Distinguished leaders in community and business deliver the Occasional Address at September Graduation

A highlight of each graduation ceremony is the Occasional Address. In September, Western Sydney University graduands and their guests will have the opportunity to hear from a range of distinguished guest speakers.

Ceremony 1 - 9.30am, Tuesday 25 September

Dr Marlene Kanga AM
President, World Federation of Engineering Organisations

Marlene Kanga

Dr Marlene Kanga is President of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), the peak body for engineering institutions internationally representing some 100 engineering institutions and approximately 30 million engineers.

Dr Kanga was National President of Engineers Australia in 2013. She is a board member of Sydney Water Corporation, Australia’s largest utility with revenues of $2.8 billion, AirServices Australia with responsibility for air navigation services for 11 percent of the world’s sky, chair of the Australian Government Research and Development Incentives Committee which provides A$3.5 billion support for industry research and development. She is on other boards involving innovation and a Director of iOmniscient Pty. Ltd. which has developed world leading artificial intelligence video technologies.

Dr Kanga is a Chemical Engineer and a Fellow of the Academy of Technology Science and Engineering (Australia), a Foreign Fellow of the ASEAN Academy of Engineering and Technology. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (UK), She has been listed among the Top 100 Women of Influence and the Top 100 Engineers in Australia and is a Member of the Order of Australia, a national honour, as recognition of her leadership of the engineering profession.

Ceremony 2 - 12pm, Tuesday 25 September

Professor Anlong Xu
President, Beijing University of Chinese MedicineProfessor Anlong Xu

Professor Anlong Xu is President of the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, and a Professor of Molecular Biology and Immunology. Professor Xu has actively worked to increase knowledge and access to Chinese medicine globally.

In 1985, Professor Xu graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Sun Yat-sen University. He was then awarded a government scholarship to study in the United States, and in September 1986, he travelled to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to pursue his graduate studies in immunogenetics. In 1992, Professor Xu was awarded his PhD from the University of Illinois and then went on to complete two years of postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Diego under the supervision of Dr Helen M. Ranney. In 1994, Professor Xu joined the San Diego-based, Alliance Pharmaceutical Corporation, where he worked as a Research Scientist in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology.

After 10 years of study and research work in the United States, Professor Xu returned to China to work in the Department of Biochemistry within the College of Life Sciences at Sun Yat-sen University. In January 2000, he was appointed Dean of the College of Life Sciences and in 2008 Professor Xu became the Vice-President for Research and Development.

In 2013, Professor Xu was appointed President of the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, one of the longest established higher education institutions for Chinese Medicine in the People’s Republic of China, and the only university of Chinese Medicine directly under China’s, Ministry of Education.

As a leading scientist in molecular biology, Professor Xu’s main research has focused on new drug discovery and the use of functional genomics to understand the origin and evolution of the vertebrate immune system. His recent discovery of an active RAG transposon, published in the research journal, Cell in 2016, shed light on the origins of the vertebrate adaptive immune system.

Professor Xu has been the corresponding author on more than 160 papers published in peer-reviewed international journals. He has served on the Editorial Board for the Annual Review of Animal Biosciences, and currently works on the Editorial Board for BMC Genomics, Animal Biotechnology, and the National Science Review. In addition to these roles, Professor Xu is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences, an international, peer reviewed publication featuring advanced scientific research in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Professor Xu has made significant contributions to the growth of Chinese Medicine internationally, through initiating and establishing Chinese Medicine Centres in a number of countries, including Australia, the United States, Russia, Germany, Spain and Japan. These Centres are significantly supported by funds Professor Xu has raised through his tireless personal efforts. The Centres serve as a vehicle to facilitate communication and collaboration in Chinese Medicine education, research and clinical services between China and its international partners.

Ceremony 3 - 2.30pm, Tuesday 25 September

Grainne O’Loughlin
Chief Executive Officer, KaritaneGrainne O'Loughlin

Grainne O’Loughlin joined Karitane in 2014 and has close to 30 years’ experience in the public health care sectors in Australia and the UK.

Prior to joining Karitane, Ms O’Loughlin held a variety of senior health executive roles and has extensive strategic and operational management experience in acute, sub-acute and not-for-profit healthcare settings. She first worked as a speech pathologist in both London and Sydney, and then moved to a role in speech pathology management with Sydney Local Health District before her appointment as the inaugural Director of Allied Health at St Vincent’s Health Network between 2008 -2014.

Ms O’Loughlin has a strong commitment to clinical teaching, education and research. She worked in partnership with the University of Sydney to develop the first Professor of Allied Health in NSW public hospitals. She has also led a number of state-wide projects and initiatives on inter-professional supervision and education, in partnership with the NSW Health and Education Training Institute.

Ms O’Loughlin is currently President of the Health Services Association of New South Wales Board, and is a Non-Executive Director of the Ability Roundtable and Australasian Association of Parenting and Child Health Boards.

Ceremony 4 - 5pm, Tuesday 25 September

Paul Power
Chief Executive Officer, Refugee Council of Australia
Paul Power

Paul Power has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Refugee Council of Australia for more than 10 years.

During this time, Mr Power has lead the organisation’s policy development and public education on refugee issues. He also leads its advocacy work with the Australian Government, international networks and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

After starting his career as a journalist and editor, Mr Power found his vocation within the not-for-profit sector.  He is a board member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network and has served on the Australian Government’s Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council and as co-chair for the global Working Group on Resettlement.

Through his work, Paul has been involved with projects in international aid, community development, mental health support, volunteer training, social research and advocacy.

Ceremony 5 - 9am, Wednesday 26 September

Benjamin Marshan
Head of Policy and Standards, Financial Planning Association of Australia
Benjamin Marshan

Mr Benjamin Marshan has been with the Financial Planning Association of Australia since 2015. Prior to this, he was an Associate Director at KPMG and a financial planner and senior manager at State Super Financial Services.

Mr Marshan has a Bachelor of Science with first class honours from the University of New South Wales and is a Western Sydney University alumnus, having graduated with a Master of Commerce in Financial Planning in 2010. He twice gained a place on Western’s Dean’s Merit List, in 2008 and 2009, and was an Executive Dean’s Medallist in 2010. Mr Marshan also lectured in Retirement Planning from 2009 to 2012.

Mr Marshan is passionate about making financial planning accessible to all Australians. His dedication to providing guidance and mentorship to others underpins his commitment to ensuring fellow financial planners deliver the best possible outcomes, even during times of legislative change.

Ceremony 6 - 12pm, Wednesday 26 September

Joanna Savill
Director, Business Development, Western Sydney Parklands and Parramatta Park Trust
Joanna Savill

Joanna Savill joined the Western Sydney Parklands and Parramatta Park Trusts in 2016. Her work involves engaging and growing audiences through marketing, media and events, as well as liaising with government, community and corporate partners to develop new opportunities for the parklands.

A dedicated ‘foodie’ and long-time food journalist, Ms Savill’s career began as a reporter, producer, on-line content director and editor, sub-titler and script editor with SBS. It was there that she co-created and presented the broadcaster’s internationally acclaimed program The Food Lovers' Guide to Australia. Her wide-ranging career also includes roles as the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide, creator of Crave Sydney International Food Festival and Festival Director of Australia’s largest food festival, Good Food Month.

Ms Savill’s work with the food industry has been recognised with a number of industry accolades. An Arts graduate (Australian National University) majoring in Modern Languages, Ms Savill trained as an interpreter with the European Union in Brussels. She also holds Post-Graduate diplomas in Communications (University of Technology Sydney) and Gastronomy (Adelaide University).

Ceremony 7 - 2.30pm, Wednesday 26 September

Riana Steyn
Chief Executive Officer, Bartier Perry
Riana Steyn

Riana Steyn is a transformative, results-focused leader who believes that a strong business culture is key to achieving exceptional results for the organisation, employees and clients.

She started as CEO at Bartier Perry in December 2017 and brings 15 years’ strategic and operational leadership experience to her position as CEO. She has previously worked in senior roles in the financial and professional services sector in Australia and internationally.

Riana is an Executive sponsor of the firms Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Innovation Committee, a member of AICD and elected member of the ALPMA NSW Branch Committee.

Ceremony 8 - 9.30am, Thursday 27 September

Mark Diamond
Principal, Lansvale Public School
Mark Diamond

Mark Diamond has been the principal of Lansvale Public School since 2007. As an educator of more than 30 years, Mr Diamond’s career has also included positions as principal of Green Valley and Ashcroft Public Schools.

Describing himself as a “proud public school leader and learner”, Mr Diamond was an active partner in Western Sydney University’s Fair Go Project for low socioeconomic status communities. He has been an Instructional Leader and Mentor with the New South Wales Department of Education’s Early Action for Success Program and a Principal Education Officer in the Priority Action Schools Program.

Mr Diamond’s success as a leader is reflected in Lansvale Public School being identified as one of five of the most effective public schools excelling in learning, teaching and leading, in a report from the New South Wales Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation earlier this year.

Ceremony 9 - 12pm, Thursday 27 September

Jane Caro
Social Commentator, Media Personality and Educator
Jane Caro

Jane Caro is an author, lecturer, mentor, social commentator, columnist, workshop facilitator, speaker and award winning advertising writer.

After studying a Bachelor of Arts (English Literature), Ms Caro began her early career as an advertising copywriter. After working in advertising agencies she found her way to teaching, having lectured advertising at this University. Ms Caro currently runs her own communications consultancy and appears regularly on Channel Seven’s Sunrise and ABC television’s Q&A.

Ms Caro is also a vocal and passionate advocate of teachers and public education. Last year, Ms Caro worked with the ABC’s Compass program to host a documentary series titled The Staffroom, which went behind the scenes at a number of high schools to discuss the pressures faced by teachers today.

Ms Caro is board member of the NSW Public Education Foundation and the Bell Shakespeare Company, and is an accomplished author having published fiction and non-fiction works. In July this year, Ms Caro was awarded the Walkley Award for Women in Leadership.

Ceremony 10 - 2.30pm, Thursday 27 September

Rosie Dennis
Chief Executive Officer/Artistic Director, Urban Theatre Projects
Rosie Dennis

Ms Rosie Dennis has been the Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director at Urban Theatre Projects for more than 5 years.

Ms Dennis has had a long association with the company, initially as a publicist, then as a freelance artist, and also as an artist in residence.

As a writer, director and performer, her aim has always been to produce bold, adventurous work that pushes the boundaries of theatre and performance.  As Chief Executive Officer, her goal has been to lead a national and conversation about contemporary place-based practice from the Company’s home in Western Sydney.

Prior to joining Urban Theatre Projects, Ms Dennis’ work was presented at over 25 festivals across Central Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.  She has also directed two documentaries, Bre & Back and One Day for Peace and is currently directing The Quiet Discomfort, a narrative Virtual Reality Experience.


25 September 2018

Media Unit