Alumni High Achievers

Melissa Chiu

 

Director, Hirshhorn Museum Washington USA

Doctor of Philosophy - Cultural Histories, 2005, Bachelor of Arts - Art History and Criticism, 1992

Born in Darwin, Northern Territory, Melissa was educated in Sydney. On graduation she chose to study art history at Western Sydney University rather than follow her peers across the bridge to the University of Sydney. Her parents backed her choice. It was to prove a crucial decision, one that she puts down to "good luck and timing".

Melissa worked as an independent curator for several years before moving to New York, serving as the curator of contemporary Asian and Asian American art for the Asia Society's Museum, and eventually being promoted to Director in 2004 where she was responsible for programming its Park Avenue museum and future museum facilities under construction in Hong Kong and Houston..

Melissa is now currently the director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC – one of America's "big five" modern art museum.

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John Forrest

 

CEO Corporate Solutions, Jones Lang LaSalle America

Bachelor of Business (Land Economy), 1992

Little did graduate John Forrest know when he accepted a management traineeship with property giant Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) (then Jones Lang Wootton) that he would still be with the company more than 20 years later, or that his career would see him working from Sydney, New York, Singapore, and now Chicago.

John was certainly destined for a bright future, though. Having achieved outstanding results at school, he had his pick of university courses, but opted for property over law or medicine.

'In those days, Alan Bond and Christopher Skase and those kind of tycoons were driving around in Bentleys and they all looked very exciting and flashy. And there was a huge property boom in the 80s. So I was watching all that during my high school years,' he says.

John chose to study the Bachelor of Land Economics at the Hawkesbury campus. Again he performed very well academically, winning the University Medal, and making some great friendships, some of which have developed into lifelong relationships.

Read more of John's story online in the  Autumn 2014 edition of the Alumni GradLife magazine (page 12 and 13) (opens in a new window). 

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Warren Wilson

 

CEO, Panthers Group

Bachelor of Accounting, 1987

Warren Wilson says running a business has many parallels with playing in a rugby team.

"You've got your coaches, which are your Board, you have your captain, your CEO, you have got the front rowers, the guys that do the hard yards, and your halves and five-eighths, the fellows that are nimble and swift and clever. So the rules and the way you have to apply yourself in team sport is an absolute parallel to business."

Ironically, it was the end of his football career that saw Warren pave the way for his huge success in business, working for some of the biggest names in media and sport in Australia.

Originally a St Marys High School boy, when an injury derailed his football ambitions, he decided to get a university education. Warren studied part-time at Western Sydney University while working in the public sector. After graduating in 1987, he made his foray into the corporate world.

Read more of Warren's story online in the Spring 2012 edition of the Alumni GradLife magazine (page 4) (opens in a new window). 

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