Dr Finkel commenced as Australia’s Chief Scientist on 25 January 2016. He is Australia’s eighth Chief Scientist. Prior to his appointment, he served as President of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), and for eight years as Chancellor of Monash University.
As Chief Scientist, Dr Finkel has led a number of national reviews, delivering the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap, the 2017 Review into the National Electricity Market (“Finkel Review”) and the 2018 STEM Industry Partnership Forum report. He serves as the Deputy Chair of Innovation and Science Australia.
Dr Finkel has an extensive science background as an entrepreneur, engineer, neuroscientist and educator. He was awarded his PhD in electrical engineering from Monash University and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in neuroscience at the Australian National University.
In 1983 he founded Axon Instruments, a California-based, ASX-listed company that made precision scientific instruments used at pharmaceutical companies and universities for the discovery of new medicines. After Axon was sold in 2004, Dr Finkel became a director of the acquiring company, NASDAQ-listed Molecular Devices.
In 2006, he focused his career in Australia and undertook a wide range of activities. He led the amalgamation that formed the Florey Neuroscience Institutes; he became Chair of the Australian Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) and was a director of the ASX-listed diagnostics company Cogstate Limited. He was Executive Chair of the educational software company Stile Education, Chair of Manhattan Investment Group, Chief Technology Officer of Better Place Australia and Chair of Speedpanel Australia.
Dr Finkel was the 2016 Victorian of the Year and the recipient of the Mountbatten Medal (UK). A winner of the Clunies Ross Award for facilitating international neuroscience research, Dr Finkel is committed to science education. He co-founded Cosmos Magazine, which in addition to magazine publishing operates a secondary schools science education program. At ATSE, he led the development and implementation of the STELR program for secondary school science, which has been adopted in more than 600 Australian schools. As Chief Scientist he has led the development of the STARportal information web site for extracurricular STEM activities.
Dr Finkel also established the Australian Course in Advanced Neuroscience to train early career neuroscientists.
Dr Rebecca Huntley is one of Australians foremost researchers on social and consumer trends. She has a background in publishing, academia and politics. She holds degrees in law and film studies and a PhD in Gender Studies.
For nearly 9 years Rebecca was the Director of The Mind & Mood Report, Australia's longest running social trends report, founded by Hugh Mackay. She is the author of numerous books - The World According to Y: Inside the New Adult Generation, Eating Between the Lines: food and equality in Australia, The Italian Girl and Does Cooking Matter? Rebecca is a regular contributor to essay collections, magazines, newspapers and online publications. She was a feature writer for Australian Vogue, a columnist for BRW and the presenter of RN Drive on a Friday. She is a sought after commentator on social trends on radio, in print and on television.
She is on the Artistic Advisory Board of the Bell Shakespeare Company, an adjunct senior lecturer at the School of Social Sciences at The University of New South Wales and a board member of The Whitlam Institute. She has worked with a wide variety of clients from banks and FMCG companies to NGOs, charities, unions and political parties.
Brian Cook has long been recognised as one of Australia’s leading sports administrators. With 30 years as an AFL club CEO with the West Coast and Geelong, Cook is the equal longest serving CEO in the 122 year history of the league.
As CEO of the Geelong Football Club since 1999, Cook has led the Cats from a near bankrupt regional club to one of the country’s leading sports brands, enjoying unprecedented success both on and off the field.
Known for his strong values based leadership style, Cook has overseen the rebirth of the Cats. The club broke a 44 year premiership drought in 2007, winning the grand final by a record margin. Further premierships followed in 2009 and 2011, and the club has continued to challenge for further success while undergoing a complete transformation of its playing list.
Cook has led a four stage redevelopment of the Cats home ground, GMHBA Stadium, resulting in $200 million in investment to turn to the stadium and the club’s training facilities into best in the country. A further $110 million for the final stage to complete the stadium has been committed by the State Government and this will start in 2020. Under Cook’s stewardship, the Cats have implemented a strong community outreach, featuring 10 flagship programs that look to improve the lives and decision making among young people. The club was close to $10 million in liabilities when Cook arrived, but now is one of the most stable sporting organisations in Australia.
Prior to joining the Cats, Cook spent nine years at the helm of the West Coast Eagles. He guided the Eagles to premierships in 1992 and 1994, marking the first times that a non-Victorian club had won the AFL grand final. During that period the Eagles averaged an operating profit of $3 million per year and grew membership from 10,000 to 30,000.
A life member of the AFL and the Geelong Football Club, Cook was named as the Eunice Gill award winner for services to coaching at a national level in 1994, was awarded the Australian Sports medal from the Prime Minister in 2001 and was recognised as the Australian sport’s executive of the year by the Confederation of Australian sport in 2007.
Cook currently serves as a director of the Geelong Football Club and the Slade Group, is Chair of the Geelong Cats foundation, Chair of Barwon Health, and is patron of Wombat’s Wish.
Cook completed the Advanced management program at Harvard Business School in 2013 and holds a Master of Education from the University of Western Australia and a Bachelor of Education from Deakin University. Cook was also appointed Adjunct Professor at Deakin University in 2017 in the Sports Management Program. An elite athlete in his own right, Cook was a golden gloves boxer and played with both Hawthorn and Melbourne. He moved west and represented Subiaco and East Perth in the WAFL, and also was an assistant coach at East Perth and senior coach at Ainslie in the ACT.
Dr Attracta Lagan is a leading Australian business ethicist who has advised Boards and CEO’s in both the corporate and not for profit sectors, as well as working extensively with both state and local government.
She is a pioneer of corporate social responsibility and sustainability in Australia and challenges business leaders to develop positive values led workplace cultures that balance what is good for business with what is good for society.
Attracta was a founding Director of the Australian Futures Foundation and a member of the Stakeholder Adviser Committee of the Australian Minerals Council providing guidance on minimising and managing the social and environmental impacts of the industry. Prior to establishing Managing Values, she helped establish the St James Ethic Centre as Founder Director, Consulting before heading up KPMG’s national Sustainability and Business Ethics Practice.
She works extensively in Asia and throughout Australia in the applied business ethics area carrying out cultural audits, delivering Executive Coaching and Code of Conduct training for employees, and facilitating values led strategic planning sessions. Attracta is a very engaging and highly regarded public speaker and is much sought after as a keynote presenter and panel member as well as a highly skilled workshop facilitator.
Attracta holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Social Sciences, a Masters of Applied Science and a PhD in Values and Organisational Change.
Gihan Perera is a futurist, conference speaker, author and consultant who gives you a glimpse into what’s ahead – and how you can become fit for the future, in your professional and personal life.
Since 1997, he has worked with business leaders, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and other change agents – helping them with their strategy for thriving in a fast-changing world. He has clients throughout Australia, as well as in New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the USA and Canada. He is the author of “The Future of Leadership”, “Disruption By Design”, and 10 other books.
He has always taken the lead in embracing emerging technologies and trends, from his university thesis in robotics and artificial intelligence, to leading a software development team building the infrastructure for the early Internet, founding one of Australia’s first Web development companies in 1996, teaching thought leaders how to engage in e-learning platforms, and helping business leaders build their personal brand and online influence.
Because innovation is everybody’s business, and the best ideas can come from anywhere, he has worked with a number of industries – including healthcare, financial services, mining and resources, property, local government, education, and technology.
Forbes magazine rated him the #5 social media influencer in the world (and #1 in Australia) in his area of expertise. He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), the only internationally recognised designation for professional speakers. His formal background is in science and technology, with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Australia. But he’s always been interested in people and the way they communicate – and how to become ft for the future, so they embrace change, act on opportunities, and live happier lives.
Lee Watanabe-Crockett is an optimist. He believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together through connection and compassion.
Lee works with governments, education systems, international agencies and corporations to help people and organisations connect to their highest purpose and realise their wish for the future.
Lee believes in creating balance in the reality of a digital present and future. As such, living in Japan, he studies Aikido, Buddhism, and the Shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese bamboo flute.
Joyful curiosity is the foundation of his approach to creating vital learning environments for groups around the world through the two organisations he as founded, the Global Digital Citizen Foundation, and Wabisabi Learning.
His several best-selling books including Growing Global Digital Citizens, Mindful Assessment and Future-Focused Learning, have garnered many awards and are used in schools and universities around the world.
Tracey is a keynote speaker, author and educator, who is dedicated to inspiring people to collaborate and thrive in the workplace. She is the author of two books, The Buzz – Creating a Thriving and Collaborative Staff Learning Culture and Glue – The Stuff that Binds Us Together to do Extraordinary Work.
Tracey speaks on collaboration, leadership and high performance cultures.
Tracey works with leaders and teams who want to elevate above convention and create extraordinary outcomes. She works with people who understand that the world requires a new type of leadership – one that is focussed on collaboration, learning and relationships.
She believes that our best selves are helped to shine when our work environment is full of connection, compassion and purposeful conversations.
Andrew Douch is a teacher and independent education consultant with 22 years classroom experience. He helps teachers amplify their impact on student learning by inspiring new thinking about teaching effectively in a technology rich world.
His essential message is that in a rapidly changing social and economic landscape, as technology becomes ever more plentiful, user-friendly and affordable, it is leveraged most powerfully, not by the most technologically capable teachers but by those most willing to look with fresh eyes at their pedagogy.
Andrew’s work at the nexus of education and technology has been acknowledged and endorsed by organisations as diverse as Microsoft, the IMS Global Learning Consortium and the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. The innovative nature of his ideas has attracted numerous awards including an Australian Government Award for Quality Schooling, the Victorian Education Excellence Award for Curriculum Innovation and Microsoft's Victorian, Australian and Worldwide Innovative Teacher of the Year awards.
Michelle Ware is an experienced educator, having taught in primary, secondary and tertiary education settings for more than 30 years. She is currently a Quality Teaching Rounds Adviser working with the University of Newcastle and the NSW Department of Education. Michelle has completed postgraduate studies at the University of Newcastle and most recently, the University of Melbourne. She is a passionate arts educator who sees the Quality Teaching model and Quality Teaching Rounds as powerful ways to build teacher capacity through high quality professional development.
Lee-Anne Collins is currently a Quality Teaching Rounds Adviser working with the University of Newcastle and the NSW Department of Education. She is an experienced Primary school teacher, who spent a large portion of her teaching career in a large K-12 community school, working with colleagues from K - 12. Lee-Anne is passionate about quality teaching, teacher wellbeing and lifelong learning for all.