Event Speakers | CatalystWest

CatalystWest is all about pushing creative and intellectual frontiers. As such, we’ve brought together a line-up of game-changers from different sectors and disciplines. These include:

Jan Fran

emcee of catalystwest

Jan Fran is a journalist and TV presenter.

She is best known for her work on The Feed on SBSVICELAND, Medicine or Myth on SBS, The Project on Network Ten and the podcasts, Sexism and the City and The Few Who Do.

Jan is the creator, writer and presenter of the opinion segment The Frant and her videos get millions of views online.

She has shot and produced documentaries from all over the world for TV networks and brands and has appeared as a commentator on Q&A, ABC Breakfast, Studio 10, Paul Murray Live, The Latest, The Today Show, Insiders, The Drum and Triple J’s Hack.

Jan is an ambassador for Plan International Australia where she advocates for women and girls and her strong reporting on women’s issues earned her a 2018 Walkley nomination for Women’s Leadership in Media.

Peter Poulet

Peter Poulet is the Central District Commissioner with the Greater Sydney Commission. He has over 30 years’ experience in both private and government architectural offices.

Peter was the inaugural State Architect of Tasmania 2009-2012, the 23rd NSW Government Architect 2012-2018 which saw him lead the GANSW team in providing independent, impartial whole of government perspective and advice on the built environment to achieve optimal architectural, urban design and environmental outcomes.

Peter has recently joined Western Sydney University as Professor of Practice in Architecture, where he aims to bring resilient quality outcomes to the natural and built environments of metropolitan Sydney and in particular, Western Sydney.

Andy Marks

As Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Andy drives Western Sydney University’s strategic collaborations with government, industry and the community. He is co-founder of the ‘LaunchPad’ startup incubator, founder of the CatalystWest forum, and Deputy Chair of Western Sydney Community Forum.

Andy writes regular columns for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Review, and the Saturday Paper on politics and social issues. He features on ABC radio’s political forum, and is an occasional panelist on The Drum.

Prior to his current role, Andy was a researcher in the social services sector and professional musician with ARIA nominated band Crow

Michael Rose

Michael is the Chair of the Committee for Sydney, an urban policy think tank that advocates better policy outcomes for Sydney. He is a lawyer by background and the former Chief Executive Partner of one of Australia’s leading law firms.

Michael has served on the boards of a number of Government, arts and not-for-profit organisations. He is Chairman of the Institute for Global Development at UNSW and also sits on the boards of the Westmead Institute for Medical Research and the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. He served three terms as Chair of Sydney Living Museums before stepping down in December 2018.

He has advisory roles at KPMG and UNSW and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Shanthi Robertson

Shanthi Robertson is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. Her research centres on contemporary migration, youth mobility and urban space.

She has completed an Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship on Asian temporary migration to Australia and is currently Chief Investigator an ARC Discovery Project on the economic, social and civic outcomes of transnational youth mobility for work, leisure and study.

Recent publications appear in International Migration, Geoforum, Current Sociology, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and Journal of Youth Studies.

Andrew Phong

A proud westie, Andrew recently graduated from WSU with a degree in International Business.

During his studies, Andrew has completed 7 global experiences which took the form of internships, conferences, study tours and exchanges in China, Vietnam, India and Thailand. This included working with Austrade and being appointed an NCP Alumni Ambassador by DFAT and Asialink Business.

Andrew most recently returned from London as a NAB scholarship recipient with the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue exploring urban regeneration and strategy.

He was awarded the Collegiate Award in 2017 by The Academy for representing WSU’s ideals in academic, community engagement and leadership.

Helen Barcham

Helen Barcham is a sociologist at Western Sydney University. She works fulltime as a strategy adviser in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and President, meanwhile researching and writing about the socio-political dimensions of women’s health and wellbeing. She leads, ‘Women Doing Well’, a research project funded through a highly-competitive Vice-Chancellor’s Gender Equality Fund, and is Editorial Assistant of Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics. She regularly delivers public talks, lectures and media commentary on gender and its intersection with health and politics, including internationally in London, Lisbon, Hamburg, Vienna and beyond. Much to her supervisor’s relief, she will submit her PhD in 2020 entitled, ‘Beyond the “Docile Subject”: Women, Therapy Culture and Emerging Gendered Subjectivities’. 

Michelle Catanzaro

Dr. Michelle Catanzaro is a Senior Lecturer in Design, within the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and a Research Fellow at the Young and Resilient Research Centre (Y&RRC).

Michelle takes a transdisciplinary approach to research, combining visual communication, creative methodologies and cultural geography. Drawing on her practical industry experience, her work is outcome driven, with a focus on creating innovative approaches to engage and connect with young people, industry and the broader community.

Michelle co-leads the Places and Platform stream within the Y&RRC where she explores questions surrounding place and identity utilising participatory, digital and visual methods.

Katrina Sandbach

Katrina Sandbach is the Director of Academic Program (Design) in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University. A visual communication designer and academic, she is currently the director of ‘Rabbit Hole’ — a teaching studio that connects emerging designers with local organisations requiring creative insight.

Katrina's research draws heavily from her professional design practice and how visual communication affects perceptions of place. She is also interested in digital platforms, communities of practice, and peri-urban creative industries. In addition to collaborative research projects, Katrina is engaged with community-based initiatives that advocate for building creative capacity in Greater Western Sydney.

Sebastian Pfautsch

Dr Sebastian Pfautsch is a Senior Researcher in Urban Ecosystem Science at Western Sydney University. He studies the capacity of trees to mitigate heat and increase human thermal comfort in urban landscapes.

In his role as Research Theme Fellow (Environment and Sustainability), Dr Pfautsch develops applied science projects that allow government and industry to ’future-proof’ urban space at different scales. His projects include thermal assessment of streets, parks, playgrounds, schools, carparks and many more components of the complex fabric that make today’s towns and cities.

Colin Fisher

Colin Fisher founded Aquacell in 1996 and is the CEO, based in Australia. Aquacell designs, builds and operates water recycling schemes in Australia and USA, and holds private water utility licenses.

Colin holds a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with a biotech major and has over 30 years’ experience in process engineering and business management. He has been involved in water treatment projects in 20 countries, and in 40 USA states.
Colin has been a guest lecturer at Stanford University, and has contributed to development of technology and regulatory frameworks for decentralized water re-use in many jurisdictions around the world.

Martin Karafilis

Martin is the co-founder of Tiliter, an Australian tech startup that creates AI software which recognises products without barcodes. Martin has a background in Electrical Engineering and Business with a strong emphasis on challenging the normal.

Striving to drive emerging technologies, Martin uses his experience from large global corporates and startups to introduce world leading technology on local, regional and global levels. Martin follows a strict range of core values when carrying out business with a strong focus on creating environmental and social impact, ultimately trying to shape the world for the better through technology.

André van Schaik

Director of the International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems (ICNS) at Western Sydney University, Professor André van Schaik is a pioneer and world leader in neuromorphic engineering.

Joining Western Sydney University in 2011 as a Research Professor, André has generated more than 200 publications and 35 patents, and founded three technology start-ups. André’s research focuses on understanding how neural systems in biology process sensory data so efficiently. His work aims to discover what signal processing happens when brains make decisions based on sensory information, and how that can be applied to electronic signal processing.

Eamon Waterford

Eamon Waterford is the Deputy CEO and Director of Policy at the Committee for Sydney, an influential business-led urban policy think tank. Eamon has led urban policy development across Greater Sydney and across diverse policy areas, including co-authoring Committee reports on density done well, value capture, road pricing, smart cities and affordable housing. Eamon is a passionate advocate rebalancing jobs and opportunities across Sydney.

Prior to working at the Committee, Eamon was the Head of Policy for Youth Action, the Peak Body for young people, and small and large not-for-profit agencies in the human services industry. Eamon is also a Board member of the NSW Council of Social Services.

Abby Mellick Lopes

Abby Mellick Lopes is a Senior Lecturer in Design at Western Sydney University. Abby’s research focuses on the relationship between design and social arrangements to support the transition to more sustainable urban cultures through engaged research partnerships. Recent projects have tackled issues such as civic trust in drinking water, the impact of urban heat on the liveability of cities, waste economies and cultures of repair, with a particular focus on the communities of Western Sydney. Abby has published widely on design, sustainability and transdisciplinarity, and her work has been presented in the UK, US, Canada, Cyprus, Spain, Malaysia and China.

David Harding

David has more than twenty years’ experience in rail and civil design and construction, remote construction, mining infrastructure and telecommunications works. He has had extensive involvement in the delivery of multiple stakeholder projects, liaising closely with governments, senior clients, financers and partners throughout the proposal, design and delivery.

David joined Arup in 2015 to lead Arup’s Rail Business in NSW/ACT. He now heads the Transport Developments business, as well as Arup’s Greater Western Sydney approach. David has led the Macquarie Metro Martin Place city precinct engineering and advisory team from inception to a successful deal and detailed design. He is presently working on the inception and delivery of several other major projects that combine transport oriented commercial development, city regeneration and place-making with new infrastructure.

Sarah Barns

Dr. Sarah Barns is a cultural strategist, producer and researcher with close to two decades’ experience working across media, arts, creative industries and urban strategy. A former Research Fellow at Western Sydney University supported by a UK postdoctoral fellowship in smart cities, Sarah has spent the past decade pioneering the use of digital interfaces to facilitate urban place-making and interpretation, working with organisations spanning the ABC, Arup, Data61 and the Arts Centre of Christchurch. Now Director of Public Space Media at Esem Projects, Sarah continues to build collaborative investments in urban media innovation to support the cultural vitality of diverse communities.

Sunanda Creagh

Sunanda Creagh is an award-winning journalist and The Conversation's Digital Storytelling Editor. In the past, Sunny has been The Conversation's FactCheck Editor, News Editor and Arts + Culture deputy editor. She began her career at The Sydney Morning Herald and worked at the Reuters bureau in Jakarta as a political correspondent before joining The Conversation in 2011.

Tim Williams

Dr Tim Williams is head of Cities for Arup in Australasia and Chair of Open Cities, an advocacy group for next-gen infrastructure. He has written extensively on, and advised councils, governments and companies about, Smart Cities. Tim has an international reputation as an urban strategist and practitioner in urban regeneration having been a special advisor to 5 UK ministers for housing and urban policy before coming to Australia. He was a member of the international advisory panel for the 4th Plan of the Regional Plan Association of New York and between 2011 and 2017 he was CEO of the Committee for Sydney an influential urban policy forum.

Tim is a member of the NSW government sponsored start-up eco-system advisory committee and of ‘NSW Circular’ a government backed body promoting the circular economy, hosted by UNSW. Tim is an adjunct professor at WSU and UTS and has an honorary doctorate from WSU, a PhD in history from the University of Wales and a history degree from Cambridge. He was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple.

Maureen Wade

Maureen Wade is Manager Infrastructure and Innovation for Landcom Her role includes co-ordination of infrastructure delivery and promoting innovation across Landcom’s development portfolio. Maureen leads Landcom’s strategic alliance with Western Sydney University’s Launch Pad. She has tertiary qualifications in town planning (UNSW) and environmental law (University of Sydney).

Philippa Collin

Associate Professor Philippa Collin is a Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. She Co-Directs the WSU Young and Resilient Research Centre and Intergener8 Living Lab. A social scientist, Philippa researches the role of the digital in the social, cultural and political lives of young people, with a focus on the implications for health and wellbeing. Her work is also concerned with new forms of political participation, identity and governance as they relate to the dynamics of elitism and exclusion.

Joanna Carmichael

Joanne Carmichael is a Principal with Arup, Chartered Engineer and a Fellow with the UK Institution of Highways and Transportation. She held a board position with the UK Transport Planning Society and was the Arup UK, India, Middle East and Africa skills network leader for transport planning until her recent move to Sydney.

She has spent the last 12 years responsible for the delivery of major transport and planning projects in the Middle East. She has worked in the UK, Middle East, Africa and Australia and specialises in complex, integrated, multi-disciplinary, city scale problem solving. Jo brings over twenty years of practical project delivery and a keen interest in defining how engineers and planners can contribute to a future that not only achieves the UNSDGs and other sustainability goals, but does this in the context of human improvement and increases in subjective wellbeing.

Matthew Beggs

Matthew Beggs is the Executive General Manager for Partnerships & Business Development at Landcom.

Matthew develops strategic relationships to unlock development opportunities for Landcom. These development opportunities support Landcom’s objectives to increase the diversity, supply and affordability of housing, and to demonstrate excellence in sustainable development and planning practice.

Matthew has over 30 years’ experience in the property and development industry including experience in major property transactions, business development and relationship management, and in the planning and delivery of large projects including One Minto and Oran Park Town.

Billie Sankovic

Billie has extensive leadership experience in community development, service delivery, and social policy and planning. She has spent close to 30 years working across Greater Western Sydney – for the community sector, in local and state government, and at Western Sydney University. Billie successfully delivered the State Government’s first Early Intervention Program in NSW (now Brighter Futures). She led planning for the multi-million dollar community and recreation precinct model in South Western Sydney to service communities in the growth corridor.

Billie also represented the Western Sydney community sector in the initial compact which culminated into the Working Together for NSW agreement between NGOs and the NSW Government. Billie holds a Master of Human Services Management and Policy, awarded with distinction, and a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours).

Winnie Dunn

Winnie Dunn is a Tongan-Australian writer and arts worker from Mt Druitt. She is the general manager of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Sydney University. Winnie’s work has been published in the Sydney Review of Books, The Lifted Brow, The Griffith Review, Meanjin, SBS Life, Southerly and Cordite. She is the editor of several anthologies including Sweatshop Women, The Big Black Thing and Bent Not Broken. Winnie is currently completing her debut novel as the recipient of a 2019 CAL Ignite Grant.

Natalie Wadwell

Natalie believes that communities are not disengaged, rather they are looking for meaningful opportunities to participate in civic life. She has dedicated her career to developing solutions that encourage inclusion and understanding between communities. 

In 2019, she was selected to participate in the prestigious International Visitors Leadership Program. Supported by the US State Department, she spent twenty days exploring how to build more inclusive communities with counterparts in five states across America. 

Identifying as a #proudwestie, she was named the 2018 Outstanding Young Businesswoman by Western Sydney Women and co-produces TEDxParramatta. She is respected voice on issues affecting Western Sydney, community-engaged art and youth social entrepreneurship. Her writing has featured in publications such as Artist Profile, South West Voice and exhibition catalogues.

Ben Sand

Ben works with Western Sydney University’s Launch Pad as Entrepreneur in Residence. Ben is an Honorary Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney. Ben graduated Y Combinator in Summer 2013 and has been an advisor for Y Combinator Startup School in 2017 and 2018. Ben is the primary sponsor of capstone projects for Sydney University Honors students. Through work on Meta, Startup School, Telstra and Launch Pad, Ben has helped companies raise and sell in excess of $300M.

Adriana Care

In 2007, Adriana opened the doors to Coutts Solicitors and Conveyancers, where she was met with many prejudicial judgments and commentary, but she used these remarks to fuel her motivation. Adriana was a team of one, and in 2019, she has 36 staff members and 6 offices throughout NSW, proving that women make strong leaders and are a force to be reckoned with.

Adriana presently holds board positions on a number of organisations including as Chairperson of the Camden Region Economic Taskforce and Hockey NSW, and was elected as a councillor of The Law Society of NSW in 2017, to assist with the advancement of women in her profession and to provide greater resources to the development of business skills for women who endeavour to manage law practices. She was also previously the President of the Greater Narellan Business Chamber. 

Lindy Deitz

Lindy Deitz brings 25 years of Local Government experience to her role as General Manager of Campbelltown City, where she leads the transitional phase of one of the largest and oldest councils in the state into a transformational powerhouse delivering innovative change for its communities.

Lindy is working with all levels of government, private industry and community organisations to ensure that Campbelltown gains the support it needs to embark on its evolution into a bustling metropolis at the southern gateway to the South West Growth Corridor. 

She is focused on delivering the services and facilities the community needs and is a caring advocate for the wider south west Sydney region, where the pressures of preserving culturally and environmentally significant items and meeting the future predicted population expansion are significant and diverse.

Brad Twynham

Brad Twynham is a Technology entrepreneur, strategy consultant and Investor/Board Director with over 25 years working and consulting in the areas of Enterprise Technology adoption and enterprise operating model transformation, neural networks, block chain and artificial intelligence.

He has founded and successfully exited three technology companies and has advised senior executives on significant technology transformation initiatives around the world for organizations such as Singtel, Swisscom, Union Bank of Switzerland, Visa, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Allianz.

In 2015, on returning to Australia after several years living in Los Angeles, Brad now runs a Thought Leadership and Consulting Practice focussed on Corporate Innovation and is an Incubator Facilitator within the Entrepreneurs Program run by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Brad now resides on the Central Coast of NSW where he can be seen regularly kitesurfing and spending time raising three future Jedi’s.

David Borger

David Borger is the inaugural Executive Director of the Western Sydney Business Chamber.

David has previously served as a NSW Government Minister for Roads, Housing and Western Sydney and was the Lord Mayor of Parramatta for three terms. 

As Housing Minister, David oversaw the construction of approximately 9,000 new social housing dwellings - including 6,300 through the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan. David has also worked as an Urban Planner and adviser to the Minister for Planning. 

He is currently a Director of Think Planners; and serves as a non-executive director on the boards of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Evolve Housing, and the Westmead Medical Research Institute and chair of the Liverpool Innovation Precinct.

Marcus Hughes

Head of Indigenous Engagement and Strategy at Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

Marcus has worked within the arts and cultural sector throughout Australia and the UK as a producer, presenter and advocate across all artistic disciplines, contexts and environments. In 2014 he addressed the 6th World Summit on Arts and Culture, and was Adjunct Associate Professor at Victoria University’s Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit. He sits on the Australian Museums and Galleries Association National Council, the National Film and Sound Archive’s Indigenous Connections Committee and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Western Sydney University’s School of Humanities & Communication Arts.  Marcus is a descendant of the Mununjali peoples of the Yugambeh nation. 

Juan Francisco Salazar

Juan Francisco Salazar is an anthropologist, author and filmmaker interested in social-ecological transitions, environmental justice, and climate action. He is an Associate Professor in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, and is Research Director of the Institute for Culture and Society, and a University Research Theme Champion (Environment and Sustainability).

Colin B. Picker

Professor Colin B. Picker (A.B. Bowdoin, JD Yale, PhD UNSW) joined the University of Wollongong in 2017 as Dean of Law, to which
he added the position Pro Vice Chancellor (South Western Sydney) in July 2018.  From 2010-2017 he was at UNSW Law where he was Director (and founder) of the China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) initiative as well as Associate Dean (International). Prior to joining UNSW, he was the Daniel L. Brenner/UMKC Scholar & Professor of Law at the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law. He entered academia in 2000, after practicing in the DC law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. He was a founder and the first executive Vice-President of the Society of International Economic Law.  He has published widely in the areas of IEL, International Law and Comparative Law.

Donald McNeill

Donald McNeill is Professor of Urban and Cultural Geography at Western Sydney University, and a university theme champion in Urban Living. He is interested in the political economy of the built environment, and particularly the intersection of finance, governance, and expertise in global cities. His books include Global Cities and Urban Theory (Sage, 2019) and The Global Architect: Firms, Fame and Urban Form (Routledge, 2009). His current work includes an Australian Research Council Discovery project, Volumetric Urbanism, which examines the nature of urban space as arranged through horizontal and vertical perspectives, with a focus on people movement, underground space, and the occupation of high-rise spaces.

Cecilia Chang

Cecilia is currently the Strategy and Project Lead at Generation Australia, a not-for-profit developing demand-led employment programs for disadvantaged young people which has the dual aim of supporting young people build sustainable careers and providing employers with the high quality talent they need. Previously she was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, a leading global management consulting firm, serving clients from a range of industries and across various business functions including strategy, transformation and organisational design.

Lucinda Hartley

Urban designer turned entrepreneur, Lucinda Hartley uses big data to measure the quality of life and wellbeing of neighbourhoods. She is a co-founder of Neighbourlytics, a social analytics platform which has created data for more than 500 neighbourhoods in over 10 countries and is influencing some of world’s most significant urban development decisions. Lucinda was recently named as one of 100 Women of Influence by the Australian Financial Review and one of Melbourne's Top 100 most influential people by The Age.

With over a decade of experience in urban innovation, Lucinda was a Myer Innovation Fellow, Westpac Social Change Fellow, and was previously co-founder and CEO of award-winning placemaking consultancy, CoDesign Studio. Prior to this her insights contributed to defining UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Cities). A designer turned tech-founder, Lucinda is alumni of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Singularity University. Lucinda don’t separate work and personal life: first we shape our cities, then they shape us.

Michelle Burke

Michelle Burke is the Deputy Area Manager for Uniting’s Home and Community Care stream, specifically supporting the clients and staff of the South West Sydney, Western Sydney & Nepean regions.

Living in the Western Sydney area, she is passionate about developing and providing services to the vulnerable elderly people within her local community.

Michelle has worked for Uniting in the Ageing Stream for 9 years and is about to embark on her 4th and final year of university where she will complete her Bachelor’s Degree of Business with the intention to utilise skills learnt to provide a greater level of service delivery to the Uniting community. 

Doug Taylor

Doug Taylor is the Deputy Executive Director at Uniting NSW & ACT, having previously provided organisational leadership in Disability, Early Learning and  Home and Community Care services. He has built a 25-year career domestically and internationally in the social sector and was previously CEO of United Way Australia.

These interests are manifest in his membership of the Boards of the Australian Centre for Social Innovation and WorkVentures, as well as being part of the Advisory Boards of the Centre for Social Impact, Community Services Industry Alliance Reform Council and the Western Sydney University (with whom he is a Community Fellow) School of Business.

Doug has completed post graduate studies in management, attended the Stanford Executive Non-Profit Leadership Program and is a graduate of the Australian Institute for Company Directors.

Georgia Vitale

Georgia Vitale is an Associate Director in Arup’s cities business working across Australasia and is an advisor to Macquarie University’s Centre for Smart Green Cities. Georgia specialises in urban regeneration and social sustainability with an emphasis on creating public benefits and social value. As a subject matter expert on cities for the Asian Development Bank, Georgia’s social sustainability experience includes working with the Bank, Rockefeller Foundation and communities in the Philippines to embed resilience into infrastructure and urban development investments with a focus on improving the lives of poor and vulnerable communities.

Jessica Olivieri

Jessica Olivieri is Artistic Director of Urban Theatre Projects based in Bankstown. She has spent two decades developing ambitious cross-disciplinary projects with renowned national and international organisations, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Performance Space, Sydney; Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; and Vryfrees Festival, South Africa. In 2017 she completed a PhD on the intersection of visual art, performance, dance and theatre within a community setting, prior to this Jessica completed her undergraduate degree at University of Western Sydney. As Curator of Contemporary Performance at Campbelltown Arts Centre Jessica curated projects such as Real Real, with Akil Ahamat; All Ears, a listening party, with Francis Barrett and Era Yalovata Na Marama, with The Veiqia Project. 

Suzie Wright

Currently Vice Chair of the Greater Sydney Landcare Network which hosts Landcare and Bushcare groups across 35 Local Government regions. As Regional Manager for Conservation Volunteers Australia, I managed the Federal Government's Green Army Programme in Western Sydney which delivered vocational training in the environment for over 600 youth; who then planted over 250,000 trees. Suzie has coordinated the acquisition of the Streamwatch programme into Landcare. This programme strengthens the work of volunteers in monitoring the restoration of waterways across the Sydney basin. Suzie has a strong commitment to “connecting people with nature” which she sees as the best solution to some of our most challenging environmental problems.

Lakshmi Logathassan

Having graduated Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Laws and International Studies earlier this year, Lakshmi is currently working as a graduate in law and public policy with the Department of Premier and Cabinet. As the founder and coordinator of The Laptop Project, she has enabled hundreds of disadvantaged students to gain access to a digital education. Her contributions to the community were recognised when she was awarded NSW Young Woman of the Year in 2014. 


Amanda Third

Associate Professor Amanda Third is Principal Research Fellow in Digital Social and Cultural Research in the Institute for Culture and Society. Her research focuses on the socio-cultural dimensions of young people's technology use, with particular emphases on children's rights in the digital age, the intergenerational dynamics shaping technology practice, and vulnerable young people's technological engagements. 

Gill Mathewson

Gill practised full-time architecture in Britain and New Zealand for over 12 years and continues to design.

Throughout Gill’s career she has returned again and again to the issue of women and architecture. These issues precipitated her MA research which explored the issue of gender in architecture by investigating the professional and intellectual presence of three women involved the conception, realisation and interpretation of the Barcelona Pavilion. Gender was also the subject of her PhD thesis 'Dimensions of Gender: women's careers in the Australian architecture profession' at the University of Queensland, awarded in 2015. This received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Theses.

Gill is a member of the Faculty’s XYX Lab which investigates gender and space through collaborative research projects aimed at mitigating gender inequity in Australia’s urban environments. She is also a founding member of Parlour: women, equity, architecture, the advocacy and support website for increasing equity and diversity in the architecture profession and writes regularly for them. Through her work for Parlour and XYX, Gill has become skilled in working with both qualitative and quantitative data mining for patterns.


Lucy Lin

Lucy Lin is a leader in global innovation, AI, data and blockchain marketing. She is the founder of Forestlyn, an innovation marketing consultancy, where she works in partnership with innovative organisations and founders to deliver business strategy, outsourced marketing implementation and the education of disruptive solutions to global audiences. She is passionate about emerging technologies, maps and smart cities. She was previously the Regional Partnerships & Community Manager for HERE Technologies where she worked with governments, tourist organisations and map enthusiasts to collect better map data for Australia, NZ & Pacific Islands and drove all marketing activities for the Oceania region. For more information: www.forestlyn.com

Jane Reynaud

Jane Reynaud leads the delivery of complex, large-scale projects and business operations for the NUW Alliance. Jane has held leadership positions across the Australian research, higher and vocational education and aviation sectors, providing strategic and operational advice. As a proven leader, Jane brings a focused approach to building a culture of accountability and performance. Since 2014, her work has had a particular focus on research development, translation and impact, and creating opportunities that bring researchers, education providers, industry and funding partners together to work in new, collaborative ways.


Matt Gijselman

Matt Gijselman is the Chief Executive Officer of NUW Alliance.

 Matt is a skilled political, organisational and business strategist who has held a breadth of senior leadership positions across state and federal government, start-up and the corporate sector.

With a background in government, policy and political analysis, Matt has led strategic communications and advisory positions with Equifax, ARCA, and NRMA, including leading the ‘new mobility’ strategy towards national reforms to support connected, electric and autonomous vehicles.

Matt has held senior public affairs and advisory roles in the Australian Government, including to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Ian Escandor

Ian Escandor (also known as Esky), is a musician, community organizer, youth worker, and is one of the hosts for the Western (an online media publication based in Western Sydney). Esky has grown up and continues to work in the Blacktown/Mt Druitt area. He is involved with various projects albeit all centred around the empowerment of his community. Through his experiences in music he mentors local musicians, manages a local youth centre, organizes music events with the Open Source collective, is head producer for a local filmmaking crew called Loft Bed Studios and will also be pushing his own music project in 2020.

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is a multi-disciplinary creative from Western Sydney, currently working as a Graphic Designer at Present Company. Matt is a co-founder of the western Sydney focused creative network, T1-Commons, and founder of GRIT paper, which is shortly to release its first issue titled Document T1-27, that assesses and reflects on the current cultural landscape of its place of birth, western Sydney. Born and raised in Mount Druitt, Matt is a proud Westie and continues to advocates for the region and its people through his work and day to day life.

Dzenita Semic

Jj is a caffeine dependent visual storyteller who never quite grew up. When creating, she likes approaching things the way a child would – with a combination of curiosity, playfulness and tactility. Additionally, Jj functions at the happiest level when there’s a little (or a lot of) room in the brief for silliness.


Kate McBride

Kate McBride has been a Lecturer in Population Health within the Translational Health Research Institute and School of Medicine and since 2017, where she leads the research skills and evidence-based medicine program. Kate has over 12 years experience in epidemiological and population health research and has a rapidly growing track record in chronic disease prevention and management research for which she has been awarded a number of prizes and grants. Kate collaborates with multiple national and international partners, both within and outside of the academic sector, and is currently co-leading a large scale diabetes prevention program among the Sydney Pacific community. She also leads a program of research examining the impact of obesity in the healthcare system and is involved in several projects examining how the built environment space. 

Nicky Morrison

Nicky Morrison is Professor of Planning at Western Sydney University and a Senior Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University. She is a leading academic authority on overcoming barriers to securing affordable housing through the planning system and ways to deliver sustainable communities and inclusive growth through participatory planning practices. Nicky has over 27 years of experience working with interdisciplinary teams on high impact international and UK planning and housing research projects, attracting major competitive external funding from the European Commission, Norwegian, German, UK and local governments, Shelter Homeless Charity and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. She has acted as a strategic advisor to Chinese Ministers as they implemented China’s first Public Housing Act and Amnesty International ‘Housing rights live here’ programme in Africa. Nicky is passionate about developing truly collaborative planning through effective partnerships between government, the private sector, NGOs, and community agencies. 


Lisa Marie Lewis

An avid volunteer and dedicated research assistant, Lisa is an up-and-coming thought leader in the Greater Western Sydney region. She recently hosted Youth Action’s ‘What’s Up West’ conference, was the face of The College - Western Sydney University’s pathway program and is completing her postgraduate studies.

Lisa has been recognised by a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Engagement and Sustainability, an Outstanding Youth Leader of Greater Western Sydney Award and on the Dean’s Merit List. She has earned over a dozen travel scholarships (national and international) in recognition of her advocacy work.

Lisa shares her knowledge of intersectionality, diversity and inclusion through working in advisory positions with the Greater Sydney Commission, Western Sydney Local Health District and U.S. Embassy.