2017 Symposium Speakers


ARC Laureate Professor Veena Sahajwalla

Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Professor Veena Sahajwalla is revolutionising recycling science to unlock the wealth of resources embedded in the many complex wastes currently destined for landfill. As a materials scientist and engineer and founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney and the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for green manufacturing, she is producing a new generation of green materials, products and resources made entirely, or primarily, from waste.

Veena became one of Australia’s best-known scientists and inventors through her regular appearances as a judge on the long-running ABC TV series ‘The New Inventors’. She continues her community engagement through regular school visits and public talks, her mentoring program for girls in science (Science 50:50) and regular media commentary.  In 2016, Veena was named one of Australia’s most innovative engineers and in 2015 she was listed as one of Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers and selected as an Honorary Fellow by Engineers Australia.


Professor Alan Duffy

Professor Alan Duffy is a Research Fellow at Swinburne University of Technology creating baby universes on supercomputers to understand how galaxies like our Milky Way form. He is an Associate Investigator of two ARC Centre of Excellences; OzGrav and ASTRO3D. Currently a member of the Executive Committee for Science and Technology Australia, the peak national body for STEM, Alan has previously been elected as a committee member of the Astronomical Society of Australia’s Women in Astronomy chapter. In addition to undertake scientific research, Alan is a passionate science communicator and has given hundreds of TV, radio and print interviews.

Alan is a regular on TV with ABC Breakfast News and Ten’s The Project; national radio with TripleJ Hack; international podcast Cosmic Vertigo; and writes for Australia’s most popular science magazine Cosmos.


June Oscar

June Oscar AO is a proud Bunuba woman from the remote town of Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia’s Kimberly region. She is a strong advocate for Indigenous Australian languages, social justice, women’s issues, and has worked tirelessly to reduce Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

June has held a raft of influential positions including Deputy Director of the Kimberley Land Council, chair of the Kimberley Language Resource Centre and the Kimberley Interpreting Service and Chief Investigator with WA’s Lililwan Project addressing FASD .

She was appointed to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (1990) and was a winner of the 100 Women of Influence 2013 in the Social Enterprise and Not For Profit category. In 2015 June received the Menzies School of Health Research Medallion for her work with FASD.

June has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the University of Notre Dame, Broome, Western Australia, and is currently writing her PhD. June is a co-founder of the Yiramalay Wesley Studio School and is a Community member of the Fitzroy Valley Futures Governing Committee.

In February 2017, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Edith Cowan University.

June will begin her five-year term as Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner on April 3, 2017.


Changing Culture from Within

Professor Iain Gordon

Prof Iain Gordon is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Division of Tropical Environments and Societies, at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia. Iain Gordon was appointed as DVC in late 2015 and brings a genuine passion and commitment for sustainable regional development and harnessing the tropics’ enormous potential through education and research. He is keen to pursue new and innovative research and development partnerships in this role and broker research institutional capacity to support industry in their future agricultural and food innovation activities in Northern QLD.

Professor Gordon previously led the James Hutton Institute (Scotland), focusing on evidence based solutions for the use of land for agriculture whilst maintaining natural resources and ecosystems. Iain worked with CSIRO from 2003 – 2010, where he led the Davies Laboratory and helped establish the Australian Tropical Science Innovation Precinct (ATSIP) at JCU in Townsville.


Professor Dawn Freshwater

Dawn became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia in January 2017. She had served previously for three years as The University of Western Australia (UWA)’s Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (SDVC) and Registrar, and as Acting Vice-Chancellor in late 2016.  In the role of SDVC, she led UWA through its most significant transformation in over two decades, with the aim of optimising UWA’s world class research, and further cultivating its exceptional educational outcomes and student experience.  She is committed not only to academic excellence, but also to the blend of social enterprise and industry engagement required of a contemporary research intensive university.

A health professional by training and an academic of international repute in her own field, that of mental health, Dawn was Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the School of Healthcare at the University of Leeds.  During this period she worked as a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group, building a strategy that positioned Leeds to deliver innovative and leading edge solutions to global societal challenges.

A strong advocate for inclusion and diversity, and a values-led leader, Dawn has supported a number of initiatives in this area.  In the UK she achieved a University wide Athena SWAN award at the University of Leeds, and worked towards implementing the Equality Charter Mark, ensuring all staff and students with protected characteristics were represented at all levels.  As SVDC at UWA she delivered an Inclusion and Diversity Strategy, and continues to champion a culture of equal opportunity in her current role. As VC she sits on the NHMRC Women in Science Committee, and continues to contribute to the knowledge base of research in leadership. Dawn has a track record of research-inclusive leadership – culminating in a manifesto for change delivered at a Global Education Dialogue and funded by the British Council.


Professor Maria Makrides BND, PhD

Professor Maria Makrides is the Theme Leader for Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and leads the Child Nutrition Research Centre which is based at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

As a research dietitian, Maria is committed to improving the nutrition and health of mothers and their babies through the conduct and translation of high quality research.  She has over 210 peer reviewed publications including in the prestigious journals the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the British Medical Journal.

Maria’s group has conducted some of the key intervention trials involving omega-3 supplements in perinatal nutrition, and has been recognised with a National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre for Research Excellence in Foods for Future Australians.

Maria set up the South Australian Women in Science and Engineering Network in 2014 and Chairs the SAHMRI Gender Equity Committee and the SAGE Self-Assessment Team.


Dr Marcus Zipper, BSc BE PhD MBA

Dr Marcus Zipper leads the CSIRO Services business unit which comprises CSIRO Education & Outreach, CSIRO Publishing, Infrastructure Technologies, SME Connect and CSIRO Futures.

Marcus has experience in business management, research management, science leadership, research portfolio management, strategic capability planning, business development and commercialisation experience in research organisations.

He has experience in a range of research areas and sectors including chemicals, materials, mining and minerals processing, polymers / composites, metal production, manufacturing, service industries, packaging, aerospace and automotive.

Marcus has an academic background in materials science and engineering with an emphasis on engineering materials, materials characterisation and materials processing. Marcus is a part of the CSIRO SAGE Working Group, and is the Executive Sponsor for the Pride@CSIRO Network.


Value in Equality: Innovation, Productivity, Success…

Andrew Stevens

Andrew Stevens is the Chair of Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre Ltd, a Director of Stockland Group Limited, MYOB Group Limited, Thorn Group Australia Limited, the Greater Western Sydney GIANTS AFL Club, and CEDA. He is a member of the Advisory Executive of the UNSW School of Business.

Andrew is a member the Male Champions of Change, a group of CEOs and Company Directors working to make gender equality a reality. He is also a member of the Chief of the Australian Defence Force’s Gender Equality Advisory Board. Andrew was formerly the Managing Director of IBM Australia and New Zealand.

Andrew graduated in Commerce from UNSW and started his career at Price Waterhouse in 1981 and progressed to manage the Asia Pacific consulting practice. With the merger with Coopers and Lybrand, Andrew returned from Singapore to manage the integration of the Australian and New Zealand management consulting practices.

Andrew joined IBM in 2002 when the company acquired PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting. In 2009, after leading IBM’s Global Business Services (GBS) in Asia Pacific, Andrew was appointed Managing Partner, Growth Markets, where he was responsible for the performance of the operations in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


Maureen Frank

Maureen is an entrepreneur, speaker, best-selling author, and proud founder of Emberin – an organisation that helps businesses to create inclusive cultures.

As a global leading international diversity and inclusion expert, Maureen has mentored over 30,000 individuals and has over 20,000 followers on LinkedIn.

She has spoken at conferences in five continents around the world, most recently at the 2017 Inclusive Leadership Global Conference.

Maureen is a highly successful businesswoman: former Head of Mergers and Acquisitions for Aon in the UK and Australia, Telstra Business Woman of the Year 2004, and BRW Rising Star. Maureen has established over a dozen diversity councils in major organisations, personally coached CEOs and supported clients to achieve real business results – including increasing the number of women in senior roles in record time.

Maureen’s clients have won multiple awards, including two global Catalyst awards, acknowledging Emberin as the cornerstone of success.

Maureen pioneered the scalable engagement of men in the diversity and inclusion conversation globally, and supported founding the Queensland Male Champions of Change.

She continues to engage CEO’s and leaders every week male-dominated industries in understanding how inclusion enables not just diversity – but also engagement, innovation and collaboration.


Empowerment for All

Jane Urquhart

Jane Urquhart is the Head of Science and Commercialisation Policy Division at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Jane’s responsibilities include science policy development and implementation, management of governance issues for science agencies, liaison with the Office of the Chief Scientist, commercialisation policy and international science engagement. From 2010 – 13, Jane was General Manager of the Enterprise Connect programme.

Previously, Jane worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in roles covering Trade Liaison; West Europe; and Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. From 2004- 2007, she was Australian Consul-General to New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna. In 2002, she served as Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, having led the unarmed International Peace Monitoring Team in Solomon Islands in 2001, and served as Deputy High Commissioner in Honiara from 1998 – 2000.

Jane has a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade and Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) from the Australian National University.


Ishwar Singh

Ishwar Singh is part of the leadership team of Pride in Diversity, Australia’s first and only not-for-profit program to support organisations in becoming LGBTI inclusive. Pride in Diversity is a membership program and, among its key offerings, creates and publishes the annual Australian Workplace Equality Index (the AWEI), a definitive national benchmarking and research tool that measures organisational LBGTI inclusion.

As a Program Manager for Pride in Diversity, Ishwar assists organisations with LGBTI inclusive HR policy review and practices, conducts LGBTI workplace training programs, including leadership programs, and provides specialised consulting services to the largest and most complex organisations in Australia in this area. He is based in Melbourne and works with Private Sector employers, Victorian State Government Departments and Universities in Victoria to drive LGBTI inclusion. He also assists Victorian based sporting organisations to create a LGBTI inclusive culture for players, coaches, staff and spectators.


Bree Gorman-Holz

Dr Bree Gorman was trained as an analytical chemist completing her PhD in 2007. She subsequently spent 10 years in a variety of STEMM Business Development and Research Manager roles at Deakin University and in local government.

Her current role as Manager, Gender Equity has provided her the opportunity to continue supporting academics by influencing and implementing systems, policies, culture and practice.  Her team is driving the ambitious Gender Equity Plan 2017-2020 for Deakin which includes the SAGE Athena SWAN program and the WGEA Employer of Choice citation.


Professor Adrian Miller

Adrian is of the Jirrbal people of North Queensland and is the Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous Leadership at Charles Darwin University. His previous appointments include Academic Director of Indigenous Education and Research and Professor of Indigenous Research at Griffith University, Professor and Head of School at Southern Cross University, Founding Head of the Department of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University and Deputy Head of School at James Cook University.

During the past 22 years in higher education, his experience has been in management, leadership, academic program development, teaching and research. He has held Professorial adjunct appointments at 3 Australian universities and has made significant contributions to Indigenous health and education.

Professor Miller has a research track record in competitive grants with both the Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant schemes totalling over $10M. He has a strong interest in applied and translational research and twice been awarded Australian College of Educators Teaching Award.


Lisa Annese

Lisa Annese was appointed CEO of DCA in June 2014 where she heads a team to lead public debate, conduct proactive research and develop innovative resources for organisations in the area of diversity. She first joined DCA in 2009 and left for a short stint in 2011 as the first dedicated Diversity Manager at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, who later won the Lawyers Weekly Firm Diversity Award.

Prior to joining DCA, she worked at the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency where she developed the first ever census of ‘Australian Women in Leadership’, ‘Business Achievement Awards’, and ‘Employer of Choice for Women’ citation. Lisa was awarded a Medal for Significant Contribution to the Australian Public Service and co-authored “Chief Executives Unplugged: CEO’s Get Real About Women in the Workplace” which was named a “must-read business book” by AFR/BOSS magazine in 2005.


Romana Challens

Romana Challans is a lecturer in IT topics, (Cybersecurity, Networking, Social & Information Networks, Enterprise Systems, and Cloud Computing), and is a co-founder of The Serval Project at Flinders University. Also at the university, she is working on AI research with The FAST Solar Car project. Romana has a deep passion for STEM education and believes there are no boundaries to passion and knowledge, and that education is the key to a better society. Romana has been a mentor to high school students and young women in several projects; and refers frequently to working in the most creative job she could possibly imagine. Romana has been disabled since a car accident in 2006, and has been in a wheelchair for five years. With five almost grown children, and a tea habit that seems endless, the rest is subject to change without notice.


Collective Action

Professor Helen Bartlett

Professor Helen Bartlett commenced her role as Vice-Chancellor (VC) and President of Federation University Australia on 1 May 2017. She is the first female VC of the University, a position that will provide an opportunity to be a good role model and an effective change agent, particularly for young women.

Helen has worked in higher education for more than 30 years, holding senior leadership roles at all organisational levels in universities in the UK, Hong Kong and Australia.

Previously Helen was Pro VC and Chief Executive of Monash University Malaysia. Prior to this, Helen was Pro VC and President of Monash’s Gippsland Campus.

A major focus of her previous appointments at Curtin University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Oxford Brookes University was research capacity building in health care and health sciences. Helen has also established and directed three research centres: the Australasian Centre on Ageing at the University of Queensland, the Oxford Centre for Health Care Research and Development, and the Oxford Dementia Centre at Oxford Brookes University.

Helen has an international research record in gerontology, with a focus on population ageing, healthy ageing, aged and community care. Helen has been awarded numerous ARC and NHMRC project and program grants and state and federal government consultancies.

She has published widely – including several books – and supervised over 35 higher research degree students.

Professor Bartlett has established and led many university initiatives related to student participation, university-community engagement and transnational education.


Professor Brigid Heywood                             

Professor Brigid Heywood is Deputy VC (Research) at the University of Tasmania. Professor Heywood has responsibility for the research and innovation strategy of the University, the University research institutes, research students, research infrastructure and commercialisation services.

Prior to taking up this position, Brigid was the Assistant VC Research, Academic and Enterprise at Massey University in New Zealand, where she led the development and implementation of the strategies, policies and standards to underpin its research and teaching effort. Preceding this position Brigid held the office of Pro VC for Research and Enterprise at England’s Open University. Her academic background and research career placed Brigid as a leader at the intersection of medical sciences and inorganic chemistry and she has worked in diverse fields from process science to earth sciences, to advanced materials.

Brigid has been involved in supporting equity and diversity debates for most of her professional career. She has served on both institutional, national and international committees and working groups addressing access, diversity and gender equity issues with the objective of addressing life course support challenges, promotion and leadership questions within the tertiary education context. She is also a passionate advocate for women in STEM and specifically the identification and effective use of role models to inspire and mentor next generation scientists and entrepreneurs.


Professor Andrew Hopkins PhD FASA

Professor Andrew Hopkins has 20 years experience in professional astronomy research, having held a prestigious Hubble Fellowship and an Australian Research Council Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship. Andrew received his PhD in Physics from the University of Sydney in 1998, is a Fellow of the Astronomical Society of Australia, and holds an Adjunct Professor appointment with the School of Physics at the University of Sydney.

Andrew’s research focuses on the evolution of star formation in galaxies over cosmic history. He is currently leading a major new observational program called the “Taipan Galaxy Survey,” using AAO’s unique “starbug” technology for high-precision parallel positioning of hundreds of optical fibres, in order to make significant breakthroughs in cosmology and galaxy evolution.

At the AAO Andrew has been successful in promoting gender equity through leading the AAO’s Diversity Committee, with recognition through the 2013 AHRI Gender Equity Award and Silver Pleiades Awards in 2014 and 2016.


Closing Address

Emily Quinn Smyth

Emily Quinn Smyth is currently completing a MSc (Research) to explore the impacts of the weed Lantana camara on animals, alongside teaching the undergraduate subjects of Ecology, Biodiversity Conservation and Biocomplexity at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Emily is passionate about the environmental sciences and Equity and Diversity issues. With a lived experience of being profoundly deaf as well as mentoring work with the UTS Equity and Diversity Unit, this has instilled a desire to work towards overcoming disadvantage in science education. With so many barriers to people being successful in science including disability, gender and socioeconomic background, Emily is determined to make a difference.

Emily’s recent work on Gaps of Auslan in the Scientific World highlighted that there is a long way to go in ensuring deaf people can participate fully in scientific discussions as there is a lack of Auslan (Australian Sign Language) scientific vocabulary.

Emily is also fluent in Spanish, having spent a year living overseas in Pamplona, Spain and is currently learning Auslan and hopes to eventually become trilingual.


Eva Hopewell

Eva Hopewell is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Information Technology at QUT – Gardens Point. Eva was recently awarded the inaugural Advance Queensland STEM.I.AM scholarship and hopes to influence and inspire other young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls to pursue tertiary studies for careers in STEM. After graduating, Eva plans to run her own technology company to benefit positive change for the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.


Dr Margaret Hartley FTSE

Dr Margaret Hartley is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).

Margaret leads the operations, policy development and program implementation of the Academy across the broad aspects of its National Technology Challenge Areas including Energy, Water, Minerals and Mining, Health technology, Industry innovation, Infrastructure and STEM Education.  She leads the Global Connections Fund which promotes early stage researcher- SME engagement and early stage innovation commercialisation activities across 17 priority economies.

Margaret’s extensive career prior to joining ATSE spanned 23 years with the Australian Government includes positions as Principal Scientific Adviser, Department of Health and Ageing, Director, Office of Chemical Safety, Director, NICNAS- Australia’s Chemical Regulator, and Expert Advisor in to COAG’s CBR counter terrorism committee. Dr Hartley’s background is in regulatory toxicology, public health and epidemiology and regulatory policy and reform.  Margaret has wide experience in driving intergovernmental collaboration including through the World Health Organization, UNEP, OECD and APEC.  Prior to working with government, Margaret held positions in academia and biomedical research.


Anna Maria Arabia

Anna Maria Arabia is the Chief Executive of the Australian Academy of Science. Prior to this role, Anna-Maria was Principal Adviser to the Hon Bill Shorten.

Anna-Maria brings with her experience as General Manager of Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre; and CEO of Science & Technology Australia. Anna-Maria has worked in senior policy roles in both social and economic portfolios. She has worked extensively with parliamentarians, the business and community sectors, and the media.