Centre for Western Sydney announced inaugural Special Advisor appointment

22nd February 2023

The Executive Director of the Centre for Western Sydney, Professor Andy Marks, has announced Cat-Thao Nguyen, Managing Director of Global Ready LLC and inclusive leadership strategist, as the Centre’s first official Special Advisor.

Professor Marks said Cat-Thao’s appointment to the voluntary, community-based role, is a significant moment in the Centre’s history.

“When the Centre was relaunched in 2020, we made a commitment to fulfilling a unique commitment in the Western Sydney University Act – which is to support the development of Western Sydney,” said Professor Marks.

“The Centre strives to create a thriving and valued Western Sydney and we value the input of our community leaders – who help us keep an ear to the ground and listen to the challenges, needs and aspirations of our region.”

Cat-Thao Nguyen is the author of the memoir ‘We are Here;’ the Co-Founder and inaugural board chair of the Australia-Vietnam Leadership Dialogue; and former Head of EY Law Vietnam. Amongst her awards and accolades, Cat-Thao recognised at the 40 under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australian Awards in 2019 and in her youth, was a Bankstown Young Australian of the Year.

“Cat-Thao is an eminent, connected member of the Western Sydney community, who will provide valuable insights and advice that will inform our research and advocacy initiatives in this vibrant, complex region,” said Professor Marks.

Cat-Thao said she is delighted to be appointed as the inaugural Special Advisor to the Centre for Western Sydney.

“Western Sydney means a lot to me. Western Sydney is home. It welcomed my family the moment we arrived in Australia shortly after I was born in a refugee camp during the aftermath of the Vietnam war,” she said.

“However, it is a region that is often underestimated, taken for granted and misunderstood. Despite being the third largest economy in Australia, this is not translating into commensurate prosperity and dignity for all those who call this area home.

“I look forward to working closely with Professor Andy Marks and the team at the Centre for Western Sydney in advocating for all those whom this region is an integral part of their lives.”

Cat-Thao delivered the opening remarks at the Western Sydney Votes Economy forum, held on Thursday 16th February 2023. To assembled guests, including The Hon, Matt Kean MP, NSW Treasurer, and Mr Daniel Mookhey MLC, Shadow Treasurer, Cat-Thao delivered an impassioned speech in which she said she felt the “disregard” when politicians were “parachuted in” at election time – and saw Western Sydney as more than “a trading port for political territory.”

“Western Sydney is not about achieving our potential. It’s about stepping into our power… We have the solutions. And the people who deserve our votes are not those who from afar and logically and intellectually tell us the answers. But those who co-create the conditions for our own answers to emerge.” – Cat-Thao Nguyen

As a Special Advisor to the Centre for Western Sydney, Cat-Thao Nguyen will provide strategic advice to inform the Centre’s policy and advocacy initiatives, and will support the Centre at public engagements and events.

The Centre for Western Sydney will be making further announcements on other eminent community leaders, joining Cat-Thao Nguyen as Special Advisors.