing their stories that inform our work and practice.

“It’s the little things that make the biggest difference, and I get so much joy from the people I meet. To hear and see the outcomes they achieve is amazing, to know the work we do really makes a difference.

“Meeting people diagnosed in their 30s, 40s and 50s really challenged me and my skills, but it also taught me so much. People living with dementia are not defined by their disease, and living well with dementia – which was unheard of even 15 years ago – has grown so much as a movement.”

From 2009 to 2013, Marie was the Director of the South Australian and Northern Territory Dementia Training Study Centre, which works to influence undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum to ensure there was a focus on dementia and aged care and provide increased training and knowledge transition to students.

“This was an exciting role for me and we had a lot of great partners including UniSA to achieve our goals. We rolled out training in SA to medical and nursing students which provided foundational learning about dementia; some of this training is still in place today.”

While Marie believes there has been real progress in terms of education, training, support and improvement for the lives of people living with dementia, she says it is vital we continue to push for more change, from spreading awareness to building the next generation of leaders in aged care.

“Australia is lucky to have a government who supports funding for dementia; we lead the way in innovative programs and research, such as Dementia Support Australia which offers a world first national behaviour support program.

“We tend to only hear about the bad stories of care, but there is so much good happening and we should hear those stories too. Together we are all accountable for being part of that change.

“We need younger people coming into the field – I see myself as a supporter to their career pathways. Social work is a foundation upon which you can go in any direction, so young graduates need to consider roles that aren’t as traditional as well as the ones core to our discipline.

“Aged care and dementia is an industry that will only continue to grow, but more than that it is an area in which you can use all of your skills to build and develop change and make a real difference.”


Paul AndersonAssociate Professor Paul Anderson

Associate Professor in Physiology

Head of Musculoskeletal Biology Research Laboratory, University of South Australia

May 2018

Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D and calcium could make all the difference in improving bone health and preventing and treating bone diseases, rare bone disorders and even breast cancer.

Associate Professor Paul Anderson is currently working on a diverse range of projects at the University of South Australia to study the impact of calcium and vitamin D levels and supplements on the health outcomes of various conditions.

Two of these conditions, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, are on the rise in Australia's ageing society, and according to Osteoporosis Australia, 66% of Australians over the age of fifty have either one of these diseases or poor bone health.

Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis can lead to bone fractures, a loss of mobility and independence, and an increase of mortality, and Assoc Prof Anderson says the key to prevention is nutrition and exercise, stressing the importance of calcium and vitamin D.

Osteoporosis is more often associated with women, as menopause causes the loss of estrogen which then accelerates bone loss, so his current clinical trial focuses on the various levels of calcium among post-menopausal women.

"This is an important study because while there are current recommendations as to how much calcium a woman should have, this is broadly based only on women who are lean," he says.

"The current data regarding bone health and obesity is very conflicting, so women who are clinically obese do not know how much calcium they should be taking to prevent bone loss and there is uncertainty in the medical community as to what to recommend overall.

"This study is really about seeing if post-menopausal women who are clinically obese respond differently compared to lean post-menopausal women when given calcium of equal doses."

The other key component to a healthy skeleton alongside calcium is vitamin D, and Assoc Prof Anderson aims to further understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which vitamin D can directly and indirectly improve bone health.

"We see a lot in commercials about how vitamin D strengthens your bones, but the actual science behind it is a bit imprecise."

Working with orthopedic surgeons at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Assoc Prof Anderson studies patient biopsies to understand the connection between vitamin D deficiency and poor bone health.

"These are osteoporotic patients who require surgery with an implant to mend a bone fracture.

"Often in the elderly, there is poor quality of healing after surgery, which is largely due to the poor quality of bone that is there to begin with – it doesn't respond well to surgery.

"We analyze the samples and take this information back to the surgeons, who have begun to recognize that part of their bone healing therapy should involve ensuring patients have adequate levels of vitamin D."

Poor bone health does not just affect the elderly though, and Assoc Prof Anderson and his team are also working with a rare musculoskeletal condition that affects children called X-Linked Hypophosphatemia (XLH).

A rare disorder that affects around one in 20,000 people, XLH is usually genetic but can in some cases appear in children with no family history.

"The mutation itself arises in a particular bone cell called the osteocyte, and causes an altered production of a particular hormone that triggers phosphate to be excreted from the body at high rates.

"Phosphate is vital for healthy bones, and without it a child's bones can become literally rubbery, and symptoms include bone and tooth weakness and pain, bow legs and even bow arms in severe cases.

"Treatments for this disorder are very poor at the moment; one of the negative effects of XLH is an excessive catabolism (breaking down) of vitamin D, so we are working on developing a drug that blocks this catabolism, which could heal the bone."

Assoc Prof Anderson's work surrounding vitamin D is not solely focused on bone health as he has also turned his attention to the strong link between vitamin D deficiency and breast cancer.

Working in collaboration with the University of Adelaide and McGill University in Canada, he is working with the same idea of preventing the catabolism of vitamin D as a means of cancer prevention.

"The kidney is normally considered the major organ for producing vitamin D, but we have identified that a variety of cells also produce it for their own purposes, including mammary cells in the breast.

"This production of vitamin D appears to improve cell differentiation, which is positive in terms of being anti-cancer, but if mammary cells cannot synthesize their own vitamin D, then there is a higher risk of breast cancer and metastasis to the lung.

"If the cells lose this ability to produce the vitamin, they can become more cancerous, so blocking the catabolism of vitamin D might become an effective therapy for cancer prevention and treatment."

Assoc Prof Anderson hopes to continue this research in regard to colon cancer in the future.


Christie AnthoneyChristie Anthoney

A festival playground: Building an arts management career

Graduate Diploma in Management (Arts)

April 2018

Encouraging the public to take a walk on the wild side is just your typical day in the office for Christie Anthoney. Allowing the Scottish Sceptic Society to let audience members walk across hot coals at the Edinburgh Science Festival is not the only time that Christie has played with fire in a global career in the arts and festivals sector spanning two decades. She also supported famed French fire alchemists Cie Carabosse to bring their first fire installation to Australia at WOMADelaide over a decade ago.

The initiative shown by Christie in convincing the owner of the Famous Spiegeltent to bring the 1920s European ‘tent of mirrors’ to Adelaide in 2000 and land it in Rundle Park, is now the stuff of legend. Ultimately this bold act gave birth to The Garden of Unearthly Delights, a vibrant hub of performance venues, stalls, bars, sideshows and carnival rides, which regularly attracts around 800,000 people through its gates during Adelaide’s Fringe Festival, a time locals affectionately call ‘Mad March’. Christie counts this as one of her proudest professional achievements.

This risky business paid dividends, with Christie appointed Director of the Adelaide Fringe from 2004-2010. Her leadership drove growth in hub venues, developed an international marketplace –the Honeypot program, and launched the now famous artists’ bar, The Fringe Club.

In her current role as Chief Executive Officer, Festivals Adelaide, Christie continues to turn up the heat, helping create the conditions for unique and thrilling work to be presented to audiences.

“The arts are a very satisfying sector to work in. Festivals even more so. The beauty of the festival sector is that it’s such a great blend, all art forms, all demographics, commercial work, subsidised work, unusual, formal, even proper work,” says Christie.

“They have such intensity. Everyone pulls together to work on delivering the very best festival they can, and then it’s over. You can’t go back and change anything. I love that.”

Now at the helm of Festivals Adelaide, an alliance of 11 South Australian arts and cultural festivals that generate over $260 million of economic activity for the state annually, Christie provides leadership in a sector that has been growing at a rate of 10% per annum for the last ten years, and supports 850 jobs (full-time equivalent). Festivals Adelaide also manages a vast volunteer network – a ‘cultural army’ of 1,500 people, with the aim of enhancing the festival experience and enriching the lives of its volunteers - many of whom are recent retirees.

“Adelaide is one great global marketplace for entertainment, ideas and talent. The shareholders vote with their wallets, and success goes on tour around the world. You can really make a large splash in Adelaide and have a huge amount of international success.

“Adelaide is already the second largest festival city in the world and certainly the largest in Australia. South Australia currently sells 50.3% of the nation’s ticket sales for festivals. There is no sign of this changing in future years. That means by 2050 we will have tripled the size of the sector.”

At this rate, Christie believes that within thirty years, Adelaide will be the leading festival city in the world, and will be known for its openness to experimentation and innovation.

“South Australian’s are already extremely hungry for new ideas as evidenced by their extraordinary attendance of festival shows – particularly new work that has never been seen before. Knowing the power of festivals to mobilise, to connect, and encourage experimentation, Festivals Adelaide seeks to foster these conditions so that Adelaide can become the most joined up creative community, and the best place to trial new ideas. We believe the ways in which people behave differently during festivals is transferrable to other sectors and will positively influence the brand and business of the State.”

An experienced arts leader, she credits the Graduate Diploma in Management (Arts) with providing the foundation for her career.

“This degree was fundamental and really is the only course in South Australia that is dealing with management and the arts. Everyone I knew in the industry had it, and I had to have it. The fabulous networks that I made, not to mention accounting and business skills, have been hugely helpful.”

The importance of flexibility, risk-taking, and seeing things from other perspectives were all key lessons Christie took from her studies, but she confesses that not everything can be taught.

“Some of it is X factor – that delicate balancing act of intuiting when to hold on to opportunities, and when to let them go. Being comfortable with the unknown and understanding the consequence of timing and decisions is highly desirable. People who show calm confidence in working under pressure will thrive in the festival sector.

“This is a transient world. There is plenty of work and it’s growing – but it’s global. The investment in travel is necessary and can ultimately lead to being in one place and having a successful leadership role, but most people start out piecing together work on a contractual basis.

“The arts and cultural sector is hugely rewarding, but very demanding and often volatile. Because careers in the arts rely on short-term contracts you must have a confidence and optimism about the future and your skills. Displaying initiative and working with the group to see the big picture, while not missing the detail is important, as is working across multiple tasks.”

Christie has set for herself a goal of achieving 99% arts engagement and participation from South Australians, an ambitious, but not impossible target, given the growth performance of the sector and the receptiveness of the population. Reaching this target could have benefits beyond measure, Christie shares.

“That moment when your intellect brushes up against that of a stranger’s, as you have an ‘aha’ moment or share something in an audience together. These things are important, they make us feel human, and wanting to feel human is indeed a growing trend.”

Christie Anthoney is on the Advisory Board for MOD @ UniSA – Australia's leading future-focused museum, provoking new ideas at the intersection of science, art and innovation.


Lisa BishopLisa Bishop

General Manager at Music SA

Graduate Diploma in Management (Arts)

June 2018

Adelaide was designated as a UNESCO City of Music in December 2015. The title is awarded to cities that have demonstrated excellence in music heritage, music-making, education, community involvement, regular high profile, and international music events. Only 31 cities worldwide have attained this status.

Standing centre stage is UniSA Alumna Lisa Bishop, industry mover, shaker and music-maker. From a start singing in bands at age 20, she now supports and amplifies the state’s vibrant music community in her capacity as General Manager of Music SA, a not-for-profit organisation.

“Our goal is to develop, support and promote original contemporary South Australian musicians, build their audiences and champion the industry. It’s demanding, but very gratifying, and I enjoy the team work involved in delivering festivals and events,” she says.

With extensive experience in the music sector and 20 years serving on the boards of arts organisations, including the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the Media Resource Centre and Vitalstatistix, it might surprise some that a leadership role in the creative industries wasn’t Lisa’s first career choice.

“With my Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from UniSA I transitioned to the non-profit sector, where I could make the most of my business skills and do something that is creative.

“Walking away from a decent salary to work in the arts just as I was starting a family was a huge risk though. The risk paid off because I find it so rewarding, plus I have an incredibly supportive husband. When I ended up as General Manager at Music SA I figured all my experience had come together in the perfect role.”

Umbrella: Winter City Sounds is just one of the exciting initiatives Lisa has launched during her tenure at Music SA. Designed to bring commercial outcomes to venues and more work for local musicians during a typically quiet time of the year, the highly successful 2017 event saw 300 live music events across 100 venues and other unusual locations.

“I’m pretty proud of the team behind Umbrella: Winter City Sounds. It’s been fun to create a festival from scratch and build its brand. Umbrella is a two week live music festival and a showcase of predominantly local musicians that transforms the greater Adelaide area into a winter wonderland of music and discovery.

With 1200 South Australians identifying their main profession as a musician (part-time or hobby musicians counting for thousands more), and around 6300 people employed in the music industry, it’s a thriving, competitive sector. Lisa encourages emerging musicians to adopt a business mindset in order to stand out from the crowd.

“Most musicians are self-managed, particularly when they are starting out. So they need to be business savvy until their songwriting and stage performance is good enough to be surrounded by a team of people who ‘run the business side’ for the artist,” she says.

Lisa revels in sharing her wisdom with aspiring musicians and arts managers looking to march to the beat of their own drum.

Here are her three key tips for people starting out in the music industry:

1. Set Yourself Up As A Business
Work out what legal structure best fits you (as a solo musician or band) and then use it to operate your business and receive tax breaks. Register an ABN (Australian Business Number) and open a bank account (not your personal one) and use it to be smart about cash flow and careful about spending. Sign a “band agreement” based on your selected business set-up. You can find one in the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN) Legal Pack – use it to clarify issues and disputes that are commonly experienced by bands.

2. Understand Where Your Money Is Coming From
Get a handle on what your top revenue streams are – touring, publishing, merchandising etc. Make sure you are distributing your music online and on all the right platforms – iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon, and that your music is visible on apps like Shazam (artist distribution service companies like CDBaby, Ditto, Noisehive, distrokid, Tunecore can do this for you for a fee).

However don’t rely solely on online followers – playing live helps to build your fan base, to test your original compositions in a live setting, and get genuine instantaneous feedback on your music. Eighty percent of gigs are held in pubs and clubs and Adelaide has some great live music venues that provide a career pathway from smaller crowds to larger rooms like the Grace Emily, the Hotel Metro, The Jade, Jive, the Wheatsheaf and The Gov. Hopefully this leads to supporting touring acts in bigger venues and then ultimately playing music festivals. I recommend that anyone in Adelaide in late July attends the Scouted showcase – you will get to see 15 of the best unsigned bands in Adelaide right now across five venues in the West End.

3. Network and Collaborate
Like any industry, the music industry is about who you know, not just what you know. Get engaged with your local music organisations, attend workshops and industry functions, and subscribe to their socials. Seek advice from older successful musicians and collaborate with other artists and producers to develop your song writing and stagecraft skills.

To find more about the Umbrella: Winter City Sounds festival, visit umbrellaadelaide.com.au.


Associate Professor Svetlana Bogomolova

Senior Marketing Scientist at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science
Director, The Barossa Co-op

Master by Research, Marketing
PhD, Marketing

OCtober 2018

Associate Professor Svetlana Bogomolova is an expert shopper. But not just any shopper, as a consumer and social marketing researcher, she knows her way around complex marketing theories and practice, not to mention a bustling supermarket aisle.

Her studies have included extensive research into food choices and shopping habits, including the intricacies of the supermarket landscape and what shoppers are naturally attracted to – and why certain foods are stocked in particular places.

“A typical supermarket stocks over 30,000 items and yet a typical household buys just 300 or so unique products per year. That is, they walk past roughly 29,700 products on shelves without putting any of these in their baskets,” writes Associate Professor Svetlana Bogomolova in The Conversation.

That’s assuming those shoppers actually walk past the shelves in the first place! Despite a quarter of shoppers claiming to traverse every aisle on a shopping trip, less than 2% of shoppers actually do.

“Shoppers are naturally attracted to empty spaces. They prefer a wide pathway around a store or mall that allows them to see into the distance and avoid getting too close to other shoppers. Thus, the most common route around a store is the perimeter of the store, known as the “racetrack”.

“From that main route shoppers can see down each aisle and duck in and out to get the items they need. Naturally, the shelves at the ends of aisles, known as “endcaps” or “gondola ends”, are the most valuable, simply because more people go past products placed here. So these products get seen (and bought) by more people than products hidden away in the aisles.”

Since graduating from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Svetlana arrived at the University of South Australia in 2003 to study a Master by Research in Marketing, later followed by a PhD in Marketing.

Now as a fully fledge member of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science at UniSA, she has nearly two decades of research experience and an extensive repertoire of collaborative cross-disciplinary projects with health researchers where she uses her expertise in consumer behaviour and shopping to promote healthy behaviours.

She also balances her main role as Associate Professor at UniSA with serving as an independent non-executive Director on The Barossa Co-op Board – the largest regional retailer and employer in her local Barossa community.

She has been widely published, and attracted competitive industry research funding from health-promoting organisations such as SA Health, Council of Ambulance Authorities, National Pharmacies, and Active Ageing. She was also an ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award Fellow (DECRA).

Since contributing to studies on healthfulness of food choices in supermarkets, increasing physical activity in rural and ageing populations, and raising quality of health services, Svetlana and her Senior Marketing Scientist colleague Amy Wilson, are now turning their attention to health and wellbeing education space where marketing can be used as a force for good.

It is not uncommon to hear marketers accused of being ‘evil’. Marketing is often blamed for overindulgence in unhealthy food, and the overconsumption of new gadgets and games that make us lazy and isolate us from the rest of the world. But, is there another side to marketing?

Svetlana and Amy argue that marketing skills are essential for informing the community about products and services that improve health and wellbeing, enhancing the delivery of those services to benefit individuals and society.

“Many of today’s health practitioners are also involved in the running their own businesses. Think, physiotherapy, podiatry, psychological counselling,” says Associate Professor Svetlana Bogomolova.

“Many wonderful doctors find themselves challenged by the need to attract their own patients and keep them loyal. Hardly any medical school teaches these skills.

“On the other hand, there are a great number of business (or even marketing) graduates, who at some point in their career would find themselves working for a non-for-profit, charity, Government or private organisation, that aims to provide the community with product, services and ideas that promote health and wellbeing.

Realising this unmet need from both sides – for health professionals to get some essential marketing skills, and for business professionals to better understand the health context, Svetlana and Amy have developed a cross-disciplinary course – Marketing for Health and Wellbeing at UniSA. In 2017 the course has been awarded the Best Teaching Team Award reflecting how much students enjoyed the course and the skills it provided.

“As the teaching team are both active social marketing researchers, the new discoveries and insights from the many research projects are also incorporated into the course.”

“Examples include the use of ‘nudging’ strategies to influence dietary choices, how patterns of engagement in physical activity can inform physical activity promotion, helping local producers get better market access, designing a TV campaign for methamphetamine use prevention, encouraging healthy menus for kids in pubs and clubs and much more.”

The course also has a very practical focus, bringing to students a diverse range of industry experts, who share their experiences. These include practitioners from the Red Cross Blood Service, Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle (OPAL, SA Health), Southern Cross Care, Surf Life Saving SA, Jurlique and Janesce skincare lines, Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, The Barossa Co-op, Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing, Mater Health Services, The Physio Clinic, to just name a few.

For more information visit: https://unisabusinessschool.edu.au/marketing/marketing-for-health-and-wellbeing/


Andrew Bullock

Chief Executive Officer, 1834 Hotels - 1834 Hospitality
Chair, South Australian Tourism Commission

Bachelor of Management (Tourism and Hospitality)

August 2019

The South Australian tourism industry is thriving and passionate South Aussie, Andrew Bullock, has spent a good part of this century immersed in the business climbing the ranks at 1834 Hotels - 1834 Hospitality, formerly known as Country Club Hotels & Resorts.

This experience, and knack for knowing what makes our state great, has also made him the perfect fit for his newest role, the Chair of the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) Board.

Before Andrew was heading the SATC Board,he began his career at Country Club Hotels & Resorts in 2002 while still studying at UniSA.

Throughout the two decades he has been a part of the company, he has been instrumental in the growth and expansion of the company across Australia and responsible for generation of annual sales in excess of $100 million.

The 1834 Hotels network is a “holistic management service” that offers a range of accommodation –including the Mayfair Hotel, The Meridien, the Barossa Weintal Hotel and even more cafes, restaurants and bars, golf courses, function and wedding venues – dotted both regionally and in capital cities throughout the country.

After initially starting out in sales, Andrew was eventually promoted to the Group General Manager, with this role encompassing all operational aspects of the group of hotels and resorts. But then in 2008, at 29-years-old, he became the Chief Executive Officer after founder Ian Conolly, both a mentor and a friend, passed away.

Andrew still cites Ian, the banker turned manager, as “the most inspiring person he ever met” having had a significant impact his professional career and still holds his advice and guidance close to his heart.

“He taught me that you don’t have to be a dictator in business to get positive outcomes, you need to be firm however positive outcomes are always possible with a positive outlook,” he says.

As CEO, Andrew led the company through a number of developments and its increasingly diverse portfolio. When he started, the chain managed a network of four hotels – this number has now grown to 23. And now with almost 1000 staff employed under the 1834 banner, it makes them one of the largest regional tourism employers in South Australia.

Andrew didn’t always imagine himself playing such a pivotal role in the tourism sector though. It was only after becoming involved in the industry that he realised he had a passion and inherent knack for it.

In his two decades with the company, Andrew says the best part of his job has been the opportunity to work with the wide range of people he’s been in contact with and he’s particularly proud of watching the 1834 group develop and grow.

“I spent some time in sales initially before becoming involved at a more senior management level,” he says. “I became very enthusiastic about tourism and hospitality in South Australia for a number of reasons. As well as the terrific growth we have seen in recent years, one of the most exciting prospects is the capacity we have for further growth.”

“I often find myself thinking back on theory that I learned at uni and now use in day-to-day work. I believe having that background from UniSA has allowed me to progress much quicker in my career and development.”

On top of his work managing the operations and finances, and devising key business strategies for revenue growth at 1834 Hotels, last month Andrew was officially named as the Chair of South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) Board.

Here he will use his extensive experience and knowledge of the sector to fulfil the SATC’s mission to make South Australia a destination of choice for international and domestic visitors.

“Tourism is one of the most exciting industries to be a part of. For me one of the great advantages is the economic benefits it provides local economies by being a reliable and sought-after exporter of goods,” he says.

The visitor economy created by tourism is important because much of the economic benefit it brings to the state flows to regional communities and also has a positive impact on other industries such as agriculture, wine, retail, education, real estate and transport.

Looking forward, Andrew believes that nationally we are at the cusp of further strong growth in the international markets.

“China is in incredible growth, now our challenge as a country is to ensure we continue to get our market share internationally and grow that market share,” he says.

“In South Australia the story is similar – we have seen terrific growth – now our challenge is to grow that further and see a greater market share of visitation to Australia visiting South Australia.

“As a potential net exporter the benefit and opportunity for the state is significant and in particular with the regional dispersal that tourism provides, we can see economic growth in regional South Australia from tourism activation.

“Tourism can also become the jobs of the future in areas that otherwise have limited opportunity.”

He’s right – who doesn’t want to go on a holiday?

As a seasoned tourism professional Andrew also knows a thing or two about hidden gems around the state too. He recommends the Riesling Trail next time you are looking to experience the best South Australia has to offer.

“There are so many wonderful spots in South Australia it would be hard to pick just one! I do have a soft spot for the Clare Valley – I think the opportunity to ride a bike along the Riesling Trail and pop into a few wineries on the way is such a terrific experience.”


Suzanne CaragianisSuzanne Caragianis

Managing Director, SA Hand Therapy
Certified Hand Therapist, Full Member AHTA

Bachelor of Applied Science, Occupational Therapy

May 2019

The eyes might be the window to the soul, but our hands are the vital tools that allow our minds to act upon the world – to prosper, shape our environment, and in many parts of the world, survive.

Suzanne Caragianis became fascinated with hands in her first anatomy classes at the University of South Australia while studying a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy). Her interest grew and hands became the focus of her over 33-year career, not only trailblazing hand therapy in South Australia, but also making a difference in places around the world needing it most.

“Hands are so complex and intricate, and so important in peoples everyday function and self-expression,” she says.

“They are the tools with which we take care of ourselves, express ourselves, show joy and love. They enable us to create, build, design and communicate. It’s not until someone has an injury or loses function that they realise the significance of their hands.

“If they are damaged it can affect our survival in certain parts of the world. Our communication, our ability to earn a living and care for ourselves and others.”

After graduation, Suzanne followed her interest in hand therapy to the USA to work with Dr Harold Kleinert, one of the fathers of hand surgery.

He had a tremendous impact on her and it was here she also developed a strong desire to support the education of future therapists – especially fellow UniSA Alumni – influencing her own teaching and mentoring style over the past 25 years.

“My mentor Dr Kleinert told me, ‘we have a responsibility to teach all that we know; choose students who you think can be better than you and enable them to be better than you in one way or another’,” she says.

On returning to Australia from the US, Suzanne worked to establish a practice that mirrored Dr Kleinert’s values. Starting with a hand and occupational therapy consulting service in 1991, Suzanne’s business evolved into the SA Hand Therapy practice.

SA Hand Therapy now has five practices around the state and a number of dedicated hand and upper limb therapists, including their resident therapy dog Cooper, specialising in accident, injury, arthritis, nerve & congenital conditions.

“I wanted to establish a hand therapy centre of excellence in Australia that offered best practice, teaching and mentoring to students as well as doing collaborative research,” she says.

“Now we have five sites, a team of amazing talented therapists and two business partners, Michael Janetzki and Jordan Lefmann.”

Suzanne also teaches professional groups and GP’s about complex hand trauma and injuries, diagnosis and treatment. This passion for educating others in hand therapy – particularly in high risk areas – has also led to deep ties with the Indian and Bhutanese therapeutic communities.

“My medical missionary work in Bhutan began 10 years ago after several years of teaching in India with my dear friend and colleague Dr Raja Sabapathy, who was at the time the President of the Indian Hand Surgery Society,” she says.

“I visited Bhutan and discovered high rates of hand and upper limb injuries and burns from subsistence farming and cooking over an open fire. There was also a high incidence of congenital deformities and children’s injuries.

“At the time there were only four orthopaedic surgeons in Bhutan, no plastic surgeons or any hand surgery unless it was basic salvage procedures or amputation of a limb or finger.

“There were also no Occupational Therapists and the physiotherapy clinic at the main hospital in the capital, Thimphu, had no hand therapy or splinting service or training.”

After her first therapy training trip, Suzanne realised the country needed a formal hand therapy clinic to improve recovery for the injured. She set about establishing Helping Hands in Bhutan to facilitate training for medical professionals and therapists.

She also began fundraising to set up the clinic with the right mix of surgical equipment and trainers.

“Part of the program consisted of a continuing education course to teach doctors, surgeons, and therapists about hand and upper limb anatomy and basic hand rehabilitation in Bhutan,” she says.

“In order to get the Royal Government of Bhutan to sponsor and recognise the program, I developed a specialist course and a way of examining attendees so they would champion participants.

Another enjoyable part of the project has been involving other medical experts in her work, she says, “My friend Dr Philip Griffin – an Adelaide Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon – offered to work with me on the trips to teach basic hand surgery skills so we could role model a collaborative team of surgeon’s and therapist’s.

“University of South Australia Dean of Research (Health Sciences), Professor Susan Hillier, even assisted in running one of the courses. It’s still talked about many years later!

“Several years ago Dr Griffin and I also approached Interplast Australia and New Zealand to get involved and extend the program. They accepted and have extended the plastic and reconstructive and hand surgery work, sending teams of surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and hand therapists twice a year."

Suzanne and her project partners have now raised more than $200,000 for the initiative and have established two hand therapy centres in Bhutan.

Through this work a number of Bhutanese surgeons and doctors have also been sponsored to broaden their medical knowledge base and attend international conferences.

“I continue to sponsor training in Bhutan and support our hand therapy clinics there. Overall my goal for this work is to develop a sustainable hand program in Bhutan where we enable the Bhutanese medical work force to treat and rehabilitate people who have sustained trauma or have been born with a disability,” she says.

“My next goal is to sponsor the training of an Occupational Therapist at UniSA to help establish OT services in Bhutan.”


Josh CarmichaelJosh Carmichael

Renewable Energy, Grid & Mobility Specialist (Transdev – Connexxion)

Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of International Business

January 2019

When Josh Carmichael returned to his hometown of Adelaide in May of 2016, joining the South Australian Government in the midst of SA’s so-called ‘energy crisis’ after seven years at automotive manufacturing company DENSO, he could not have imagined what the next two years would entail.

As the Director of the Low Carbon Economy Unit, Josh put his business acumen to good use and led his team through the development and success of some of the state’s most extraordinary renewable energy projects – including delivering the World's Largest Lithium-ion Battery (100 MW Battery) – all while welcoming the newest member to his young family.

After making such a substantial contribution toward South Australia’s electricity sector being cleaner, more reliable and more affordable, he upended again to the Netherlands and joined Transdev, a leading mobility specialist and public transport operator, as a Low Emission Technology expert.

Josh takes us on a deep dive into his fascinating career, expertise in renewables, his time at the South Australian Government, and what he really thinks about Elon Musk’s tweeting habit.

Would you be able to tell us a little bit about what you are currently doing at Transdev (Connexxion) as a Low Emission Technology Expert?
Transdev operates everything from ferries to light rail train, trams and buses and autonomous shuttles as either the Global Transdev brand (as in Australia) or as a local brand like Connexxion in The Netherlands.

My role is to advise the organisation on how to best roll out buses, batteries, chargers and infrastructure for the expected boom in electric and fuel cell buses by 2025 – 2030 in The Netherlands, from a commercial, technical, chemical, procurement and operational point of view.

What motivated you to pursue this career path in renewable energy, how did your time at UniSA help shape it?

I’ve always been very interested in sustainability, but more from a business impact point of view - product development, strategy, supply chain and power balance perspective – than the environmental perspective. I would never have guessed while at UniSA in the early 2000s I would end up where I am now.

I chose good mentors who supported and encouraged me to say yes to every opportunity during my time at UniSA. My journey started when I said yes to a random opportunity to go on exchange. UniSA had just signed a new contract with The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in Hong Kong to do exchanges, and they found it hard to get people to go to China over Europe and USA in 2003, so they offered $5000 in grants to go and promoted it via the professors. I spoke to a couple mentors and they encouraged me to apply.

I was successful and met plenty of enthusiastic American and European students in Hong Kong – particularly the Dutch – which made me want to live and work in The Netherlands. So I moved after my studies, did my Masters and graduated in 2008.

I managed to use my Japanese language skills to get a job with DENSO in the middle of the global financial crisis, in a role that was meant to be industrial products but turned into innovation and business development across Telecom, Health, Security and Energy industries for over eight years.

I then said yes to a chance to relocate back home to SA with the government – while having no previous ambition to work in the public sector – in a role that I could never have imagined would be so good for me in terms of development, experience, knowledge and network. First in Hydrogen, then the big battery, virtual power plants and 20 other projects through the Renewable Technology Fund worth one billion dollars in private investments into SA as Director of the Low Carbon Economy Unit.

It was my pleasure to be a manager of such a capable team, in the thick of action with Cabinet support and fully decision making freedom with support of executives across government and my second-in-command, Richard Day.

Most recently I took a job with a public transport operator – never thought that would happen either – in the largest (again!) electric bus depot and fleet in Europe.

Speaking of your time with the South Australian Government, the state has a very complex energy market and power needs and you were involved in leading the massive 100MW Battery Project, could you describe your role and experience working on this significant development with a company like Tesla?

Pffft. Where to begin?!

There is no other company like Tesla. I’ve worked for a large international organisation before at DENSO (120,000 employees, $60B revenue), but Tesla was a whole different ball game. Everything is huge, quick and via the twitter account – which was very different way of working, especially for a Government agency and Premier’s office used to having their way.

The sheer scale, size, timing and complexity of this project was unprecedented. The 100MW battery was 5 - 20 fold larger than anything comparable on the market at the time. It was pushing the boundaries of engineering possibilities. Furthermore, it wasn’t a simple local project – it attracted close to 90 competitive global bids from all corners of the world. The process to decide the right partner was already the first challenge.

Every stage of the process was unique. We had to fit procurement, negotiations and installation in a nine month window. The installation phase alone – including the registration, licensing and connection procedures in the energy market – can take three months each from three different parties outside of the government’s control. So in total it would have taken 9 to 18 months with existing known technology. We only had three months for that; with a technology, rule book and protocol that largely didn’t exist.

But, we were able to make a success of this phase in the three months because everyone came to the table with a solution – not problem – mentality. We were also able to have frank discussions about what was wanted, what was needed, and able to be implemented in the energy grid at such a scale and speed.

My team in government did an enormous amount of work upfront working with key stakeholders to ask them about implementing a product that had not been tested at such size before – irrespective of who would win the project. That helped at the backend of the project when we went to implement the winning solution with Neoen and Tesla.

That’s an intense three months – and this was all happening under intense media scrutiny, wasn’t it?

The international media were using (sometimes inaccurate) local sources to report on the state of the project – since we were going to get it for free if it took more than 100 days – which added a lot of pressure.

That was alongside the speedy production and delivery of the balance of plant equipment (inverters, transformers, cabling, concrete etc.) and battery packs which were being delivered to site at breakneck speed via planes – just as they hit the end of production line – while building the site from scratch in a safe manner with no serious accidents on site in Jamestown.

If that wasn’t enough, we also had to plan two parties with global attendance and attention [including an appearance from Elon Musk, industry bigwigs, government officials and guests from all over Australia], without interfering with the site’s progress, onsite testing requirements, and performance of the products with no spare days in the schedule.

I’m guessing Elon Musk’s now infamous penchant for tweeting sensitive information didn’t help?

It’s well documented that Elon tweeted during the process that he could do it in less than 100 days, and then dared by fellow billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, said he would do it for free if he couldn’t. This created a problem and more complexity within the project.

The problem was some saw it as the unfair reason he won the contract (which it wasn’t), while others wanted to see us unfairly take him up on the offer. But we knew that would set the battery and renewable industry back years and give the Federal Liberal Party and coal lobbyists the ammunition to wipe our batteries and renewables by 5-10 years. South Australia needs all the energy storage it can get, so it made no sense to destroy the first major project to achieve that and jeopardise future investment into to the state afterwards.

To this day I think it’s still the only occasion in which a tweet has been successfully used in a commercial contract to hold a party liable for the content of the tweet – that’s pretty cool. In the end we didn’t need to activate it and South Australia benefited significantly from the 100MW Battery being delivered on time. Subsequent deals also brought other battery manufacturers into the state, with other projects like Sunjeev Gupta in Whyalla and more renewable projects; creating a new industry, jobs and hope. That’s even cooler.

That must have been so much pressure on you both personally and professionally?

Make no mistake, I had enormous support from internal colleagues, especially my partners Peter Hawkes and Chris Gosling, an executive team across government led by Sam Crafter, Premier and Ministers offices, and was externally supported by technical, commercial and legal consultants in a tightknit project team of about 20 people. Tesla and Neoen both also allocated significant resources to the project, which enabled quick responses from key stake holders to clear blockages in the road.

But yeah – I didn’t sleep much for 9 months. My real superstar on the project was my partner Martine. She also gave birth to our son James in the peak of the project in September 2017. All while working and helping me through all the tough challengers on the project as my unofficial advisor, supporter, motivator and positive thinker; especially when the going was really tough!

What do you love most about your field?

When I was studying at UniSA sustainability was a hobby for environmentalist. It wasn’t until I did my MBA in Holland that my professor said, “the key to getting sustainability mainstream is to make it a business decision; not an environmental one.” Get the CFO excited. The CEO will like an idea that he can write about in the annual report, but it’s the CFO that holds the pen on investment. You need to get the CFO excited.

I’m proud that from a hobby in 2003 to mainstream business decision-making, renewables are now maturing and seen as the future. SA is leading the world on so many areas – which I hopefully played a role in accelerating during 2016 – 2018. It wasn’t the plan, but it’s been a great journey.

Renewables are here to stay, and SA is a great place to be for that.

You’ve had extensive experience in the Netherlands as well, are there things their energy industry do that Australia doesn’t? Is there anything we can learn, and vice versa?

The world is on a path to transition to a more sustainable carbon constrained world. Australia is leading from the energy transition, but lacking in transport and building industry. Europe is leading from a transport perspective, but in a more orderly fashion.

We can certainly learn from each other. Australia can learn how to get bipartisan policy support and more orderly transitions – as well as how to transition the transport sector quickly while supporting the grid. On the other hands Europe can learn from Australia’s mistakes and the solutions that they are now deploying to fix those issues which are globally significant and show leadership at a faster pace – which Europe could use a bit more of – especially in the energy sector.

What do you love most about living and working in The Netherlands? Do you miss anything in particular from Adelaide?

I love Europe because everything is so close, and every place has its own rich history over thousands of years that still exists in small ways through their culture, food, and language. I love being a two-hour flight from my favourite cities in Italy and Spain for long weekends, summer breaks, or winter ski seasons.

I love The Netherlands because it’s so active on the bike – either to work, with the kids, for shopping or sport on the weekends. Also the work-life balance discussion is more mature. I currently have a daddy day once-a-week with my one-year-old son, James, and three-year-old daughter, Siena.

I miss my family and friends from Adelaide a lot, but am more fortunate than other expats because my partner is Dutch with an Australian history – so we both have friends and family in each other’s country.

I do really miss the weather, beaches and wineries. I’m a Henley boy (go Sharks!) through and through, which my partner also loves, so both miss hanging out at the Square with the kids and my parents for a coffee during the day, or a balmy summer night on the terrace with a beer with mates. I do miss my old colleagues at SA Government and exciting projects – but I don’t miss the politics and scrutiny.


Professor Albert P.C. ChanProfessor Albert P.C. Chan

Head, Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Chair - Professor of Construction, Engineering and Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

PhD Business & Management

March 2019

Professor Albert Chan spends his days immersed in the Hong Kong buildings and real estate industry as one of the most respected figureheads in the area at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 

He has studied the intricacies and needs of the industry for over three decades as a Chartered Construction Manager, Engineer, Project Manager, and Surveyor by profession. He then embarked on a PhD at the University of South Australia in the early nineties.

Professor Chan is recognised for his thoughtful, ‘outside of the box’ approach to creating solutions for the issues that affect Asia’s building and construction industry.

His career journey from studying a PhD in project management at University of South Australia has steered a course away from project managing large scale building works to research and teaching academia that has benefited thousands.

“As a high school leaver, I was fascinated by the many construction works being executed at that time in Hong Kong. I chose construction as my future career and aspired to become an engineer to project manage a complex development from inception to completion,” says Professor Chan.

“I have to admit, I never thought I would end up down the pathway my career has taken. I just kept pushing my own limit and always walk one step further and I have found that the outcome is often rewarding.

“As a Head of Department, I need to set a vision for the Department and I need to provide good leadership to motivate all colleagues and students to strive for excellence. I am mindful to provide a friendly and conducive environment to enable my colleagues and students to develop their full potential.

“I am a strong believer of leading by examples, therefore work closely with my colleagues as a team and share the gain and the pain with them.

“In addition to my administrative duties as Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate, I also engage actively in research.”

One area of research that has been particularly important to Professor Chan is the wellbeing of the many individuals who carry out the hard-work that the building industry depends upon.

“Construction workers have to work outdoors for long hours under hot and humid weather conditions, which may affect their health,” he says.

“In Hong Kong, their work requires them to do a lot of physically demanding tasks to make a living in a climate that can be especially challenging, so about 10 years ago I asked what we could assist and improve to make their work conditions better.”

Professor Chan and his research team devised a uniform to alleviate heat-stress and reduce associated health hazards. It was also important that the clothing be designed ergonomically to ensure it fits all situations.

“The fabrics we selected comprise specially engineered polyester fibres to provide superior breathability. The trousers were made from the proprietary material ‘Dry-inside’, which incorporates new moisture management technology developed by our research team.

The uniform was adopted as an industry standard in 2017. And as of September that year, more than 116,000 polo shirts and more than 36,000 trousers have been ordered by contracting companies throughout Asia. Importantly yielding a 20 per cent cost reduction and enhanced functionality.

As a result the health hazard of heat stress of some of the most under pressure workers in Hong Kong is much relieved thanks to the research and development of the uniforms from Professor Chan and his team.

“It was a great feeling of accomplishment to see these uniforms make such a practical and protective contribution to the overall wellbeing of construction workers in Hong Kong and beyond,” he says.

The research garnered Professor Chan the Construction Industry Council 2015 Innovation Award, the UK’s Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Innovation Achiever’s Award, and Grand Prize and Gold Medal at the 44th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva, under the patronage of the Swiss Federal Government, the State, the City of Geneva and of the World.

He was also recently honoured as a high-achieving UniSA Alumni when he joined a number of other high-achieving Australia China Alumni at the 2018 Association Awards as a finalist for the Award for Research and Science.

Professor Chan also fondly remembers his time at UniSA, where he also lectured in the field of building and planning and further developed his academic skills.

“I was grateful to have received great supervision and care from Professor Tricia Vilkinas, Founding Professor for the School of Business, from whom I learnt not only the professional knowledge in my area of interest, but also other soft skills such as management, perseverance, lateral and critical thinking,” he says.

These lessons remain with Professor Chan as he leads his own Department now at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Under Professor Chan’s management, the Department has made significant contributions to the university’s Civil and Structural Engineering, and the Architecture and Built Environment disciplines, which were recently ranked among the top 20 QS Subject Ranking 2019 in the World.

Professor Chan sees this role as a crucial step in nurturing the next generation of much-needed infrastructure experts and innovators, and delights in being able to play a part in changing the once bleak landscape.

“There is a huge and continuous demand in the construction and real estate industry and because of severe scarcity of land supply, we need to construct taller and faster buildings. We need more young talents to join and work in this vibrant, challenging, and rewarding industry.”


Felicity ChapmanFelicity Chapman

Clinical Social Worker, Gerontological Psychotherapist & Sessional Lecturer
Author of 'Counselling and Psychotherapy with Older People in Care: A Support Guide'

Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)

March 2018

We all get older. It’s a natural part of life. Yet, particularly in Western cultures, ageism is clearly evident. Popular culture is focused on youth; through the concept of beauty, the power of physical ability and strength, and the perception of usefulness in the workplace.

But when society discriminates against older adults in this way, aren’t we also discriminating against our future selves?

UniSA alumna Felicity Chapman is a clinical social worker, sessional lecturer and educator who works closely with advanced seniors in Australia, and knows the importance of valuing the old as much as the young.

“Many older adults confess to me that they feel over looked or treated like a child. And some have even said to me that they feel ‘thrown-away’,” says Felicity.

“They can fall into a social trap of being one of many older people, not as an individual anymore, especially if they are in care or have a lot of health problems.

“We need to be savvy about how easily ageism can affect our attitudes so that we can protect ourselves against it. And we need to realize how easy it is for older adults themselves to feel invisible and unworthy.

“I want older adults to feel like they’ve got a voice, that they matter as an individual and are valued members of our community.”

Felicity recently launched her new book, ‘Counselling and Psychotherapy with Older People in Care: A Support Guide,’ on World Social Work Day, which concentrates on tackling ageism and advocates for a new model of psychological care that places a premium on relevancy and dignity. The book is written in a warm conversational style and has stories woven throughout based on her experience in this area.

“There are three things happening in our world at the moment. We’ve got a high incidence of depression and general distress amongst older adults - especially in care facility settings. We’ve got an ageing population and people are living longer. And on-top of all that, we’ve got a shortage of practitioners specializing in psychotherapeutic work with an advanced senior population. It’s a perfect storm!

“It’s a matter of great urgency that these issues be addressed, not only for today’s advanced senior group – but also for our future selves.”

People currently aged eighty years and over are often not familiar with psychotherapy, nor seek it, however psychological distress for this group can be high. Men over eighty five in Australia have the highest rate of suicide, and a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2013 revealed that more than half of facility residents in the study had depressive symptoms.

“Depression is not a normal part of the ageing experience. Older adults deserve quality of life – right to the end – in all aspects of their wellbeing, which includes the psychological.

“What can compound the problem of depression even more is internalized ageism, which negatively affects how older adults perceive themselves. Internalized ageism can have people feeling like a burden which actually increases their risk of suicide.”

Felicity suggests a unique model of psychological engagement which she believes makes psychotherapy more accessible to an advanced senior group and offers the best chance of success in improving their emotional and psychological health.

“It’s called the ‘Flexicare Model.’ It combines evidence based interventions adapted for an older adult clientele and offers an alternative view. It challenges a number of elements common in traditional geropsychology like a focus on pathology, set processes and strong assumptions about the helper-as-expert. The centre piece of the model relates to the concept of ‘pre-therapy, therapy’.

“Most of the older adults I speak to in their eighties and nineties have no idea what counselling is. When I mention the word ‘counselling’ they often look at me like a budgie has done its business on my head! And the current group of advanced seniors often pride themselves as being resilient, and don’t want to see themselves as having problems.

“‘Pre-therapy, therapy’ is a way of using life story techniques common in Reminisce Therapy and Narrative Therapy to develop trust and motivation for the psychotherapeutic process. It looks like an informal chat but, really, it’s as therapeutic as any more formal intervention is.

“By intervening like this, I also give them an experience of therapy that creates permission for them to talk about themselves and doesn’t focus on the practitioner being the helper.

“It changes the dynamic so they feel as though they are helping me by sharing their story, which automatically promotes dignity and has them defining their situation in a way which is empowering.

“It also connects them to strengths or things about themselves that their change and loss might have overshadowed.

“Once I have earned their interest and trust, they can see the relevance of what I am doing and that it’s not ‘whacky.’

“The model is all about creating comfort and dignity which, ultimately, leads to engagement and healing. We need to be ‘senior friendly’ in how we package psychotherapy: it needs to be relevant and respectful and not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

Felicity has found that creating open conversations with older adults about their life story helps to segue into more formal therapy where she continues to help them re-establish their unique identity, which can often be ‘buried’ underneath definitions of deficit and decline and be linked to feelings of failure.

“They can still feel taller and feel relief even though they are also experiencing loss. It’s about providing a bridge between their past achievements with how they see themselves now.

“I find a dignity based approach, exploring what their values are and how they can see themselves, can sit outside of all of their physical changes and help to find something they can feel proud of.

“My book aims to motivate and encourage practitioners, and arm them with practical skills. The reviews on Amazon so far are very positive. My book is particularly relevant for psychologists, clinical social workers and nurses who want to be ‘aged care ready’.”

While many aspects of Felicity’s book relate to a global audience, she suspects that the anti-ageist element is more relevant for practitioners in Western countries as opposed to Eastern cultures where ageism appears less apparent.

“Eastern cultures tend to elevate their elderly in a way that they are seen as having more wisdom which is really lovely to see. The older they get, the more value or status they tend to have. They are less cut off from society and there is often a strong role that they play in the family irrespective of declining health. What can compound depression in people is when they feel like they have no purpose – that they have no role in society. It all relates to value.”

“We need to value the old as much as we do the young so that older adults feel important and feel empowered to age with dignity no matter what situations they are faced with.”


Dr James CharlesDr James Charles

Associate Professor of Indigenous Teaching & Learning, Deakin University

Bachelor of Podiatry
Masters of Health Science (Podiatry)

November 2018

Dr James Charles could not have imagined how far he would eventually come after he decided to continue his education at the age of 27-years-old, and was immediately deemed illiterate, dropping out of high school a decade and a half earlier.

It has been a long and winding road for Dr Charles, now one of Australia’s foremost academic authorities on Aboriginal foot health, but he was supported along the way by the love of his family, and several UniSA Scholarships – including the Irene and David Davy Scholarship – providing vital financial support and confidence he was on the right path.

“High school didn’t work out for me and I dropped out to work with my uncle as a plumber when at 13 I was told I would have to repeat the year,” James says.

“Then in my mid-twenties, with two young children, I found myself starting to think beyond myself and feeling concerned about how I was going to help my children with their school work.

It was important for James to break the cycle of poor levels of education in his family, and to show his children that it would be possible to get a decent education and graduate from high school. He signed up for a TAFE course that would allow him to earn his Year 11 and 12 grades.

“When I applied for the course, the TAFE educator said ‘James, congratulations, you can join our course – you are illiterate’. I can see the lighter side of this welcome now, but it was confronting to hear this as a man in his mid-twenties.”

A proud Kaurna man, born and raised in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, it was also important for James to find a way to give back to his community. This goal eventually led him to enrol in the Bachelor of Podiatry at UniSA with a focus on Aboriginal Health.

“I was a mature age student amongst mostly 19 and 20-year-olds, but I found an amazing mentor in Associate Professor Sara Jones who gave me on-going support and help. She also provided podiatry services to the Aboriginal community, which really resonated with me.”

“I worked hard and proudly graduated with a Bachelor of Podiatry, and continued into my Masters at UniSA.”

Dr Charles is just one of many students that were crucially helped along the way to graduation through UniSA’s scholarship program.

The University is proud of its legacy and commitment to equity as the university in South Australia with the highest rate of students from a disadvantaged background, successfully completing their degrees.

In fact, nearly 30 per cent of commencing students to UniSA come from an economically disadvantaged background. The University also receives more applications from students who qualified for the equity category than any other, so support from UniSA scholarship donors is more paramount than ever.

Now with the benefit of hindsight, James is also a passionate advocate for supporting university students with scholarships when they are struggling to make ends meet and complete their studies, as he was fortunate enough to receive several scholarships, including the Irene and David Davy Scholarship.

As a father of five while completing his own studies, James is well aware of the additional stress that juggling multiple responsibilities can place on students.

“Without this financial support I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have been able to continue to study full-time, and I may not be where I am today without it.”

James says that knowing that these generous people, basically strangers, believed in him and wanted him to succeed was an additional motivation, “I am still in touch with the family who supported me and they have been following my success – I hope with pride knowing just how much their support made my career possible.”

Without the generosity of people like Irene and David Davy, the potential of countless individuals – like Dr James Charles – would not have been realised. When they succeed, we all succeed.

He is an inspiration for Aboriginal people, not only for his personal example of achievement, but also in the fantastic work he is doing to research and teach in his field. In 2008, he was the inaugural Chair of the Indigenous Allied Health Network and in 2017 he was named national NAIDOC Scholar of the Year.

Now an Associate Professor Indigenous Teaching and Education, and Coordinator Master of Public Health in the Institute of Koorie Education and the School of Medicine at Deakin University, James was also honoured this year for his outstanding achievements at the UniSA Alumni Awards.

“Sadly, Aboriginal people – especially those in rural and remote communities – are at higher risk of foot health problems than the general population.

“As part of my podiatry work, I was visiting clinics and community centres for Aboriginal people around Australia and I kept seeing the same types of problems. Through my research, and then my PhD, I found that Aboriginal people have high rates of equinus – reduced movement at the ankle – that can contribute to serious issues and lead to ulceration and amputation, especially as people get older and heavier.

“There were some academics who didn’t believe my suspicions that there is a genetic element which contributes to this problem – I was told poor foot health was ‘just a result of smoking and diabetes’.

“I am really glad I trusted my instincts and continued to focus on my work. Ultimately by trusting myself and staying dedicated to my education, I have been able to help so many people improve their health and wellbeing.

“Now I am also working as an academic supporting Aboriginal students studying health degrees. I see first-hand the wide barriers that students face and I know how challenging juggling study with work, family and life.”

To find out more about the Scholarship Fund, and how you can donate visit: the Giving website.


Dave CourtDave Court

Artist

Bachelor of Visual Arts, (Honours)

July 2019

As the weather in Adelaide heats up and the city braces for the most jammed-packed festival month of the year, you may notice the sweet, sunny colour palette of artist Dave Court’s art start popping up around town.

A great honour for any Adelaide creative, the 27-year-old University of South Australia Visual Arts graduate won the coveted 2020 Adelaide Fringe Poster Design Competition in celebration of the Festival’s 60th anniversary, which will run next year from 14 February to 15 March.

Dave – who is now more comfortable referring to himself as an ‘artist’ – is adept at a multitude of forms of art including painting, designing, illustrating, photography, but it was his diamond design, ingeniously created using aerosol spray paint, which will act as a sparkling emblem for the diamond anniversary of the Adelaide Fringe.

“I’ve entered the Fringe poster competition several times before, but this time I kept it super simple, clean and design-y, and also with zero digital design elements, which I think is a good signifier of my integration of art and design processes,” Dave says.

“It’s just a huge privilege and honour to be chosen. I think it will sink in properly when the artwork starts showing up on trams and bus stops, I’m really excited to work with the fringe team to deliver some cool stuff over the festival season.”

Describing his work as “varied, collaborative, accessible, experimental and technical” it’s clear Dave’s talents aren’t limited to just one thing, having tried his hand at everything from large-scale mural paintings, clothing labels and retail stores, creative director of Yewth Magazine, and venue design and the creation of immersive installations for SALA Festival and the Spin Off, Field Good, Laneway music festivals.

“I like bringing a multitude of influences to my work, and pushing myself to try and make things in different modes or media, which also keeps me from getting bored doing one thing all the time,” he says.

“I see working to create things that are a part of a larger event or venue as a way to get art in front of an audience that might not ordinarily engage with it – it’s something that isn’t in a gallery or specifically a ‘public art’ work – which I think there should be more of.

“It creates a more enjoyable and unique experience for attendees of a space and gives them something that they will remember.”

Dave says this desire for creativity in as many mediums as possible, was nurtured during his time at UniSA where he was afforded a lot of space and time try different media and ideas.

“The teachers I had at the time, especially Christian Lock and Dr Paul Hoban, really pushed experimentation as a driving force of making things,” he says.

“I was able to use all the workshop facilities to try a range of different things which all feed into each other, glass making, ceramics, sculpture, textiles, printmaking, and photography.”

As a result, Dave has well and truly making a name for himself in the Adelaide arts and cultural scene, even joining the board of Renew Adelaide last year.

When asked about his involvement in Adelaide’s burgeoning industry, and developing platforms for new talent, he says it’s the people that matter.

“I think all of those kind of involvements are what it’s all about, being a part of a community and making things with my friends, and meeting people who have become my friends through making things with them,” he says.

“I like watching people be good at what they do, and doing what they love, whether that’s in music, art, fashion or whatever.”

“Being involved with all these different areas myself has informed my practice, whether it’s involving more photography in my artwork, learning how to document my work well or being approached to make music videos and artwork for musicians.

“I just recently sent copies of Yewth Mag to an artist in Kenya that I met painting murals here in Adelaide because he’s looking at starting his own art magazine there, which is sick, and I wouldn’t be able to do that unless I had this specific combination of background experience.”

A recent highlight for Dave has included his recent ‘City of Music’ large-scale mural project on the West facing wall of 128 Hindley Street, carried out in partnership with Music SA through the City of Adelaide, Music Development Office and UNESCO.

The stunning work of art involved painting the largest wall in the city with an abstracted story of Adelaide’s musical history, celebrating Adelaide as a designated UNESCO City of Music.

The project which spanned more than six months, including planning and preparation, was accompanied by a documentary – made by friend and frequent collaborator Lewis Brideson – that followed Dave as he interviewed iconic SA musicians and industry heavyweights to research for the mural.

He isn’t about to sit back and admire his work just yet, though, with many projects already in the pipeline to keep an eye out for, including involvement in the SALA festival, a new indoor mural at the National Motor Museum, an installation collaboration with Arlon Hall at the City Library, and a painting at Northern Sounds System.

Dave does periodically come across his work unassumingly, though.

“Sometimes I’ll go to someone’s house and they have a painting of mine up, or I’ll see someone wearing a t-shirt that I made years ago that I had almost forgotten about, but it’s been a constant part of that person’s life on a daily basis, which is a great privilege and kind of intimate in a weird way,” he says.

“…And painting a big wall is kind of like that on a huge scale. There are how many hundreds of people that look at that painting every day on their commute, or out of their office window, which I hope brings some sort of joy or colour to their day.”


Dr Aidan Cousins

Doctorate by Research Engineering (Minerals and Materials)

July 2018

At the forefront of UniSA’s cancer research movement are our researchers dedicated to tackling one of our society’s most challenging and pervasive diseases – cancer – creating a groundswell of expertise unsurpassed in the State.

For Dr Aidan Cousins, talent and hard work were rewarded last year as he was the recipient of UniSA’s prestigious Norton Jackson Material Science and Engineering Medal for the translation of world-leading cancer research into industry.

This encouragement has led to him spearhead the development of a tool to help cancer doctors pinpoint the accuracy of surgery to remove cancers that have spread into other areas of the body, leading the project alongside Professor Benjamin Thierry from UniSA’s Future Industries Institute.

This revolutionary new device called the Ferronova Probe will solve a clinical problem in the successful treatment of cancers using magnetic tracers.

“Current procedures to find cancers that have spread through the lymphatic system into lymph nodes include injecting radioactive tracers into the tumour area that can be used to find the migration paths of cancer cells,” says Dr Aidan Cousins.

“There are problems with this approach due to the limitations of current technologies and the complexity of how lymph nodes are used by different cancers to spread.

“Through our research at UniSA, we developed a revolutionary new clinical tool that will improve the accuracy of surgery for the removal of metastatic solid cancers.”

For example, some cancers, like in the oesophagus or oral cavity, may not spread very far from the tumour, and can be lost amongst the background ‘noise’ of radioactivity in the injection site.

“Our magnetic tracers allow surgeons to locate where cancers have spread within millimetre accuracy, both improving the result of surgery and reducing the need for further operations.

“The magnetic tracers we use are also cheaper and have longer shelf-life than radioactive ones. This means that more smaller and regional hospitals could use the technology to save patients travelling to larger cities for treatment.”

This device will begin clinical trials for head and neck cancers in late 2018. It holds the potential to transform clinical procedure by creating a much more targeted approach to tracking cancer spread.


Nici CumpstonNici Cumpston

Artistic Director, TARNANTHI: Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art
Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Art Gallery of South Australia

Bachelor of Visual Arts (Photography), First Class Honours

December 2018

Artist Nici Cumpston has enjoyed an eclectic career. From nursing to processing photographic evidence for the SA Police, teaching, writing, and most notably her work as a curator and photographer. She is now lead Curator of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection for the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) and Artistic Director of TARNANTHI, Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art.

Nici’s interest in art though was first inspired through her father’s work as a radiographer.

“I have been drawn to photography since I was a young girl,” she says. “My father taught me how to use a film camera and together we developed black and white film and prints in makeshift darkrooms at home.”

Chasing her passion, Nici enrolled in the North Adelaide School of Art to study photography in her early 20s while working as a nurse. It was here she became fascinated with how art tells a history of the world. This experience inspired her to deepen her education at university and began a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the University of South Australia.

“At UniSA I had the opportunity to engage one on one with artists who were my lecturers; we had such interesting, insightful conversations. They were informative and patient people and through their wisdom I was able to see where I needed to go to continue my lifelong learning,” she says.

Nici’s family are Barkindji people from the Darling River in New South Wales, and she also has Afghan and English heritage. She is culturally affiliated with the River Murray people and the surrounding lands, imbuing her art with her profound relationship with this history.

“Through my photographs I am interested in sharing the deep connection that Aboriginal people have with their country and portraying signs in the landscape that show evidence of Aboriginal occupation that goes back thousands of years,” she says.

In her artistic process, Nici photographs and then meticulously hand paints the depth and feeling of the environment back into the black and white stills. Her technique involves a forensic approach that lays bare the effects of colonisation on the land and inhabitants.

A particular focus of her works has been the Murray-Darling River where her photographs reveal how the work to control the river system has led to a devastated ecosystem. The artworks also showcase a rich history of culturally significant sites such as the scar trees and ring trees found in the landscape, and act as a reminder that many important cultural sites have been lost.

Nici’s work is widely recognised and exhibited throughout Australia, the USA and Europe, including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Parliament House Collection, Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection at the University of Virginia and toured through Europe.

When asked why art plays such an important role in her life, Nici says, “Through art we learn a universal language. Wherever I travel I have a way to feel at ease and part of a broader society through visiting art galleries and museums.”

This is evident in the 10 plus years she has spent tirelessly creating opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to showcase their contemporary work.

“Through art-making there is an opportunity to connect to culture in a meaningful way and to also enable the wider population to gain an understanding of aspects of Aboriginal culture that they may otherwise never know about,” she says.

“It is important for all people to have access to basic human rights and unfortunately in this country this is not the case for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I have travelled extensively to Aboriginal communities and to exhibitions around the country and can personally see the difference creative expression can make to people’s lives.

“Art enables people to share their inner most feelings and emotions. It enables us to be empathetic and to learn and experience other people’s perspective of the world around us.”

Nici is also the driving force behind TARNANTHI (pronounced tarn·nan·di) festival in Adelaide.

“I have been Artistic Director of TARNANTHI Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art for the past four years, which has given me great joy,” she says.

“Through TARNANTHI we have been able to provide a platform for artists from across Australia to exhibit and showcase new, exciting and ambitious works of art. It is an incredibly important opportunity to support and showcase new work, work that enables artists to experiment and be ambitious.”

This year the event featured the forty-year career of one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, master bark painter, John Mawurndjul. The exhibition, John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new will be at the Art Gallery of South Australia until the end of January 2019 before touring Australia for two years. It also features a microsite johnmawurndjul.com where visitors can learn to speak and pronounce Kuninjku language with the artist and his family.

“This exhibition has been three years in the making. It is a collaborative project between the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Maningrida Arts and Culture in central Arnhem Land, the artist’s home Country,” says Nici.

“Each year we also feature the TARNANTHI Art Fair which has been held at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. This year 43 art centres from across Australia travelled to Adelaide to sell their original works of art directly to the public.”

The event broke all previous year records, attracting over 5,600 visitors and generating more than $900,000 in art sales – a key income source for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities – and a massive success for the South Australian art and culture scene.

Next year the city-wide TARNANTHI Festival will return and the TARNANTHI Art Fair will be held on the 18-20 October 2019. More information on the exciting event can be found at the Tarnanthi website.

For more information about Nici’s artworks please visit www.nicicumpston.com.


Guor Michar and Abok Dau and familyAbok Dau and Guor Michar

Abok Dau is Financial Assistant at Anglican Diocese of North WA and Co-Founder and Chair of Athiolget Women’s & Children’s Health Association

Bachelor of Business (Human Resource Management)

Guor Michar is Pharmacist at Friendlies Pharmacy and Co-Founder of Athiolget Women’s & Children’s Health Association

Bachelor of Pharmacy

June 2019

Abok Dau and Guor Michar‘s tale of survival and triumph is remarkable.

After surviving a childhood disrupted by war in Sudan, Guor’s conscription as a child soldier, and 17 years in refugee camps, the couple have resettled in Geraldton, Western Australia, crafted successful careers in pharmacy and business administration, and started a young family.

Now the couple are also working tirelessly to save lives in poverty stricken regions of South Sudan through their Athiolget Women’s & Children’s Health Association, providing lifesaving medicines to the most vulnerable in the country.

When Abok and Guor were children in Sudan, the mounting political tension in the country eventually consumed the remote southern region where the pair spent their childhoods.

The decades-long war that led to the separation of the Republic of South Sudan from North Sudan has cost millions of lives and left millions more living in poverty, without access to adequate medical care, food, and countless other vital services.

From a young age, Abok’s and Guor’s experiences instilled in each a sense of the fragility of life.

“My early childhood in South Sudan was traumatic due to the war and also the numerous deaths of my playmates at a very young age,” Guor says.

“I was consumed with fear of death as I saw many families, including my own, losing many of their little angels to malaria, typhoid, dysentery and diarrhoea.

“Wailing and mourning would overcome the village and I felt a chapter was closing on our community as every other child born was expected to live for only a month.

“Babies would be kept behind closed doors to protect them from ‘evil spirits’ outside the family hut - a family hut that was surrounded by little unmarked dirt graves that looked like anthills. The fear of stepping on those little graves stoked fear of death even closer.”

As the war intensified around them, famine and poverty became a daily reality for most and disease and malnourishment took many lives. In the South, where the war was most intense, the rebels decided to recruit young boys.

When Guor was just nine he was conscripted and marched for three months to an Ethiopian refugee camp where the rebels trained the young soldiers.

“The reserve camps in Ethiopia were also refugee camps where military activities such as further training, military planning and firing squads were highly practiced,” he says.

“We were over 50,000 boys from different parts of Sudan. Every year, the boys between the ages of 14 and 18-years-old would be armed and sent to the frontlines to fight.”

While Guor and Abok did not meet in Ethiopia their stories traverse the same landscape.

Abok and her family also made the long journey to Ethiopia where they hoped to reunite with her father who had been wounded in the Pochalla war. But when the Ethiopian government was overthrown Guor, Abok and her family were forced to flee back to Sudan. Once again they faced many months of trekking across war-torn countryside.

“We re-entered Sudan in May 1991 and were faced with starvation and constant aggression. We were forced to walk hundreds of kilometres from Pochalla in Sudan to Kenya and arrived in 1992 to seek refuge in Kakuma Refugee Camp,” says Guor.

“We had to walk back into Sudan where the war was very intense. Many people died on this journey, drowning in the rivers or re-joining the fighting,” says Abok.

Guor and Abok were forced to spend the rest of their childhood, another 11 years and 13 years respectively, living in the camps, surviving on low-nutrition supplies of maize, beans, and what vegetation the women and girls could find in the nearby bush.

Many children in the region quickly became malnourished or suffered abnormal growth and anaemia. Guor became very anaemic but was one of the lucky ones to receive a blood transfusion in 1996.

School was a saving grace of the refugee camp. In South Sudan where Guor and Abok were born there were no schools in an area home to more than 120,000 people. So when the opportunity arose for the couple to get their schooling in Kenya they took it very seriously.

Guor worked hard on his studies and was sponsored by the UNHCR to settle in Australia in 2003.

Abok’s experience was similar.

“When I got an opportunity to go to school in Kenya like Guor, and many other children, I took it seriously. I was even lucky enough to be listed among those who were taken to Canada by World University Service of Canada (WUSC),” she says. “But because I was waiting to come to Australia with my family, they couldn’t let me be part of those who were accepted.”

We arrived in Perth, Australia in 2005 where I studied English and Human Resources and continued to work as an interpreter with the On-call and WA Translating and Interpreting Services.”

Once Guor and Abok were settled in Australia they were both eager to further their studies.

Abok transferred her studies to UniSA when the opportunity arose to complete a Business degree with a major in Human Resource Management. She is now working as a Finance Assistant while raising three children and administrating the family’s charitable work with the Athiolget Women’s & Children’s Health Association.

“Graduating from UniSA with a Bachelor of Business was a proud moment for me because raising young children while studying is one of the tough jobs,” says Abok.

“I was glad when I received my results that I would be graduating – I could not believe it because my daughter was only one-month-old when I sat for the final exam.”

Guor’s awareness of the many deaths he witnessed from untreated curable diseases drove him to pursue a career as a Pharmacist.

In 2005 he enrolled in UniSA’s pharmacy program where he was Golden Key International Honour Society and the founder and the president of the Sudanese Tertiary Students Association that brings Sudanese students from all South Australian universities and TAFE together.

Guor has now been serving his local community as a pharmacist for 10 years.

After their studies the couple was compelled to established the Athiolget Women’s and Children’s Association – a charitable organisation that provides essential medicines to the countless innocents affected by the war in South Sudan where medical care is difficult if not impossible to find for many curable diseases.

In January 2012, Abok and Guor were involved in supplying of lifesaving drugs to people in South Sudan, mainly antimalarial, antibiotics, antiepileptics, pain relief, worm treatment, and schistosomiasis.

“The impact this meagre supply had on the local community was considerable as lives were saved and changed for the better. As a result, Athiolget Women’s and Children’s Health Association was born to carry on this generous work to all those in the area” says Guor.

“During the war between North and South Sudan, I believe a big percentage of the 1.9 million people who perished between 1983 and 2005 was due to diseases like malaria, dysentery, diarrhoea, typhoid, STDs, bilharzia and kala-azar or visceral leishmaniasis – many easily curable diseases.”

“From my family, more people died from diseases, especially women and children, than being caught in the conflict. This belief has been my driving force to fight a disease war over a political or economic war that is still being fought today in both countries of Sudan and South Sudan.”

Abok first travelled to South Sudan to establish a clinic in Akot, a remote village in Ruweng State in 2015. The community came together to build a hut for the clinic, which since 2016 has treated 60 people per day for tropical disease treatments.

Abok and Guor also fundraise through the Association to fund medicines and clinic costs.

Thanks to the support of their local community, the organisation is now working to establish a modern clinic in the area that will be able to store medicines and continue to run health services for the area.

“I am very proud of my wife who has worked so hard to make sure the Association keeps its objective of providing lifesaving medicines to women and children,” says Guor.

The couple have now made a home in Geraldton, Western Australia and are proud parents of their three children Michar, Akur and Ayen.

The children are heavily involved in the Athiolget Women’s and Children’s Health Association fundraising and community, and will carry on this vital work for generations to come.

For more information or to make a donation visit: Athiolget Women’s and Children’s Health Association.


Nahtanha DaveyNahtanha Davey

Chief Executive Officer at SACARE

Graduate Certificate, Business Administration
Graduate Diploma, Business Administration
Masters, Business Administration

June 2019

From her humble beginnings, Nahtanha Davey has ascended through the South Australian business industry to become the leader of SACARE, providing vital housing and care services for those affected by disability.

Her tenacity and ambition led her to the 5-star MBA program at the University of South Australia, and when she graduated in 2010 it set her on a rewarding path leading ethically-based companies with strong ties to our community’s most vulnerable.

Mum to “two beautiful young girls and an amazing husband”, Nahtanha was previously the CEO at Brain Injury SA where she led successful improvements and enhanced frontline service delivery for people living with acquired brain injury.

And with SACARE’s promise that every person should have access to the very best services and accommodation, enabling them to live enriched, fulfilled and independent lives – it’s easy to see where Nahtanha’s values lie.

She joined SACARE at a very exciting period in 2018, just in time to oversee the opening of The Gums, SACARE’s newest $14m property for people needing high-quality health care, injury recovery and transitional services.

“It really is a privilege to be working with such an incredible team, supporting South Australians living with disability at SACARE,” says Nahtanha.

“I see myself as a values-based leader, passionate to continue to build onto and grow my expertise at the leadership level to support community-based organisations to thrive.

“I enjoy the community business sector, our broader not-for-profit sector, and I enjoy supporting worthy government initiatives at the local level to build strong foundations, manage change through good governance, stakeholder engagement and align to best practice.”

At SACARE, Nahtanha is responsible for making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources, while being the public face for the organisation.

There are times when her role can be quite hands-on and times when she spends her day dealing with the higher-level company strategy.

“Seeing members of our community be rewarded for the efforts of our strategic initiatives is what keeps me going,” she says.

“Knowing that we make a difference and provide hope to the lives of people who have endured some of the most harrowing experiences.

“I get to work with beautiful people daily, people who are adapting to a new lifestyle because of their traumatic experience and acquired disability. We get to help them achieve much more and enable them to thrive in their environment, it’s very rewarding.

“I am passionate about being accountable and driving governance and quality to achieve outstanding results. I enjoy redeveloping governance systems and turning around organisations. I enjoy working in very complex environments, particularly politically.”

Her commitment to change, travel and experience has successfully contributed to her executive career. It took a lot of drive and passion to show courage and resilience as a young woman in a leadership role, which she secured after completing her 5-star UniSA MBA.

“One of my most memorable experiences during my time at UniSA was the International Business in China Intensive School opportunity which saw us travel to Shanghai and Beijing, extending on experiences and learning the value of building strong relationships.”

She believes this experience enabled her to strengthen her learning and capacity in this space which has led to many successful negotiations throughout her career as a result of these learnings. Her advice to graduates?

“Step outside your boundaries, don’t just sit still. Take off and learn what other parts of the world are achieving, find yourself a great coach or mentor and please keep learning.”


Melissa DaviesMelissa Davies

Legal Counsel at Lucas Total Contract Solutions

Bachelor of Law
Bachelor of Journalism

January 2019

University of South Australia Law and Journalism graduate, Melissa Davies, has been honoured with the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law In-House Lawyer of the Year in 2018 – placing her amongst the country’s top legal professionals.

2018 Women in Law Awards recognises some of the best and brightest in the profession across 20 categories for which lawyers and firms can nominate.

In-house lawyers, like Melissa, are at the forefront of a company’s day-to-day operations, influencing both legal and business decisions. This award recognises outstanding performance by a female lawyer working in-house including both corporate and public-sector lawyers.

The 27-year-old works as Legal Counsel for Lucas Total Contract Solutions, a privately owned civil construction and mining company founded over forty years ago with projects in multiple locations throughout Australia.

The company has a core commitment to support South Australia, its home state, and has been a key participant in some of the state’s landmark civil construction projects.

“Being an in-house lawyer at a civil construction and mining company means my day looks different every single time. Some days involve reviewing contracts, drafting joint venture agreements, negotiation of terms and conditions, resolution of disputes and preparation of board reports; yet other days I need to don my steel cap boots, throw on my high vis and walk around on site,” she says.

It’s quite a turn of events given Melissa wasn’t interested in studying law. It was only after enrolling in her Journalism degree and sitting in on a law lecture to learn about the significance of student association rules that she became hooked.

“I never thought I’d study law at university because I felt I was very different to the stereotypical law student.”

Having no links to the legal industry during her studies proved to be a challenge, which Melissa grabbed with both hands. She dedicated time to researching firms that specialised in the area of law that captivated her interest and contacted a few of the partners offering to undertake work experience for free.

One of the partners offered her the work experience opportunity which she says secured her a clerkship with MinterEllison and later lead to full time employment. Melissa stayed with MinterEllison for a couple of years before accepting the in-house role at Lucas Total Contract Solutions.

This spirit to overcome challenges has put Melissa in good stead. She was “thrown into the deep end” 12 months ago when her legal manager resigned, but after an extremely busy year Melissa is still the sole lawyer for the civil construction and mining company.

Throughout that period, she reviewed more than 200 contracts, increased monetary thresholds for purchase orders, created a joint-venture with an Indigenous corporation, settled four major disputes before reaching litigation, implemented new processes business-wide, and created subcontract templates.

So, it’s easy to see how she stood out among the nine nominees.

Melissa is most proud of this professional achievement and wants other graduates to achieve the same success. Her advice – work hard.

“The first two years at uni is hard, don’t quit during this time. The first couple of years after graduating is hard, with long hours and being in an environment where you’ll know the least and feel disposable, again, don’t quit!”

“I promise it gets better. From my experience, after two years of full time work is when the magic happens.

“Seek out mentors and network with people of all different ages. I am lucky to have had some great mentors along my journey. I still catch up with two of them monthly for an early breakfast before work.

“It is incredibly rewarding to seek objective advice and support from people who have walked in your shoes before. It’s never too early to look for a mentor. Join a mentoring program or ask someone for their time. You won’t regret it.”


Emilio De Stefano

Director & Principal, De Stefano & Co
Keynote Speaker, Emilio De Stefano

Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Mechatronic with Honours)
Bachelor of Management
Master of Engineering (Military Systems Integration)

September 2018

With an adventurous and fearless spirit – and little need for rest – Emilio De Stefano has surmounted considerable challenges to become one of South Australia’s youngest business leaders in the engineering and defence industry.

His passion for inspiring people to overcome their fears and take risks has led him to invest his time working to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM. He explains why it is important to focus on younger generations and the exciting opportunities they will have following a STEM career in SA in the coming years.

Shortly after graduating from UniSA, armed with his double degree in Engineering and Management, Emilio secured a dream job at BAE Systems Australia as a Hardware Engineer. BAE Systems, as the country’s largest defence contractor, allowed Emilio to work on state-of-the-art electronic warfare systems: including radar-warning receivers and directed infrared counter measures to protect aircraft operated by the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Emilio was quickly promoted within BAE Systems to become one of the youngest Technical Authorities in the company. Proving himself to be a capable technical talent with tenacity and leadership potential, Emilio won the Defence Teaming Centre (DTC) Young Achiever Award in 2010.

The following year he won the BAE Systems Australia Early Career Engineer of the Year Award, substantiating his place as an essential part of the team.

This led him to join the South Australian Defence Industry Leadership Program (SADILP).

“The leadership program allowed me to grow my network and work out who I was as a person. It was here I made a connection that led me to take on a new role as General Manager of Smart Fabrication, where I led a team of 60 employees, and learnt how to run a multi-million dollar business.

“People would say I was crazy for even thinking of leaving BAE. I loved my job there but this opportunity was something I knew I’d regret if I didn’t take it. It was the right decision and it really set my career up for the future in a big way and gave me the confidence I needed to go on and start my own business.

“I guess I’m a big believer in taking calculated risks and continuously pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. If it doesn’t work out, then so be it, as long as you’ve learned from it. At least you’ll never regret not having given it a go.”

It was here he started doing more public speaking and was asked on a tour to promote STEM careers in schools around Australia.

“I started getting asked regularly to speak about my career in schools and universities to provide students with some insight into the types of things that are possible with engineering and STEM-based skills,” he says.

“When you’re young and someone suggests you go into engineering you think about maths and other subjects that might seem too hard or unexciting, and that can put you off. It’s a real problem – right now STEM enrolments in Australian schools are at a 20-year low.

“But when I go in to talk to students about my career I show them photos of the fighter jets I was working on, and the Lear Jets that would become my office during the flight trials we undertook to test the technology we had developed. They get to see where your skills can lead you.

“I see their eyes light up because students get really excited about that kind of stuff.”

To grow his network and stay at the forefront of the engineering industry, Emilio has engaged heavily with The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) since his second year of university.

Having practised in roles as senior as Chair of The IET nationally, through the professional institution that has over 167,000 members worldwide, he has had the opportunity to travel and meet STEM professionals around Australia and the world who share his passion for promoting STEM-based careers.

“In South Australia we will see a sizeable opportunity in the coming years in the defence industry. The biggest problem is that we have a huge challenge ahead to give students the skills they need to enter the industry,” he says.

“If we are serious about succeeding with these large-scale technology and defence projects in South Australia – and keeping them here – we really need to find ways to get STEM enrolments back on track and develop the pipeline of talent that will be needed.

“I think a way to do this is to integrate the arts and humanities into STEM curriculums (creating what is known as STEAM) – this will not only help to attract a wider and more diverse group of students into STEM curriculums but also foster the soft skills that are so crucial to our personal, project and organisational success.

“It’ll also get them out of the classroom to work in teams and solve real problems through what is known as Project Based Learning.

“This kind of approach gives students the opportunity to experience how these STEM skills are used outside the classroom; to see where their maths skills will actually end up being used.”

Since 2015, Emilio has been running his own management consultancy and advisory firm, De Stefano & Co, which sees him and his team spending the majority of their efforts supporting organisations operating in the engineering, manufacturing and technology sectors.

As an accomplished Keynote Speaker, he speaks to audiences nationally on topics including navigating change and disruption, and is also the Co-Founder of Adelaide Gardening Group, a provider of turn-key garden and grounds maintenance solutions to the government, commercial and strata management sectors.

Emilio owes his success – and ever-busy schedule – to his entrepreneurial spirit, diligence, and courage to take calculated risks in his professional career.

“I truly believe that we often regret the decisions we never made, more than the regretful decisions we did,” he says.

“I try to follow the things I really enjoy and I am opportunistic in that I will always have a good look into opportunities that come up. If you don’t give it a go – you won’t know what does and doesn’t work.

“The way I see it – you can always go back to the job or industry you were in before, and you might just learn something valuable along the way.”


Yvonne East

Artist

Bachelor of Visual Arts
Master of Fine Arts (Research)

June 2019

Yvonne’s East’s artwork has been displayed all over the country. You may have spotted her stunning local murals for the Adelaide Aquatic Centre, Adelaide Festival Centre, and in Victor Harbor, or her works in the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, the Frankston Arts Centre in Melbourne, and more regionally in the South Coast Regional Arts Centre, Goolwa and the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery.

This year, though, you can visit Yvonne’s vibrant portrait of Green’s Senator and first Muslim woman elected to any Parliament in Australia, Dr Mehreen Faruqi and her gorgeous pup, Cosmo, at the S.H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney until 28 July 2019 with her artwork being selected as part of the prestigious Archibald Salon des Refusés exhibition.

Yvonne has come a long way from working in her studio, an abandoned nightclub in Victor Harbor, when the Alexandrina Council Arts Officer, Leah Grace, heard about an artist working away in there and came for a studio visit, leading to her first solo show.

Yvonne's primary focus for her art is on painting and drawing. But she has a particular talent for capturing the essence and interior world of an individual through their portrait.

Yvonne has always been innately fascinated with the human form and a person’s identity. Drawing on conscious and subconscious social structures and norms that influence how we perceive, carry and present ourselves in the world to construct her art.

“I have always been interested in the human form, perhaps this comes from early years spent as a dancer and learning through direct observation, noticing the nuances in people’s movement and a fascination with the forms, shapes and surface of the human face and figure,” she says.

“The great thing about portraiture is engaging with another person, it is a process of collaboration. I don’t go into a sitting with a definite pre-existing idea, what happens is that we sit and talk, I listen to what the sitter is passionate about, the way that they see the world, a particular way they may hold their head or physical gestures they make while they are speaking or thinking.

“While I can’t sit directly in their shoes, it is a process of empathy, and I’m always humbled by my subject’s generosity and what they are willing to share with me. In this sense it is an organic and reiterative process of discussion and ideas between two people.

“I’m fascinated by how people present themselves in relation to their professional role and social influence. There is a great history of portraiture to draw on and I love to play with how paintings can generate meaning.”

With her career going from strength to strength, Yvonne still regards her time at UniSA as pivotal in the development of her skills as an artist as she explains when developing creativity it is essential to question your motives, what you are passionate about, and the way you want to live your life.

“It sounds like a cliché but going to art school changed my life,” she says. “I had grown up in the country, I was married, and going to art school invited a whole new way of seeing the world and asking difficult questions about why things are the way that they are.

“It was a great lesson in critical thinking. I had some influential teachers that are brilliant artists (Annie Newmarch, Greg Donovan and Rob Gutteridge to name a few) who essentially ‘blew my mind’ and expanded my view of the world.”

Looking back at other pivotal moments in her career, one of the biggest highlights for Yvonne was winning the inaugural Country Arts SA Breaking Ground Award in 2011.

"It was a prize, that along with funds to support myself while I created a new body of work, also facilitated a solo exhibition in 2012 in the fantastic Artspace Gallery at the Adelaide Festival Centre,” she says.

“I got to create work that was challenging and combined traditional drawing and painting practice with a 24 metre digital projection installation. It then went on to tour to major South Australia regional galleries for two years.

“It marked an enormous development in my work and I’ll forever be grateful for the opportunity.

“I also remember being in awe the first time my work was selected for the Dobell Drawing Prize and hung in the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

“It was strange to see the work that I had developed in the privacy of my studio in regional South Australia, while my son was still very young, to then be shown in a major Australian Gallery that I had always loved and admired on previous visits.”

Another highlight Yvonne counts as an important step in her career was being commissioned to paint the Honourable Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC. Which eventually became a finalist in the 2018 Archibald Prize, Australia’s most famous and beloved portrait prize.

“We had the sitting in her chambers in the High Court in Canberra,” she says. “It’s probably the most nervous I have been for a sitting, but the Chief Justice was wonderfully at ease and generous with her time.”

Of the honour of being hung in last year’s Archibald, she explains she felt incredibly lucky to be selected as it is a sought after art prize, and counts the visibility and exposure it offered to herself and subject, an important honour.

“I think last year nearly 1.7 million people visited the Archibald so I felt incredibly proud to have made visible a portrait of first female Chief Justice of Australia, painted by a female artist,” she says.

“The fact that a 5-year-old girl can visit a major institution, such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales and see a powerful and intelligent woman recognised in this way – it just wouldn’t have happened when I was younger. It’s great to have these roles models – a case of ‘if you can see it, you can be it’.” (Image: Yvonne in her studio by Yasmin Mund)


Jeff Ellison

CEO & Managing Director, SeaLink Travel Group
Non-Executive Director, Adelaide Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium

Bachelor of Arts (Accounting)

October 2018

Almost as iconic as the pristine coastline and breathtaking wilderness teaming with everything from kangaroos to koalas eying you from the gum trees, seals and penguins parading the beach, the SeaLink ferry has been a Kangaroo Island mainstay for almost three decades thanks to CEO & Managing Director, and University of South Australia Alum, Jeff Ellison.

Jeff joined the SeaLink Travel Group in 1991 as a Chartered Accountant after an Arts (Accountancy) degree at UniSA antecedent the South Australia Institute of Technology, and time in private practice.

During his tenure he proved instrumental in the development of the SeaLink Travel Group from a ferry operator to one of Australia’s most successful and expansive tourism and transport businesses.

Under Jeff’s guidance, the SeaLink Travel Group’s increased its revenue from $12.8 million as a small, privately-owned South Australian business in 1997 to $204 million in 2017, even making it onto the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) as a multi-million dollar publically-listed company in 2013.

Today, during peak periods, SeaLink Kangaroo Island ferries make the 45-minute journey up to 12 times a day, carrying locals and tourists alike to the beautiful sanctuary lined with more than 500 kilometres of pearl white beaches and towering cliffs.

“My interest in tourism started at SeaLink when we found that it was a great way to increase the number of passengers on the ferry services and showcase a great part of Australia,” says Jeff. “Today on the Kangaroo Island ferry over 80% are now visitors to the island, including around 23% of which are international visitors.

“We had a strong belief that we had developed a sustainable business model of balancing transport (commuters, cars and freight) with the tourism industry.

“Following the success in the South Australian business, we expanded into New Zealand in 2000 purchasing a loss-making ferry business operating out of Auckland.

“We were able to refocus the business, introduce tourism experiences to the islands and built a strong profitable business. Since then we have expanded into Queensland, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and recently Tasmania with the same business model of transport and tourism.”

After all his success at the SeaLink Travel Group, with the acquisitions of multiple cruise lines and diversification into transport (with companies such as Transit Systems, the Adelaide Central Bus Station, and operation of the SkyLink Adelaide Airport Shuttle Service), Jeff still credits his time at UniSA as a significant stepping stone and valuable groundwork for his career.

“I have very fond memories of my time at UniSA and it’s great to be involved with such a strong growing leading University.

“I chose the UniSA degree as it was recommended by my employer and considered to be the most practical degree to have for the accounting industry. Not only did it give me a great base to build my career but it was a very enjoyable time of my life – with a great environment to work, study and network.”

Now with the SeaLink Travel Group firmly planted in the country’s tourism psyche, employing more than 1600 staff nationally – operating in every state except Victoria and Tasmania – and a fleet of 80 vessels and over 60 coaches, Jeff announced his retirement in August this year confident he will be leaving the company with a strong foundation.

“I firmly believe that now is the time to give a new generation of leaders the opportunity to build on the strong platform that now exists. The direction and strategy of the organisation is established as an integrated provider of transport and tourism experiences,” he says.

But retirement doesn’t mean exactly slowing completely down for Jeff. Still a voracious traveller, he is particularly looking forward to a holiday with the freedom to just enjoy the destination, and spending relaxing breaks at his new beach house.

But SeaLink will always hold an important place in Jeff’s heart, with the relationships he formed just as significant as the many business heights he reached at the company.

“There are many highlights from listing on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2013, building our very first vessel in 1998, buying the Captain Cook brand and operating on Sydney Harbour, but my greatest enjoyment comes from the people I work with and meet during my career.”

”Retirement from SeaLink for me will be a change in career, but I will still look forward to keeping in touch with my many friends at SeaLink.

“The SeaLink Board has also suggested they would like me to come back as a Director after a break. For me that would be a great way to stay connected.

“I am a great believer all businesses have a responsibility to the community in which they work. I have always been happy to provide support, particularly in the tourism industry, as a strong industry is good for the whole state.”

As someone who knows the spectacular oasis of Australia’s third largest island more intimately and distinctly than most, Jeff has a couple recommendations next time you are down Kangaroo Island way.

“Kangaroo Island is a zoo without fences, so number one must be the abundant wildlife of kangaroos, koalas, seals, echidnas.”

“Second are the amazing natural landscapes such as Admirals Arch, Remarkable Rocks, and the amazing coastal cliffs on the south of the island or the prestige sandy beaches on the north.

“Finally it is the small towns and the food and wineries, and many other tourist attractions you can find dotted around the island.”

With his many accolades and achievements – like becoming a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Life Membership to the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia, the 2013 South Australian Tourism Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual, and the 2014 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Listed Award – Jeff as proven himself as a canny businessman in expanding SeaLink and putting Kangaroo Island on the map.

For now though, Jeff will continue his role as CEO and Managing Director officially up to October 2019 when he can properly celebrate his contribution to South Australia’s thriving tourism industry –and he will finally have more time to relish trips to the beach cave at Stokes Bay on Kangaroo Island which he considers a “real gem”.


Dr Martin Freney

UniSA Lecturer, Design

Bachelor of Industrial Design

March 2018

Forging a passion for design to a deep desire to tread lightly on the planet has led Dr Martin Freney to a new chapter in his life, as an agent of change for green living in Australia.

After a decade long industrial design career working on projects ranging from land mine clearing devices to new oven designs, Dr Freney returned to UniSA, this time as a lecturer having completed an industrial design degree at UniSA in 1993. It was here he started exploring his interest in sustainable design more deeply.

“Fundamentally, good design must address sustainability,” says Dr Freney, Lecturer in Industrial Design and Founder of Earthship Eco Homes.

“I advise my students to take sustainability seriously or they risk becoming a dinosaur. Sustainable design is becoming expected and we’re seeing more and more laws and industry standards that require it.”

But over the years a mounting cynicism about what he calls ‘green wash’ – the ever growing number of goods and services marketed as sustainable without substantial evidence - led him to undertake a PhD.

“Unfortunately I don’t think anything we build or manufacture these days is that sustainable, particularly housing,” Dr Freney said.

“There isn’t good and bad when it comes to our impact on the environment, there’s just bad and not-so-bad and we urgently need to find the very best not-so-bad options.”

Dr Freney’s research sought to quantify the most ecologically sustainable housing option available to home builders by investigating issues such as the thermal performance and embodied energy of various designs and construction materials. The top ‘not-so-bad’ option turned out to be the Earthship design.

Developed in the 1960s by Michael Reynolds, a controversial American architect who is also known as the Garbage Warrior, Earthships are an alternative housing solution that allows inhabitants to live comfortably off-grid. They have relatively modest requirements for batteries, solar panels and water tanks, because of the inherent energy and water efficiency embedded in the design.

Built largely from recycled materials including tyres, glass bottles, cans, and typically earth bermed; the buildings are designed to provide a steady indoor temperature, water filtration, waste reuse and safe sewage treatment. Earthships also have a central greenhouse, what Freney calls the ‘jewel in the crown’, with plants that support temperature control, grey water recycling and even food production.

In 2008 Dr Freney first visited the Greater World Community, an off-grid Earthship settlement cradled by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico, USA, where he was inspired by the buildings’ amazing thermal performance in the extreme high altitude desert environment.

On returning to Adelaide, Dr Freney began his PhD studies, evaluating the thermal performance and environmental life-cycle of the buildings in comparison to other techniques. To aid his research, Dr Freney also constructed his own Earthship to evaluate how the design could be adapted for Australian conditions.

“Any home can theoretically go off-grid – but the scale of the systems required would be impractical, expensive and not ecologically sustainable as most modern homes are not built to sustain comfortable indoor temperatures without considerable energy use,” he said.

“My data showed that the Earthships in the Greater World community maintain a remarkably stable indoor temperature throughout the year without reliance on heating and cooling equipment.

“Over the course of a week, the temperature inside stayed between 19 to 25 degrees in winter without heating and a steady 21-22 degrees in summer without cooling. Outside the temperatures were as low as minus 20 and as high as 33.

“My research showed that these buildings are potentially one of the best solutions for low density housing where people can live in comfort, with most of the mod-cons, but with dramatically reduced environmental impact.”

Dr Freney’s Earthship Ironbank (pictured below) has now been completed and is the first council approved Earthship in Australia. It offers B&B lodgings for visitors interested in the concept.

“My ultimate goal is to mainstream a lot of the Earthship ideas into Australian residential housing construction,” he said.

“There are a few others that have been built in Australia but they didn’t get council approval. I was tempted to go the renegade path but I really wanted to demonstrate what could be done through the right channels so people can be confident and enthusiastic about building their own.

“To my surprise the council approval process was pretty straight forward. I quickly found that I was being pessimistic about the whole thing and discovered that all you really need is the right team of professionals like any build – a good structural engineer, energy assessor, building certifiers, designers, who understands what you’re trying to achieve.”

There are hurdles and a lot of thinking outside the box required to build an Earthship in Australia, but Dr Freney is solving these issues through his own experiences. He is now helping others build their own Earthships through his business Earthship Eco Homes.

Dr Freney has also recently been awarded funding from Tyre Stewardship Australia to fund a PhD study to investigate the best use of tyres for building energy efficient homes. This project will deepen knowledge of how to improve sustainable housing design for the Australian climate and reduce waste.

Visit Earthship Ironbank for BNB and research information or Earthship Eco Homes for more information on Dr Freney’s consultancy.


Warren Guppy

Senior Manager Metropolitan Services, Aboriginal Family Support Services

Bachelor of Social Science (Community Service)

April 2019

Now leading one of Adelaide’s key metropolitan social service teams for Aboriginal Australian support services, Warren reflects on his working life starting at the young age of 14 as a Trolley Boy in the carparks of his local Target. This time was followed by a number of years moving from Perth to Melbourne and finally Adelaide in hospitality – flipping pancakes, working as a bus boy, and a two year apprenticeship in silver service.

Beneath all of this hard physical work however – a passion for social justice and a keen interest in ethics was brewing.

“I have always had a strong sense of doing what is right,” says Warren. So, when he moved to Adelaide in 1990 he decided to follow his interest and enrol in the Bachelor of Social Science (Community Service) with the UniSA antecedent, the South Australian Institute of Technology.

It was here that Warren says he began to learn Australia’s ‘true history’ and the unacceptable and harsh treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“I chose electives and topics that allowed me to continue to learn about Aboriginal Australians, which eventually led me to do an eight week student placement with the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement in my final year of study,” he says.

“This was another huge learning curve. It was around the time when the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and its recommendations were being implemented.

“At the conclusion of my placement, they offered me a three month contract. Before I knew it nine years had passed.”

Warren remembers his time at the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (ALRM) fondly as a place of learning and forming lasting friendships with people who work tirelessly to achieve real justice for Aboriginal people in South Australia.

While at ALRM, Warren worked on the reporting of how the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody were being implemented.

“I had the honour of working closely with Tauto Sansbury – and a number of Aboriginal Elders and community members – as the Secretariat to the South Australian Justice Advocacy Committee, of which he was Chair.

“The committee was tasked with monitoring the Government’s implementation of the 339 recommendations that came out of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

"Part of my role was to support the Committee to meet its Terms of Reference which included community consultations to ensure Aboriginal communities were having a say about how the recommendations were being implemented.

“Despite a number of reports, sadly, it remains that Aboriginal people are still overrepresented at all levels of the criminal justice system and funding levels to Aboriginal legal services have not improved.”

When an opportunity arose at Adelaide City Council, Warren made the hard decision to move on from ALRM. He then spent nine years across a variety of roles including Reconciliation Officer, Manager of Grants and Sponsorships and Senior Policy Officer, before moving to the Aboriginal Family Support Services (AFSS) where he has since served as a Senior Manager of Regional Services and Metropolitan Services.

“In my current role I manage a number of teams including an Aboriginal Gambling Help Service, a Family Based Foster Care team, a Youth Homelessness Service, a Community Safety and Wellbeing team and a number of other areas including communications, child protection reform and cultural officers and the Berri and Murray Bridge offices as well,” he says.

“Some of the biggest challenges in this work is ensuring that we continue to reflect on the work that we do and make sure we are doing a good job.

“Unfortunately, the removal of Aboriginal children and young people from their families, communities and culture, remains as one of the most significant challenges for Aboriginal families and communities across Australia.

“At AFSS we work hard to ensure that child protection authorities engage with Aboriginal communities, and where possible, involve Aboriginal people in the decisions that affect their lives and the lives of their children.

“It is always a cause for celebration when our efforts result in Aboriginal families being able to keep their children and young people at home or, if the children have been removed, in being successful at helping families get their children back to family, community and culture.”

One of the projects that Warren is particularly excited about at the current time is the AFSS Child Protection Reform–Aboriginal Community Engagement Project.

“This is a new two year project we have achieved support for from the Sidney Myer Foundation,” he says.

“We strongly believe that all Aboriginal people have a right to be heard and to be involved in all decisions that affect their children and young people. This project will engage Aboriginal families and communities across the northern suburbs of Adelaide and Port Augusta about child protection.

“AFSS’s role will be to facilitate genuine, meaningful and honest engagement with local Aboriginal families and groups to create pathways of communication between Aboriginal groups and the Department for Child Protection.

“Our goal is to share information about the changes in the child protection system and to consult with Aboriginal parents, extended families and local communities – with the focus to improve outcomes for Aboriginal families and find ways to keep Aboriginal children within their family and communities.”


Deanne Hanchant-NicholsDeanne Hanchant-Nichols

Consultant: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Development
University of South Australia

Associate Diploma of Arts (Aboriginal Studies)
Bachelor of Arts (Aboriginal Studies)

February 2018

Deanne Hanchant-Nichols is determined to increase employment for Aboriginal people. Her driver for change is her intention to see real transformation and growth within Aboriginal communities, which is why she is developing such effective strategies that embrace culture and history.

Deanne was recently recognised for her outstanding work in the community and equal contribution to UniSA, receiving one of the Gladys Elphick Awards ΜΆ the Shirley Peisley− which is awarded to an Aboriginal woman leading positive change for Aboriginal people in the workplace.

“I’m not really big on awards, but I am really honoured to have won the Shirley Peisley Award, knowing what it stands for,” says Deanne.

“It’s really nice to be recognised for all of my work in the community, but I certainly didn’t expect to win it! I was sure another nominee had, so it was such a wonderful surprise.”

Deanne is a Tanganekald/Barkindji Aboriginal woman who has worked in various capacities over the years, primarily in education, but also as General Manager at the Old Adelaide Gaol − with many ghost stories to tell − and now enjoys the diversity of her role as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Development Consultant for UniSA, where she is integral in developing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy.

UniSA is committed to increasing Aboriginal employment, by utilising talented staff such as Deanne, who are in touch with the complexities and needs of Aboriginal people.

“In my role, the reality is that there are significantly low numbers of Aboriginal people in employment, even within UniSA I am one of 1.3%.”

“I have a real challenge on my hands to reach the new national target of 3% as per Federal legislation, but I am on a mission to do so”.

Her current position incorporates cultural safety and awareness, strategies to increase employment, but also broadens to Aboriginal media and arts projects such as the Blue Wren video series, produced in conjunction with the University. As Consultant, she was also engaged in relation to the Acknowledgement of Country which will take pride and place inPridham Hall, anticipated to open early 2018.

“One of the concepts created to increase Aboriginal employment was an Aboriginal exemption, permitting applications for previously ‘internal only’ positions, encouraging access to a wider variety of jobs.

“Another being the ‘Mark your Identity’ campaign, increasing Aboriginal visibility on paper, assisting with targeting necessary initiatives and improving future programs and policies.

“However more work needs to be done to achieve success in employment application and interview processes. We want to implement a program which will allow the University to utilise the bank of people who have applied for different roles over the years, and create an annual day or series of ‘CV, interview and cover letter’ workshops, which will provide guidance on UniSA’s preferred application style.

“Whilst the Strategy has been successful thus far in creating significant change within UniSA, there is still room for improvement.”

Deanne has been working alongside Professor Peter Buckskin, Dean of Aboriginal Engagement and Strategic Projects on the proposed Yaitya Warpulai Tappa, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Plan for 2017-2019.

While Deanne is modest about her professional achievements and would rather focus on the overall positive change she has helped create within UniSA, she has in fact brought about noticeable advances in relation to cultural education and awareness.

“Getting so many people through cultural safety training, I have seen attitudes shift, people are thinking before they say and do things.

“Seeing the university mature in that sense has been amazing. I feel really proud.

“When I came to the university, even Reconciliation Week was not recognised and we pulled together something for every single campus - it was amazing.”

Cultural awareness is a vital component of UniSA’s Reconciliation Action Plan, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy as abovementioned, and the overall ambition to be ‘university of choice’ for Aboriginal people.

Cultural safety training at UniSA is predominantly introduced via workshops that not only raise awareness, but begin the process of developing a working understanding of Aboriginal Australia. This enables participants to engage in genuine cross-cultural communication and to identify strategies for working together across cultures.

“I believe that as awareness and understanding of Aboriginal culture increases at UniSA, especially with regular cultural safety training in place, focus has been shifting to Aboriginal employment within the university.”

After recently attending a forum in Sydney for university employment officers Deanne feels both hopeful and hesitant about the proposed new target.

“Aboriginal people are 1.67% of the population in South Australia, so this target is challenging to say the least.

“With limited numbers to begin with, and academic education out of reach for many Aboriginal people when we are still struggling to get our young people through high school −in parity with non-Aboriginal Australians, we really need to have strong strategies in place to entice Aboriginal people to study, to then retain students and to make them feel supported throughout. This will create word of mouth that University is a feasible option, an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.”

UniSA and its antecedent institutions, have over four decades of increasing inclusion of Aboriginal students, by creating an environment where they can learn and grow, and one which respects and learns from Aboriginal wisdoms, highlighting their commitment to being the ‘university of choice’ for Aboriginal people.

UniSA is conscious of the factors, identified by Universities Australia, that contribute to Aboriginal students’ premature withdrawal, namely: financial pressures, insufficient academic support, as well as cultural or social alienation caused by the demands of study.

“This is important to UniSA that prides itself on overall Aboriginal engagement, which in turn benefits both Aboriginal people and their opportunities, their respective communities, as well as society in general, as we become more united Australia.

“As discussed in Dean Peter Buckskin’s article, this ripple effect of higher education within Aboriginal communities will in time impact health and general wellbeing, and ultimately increase mortality rates. This is a significant reach stemming from engagement with higher education – provided retention rates continue to improve” says Deanne.

“I’m optimistic about success in increasing Aboriginal employment and moving forward in general with Aboriginal engagement.”

Unlike Deanne’s experiences with ghosts at the Adelaide Gaol, Aboriginal visibility in employment is ever increasing, as is society’s understanding of the complexities of Aboriginal history and culture, thanks innovative thinkers such as Deanne.

*Throughout this article, the term “Aboriginal’ refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, collectively.


Kathryn Harby-Williams AM

CEO, Australian Netball Players Association

Bachelor of Business (Marketing)

September 2018

In May this year Kathryn Harby-Williams AM, South Australia’s most successful netball player, inaugural Thunderbirds and Australian captain, and netball hall of famer, embarked on her new role as Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Netball Players Association (ANPA).

As the first CEO of the ANPA, Kathryn believes in the power of pursuing your passions, working hard and a building a strong, supportive community within the netball world.

She has embodied this spirit with her significant service to netball as a player, national captain, coach, commentator, Netball Australia board member and player's advocate, for which she received a Member of the Order of Australia from the Queen earlier this year.

“It’s an honour to be recognised for doing something I love,” she says of the accolade.

Kathryn’s elite netball playing career as a fierce Goal Defence though, spanned 18 years. Including captaining the Adelaide Thunderbirds for seven years and leading them to two premierships, more than four years as Australian Captain, two Netball World Championship gold medals, two Commonwealth Games gold medals, being named Australian Netballer of the Year in 1995, and Australian International Player of the Year in 2001.

As a result she describes her eventual career in management as an evolution around her netball interests. But while Kathryn could not have envisaged the specific career outcomes she has achieved today, she attributes the journey to simply doing what she loves and being open to different opportunities.

“I have followed my passion, been open to learning and made the most of the opportunities available. I’ve enjoyed every role I’ve had, not one has felt like a chore,” she says.

“Pursue what you’re passionate about, rather than what is expected.”

Reflecting on her experiences at university, Kathryn acknowledges her time UniSA has informed the work she’s doing now and was grateful for her lecturers’ understanding of her demanding professional sports career.

“Some of the lecturers were really accommodating of me as an elite athlete, and I’m now working to give the athletes I represent the same opportunities during their study.”

Kathryn also credits the broad nature of her studies in giving an overview of all aspects of business in helping her career post playing professional netball.

“My current role entails an understanding of marketing, accounting and management which were the key elements of my degree.”

Kathryn later undertook her study at UniSA part-time while working as a Commercial Manager at the Adelaide Football Club and says her time at the club also guided her own management style.

“Bill Sanders, then CEO, created a culture of people willing to work hard but able to enjoy themselves, and this was very influential,” she says.

Following her playing career in Australia, Kathryn accepted a three-month contract playing in New Zealand. Only to leave eight years later.

Her time in New Zealand saw her working extensively in media as co-host on a popular weekly television show, ‘On Court’, a commentator at Sky Sport NZ, reporter at Sport 365 News NZ, and broadcaster Radio Sport NZ.

While she enjoyed her time in New Zealand, Kathryn wanted to raise her family in Australia and returned in 2013. Upon her return she joined the Board of Netball Australia as Director, which she held for four years, an achievement she is particularly proud of.

Presently, as the CEO of the Australian Netball Player’s Association, Kathryn ensures players continually have a voice that represents them.

Away from the court, she has always been a driving force in ensuring that Australia’s elite players received respect, fair treatment and conditions as the sport moved into an era of professionalism, so her current role was a natural transition.

Kathryn sees her priorities as CEO as supporting player’s wellbeing and education, with a particular eye on life after netball as she knows how difficult the transition can be.

“It’s important to have a seat at the table representing the playing group,” she says.

“When players move out of the sport it’s critical that we keep an eye on them and provide the structures necessary to look after them as well.

“I think it’s important to use your skills and background to help others.”

“I’m proud of having been able to make a difference as Director of Netball Australia and now, at ANPA, I’m able to help the sport move forward.”

As one of the few sports in Australia dominated by women, the ANPA work together with other members of the Australian Athletes’ Alliance, to set the best practice policies in place to support women in sport and hopes we can get to a point where equality doesn’t even have to be discussed anymore.

When asked to reflect on her time as a professional sportswoman, media commentator and leader in the field, she recalls a particularly priceless moment meeting Mohammad Ali while she was Australian Captain.

“I’ve met a lot of high profile athletes during my career, but he had ‘a glow’,” she recalls.

“I told my husband that I’d received a kiss from Mohammad Ali and I’d fallen in love with someone else!”

Kathryn does maintain though her proudest personal achievement is her family, and the three children she is raising with her husband, Cory.

She’s even taken up the role as Netball Director at her daughter’s school, passing on her love of the game to the next generation.


Becky-Jay Harrington

Disaster Management and Urban Resilience Consultant

Bachelor of Business (Management)

July 2019

Nepal was probably not the most obvious destination when Becky-Jay Harrington graduated from UniSA, but after six years living and working on the “roof of the world”, the people and place have very much carved her a second home.

She could never have known it at the time, but it was accepting a position with the NT Treasury Department following her graduation from UniSA that set Becky-Jay on a path to the Himalayas.

While in Darwin, her interest in humanitarian work was initially piqued when she became involved in projects that supported Indigenous Australian communities.

“What really struck me was that growing up in Adelaide in the 80s and 90s, I never really had the opportunity to learn about Indigenous cultures and communities,” says Becky-Jay.

“The United National Human Development Index listed often lists Australia as one of the top three countries in terms of our quality of life. Aboriginal populations in Australia were ranked around 100th – a stark difference.

"This experience really showed me that not all things are equal and there is a lot more targeted support needed to help people reach their potential.”

Shortly after her posting ended in the NT, Becky-Jay moved to Victoria. She was working in the Department of Human Services’ State Emergency Management Centre after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires swept through Victoria, devastating the countryside, destroying over 2000 properties and claiming 173 lives.

“This was really my entry into the disaster and emergency development sector, working on the bushfire planning and recovery and later working on the Royal Commission’s recommendations,” she says.

After two years in the service, and seeking to extend her knowledge of the growing disaster management sector, she successfully applied for an Australian Government aid volunteer role in Nepal.

“I spent a year supporting the Nepal Ministry of Home Affairs develop their National Emergency Operations Center,” she says.

“I also found that I had enough time to volunteer with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), which led to paid employment with the IFRC for three-and-a-half years working on community-based disaster risk management programs across Nepal.

“Nepal might be an economically poor country, but it’s a culturally and spiritually rich one – it is such an interesting place and over the last 10 years I have spent six living here.”

After proving her worth at the IFRC, Becky-Jay was transferred to Hanoi, Vietnam, as the Disaster Risk Reduction Programme Director for Vietnam for the Australian Red Cross. She was then posted to Fiji where she managed Recovery Operations for Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands after Cyclone Pam tore through the region in 2015.

“This work can be extremely challenging, emotionally and physically, and it is important to look after yourself,” says Becky-Jay.

“You can’t take everything on because it can become overwhelming. If you’re trying to help an individual or a community and you take their grief and trauma on as your own then it is hard to keep working effectively for them.”

Studying yoga has given Becky-Jay the balance she says is required to cope with the intense stress and pressure of disaster and emergency work. When her contract in the Pacific region ended she returned to Nepal to continue her yoga training.

“Shortly after returning, the offer of a two-year contract with the British Red Cross, managing their largest international project – the Urban Resilience Programme, building disaster management skills with some of Nepal’s most disadvantaged communities - was too tempting an opportunity to pass up.

Becky-Jay led a team of 100 Red Cross workers and volunteers to deliver the program that is supporting vulnerable people - including older people, people living with disabilities, people who were homeless, and single-parent families – to develop resilience to the multiple natural and man-made threats they face.

“These communities tend to suffer more in the wake of a disaster as their needs are often overlooked. For example, many people who live in improvised dwellings along the riverbanks of Kathmandu are at risk each year from floods and the government doesn’t allocate resources to protect them or help them rebuild,” says Becky-Jay.

“As part of this programme we built up these groups by training 840 individual community champions so they could learn to mobilise their own networks and advocate to the local mayors for funding and resources for things like clean running water, riverbank reinforcement and support for rebuilding after a disaster.

“We also worked with seven municipality governments on how they can better engage with their communities and prepare for disasters, as well as training people from the vulnerable groups themselves in emergency preparedness skills like first-aid.”

When the contract ended Becky-Jay returned to further her yoga training and teaching in Nepal. She is also currently following her passion for providing a space for individuals of underrepresented genders working in the humanitarian and international development field to raise their voice with the Stories of Women in Aid blog that profiles the different experiences of underrepresented workers in the field, particularly cis women, trans-men and women, non-binary people and others.

She also continues to consult for local and international groups working in disaster management, including the Danish Red Cross.

“My business degree from UniSA has been very beneficial as it gave me the tools I need to manage and communicate with large and diverse teams, which has really been invaluable and a definite advantage in my field,” she says.

“A lot of graduates go into this work expecting a paid position immediately as they have a Masters in the field, and end up disappointed. In order to deepen my knowledge in the field I undertook a Masters in Community Development (Disaster Management), but I’ve found it is volunteering that has always been the best first step towards employment in the sector.

“We as humans so often disassociate ourselves from the experiences of others – the ‘it’s not happening here so it’s not our problem’ argument. Creating more empathy for people that we don’t know and being open to other people’s stories is really at the heart of humanitarian work – and about making better living situations for all of us.

“I can’t recommend this work enough. The opportunity to see life from another angle has been an incredible experience and privilege.”

For more information about the work of the Red Cross in Nepal click here and for more about Becky-Jay and her endeavours click here.


Louise HaseltonLouise Haselton

2019 South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival, Feature Artist

Bachelor of Visual Arts (Sculpture)

August 2019

University of South Australia (UniSA) Visual Arts Alumna, University lecturer, and 2019 SALA Feature Artist, Louise Haselton, currently has an impressive exhibition of inspiring new work – like cures like – on at the Samstag Museum of Art, curated by Gillian Brown.

As one of the University’s most prominent artists, over a twenty-five year period Haselton has established a predominantly sculptural practice utilising materials collected according to an affinity to form, surface or perceived history.

The exhibition, titled like cures like, spans both floors of the gallery and features six ambitious new works along with earlier works dating from the 1990s. They demonstrate the way in which an artist’s sensibility —Haselton’s understanding of when and where to intervene — can enliven seemingly inert elements.

Born in South Australia, Haselton initially studied English literature, education, and comparative religions at the University of Adelaide, before living and working in London in the 1980s. While teaching there, her interest in art was sparked in that city’s museums and galleries, and she returned to Adelaide to study visual arts under artists Max Lyle, George Popperwell, and Fiona Hall at the University of South Australia.

Haselton had her first solo exhibition in Adelaide in 1993 before undertaking post graduate study in Melbourne, gaining a Master of Arts with a specialisation in sculpture from RMIT. Following that, she returned to Adelaide where she took up a fulltime teaching position here at the University of South Australia.

She has balanced that significant commitment to nurturing the next generation of artists here with a studio practise ever since.

Each year SALA announces a Feature Artist to be the subject of a publication by SALA Festival Board in collaboration with the Government of South Australia and Wakefield Press. This year Louise Haselton was announced as the Feature Artist, as a renowned practicing artist working predominantly with sculpture and Studio Head of Sculpture and Installation at the University of South Australia.

The publication, titled Louise Haselton: Act Natural, contains essays by Gillian Brown, Leigh Robb, and Jenna McKenzie and explores Haselton's unexpected, unconventional, and extraordinary oeuvre.

Below is an excerpt from the 2019 SALA Monograph Launch, where Louise Haselton joined exhibition curator Gillian Brown in conversation at the Samstag Museum of Art as part of a series of artist talks in the West End Creative Precinct for SALA Festival.

Gillian Brown: Louise, it might be good to start at the beginning. Were you always intent on working in sculpture?

Louise Haselton: The short answer to that is ‘no’. It was not in my thinking until I got to art school in my late 20s. At that time, when I started studying visual art, as it was then known, I thought that to be an artist was to be a painter, and that’s what I went to art school thinking that I would continue on with in painting studies.

But I left that pretty soon. After going to art school, I was introduced to all sorts of other mediums, approaches, ideas, and attitudes within contemporary art, so I loved working in a three-dimensional way quite early on. And in a way, it was a way of going back to activities and things that I’d done as a child and growing up.

I’d always been someone who had gathered, and made, and constructed, and built these silly, little things, but wasn’t aware that that was something that could be professionally considered.

Gillian Brown: I’d like to ask you a little bit about that process because it’s obvious that your materials inform your making and that research. You’re drawn to ‘secondary objects’, objects that might be overlooked or maybe not quite fit for purpose. Would you agree?

Louise Haselton: Yes. I’m drawn to overlooked things; it’s not a conscious seeking out of objects or materials with particular qualities. I think they are things that I select almost incidentally. Not really necessarily thinking, ‘I’m going to go out and find this particular thing today’. But always with one eye, one part of my brain alert to the materials, the thingness of the world I live in. I’m just looking at some of the things I’ve chosen here. The things that I live with, and often, will see repeatedly, things that stay with me after I’ve left them, are things that I will go back to and consider for materials.

Often, things that maybe have been enacted upon by the environment or the world around us without my volition or control. I’m thinking particularly about this safety barrier fence [artwork Fence for Friends], which, until quite recently, was an object, which corralled me every time I went across Port Road to go to my supermarket.

And one day it had been clearly hit by someone going along, and I thought, ‘That’s quite fascinating’. I liked that sense of impact, that sense of history that it had. It was just lying, quite forlorn, on the side of the road, and I actually felt an empathy to the object, so gathered it up and worked with it. Thinking about that a bit further, I’ve used, for instance, shells in my work, which are the way they are because they have a specific function. They house an organism, they protect that organism, and the object itself is a by-product of that function that I could never make, that I could never design. So, it has this sense of design for a particular function. It’s a pragmatic object, and something about that interests me.

Gillian Brown: It’s interesting you mention shells, because that brings me to the next idea I wanted to explore, which is the repetition of materials in your works. For example, as a very clear example for us, sitting here, that denim is repeated through a number of works, or that colour, that denim blue, in particular, is repeated through a number of works. It also happens across time, for example, the very large ball, roll of sisal was used in your installation Magic Objects [at AGSA in 2016]. So, I was wondering, do those materials, or colours, or elements, do they carry the same meaning through your works, or do they change over time?

Louise Haselton: They have a thread running through them. They have a core or a continuum, I think, in a way. For instance, that rather magnificent ball of sisal there, I have used it once before in an artwork, and it didn’t feel like it had been done with. It was still calling me back. It wanted another go. I didn’t feel like I’d finished with it, or I’d done the best that I could, or worked it to its resolution in a way. So, you’re right, I do hang on to things if I can, if storage space allows. This is one of the beauties of working in such a way, that piece can then be unassembled, possibly, and reworked down the track, as well. I do like the thought that artworks have this ongoing life and ongoing sense of potential or possibility about them.


Chad HermsenChad Hermsen

Portfolio General Manager – Retail (Global Real Estate) for QIC

Post-Graduate Certificate Business Administration
Master of Business Administration (MBA)

December 2018

When Chad Hermsen applied for his first job at Woolworths (whilst still at school), he had no idea where it would take him. Nor perhaps, that he was already developing a love for the fast pace of the retail business environment. An early withdrawal from a marketing degree might seem like a false career start, but in reality it gave Chad the time to collect experiences and choose a path in which he would ultimately thrive. A path that would take him to his current role as Portfolio General Manager – Retail (Global Real Estate) for QIC.

“My career interests definitely started to develop at Woolworths, which prompted me to look for roles in sales,” says Chad.

Over the next seven years he built success in roles as a Business Development Manager (BDM) with Coca-Cola Amatil, Sales Executive at Austereo (Triple M), and BDM roles with Australian Central Credit Union and BankWest.

“In retrospect changing sectors was very important. I enjoyed learning the subtleties and differences between them. The challenge of discovering a new sector was as important to me as the results I could deliver.”

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work in many different fields from Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), retail, media, banking and finance, and now retail property. I’ve always searched for new opportunities, and this is how I ended up in the shopping centre space.”

In 2007, with an idea and a one-way ticket to Dubai, Chad went hunting for an opportunity to develop his career even further. While this might seem incredibly risky, one of the most inspirational people in his life had given him some perspective. Chad’s Opa (Grandfather) lived in The Netherlands throughout the WWII Nazi occupation. Growing up listening to Opa’s stories of survival, moving to Australia with no English language and setting up a new life for his family, Chad began to understand the true meaning of resilience. And he has carried it throughout his career.

“Play the long game,” Chad advises, “keep working on a career path until you either find it doesn’t work, or another opportunity takes you in a different direction. It’s okay to change paths. If something fails, you can survive it. You realise it’s not quite as insurmountable as you first thought.”

Chad’s first offer in Dubai wasn’t the best fit so he approached a recruiter. “I asked them to find the most interesting role they could in sales and business development,” he says.

A great interview for a job that didn’t quite fit ended up being Chad’s lucky break when the employer created a new role for him. The role was Group Sales and Business Development Manager for Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) – Leisure & Entertainment. It was this career journey that highlighted the need for further study.

Chad explains, “When you’re moving between countries and sectors, having a qualification is important to support you as a candidate. And interestingly for expats, pay grades in the UAE depend on your education status.”

After graduating from UniSA in 2011, Chad moved to Melbourne. As Project Leasing Executive at Vicinity Centres, Chad was appointed to the two largest developments in the country at the time: the major $600M Chadstone development (2016), and the $1.2B Melbourne Emporium (2014). He then moved to Head of Leasing for the Pacific Group of Companies.

Here he managed leasing across the Group’s multiple retail and commercial assets, including the $400M Pacific Werribee development, and the recent Pacific Epping and Hoppers Crossing centres.

“In 2018, the Pacific Group of Companies sold a 50% share of their two key assets to QIC, along with management rights. As a part of the sale I accepted a new role to continue managing the Pacific Assets under QIC.

“It’s a fantastic role,” says Chad, “the best part of my job is seeing new retail concepts come to life. Retail is fast-paced. You have to anticipate what the next generation will need and want, while understanding your market and demographics. No day is boring!”

In this role Chad manages the overall leasing and strategy of a portfolio of shopping centre assets across the QIC group. He works with Leasing Executives from each centre to develop strategic relationships with key retail partners across the industry.

“Ultimately,” says Chad, “the team I lead focuses on new ways to improve the performance of the assets. We do this through new retail offers and optimum tenancy mix execution, to improve the traffic and sales performance throughout the centres.

“My MBA gave me so much in terms of business learning, new friendships and colleagues. These things matter when you are building a successful career,” says Chad.

“The world is changing rapidly and careers of today will be different tomorrow. Technology is evolving at a pace almost beyond imagination. Which makes it all the more important to choose qualifications that are versatile, portable and well-respected. The 5-star rated UniSA MBA, with its holistic approach to business and prominent position in the market, has offered all of that to me.”

Chad’s advice to students and recent graduates is straightforward.

“Sometimes it’s hard to see the next step in your career, but you need to grind it out. It can take years to see change. Experience is an advantage, remain consistent and continue to learn. Highs and lows are a part of it all, just stick to the process. And always be open and comfortable with change.”

Outside work, taking part in the UniSA Business Career Mentor Program for three years gave Chad great pride in seeing others succeed. He continues to guide aspiring business leaders informally.

“You need variety in life to provide perspective. Whether it’s your own family or connecting with your community. It helps you listen to and understand others. Another great skill I learnt from my Opa.

“I’m fortunate to have a wonderful family,” says Chad. “My wife and I are the proud parents of three amazing girls. They are who we live for and in guiding them we need to listen, understand, assess and change priorities, sometimes at lightspeed! Handy skills in any situation.”


Lyndon Huf

Chief Executive & Founder, Prohab

Bachelor of Physiotherapy
Master of Physiotherapy, Sports and Exercise

October 2018

When physiotherapist Lyndon Huf’s mother experienced a fall that resulted in ongoing discomfort and issues with her shoulder, an innovative new physiotherapy and professional sport concept was born.

Using his extensive experience in the physiotherapy and sport science spaces, Lyndon formed Prohab, combining a smart sensor that works in real-time with an app (compatible with your smartphones and tablets) that measures the amount of force the individual can produce. Making rehabilitation from injury or surgery safer, faster and more effective.

“While on holiday mum fell badly and tore a rotator cuff tendon in her shoulder,” says Lyndon. “My parents live in another state and the physiotherapy exercises she was provided were making things worse.”

“As a physiotherapist myself, mum asked me if I could help her out. I thought she was doing too much exercise but there was no easy way to measure this with existing resistance bands, so I created a prototype to measure the effectiveness of each exercise and make better decisions about her exercise dose.

“That’s how we came up with the Prohab concept, where people can use the device to measure exercise doses and confirm the best exercise regime tailored precisely to an individual.”

Now as the founder and CEO of Prohab, Lyndon’s days are focused on communication management and business strategy starting from 5am while he’s still fresh. Every day is varied across research and development (R&D), product development, user testing or flying interstate to demonstrate to AFL clubs.

After stints at the Wakefield Sports Medicine Clinic and Australian Institute of Sport as a Physiotherapist and Sports Scientist, in 2008 Lyndon made the move to the United Kingdom to take up the position of Lead Physiotherapist at the English Institute of Sport.

There he led a high-performance team to service Olympic athletes based upon data to deliver evidence-based medicine for the 2012 London Olympic Games, using innovative approaches to challenge existing methods with the latest technology creating a winning edge.

This experience was also pivotal in the development of Prohab and commercialising the concept which helps more people around the world achieve world-class healthcare, as the system has capabilities to support elite athletes to get an easy and clear picture of their performance and any weaknesses they need to focus on.

“My training at UniSA allowed me to spring board to work at the highest levels in the health sector including the Australian Institute of Sport and the English Institute of Sport,” says Lyndon.

“During this time, we used data capture and all sorts of innovations to solve problems for sport. I was drawn to the idea of leading my own team one day to solve problems for patients and athletes. I carried this thought with me throughout my journey and I was able to action this later in my career.

“I returned to Australia with a commercial mind-set which has led me into a new area of the health industry. Using this thinking I continue to learn from my peers, particularly through the Future Industries Accelerator.

It was with the help of the South Australian Government and the UniSA’s Future Industries Accelerator that Prohab really started to get off its feet and further refine the business.

“My relationship with UniSA has continued through engaging Professor Emily Hilder and the Future Industries Accelerator (FIA) to provide the research and development (R&D) capabilities that internally Prohab could not achieve itself.”

“They provided a low-risk process where we could partner with domain scientists to solve the challenges of developing our custom sensors. It has been a brilliant experience to partner with them.”

“The UniSA FIA relationship has been a brilliant experience for Prohab and we highlight that industry needs to be aware of the benefits to their business. I encourage industry to engage with them.”

Ultimately, Lyndon hopes Prohab will become a commonly used system to help more people meet their rehabilitation or training needs.

“It has taken two years to go from idea to commercial product and this experience trumps any work I have done in the highest levels of sport – it has been such an incredible learning experience,” he says.

“This is just the first steps in that direction. We plan to continue our partnership with UniSA to solve our ongoing R&D challenges. It has been a fantastic experience and I’m very grateful and proud of UniSA.

“I’d also like to help others thinking about a similar pathway and how I may be able to help them. I’m keen to ‘pass it forward’ for any researchers or industry who would like to hear more about and learn from our journey.”

Lyndon invites anyone interested in the project to reach out via www.prohab.ai.


Ken IpKen Ip

Group Head of Marketing,B.S.C. Group Limited

Masters of Business Administration (MBA), International

August 2019

Ken Ip has many talents. He’s an accomplished musician – playing guitar, bass drums, and even beatboxing a little – a skilled Muay Thai boxer, a Wing Chun expert and instructor, a published author and columnist. But this wunderkind’s marketing career is what has truly defied the odds.

With three degrees under his belt, all before the age of 30, including the University of South Australia’s 5-star MBA, Ken has ascended the Hong Kong business ranks at a remarkable pace.

The self-described storyteller became the Group Head of Marketing at the B.S.C. Group Limited, the construction and interior fittings supplier and lifestyle brand, in February of this year after holding high-powered positions in other design and architecture-focused firms as a young 30 something.

When asked about this meteoric rise, Ken remains humble and attributes it to luck, but it’s clear he has a shrewd business mind and knack for the marketing industry, knowing when to strike.

“I’m not advocating that someone goes around blindly taking on risky endeavours. But there is the common saying that goes: fortune often favours the brave. It has kind of been my mantra all these years.

“It is the knowledge of calculated risk that is essential to move up in the corporate ladder.

“Challenges and pressure come as you climb the corporate ladder. It’s just part of life. To me, when the tough gets going, I just go get tough.

“A lot of it would have to do with luck as well I would say,” he adds.

This tenacity and ambition was clear from a young age when Ken experience some less than favourable treatment throughout his time travelling the globe as a school-aged child.

“As an Asian kid growing up overseas I got picked on quite often. So my parents decided I should learn something as self-defence,” he says.

“Even still to this day, I would go play Muay Thai on a weekly basis, and often spar with pro and amateur fighters. I believe all these have keep me grounded and taught me to be respectful, to myself and others.”

Ken quickly found his niche in the understanding of human behaviour and social dynamics, and though he initially studied psychology, this foundation was instrumental in his development as a marketing and business doyen.

“I always felt I had a knack of reading and empathising with people, and hoped I could save the world,” he says.

“But as I got older, I realised that you needed to attain a certain kind of power and influence in order to start making a difference. Hence, I ventured into the world of business, marketing and communications.”

The B.S.C. Group’s goal is to ‘enrich human spaces’ and as a result has been instrumental in the construction in some of Hong Kong’s most impressive commercial, hospitality and residential properties, including the Landmark Mall, The Murray, The Rosewood Hotel Hong Kong, The Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong and The Four Seasons in Macau, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

They have also recently moved into the styling space with the distinctive concept lifestyle store, COLOURLIVING, in the heart of Hong Kong spread across three levels and 2,000-square-metres “to bring you the latest handpicked collectible or must-have treasure, transforming spaces into distinctive homes”.

As part of Ken’s role as the Group Head of Marketing, he oversees the advertising, brand building, and creative strategy of these different departments which also encompass the RocaConcepts and B&B Italia furniture brands as well.

“I often tell people that I do two things, and two things only. I’m a storyteller. I tell stories, to connect brands with audience, and audience with brands,” he says.

“I sometimes think of it as being a celebrity agent. I help ensure my ‘clients’ are seen or being exposed in the right place, at the right time. Getting auditions for leading roles and opportunities to shine at the Oscars... so to speak.”

When thinking back to his time studying the MBA with UniSA and he recalls very fond memories and how the experience played a big part in shaping how he now interacts and comprehends the world.

“The MBA at UniSA was probably the best thing that happened to me,” he says.

“It made me into the person I am today. Surprisingly, it taught me more street smart in the business world than one would expect. It also helped me figure out what I want to do in my career, and for the rest of my life.

“I still to this day really value and appreciate the experience, support and friendships.”

Ken’s professional life and teachings in an industry that has shown him how to be more open-minded, less critical and more appreciative, recently culminated when he was lucky enough to be an honourable guest at the Digital Marketing Leaders Summit in Hong Kong.

“I recently had the chance to share the stage with my former boss at a Digital Marketing Summit,” he says.

“He was someone I really looked up to and learnt a lot from, and we are now peers within the industry.”

In such a short space of time, Ken Ip has truly come a long way, with not only his eye for design, but knack for marketing and the Hong Kong business industry.


Alex L. KabweAlex L. Kabwe

Principal Irrigation Engineer, Ministry of Agriculture, Zambia

Master of Environmental Science (Water Management)

December 2018

According to the Global Water Partnership, Zambia has faced a number of challenges in regards to managing their water resources and this has resulted in inadequate supplies to meet the population’s needs and pollution risks.

This access to water is a basic human right which is often threatened when the resource is not properly managed. The issue, very pertinent in Alex L. Kabwe’s home country of Zambia, is why he has pursued a career in water management and the chance to make a real change.

Intent on pursuing this cause, Alex graduated from the University of South Australia this December with a Master of Environmental Science (Water Management) thanks to an Australian Award Scholarship.

Australia Awards Scholarships from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provide opportunities for people from developing parts of the world to drive change and contribute to development in their own countries. Alex explains it was through opportunity he was able to study in Adelaide.

“The Australian Award Scholarship which enabled me to pursue Master of Environmental Science (Water Management) was timely, and it could not have come at a better time than this one, when the skills and knowledge in water management were urgently required in the Ministry of Agriculture in Zambia,” says Alex.

“The qualification from the University of South Australia was the reason for my promotion to the new position of Principal Irrigation Engineer in the Ministry of Agriculture, based at the national headquarters in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia.”

Despite being in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa – with a humid, subtropical climate – Zambia is described as a relatively arid landlocked country, and with the agricultural sector supporting livelihoods of 85% of the population, effectively regulating and conserving water resources is vital.

Access to safe and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene reduces stunting, improves education quality and learning outcomes, and is essential for the community’s health and wellbeing.

With access to basic sanitation barely improving since 2000 (when it stood at 26%), and basic water coverage in Zambia in 2015 standing at just 61% (86% in urban areas and 44% in rural areas), time is critical in this developing area in the world.

Alex is passionate about providing safe sustainable water options to the Zambian population, especially considering the poorest and most vulnerable communities are usually the hardest hit.

A key way to combat this poor water resources management, and aid in the development of the country, is by investing in the agricultural sector. This is something Alex is particularly passionate about and has now dedicated his career to.

“Zambia’s rainfall pattern is from late November to late April. During the rainfall season, farmers cultivate crops that should be enough to sustain household food security and a surplus crop yield sold to supplement household income,” says Alex.

“But the potential to improve subsistence and rainfall dependency farming is significantly huge in Zambia as the country has productive soil for suitable for cropping and abundant sources of water –holding about 40% in the southern Africa sub-region.”

“The Government of Zambia is currently rolling out poverty reduction but sustainable projects through diversification programmes, and the Ministry of Agriculture is implementing programs through irrigation development.”

Alex is playing a key role in these irrigation schemes now being planned in Zambia and developed in the Southern Province, Central Province, and in the Copperbelt of the country.

Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda, is further stressing the importance of this step as farming is one of the main sectors that has contributed to the country’s development, commenting, “farmers need to be empowered to work efficiently with them and boost agriculture exports”.

With his new role as Principal Irrigation Engineer in Hydraulic Structures at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Technical Services Branch – and fresh out of his UniSA degree with all the skills and understanding this provides – Alex is incredibly positive about Zambia and his own future.

“With this knowledge and qualifications I have acquired, the sky is no longer the limit.”


Shaila Koshy

Freelance Investigative Journalist

Bachelor of Applied Science in Property Resource Management

March 2015

Shaila Koshy’s love of information – the dissemination, analysis and presentation of the knowledge – has always been vital to her career path as a reporter. With almost three decades as a human rights investigative journalist under her belt, this love has served her well, tirelessly raising awareness on various human rights matters over the years, including the rights of indigenous people, migrants, women and children.

Shaila started at The Star, Malaysia’s premier tabloid-format newspaper and largest English masthead in the country, in 1989 three years after graduating from one of UniSA’s precursor institutions, South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT).

At SAIT Shaila worked towards a Bachelor Degree in Applied Science in Property Resource Management in the Playford Building on North Terrace and Frome Road at the City West Campus that currently houses UniSA’s Health Science students. When asked how her degree led to her current career as a journalist, Shaila insists that it was actually the other way around.

With her parents contributing to her Australian education out of their hard-earned savings, Shaila compromised after her father expressed concerns about the working hours and tough conditions for reporters – in particular female reporters.

“I wanted to study journalism in 1983 but my father said no because he didn't think the work hours were suitable for a girl. His brother was a journalist and we hardly saw him,” she says.

“I knew of good journalists who didn't attend journalism school, and hoped I could do the same.

“So I went through the SATAC Guide and felt that the process of examining a property or researching a property development project before coming up with a report for the client sounded the same as working on a news story or feature.

“Both fields involved getting information, analysing it and presenting it. The only difference was the subject matter.”

This fighting spirit and urge to rise above such stereotypes carried her through her degree – and eventual career – explaining that she loved her three years at SAIT as she has put into practice most of what she learned in Adelaide.

“The Constitutional and Land Law subjects introduced me to Aboriginal land rights. It got me thinking about our own indigenous people and how government policy for their development often didn't take their culture into consideration,” she says.

“I remember several of my fellow students did not appreciate the Property Resource Analysis course but it helped me devise and analyse surveys of the newspaper's readers on several issues.”

When she returned home to Malaysia, the country was in a recession. So she took a job teaching English and then worked as a valuer for one year before she became a journalist for a national newspaper, thinking about ending up as a business reporter.

But soon Shaila found her niche and her passion took over during the 29 years at The Star as she focussed largely on human rights; legal aspect of issues, law-making, the criminal justice system in the civil and Syariah (Sharia) courts and the judiciary.

Throughout her time there, Shaila showed a talent for navigating the murky waters of Malaysian politics and was led by her strong moral compass.

“When I first started, I was told that several members of government didn't like to read about ‘human rights’, that they didn't apply to us because they were a western concept,” she says.

“So I would write about 'fundamental liberties' and 'constitutional guarantees' instead because very few Special Branch personnel checking the news reports would know what those words meant.

“It's just a question of justice. There are many marginalised groups who don't even know they have rights.”

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing though she explains.

“I understand the need for national security, but I do not appreciate the need for secrecy in government when there is no need for it. That was always fair game for me and I managed to get away with disclosing such ‘secrets’.”

“Only once was I interrogated by the police under the Official Secrets Act. They were more interested in getting the person who gave me the report than in the newspaper publishing the information.

“I refused and they went away.”

Her tireless work was rewarded in 2013 when the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) named her recipient of the Suhakam Human Rights Award 2013 in recognition of her reports on issues, including the Suhakam National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous People, detention of children, prisoner’s rights and the people’s rights on judicial review.

“It was an honour, but I am embarrassed by such things, so I told them that as far as I was concerned I was only writing about human rights violations and how the government and society need to address them,” she says.

“The ones who should be getting such awards were the human rights activists themselves. The chairman and his fellow commissioners laughed.”

Looking back on her career, Shaila cites many highlights including covering a Brisbane criminal trial involving the chief minister of a Malaysian state in the late 1990s and watching the famous Geoffrey Robertson QC in action, but is currently embarking on a freelance journalism career.

This is not an excuse to rest on her laurels though.

“The old Opposition is now the new government in power. It's time to watch them and be a thorn in their side,” she says.

“Maybe I'll register a business and call it ‘Like a Dog with a Bone’.”


Royce KurmelovsRoyce Kurmelovs

Author, Hachette Australia Books and Freelance Journalist, BBC World Service; Adelaide Review; VICE Australia

Bachelor of Laws and Journalism

January 2018

In the few years since graduating, Royce Kurmelovs has added titles to his resume that include journalist, author and media advisor to Nick Xenophon. With the release of his latest book Rogue Nation exploring the return of Pauline Hanson and populism in Australia, Kurmelovs is also starting to be recognised as a keen social commentator.

While it has been a difficult route at times, on meeting Kurmelovs you can understand why he has been so successful. Ask him and he claims his success is one part audaciousness and two parts arrogance, however it is clear a sharp mind and passion for his craft are the unmistakeable catalysts.

“Someone on Twitter described journalism as ‘running over a series of burning bridges’ – you end up here but you’re never quite sure how you did it,” Royce jokes while lamenting the difficulties posed by being thrown into the world of freelance journalism straight out of university. You can sense a war within as he tries to define the joys and struggle of working in an industry disrupted by technology.

“I graduated into a flat job market,” he said. “The year before me there was one cadetship at the ABC that a friend of mine got, but there were something like 1000 applicants.” But then he adds, “I’m paid to hang out with people, learn stuff and then write about it. It doesn’t always pay very well but it is the best job in the world.” It is clear that he has found his calling.

Straight out of school Kurmelovs managed to get his foot in the door selling features to The Guardian, followed quickly by Al Jazeera and the BBC. He has since gone on to write for organisations as diverse as VICE, Adelaide Review and CNN.

A lucky break in the form of a KYD Copyright mentorship program with Gideon Haigh opened another door.

“This work with Gideon was integral because from that I produced a 14,000 word story about what would happen when the car industry closes.”

Titled Petrol, Sweat and Whiskey: What Killing the Car Industry Means for Adelaide’s Working Class North explored the closure of Holden’s manufacturing plants.

Shortly after writing the piece Kurmelovs attended the Salisbury Writers Festival where he attracted the attention of Sophie Hamley, non-fiction publisher at Hachette Australia Books.

“I didn’t want to go in and pitch but how often are you in a room with someone from the book industry? So if what I had written on the car industry might be turned into a book and she handed me her card which was really surprising. Then I had to go write the thing!”

The Death of Holden: The end of an Australian dream explores the end of car manufacturing in Australia.

“While it was centred on Holden it was really about deindustrialisation and what happens when you shut down this huge industrial process across two states, what happens to the workers and the people who depend on it. It’s brutal to be honest.”

A month after the book was published, Nick Xenophon helped launch it and offered Kurmelovs a job as a media advisor.

“Working for Nick was an education. It taught me what the other side of politics looks like, how it works and how everyone in politics is flawed but are really just trying to do their best.”

Within five months Kurmelovs was commissioned again by Hatchett Australia, this time to explore the return of Pauline Hanson and populism. He decided to gamble on himself once again.

Rogue Nation was released in November 2017. While the book places Pauline Hanson and One Nation at its centre, Kurmelovs explores a larger narrative about the events in Australian politics that set up her return to power.

“Pauline Hanson hasn’t changed. She’s exactly who she was in 1996 but the environment around her has changed.

“She’s back in parliament sure, but what does that mean? If you take the camera back a bit, zoom out and look at what’s happening across Australia, across parliament, you see a situation where minor parties and independents in every state and federal parliament hold power.

“You start to explore populism – what it means because basically all these independents are populists.

“It’s also tying in with what is going on in the world. There is a big divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘haves nots’, which is growing. Everyone focuses on Trump as if he were the only possible outcome from a global populist revolt. But Trump is just the American version.

“Of course it’s also happening in Australia. We tend to think that somehow we’re immune to what’s happening in the rest of the world. We’re not."

On what inspired his passion for writing, Kurmelovs cites the sudden death of a family friend when he was 18 and the time he spent in America on a scholarship to work at Lonely Planet and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

“A friend of mine summed it up perfectly. Americans have this amazing ability to package their story into a narrative. That’s their culture. You’ll talk with a construction worker and he’ll tell you these stories like he’s a poet.

“It’s not the same here. It’s the ‘my home is my castle’ thing – we stay home and we’re suspicious of outsiders. So part of my project in journalism is trying to coax out those Australian stories, the way they tell them in America. To structure Australian lives into a narrative so they can see that they belong to something bigger.

“The people I write about are always surprised to see their lives laid bare in a story because Australians tend to be unaware of the narrative going on around them and their part in it and how it makes them respond and react to things. Often they’re really surprised, sometimes they’re defensive.

“My next big project is another book, this one will be on Perth after the mining boom. I’ve already got a couple of ideas for two more after that.”

Visit Royce Kurmelov’s profile on Hachette Australia.


Malcolm Lai

Managing Director, Head of Construction & Development - Asia, Baring Private Equity Asia Ltd

Masters of Construction Project Management, University of South Australia
(in association with Hong Kong Baptist University)

April 2019

When Australia hit a recession shortly after Malcolm Lai graduated as an Architect in Perth, Western Australia, he decided to try his luck in Hong Kong. Now, almost 30 years later, he hasn’t looked back.

“At the time I anticipated that Asia would have great opportunities for my career development,” says Malcolm.

Mr Lai’s predictions proved correct and shortly after moving to Hong Kong he found work as an Architect. However, after a number of years at various firms in Hong Kong and Singapore, including Sherman Kung Architects, ONG&ONG and Leigh & Orange Architects, he found his enthusiasm waning.

“Whilst at Leigh & Orange I was the Project Architect for the School Improvement Programme for the Hong Kong government – a mass roll out of improvements and expansion works for a series of schools in Hong Kong,” he says.

“It was depressing work at some schools, given the size of the school grounds. One school had to chop down the only tree on the school courtyard to make way for an extension of a block of multi-storey classrooms.”

It was at this time that Malcolm chanced on an advertisement calling for a Project Manager with an architectural background for American International Group (AIG) Global Real Estate. They were planning a major refurbishment of their historic building on the famous Bund waterfront area in Shanghai. This was the building in which AIG was born back in 1919.

He jumped at the opportunity to extend his career in this new direction. Four interviews later Mr Lai won the job and was immediately posted to Shanghai in 1997.

“For six months I was stationed in Shanghai to oversee the refurbishment of AIG’s original, heritage listed, 90,000 square foot office building,” he says.

“There were some cash flow problems with the main contractor and AIG was intending to terminate the contract and re-tender, which would have meant substantial impact on time and cost. I managed to persuade the management team to stick with the main contractor and reorganised the payment schedule which relieved the contractor’s cash flow to enable the project to be completed on time.”

It was this hands-on approach that allowed the 17 Bund refurbishment to be finished on time. The experience also led Malcolm to a reinvigorated passion for the industry.

“At the peak of my time at AIG, I managed a team of 16 project managers at AIG Global Real Estate, overseeing the company’s assets and third party fund investments in Asia Pacific,” he says.

This work included 107 projects with a contract value of around USD$7billion and over 29 million square feet of built area during my 14 years working at AIG.

“During this time, I also chose to go back to University to undertake a Masters in Project Management,” he says.

“I chose UniSA as it had a comprehensive programme relevant to the real estate development industry that is highly competitive and was ideal for my career development.”

During his time at AIG, Mr Lai also developed a deep interest in green and sustainable building practices. He often speaks at conferences on the topic and many of the projects he has led have achieved gold sustainability ratings, including the AIG Tower in Hong Kong, the Sail@Marina Boulevard in Singapore, and the 5.7 million square foot Seoul IFC mixed-use development.

Planning for sustainable practices has also offered opportunities to ensure projects have been finished to the highest standard, even when issues arise or costs first appear exorbitant.

“For example, for the Nagasaki office project I managed to value engineer the project from the tender to the award of the contractor, saving AIG USD$2.98million and reducing the construction period to 11 months for a five storey 220,000 square foot construction,” he says.

“This was mainly achieved by replacing the all steel structure design to a composite concrete/steel structure design which was just as strong but cost less.”

Another challenging build was the Royce Residence – a luxury 512,000 square foot residential development in Thailand.

“Our site was around the corner from the ex-Prime Minister’s house, which was blocked and barricaded due to the political unrest at the time,” he says.

“We managed to complete the development on schedule and to budget in 2012, despite the riots and severe flooding that affected Bangkok during the construction by augmenting labour and resources to catch back the schedule.”

Mr Lai stayed with AIG until 2010 when Invesco Real Estate absorbed his business unit after the Global Financial Crisis affected AIG’s Asia investments.

“I stayed with Invesco until 2013 when I heard my old boss was putting the AIG band back together at Baring Private Equity Asia – and I’ve never looked back,” he says.

Baring recently closed a USD$1billion real estate opportunistic fund covering investments in the Asia Pacific region.

“I like to keep things low key until they are fully completed, but I can share that the company has some exciting projects coming up – including a cutting edge 36 storey office tower that has just broken ground in Manila, and a very cool high-end luxury residential project in Tokyo that will commence in mid-2019,” he says.

As for his own personal interests in his work, they come full circle to his time earlier in his career working with the school developments in Hong Kong.

“There is still much income and wealth disparity in the Asia Pacific region where our portfolio serves,” he says.

Through a corporate giving structure Mr Lai and his team focus on helping low socio-economic communities and NGOs – such as schools, orphanages and women shelters – to try to make some difference through charitable duties in the countries where the company holds investments.

“Each year we have an annual offsite day where we all dedicate a full day of charity work including repair and maintenance, painting, general construction works and also support through staff donations to the respective charities,” he says. “Sometimes we also get to help with practical things like preparing and distributing lunch to school children.”

“It is an important aspect of our work as we need to stay humble and well-grounded and give back to the communities that we have derived so much from in our industry.”


Jindou Lee

CEO and Co-Founder, HappyCo

Bachelor of Visual Communications, Graphic Design (Honours)

August 2018

When he first developed the property inspection app Happy Inspector, entrepreneur Jindou Lee was not thinking of international success or relocation to the US – he just wanted to solve a problem in his everyday life.

As an investor, landlord and tenant in the Adelaide property market, he discovered a widespread issue with how properties were managed and inspected.

Realising that property management companies relied on an out-of-date, paper-based inspection and documentation process, Jindou searched for mobile platforms that could address the issue, but found none that offered a sufficient solution.

“I experienced first hand how the industry wasn’t using technology to solve some very basic problems, like documenting the condition of properties over time. All I wanted to do was solve my own challenges as an investor; that was the genesis of Happy Inspector,” says Jindou Lee.

In 2011, Jindou and his friend Andrew Mackenzie-Ross, a software developer, co-founded HappyCo in a tiny office in Adelaide’s Morphett Street, where they built the first version of Happy Inspector. The mobile inspection app, which provides users with a visual, digital record of properties including photographs, comments and inspection results, gained hundreds of clients in its first year.

“We never really started off wanting to run a tech company, so we’ve been very lucky along the way to be able to grow as much as we have. The early years of the company were full of massive successes and spectacular failures, but along the way we’ve been fortunate enough to convince some of the largest real estate brands in the world to trust our software to solve their challenges,” he says.

Within a year of launching HappyCo, Jindou and Andrew moved the business overseas to the tech capital of the world, Silicon Valley, to set up an office and participate in the 500 Startups incubation program through which they gained investors and fundraising.

Over the past five years, HappyCo has expanded its platform to offer clients a multitude of products alongside Happy Inspector, including Happy Manage, Happy Insights and Happy API, but one of Jindou’s proudest accomplishments is the Adelaide-based office they set up in 2014.

“Keeping a team in Adelaide is very important to me. Adelaide has a lot of very smart and promising people – our universities are some of the best in the world. However, there is a lack of great, dynamic and iconic South Australian companies for students to join after they graduate,” he says.

“People are forced to move interstate or overseas to find exciting opportunities and be challenged in their professional life. HappyCo are on a mission to change that. We want to provide a great workplace for people who are looking for a challenge and want to be part of a global company with lofty ambitions.

“In the long run, this will help improve the South Australian economy and create a stream of talented individuals who might go on to one day start their own companies and employ the next crop of local talent.”

While the technology industry has grown tremendously on a global scale, Jindou believes the tech scene in Adelaide is growing at a much slower rate than other major Australian cities. He is passionate about making HappyCo part of the solution to inspire creativity and further ignite opportunities for growth.

“There should be more success stories coming out of Adelaide. We need to focus on solving problems and adding value to the world – people can contribute and make a difference by working for a small company or starting their own companies. I hope we can all leave the world a better place than when we arrived,” he says.

“We are really starting to hit our stride in the business, so the future looks very exciting for HappyCo.

"The people aspect at the company really drives me to become better at my job; we have amazing people that go above and beyond what’s required in their work.

“My favourite achievement by far is seeing members of our team grow in their careers and become amazing professionals and we want to continue to find talented, passionate and hungry people that can help make our vision of ‘creating great places to live’ a reality.”


Poh Kait Lee with Canadian Prime MinisterPoh Kait Lee

Director of Asia and Pacific, Air Canada

Master of Business Administration (MBA), International Business

July 2018

Poh Kait Lee’s career has taken him to great heights, with high-profile positions at Canon, Malaysia Airlines and Air Canada, after a fated night with former classmates over Bah Kut Teh (slow-cooked pork in herby soup) changed the course of his career forever.

PK (as he is known affectionately) explains that two years after he completed his tertiary education he bumped into old friends in his hometown of Klang in Malaysia, famous for its seafood and traditional delicacies, at a restaurant.

“That brief encounter with my ex-classmate was a game-changing moment for me because all of us decided to enrol into this MBA program. It wasn’t an easy decision though as the odds were up against me.”

“Firstly, I needed to fund the course on my own and at the time we were welcoming the newest addition to our family. Also, my job back then at Canon was very demanding with new roles and responsibility added onto my plate almost every month.

“However, after I had the opportunity to better understand the program, which was designed to suit executives like me, I was convinced.

"Most importantly though, I have a very understanding spouse that encourages me all the time. Hooi Leng Ng is not only my trusted wife, but a best friend, an advisor, and a great mother to our three children, so I soon learned how to cope with work and study-life stress and how to balance family life at the same time.”

Rapidly, he began climbing the corporate ladder at camera and electronic manufacturer, Canon, where he established himself as a valuable asset to the company with the knowledge and experience he had gained at UniSA.

A call from a head-hunter then pulled him out of the comfort zone that he had established in his 16-year tenure at Canon and into the aviation industry. Equipped with his experiential learning from UniSA, PK entered the aviation industry and lead Malaysia Airlines through one of its most difficult periods.

“I had a very promising future and career in Canon. Being a highly reputable company, Canon was a very profitable electronic giant and rewarded their employees well. But when I was told Malaysia Airlines were looking for leaders to turn the company around, to me it was a calling to serve the nation.

“In 2005, Malaysia Airlines was at the verge of bankruptcy and needed a transformational leader to drive structural changes in the airline. With my operations expertise, armed with an Australian education, I was extremely confident in adding value to this national icon of Malaysia.

“I’m a person who likes challenges and is inspired by self-actualisation, and I saw this as a great opportunity to test and to prove myself by accepting this risky decision to join Malaysia Airlines.”

After PK took the risk, he quickly made his way up the ranks becoming the Area Manager for Hong Kong, Macau and Shenzhen, displaying a natural talent for market analysis, revenue and management development and strategic partnership engagement.

Just three years later, he was promoted to Regional Senior Vice President (North Asia and North America) where he was responsible for overseeing operations across seven offices and dynamically led a team in achieving new heights.

PK was then appointed the Regional Senior Vice President (Australia, New Zealand and Southwest Pacific) position in 2013 overseeing one of the largest region and crucial markets for the company.

“Starting my aviation career with Malaysia Airlines without any airline experience was both challenging and crazy. But again, my education on Strategic Project Management at UniSA was put in effective use. At the same time though, I needed to unlearn all my technical skills and relearn another new set of airline skills.

“After turning around the North Asia and North America region in six months, I was posted to Sydney to lead the Oceania region. Australian flights were under attack from AirAsia X flying into Australia.

“Malaysia Airlines in Australia was on the right path until two major incidences put our focus on supporting the victims and their families as our top priority.”

In 2014 tragedy struck when two Malaysia Airline planes, MH17 and MH370, were involved in disastrous plane crashes.

PK played a key role in guiding the company through this period of turmoil and rebuilding confidence in the brand and Malaysia Airline’s perception.

“During the MH370 and MH17 incidents, I provided the much-needed leadership in crisis during the most difficult times for Malaysia Airlines,” he says.

“I also acted as the airline’s Emergency Operation Centre’s Chairman when the MH370 search was headquartered in Perth, working very closely with Embassies and Commissions, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Federal Police and local governments in designing very delicate family reception plans in Perth.

“It was also imperative to provide local emotional support not just to the families, but also to employees tasked with family assistance roles.”

As a result of PK’s strong leadership and tenacity, he was promoted to Regional Head of Sales for Oceania and Southeast Asia, spearheading its needed corporate restructuring and leading all commercial activities in these markets.

These days, he heads Air Canada as Director of Asia and Pacific, where he hopes to contribute to the long-term profitability of the company, making Air Canada and Canada the preferred carrier and destination for both work and leisure.

After so many high pressure roles with a range of great expectations on his shoulders, how does PK relax and recharge?

“I enjoy listening to my favourite music when I’m resting or travelling. An ability to maintain a positive mind when faced with challenges keeps me moving forward. You need to surround yourself with like-minded friends,” he says.

“I also love driving long distances while enjoying the beautiful sceneries along the journey. Such a holiday is a good opportunity for me to engage with my family and at the same time enjoy the drive!”

PK also acknowledges that having a strong family base and support is key in his many successes.

“I travel extensively but I try to maintain a happy family. I have Hooi Leng to thank for her sacrifices and support allowing me to have my undivided commitment on my career. We communicate and consults each other all the time to set expectation and fulfilling them.

“I will be lying if I told you I have a work and family balance. In my role I’m always away from home, but when we are together we create and add value to our relationship.”

“When asked for his best advice for recent graduates and those hoping to reach similar career heights in business, PK explained that remaining open-minded and teachable are key.

“Be humble and learn from others, even from your junior colleagues. Asking questions is the quickest way to learn, but it has to be done with courtesy, especially if someone is older. Work as a team. You are as good as what the team can deliver.

“AQ (adaptability quotient) will ensure you consistently deliver and perform. Be sensitive to cultural and language differences. Expose yourselves to diversity; try understanding the rationale behind certain practices or beliefs.

“Identify your purpose in life. Once you anchor that it will be your main source of sustainable leadership energy. Frankly, without this leadership energy I would have given up long ago.”


Haydn McComasHaydn McComas

CEO, ANU Connect Ventures

Master of Education
Bachelor of Social Science

November 2018

Frontline Operations Supervisor Haydn McComas has led an adventurous life in law enforcement, from the Australian Army to the new national Australian Border Force and has always strived to expand his learning and embrace new opportunities throughout his career. Now the part-time lecturer and passionate volunteer firefighter plans to continue his education by pursuing a PhD at UniSA.

Shortly after joining the Army in 1985, Haydn was appointed to the Military Police where he quickly discovered a passion for policing and law enforcement, a career path he never envisioned before entering the Army. At the age of 23, Haydn left the military and joined the South Australia Police (SAPOL) and spent 14 years working in rural policing, traffic policing, general patrols and, eventually, in the field of intelligence analysis.

“One of the wonderful aspects of policing was the unpredictable nature of the work and the need to be able to not only manage a crisis or emergency but also bring some kind of order to complex and difficult situations,” says Haydn.

“I was also deeply touched by the humanity and tragedy of life that unfolds around us daily. In amongst such difficult circumstances I often observed ordinary people rise up to do incredible things.”

In 2002 Haydn saw an opportunity to join what was then the Australian Customs Service as a Manager in the Intelligence Branch. He moved into Learning and Development in 2006 to run recruit training for Customs, which introduced an entirely new career direction in adult learning. Haydn contributed to the design and delivery of leadership learning experiences for frontline supervisory leaders, and between 2010 and 2013 spent almost a year on and off living and working in Papua New Guinea designing and delivering recruit training courses.

“After almost 12 years in learning and development I felt it was time to return to operations and a position became available within the newly established Australian Border Force. It’s a complex and dynamic workplace; my role involves managing several different teams responsible for managing sea cargo, ship and other vessel movements into and out of South Australian based international ports.”

Haydn’s extensive tertiary education began as a Police First Class Constable within SAPOL, when his Senior Sergeant asked him whether he had completed any of the formal studies required for a promotion to the position of Senior Constable.

“I told him I hadn’t, to which he gruffly said, ‘if you don’t have a ticket you can’t get on the bus – and it’d be a damn pity if that bus just happened to come along.’ So, I studied an Advanced Diploma in Justice Admin at TAFE, which led me to a Bachelor of Social Science at UniSA.”

After completing his Bachelor degree and moving on to work in Customs, Haydn undertook further tertiary studies through a Graduate Certificate in Legal and Justice Studies at QUT, a Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management at Macquarie University and a Graduate Diploma of Education at UniSA in 2014.

“I realized that throughout my academic journey, rather than work following learning, it was a case of learning following work. Law enforcement put me into new and interesting roles and each time I committed myself to diving in and undertaking study to do the best work I could. Each piece of learning has literally built upon the last.”

After finishing his Graduate Diploma and earning an impressive GPA, Haydn was encouraged by his UniSA lecturers to consider a Master of Education. His thesis explored learning for ethical leadership in a law enforcement environment, and this research journey took him to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis and to Thailand and Singapore where he delivered learning experiences for the United Nations International Police Organisation (INTERPOL).

Alongside his professional career, Haydn is passionate about volunteering and was a volunteer leader with the Scouts for almost 20 years. Allowing younger volunteers to take his place within Scouts, he then moved to the SA Country Fire Service (CFS) where he has volunteered for past 6 years.

“Volunteering has been a constant thread throughout my life. As a young person, Scouting challenged me, allowed me to see what I could be and provided me with outstanding role models for what has become an adventurous life. As a volunteer leader I had the chance to positively influence other young people in the same way.

“As a Senior Firefighter with the CFS I have been privileged to serve as a crew leader in some quite challenging incidents. The greatest gift of volunteering with the CFS has been to serve alongside some truly authentic people whose sole motivation is to protect and serve their communities.

“I strongly encourage anyone, young people in particular, to consider volunteering. Organisations like the Scouts and the CFS offer experiences, learning pathways and formal qualifications that can help build careers.”

Haydn was recently appointed as an Adjunct Lecturer in education at UniSA, where he hopes to help shape and deliver expanded professional development experiences for adult learners. He also looks forward to conducting more consultancy work in the future, where he can deliver engaging and transformational learning experiences around ethical leadership for frontline leaders.

“I have also just been accepted into a PhD at UniSA; my project aims to further understand organisational culture and leadership learning pathways, and how these impact interpretations of what it means to be ethical amongst frontline leaders across the military and law enforcement regulatory spectrum.

“It’s important to always keep learning because the environment is constantly evolving. If you keep your professional development fresh, you keep your career fresh, and in doing so you continually pave the way to new opportunities for yourself.

“Embrace new and challenging experiences, even if they seem scary at first. I never thought I’d have what it takes to complete a Master of Education, but thanks to the commitment of my supervisors and my own perseverance, I got there—and now I can see my research making a real difference globally.”


Nick McNaughtonNick McNaughton

CEO, ANU Connect Ventures

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

January 2018

Almost three decades of working at the coal-face of commercialising promising technology has given Nick McNaughton, CEO of ANU Connect Ventures, a front row seat to the extraordinary changes we experience today thanks to the innovations generated by bright minds.

Nick currently drives ANU Connect Ventures, a $27 million fund to take promising research from the Australian National University, University of Canberra, Charles Sturt University and other Canberra based start-ups into the next phase of commercial viability. He is also a successful angel investor who is particularly interested in projects that offer the potential to answer some of society’s biggest challenges.

“In Australia we have this incredibly creative and inventive pool of entrepreneurs who are great at coming up with ground breaking discoveries. Our challenge as a country is we are not so good at commercialising these inventions. We need to work on the commercialisation side of the equation,” says Nick.

Nick started his career in the technology industry working for the software subsidiary of Apple Computer. He set up their Asia office.

“I would spend a couple of weeks each quarter in the US learning how the Americans sold technology. The US is the best in the world at marketing and selling technology – we have much to learn from them.”

His second gig took him to the East Coast of the US where he was working for Allaire who created the popular web development tool ‘ColdFusion’ which took the world by storm in the late nineties.

On moving to Australia, Nick started to focus more of his time on angel investment – private financing to help promising business start-ups move their venture to the next stage and attract venture capitalists.

“In terms of angel investing, one of my most exciting projects is Windlab, a renewable energy technology developer in Canberra. They use a proprietary software algorithm to identify locations around the world to build Wind Farms. It’s a great example of smart technology being used to provide new, clean energy. We just listed them on the ASX (WND).

In 2009 Nick also decided to undertake an MBA having wanted to do one for most of his professional life. After extensive research he chose UniSA due to the unique factors of the course including the ability to study online, part-time and complete his study within two years. He was also particularly impressed by the opportunity to foster international business experience.

“I chose UniSA because it allowed me to carry on working full-time but also include study projects in Denmark and China. I have been immensely happy with the program, the people I met and the outcomes of my studies.

“Australians are unique for their curious and inventive nature. In many ways we have had to be in order to survive. We live on an island and we are thus forced to be self-reliant, to travel and understand the cultures, languages and systems of our neighbours and allies in order to grow our concepts – this makes us incredibly worldly and open to learning and adapting.
“Through my work and studies I have travelled extensively which has encouraged my creativity and taught me innumerable skills. Each country presents different challenges for business due to different cultural and business norms. These experiences offer valuable chances to learn, so I would like to see more programs encouraging international experience for students and graduates.”

As for the future of technology and opportunity in Australia, Nick believes the future is only getting brighter as we move from the technological age into an age of innovation.

“There has never been a better time in the history of humanity to become an entrepreneur. We need to encourage our students and graduates to do it - go start their own business or develop their ideas. The future of Australian employment and opportunity will be driven by these new discoveries and inventions.”

Nick believes we will soon see huge advances, particularly in life sciences and artificial intelligence where there has been considerable global investment. However these advances pose new challenges.

“I truly believe that we will soon eradicate our greatest scourges – diseases like cancer, heart disease etc. It's no longer a matter of if, but when. But this does put immense pressure on our planet as we live longer, our population increases and we need more resources.

“The next big area for tech focus will certainly look at addressing these problems because they will need to. Things like food production, resource availability, water care and management, energy production etc.

“We must find better ways of living on this planet – so technology will play a critical role not just in how we take care of ourselves but also how we can live more sustainably.”

Nick also sees the Australian Government’s recent announcement about a space program opening many doors for business.

“Australia has already achieved incredible progress in this area on an international level and with this announcement we will see a new dawn for this industry soon.

“UniSA is already positioned well in this climate - in fact you are already a leader with your team of innovators who are world leaders in nanosatellites.

“Ultimately there are exciting times ahead but challenges as well – for our health, our environment and our children, but I think we are already tackling these problems well and we will see incredible changes in the years to come.”


Aishath NiyazAishath Niyaz

Consultant, UNICEF and Founder, aishaniyaz consulting

Master of Environmental Management and Sustainability

August 2018

A strong believer that ‘every little bit counts’ when tackling climate change and environmental issues, Master of Environmental Management and Sustainability graduate and Australian Awards scholarship recipient, Aishath (Aisha) Niyaz is on a mission to save the Maldives by raising awareness of environmental sustainability and inspiring other youth to find their voice.

Now working as a Sustainable Development Consultant for some of the most important humanitarian and developmental efforts in the area – including UNICEF, UNDP and Maldivian Red Crescent – Aisha says her time at UniSA further enhanced her knowledge and skills and boosted her confidence in advocating for sustainable development.

It was an opportunity that nurtured and bolstered her passion for sustainable development – a seed that had been planted from a young age growing up in the Maldives.

Environmentally conscious as a child, Aisha vividly remembers bringing her school bag home filled with food wrappers in an attempt to stop her friends from littering. However, it took joining a team of scientists from Australia and New Zealand conducting a study on the vulnerability of the Maldives to climate change to truly comprehend the scope of the issue.

“It was an invaluable experience which opened my eyes and helped me understand the fragile ecosystem of my home,” says Aisha.

This role as a Surveyor Trainee at the Environment Research Centre under the Ministry of Environment of Maldives, further ignited her passion for protecting the Earth.

“As an island nation of roughly 1,200 tiny coralline islands spread across the ocean, we are extremely dependent on imports for our survival. Climate change is very real to us, and over the past 15 years I have personally witnessed its negative impact,” she says.

“From increasing erosion of the islands, growing frequency and intensity of storm surges, droughts and flash flooding, to the prevalence of dengue and increasing prices of basic commodities – climate change threatens our very survival as a nation.”

When she returned home to the Maldives after completing her undergraduate degree from the University of Queensland, Aisha received offers to work with environmental consultancy firms, where a major part of the work was conducting Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs).

Advocating for environmental conservation and minimum harm in development projects, Aisha worked to convince clients to alter original project ideas that had the potential to cause irreversible environmental damage.

“My colleagues started calling me an activist and basically told me my job was to follow what the client wanted, which made me feel as if I was facilitating environmental destruction. So in 2010, I stopped doing EIAs and since then have worked as a freelance consultant, providing consultancy to UN agencies, tourist resorts, community-based organisations and government projects.”

Presently, Aisha is wrapping-up a Consultancy with UNICEF, Maldives. The role has involved creating awareness for community-based waste management in nine islands of the Laamu Atoll as part of the Low Emission Climate Resilient Development (LECReD) program, funded by the Government of Denmark.

On top of her independent consultancies working for organisations like UNICEF and volunteering work, Aisha created her own sustainable development consultancy firm ‘aishaniyaz consulting’ in 2016 to formalise her consultancy services and broaden the scale of making a positive difference.

She is also currently working on the final stages of publishing a children’s book on environmental consciousness with the hope of instilling love for the nature so that more children will grow up to become environmental stewards.

At the end of July the Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC) requested her to be part of the Steering Committee to advise in the development process of MRC's new Strategic Plan and has been closely involved with the process.

On reflection of her career, and balancing so many roles and responsibilities, she says there have been many invaluable lessons in her journey so far.

“Integrity is very important to me and I refuse to compromise on ethics and values. It can be very challenging and overwhelming at times when politicians and powerful corporations around the world destroy the environment for short-term political and financial gains,” she says.

“What stops me falling into despair is my faith and belief that ‘every little bit counts’ – one individual can make a difference with small, simple actions. Not littering, carrying reusable shopping bags and refusing to accept single-use plastics such as bags, straws, coffee-cups and water bottles can make a significant difference.”

Aisha believes global campaigns and movements for beating plastic pollution and climate change play a major role in enhancing environmental consciousness, enabling behaviour change and inspiring sustainable lifestyles, but she also stresses the importance of recognising ‘greenwashing’ amongst both small and large corporations and entities.

“For those aspiring to make a positive difference for humanity and the world, my advice is to always remember that change starts from within and to celebrate small wins. Self-care is very important, as is finding a balance between volunteering, paid work and time for family and friends,” she says.

“I also deeply believe in the concept of Gandhi – ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. History proves that people power should not be underestimated in bringing about significant change.”


Jessica PerrinDr Michelle Perugini

Co-Founder and Managing Director, Life Whisperer and Co-Founder, Presagen

Bachelor of Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology (Honours), University of South Australia
PhD in Medicine, University of Adelaide)

June 2018

A passion for turning scientific ideas into beneficial businesses prompted Dr Michelle Perugini to take the leap from medical researcher to artificial intelligence (AI) entrepreneur, and her latest venture combines both fields to improve the success rates of couples undergoing IVF.

After finishing her Bachelor of Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology with First Class Honours in cancer research at UniSA, Dr Perugini fell in love with scientific research. Upon completing her PhD in Medicine, she went on to work at SA Pathology and the Centre for Cancer Biology, focusing specifically on Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and other blood disorders.

During her eleven successful years working in health and medical research, Dr Perugini developed a passion for entrepreneurship and loved the idea of building a product that could link the gap between research and the commercial sector.

“My husband worked as a research scientist for the Department of Defence, developing AI technology, and we were both experiencing a desire to translate our understanding of our disciplines into something useful to the real world. So in 2008 we decided to start our first commercial venture together,” Dr Perugini says.

“There was a whole range of commercial problems we could apply AI technology to, so we founded ISD Analytics and built a globally scalable product that worked to predict human behaviour in a range of industries such as health, education, energy and other government policy areas.

“We sold the product all around the world, and really enjoyed the experience and value that came from creating something scalable that could make a difference.”

After selling ISD Analytics to Ernst & Young in 2015, Dr Perugini and her husband Dr Don Perugini developed their second start-up company, Presagen. Working this time to develop an advanced AI platform for 1) human behaviour automation that uses unique defence technology, psychology and behavioural science to automate complex human-centric tasks, and 2) image-based medical diagnostics that analyses historical medical images to create accurate diagnostic tools.

A self-taught AI technologist, Dr Perugini realised the potential of the technology in improving fertility rates while she was mentoring PhD candidate Jonathan Hall.

“Jonathan came up with the concept around applying AI and computer vision technology to better select healthy embryos for implantation in IVF, and given my scientific background in stem cells and genetics, I was absolutely taken with the idea.

“I had trouble conceiving both of my children – I was actually booked in for IVF for my first child when I managed to fall pregnant with the help of hormonal treatment, so I experienced some of the torment of wanting to have children but not being able to.”

At the start of 2017, Dr Perugini, her husband and Dr Jonathan Hall co-founded Life Whisperer, an image analysis tool built upon Presagen’s AI platform that identifies the morphological features of healthy embryos often invisible to the human eye.

According to IVF Australia, the success rate of fresh embryo transfers resulting in live births in 2015 ranged from 8.8% to 37% depending on a patient’s age. Dr Perugini says the predictive power of Life Whisperer can significantly increase the chances of a successful pregnancy and improve current low success rates.

“A clinician makes a decision on which embryo to transfer to a patient based on a manual visual assessment through a microscope. This is a difficult choice as there are not many visible defining features that highlight which embryo is the best option.

“With Life Whisperer, the clinician can simply drag and drop images of the patients’ embryos onto the web-based tool which will apply our algorithm to assess and rank each embryo on the likelihood of success. It’s great because it’s non-invasive and provides the clinician with additional information and assurance.”

In June 2017, Dr Perugini partnered with Monash IVF, one of Australia’s largest IVF service providers, to leverage thousands of stored embryo images to conduct a retrospective study. Life Whisperer demonstrated its AI outperformed embryologists in identifying the most viable embryos among the medical images of almost 600 patient cycles.

It also performed over 30% more accurately than an embryologist when identifying which embryos resulted in a successful pregnancy, and was able to correctly classify embryos 148 times where the human experts were incorrect. In turn, the AI was incorrect only 54 times where the embryologist was correct.

Life Whisperer’s early achievements and exciting potential was recognised in September 2017 when it was announced winner of the ‘Best Idea – One to Watch’ category in the 2017 Talent Unleased Awards, judged by tech and business moguls Sir Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak.

Dr Perugini’s vision and passion for Life Whisperer was also recognised by InDaily in June 2018 who announced her a winner in their inaugural 40 Under 40 list, celebrating the achievements of South Australia’s leading business leaders under the age of 40.

Dr Perugini believes Life Whisperer’s technology will be a game changer for the IVF industry. Her focus this year is on finalising clinical trials and getting the product to market, and she is excited to improve the IVF journey for couples not only by increasing success rates but also by lowering the financial and emotional burden of the treatment.

“I know so many people who have gone through multiple IVF cycles that have failed, and it’s extremely difficult. There is always the expectation of success, but then four years and many cycles down the track they come to the realisation that they may never be able to have children, and it has such a profound impact on them.

“It’s such a wonderful thing to know that our skill sets and this technology can improve fertility rates and do something so socially valuable.”


Tim PiperTim Piper

Founder Partner, Piro

Bachelor of Industrial Design

March 2018

You have probably heard of Dove’s Self-Esteem campaign to change our perception of beauty. The campaign’s fame is largely thanks to the Dove Evolution video that features a model who is primped and polished with makeup, photographed and then altered in photoshop.

What you may not know is that the video was the brainchild of award-winning creative director and UniSA graduate Tim Piper. On release it immediately went viral and won Tim and his employer at the time two Cannes Lion Grand Prix awards, the gold standard for media advertising.

We caught up with Tim recently while he was in Adelaide taking a break from his busy life in New York where he co-runs creative agency and production company Piro.

“I started my career in Adelaide with a graphic design collective that was set up with some fellow graduates, then I heard the local advertising industry produced commercials in Adelaide and I was hooked,” said Tim.

“I ended up at a small firm directing a commercial for RAA without realising that I was the director” he laughs. “We didn’t have a huge budget so we invested in a cinematographer (to shoot on 35mm film) and I would scribble thumbnail boards for each of the scenes, then discuss with the cinematographer how to tell the story. I didn’t know at the time that I was essentially acting as the director.”

Tim quickly made a name for himself, winning local awards for TV categories. Soon he had a portfolio of work that allowed him to establish himself as associate creative director in Toronto, Canada.

It was there he won the two Grand Prix Lions for Dove Evolution amongst other awards for various clients.

“After this big win I realised how frustrating the industry could be. Despite this ad doing so well I didn’t get the next stage of the creative work for Dove’s campaign.

“They gave the next film job to a top European director and we had to scramble enough money to put together our next pitch, Dove Onslaught - which they ended up using instead of the expensive European production.”

But after his experience on the campaign, Tim had started to explore a business model that he sensed could turn the traditional advertising method on its head.

“The concept we’ve been working on at Piro is about creating marketing that is as engaging as the shows people watch or pay to see.

“In one case the entertainment industry has paid a license to show the marketing content. Meaning our client is getting paid for their marketing (and not the other way around). This is quite possible and should be a goal of marketers, but the infrastructure or business model is not apparent to brands right now.

“It’s a disruptive model. But it has to be, as I’ve learnt that in the advertising and media buying industry there is little to no incentive for creativity to thrive.

“If we can get brands to spend money intelligently within entertainment infrastructure, then we can do something really exciting. Certainly more effective than traditional, interruptive advertising and more typical branded entertainment efforts.”

Tim’s approach is embedded in discovering the specific cause or value that brands can align themselves to. Then the creative team works with the brand to come up with a concept that is very different to the strategically placed Coke can in your favourite television series.

“What’s needed is really an entirely new industry - because the entertainment business is so different from the marketing and advertising business. They don’t talk the same language. With Piro I bring marketing and advertising experience and my partner Daniel Rosenberg brings his 20 plus years of experience producing film and TV so we can tackle this divide.”

Shortly after teaming up, Piro attracted the attention of Chipotle - a major fast food chain in the US.

“We were really lucky that Chipotle wanted to work with us. They’re all about ethical farming, sustainability and getting people to realise that fast food can be kind to animals, people and the environment.

“They’ve had a hard time with some of the big industrial farming organisations in the US. So we sat down with Chipotle and came up with a four part Hulu series called Farmed and Dangerous.

“It was a satire on the industrial food lobbyists. Chipotle invested their marketing budget in a creative team with an Oscar nominated screenwriter to help us develop the script and some great actors. It ended up becoming one of the most successful shows on Hulu.”

The show was supported with branded and non-branded content including a Huffington Post portal that became that sites most successful social impact section.

Shortly after the series aired, a study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found the show to be the most persuasive piece of social awareness entertainment released in the last few years. It was the show most likely to cause viewers to change their habits – beating several acclaimed activist documentaries, such as ‘Food Inc’, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and other social cause blockbusters.

Most importantly, Tim and Daniel proved their model works. The numbers were assessed both in-house and by an independent party, showing a conservative 800% return on investment. It was an incredible result for a fresh, bold approach.

Now Tim and the Piro team are working to engage more brands in this new take on branded entertainment. One that is straight-forward about the brand as a culturally relevant part of society.

“When people think negatively about branded entertainment I ask them to picture this scenario. Imagine a sports goods company says to a studio that they will help make their film, but only if they have a leading major star scream his love for their product over and over and that the product should also be a character in the film.

“That’s the most absurd thing you’ve ever heard right? Well, then picture Cast Away with Tom Hanks and his relationship with a Volleyball brand - Wilson, his only friend on the island.

“People assume that this type of marketing is expensive but it’s really not when you compare it to traditional marketing expenditure.

“Brands don’t have to make a creative endeavour worse, they can enhance it. Find something important to align the brand with and let creative people come up with something new and magical that’s able to deliver brand awareness that’s on strategy.”

For more information about Tim’s work visit www.wearepiro.com.


Sarah Quantrill

Curator at V&A Museum, London

Associate Diploma in Business (Personnel/Industrial Relations)

February 2018

In amongst the precious treasure trove of over 2 million objects – a myriad of furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics – spanning over of 5,000 years of human creativity, Sarah Quantrill is busily working away preparing for her next display as an Exhibitions Manager at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

She is tending to a glistening gold satin evening dress, with silver thread embroidery and couched gold metal thread lined with silk organza, from Christian Dior’s H-Line Autumn-Winter 1954 Haute Couture collection. As one of Christian Dior’s most controversial silhouettes, the press engaged in the debate whether H-Line should stand for ‘Heavenly’ or ‘Horrid’ when it was first released.

The dress will soon take its place among hundreds of other stunning Christian Dior dresses, celebrating the designer’s history and influence, which will line the 166 year-old arts and design museum, named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in the London borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

“My current project is the exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams which will open in the Sainsbury Gallery at the V&A on 2 February 2019 and is based on the exhibition Christian Dior: Courturier du Rêve that was held at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris last year," she says.

“I saw Christian Dior: Courturier du Rêve in Paris and loved the exhibition for the incredible content and the execution of the set works, and I am looking forward to being part of the team to deliver the exhibition at the V&A – and to be working with such exquisite dresses!”

As the largest fashion exhibition the V&A has staged since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015, the exhibition spans from 1947 until the present day, and will include perfume, accessories, photographs, film, sketches and hundreds of dresses – including Princess Margaret’s 21st gown – which will be keeping Sarah on her toes as Exhibition Manager well into the new year.

“On any given exhibition you may be working with a variety of internal and external stakeholders such as artists, conservators, fine art transport agents, text editors, exhibition 3D and 2D designers, sound engineers, lighting designers, costume and object mounters and exhibition set work contractors.”

“It is always an exciting role and each day brings something new.”

Making art was Sarah's original passion, and an important beginning to her early career. After studying drawing and painting at the North Adelaide School of Art Art (now TAFE’s Adelaide College of the Arts), she took a year out to work in the Tate Britain bookshop in London and there discovered museums were the environment she most wanted to contribute to.

However Sarah credits her time at the University of South Australia, studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts and majoring in Art History & Theory in the following years, as a major influence on her eventual career in museums, boasting an eclectic professional life that has taken her all over the world to travel for work.

“The degree enabled me to consider what options my career path might take and the teaching staff at UniSA were inspirational and incredibly supportive of students. They encouraged both experimentation and scholarly research,” she says.

“One of the highlights of my study at UniSA was a textiles field trip to the Flinders Ranges organised by Emeritus Professor Kay Lawrence and led by Dr Ruth Hadlow. We spent several days exploring the landscape and its histories, and using natural materials to create sculptures, installations, and natural textile dyes.

“It was a brilliant experience.”

Following UniSA, Sarah completed a Masters of Curatorship at Melbourne University and was then lucky enough to obtain a role at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) as a documentation officer progressing to various Registrarial roles in acquisitions, loans, and exhibitions.

After stints at NGV and Tate, Sarah has now been at the Victoria and Albert Museum for almost five years in the Exhibitions Department as an Exhibition Manager.

“I love working at the V&A, it is a vibrant and dynamic museum and I work with a highly skilled, professional and enthused team. I hope to continue working on exciting museum projects and exhibitions that engage the public and encourage new and young audiences to the arts,” she says.

As an advocate for museum and gallery spaces as places of independent academic knowledge and research, new ideas, and as places to protect objects and material of social, cultural, historic and religious significance, Sarah is not resting on her laurels when it comes to the representation and intersectionality of such cultural institutions.

She is a strong proponent of museums being a space of architectural wonder, a place for being curious and a place to engage in learning for everyone. This includes the elevation of talented women and minority groups in the industry, worthy of top roles and responsibilities, gaining more recognition in such a creative and culturally important space. Sarah notes that South Australia is leading the way in some respects.

“One thing that I would love to witness within my working career is a marked increase in women holding more senior management and leadership roles across the arts sector, and the recent appointment of Rhana Devenport to the role of Director at Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) brings with it hope that this shift may happen sooner rather than later.”

Despite Sarah’s career taking her from Adelaide to Melbourne and now to London, and being fortunate to travel for work visiting cities in Russia, Canada, America and Europe to oversee the installation of exhibitions and loans, she still undeniably has a soft spot for Adelaide.

“I think that the future looks bright for Adelaide, with the recent phenomenal success of increased visitor numbers at AGSA with Nick Mitzevich as Director, the much loved Adelaide Festival continuing to grow, and Adelaide Contemporary, in whatever form it manifests, has the potential to continue to transform the North Terrace precinct,” she says.

“It is exciting to keep an eye on what Adelaide is up to from afar, and if there was ever an opportunity to work on exhibitions within one of Adelaide's cultural institutions, coming home to my beloved festival city would be a career dream come true!”


Nadine Rachid

Electorate Assistant, John Gardner MP, Minister for Education (Government of SA

Bachelor of Laws

February 2019

When a close friend of Nadine Rachid’s started studying law, it piqued her interest. Her friend would discuss what she was learning and how her perspective on life, her ideas and train of thoughts were growing and changing. These conversations reignited Nadine’s life-long dream of fighting for the needs of the less fortunate and inspired her to enrol in a laws degree at the University of South Australia.

“I liked the idea of advocating for the good of others,” she says. “I wanted to make a difference.”

And make a difference she has. Six years on from graduation, Nadine has shaped an impressive CV of humanitarian work.
Her first role was as a Case Worker for INTERSOS, an Italian humanitarian aid organisation, to support people in high risk environments.

“I began working with INTERSOS in 2014 in Lebanon. For two years I worked in a variety of roles, dealing directly with refugees who had faced child protection and gender based violence issues,” she says.

As a case manager Nadine was responsible for identifying and assessing children and adults at risk of abuse and violence. She also worked closely with Syrian refugee women, helping many access employment training.

“At INTERSOS I would also work closely with individuals, deliver prevention awareness and emotional support groups,” she says.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) supports INTERSOS’ work in the region. While at INTERSOS’ head office, Nadine would also act as the Relief Focal Point for the Protection Officer.

Her work impressed the UNHCR Protection Team so when two protection posts arose she jumped at the opportunity and was shortlisted for both positions.

“I had applied for previous UN vacancies and I was familiar with how difficult the application process could be – a one hour exam and a panel interview. But I also knew what my strengths and weaknesses were in terms of answering their questions.

“I remember having ‘all nighters’ where I would study for the exams. I kept telling myself that this time I was going to really impress them and would give them no choice but to choose me.”

Three weeks after her interviews Nadine was offered one of the posts.

“To my luck I was offered the post that I wanted most, which involved child protection,” she says.

Her joy and relief in landing the job was further more emphasised after experiencing a devastating personal tragedy, a mere few months before, making the role that much more poignant.

“Earlier that year, I experienced a stillbirth and lost my baby at six months. This experience led me to think more seriously about a career in child protection – where I could protect children and make a positive difference in their lives.

“I wanted to turn my sour experience into a step for change. I believe in the law of attraction, and I know that the universe responded to this inner pain mixed with my passion to help others by giving me that job.”

Nadine excelled in the two years she spent in her role as Senior Protection Assistant (Child Protection Focal Point) for the UNHCR in Lebanon, with many successful achievements in the protection of basic human rights for young people.

Nadine also played a key role in implementing the Street and Working Children Program with Makhzoumi Foundation. The Street and Working Children Program is designed to get these kids into a safe, educational and fun environment. It also works to teach these children about self-protection.

As a result of these efforts, part of the Lebanon operation that was awarded the UNHCR Global Team Award for Achievements in Gender Equality and recognised as a Child Protection Expert by the UNHCR Head Office.

“This work strengthened my values and gave me more confidence to advocate for the issues I feel strongly about. – When you work with UNHCR, it owns a piece of your heart forever,” Nadine says.

“The UN recruitment system is lengthy and competitive. It can be a deterrent for applicants who have already applied and were not initially successful. I personally applied on multiple occasions and was not successful, but I kept trying and pushed myself to work harder each time for the opportunity.

“The advice I would give to someone interested in fostering or furthering a global career is to never give up.”

This tenacity and dedication has served Nadine well – particularly upon her return to Adelaide where she quickly snapped up a role as Electorate Assistant for the state’s Minister for Education.

“Working with the Honorable John Gardner MP in the Morialta Electorate Office has kept me on the track of fulfilling my life’s purpose as he makes enormous efforts to assist any enquiries or issues his constituents have,” she says.

“As my local MP, John Gardner quickly recognized my skill set and experience and offered me the opportunity to work at his electorate office.

“I am now helping fellow Australians who need assistance in my local community, using the skill sets I developed helping refugees.”


Marijana RajcicMarijana Rajcic

AFLW Premiership Player, Adelaide Football Club
Health & Physical Education Teacher

Bachelor of Education, (Primary and Middle), 2012

May 2019

Walking onto the grounds of the historic Adelaide Oval ushered in by an avalanche of screaming fans – a record-breaking 53,034 to be exact – was a dream come true for education graduate and Adelaide Crows defender, Marijana Rajcic, during March’s AFLW premiership game against Carlton.

More so, playing a key role in winning that game, in front of the fifth-largest crowd at Adelaide Oval in AFL history including both the men and women’s league, surrounded by her beloved team mates was certainly a special moment.

More so, playing a key role in winning that game, in front of the fifth-largest crowd at Adelaide Oval in AFL history including both the men and women’s league, surrounded by her beloved team mates was certainly a special moment.

“Playing in front of 53,000 people was a dream come true. To be out there on Adelaide Oval with that support – I get goosebumps every time I think about it.”

“I have always dreamed of being a professional athlete.”

Achieving such a pinnacle in professional sport didn’t just happen overnight, however, with the 30-year-old experiencing a fruitful career as a soccer player spending six seasons with Adelaide United in the W-League and as captain in 2015.

Rajcic then made the switch to Aussie Rules to join the local SANFL Norwood team and becoming a premiership player in the inaugural SANFL Women’s season where she was scouted for the national league.

Rajcic then made the switch to Aussie Rules to join the local SANFL Norwood team and becoming a premiership player in the inaugural SANFL Women’s season where she was scouted for the national league.

“My love of sport started off when I was a 9-year-old playing club basketball, with the dream of being an Opal one day,” she explains. “Then when I made the switch to soccer that dream just changed to becoming a Matilda.”

“Being a professional athlete and playing at the highest level possible, competing against the best, has always been my goal.”

While Rajcic was always sports mad and dreamed of playing on Australia’s most sacred and celebrated fields, she didn’t have a clear idea of which direction to take, but knew her love of sport transcended a traditionally unsustainable professional athletic career.

Searching for a path, she harked back to about how much she looked up to – not only professional athletes – but her physical education teachers and the impact they had on her at school and how they fostered her own love of sport throughout her life.

“I thought about my PE teachers and how much fun they had daily playing and teaching sport,” she says. “I loved how UniSA offered primary and middle teaching.”

“If I can have any sort of impact on these kids for the better and give them the tools required to be successful, I will be happy.”

“The next generation are going to shape what this world becomes.”

So started Rajcic’s journey to becoming a Health and Physical Education teacher, in which she is a powerful role model for her school students, and has expertly balanced with her professional playing career for almost eight years now.

“I have been doing relief teaching the last couple years, as it allows me that extra bit of freedom to choose to work or not,” she says.

“It’s been really good. It gives me flexibility to be able to juggle my professional athletic career, still having time to go to the gym after school, and prepare for training with the Crows.”

In addition to the personal fulfilment Rajcic’s career as a teacher has given her, she also credits her time at university for other lessons she still holds valuable in her life.

“You are constantly learning in all aspects of life. Studying education has definitely helped with many aspects of professional life too. Helpful skills like public speaking, media experience, and networking have all majorly benefitted.”

For now though, Rajcic is looking forward to heading overseas after a hard-earned successful footy season and then getting back to the AFLW Crows squad in pursuit of another premiership flag.

When asked about the highlight of being a part of the team, Rajcic is overwhelmed with praise for her fellow teammates.

“I probably can’t pick one thing, but I honestly love this team. We have something special amongst this playing group that is hard to even describe,” she explains.

“I think we just love training and spending time together, because we just have so much fun.”

“And we all just want to get better.”

Not only is Rajcic guiding her students to a promising future, but is looking forward to a bright one with the Crows, proving the talented AFLW team are athletes of their own mettle.

UniSA is a proud premier partner of the Adelaide Football Club AFL and AFLW teams. This partnership provides UniSA student placement opportunities, a platform for sport and health research collaborations and the opportunity for the University to engage with the community.

For more information about our partnership visit unisa.edu.au/crows.


Erma RanieriErma Ranieri

South Australia’s Commissioner for Public Sector Employment

Bachelor of Visual Arts

August 2018

The old saying that ‘pressure makes diamonds’ rings true for Erma Ranieri.

There is much to be said about a young migrant woman who grew up in Adelaide’s western suburbs who became the 2014 Telstra South Australian Business Woman of the Year and is South Australia’s Commissioner for Public Sector Employment.

Erma is known for her dynamic, adaptive and values-based leadership, which she embeds in all facets of her role as Commissioner. As Erma reflects, this approach helps her fulfil her vision to build a modern, inclusive world-leading public sector.

“I’ve always known I wanted to be in a position where I could be bold, make real change and contribute to make things better,” Erma said.

“Anyone who knows me knows I am driven by purpose. When you are in touch with your purpose, what is important to you and your instincts, you design your life according to your priorities and you are willing to make sacrifices and trade-offs.

“And, in my experience, you will have less regrets.”

Erma’s story is one of overcoming adversity against the odds— speaking English as a second language, negotiating male-dominated environments, working part-time and caring for a family member with a disability are just some of the challenges she has overcome to achieve her personal and professional aspirations.

Life wasn’t always easy and disadvantage was commonplace. But, it always lifted Erma’s spirit to see people help her family when they needed it most. As Erma explains, it was these experiences that cemented her commitment to be a connected and adaptive leader – a leader that builds resilience, capability and the capacity of peers and colleagues.

“My experiences growing up often made me feel like we weren’t on an equal footing with other people.

“The acts of kindness from others to my family still motivate me to make a difference. My experiences taught me a lot about compassion and how to build resilience.

“As Commissioner and leading the Office for the Public Sector, I draw on these experiences to guide me to be an adaptive and connected leader - a leader that fosters inclusivity, innovation and purpose. As a steward of the public sector, it is my priority to ensure our workforce reflects the diverse community we serve.”

As Erma recounts, her work ethic was established early. At just 12 years old she was running the local deli on Saturdays. Growing up, she wanted to be a psychologist and earned a place at university. Her parents, however, had a different view.

“My parents were very traditional and weren’t supportive of me continuing my education. So I joined the ‘dole queue’ until I won a job with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles filing registration cards for my first boss, Rod Frisby.”

Erma found a mentor in Rod, and with his support she enrolled at the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) (now part of UniSA) to study Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations.

“I have always had a keen interest in transformational change, adaptive leadership and human behaviour.

“My study gave me a taste of that with the foundational pieces in industrial relations, policies and reforms. Back then, HR management was considered ‘back room’, but it is now well and truly the right hand for any chief executive.

“I studied part-time and worked full-time, and anything I learned was practical and translated into my professional life. It was excellent grounding for the career that lay ahead of me.”

It was the mentorship and guidance Erma received over the years that motivated her to establish her mentoring program for 11 aspiring female public sector leaders, which was launched on International Women’s Day in 2017.

“I know the value of a great mentor, and how it has helped me build personal resilience.

“I wanted to give back, and share my experiences to help build other women’s skills and confidence. This program is very personal, and personifies my mission to foster transformational change in other people’s lives. Nearly a year on, I am proud of the program’s impact and what we have achieved.”

While becoming Commissioner was not planned, Erma says working in an administrative position in the then Commissioner’s office when she was 23 years old, piqued her interest in the role. Recognising this role required rigour and enthusiasm, Erma worked tirelessly to climb the public sector ranks.

With her purpose, values and ethics as her foundation, she embraced innovation, courage and tenacity to drive sector-wide reform. This led Erma, for example, to pioneer job-sharing at the executive level as a general manager at the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).

“At the time, many women ‘levelled-down’ or left when they started a family, but I refused to give up. At the time, a job-share at that level was unheard of. It took tenacity, but we made it work.”

This courage paved the way for other women, and as Commissioner, she has helped implement a whole-of-government Gender Equality in Leadership strategy, to ensure more women are represented in leadership roles.

2014 saw Erma achieve two significant milestones: she was appointed Commissioner and was named the 2014 Telstra South Australian Business Woman of the Year, where she was recognised for driving change and reforms to make the South Australian public sector more efficient, flexible and responsive to change.

“Being awarded Telstra Business Woman of the Year was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

“I am passionate about tapping into what motivates people and how people can reconcile both work and life. This award helped open the door to many more opportunities to challenge work place ‘norms’ that enforce conformity and impact employee wellbeing.

“It put the spotlight on these issues and I hope it helped many people—both men and women—think differently about work and what can be achieved.”

As Commissioner, Erma has continued her commitment to sector-wide reform, with the roll out of initiatives that foster a ‘One Government’ approach.

“To deliver a world-leading public sector we need to embrace different ways of thinking to deliver public value.

“In both my office and in the public sector, I see purpose, values and behaviours as driving our performance, building our capacity and our capability to deliver for our community.

“That’s why my team advocates innovation, flexibility and inclusion at a whole-of-government level. These are grounded firmly in the public sector values, which are: Service, Professionalism, Trust, Respect, Collaboration & Engagement, Honesty & Integrity, Courage & Tenacity.

“Importantly, all agencies form ‘One Government’. That’s why we need connected leadership to ensure we are inclusive and we collaborate to achieve great results for our sector and our State.”

This sector-wide approach is evident in many initiatives Erma and her office oversee, which can be viewed here.

“Our initiatives are bold, but rightly so.

“Our purpose - what we do and why we do it - motivates me every day.”

For more information about the Office for the Public Sector visit www.publicsector.sa.gov.au


Alice Rigney AO PSM DUniv

Pioneering Aboriginal educator

Tribute to first female Aboriginal school principal in Australia
Graduate and Honorary Doctor of the University

The late Alice (Alitya) Rigney AO PSM DUniv was Australia's first female Aboriginal school principal and one of University of South Australia’s most distinguished graduates. She devoted her life to education, teaching more than 5000 Aboriginal students, and mentored and inspired many more.

Born at Point Pearce on the Yorke Peninsula, Rigney was an Elder and matriarch of the Kaurna and Narungga Aboriginal Nations of South Australia.

Dr Rigney was among the first cohort of Aboriginal teachers to graduate from the UniSA’s De Lissa Institute. She one of the first Aboriginal employees of the South Australian Education Department and the first female Aboriginal school principal in Australia.

She established the first urban Aboriginal school in Australia, the Kaurna Plains Primary School. Now there are 20 such schools in Australia modelled on Kaurna Plains. Before her ground breaking initiative, there were no urban Aboriginal schools in Australia that taught Aboriginal children in their own language and culture.

Her outstanding leadership and contribution to Aboriginal education has been recognised through several national awards.

The University of South Australia awarded her an Honorary Doctorate in 1998. She received a Public Service Medal in the 1991 Australia Day honours and a United Nations Association of Australia, South Australian Division award in 2013.

Post-teaching, Dr Rigney took on significant roles in the South Australia's Guardianship Board and Aboriginal Education, Training and Advisory Committee. She was Ambassador for the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training's National Indigenous English Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. Throughout her life she continued her strong connection with UniSA. She was a regular visitor and an inspiring speaker and guest at the School of Education’s Reconciliation Week morning teas.

Alice Rigney passed away in May 2017. In June 2018 she was awarded an Order of Australia (Posthumous) for her outstanding contributions to education.

(Photo courtesy L Rigney 2007: Permission granted by Family to use image in public)


Genevieve and Jamie SanchezGenevieve and Jaime Sanchez

Genevieve Sanchez , Editorial Coordinator, LEGO (Billund, Denmark)

Graduate Diploma in Communications (Public Relations)

Jaime Sanchez , Element Designer, LEGO (Billund, Denmark)

Bachelor of Design (Product Innovation) 2013
Master of Design (Industrial Design)

June 2018

In pursuit of their dreams of working in communications and design, Genevieve and Jaime Sanchez, both UniSA graduates, picked up their young family and relocated from Adelaide to Denmark to work for one of the largest toy manufacturers in the world, LEGO.

LEGO, a family-owned company whose famous little building brick has captivated the imaginations of generations of children and the young at heart, is nestled in the small rural town of Billund in Jutland, Denmark. To work there is to experience creative play and learning every day.

While the multi-billion dollar company now has theme parks, factories and offices all over the world, LEGO headquarters remain in Billund where its first workshop began building wooden toys in 1932. Both Genevieve and Jaime love working for the company whose mission to inspire learning through creative play is reflected in the workplace.

“It really is wonderful working for LEGO,” says Genevieve who in February 2018 started working as Editorial Coordinator for the company’s publishing team.

“Aside from having a very supportive and friendly team around me, the general feeling across the company is one of inclusiveness and there is a spirit of playfulness in everything we do.”

Genevieve’s husband Jaime, who has always had a passion for drawing and design, works as an Element Designer for LEGO and says he loves working on products that have such a positive impact on consumers.

“I get to fulfil a childhood dream working here. Toys have such a strong emotional resonance because they invoke happy childhood memories. For a lot of children who may not have had great home lives, toys were a respite and a happy place for them. To see kids playing with and enjoying toys I’ve designed is a wonderful feeling,” he says.

Genevieve and Jaime’s LEGO journey began in 2015 after Jaime’s Data Analyst role he held in Adelaide for 15 years was made redundant. Before their daughters were born, Jaime had begun to feel disillusioned in his future career prospects and wanted to work in a field that inspired him. Returning to UniSA in 2006, he studied a Masters of Design (Industrial Design) part-time.

“I undertook some work experience and built up my design portfolio, and in July 2015 I obtained a five-month internship at LEGO in Denmark, so Gen and I took the kids and spent six months in Billund and travelled around Europe.

“During my internship I worked on the LEGO Super Heroes theme, and one of my major accomplishments was to design Spiderman’s Web Blast which has been used in four different LEGO sets.”

Genevieve, who had studied a Graduate Diploma in Communications (Public Relations) at UniSA in-between backpacking and working abroad, worked as a project officer at the University of Adelaide for seven years before becoming a Communications Coordinator in 2011, and took long-service leave to embark on their six-month stay in Denmark.

When they returned home, Jaime worked briefly for an exhibition design firm and as a jewellery designer – but he really wanted to return to LEGO. He started applying for permanent positions and only a year after settling back into Australian life he landed his Element Designer role for the Danish toy company.

When they returned home, Jaime worked briefly for an exhibition design firm and as a jewellery designer – but he really wanted to return to LEGO. He started applying for permanent positions and only a year after settling back into Australian life he landed his Element Designer role for the Danish toy company.

“So we sold the house, packed everything up and moved back to Denmark,” says Jaime. “Since starting back I have designed products for Star Wars, City, Harry Potter, Super Heroes, Collectible Minifigures, Speed Champions and lots of cool, secret projects that will be announced soon.”

“So we sold the house, packed everything up and moved back to Denmark,” says Jaime. “Since starting back I have designed products for Star Wars, City, Harry Potter, Super Heroes, Collectible Minifigures, Speed Champions and lots of cool, secret projects that will be announced soon.”

While Jaime began his new role at LEGO, Genevieve volunteered within the small community and at their daughters’ school before starting her own freelance business and gaining clients from some of the biggest companies in Denmark.

“I’m proud of achieving this while coping with being so far from home, family and friends and such a dramatic change in lifestyle. I got my foot in the door at LEGO in January 2017, writing social media and website copy. Then the position of Editorial Coordinator opened up and I jumped at the chance. Our team works with publishing partners to produce LEGO books and magazines and my role includes reviewing plots, scripts, illustrations and final layouts of a wide range of publications.

“Before I started working here, the LEGO offices seemed a bit like Willy Wonka’s factory and I was Charlie Bucket. It’s really inspiring to work with so many people from all across the world; the Billund community is really lovely and close-knit so we’ve made some great friends. When the weather is nice we love to explore the forests surrounding town and we’ve visited many of the little hidden parts of Europe.”

“Before I started working here, the LEGO offices seemed a bit like Willy Wonka’s factory and I was Charlie Bucket. It’s really inspiring to work with so many people from all across the world; the Billund community is really lovely and close-knit so we’ve made some great friends. When the weather is nice we love to explore the forests surrounding town and we’ve visited many of the little hidden parts of Europe.”

The opportunity to move their family overseas has been a life changing experience for Genevieve and Jaime, who recommend everyone jump out of their comfort zone and explore all the possibilities the wide world has to offer.

“It isn’t always easy, especially if you have a family travelling with you, but you’ll be richer for having done it. We get to travel with our kids and show them the world; it’s been such a mind-expanding experience for all of us,” says Genevieve.

“The next few years will pass no matter what you do,” says Jaime. “Spend some of that time trying out living and working overseas, so you can look back and say ‘I did it’.”


Hayley SchultzHayley Schultz

PhD Candidate, UniSA and CBNS

Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science
Bachelor of Pharmaceutical and Medical Sciences (Honours) (First Class Honours)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Pharmaceutical Science – Oral Drug Delivery

June 2018

Early career pharmaceutical scientist Hayley Schultz was recently awarded the UniSA Research Degree Excellence Grant, recognising her promising work to improve the oral absorption of drug molecules in patient treatments. The Grant is helping Hayley with her important research which could change the treatment experience of men with advanced prostate cancer.

With the funding from the Grant, Hayley will attend a series of international conferences in Singapore in September and the US next month, including workshops and meetings with academics and industry in pharmaceutical science, where she will present her work.

“Last year I had the opportunity to attend the International Pharmaceutical Federation Conference for Pharmaceutical Science in Sweden—it was an eye-opening experience, so I’m really looking forward to this next opportunity to grow my international knowledge," she says.

“As an early career researcher I need to take every opportunity to grow my research profile and network with others in my field. I’m so grateful to the donors who supported the establishment of this award as it will help me achieve my PhD and gain the industry knowledge I need to continue in my career path.”

Winning the Gould Experimental Science Grant in 2017 has also cemented Schultz’s position as a rising star in the field of pharmaceutical research.

“I am so inspired by Dr Ian Gould AM, who I first met in 2017 when I was interviewed for the grant.

“He has had such a diverse career and has taken opportunities as they have been presented to him, which is really inspiring and affirming for me, as I have never had a clear career goal in mind, and like Dr Gould, I have taken opportunities as they have come.”

One of these opportunities recently included selection as a finalist in the 2018 SA Fresh Scientist media training program—designed to help early-career researchers develop media and presentation skills to the non-scientific community.

“As I start to think more on the next stage of my career I am very interested in working in clinical trials. I would love to be involved in a trial, to be giving a treatment to people because it could be the next big breakthrough medication—I think that would be really exciting.

“I hope to learn more about clinical trials on my tour of US Industry next month; who knows, if my drug delivery formulation succeeds maybe I will have the chance to take it to trial.”

Reworking the formula for better prostate cancer therapy
Hayley Schultz is researching a new oil based formulation with high drug loading to improve the oral delivery of poorly water-soluble drugs. She is currently trialling it as a treatment for advanced prostate cancer.

Drug molecules have quite a challenge ahead of them when they enter the body via the oral route. They must dissolve in the contents of the gut before being absorbed across the gut wall and entering the bloodstream. This is especially so for drugs with poor water-solubility.

“When drugs have poor water-solubility they don’t dissolve or absorb very well, so large oral doses are given to ensure enough of the drug enters the bloodstream so it can have a therapeutic effect,” says Schultz.

This is a major hurdle for pharmaceutical scientists working to develop oral medications. As much as 40% of current and new medications have poor-water solubility, where only small amounts of the drug actually enters the bloodstream upon oral administration.

“Testosterone stimulates prostate cancer cells to grow, so patients are often given an androgen depletion therapy (ADT) that blocks the production of testosterone.

“A particularly complex ADT oral treatment is used in castrate resistant prostate cancer called abiraterone acetone. It is prescribed in very high doses because only about 5% of the drug is absorbed due to its poor water-solubility.

“It is also highly sensitive to the pharmaceutical food effect, so if a patient eats food too close to taking their tablets they can absorb greater, unknown and potentially toxic levels of the drug. This is because the drug dissolves much better in the oily or fatty food digesting in the gut.

“The new oil based formulation has the potential to deliver more drug by mimicking the effect of food on this ADT treatment to improve its absorption.

“The oil helps the drug to dissolve and absorb easier in the gut resulting in high and consistent amounts of drug entering the bloodstream regardless of whether the patient has eaten food close to the time of administration. This means that we can reduce the dose as more of the drug will be absorbed with the help of this approach.

“This is significant for these patients as they have such a difficult therapy regime that requires them to remember to fast every day and then take large quantities of tablets.

“My work has shown that this approach is possible and could drastically improve the quality of life of these patients.

“Ultimately, I would like to see this formulation provide better drug delivery for many different types of pharmaceutical treatments.”


Sally Skewes

Co-Founder of Secure Nest
Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice

Master of Psychology (Clinical)

October 2018

Psychologist and UniSA alumna Sally Skewes and her husband Joseph have created Secure Nest, a new online eHealth tool to support schema therapy clients and therapists, empowering people struggling with various issues to change negative life patterns.

The lens through which we see the world is often coloured by our childhood experiences. As children develop they learn rules and concepts about how the world works, what to expect and how to behave based on these experiences. These ideas become deeply felt and often unconscious beliefs. Psychologists call them ‘schemas’.

A relatively new form of psychological treatment, schema therapy is proving to be a valuable tool for people who struggle in their daily lives with anxiety or depression, or have been diagnosed with a personality disorder.

“In schema therapy we focus on the emotional experiences of the present moment, and find the links back to the unmet emotional needs that arose in childhood that are often the root cause,” says Sally Skewes, a Clinical Psychologist and practicing schema therapist.

“In my studies I saw the value of the schema therapy approach because of its integrative model that emphasised understanding and healing the core negative themes with origins in childhood. The focus on childhood needs and development resonated with me.”

Most families work hard to do their best by their children, but it doesn’t always go to plan. For some, parents, significant authority figures, and important peers can leave scars, both physical and psychological.

This can result in individuals forming certain unconscious beliefs about themselves. For example, if an individual feels abandoned by an important person in childhood they may grow up believing that relationships are difficult and they will eventually be abandoned again.

This belief can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms that become self-fulfilling prophecies – in other words, situations play out in a similar pattern and these individuals struggle to maintain relationships.

“My interest in the therapy was strengthened when I was having some personal problems myself,” says Sally.

“I tried cognitive therapy but it had limited effectiveness for me. Then when I was completing my schema therapy training, my supervisor really helped me to get to the bottom of where my difficulties with self-worth were coming from.

“In this supportive environment I learned so much about myself. My schema therapy supervisor was strong, accepting and kind, and through this experience of being known and seen by another, my confidence grew. I feel it was this connection and therapeutic relationship that led to positive changes in my life.

“I realised in this process that I was not aware of my themes – why I had these difficulties or how to solve them. This lack of cognitive awareness could be why cognitive therapy didn’t work for me.”

Schema therapy is centred on helping clients feel happier, improve relationships, make major life changes and undergo deep personality change. There is a focus on feelings and thoughts that are outside of the client’s awareness, and reparenting oneself with the help of a therapist to change deeply held thoughts and beliefs about past experiences.

“We created Secure Nest because there can be a considerable waiting time for patients to access schema therapists,” says Sally.

“In Australia only 10 psychology sessions are funded under Medicare each year, regardless of diagnosis. Even for less severe difficulties, this is rarely enough and leads to the most vulnerable clients being unable to access the help they need.

Sally and her husband Joseph, an IT specialist, developed Secure Nest as a secure portal where therapists and clients could continue to interact between treatment sessions. It also allows people to access schema therapy tools and learn about the therapy and their own patterns while they wait to see a therapist.

“We really wanted to create an effective e-health tool to enhance the connection between therapy sessions to help catalyse the change process,” says Sally.

“We hope the portal will also lead to broader accessibility, further research and acceptance of schema therapy as it is still a relatively new field.”

Sally and her team have been bolstered along the way through UniSA’s Innovation & Collaboration Centre (ICC) Venture Catalyst program in which they received a $50,000 grant and support to turn their idea into reality.

The ICC’s flagship program gave the team invaluable experience in refining their offering, learning how to market and pitch their idea to possible investors. It also allowed them to progress the idea from an early stage project to a working prototype recently piloted in South Australia and Europe.

“We have learnt how important it is for the culture and values of our business to align with our own personal values. It has also been valuable to learn and work with colleagues and individuals with complementary skills, as well as get feedback from therapists and clients,” says Sally.

“Our next stage will be to conduct research to clarify how best to offer eHealth tools and combine them with face-to-face therapy. This is a new area of clinical practice and research in schema therapy so the possibilities are largely unknown.

Secure Nest can be trialled for free at securenest.org by therapists and their clients, or by individuals who don’t yet have a therapist.


Michael T. Smith

Regional CEO, Europe and USA, Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd

Bachelor of Business in Property and Real Estate

November 2018

When asked what sparked his interest in real estate and property development, Michael Smith highlights a conversation he had by chance while purchasing a van to start up a part-time courier business.

Fast-forward two decades, Michael has firmly established himself in the real estate and investment industry, with a firm hold on the Asian property market, where he has made a name for himself.

“It was quite serendipitous that I ended up enrolling in the UniSA real estate course as I did not have any friends or family in the industry,” says Michael, who now leads the European and USA interests of multi-billion dollar investment company Mapletree Investments.

“Truth be known, I left school to do a Bachelor of Arts, which I began to lose interest in halfway through. I started a courier business on the side and whilst purchasing a van, the seller told me about the real estate degree that he was completing at UniSA – this conversation resulted in me transferring to UniSA.

“From my first day I was drawn to the industry and the huge potential it offered on multiple fronts.”

He says he may be biased but believes UniSA’s property and real estate program are some of the best in Australia, having immensely informed his career, and planted the seed for his giving back philosophy.

“I particularly liked the breadth of subjects that we were taught such as Property Finance, which became an increasingly important part of my career. I also enjoyed the hands-on practicality that the course provided through field trips to country South Australia and Sydney in our final year.”

These experiences at UniSA, and a year in Shanghai working with a developer, set the tone for the beginning of a successful 21-year investment banking career which sent Michael all over the world.

“The course also provided me with a better understanding of the cliché ‘it is not what you know but who you know’ as I met people that have been incredibly influential in my career.

“This included Mark Steinert, the current CEO of Stockland who shepherded me firstly to Sydney, then Hong Kong and then back to Sydney again to join him at UBS in 1996 with Andrew Pridham, John Carter, Darren Rehn, Phil Redmond and Chris Monaghan – all of whom were UniSA alumni,” explains Michael.

Michael made waves firstly at UBS Investment Bank for 10 years, working his way up to Managing Director, then at Goldman Sachs for another 11 years as Head of South East Asian Investment Banking and Head of Asia Pacific Real Estate Investment Banking, eventually making partner, before departing early 2017 for Mapletree, based in Singapore.

Now as Regional CEO of Europe and the USA (EUSA) for Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd – valued to have S$46.3bn assets under management as at 31 March 2018 – Michael manages 17.5% of Mapletree’s holdings, in “a role that is quite unique, given the breadth and scope of the real estate markets” he now oversees.

“Since joining Mapletree, we have opened offices in London, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Amsterdam and Warsaw, and we will soon open in Atlanta and Dallas. Much of my work as a member of the senior management team is in the execution of our business model, based on five-year plans, across 12 economies,” he says.

Michael says he is also fortunate to have had the opportunity to act as lead advisor on significant real estate transactions in his career, including Swire Properties sale of their US$2.3bn Hong Kong-based shopping mall (subsequently purchased by Mapletree) and the challenges such acquisitions and responsibilities pose.

“Across my career, I cherish the human interactions that have enabled me to meet and work with some of the most influential people in the real estate industry across multiple jurisdictions.”

“I also enjoyed the creative side of the business too, particularly the convergence of the physical real estate markets with the financial markets. Above all, I enjoyed and embraced the challenges that come my way - this is something you can only truly understand if you are passionate about your craft,” he says.

After Michael left UBS to join Goldman Sachs, taking up the role of Head of South East Asia, he quickly made partner, where a portion of compensation is placed in a ‘GS Gives’ account.

This initiative helps provide more than US$1.3bn in grants to 6,000 non-profits across 80 countries, and Michael’s old colleague – and fellow UniSA property graduate – Andrew Pridham inspired him to use this funding to support property students at the University.

“When Andrew Pridham invited me to attend the hard-hat opening of Pridham Hall, his generosity inspired me to give back to UniSA, and after thinking about my own experiences, we devised the Asian Experience Travel Grant.”

Recalling how influential winning the Jones Lang Wootton scholarship was in his final year at UniSA, and how the subsequent travel had opened up the world to him, the Asian Experience Travel Grant was established with a generous donation to support high-performing students who have enrolled in the Bachelor of Business (Property) degree.

The grant allows students to undertake an intensive Asian study tour that incorporates six of the most important regional cities in Asia – Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo, which in many cases, may otherwise be beyond their financial means.

For the first time this year, the grant was awarded to Arya Loodin, a current Bachelor of Business double degree student in Finance and Property, which took him on a life-changing journey throughout Asia this past July.

“Facilitating access to opportunities similar to the experiences I was fortunate enough to achieve in the early 1990s will give students like Arya the chance to forge a deeper understanding of the Asian real estate market,” says Michael.

“My desire to give back and foster the next generation of UniSA graduates stems from my gratefulness for all the opportunities that I have experienced on the back of the time I spent at UniSA. Not just the education, but also for the contacts and connections that have helped sustain my career.”


Dr Ivana Stankov

Senior Research Scientist, Urban Health Collaborative, Drexel University

Maurice de Rohan International Scholarship recipient, 2015
Doctor of Philosophy
(PhD), Social Epidemiology, 2016
Bachelor of Applied Science, Physiotherapy with Honours, 2009

April 2019

Amid the bitter cold, brutal storms and mountains of snowfall of the Philadelphian winter, Dr Ivana Stankov is busy working away on the Salud Urbana en América Latina (or SALURBAL) Project as a Senior Research Scientist in the Urban Health Collaborative at Drexel University.

The Project focuses on understanding the social and environmental factors of health and disease from deep analysis of Latin America’s cities for a healthier future throughout the whole world.

Ivana and her team are currently exploring how various aspects of city living (e.g. transportation, safety, food environments) affect health in Latin America – and importantly attempting to translate this research into policy action through collaboration and partnerships with city governments and NGOs in the region.

This necessary and expansive work has been the culmination of Ivana’s career as a social epidemiologist that was kicked into high gear when she received the Maurice de Rohan International Scholarship during her time at the University of South Australia as a PhD Candidate.

The Maurice de Rohan International Scholarship is the legacy of one of South Australia’s greatest ambassadors, the late Maurice de Rohan AO OBE. As the South Australian Agent General in London from 1998 to 2006, Maurice was committed to the development of a strong relationship between South Australia and the United Kingdom.

Following his death, the de Rohan family wished to establish this scholarship in recognition of Maurice’s passion for building relationships between nations. A number of generous donors supported the family’s vision to fund the scholarship for high performing PhD students at UniSA to gain an international perspective in their research.

As one of the first recipients of the Maurice de Rohan Scholarship, Ivana was given a priceless chance to travel to two prestigious institutions; the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., to expand her research capabilities in public health and social epidemiology, and gain crucial international perspectives.

“Receiving the scholarship gave me an invaluable opportunity to develop a wide range of skills and spend time with one of my PhD supervisors, Dr Ross Hammond, at the Brookings Institution” she says.

“During my visits, I received a lot of support that ultimately helped me advance my PhD which included the development of a model that simulated the travel patterns of commuters in the north-west region of Adelaide."

“I also had the opportunity to collaborate with Assistant Professor Pamela Matson at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine on a project focused on alcohol and marijuana use among adolescents.”

Ivana says while the wide range of skills she developed was important, the working relationships and friendships developed during her time overseas endure to this day.

These relationships are key since she now lives and works in Philadelphia, just a few hours away from where her scholarship took her, exploring how safety concerns influence commuter behaviour, travel patterns, and air pollution in Latin American cities and the types of policies that might prove most effective at improving the health of residents.<br.
Her PhD supervisor, Dr Ross Hammond, whom she met in Washington D.C. thanks to her Maurice de Rohan International Scholarship, is a consultant on the Project.

“I like being able to engage and collaborate with diverse groups of people that work in public health and beyond, including researchers from different disciplines and backgrounds, as well as policymakers from government and not-for-profit organisations, all tackling the same issues from different angles,” she says.

Ivana did not come to public health research straight after university however. She spent at Calvary Wakefield Hospital where she began seeing certain groups of patients admitted and readmitted into hospital with increasing frequency.

This allowed Ivana to grasp how health care and medicine engages people at the individual-level, while often sidelining broader social and environmental factors that influence how people function within society – and the ultimate consequences for health and wellbeing – innately understanding how necessary looking at the bigger picture can be.

“I wanted to better understand these patterns by thinking beyond the clinical setting, to also consider social and environmental factors that shape people’s behaviour in their day-to-day lives and ultimately their risk of developing or worsening different types of diseases, particularly chronic diseases,” she says.

“The reason social epidemiology is so important is because it considers the wide range of factors that drive health. It deals with health issues such as smoking, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases and motor vehicle accidents by exploring how, factors such as climate change, housing and neighbourhood quality, segregation, diverse forms of discrimination access to healthy food, healthcare and green spaces, predispose and heighten people’s risk of developing and worsening various diseases.”

“I really enjoy working in an area where I’m contributing to efforts that seek to address important societal issues that affect us all.”


Howard Lawrence Sumner

Writer

Bachelor of Education (Junior Primary and Primary)

July 2018

Hitting the fabled Sydney Opera House at the end of July 2018, is The Long Forgotten Dream, the first major play from Ngarrindjeri playwright and University of South Australia graduate, H Lawrence Sumner, with the Sydney Theatre Company.

In his own words, The Long Forgotten Dream – directed by Neil Armfield and starring Jada Alberts and Wayne Blair – tells the story of a PhD student returning home to her ancestral land having found the remains of her great, great grandfather in a museum in England.

She wants her father to conduct a ceremony welcoming the bones back to country, but he is reluctant, having spent years ignoring his community and building a wall between himself and everyone outside his home. An emotional and unique story inspired by real life then ensues.

Speaking about his play making it to the Sydney Opera House, Sumner is remarkably measured, acknowledging the work that has gone into creating the play and is still being done in the current workshopping stage, but does recognise what the achievement symbolises for his writing.

“The Opera House stage has a well-earned reputation for excellence. It’s our Carnegie Hall, I suppose. So, making it there is great. It says something about the quality of work, but that was the Sydney Theatre Company’s call, not mine,” he says.

After completing his Bachelor of Education (Junior Primary and Primary) in 2001, Sumner taught for quite a few years and then came back as a lecturer to UniSA in the Unaipon School as Course Coordinator and lecturer for the Aborigines, History and Colonialism course.

However, having semi-retired from education and turned full-time writer, he has certainly “upped the ante” in the last few years presenting his first major play with the Sydney Theatre Company.

Despite having written and directed a number of theatre works since the early nineties, Sumner believes his time at UniSA hugely informed his career as a successful playwright, which has resulted in his work now being showcased on the most famous stage in Australia.

“UniSA helped me strengthen my argument muscle. Writing essay after essay on Piaget, Bourdieu, and every other innovation in education helped me find my particular voice and a way to frame an argument,” he says.

“That’s all playwriting is – framing an argument in another format. There is no secret to it.”

While at university, Sumner also received a scholarship and says he was grateful for the support and encouragement during his time at UniSA.

“The Irene and David Davey scholarship helped tremendously with the purchase of text books and course necessities such as a decent pack to carry my teaching gear in.”

It feels fitting in a month that honours NAIDOC Week and celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal people that The Long Forgotten Dream is premiering at the Sydney Opera House.

Speaking to the Sydney Theatre Company Magazine, Sumner discusses the importance of making sure diverse stories come from diverse voices and how the Sydney Theatre Company has championed The Long Forgotten Dream.

“It’s one thing to write about Aboriginal people, but it’s a totally different thing to include pieces by Aboriginal writers. With Kip Williams (Artistic Director) and the rest of Sydney Theatre Company there is a clear distinction between ‘speaking of’ and ‘speaking as’,” he says.

Now at 53, H Lawrence Sumner is showing no signs of slowing down. He has big plans for the next few years including a number of new plays and even plans for a National Aboriginal Theatre.

“I have six more plays I’m working on. Another play was a finalist in the Griffin Theatre Lysicrates Prize this year and the other four are being written, tightened, honed and shaped under lock and key in my writing room at Goolwa. So I’ll have seven plays by the time I’m 58.

“Within the next two years, myself and a few industry colleagues will begin the structural framework for a National Aboriginal Theatre, and I’m visiting Scotland in September to investigate the organisational framework of their own National Theatre.”

When asked why it is important as an Ngarrindjeri writer to tell stories of his history and family, he explains that to him it’s not about an innate need to tell stories, but more a sense of defiance.

“I could fall back on the age-old trope that we are a storytelling people. But I don’t think we are. I think Aboriginal people are a people group who live a very tough and very complicated narrative that is often mistaken as story,” he says.

“Our historic narrative is one of a peaceful and orderly existence that was thrown into chaos by the introduction of people who had no concern for that narrative. The ensuing violence, decimation and struggle only served to confirm that we needed to fight to maintain our own narrative in the face of destruction.

“That’s a writerly way of saying ‘we’re still here, you can’t kill our stories’.”


Lisa TomasettiLisa Tomasetti

Film Stills and Fine Art Photographer

Bachelor of Visual Arts(Photography & Cinematography)
Bachelor of Communication Studies (Literary Studies, Art)

November 2018

Lisa Tomasetti in conversation with Joanna Kitto

Australian photographer Lisa Tomasetti makes portraits rich with cinematic drama. Her most recent body of work takes prima ballerinas from the Australian Ballet off the stage and on to the street, capturing their movement and grace in Paris, Tokyo and New York. Viewing these works, it is no surprise that Lisa has also been drawn to the spectacle of the film set.

Tomasetti first stepped on set in 1996 as the photographer for Scott Hicks' David Helfgott biopic, Shine. Since then, she has worked on films including Dead Heart (1996), The Dish (2000), Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002), and The Sapphires (2012).

Many of her portraits of actors, their characters and the crew are currently on display in Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits at the University of South Australia’s Samstag Museum of Art. Samstag Associate Curator Joanna Kitto sat down and spoke with Tomasetti about capturing the essence of a film on set. Joanna: As an artist with a photographic practice spanning three decades, what first drew you to film?

Lisa: I was raised in quite a theatrical family. From the age of five, I was attending Bunyips Children’s Theatre and going to drama school at Carclew in Adelaide. It felt like I was always in the theatre—most of my holidays were spent putting on pantomimes—so I felt very comfortable with actors and fiction and creating stories. Later, I went to the University of South Australia’s South Australian Art School [now called the School of Art, Architecture and Design] and graduating I wanted be involved with photography so I began photographing theatre. I worked on a TV series in Adelaide and then in 1996, worked on Shine and it all happened from there!

Fine art photographers have long-held roles within the film industry, from Rennie Ellis and Max Dupain to Robert McFarlane and Carolyn Johns. Despite this, the on-set stills photographer is perhaps the most underrated of all in the industry. Starstruck turns this idea on its head, drawing our attention to the photographer and giving the portraits the opportunity to be assessed as works of art, still integral to but now also independent from the film. What was it like to see your film stills in the gallery?

That’s true. Starstruck really brings film stills photographers out into the open. After seeing the exhibition, people are actually talking about what we do! Starstruck gives them an insight into our work; it is incredibly important to have a good image to sell a film, but not many people know about what the job actually entails. This exhibition also gives the audience a glimpse behind-the-scenes on set, and shows images from well-known films people never have seen before. They’re not always the obvious choices!

What are the key differences between your work as a film stills photographer and a fine art photographer?

My two roles are incredibly different. With my arts practice, I have control over the image. I am able to set up my own tableaux and dictate the direction of the outcome. With film stills, I am part of a much bigger team and don’t have the same sense of autonomy. You have to be as quiet and discrete on set as possible and work in the ‘shadows’—with sixty people in a small space it’s so easy to get in people’s way! You really do have to pick your battles, reading the atmosphere and the mood of the actors and finding a balance between asking for the shot you need and letting the moment pass as to not cause stress.

In Starstruck, we see behind the scenes on film sets through your camera. Across your career, has there been a particular actor or director you have admired, or stand-out performance you have witnessed?

I have always loved working with Cate Blanchett. I photographed her in Little Fish and Truth and her attention to detail and ability to transform into her characters is a privilege to watch and a joy to shoot. I recently worked with Bruce Beresford on Ladies in Black and that was like having a masterclass in brilliant directing!

There is a striking shot in the exhibition from the set of Shine, taken in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, can you tell me about this moment?

This still was taken early on in the Shine shoot, and was my first day on set taking stills for a feature film. [Director] Scott Hicks was lining up his view-finder on [lead actor] Geoffrey Rush, deciding which lens to use. The entire time the crew were there setting up equipment and cameras around Geoffrey and he just stayed in character, seemingly oblivious to any distraction. This photograph shows a truly trusting relationship between this director and actor.

Another film in Starstruck that has been hugely successful internationally is The Sapphires, following the story of four young Aboriginal girls who leave their rural mission community to sing for US troops during the Vietnam War. What was it like to work on that set?

Working with Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell and Chris O’Dowd made my job incredibly enjoyable. They immersed themselves so deeply in their characters, which allowed me to capture truly beautiful portraits. When you have the honour of trying to convey the mood of such sensitive scenes, I feel compelled to do justice to the actor’s performance. The story itself is a personal one as well. [Writer] Tony Briggs based The Sapphires on his mother’s experience, and everyone who worked on set developed a deep connection to her life. It was wonderful to be a part of.
[Image: Director Scott Hicks lines up a shot on actor Geoffrey Rush through his viewfinder by Lisa Tomasetti, Shine, 1996, Courtesy Momentum Films, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.]


Katrina WebbKatrina Webb

Director, Silver 2 Gold High Performance Solutions

Bachelor of Physiotherapy

January 2018

When Katrina Webb graduated from UniSA she couldn’t have imagined the path her career would take. From winning gold at the Paralympic Games to running her own leadership business and finding a second home in Nepal, Katrina’s journey has become an inspiration to thousands.

As part of an athletic family, sport was always going to play an important role in Katrina’s life. But, she was aware that there was something different about her – a mild weakness on her right side that she worked hard to overcome to gain a netball scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport.

This opportunity was a dream come true, but it was also where she discovered that the weakness was caused by a mild form of cerebral palsy. Unsure of what would happen next, Katrina was quickly sought after for the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games where she won two gold and a silver medal, and went on to win four more medals at the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Paralympic Games.

During this time Katrina was also completing a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and working with her mentor Marc Colquhoun to set herself up as a business and make the most of her athletics career.

“Shortly after I finished competing I got married and we have since had three boys, so this made coming out of athleticism an easier shift than other athletes’ experience,” said Katrina.

“My boys helped me switch paths again and taught me how to become selfless.”

A recent inductee to the SA Sport Hall of Fame, Katrina now uses her story to inspire others to make positive change in their lives.

“I have discovered that you don’t need a disability to feel that there is something different about you, like you’re not sure where you fit. You end up trying so hard to be something that you’re not – and that’s just hard work.

“Teaching people to be their true self – their authentic self, is the most important part of my work now. It is powerful for me because I’ve lived through it and when I accepted myself and became the Katrina Webb I wanted to be and loved every bit of, all of these doors opened.”

Katrina’s business has now grown to include her Silver 2 Gold leadership training workshops and an annual conference, the ‘newday summit’ which brings local and international perspectives together to inspire leadership for the greater good. She also leads the Adelaide Crows Women FIT for Leadership program, works as a public speaker and provides wellbeing and resilience training at SAHMRI.

In her work, Katrina uses the principles she learnt from working with a sports psychologist to get back to a gold winning level of performance for the 2004 Paralympic Games.

“As a professional athlete, winning gold in Atlanta and then losing it in Sydney was one of my hardest life lessons.

“All the work I poured into winning gold again at the Athens Games, has become the heart of what I do in leadership – helping people turn their own silver moments into gold.

“It is fascinating to me that generally people may only see a psychologist when they’re burnt out, suffered a trauma, or struggling with a mental health problem, because as an athlete we use psychology to get the very best out of ourselves.

“While psychology is focused on identifying, treating, and preventing mental illness, it is also about finding your best self and I think this is often overlooked.

“I try to pass these lessons on and I engage psychologists in my programs to give people the tools they need to be resilient and authentic, to live with purpose and in a way they want to be remembered, and to put their values into action.”

Over the past 10 years, Katrina has also had some unique opportunities to further grow her leadership training and business on a global scale.

“There have been these amazing moments in my career. I was the first torchbearer to enter the stadium at the Sydney Paralympic Games opening ceremony. In 2006 the International Paralympic Committee asked me to speak at the UN International Year of Sport and Physical Education in New York alongside Roger Federer and they have since asked me to be their ambassador on several occasions.

“This year I had the chance to speak at the Global Transformation Forum alongside Usain Bolt and Sir Richard Branson. And another opportunity opened up when I was chosen to be one of 100 leaders to join the inaugural CSC Leaders initiative in London and Mumbai.

“Through CSC I met Dr Tshering Lama, who was Director of Child Reach Nepal at the time. He is truly one of the most inspiring and generous people I have ever met and takes every opportunity to improve the lives of people in Nepal.

“Together we do a lot of work running programs in Nepal to help people, particularly children at risk of trafficking. Trafficking is a huge global problem and once your eyes are opened to it, like mine have been in Nepal, you just have to do something about it.

“We do a lot of work over there to try to intervene through education. Nelson Mandela said ‘education is the best weapon we can all have in life’ and research shows it is key to keeping kids safe.

“I also sit on the Crows Children’s Foundation Board and for part of this work I have been leading treks in Nepal to Everest Base Camp. The last two treks have helped raised $90,000 for children in Australia and Nepal.

“So, now that my work is leading to more and more international requests, I’ve realised that I’m doing something right.

“I would like to see the newday Summit reach an international audience and have that wonderful ripple effect that gets people influencing more and more people to use their leadership to help others and forge human connections.

“When you look at the mental health problems we currently face, it’s a really worrying place. We have disconnected from people, which is a real vulnerability for developing a mental illness and we have also disconnected from what really matters to us. If I can help people to connect with and find their true self – then I know I’m doing my best work”.

When asked what one piece of advice Katrina could offer from her leadership work she emphasised the importance of understanding what values and goals are most important.

“One of my steepest learning curves was saying yes to everything because I love to help people. I was doing quantity not quality and any strength when taken to the extreme becomes a weakness.

“It is important to work out what is important to you, where you want to spend your time, to learn how to say no to those things that are not aligned with your priorities and values.

“But also you need to learn to say yes to those things that are, those things that probably make you feel a bit uncomfortable and nervous, because deep down you know they are the things that have the most riding on them.”

For more Silver 2 Gold tips – visit katrinawebb.com.au.


Lizzi WigmoreLizzi Wigmore

Marketing, Intrinsic
Founder, Cakelaide

Bachelor of Communications, Media and Culture

February 2018

Deciding to take the leap and embarking upon your true dream job can often be too daunting to initiate with all the ‘what ifs’ swimming around in our 2am sleepless minds. But to Lizzi Wigmore, leaving her stable corporate position and pursuing her true creative passion was a no-brainer.

Was it difficult to leave a long-term position at a stable company to pursue your true passion? What made you decide to finally ‘take-the-leap’?

Funnily enough it wasn’t a difficult decision, because I got to a point where I valued my happiness more than a stable corporate job. While I certainly pondered the decision, I knew in my heart that this new opportunity set my soul on fire, made me smile when thinking about it, and sparked a motivation that I hadn’t felt for quite a while. It just felt right. I’m a big believer in following your intuition, and my gut feeling was telling me to leap towards Intrinsic... so I leapt! If something feels that right, and that good, then just do it and see where it takes you.



What is it about this Intrinsic that you feel encapsulates “you”?

Intrinsic just feels like it’s me to a T. It’s all about inspirational quotes, beautifully designed products, and a rainbow of colour. Their aim is to spread joy, happiness and love in the world, and I just love everything about them! Their product, their inspiring words, their mission, the husband and wife founders... I love it all, and importantly, I believe in the brand.

One of my favourite quotes by Adèle Basheer - Intrinsic founder and inspiring wordsmith - is “The universe works in mysterious ways, trust that everything happens at the right time for the right reason.” This message has guided me through much of my life, and so I think that I was ready and it was the right time to ‘come home’ to Intrinsic after so many years, to take their marketing and communications to a new level. I had dabbled in a few different jobs, developed a variety of skillsets, built my experience, developed myself both professionally and personally, and reached a point of clarity of what I wanted from my future career.

You said, “If you love something, you’ll never work a day in your life.” What does this mean to you?

Loving what you do means waking up excited to go to work, smiling as you go about your day, getting enjoyment out of most tasks, feeling your face light up as you tell people about it, thinking up ideas outside of work time, and genuinely having fun and feeling happy at your workplace.

In your opinion, what are the essential ingredients required to truly love your job?

The key is to know yourself and focus on your likes, passions and desires. Focus on what draws you in and what you get enjoyment from. It can be little things like hobbies, weekend pursuits, or specific tasks in your current job. Whatever makes you smile and ignites a spark in you, focus on that! That is the feeling you want to nurture, that is the feeling you want to turn into a job and a career. Everyone has something that makes them spark, so find that something, and figure out how you can turn it into your career. If you can take what you already love and turn it into a job, then you will wake up every morning excited and motivated for the day ahead. It’s just about finding that spark that lights you up.

What advice do you have for others about pursuing their passion in their own careers, when employment can be unstable in our current environment?

Obviously we need to work to pay our bills - everyone does. But even if you’re in a job that isn’t truly aligned with you, try to find the little things in that role that make your soul shine. Find the parts of that role that you enjoy and that make you smile, however small they are. And focus on them. Then aim to increase those ‘happy parts’ in your next role. Whether it’s gaining experience in a certain area, going back to study, or starting your own business. Just figure out what are your happy parts, and plan to have more of them in your next role. Onwards and upwards!

What advice do you have for recent graduates who are looking for opportunities in their field of study?

I would highly recommend utilising your uni degree for networking and work experience opportunities. I undertook two internships while at UniSA and both resulted in paid work, boosted my resume, and gave me fantastic contacts. I even got a house sitting gig for the owner of the PR firm where I did one internship! And the Marketing Manager at the other internship became a close friend and mentor, and even offered me a job upon my return to Adelaide from overseas. Contacts are key in Adelaide - it’s all about the relationships.

Internships and work experience give you a taste of what the industry is like, and for me, this left me wanting more and knowing that I had studied the right field.

You have also started a beautiful cake decorating business. How you become involved in this?

This passion and skill kind of came out of nowhere! I have always been a sweet tooth and loved desserts, but never once thought it would turn into a cake making business! It started just over a year ago when I made my sister’s 30th birthday cake. It wasn’t your average cake, as I had seen a bunch of cake inspo on Pinterest, and I wanted to try something a bit more special. I received so much beautiful feedback and people saying I had a real talent for it, so I decided to dabble my hand in cake making and see where it went.

I’ve always been creative, and so cake decorating is a fun way of tapping into my creativity to come up with unique cake creations. I love everything from researching different cake styles, designing how my cake will look, trying new techniques, and seeing the end result bring a smile to my customer’s face. My cake business Cakelaide is still in its early stages, but it’s become a passion that I’m exploring to see where it takes me!

What are your long-term goals?

I love the marketing, PR and communications industry, even more so now that I can focus on a brand that I truly love. While my career has focused in digital marketing so far, I’d be keen to explore my creative side at some point, maybe in graphic design or photography. Whatever the case and whatever I end up doing, I just want to enjoy my work and ensure it brings a smile to my face. So that is what I’ll pursue more than anything - that feeling of joy and happiness in loving what you’re doing. Because as the saying goes, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!


Dalene WrayDalene Wray

Managing Director at OBE Organic Australia and Non-Executive Director, Council for Australian Arab Relations, at DFAT

Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Radiations)

January 2019

An adventurous spirit combined with deep family roots in Australia’s outback have led Dalene Wray on a career path that has taken her around the world and back.

An adventurous spirit combined with deep family roots in Australia’s outback have led Dalene Wray on a career path that has taken her around the world and back.

Now her international trade experience is proving to be a gamechanger for OBE Organic, a marketing and export organisation founded and owned by outback Australian organic cattle farmers.

Dalene grew up in a multigenerational cattle family in Birdsville, South West Queensland, where her family settled in 1885. Following in her father’s footsteps she went to boarding school in Adelaide, before studying radiography at UniSA.

“On graduation I worked for a year and a half as a Radiographer in Toowoomba then Broken Hill before moving to the UK to work in various hospitals around Britain, and then Nice, France, to work as a European tour guide for three years,” she says.

“At 27 I had been living away from home for some time by then and my father tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘isn’t it time to come home’?”

This return to Australia was the catalyst for the beginning of Dalene’s transformative work with OBE Organics, which is chaired by her father.

“OBE was founded in the early 90s in a little outback town called Thargomindah by a collective of organic cattle farmers in the region,” she says.

“When I started there was just one other person working for OBE, we’ve now grown to 10 full-time employees in an office based in Brisbane.”

When OBE was founded, they were Australia’s first and only premium organic beef supplier, “raising cattle exactly the way nature intended”. Now, OBE Organic’s free-range production operation is spread over seven million hectares of grazing land, located primarily in the Channel Country in central Australia – about the area of Tasmania.

OBE’s natural ethos and unique approach to farming is both good for the cow and the consumer.

“Our cattle are grazing land that has never been farmed. The grasses the livestock eat are the same grasses that have been growing there for thousands of years.

“The animals choose their diet. With land equal to one square kilometre per cow we are talking about vast, vast paddocks. The animals get to use their intellect to decide what they need rather than have humans decide for them. They look after themselves and are only occasionally interacted with, so they have the benefit of a more natural cycle of life.”

The OBE Organic suppliers approach to valuing the land and respecting their animals is reflected in Dalene’s work. She has introduced a sustainability program that includes a Reconciliation Action Plan and support for the female economy.

“To my knowledge we were the fourth agribusiness in Australia to have a Reconciliation Action Plan; we’re really proud of that,” she says.

“We have a supply chain that is unique. It produces a product that is highly valued from New York to Hong Kong to Dubai to Riyadh, and many places between, and we wouldn’t have this product if the land hadn’t been cared for by Aboriginal Australians for centuries before Europeans arrived.

“Over the years there have also been a lot of Aboriginal Australians who have worked, and continue to work, on the properties we source livestock from. We need to acknowledge their contribution and talk about why it is so important. So we’re also sharing our experience widely to show what is possible and encourage other companies to adopt reconciliation plans.”

Shortly after taking the plunge to work for OBE full-time, Dalene moved to Beijing and then Hong Kong, also opening up new trade partnerships with the Middle East. Five years later she returned to Australia. She took up the role of Managing Director for OBE Organic in 2017.

Her work has been gaining attention ever since. She’s also challenging some long held mind-sets along the way, and joining the woment trailblazing a path in Australia’s agribusiness industry.

“This year I became the first female to win the Queensland Country Life Beef Achiever Award,” she says. “I’m also one of the first young people to win it and I’ve never worked in a stockcamp, so I’m not the typical winner of this award.”

This year she was also awarded the Advance  Global Australian Award for Food and Agriculture; as well as winning the Chief Executive Women AusTrade Women in Export Scholarship to attend Harvard’s Executive Business School in Boston.

In 2017 Dalene was also appointed to the board of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR).

“I think that there is a perception that the Middle East is just too far away to form business ties,” says Dalene, who was recently appointed Deputy Chair of the Council.

“Each year CAAR administer a grant program. We are incredibly proud of the outcomes which the grantees are achieving.

“A great example is Lifesaving Victoria, which provided expertise to Royal Lifesaving Bahrain. The project has been immensely successful and soon in 2019 Australian-trained local lifesavers will be patrolling waterways there.

Dalene also recently visited Mongolia at the request of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to assess the opportunities for Mongolian production of organic beef.

“We were a good fit as they wanted to learn from someone with similar issues in their early set up – a company that took things that looked like adversity like a very remote location, extreme weather, limited access to telecommunications and infrastructure, and turned it into a positive.”

When asked if she thinks OBE’s work has a flow on effect in the agriculture industry she says she hopes so – but this isn’t just a wish. Dalene uses her building profile to challenge the disparities and widely spread issues related to the agriculture and food trade.

“One of the things I would like to see improve is the reduction of technical trade barriers. There is so much opportunity to solve huge world issues by improving these systems – things like waste and food security – big critical issues that nations around the world are experiencing.

“Old policies that haven’t been updated to reflect scientific evidence and changing political landscapes lead to unbelievable waste in food and agriculture export. I think the world would be a better place if these issues were resolved.”


Helena WuHelena Wu

Team Leader New Development, Santos Ltd
At Large Director, Society of Petroleum Engineers International

WiMBA

March 2019

When Helena Wu was introduced to the world of petroleum engineering in her mechanical engineering honours year, she was hooked. A love of the challenging roles within the field blossomed and she became fascinated with decision making under uncertainty for capital intensive projects.

Fast forward to 2008 and Helena joined the graduate program at Santos where she spent two years in the middle of the Cooper Basin desert in the regional northeast South Australia and southwest Queensland as a Field Production Optimisation Engineer.

“The time I spent in the field was invaluable as a young engineer learning about operations and working alongside people of all ages, backgrounds and disciplines,” she says.

Over the next eight years, Helena took on a variety of roles at Santos supporting gas and oil fields, and developing hydrocarbon network plans or analytical models for the appraisal and development of onshore and offshore fields.

In 2016 she joined the Corporate Planning and Strategy Team, which has led her to manage new development for Santos within the Papua New Guinea Asset Team.

Now Helena is tackling a mixture of petroleum engineering, strategy, planning and project management, and revels in the real world transformations her work provides.

“Access to clean and affordable energy is linked to a society’s standards of living.”

“I enjoy seeing and contributing to the difference our industry makes to improving people’s lives,” she says about what motivates her work.

This desire to better the lives of others and create opportunities may have come from her traditional Chinese family’s humble beginnings. When Helena was young, her parents made the difficult decision to leave Hong Kong and escape the country’s growing concerns for future political unrest.

Helena’s parents were regretful they were unable to give her and her sister the same opportunities that other children had when it came to education. Because of this, she has worked tirelessly to show her parents that, with the right attitude, growing up in a low-income household does not have to be a drawback.

“My parents have had amazing influence in my life. Following the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident, my parents made a selfless sacrifice. They sought a brighter future for my sister and I, and left their lives in Hong Kong behind to immigrate to Australia.”

“My sister and I are the first, from both sides of the family, to complete high school – let alone university,” says Helena.

To honour their selflessness, Helena has chosen to live her life seeking to make a difference in everything she does. As she moves into more senior leadership positions, she has developed a passion to help others do the same.

As a result of her tenacity, she excelled through the ranks at Santos, spending time as a Senior Reservoir Engineer and then a Group Planning and Portfolio Analyst, before her current as Team Leader of Development.

It was when she commenced with Santos’ Corporate Strategy and Planning team that Helena decided to take the chance and complete an MBA.

“The skills and experience would complement my role and it was a fantastic opportunity to learn about something in the classroom and immediately be able to apply it in the real world,” she says.

Helena was encouraged and supported by her leaders at Santos to apply for the UniSA Women in MBA (WiMBA) scholarship program. The UniSA WiMBA actively addresses leadership inequality and champions women with leadership potential to advance their career into senior management and executive roles.

In order to maximise success, employers are required to provide flexibility in working arrangements to support study in the program, a career mentor and supportive career pathway options.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity and support I received to complete an MBA,” says Helena, who was supported by Santos and the UniSA Business School as part of the scholarship’s matched funding requirements to cover the full MBA tuition costs.

Helena found the skills and experience she developed through the MBA have better equipped her for future leadership positions, whether it be managing a team, stakeholders or thinking strategically.

“It has also given me a greater appreciation for how executives and boards think and what is important to them,” she says.

With the myriad of opportunities education has opened up for Helena, she truly believes in its role as an enabler to solving many issues we face in the world today.

“If I could change one problem, I’d raise the global population’s general knowledge of science.” she says. “I believe this would help people assess problems and solutions using their own judgement and on individual merit.”

She also suggests finding mentors from a variety of backgrounds, “I’ve found the support they provide whether it be practical advice or acting as a mirror for self-reflection, to be invaluable”.

“Be open, positive and back yourself! Your attitude drives how people see you and what you think you can do,” she says.

“Attitude is really important. It’s not something that can be taught or acquired like skills or experience.”

Ultimately, Helena aspires to lead within the energy industry, where she can influence and drive change in sustainability, community education, diversity and inclusion.


Dr Leo YeungDr Leo Yeung

Co-Founder, Cashmere Song Fashion Co Ltd
Founder, Maisson (Hong Kong) Commercial Property

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), International Business

May 2019

Dr Leo Yeung has followed his heart, chased his family’s dreams and cleverly cross-stitched his fashion, business and property industry experience to carve out a niche property company Maisson Commercial Property and fashion brand Cashmere Song all over the world.

Dr Yeung started his career in the fashion industry in the late 1980s, working in far flung cities across Asia, North America and Europe. In 1989 he settled in Hong Kong as Design Manager for Esprit Asia.

“As a student in Hong Kong in the early 80s there were few opportunities for students to get a university degree, but higher education had long been a dream for me” says Dr Yeung.

When Esprit Asia publicly-listed in 1991, Leo found an opportunity to further his education. He quit and enrolled in a Master’s degree at Hong Kong Polytechnic University to explore the research topic ‘Push and pull factor in China Economic’ after Deng Xiao Ping’s South China tour.

His interest in furthering his education didn’t end however, he says, “I saw an interview with a PhD candidate who had just graduated at the age of 80 – he regretted not finishing his PhD 20 or 30 years before so he had more time to contribute to society. His interview drove me to undertake my PhD at UniSA in International Business.”

In the mid-90s, while studying, Dr Yeung was then invited to start up the Australian brand Jeanswest in China. He served as Director and General Manager for Jeanswest China from 1994, guiding the development of 1000 stores before the company publicly listed in 1996.

In the new millennium a serendipitous opportunity arose, leading to a career shift from fashion to commercial property.

“A renowned real estate company had invited our fashion brand to open a flagship store in one of their new shopping malls. I found the mall location good but the wrong trade mix,” Dr Yeung says.

“I suggested brands for the real estate company and the shopping mall opened successfully. Then the CEO of the real estate company asked me to join them as the China Commercial Property Retail Head.”

After a number of years leading teams in commercial property for different companies Dr Yeung started his own company – Maisson Commercial Property – an asset management company for commercial property development.

Dr Yeung says that different businesses have their challenges. He sees fashion and design as a merging of art and science.

“Property on the other hand is a complicated business,” he says. “Once we design and build a shopping mall there are thousands of workers in the mall at different periods of time." Regulations on construction, fire safety, legal… Each day presents a new challenge – which I enjoy.

“Currently I am working on a theme park project based on designs that were originally made by a famous Chinese Kung Fu internet game, which I hope will help more kids feel happy in the environment.”

In his spare time he is also supporting his wife’s dream to lead her own high end fashion design business – Cashmere Song - which he co-manages.

Dr Yeung’s wife Song Hong had harboured a dream to run her own fashion label since graduating from the Inner Mongolia Design School in 1992. When she decided it was time to pursue her dream she enlisted her husband’s support.

“We travelled to her home town to talk with the shepherds in the grasslands of Mongolia,” he says. “The local people like a drink and they are hospitable and willing to share their experiences."

“We started to talk with people about their changes in living and the culture due to development in Mongolia. They enjoyed their life in grasslands where they have their own culture, generation to generation. City development has changed their living and their culture as well.

“One night, I walked with my wife under the moon, the grassland was so silent, and we came up with an idea to develop a fashion brand by using the cashmere that the shepherds crafted.

“I put the Cashmere and her surname Song together as her namesake. We knew the brand should have Mongolian culture, using local materials but with international designs. And that’s how the brand Cashmere Song started.”

Originally the couple planned to open a small shop but this plan quickly changed from retail to wholesale to further sales that in turn help many in the Mongolian shepherd business. It now sells through showrooms in China, Hong Kong, New York and London.

When asked if he has plans to extend sales in Australia he says, “It is a great idea to have a wholesale showroom in Australia due to the different season in the southern hemisphere.”

“The brand has limitations to sell cashmere in winter – but our buyers expect summer lines, so together we have developed new technologies by mixing silk and cashmere for Spring/Summer, and mixing cashmere with leather or fake fur for Fall/Winter.”

With the high quality of the Inner Mongolia cashmere and Song Hong’s design skills, the brand has won multiple awards and is now featured in more than 500 shops in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the United States & China.

Dr Yeung’s business and family interests bring him great joy, which he hopes to share with others.

“Happiness is all we need, I hope my skills through our endeavours brings more happiness to the people who enjoy them,” he says.


Annette Young reportingAnnette Young

Journalist & Presenter, France 24 International News
Co-Founder & Host, The 51 Percent

Bachelor of Arts (Journalism)

November 2018

Both curious and passionate, Annette is a journalist who has simultaneously fitted in and stood out, thriving in the media industry. Originally from Adelaide and now based in Paris, Annette has reported all over the world from parts of Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

In an extensive career, she has worked for the Melbourne Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and SBS Television Australia. While based in the Middle East, she became a Jerusalem correspondent for France 24.

Her experience includes covering a wide range of international news and affairs, including historic events such as the death of Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, and the Gaza war in 2008. Since returning to Paris in 2010, she has also interviewed a range of figures for France 24 from world leaders to Hollywood actors.

Annette has also always been determined to make a difference to gender equality. She created and hosts “The 51 Percent” – a France 24 show that challenges the status quo and social norms through reflections on women who are reshaping our world.

In 2015, recognising her achievements, Annette was named by UN Women as one of the 20 inspirational global voices on women in the media, and just this November was awarded another accolade from the UN Correspondents Association (UNCA).

Annette Young, along with her France 24 colleague Virginie Herz, won the joint gold medal in The Ricardo Ortega Memorial Prize for broadcast media for their special earlier in the year on the rising number of U.N. female peacekeepers.

The 23rd annual UNCA Awards will take place in New York on December 3 with guest of honour, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, 2018 UNCA Global Citizen of the Year Award Amal Clooney, and 2018 UNCA Global Advocate of the Year Award Adrian Grenier.

Not letting her many accolades slow her down though, Annette recently spoke about her professional journey and her relationship with France and Australia as an expat, while in the US covering the political chaos, historic midterms and Kavanagh hearings.

Could you tell us more about your background? What made you choose journalism as a career option?

When I was 14, my school sent us home with a career guidance questionnaire. I remember asking my late father what he thought I should do and he replied with a smile: “Well, you’re good at English, you always pinch the newspaper off me in the morning and most importantly, are very nosy, so why not be become a journalist.” His best friend, John, was a journalist with the Guardian in the U.K. and I suspect Dad was always envious of John’s life.

But Dad was completely spot on with his suggestion and now, all these years on, I can’t even contemplate doing anything else which says a lot about the level of job satisfaction. I completed my journalism degree at the University of South Australia, ended up with a cadetship at the Melbourne Age, and did a stint in Canberra with them before joining the Sydney Morning Herald. After six years at the SMH, I made the switch to television and joined SBS Television where I worked first for World News before joining Dateline as a producer.

What do you remember from your time at UniSA, has it informed your career in any way?

My journalism degree served as an essential tool in helping to get my career started. Having said that, I was the first graduate cadet at the Melbourne Age to be hired with a journalism degree since at that time, there was a degree of cynicism about the quality of such courses. That of course, has long disappeared, as UniSA journalism graduates (along with other journalism graduates) have proved their mettle. My bosses also quickly realised the course had provided a strong practical element which meant I knew how to write and report.

I would strongly encourage anybody wanting to pursue a career in journalism to do either an undergraduate, or these days, even better still, a post-graduate journalism course.

I also have very fond memories of my time at Magill; through its work attachments, I made valuable contacts with people in the industry. More importantly, I made wonderful friendships that have lasted to this day. Our family also has a strong connection to UniSA with my late father lecturing in architecture when it was SAIT and my niece completing her degree in medical radiation science at the City East campus.

Why did you choose to leave Australia and work in Paris?

My mother was French and from Paris and so it’s not a completely random choice but in 2000, my then-French partner wanted to return to Paris and I followed him. During those three years in Paris, I started working for Agence France Presse. My first years in Paris were tough; my French language skills were far from great and for foreigners who live here, it can be far from easy. The culture was not then particularly foreigner-friendly; not to mention, the bureaucracy, and the long cold and gloomy winters. It was so difficult that I decided to head to the Middle East (yes, you read this right!).

A few years on, I ended up working as a Middle East correspondent for France 24 English but by 2010, I had was ready to swap hummus for foie gras again. Since then, I’ve been working as a news presenter for the network. In 2013, I created the program that I now host, “The 51 Percent,” which is about how women are reshaping our world.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a journalist and presenter?

On our first day at journalism school, a lecturer told us that for those who are natural journalists will find that “newspaper ink gets into your blood.” He was right; it does except of course, back then, newspapers had not been decimated by the digital revolution. Still, the sentiment of what he said was so true.

It’s more of a lifestyle choice than anything else. I sometimes joke that it’s like signing up for a religious order with the long hours, the shift work, the stress, the low pay (I’ve watched my friends in other professions zoom past me financially a long time ago). But this is still over-shadowed by the professional joy I still receive. I’ve interviewed people from all layers of society be they world leaders, Hollywood actors, West Bank settlers or Palestinian militants, through to poverty-stricken parents in a village in southern Laos determined to carve out a better life for their children or a Bangladeshi trade unionist who took on the global garment industry and vastly improved working conditions for her fellow female workers. Dad was right; I am very curious by nature and always wanted to know what made people tick. We journalists are given a rare, privileged access to people’s lives. For that alone, I am truly grateful.

There have been difficult times too. In the course of my career, I’ve covered war, an intifada, and violent protests. I was on-air hosting the France 24 news during the shootings at the kosher supermarket in Paris in January 2015 and then incidentally, on-air again in November 2015 as news started coming through of the terrorist attacks being carried out at a number of Paris restaurants, the Bataclan theatre and the Stade de France. We didn’t know it at the time but one of those killed at the Bataclan was a studio technician who had just ended his shift at France 24 and was walking out of the studio as I walked in to begin mine. As I get older, reporting or covering violence for me has become tougher. The professional distance that you use to keep a level head, starts to shrink. You begin to understand and appreciate just how fragile life is.

But no doubt, creating “The 51 Percent,” has been among the most personally and professional rewarding times of my life. I’ve met wonderful women and men along the way since we began the show. Giving a platform for my guests’ views on the need for equality in all aspects of life is something I feel very strongly about.

Where did you get the idea to create TV program The 51 Percent? What’s your vision for the program?

I created the program along with a French colleague in 2013. As senior journalists, we both passionately believed about the need for a different take on the news. A take reflecting that women do indeed make up 51 percent of the population but are still way behind, even in the most open of societies, in terms of being represented in all fields. Just thinking about the gender pay gap, or the extremely low number of senior female politicians and CEOs in Australia, for example.

I like to think it’s our job to make the unfamiliar, familiar; to challenge those cultural biases that we all have. Everybody stands to benefit from equality. The beauty of working for a global broadcaster is that we can look at all parts of the world and report on a wide variety of stories. France 24’s Arabic and Spanish networks also now have their own versions of our show.

The world is not only confronting a digital revolution but a gender revolution also. It will be just as transformative. Take a look at how much has changed in the last 50 years for women; not to mention, the last 12 months with the #MeToo movement. Still, we have a very long way to go before true equality is reached.

How do you find the experience of working in Paris? Does it match your expectations?

Thanks to my Parisian mother, I’m probably not your classic Australian expat (the irony in that less than a few kilometres from where I work, my great-grandparents, grandparents, great-uncles and aunts, and cousins are buried in a family crypt) but Paris has challenged me in many ways. Of course, to the bulk of the world, it’s a stunningly beautiful city to visit with its superb architecture, history and culture. But people forget it is also a real, living city too with all the inherent problems of a large metropolis.

Despite its rigid adherence to tradition, Paris, and France, has changed since I first came here in 2000. More and more young people have lived, travelled or studied abroad. They have experienced other cultures and in Paris, English is much more widely spoken than when I first arrived, which itself is an important sign. For instance, when I first came, there was barely a vegetarian restaurant to be found; organic food was to be scoffed at; the idea of a gap year for students was unheard of; and as for decent coffee, well, forget that!

This has all changed and there is now an English-speaking president who understands the need for France to move forward and embrace change, as opposed to outright rejecting it. Not to mention, a determined group of Australian baristas and cafe owners and their ever-growing number of French fans who love their “flat whites.”

I always say to any Australian contemplating a life abroad, “just do it.” There will be crappy periods as there will be very happy times. But the experience adds an incomparable richness to your life that cannot be measured on a CV. Your life-coping skills will be majorly enhanced; you understand that your own culture’s way of doing things is not the only way and maybe, not necessarily the best.

What do you miss most about Australia?

Where do I start?! The weather; our unique sense-of-humour; the glorious food; the coffee; our diverse society (although sadly, that is still not reflected in the media, political representation or other positions of leadership as much as it should) and the sheer beauty of its landscape. I miss how even when your eyes are firmly closed, the searing sunshine still penetrates through. Or the scent of eucalyptus that I always inhale as I step outside the airport terminal when I go home. “Home.” There you have it, the fact I still call it home says so much.

What’s your favourite way to spend a day in Paris?

I would head to the Marais, particularly the Northern Marais (or NoMa, as some jokingly call it). It was one area that was not razed during the 19th century by the master urban planner, Baron Haussmann and many of its medieval buildings still remain. Walk through its streets, have brunch at “Fragments” cafe, visit the Picasso Museum; walk along the rue de Bretagne and then wind your way south. Head to the Musee Carnavalet which gives you a wonderful taste of the city’s art and social history. Then walk towards rue Vielle du Temple and all of its shops. From there, head to the River Seine, and enjoy an “apero” at one of the many bars nearby. For dinner, I’m currently a big fan of “Ellsworth” restaurant which is in the first arrondissement and a wonderful example of fusion cooking at its best.

To read the original interview on Advance visit: http://bit.ly/2yyvCVv.


Egidio ZarrellaEgidio Zarrella

Clients and Innovation Partner and ASPAC Head of Banking and Capital Markets, KPMG

Bachelor of Accounting

July 2018

Identified as the flag bearers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive thinking have always been of interest to KPMG Partner Egidio Zarrella, who believes this ever-evolving technology will transform the world in years to come.

What some might consider the work of futuristic science fiction is already widely present in today’s societies, with AI and cognitive thinking impacting our everyday lives and industries such as healthcare, finance, manufacturing and logistics.

As the company’s youngest ever Global Head and current Senior Partner and Head of Banking in China, Egidio is passionate about starting the conversation surrounding AI development and believes it’s important to always strive for new knowledge and understanding of our ever-changing world.

How has your interest in technology shaped your successful career in financial services?

I always had a knack for technology and knew it would play a pivotal part in the future of the industry. After I graduated I went straight to work as an auditor for the firm Arthur Young, which was one of the Big 8 accounting firms of the time, then 18 months later I moved to Sydney to complete my professional year as a chartered accountant. I was really keen on working in technology and computers and became Manager of the Information Systems Audit Group, where I worked for quite a few years.

After Arthur Young became Ernst & Young, they sent me to Canada to continue working in the technology sector of the business, where I was promoted to Senior Manager. After three years, my wife started to miss home, and we decided we wanted our future children to be Aussie kids, so we came back to Australia. I planned to keep working for Ernst & Young in my home town of Adelaide, but KPMG found me when we got back – I ended up joining them and 18 months later I became their youngest partner and ran the consulting business for a few years before returning to Sydney to take on the National Technology Practice for the firm.

At 36, I became KPMG’s youngest Global Head and held the position for eight years, during which we built a US$1.5 billion business with 10,000 people globally, which was incredible. What I loved more than anything during these years were the clients. I’m a very lucky guy, to have had these opportunities to travel around the world and meet so many interesting people. You have to love what you do, and I made it because I love my job and always try to have fun with it.

After my time as Global Head, KPMG’s Chairman of China asked me to move to Hong Kong and I’ve been here in China for 10 years. I’m currently the Senior Partner for the firm’s biggest account in Asia, HSBC, one of the biggest banks in the world. I’m very privileged because of my great interest in technology – I have worked in financial services for 31 years but I’m one of the very few partners globally with a convergence of the financial and technological. As Global Head I travelled all around India, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore – all countries where technology went through the roof as people moved their back-office operations to this side of the world. Thinking about where the world is going to go now in regard to technology, it’s going to be amazing; what I’m seeing now is seriously unbelievable.

Tell us how AI and cognitive thinking are changing the future of business.

In the blink of an eye we’re seeing the rise of AI here in China, where we’re currently setting up cognitive architects and systems. The first article I ever wrote as a young partner was on AI, and that was 21 years ago. Nobody seemed to believe me then, but AI is going to impact every business – it’s already drastically taking over the financial sector and we need to be prepared. Look at our phones, they have AI inside them, but people tend not to think about it because they assume AI doesn’t directly affect them. When I first started my career, they had only just introduced punch cards, and now my iPhone has more power than all the PC’s at the time put together. People can make the mistake of underestimating China, but here technology is already so intuitive, they’re the world leaders in technology. It’s always easy to spot foreigners in China because they’re the only ones still using cash, whereas 84% of the Chinese population are using WeChat, a social media and mobile payment platform with over one billion monthly users.

Every quarter here in Hong Kong we host an event for 400 of our clients, and I always ask the audience: how can we walk into a world where AI and cognitive is literally learning at a speed no humans can achieve, if we don’t understand it? I ask bankers if they know about algorithmic trading, but hardly anyone understands it. Algorithms are now trading most of the world’s trade flows – trillions and trillions of dollars go through it, so we’re already in a world of AI. I’m not a futurist, but it’s already impacting my profession so I’m helping to drive the change. For some reason every time we talk about AI, we always end up talking about the Terminator and Skynet – let’s get rid of that for a second. I don’t believe the world is going to end up as machine against man. It’s not about machines replacing humans, it’s about humans and machines working together, and the results will be amazing. We’re soon going to live in a world where the technology is so advanced, it will look just like magic.

Why is it important to create discussions about technological advancement and the future world of AI and cognitive thinking?

I think the danger for many people is they think after they’ve graduated that they can stop learning. I am a ferocious reader and learner and even I’m barely keeping up with all the new developments in AI. We need to influence students and graduates to learn about it, because if you’re in a profession or business then it’s going to impact you, whether it is this year, the next or further into the future. The question is when do we start to prepare for this change – when it has already happened? We need to teach graduates not only what they’re going to need for today, but the ways of the future. Having robust conversations with each other is exactly what we should be doing, and what is really important, especially for new accounting graduates, is to consider and learn about the technology side of the industry.

We should never stop learning, no matter what, whether we’re reading about AI and cognitive or any other topic. If we’re not constantly reading, then how can we know about the world? In the last year of my degree I studied philosophy and poetry, just to enrich my learning with something different. To gain empathy for the world and its people, we need to learn about perspectives and opinions different to our own.